Paradise In A Bottle | Hei Poa Pure Tahiti Monoï Oil

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We all know that when the heat turns up, so does our mood. A good old dose of vitamin D can bring upon a little more cheer and an elevated mood; which is why we look forward to the summer months all year round. Although I’m more of an autumn girl, there are certain aspects of the summer which I throughly enjoy. Fruity cocktails, open toes, family BBQs and the scent of something tropical. I, of course, can achieve that with a tall glass of pina colada (and preferably a handsome waiter to go with it), but I also like to incorporate a little paradise into my beauty routine.

Multi-purpose oils have been an inclusion in my beauty regime for many many years. From my hair to my nails – I use beauty oils on a daily basis no matter the weather. Scented oils are my particular favourite; which is why I squealed for joy when I discovered the Hei Poa range. Their core product, Pure Tahiti Monoï Oil in various scents, encompass everything you could ever imagine from a tropical scented oil.

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Derived from the French Polynesia, Monoï oil has been a hidden gem of the tropics for over 40 years. Naturally fallen coconuts are pressed to produce unrefined oil; which is then infused with the natural essence of Tiare Flowers (Tahitian Gardenias). This is then brewed for several months before bottling up and shipped to our shores. Sounds like something from a Sandals advert doesn’t it? Well not only does it smell INCREDIBLE, Monoï oil is also very moisturising, nourishing and holds many restorative properties for our skin, hair and nails.

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In natural ‘Reena-fashion’, I tried a sample of this beautiful oil from a friend and quickly proceeded with an online order for 6 bottles. However, the difficult part about that was choosing the fragrance. Hei Poa stock 11 variations of this magical elixir, each with their own individual appeal. Some are recognisable by name, but others, such as the Tamanu oil, require a bit of reading up. I settled on the Tamanu oil for its anti-ageing properties (preventative measures of course), Frangipani because I thought it had something to do with almonds (it doesn’t and yes I’m really that stupid) and the 1,000 Flowers  because…well…why wouldn’t you?! I, of course, bought two of each in case the world decides to end and I had no more access to the internet…

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With coconut oil being the core ingredient, it was no surprise to see that the oils solidify in colder temperatures. This is easily overcome by placing the bottles in a jug of warm water before use. The mixture then turns to a beautifully silky oil, with no sticky residue. This is particularly useful in the summer months, when feeling sticky is the least of your desires. What the oil does leave behind is a lingering smell which can only be described as heaven in a bottle.

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Apart from basting my chicken with it (no that’s not a euphemism), I use this oil for pretty much everything. I love how easily it absorbs into my skin and hair ; which is something I rarely find apart from with dry oils. My favourite use is right out of the shower, whilst my skin is still damp to lock in the moisture and retain that heavenly scent. My skin is left feeling supple with a beautiful ethereal glow and a scent that would make even the flowers turn their heads.

Now here comes the negatives – it’s not that easy to source in the UK and the glass bottle will annoy each and every bone in your body. It’s not a game changer as such, but the glass bottle is a real shit design element. I mean, why pick glass?! If I want to travel with this oil and use it in a tropical destination (as it should be used), I can’t. If I drop the bottle, I’m screwed. In fact, the bottle’s only use is to sit pretty on my vanity table with no true purpose to the product. Of course, sourcing this oil is a bigger point to cover. Amazon, naturally, have all scents in stock for the RRP. I bought mine from Sanareva.co.uk who stock pretty much all of the Hei Poa products. Most listings that I have found are priced between £8-£9; which I’m more than happy to pay for the amount of product that you get.

If you’re on the lookout for a new summer scent, why not put down the perfume bottle and invest £8 in a bottle of this tropical elixir – I promise you will never smell better!

DIY January | Heavenly Scented Whipped Body Butter

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If ever I’ve wished for a ‘scratch and sniff’ functionality on my blog, now would be the time. I’ve submerged myself in the depths of my kitchen over the past few weeks, mixing together a bit of this and a bit of that to bring you yet another DIY beauty product. I’ve experimented with lip scrubs, hair masks and even home-made blushers. It wasn’t until I took myself out of the kitchen and into my bathroom that I discovered what I’m truly after.

I’ve been obsessed with the Laura Mercier bath and body range longer than my bank account wishes to admit. I’ve always been a fan of sweet smelling scents and the Laura Mercier range provides me just that. Along with its delicious aroma, the products offer an air of glamour and elegance, something that is rarely associated with sweet smelling products. The body butters, in particular, are my personal fave. Not only are they incredibly moisturising for my dry skin, but they leave a delicate scent that sticks with me throughout the day. It was then, in the midst of slathering myself with the velvety texture of Laura Mercier’s Almond Coconut Milk Souffle, that it dawned on me – I could make this at home. Out came the whisk and away I went…

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What You’ll Need

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1/2 cup Shea Butter

Shea Butter is nature’s super food for the skin. This ivory-coloured fat is extracted from the nut of an African Shea tree. Widely used across regions of Africa, Shea Butter is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers natural SPF protection as well as essential fatty acids for collagen production. It has a naturally thick consistency; which can be difficult to apply on its own. However, when melted with a carrier oil it offers extreme hydration for parched skin as well as anti-ageing benefits. No wonder why it’s an integral ingredient in most of the body moisturisers on the market today. It picked mine up from a cute little store called The Soapery on Amazon; which offer a great deal of raw and unrefined products.

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1/2 cup Cacao Butter (mango butter can be used as a replacement)

Cacao Butter provides this whipped body butter with a delicious aroma of melted chocolate. Cacao Butter is offered in shards of solids (often called ‘nibs’), but is in fact the oil extracted from cocoa beans. Cacao Butter, much like Shea Butter, is rich in antioxidants and is ultra-hydrating. It has natural emollient properties; which makes it a popular choice ingredient for many beauty products such as lip glosses, lip balms, and skin lotions. I picked mine up from Amazon (I honestly think Amazon Prime has ruined my life) and if you don’t use it all for this cream, it could be a great addition for your next chocolate dessert recipe.

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1/2 cup Coconut Oil (organic and unrefined)

No skincare blog post of mine would be complete without the inclusion of coconut oil. Coconut oil to me is what Windex is to the Dad in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’. Coconut oil has an array of benefits, far too many to include in this post. For this whipped body butter it adds extra hydration, a heavenly scent and a base for the butters mentioned above to work their magic. You can pick up coconut oil from pretty much anywhere now, but I got mine from here.

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1/2 cup Almond Oil (organic and unrefined)

In all honesty, much like the coconut oil, almond oil acts purely as a carrier for the other ingredients. You could swap it out for another like olive oil, but I wanted to add a delicious fragrance of almond to my body butter. Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc; which makes it INCREDIBLE for your skin, hair and nails. I chose a sweet almond oil from Amazon.

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Optional – A few drops of essential oil (Vitamin E can be used for extra nourishment or a scented oil like Lavender can be used if you’re looking for a night time treat)

You’ll also need:

Storage jar – I wanted my body butter to look as special as it feels so I chose to store mine away in a clip-top preserving jar that I picked up for a mere £2.50 at Tescos.  You can of course store it in any container you wish, but keep it pretty – no one likes boring skincare!

Whisk – if you have slightly more sense than I do you will use an electric whisk or a stand mixer. I can’t tell you how much my arms felt like they were going to drop off.

Double boil system – doesn’t need to be fancy. Just a saucepan with boiling water and a heat-proof mixing bowl placed on top.

*Word of warning to anyone with allergies or any form of skin conditions – this body butter contains a shit ton of nut based ingredients. If you have fairly problematic skin or you plan on being in close contact with anyone who does, keep in mind that this is probably not the product for you. My skin is pretty normal with the odd spell of dryness so I’ve had no worries in using this cream.

 

Method

Boil water in a saucepan and place a glass mixing bowl on top. Ensure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Once water has boiled, reduce the gas to a medium flame.

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Place all of the ingredients into the bowl, leaving out the essential oils (should you wish to include it)

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Grab a whisk or a wooden spoon and mix together the ingredients. At this point the ingredients would have already begun to melt so you won’t need to accelerate the process with vigorous whisking.

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Once completely melted your mixture will begin to resemble something that you wouldn’t necessarily want to put on your body, unless you’ve had a jellyfish sting (that will make no sense to people who aren’t a fan of ‘Friends‘).

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Once it gets to this stage, remove the bowl from the heat (careful, it will be hot) and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. After this time, add in your drops of essential oil and place the mixing bowl into the fridge for an hour to allow for further cooling and solidifying. I’m a little impatient so I placed mine in the freezer for around 20-30 minutes.

You’ll notice that your mixture would have turned into an off-white emolliant (somewhat like goose fat). Don’t allow for your mixture to completely solidify. You’ll want it at a stage where it’s soft enough to whisk, but not liquid. Grab your electric whisk/mixing stand and begin to whisk. If you’re stupid enough (like me) to use a manual whisker – good luck! Whisk until the mixture resembles whipped cream (in colour and in texture).

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Place the mixture back into the fridge/freezer for a further 10 minutes so that it can firm up again. Repeat the process of whisking and cooling a further 2 times. Once the mixture is able to create ‘soft peaks’ it’s then good to go.

Grab spoon-fulls of the butter and place in your chosen jar, topped off with a nice ribbon (just for dramatic effect).

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Your new-found whipped body butter will last for several months. I would suggest storing in the fridge if you live in a warm climate, but otherwise it will keep its texture pretty well in the jar.

Now I’m not being biased, but this whipped body butter smells pretty darn good! It resembles that of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, but with a slight marzipan twist. Not only is it incredibly moisturising in the winter, but if you do choose to store it in the fridge, it makes for a wonderful cooling treat in the summer.

The ingredients list above will make a fair bit of body butter. I chose a 500ml jar to store it in, but in all honesty, I had enough to fill one more. You can of course reduce the amount of each ingredient (as long as they are equal parts) or find a bigger jar. I slather myself in body cream so there’s no such thing as too much in my books.

The cost of the ingredients came to a grand total of £25.92 plus £2.50 for the jar. Seeing as I could get two jars out of the mixture, it effectively cost me around £12.96 a pot. Can you get cheaper body lotions on the market? Of course! Can you get something as organic, natural and luxurious as this? I think not! The Laura Mercier Body Butters retail at around £45 for 300ml. For £12.96 I got myself 500ml; which is an absolute bargain in my eyes. The texture, look, smell and effect of my homemade whipped body butter is almost identical to the Laura Mercier version. Although, I find the title ‘whipped body butter’ far more satisfying.

The Definitive Guide To Coconut Oil

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It’s fair to say that my obsession with coconut oil is a real problem! For years, this versatile beauty product has been a staple in my bathroom cabinet. What’s not to love? It has an endless list of uses, it’s cheap, easy to source and it’s organic. In my eyes this is my no.1 beauty find of all time!

Coconut oil holds the answer to many puzzling beauty questions. Dry and damaged hair you can’t control? Weak and brittle nails? Un-even skin tone? Coconut oil alleviates so many of our beauty problems. Not forgetting it’s super healthy to cook with!

At room temperature or above, coconut oil is a white, waxy looking solid. One scoop heated in the palm of your hands turns this solid into a luxurious beauty elixir; which you can pretty much do anything with.

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It seems like everyone has jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon. For that reason it can get quite confusing as to what brand to use. Although brand preference is not important, I always repurchase the Biona Organic Coconut Virgin Oil from Amazon.co.uk. It is important, however, to always go for pure, unrefined, oragnic coconut oil. If you’re not sure, check the ingredients. If it doesn’t mention any of the key words above then it’s not 100% coconut oil!

Here’s my top 10 list of beauty uses for coconut oil:-

1. Hot oil hair treatment – If you suffer from split ends, dry or course hair then coconut oil could be the easiest (not forgetting cheapest) treatment you could ever give your locks! Scoop a couple of tablespoons (dependent on length of hair) into a heat resistant bowl and heat for a few seconds in the microwave. This will melt and heat the oil to a reasonable temperature; which you can then massage into your hair. I like to focus mostly on the ends as this is where my hair is the most dry. Leave to soak in your hair for at least an hour and rinse to reveal a seriously shiny mane. For an extra boost of moisture, wrap hair in a heated towel once you have applied the oil to help it penetrate further into the hair shaft.

2. Night time beauty oil – There’s no better feeling than taking off your makeup at the end of a long day. Once you have completed your usual cleanser and toner routine, treat your skin to a pea-sized amount of coconut oil. Massage the oil all over your face before you retire for the evening and wake up to glowing, even toned skin. Don’t worry about getting it on your pillow as coconut oil is completely natural and does not clog your pores.

3. Body moisturiser – Coconut oil is just as good for your body as it is for your face. I usually treat myself twice a week to a slathering of this oil after a full body exfoliation. It calms your skin down after scuffing away all of the dead skin cells and leaves your skin as smooth as a baby’s behind. To top it off you get to smell like a tropical island all day!

4. Nail and cuticle oil – If you suffer from dry cuticles or splitting/peeling nails then rub a small amount of coconut oil into each nail bed to treat them.

5. Eyebrow/eyelash growth – Studies have shown that regular use of coconut oil on your eyebrows and eyelashes can help them to grow thicker and longer. Take an old mascara wand or spoolie, dip into the coconut oil and layer onto your eyebrows and eyelashes. Continued use can make a real difference. For an extra boost, add some cold pressed castor oil to the coconut oil before applying.

6. Makeup remover – If you find yourself out of makeup wipes or eye makeup remover then soak a cotton pad with coconut oil and apply to your face. The oil instantly dissolves the most stubborn of makeup including waterproof mascara!

7. Make your own luscious body scrub – If you’re like me then you will agree that a lot of body scrubs on the market are hugely overpriced for something that you’re eventually going to wash off your body! Here’s a little beauty secret…make your own! If you take a look at the ingredients list on many body scrubs on the shelves, you will find that coconut oil is a vital component. So why not make your own? Many of the ingredients can be found in your kitchen. Mix some melted coconut oil with brown sugar and a few drops of essential oil for a beautifully fragrant scrub. If your skin is in need of toning and invigorating then mix some melted coconut oil with ground coffee granules and high quality coco powder for a chocolaty mix that will certainly wake you up in the morning!

8. Shave your legs – We’ve all been there. You’re in the shower, preparing to get those legs ready for that glamorous night out and low and behold – there’s no more foam coming out of that bottle. What do you do? Grab some coconut oil! The heat from your skin will automatically melt the oil so that you can distribute it all over your skin. Not only will the oil protect you from any shaving nicks, but its skin soothing properties will calm down irritated skin.

9. Kissable lips – Coconut oil is the ideal remedy for chapped lips, especially when it’s in its solid state. Store some in a mini container and smooth over lips throughout the day.

10. Oil pulling for whiter teeth – Oil pulling has been around for years, but only recently became popular with the influence of celebrities such as Kylie Jenner. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth for a few minutes for a whiter smile.

Buy your jar of Biona Organic Coconut Oil from here – www.Amazon.co.uk

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