Tag Archives: 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




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

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




Does skin really breathe?



Breathing occurs when air moves  in and out of our lungs. It is one of the few completely involuntary actions of the human body – we don’t “do” breathing, it just does itself!

Breathing delivers oxygen to different parts of our body, gets rid of excess carbon dioxide  and  helps move blood around the body. It’s an amazing part of our human physiology and we would die without being able to breathe.

But you have probably heard claims from skincare products saying that they help the skin to breathe. But the truth is that the skin does not breathe!

Skin is pretty amazing. It is the body’s largest organ, comprises about 15% of our body weight and it holds all our internal organs together. However it doesn’t play an active role in helping us breathe. The skin does absorb some oxygen under the right circumstances but that isn’t helping it “breathe”

The only mammal which actually breathes through its skin is the the tiny Marsupail  mouse Julia Donnart, which is too weak to inflate its lungs when it is first born, so it breathes through its skin instead until it leaves its mother’s pouch. Humans don’t breathe troughtheir skin.

When a product says it “helps your skin breathe” what it actually means is that it won’t clog your pores.  I suppose the former sounds better in adverts though!

When a product or ingredient is known to block pores, it is also called “comedogenic”. A comedo is a blocked hair follicle in the skin – a spot or a pimple. So when you apply a skincare product and you let your skin “breathe” you are actually  using ingredients that don’t cause spots!

See our Blog next month “Pouring Oil on Troubled Skin” for more about comedogenic oils

Take care

Cecilia and Claire xx

The Benefits of Natural Oils on Dry Skin

shutterstock_119013610Most of us will experience dry skin at some stage in our lives, especially during the harsh winter months when wind, cold and central heating all take their toll.

The main cause of dry skin is the gaps which open up between the skin cells when they are not sufficiently plumped up with water. Moisture is then lost from the deeper layers of the skin, allowing bacteria or irritants to pass through more easily.  If your skin is particularly dry it might crack or peel and then become inflamed or irritated. This is more likely to occur on the hands and feet, which we tend not to moisturize as frequently. Your skin might become slightly rough and itchy.

Inflamed or cracked may be the first sign of dermatitis.

Adequately moisturising your skin on a regular basis is the first step to managing dry skin. Using products which contain natural plant oils is a great way to increase the moisture levels in your skin

Oils are emollients, which mean they soften or soothe the skin, helping it to keep  skin moist and flexible. Oils help produce a layer over the skin’s surface which traps water beneath it.

Oils can also help soothe the inflammation and irritation normally associated with dry skin. They create a protective layer which helps to reduce the penetration of irritants, allergens and bacteria, and so helping to prevent the development of dermatitis.

Natural oils also make the skin look more hydrated and less wrinkled. Because they are plant based they contain beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, phytosterols and carotenoids ( we’ll be explaining more about these compounds in a future blog, so keep reading).These compounds are metabolised by the skin and provide antioxidant properties which can help reduce those signs of aging.

So which natural oils should you be looking out for? At Mary Elizabeth we have a few favourites which we include in our products

Oils that are denser and have a high viscosity which typically penetrate a bit slower into the top layers of the skin such as Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima) and  Meadowfoam Oil (Limnanthes Alba)  .We use these in lovely oils in all our products

 Oils that offer natural anti-inflammatory properties , for example Jojoba Oil (Buxus Chinensis) and Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis Sativa). Hemp oil is also great for nails which is another reason its in our multi award winning Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm

Oils that have been infused with anti-inflammatory herbs oils (generally called ‘macerated’ oils) such as  Calendula Oil (Calendula Officinalis) and Chamomile Oil  (Anthemis Noblis) both of which we’ve included in our Juniper and Jojoba Hand Cream

All of these oils can be used as facial oils. Use a few drops and massage them into your delicate facial skin after your normal evening cleansing and moisturising routine. You may want to try different oil blends until you find one that works best for your skin.

Oils really are natures defence against dry skin

Take care

Cecilia and Claire x


Some things you may want to know (2) “Fragrance”


At Mary Elizabeth we really encourage you to read, and understand, the ingredients label on your skin care products.

At the end of a list of ingredients on your skincare label you may read the, seemingly natural phrase “fragrance” . While this may sound harmless enough, the word “fragrance” can represent hundreds of chemicals, many of which can cause allergies, asthma attacks, headaches and more.

Plus, virtually all synthetic fragrances are stabilized with phthalates, a group of chemicals which have, in some studies, been linked to reproductive problems and birth defects in animal studies [Source: EPA].

Added fragrances in your skincare products may be irritating and actually strip your skin of its natural oils. It’s best to avoid anything overly perfume-y or scented, unless the products are completely natural and only use  essential oils or fruit and plant extracts.  This is what we do here at Mary Elizabeth.  No chemical fragrances – just natural smells

Take care of yourself , and your skin

Cecilia and Claire x

Some things you may want to know (1)

shutterstock_156482051You’ve likely heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” And the same theory holds true for your skin: What you apply to your skin is absorbed directly into your body. if you’ve ever turned over the packaging of your favourite skincare product  you may have noticed a long list of ingredients you didn’t recognise. ( Actually, you may have thrown away the list of ingredients, along with the fancy box your product came in  – but don’t lets get started on that point!!)

Considering that the skin is your body’s largest organ, it’s crucial to know what you’re putting into your system.  Our next few blogs will be looking at some ingredients, commonly found in skin care products, which you may be well to avoid

Sulphates , parabens, t”Fragrancehe cosmetic industry uses all kinds of chemicals in its products—some are beneficial but others could be harmful. And many of them are not doing anything for your appearance and may even be making matters worse.

Read on to get more information on some of the ingredients you may want to think carefully about before putting them on your skin.  The first is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or SLS

When you see labels that say “sulphate free,”  you may wonder why. Sulphate compounds (commonly called sulphates) are found in many personal care products such as shampoo, toothpaste, shaving foam, body washes and facial cleansers. In cleansers, they function as surfactants: water- and oil-soluble compounds that, when combined with water, foam and emulsify greasy substances. They’re high foaming, which means that you don’t have to use very much

There are hundreds of varieties of sulphates, but sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) are the ones most commonly used in personal care products.

Sulphates are chemical compounds act as surfacants, which means they lower the surface tension of a liquid, breaking up the hydrogen bonding and enhancing the spread of water over surfaces. They also act as foaming agents and emulsifiers, helping oil and water based products to mix.

The problem with sodium lauryl sulphate is that it often strips the skin (and scalp, in the case of shampoo) of natural oils that our skin actually needs for protection. It can be very irritating, especially if a person is allergic to it and even modest amounts in products may cause allergic. reactions. It can irritates the eyes and induces nausea if swallowed. What’s more, because it removes the skin’s natural, protective oil, the body ends up producing more oil (the very thing you’re trying to get rid of) to compensate.

Here at Mary Elizabeth we don’t use SLS or SLES in all our products because we want them to avoid irritating your precious skin

Next time we will look at what is meant exactly when a product says it includes “Fragrance” “Perfume” or “Parfum”

Take care of yourself, and your skin!

Cecilia ad Claire x