Tag Archives: Natural Skincare

Essential Oils in Skincare

shutterstock_136205948At Mary Elizabeth we take great care in choosing all the ingredients we use in our products.  We always use vitamin rich plant oils and organic essential oils, all chosen for the specific purpose of the product

But why do we include essential oils in our blends? Well, throughout history, essential oils have been used to clear complexions, reduce wrinkles and to leave the skin beautiful and healthy. The properties in the oils haven’t changed over the years, and fortunately many of the oils are readily available, although some do come a significant price!

There are many beautiful oils with amazing skincare properties.  Over the coming months we will be looking at these essential oils, and at many plant oils, in some details in our blog feature “Oil of the Month”.  Tody I just wanted to briefly introduce you to a few of our favourites

1 Lavender Essential Oil

We just love Lavender and think it is one of the very  best  essential oil for great skin.  It is  versatile and safe, and so is suitable for most skin types.  It tones and revitalizes and can help with all sorts of  skin problems including acne, oily skin, dry skin and sunburns.

2 Geranium Essential Oil

This lovely essential oil has a beautiful floral scent, making it popular in natural beauty products. Not only does it smell great, but it’s also wonderful for oily skin, acne, cellulite and dull skin.

3 Rose Essential Oil

Rose Oil is one of the most expensive essential oils.  However due to it’s wonderful skincare benefits and amazing fragrance we just had to blend it with other great oils in our Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser.  Rose essential oil is one of the very best oils for  ageing skin and is also really beneficial for several skin conditions such as eczema and very dry skin.

3 Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil can be effective for conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, very dry skin, inflamed skin and allergic reactions.  It is a key ingredient in our Juniper and Jojoba Hand Cream and gives the products its lovely woody/ herbal aroma which so many of you just love

4 Rosemary Essential Oil

Not only can this essential oil help promote better skin, it may  also ease congestion and is great to use in cleansers

5 Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil is a real powerhouse of an oil.  Antibacterial, antifungal , soothing and nurturing . Our award winning Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm makes the most of its skincare properties

As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first .    Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

Do look out for further information on these, and lots of other lovely oils, in future Blogs

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x




Oil Cleansing method – How and Why


It seems that everywhere you look there is  advertising for oil-free skincare and cosmetic products   Whilst In some cases, this is for the best, and you should be careful in choosing which oils to put on the skin, using certain oils in skincare actually promotes clear, healthy skin.

Adding oil to skin that is already burdened with oil, makeup, and grime seems counter-intuitive.  However our skin actually needs oil to be healthy. Oil conditions skin, and, when your pores aren’t blocked, oil flows  out of them, cleansing the pores and lubricating the skin in the process. Unfortunately many skincare products  strip our skin of its protective coating of oil

We all know that oil and water don’t mix (try smoothing oil over your hand and sprinkling a few drops of water over it!) The water will roll off your hand and away, without being absorbed into your skin. Water is however is a key ingredient used to help cleanse the skin, and, although combining water with a lathering cleanser does clean the skin, it may also strips it of moisture further drying up clogged pores

While oil and water may be enemies, oil loves oil. When they meet two oil molecules will grasp each other in a tight embrace—they will bond to each other. The daily grime uses the heat of your body to blend with the natural oils produced by your skin, which then soaks into your pores and is difficult to completely remove with soap-and-water cleansers.

But introduce oil into the picture, and, amazingly, each newly introduced oil molecule will bond to what is already on your skin and help pull it out of your pores and away from your face, with the help of a clean, damp towel.

Using the right oils you have ideal cleansers. They condition the skin, making it feel more supple, and soften the hardened debris found in pores i.e. blackheads which are accumulations of oil and dirt that have darkened over time due to oxidization. Supple skin is less prone to dehydration and, in turn, less likely to develop fine lines.  Well-cleaned pores appear smaller and are less likely to become clogged or infected, which may lead to whiteheads and spots.

So,  this is how to use the oil cleansing method (OCM):

1. Select your oil or oil blend. Jojoba oil is a great oil to use in cleansing as it is most similar to the oil naturally produced by our skin and will not clog pores. Almond, Apricot or Grapeseed could be combined with Jojoba or with a little Avocado or Olive Oil.  The blend will depend on your skin but you could try   65% Jojoba oil for oily skin,  75% jojoba oil for combination and 85% jojoba for very dry skin with and 5% avocado oil, and 10% grapeseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil

Many different oils can be used. Oils that are unlikely to clog pores and cause breakouts (non-comedogenic oils) are best used for oily or acne-prone skin. Oils that are heavier are more nourishing and better-suited for dehydrated or dry skin types. (See our earlier blog “Pouring Oil onTroubled Skin for comodegency levels of some popular oils)

2 Combine oils in a clean glass bottle. Shake well before each usage as the different weights of the oils will cause separation.  This bottle can be stored in cool area away from bright light for about  6 weeks.

3. Cleanse. Often, it is enough to use the OCM once a week, but two or three times a week can produce superior results for oily, clogged, skin or for those who wear makeup daily

For skin with makeup:

  • Begin with dry skin.
  • Massage a few drops of OCM blend all over your face using clean fingertips and      moderate pressure. Be sure to massage over eyes as well—oils are excellent      for removing eye makeup.
  • Massage OCM blend into the skin ( we will blog soon on face massage techniques)  and then wash hands and let sit for about 30 seconds on skin. This will allow the oil to more fully break down makeup and grime.
  • Rinse 1: Use a clean washcloth dampened with warm water and gently wipe away oil and      makeup in a downward motion (to avoid pushing debris into your pores). Onceshould be enough.
  • Massage a few more drops of OCM blend all over face using clean fingertips and firm      pressure, focusing on heavily-clogged areas of face, such as the nose,      chin, and forehead.
  • Rinse 2: Be sure that your washcloth has been well-rinsed (or, use a clean washcloth      if you prefer), and soak it under warm-to-hot water. Gently sweep away oil      and grime using a downward motion, rinsing your washcloth as you go.      Usually two sweeps of each area is sufficient to remove all traces of oil,      makeup, bacteria, and oil.
  • Pat dry with      a clean towel.

For skin without makeup just one OCM blend application should do, using the technique for Rinse 2 above.

Your skin should then be left feeling soft, supple, and very clean.  Well worth the effort!

Hope you enjoy using this technique.  Obviously every skin is different so it may not work for you, or it may take a couple of goes before you see the benefits.  Do let us know your thoughts.

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x

Oil of the Month – Frankincense Essential Oil



As Christmas approaches I thought you would like to know a little more about Frankincense Oil – the gift a King brought to the manger.

Also known as Olibanum, Frankincense has a delicious woody, spicy aroma The name Frankincense comes from the French word ‘Franc’ meaning ‘luxuriant’ The oil was used by the ancient Egyptians as an offering to the gods and as part of a rejuvenating face mask.

They were very clever those Egyptians because they realised that Frankincense Oil can help with general skin tone and condition while reducing oily skin and  rejuvenating more mature skin. The oil is inherently acts as a balancer, reducing excess dryness or oilyness, returning the skin condition back to normal. Its regeneration properties may help to diminish spots and scars, clear up eruptions and blemishes and is beneficial for  stretch marks.

A truly wonderful oil for skincare, which is why our first moisturiser is Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser

In addition to its skincare benefits Frankincense Oil is also a popular choice of oil by aromatherapists. It can assist in promoting emotional strength due to its positive, relaxing and calming effect on the mind and body. Frankincense is also very good for easing muscular pains

So by adding Frankincense Oil to your skincare regime you truly are giving yourself a gift. And it’s not just for Christmas!!


Trying New Products? When, How and Why?



Most of us are a pretty loyal lot.  Once we find a product we love then we tend to stick with it.  But this may mean missing out on some new products, which are perhaps also more effective, and cheaper.

Over the next few blogs we will be looking in some more detail at product ingredients, particularly those to avoid.  Reading the labels of your current products might just make you realise that the answer to the question When? is NOW!

With any new skincare or body care product it’s important that you give it a fair trial period before deciding it may not be right for you.  Obviously any irritation or sensitivity to an ingredient should mean stopping instantly.  Hopefully the product will clearly show the ingredients on the label ( not on the fancy box which you have already thrown away!) so you can try to decide what may have caused the reaction

But on the basis that all is well, then it’s necessary to give the product time to prove its effectiveness.  The time in which you will see any “result” from a new product varies from product to product.  Allow at least one month, as this is the average time it takes for skin cells to turnover.  This should give the product enough time to show any difference in your complexion

With some products however you should see  visible results much sooner.  Changing from a harsh exfoliator which has been stripping your skin of oil, and moving to a more gentle one with non-abrasive grains and moisturising properties ( such as our Camellia and Geranium Gentle Face Scrub  http://www.maryelizabethbodycare.com/skincare-range/gentle-face-scrub-camellia-geranium)  will result instantly in reducing irritation and post cleansing redness.

Its worth remembering that sometimes change can happen so gradually it can be hard to notice.  Hopefully though you will get comments on how much fresher, clearer or brighter your skin is looking from a lovely friend!


Autumn Skincare




As the seasons change and the weather becomes cooler and windier, we need to consider what impact this is having on our skin.  To keep your skin in its best condition its important to follow the following steps

  1. Protect  it as much as possible from extreme temperature changes by using  moisturisers which prevent moisture loss by creating a barrier on your skin.  These will also offer some      protection from eternal factors like cold and wind

2. Drink plenty of water.  You can become dehydrated due to cold and wind just as easily as you can by heat.  Plus central heating is very dehydrating  for the skin and the body.

  1. Use  a humidifier, or just place bowls of water near to radiators, to help      counteract the drying factor that central heating can have on your home      environment, and your skin

4. Protect  your lips by using a balm which contains natural waxes, which will create a barrier against the cold and help prevent chapped dry lips.  Remember that licking your lips doesn’t      help – it can actually make them drier . Our multi award winning Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm http://www.maryelizabethbodycare.com/shop/nurture-range/spearmint-tea-tree-nurture-moisturising-balm is  packed with vitamin rich plant oils and olive wax, ideal for soothing, moisturising and protecting your lips, and any other dry patches of skin

  1. Avoid cleansers which contain alcohol, as they will dry your skin and can strip it of its natural protective oils

Wrap up warm as the weather coos, and be sure to take care of yourself and your precious skin

Cecilia & Claire  x


Oil of the Month – Avocado Oil

shutterstock_68416087Avocado oil is a real skin care treasure. It contains a high amount of proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats, all of which are beneficial skin agents. Avocado oil is also high in a substance called sterolin, which studies have shown to may help facilitate the softening of the skin and to reduce the incidence of age spots.

In addition this amazing oil is rich in antioxidants, making it beneficial for sun-damaged skin. Antioxidants like vitamins A, D and E in Avocado assist in keeping the skin to be supple. Good news for all skin types, and particularly ageing skin! Add to the mix Lecithin and Potassium which are highly beneficial for the skin, as well as the hair, and you see why Avocado Oil is such a powerhouse, and why we have included it in our Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm and our Camellia and Geranium Gentle Face Scrub

Avocado Oil can be beneficial for  a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. It has even been reported that Avocado Oil may assist in increasing collagen production. When applied, Avocado Oil is believed to increase the production of collagen, which helps keep the skin plump and decreases the effects of aging.

Home Recipe Tip : For a simple home application, instead of throwing away the Avocado peel from your salad, save it for your facials. Gently wipe it over your skin in upward massaging motions until you have covered your whole face. For best results, leave the oil on your skin overnight, and rinse off in the morning.

Why not give it a try!

Take care

Cecilia  & Claire x

Note – As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first .   Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin






Mineral Oils v Plant Oils



There is a currently a lot written in skincare articles about mineral oils and how paraffin oil / Paraffinum Liquidum will form an occlusive layer on your skin and stop it “breathing” (See our May blog for more on whether skin actually breathes) You may also have read that mineral oil has large molecules that don’t penetrate the skin and sit on the skin surface, trapping sweat and bacteria beneath it.

A 2011 study compared mineral oil with jojoba oil, almond oil, avocado oil and soybean oil. The study found that none of the oils penetrated the skin further than the top 2-3 layers of corneocytes. Corneocytes are the upper layers of cells in the upper layer (stratum corneum) of the upper layer (epidermis) of the skin. So we are talking about an extremely thin layer and area of penetration! Only almond oil and soybean oil made it to the third layer, the other oils either sat on the skin’s surface or made it to the first two layers of cells.

In other words, plant oils act in the same way as mineral oil – forming a layer on top of the skin. The main difference mentioned by the authors of the study is that plant oils are similar in composition to skin lipids so they are taken up by the skin through enzymatic decomposition while mineral oil is not metabolised. Furthermore, many plant oils contain components such as triglycerides, flavonoids, phytosterols and tocopherols which provide additional benefits for your skin whereas mineral oil is very simple molecule made of only two atoms – carbon and hydrogen.

Oils applied to your skin trap help your skin to retain water and make your skin feel temporarily softer and smoother. They provide moisture to the top layers of the skin. There is no difference in this process regardless of whether you use mineral oil or plant oil.  However the additional benefits of natural plant oils over mineral oils do mean that plant oils are a much better choice when it comes to looking after your skin.

Take care

Cecilia and Claire

Oil of the Month – Calendula


Calendula oil is derived from the beautiful marigold flowers that we all know and which are found in many of our gardens.  What isn’t as widely known are the amazing skincare benefits of the plant oil derived from the flowers.

The distilled oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial agent, and antiseptic. One of the complex characteristics of calendula oil responsible for these actions is a compound called triterpenoid. For this reason including Calendula Oil in your skincare regime may help with conditions such as  dermatitis, eczema and  irritated dry skin .  This is one reason why Calendula is one of the base oils we use in our Juniper and Jojoba hand Cream ( RRP £9.50). As the oil is anti-bacterial it’s especially beneficial if applied after gardening, housework or other manual tasks.

The magic in the marigold has been used as far back as ancient times. The high content of antioxidants found in Calendula Oil contributes to the cell regeneration aspect of the oil. Some of these antioxidants are mucilage, carotenoids, saponin, and quercetin. Other benefits are its great moisturising properties, so it’s really nurturing and soothing (again why it’s in our Hand Cream)

Many of the plants and flowers we see on a regular basis have amazing skincare properties.  We will be looking at more over the coming months.  Do get in touch if there is a particular oil you’d like to know more about

Please Note – As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first .  Sometimes the blend of different oils in a product can result in a skin reaction.  Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

Take care

Cecilia and Claire xx




Pouring Oil on Troubled Skin?

shutterstock_123808480The use of oils in skin care, especially in those products for acne-prone, oily, or combination skin, often causes concern to users.  It seems counter intuitive that putting oil on oily skin will  help alleviate the problem.  However, it is actually true!

Many oils are fantastic for skincare,  even on acne-prone skin, and the right types of oils can even help reduce clogged pores and acne (However many can also cause clogged pores and inflame acne.

The first thing to consider is how comedogenic the oil is. Comedogenic simply means likely to cause comedones. Non-comedogenic, therefore, means unlikely to cause comedones!

A comedone is a plug of debris (made up of bacteria, oil, dead skin cells, and skin care ingredients)  filling a skin pore. Comedones commonly appear as blackheads and sometimes as whiteheads. Comedones trap the oil that normally flows out of pores and a pimple will often develop around this trapped oil

The product type is important, so a cleanser is less likely to clog pores as it is removed from the skin, while a moisturiser may be more likely. Even toners can cause clogged pores if they contain comedogenic ingredients . ( Look out for our blog on the fantastic Oil Cleanse Method)!

Look at the quantity of an oil in the product, because this influences how comedogenic a product is.   By law product ingredients must be  listed on skincare products in order of quantity, with the largest component appearing first.  A product may only contain a tiny percentage of an ingredient listed at the end!

Consider the type of oil in a product, and your skin type. Dry skin often has small pores, not letting much oil out or much debris in.  Oily skin often has larger pores to release a larger amount of oil on the skin, potentially  collecting debris, resulting in comedones.

The following oils have low comedogenecy  A level of 5 would means that an oil is likely to be highly comedogenic.  At Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our products contain significant quantities of at least one, if not more, of these amazing oils.



Almond   oil 2
Apricot   oil 2
Avocado   oil 2
Calendula   oil 1
Coconut   oil 3
Emu   oil 1
Grapeseed   oil 1
Hazelnut   oil 2
Jojoba   oil 1
Olive   oil 2
Pomegranate   oil 1
Rosehip   oil 1
Safflower   Oil (high linoleic acid variety only*) 0
Sesame 2
Sunflower 2

* Safflower oil comes in two varieties: The high linoleic acid variety and the high oleic  variety. The high oleic acid variety is comedogenic and should only be used for cooking

We will blogging about different oils in our regular Oil of the Month feature.  Watch out too for our blog on the Oil Cleansing Method

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x




Oil of the Month – Meadowfoam Oil

shutterstock_20792371 - Copy (4)

Meadowfoam Oil is a fairly new oil in skincare in the UK.  It’s the one we are asked most about when people read it on our ingredients list.  We use it because we believe it’s pretty special and has great skincare properties!

The oil is pressed from the seeds of Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba), a plant which received its name because,while in bloom, it resembles the white foam blowing on the ocean. Meadowfoam is native to northern California, southern Oregon, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia.

Chemically, Meadowfoam oil contains over 98% long-chain fatty acids, and also has higher quality triglyceride levels when compared to other vegetable oils. In addition, it has three long chain fatty acids that were previously unknown before its discovery. This all enhances its moisturising and rejuvenating capabilities, and is why it’s a key ingredient in our Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser. It also means that it’s a very stable oil so can help ensure the shelf life of your product.

When applied to the skin, Meadowfoam Oil forms a moisture barrier and will assist the skin with preventing moisture loss. When added to lotions and lip balms, it will remoisturise dry or cracked lips and skin, and helps make balms last longer. We use it as one of our plant oils in our award winning Spearmint & Tea Tree Nurture Balm for these very reasons

In summary, Meadowfoam oil has these beneficial characteristics:

  • Moisturises the skin
  • Rejuvenates and adds shine to hair
  • Non-greasy feeling, soaks into the skin easily
  • Helps reduce wrinkles and signs of ageing
  • Blends well with other carrier oils
  • Very stable,  even under heat and air exposure
  • Binder, helps products retain their scent longe

In addition to  its uses, Meadowfoam oil is also beneficial for our environment! It was first developed in the 1970’s, and was introduced as an alternative to sperm whale oil in order to protect the species. The Meadowfoam plants themselves are a renewable crop, and are usually grown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers. This eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings, and also provides farmers with additional income. Meadowfoam also requires less fertilizer and pesticides than most crops, assisting farmers and the environment.

So really, what’s not to love!

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x