Natural Beauty and Lifestyle News

Ingredients spotlight: Cacao or raw chocolate

Ingredients spotlight: Cacao or raw chocolate

We are feeling decidedly Easterish at Evolve studios. Possibly because we've just received the missing ingredients we needed to whip up a new batch of the Radiant Glow Mask. It smells so delightfully chocolatey, it is nearly as good as a bite of the real thing. 

What is it about the magical Cacao bean which inspires such devotion? We tell ourselves that 70% organic dark chocolate is "good" for us, is this really the case??

Cacao has been consumed for thousands of years, originating in Central America. It was even used as currency at one point. 

As long as the sugar content is low, chocolate is actually beneficial. It has been proven to benefit the heart, reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes and cholesterol. Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70 per cent or more) choc provides 67 per cent of the RDA of iron. The high levels of antioxidant flavonols also protect the skin and the brain. 

There is also a real reason it makes us feel better. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.

So no need to feel guilty next time you have a square (or 6!). Or for complete guilt free pleasure why not try our Radiant Glow Mask?

Radiance boosting papaya mask

Radiance boosting papaya mask

Making an enzymatic exfoliating mask is easier than you think with some basic kitchen ingredients. Papaya contains papain enzymes that gently exfoliate and brighten. Here I've mixed it with agar agar, a food based gelling agent, to add body and help the mask stay on the skin. 

Radiance boosting papaya mask step 1: here are the ingredients you need. Agar agar is a vegetarian gelling agent

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Chop and peel the papaya and add it to a food processor or liquidiser. 

Radiance boosting papaya mask step 2: peel and chop the papaya and remove the seeds

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Add one tablespoon of the agar agar to half a cup of boiling water and then add this into the papaya mixture. Blend!

Radiance boosting papaya mask step 3: add a teaspoon of agar agar to half a cup of boiling water

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Here is the finished mask. I left it in the fridge to thicken overnight and when I applied it to my skin it felt cool and comfortable. I left it on for 10 minutes and when I washed it off my skin was beautifully smooth. 

Naked Beauty Balm Recipe

Naked Beauty Balm Recipe

I've recently had a new baby and even the most natural balms with pure essential oils seem to irritate her skin. I decided to make a completely naked balm for her, with minimal ingredients, and I thought I would share the recipe.

First I found the ingredients: beeswax (I used pellets but you could grate a pure beeswax candle) and some organic oil. Many oils could be used depending on what you have to hand. Olive oil or grapeseed oil would both be beneficial and are easily available at large supermarkets.

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I put 6g of the beeswax into a small glass bowl which I carefully placed in a pan of boiling water on the hob making sure not to get any water inside the bowl. 

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Once the beeswax was melted, I added 32g of oil and mixed it together. I didn't add any essential oil, but if you wanted to add 2-3 drops of a soothing oil like lavender you could do so. To use around the lip area it would be best to choose an edible oil like orange, lemon or peppermint.

i then poured the finished balm into a 30ml jar and waited for it to cool and set before moving it. 

Step 4 - pour the balm into a jar and wait for it to set

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Here is the finished naked balm. 2 ingredients. 100% Natural and Organic. Perfect for sensitive skin and babies!