17 beauty products that have been around for more than 100 years!

Which brand would you trust more? One that’s been around for just a few years? Or one that’s been around for a few centuries? Of course, the lure of the new, the shiny, the technologically state of art is massive but remember that brands that have stood the time have done so for a reason: They are already so perfect that nobody felt the need to tinker with their formula at all. And they still continue to sell… often, outpacing their younger rivals by acres of competence, efficacy and well proven results.

These then, right here, are the world’s oldest beauty products. And don’t be fooled by appearances… they may have donned new robes on the outside but inside are the same classic formulas that have been around for a 100 years or more!

Each one is a cult formula that everyone should try at least once.

Santa Maria Novella Acqua della Regina, 1533

Literally the world’s oldest continuously existing pharmacy, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is now well into its eighth century.

Yes, eighth century.

Like. 800. Years.

The Florentine institution was constituted by Dominican friars in the early 1200s to make medications, balms and pomades from herbs grown in the monastery’s gardens. As its reputation spread, Santa Maria Novella caught the attention of Catherine de’ Medici. Acqua della Regina, the signature scent created in 1533 for her marriage to Henry II, the future king of France, remains one of the best selling products for the pharmacy till date.

santa-mariaOther ancient notables that go back centuries include Acqua di Rose (rosewater), Alkermes liqueur and Elisir di China (post-dinner digestif). Most of the flowers and herbs are still sourced from the monastic garden. And you can still browse the shelves of the old pharmacy in Florence – part of which is one of the most gorgeous beauty boutiques in the world.

Farina Eau de Cologne, 1709

Farina didn’t just invent a single fragrance, it invented an entire category that continues to rule the shelves and our hearts till today. It was the Italian born and bred Giovanni Maria Farina who first created Eau de Cologne, as an attempt to recapture the sensory soul of his hometown while living in Germany. His exact words, in a letter to his brother: “I have found a fragrance that reminds me of an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain.”

The fragrance was composed with the essential oils of lemon, bergamot, tangerine, orange, neroli and grapefruit married with dashes of tobacco, petit grain, lavender, jasmine, thyme and rosemary. It immediately caught the fancy of a populace that was desperately trying to subdue the not-so-pleasant aroma of unwashed bodies and wanted something crisp and fresh, rather than the heavy, musky fragrances of the time. Farina named the composition after Cologne, the city of his residence, and was soon supplying to every royal family across the world. And it was worth a pretty penny: one vial cost the equivalent of half the year’s wage of a civil servant!

Yardley London Lavender Soap, 1770

Yardley may be innocuous today but it’s the oldest registered beauty brand in the world. In fact, records show that even though the company was officially founded in 1770, its story actually began in the 1600s, when King Charles I granted a young man the concession to supply all the soap for the City of London.

Sadly, the particulars were lost in the Great Fire of 1666. Only one detail remained: the key ingredient in Yardley London’s soaps was lavender, known for its soothing properties. Till today, there is a special species of lavender – Lavandula augustifolia – that is exclusively grown for Yardley London in the South of England. No wonder the brand continues to enjoy royal patronage, with Kate Middleton being the latest purveyor.

Bonus fact: In 1971, Yardley sponsored the British Racing Motors team in the Formula 1 Grand Prix. In 1972 the company moved on to McLaren, which it sponsored till 1974.

Pears Soap, 1807

Founded by Andrew Pears in 1789 as a barber’s studio in SoHo, London, Pears was originally reserved for a very exclusive set of peers and nobles. In 1807 (that’s almost 210 years back, people!) came the world’s first transparent soap bar, which was initially billed as an ‘English Complexion Soap’, due to its ultra-gentle formula comprising of glycerin and other natural products. It took three months to make (still does!) and won the prize for soap at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

pears-soap-historyThayers Original Witch Hazel, 1847

Thayers has been a household name ever since Dr. Henry Thayer created his proprietary witch hazel extract. What set it apart from a slew of businesses that were capitalising on the multifarious benefits of this shrub was that Thayer’s extract was made from non-distilled witch hazel, thereby maintaining the highest quality of therapeutic tannins. Till today, more than 150 years later, few facial toners can compete with the skin boosting properties of this non-alcoholic astringent.

thayers-historyBourjois Little Round Pot Blush, 1863

In 1863, Parisian actor Joseph-Albert Ponsin created the world’s first powder blush based on a complex recipe: carefully combine a measured amount of of powder, water and mother-of-pearl, mix delicately, pour into rounded moulds and put in the oven to bake. Now, 150 years later, the little round pot of Bourjois blusher has gone beyond stage makeup to become one of the brand’s bestselling lines. And for collectors who just can’t resist those original iconic Little Round Pots, Bourjois regularly launches limited edition vintage series.

bourjois-historyPenhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet, 1872

As a brand that has not one but four of its original blends on the shelves more than a century later, it’s not a surprise that Penhaligon’s has received a number of royal warrants over the years. The perfumery was founded by William Henry Penhaligon, a Cornish barber who moved to London and set up shop on Jermyn Street in the late 1860s. His first fragrance was Hammam Bouquet, inspired by the heady aromas emanating from the Turkish bath next door.

Hammam Bouquet remains a customer favourite till date, along with Blenheim Bouquet (crafted in 1902 as a bespoke fragrance for the Duke of Malborough), English Fern and Douro (both 1911). Happily for lovers of history, even William Penhaligon’s bottle design remains largely unchanged, with the flash of ribbon taking us back down memory lane to the England of Queen Victoria.

penhaligons-historyVaseline, 1872

Would you believe that oil wells can be fashionable? In the hands of Robert Chesebrough, that’s a resounding yes. Cheseborough founded Vaseline when he was prospecting for oil at Titusville, Pennsylvania. The observation that oil rig workers used “rod wax” – the drill residue – to heal cuts and minor burns caught the chemist’s imagination. He then spent the better part of a decade refining the rod wax to the clear, white petroleum jelly that became Vaseline. The name came from a combination of the German wasser (water) and Greek oleon (oil).

However, drugstore owners were unimpressed and so Cheseborough took to the road, advertising the wares himself. The modus operandi? He would inflict wounds on his own body and spread Vaseline on the affected areas to show its efficacy (don’t try this at home!).

Soon, Vaseline was selling at the rate of a jar a minute and Queen Victoria knighted Chesebrough in 1883, telling the inventor that she used it every single day!

vaseline-historyBonus fact: Cheseborough ate a spoonful of Vaseline every day. Though I seriously wouldn’t recommend this, the inventor lived to be 96 years old.

Another bonus fact: In 1886, Manufacture and Builder reported: “French bakers are making large use of vaseline in cake and other pastry. Its advantage over lard or butter lies in the fact that, however stale the pastry may be, it will not become rancid.”

Listerine, 1879

Developed by Missouri chemist Joseph Lawrence as a surgical antiseptic, Listerine was named after Baron Joseph Lister, a pioneer of antiseptic surgery. Over the years, this combination of menthol, thymol (thyme), eucalyptol (eucalyptus) and methyl salicylate (wintergreen) has been used for purposes ranging from gonorrhoea and bathing surgical wounds to treating sore throats, soothing insect bites and cleaning the floor.

However, Listerine truly hit its stride in 1895, when it caught the attention of dentists. In fact, the word ‘halitosis’ (Latin for ‘bad breath’) was coined by Listerine staff and this became the first over the counter mouthwash to be sold without a prescription. At one point, they were even manufacturing Listerine cigarettes!

Today, the 138-year-old liquid remains the oldest product in the Johnson & Johnson portfolio.

listerine-historyIvory Soap, 1879

When chemist James Gamble, of Procter & Gamble, whipped extra air into a batch of Ivory soap bars, he not only created the world’s first floating soap (advantage: it wouldn’t get lost while bathing!) but also one that was 99.44% pure. Going strong for 138 years now, Ivory soap also has another well documented use: the soap flakes have been a staple to create “snow” for Christmas trees since the 1920s.

Bonus fact: The name ‘Ivory’ was adopted by Harley Procter after he heard the 45th Psalm at a Bible reading.

WTF fact: Researchers asked children to do a soap taste test in 1994 and Ivory soap tasted the least disgusting. Ummm… !!??

ivory-soap-historySmith’s Rosebud Salve, 1892

Invented by Dr. GF Smith as an all-purpose salve to help with issues such as chapped lips, razor burn, haemorrhoids and diaper rash, Smith’s Rosebud Salve is still one of the most multipurpose products out there. I personally use it for everything from dry skin to makeup (every single makeup artist backstage will tell you it makes for the best highlighter!).

And while the salve now comes in more efficient tubes as well, nothing can drag me away from the cool, vintage, pharmacy-type tins. Little wonder that 3,500 tins of Smith’s Rosebud Salve continue to be sold somewhere in the world every day!

Shiseido Eudermine, 1897

Established in 1872 by Arinobu Fukuhar in Ginza, Tokyo, Shiseido was not only Japan’s first “western style” pharmacy, it was also the one that launched ice cream in the country. The Shiseido Ice Cream Parlour branched off in 1928 and is still in business today.

The brand’s first beauty product – a softening lotion called Eudermine – was launched in 1897. This lotion can still be found on the Shiseido counters 120 years later and in the original packaging style if you look hard enough.

Another cult product – the Shiseido Rainbow Face Powder – is being launched as a limited edition just in time for its centenary. This was one of the world’s first color correcting and mood lighting face powders!

eudermine-shiseido-historyPond’s Cold Cream, 1907

Pond’s Cold Cream goes back to 1907 but as if that’s not old enough, it’s origins date back even further – to 1846, when pharmacist Theron T. Pond extracted a healing tea from witch hazel that was perfect for healing small cuts, rashes, minor burns and other skin ailments. This ‘Pond’s Extract’ became the origin for what we, our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and great, great grandmothers came to know as Ponds Cold Cream, used for everything from moisturising to removing makeup.

Why “cold”? Because this was the world’s first moisturiser that did not require refrigeration.

ponds-cold-cream-historyLabello Lip Salve, 1909

The precursor to Nivea Lip Care, Labello introduced the slider mechanism to the world of lip balms in 1911. Till then, lip care products were sold as a wedge wrapped up in a bit of paper, to be applied by hands. Later, in 1963, the brand evolved this into today’s twist mechanism. The brand is owned by German Beiserdorf and its name is a combination of labium (lips) and bellus (beautiful).

Nivea Crème, 1911

It all started with a butter churner. The butter churner that German pharmacist Dr. Oscar Troplowitz and dermatologist Prof. Paul Gerson Unna used to combine water and oil with Eucerit (ancient Greek word for ‘beautiful wax’), a new emulsifying agent, to create the world’s first stable water-in-oil skin emulsion. Water-in-oil emulsions are the best way to tackle dry complexions as they moisturise while simultaneously creating a skin barrier.

The word ‘Nivea’ was derived from the Latin nix, nivis, which means ‘snow white’, as an ode to the cream’s pure white colour. And that little blue aluminium pot, which made it’s entry in 1925 (before that Nivea came in a yellow pot), has it’s own ticket to history: It’s distinctive blue is one of the very rare colour marks protected worldwide.

Noxzema, 1914

The ubiquitous cobalt blue jar, which has been a staple of every family home since the last century, was launched in the same year that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, leading to the beginning of the first World War. Invented by Dr. Francis J Townsend in Ocean City, Maryland, this greaseless cold cream, which soothes skin and acts as a mild pain reliever, was originally called Townsend R22 and was prescribed to resort-goers for soothing their sunburn.

Soon, it was being called upon for everything from chapped and irritated skin to remove makeup and deep cleanse, keep wrinkles at bay and treat acne. It has had a near religious following amongst generations of devotees and a famous consumer quip that, “It knocked my eczema”, led to the name Noxzema (“no eczema”). Many women left it on overnight, making it the original sleeping mask.

noxzema-historyAcqua di Parma Colonia, 1916

When Italian aristocrat Carlo Magnani commissioned a crisp, fresh and citrusy fragrance from a small perfumery in Parma, little did he know that his legacy would go on to last more than a century. Today, Acqua di Parma Colonia remains unchanged from the original 100-year-old composition. In fact, it is still made by hand in small Italian factories, its signature yellow packaging paying homage to the colour that’s graced the facades of Parma’s most elegant buildings since the 18th century.

Bonus fact: That logo? It’s the coat of arms of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma (1816-1847), who helped develop the perfume and glass industry of Parma.

Am I missing out anything here?

Why sugar hates your skin (and how to quit it without going crazy!)

If it wasn’t bad enough that sugar wreaks horrors on our health (diabetes, Alzheimer’s, mood swings, candida, hormonal balances, cholesterol… anyone?) research now shows that it’s terrible for our skin as well. An excessive intake of processed sugars can fast track the aging process, leading to dark circles, wrinkles, fine lines and loss of radiance.

Don’t believe me? Read on.

sugar-and-skinFirst, let’s look at the way sugar wrongs our skin

  • Sugar leads to premature ageing: When sugar enters your blood stream, it binds to proteins in a process called glycation. Glycation destroys the flexibility and density of collagen and elastin (skin’s protein-based building blocks), thereby leading to wrinkles and sagging.
  • Sugar breaks down antioxidants: This breakdown in proteins and collagen also weakens the body’s natural antioxidants, leaving it vulnerable to all kinds of environmental damage.
  • Sugar increases dark circles: The process of glycation produces toxic compounds called Advanced Glycation End Products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs) that are directly responsible for dark under-eye circles, yellowing of skin and dullness.
  • Sugar suppresses the Human Growth Hormone (HGH): HGH helps regulate body composition, muscle and bone growth, fat metabolism and even the heart function; low levels make you look and feel older.
  • Sugar leads to chronic inflammation: A diet high in sugars is associated with inflammation, which leads to all sorts of skin and health issues (like loss of skin elasticity, broken capillaries and breakdown of cells). The result? Fast track ageing.
  • Sugar decreases the lifespan of skin cells: The sudden spikes in energy intensify the activities of cells and tissues, making them divide more rapidly and thereby decreasing their lifespan.
  • Sugar causes acne: Finally, sugar can also contribute to acne flare-ups, since they rev up all the body’s functions, including oil production.

How much is too much?

Ideally we should eat no processed sugars at all. Instead, sugar should come from  a wholefood diet such as grains, fruit and natural food. The American Heart Association recommends most women get no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day. That’s about 6 teaspoons (or 100 calories) – a little less than the amount in one can of soda. However, the average American woman eats more than 18 teaspoons of sugar every single day.

And exercise? Sorry to break the news but current medical opinion stresses that unless the exercise is extreme and the food is eaten directly afterwards, it is has little effect on blood sugar.

Fresh vegetables salad with croutons and chickenHorrified about the thought of giving up the sweet stuff? There is good news on this front. Forsaking sugar doesn’t have to be a miserable and tasteless existence. Neither should it give you the shakes, destroy all hopes of comfort food or take away the promise of chocolate. Rather, kicking the sugar habit should kick your mood and energy through the roof. So here are my tips to kick sugar without hating your life!

  • Drink water: Sometimes those sweet cravings are actually a sign of dehydration. So, instead of the sugar-laden beverages, opt for filtered water, coconut water or green tea.
  • Read the ingredient labels: Sugar is hidden in unlikely foods, from salad dressing to deli meats. Do a quick scan of the the ingredients and don’t just look for sugar –  it’s often disguised as glucose, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fruit juice concentrate, agave nectar, fructose, dextrose, caramel or syrup.
  • Switch to low GI foods: Low GI (Glycemic Index) foods like whole grains and nuts, release glucose more slowly and steadily. This avoids the drastic spike and crash normally associated with sugary ingredients. The crash makes you crave even more sugar, thereby creating a vicious cycle.
  • Have a pre-meal: Eat a protein-based snack like hard boiled eggs, or an apple with a dash of almond butter, before hitting a party. This will keep you from making bad choices later in the night.
  • Experiment with spices: Not all spices are hot. Many – like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves – will add natural sweetness to your food. Certain spices, such as cinnamon, will also help to lower the blood sugar.
  • Eat every 4 hours: Fill up on healthy foods at periodic intervals so you are able to maintain stable blood glucose levels and don’t get have sugar-rich cravings. The more you eat sugar, the more you’ll crave sweet stuff.
  • Go easy on the booze: Alcohol is metabolized as pure sugar. Plus it makes you hungry, likely to overeat and prone to making poor choices. So, try to cap it at 2 drinks and drink water between refills.
  • Rid your kitchen of sugar: Throw out or give away any foods in your kitchen that contain added sugar. Out of sight, out of mind!
  • Relax: Because when you’re exhausted or sleep deprived, the body craves sugar-laden carbohydrates.
  • Slow down: For many of us, sugar has become an emotional crutch, a comfort zone, a reward or a way to relax. Instead of falling upon this sweet poison, slow down and decode your cravings. Identifying the real need behind the sugar is the key to kicking your sugar habit for good.
  • Go gourmet: If you simply have to indulge, stick to dark chocolate or truffles over high sugar candies. When baking, use unrefined sweeteners such as natural honey, molasses or maple syrup.

You slipped up… now what?

However, if you are like me and are reduced to tears with the mere thought of a life lived without chocolates and cupcakes, there is still some hope. What we need is moderation in our diet along with products that can neutralize sugar’s damaging effects on the skin. And the beauty industry is fast coming up with solutions.

How much sugar are you consuming on a daily basis?

12 beauty trends that are going to be HUGE in 2017

Who would imagine that 2017 is already here. And thank God for that. Between Brexit, Donald Trump, India’s demonetisation, the bombings across Europe, the acceleration of the refugee crisis and multiple other national and international issues, 2016 is a year we would soon like to forget. Then there was George Michael’s Christmas swan song, Princess Leia finally succumbing to a greater force and her mother Debbie Reynolds following in grief a day later, and other screen and music legends like Zsa Zsa Gabor and Prince bidding us goodbye… 2016 couldn’t get over soon enough.

Which is why, I guess, we are happy to put on our nostalgic glasses and turn back to the 1980s, when life was a lot more rocking. So bring on the side parts, party glitter, lipstick-bright blush, color-pop lips or lids (or both together – whatever, who cares!) and that reborn love for the ’80s rave scene is going nowhere in a hurry. As an informed opinion, I would say it’s the overarching trend that will inform most of 2017. And here’s how to can incorporate it in your own beauty arsenal.

Color shock

Yellow eyebrows, bright orange lips, violet eyelids, even emerald green earlobes… it’s the time to celebrate color in all its hues, views and avatars. The easiest way to wear it is big and bright, popped onto one feature at a time. Subtle just doesn’t cut it any longer.

Daring lips

Speaking about our new found abhorrence for the subtle, lips are the easiest way to make a statement with bold color. For added fashionista points, go ombre or two-tone: An orange-red combo is the easiest to pull off; try a red-fuschia when you crave more drama! Pair with clean, crisp makeup everywhere else for a modern effect.

The smudgy eye

This one’s my personal favourite: A smudgy, messy, the-morning-after-the-night-before eye that doesn’t require the skills of a cartographer. There are no neat lines, only free-hand application with a lived in feel. Think cigarette ash smudged into the countertop (that was the literal inspiration at Christopher Kane). Powdered kohl and creamy kajal work best. For a more amped up effect, top with a bit of MAC Studio Eye Gloss.

Lipstick = blush

Draping is the new contouring: Applying blush from high up on the corners of your cheeks to the side of your eyes. It lifts up the whole face and makes you appear younger and brighter. The key in draping is to use a bright blush, with additional points for a creamy texture, which is where makeup artists have been putting pinkish lipsticks to double duty. So, you don’t need to invest in a whole new cream blush – just swipe a bit of your lipstick across your cheekbones and blend lightly.

Glitter all the way

Glitter, glitter and more glitter… whether you call it the Pat McGrath effect or attribute it to our reborn love for the ’80s, glitter is the most important product in your party beauty arsenal for the coming months. Pat it onto lips and lids, sprinkle on your hair, rub some into your ear lobes… everything works!

Clean skin

With lips and lids this bold, fresh and clean skin is practically de rigeur. And with celebs going bare faced all over town, this look is set to rule 2017. Keep it creamy and dewy, with concealer only on trouble spots, then play up one feature if you are stepping out for an event or formal dinner. That’s. It.

Pick your plait

From super-tight plaits to the hastily braided topknot, this is clearly the overarching hairstyle of 2017. And it plays well with no-heat hair, so bonus points for going this route.

Quick tip: Rub some styling cream between your palms before braiding to add grip and keep the plait going longer.

Blunt hair

Forget the layers… this is the time of the all-one-length blunt cut. It’s a statement within it’s own simplicity. Pair with…

… deep side parts

Ditch the middle parting for a slick side part. It’s more authoritative than pretty and will polish up your look instantly!

… and no-heat hair

Hair dryers, straighteners, curlers, crimpers… our hair has had it with all the torture and pledged to go heat-free in 2017. Simply work in some leave-in conditioners or styling cream and leave your follicles to recover their health this year.

A photo posted by Sam McKnight© (@sammcknight1) on

Focus point: Ears

This year is going to be all about the year, with attention grabbing earrings ruling the roost. How in the world do you make up your ears, you may well ask. If you want to go the extreme designer route, try painting them with silver glitter (Giamba) or coating them in yellow pigment (Proenza Schouler). For a simpler take, sweep and tuck back hair to leave ears exposed, then dress them up with an ear clip or statement earrings.

Chrome nails

Nails are going super-smooth and mirror-like with a special chrome pigment that’s buffed into nails and sealed with a top coat. For an at-home take on the trend, try one of the new nail polishes that recreate the chrome effect without the buffing.

My first book: The Paris Bath & Beauty Book

A deliciously warm, sweet and slightly powdery mist rising from the cobblestones, flower stands spilling with freshly cut lilies, bustling cafés serving smoky teas, cozy boulangeries waking up the mornings with crusty baguettes, the rich wood and crystal interiors of Versailles, the endless eras of history peaking out of the Louvre, women dressed in red lipstick and a splash of No. 5… is there any wonder that I am totally and irrevocably in love with Paris?

And that I would choose the city of love, lovers and eternal seduction as the inspiration for my very first book?

So, presenting to you: The Paris Bath & Beauty Book. My very first book, co-authored with Chrissy Callahan and published by Cider Mill Press. A book that celebrates the beauty secrets of Parisian women, right from the regal Marie Antoinette face mask to a gorgeously aromatic jasmine hair mask and a luscious rose petal lip balm.

These are recipes gleaned from the pages of history, the dark libraries of musty chateaus and the annals of the Parisian oral tradition, where secrets are handed down through the generations till they almost become coded in the nation’s genetic memory.

paris-bath-and-beauty-bookTime then, to light a pretty candle, cuddle under the duvet, sip on some champagne and pick your favourite recipe. And pretty please do drop me a note, however short, to tell me what you think. Because, like all first loves, this book is the one that will always hold my heart within its pages. I am already working on another one but nothing will ever come close to the thrill I felt when holding this little creation in my hands. So, do let me know if you get your hands on one (it’s available on Amazon here and Barnes & Noble here).

Here are three of my personal favourite recipes to give you a little preview.

paris-bath-and-beauty-book-2Lavender and coconut milk hair mask

Both lavender oil and coconut milk are great at replenishing hydration without weighing down your strands. Bonus: they’ll make your hair smell amazing!

What makes it Parisian?

Because it’s lavender! And because French women love soft, naturally glossy hair that doesn’t need to be subjected to styling tools!

What does it do?

The lavender oil and coconut milk are perfect for softening and adding gloss to dry and brittle strands. This recipe makes enough for shoulder-length hair; there should be just enough to coat your strands lightly without dripping. If you have longer hair you may scale up the volume accordingly, maintaining the one-to-one ingredient ratio.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon lavender oil
1 teaspoon fresh (or canned) full-fat coconut milk

Method

1. Combine the lavender oil and coconut milk

2. Massage the mixture into dry hair before you hit the bed; leave the mask in your hair while you sleep

3. Simply wash and condition your hair as normal in the morning… you won’t believe the texture!

French milled soap

French milling creates the smoothest, most luxurious bar of soap in the world. No self-respecting Parisian would go for anything less!

What makes it Parisian?

This is an ancient soap making technique discovered by French soap makers in the 1700s.

What does it do?

Milling extracts excess water from the soap. This not only creates a longer lasting product but also ensures that the ingredients are well blended and that the soap bar’s texture is smoother and more uniform, sans impurities.

Ingredients

3 bars any unscented natural soap
1 cup warm water or coconut milk
Additives (choose from aromatic essential oils, herbs, colloidal oatmeal, flower petals etc.)
Cheese grater
Double boiler or non-reactive pot
Wooden spoon
Soap molds
Wax paper

Method

1. Grate soap bars into a double boiler or non-reactive pot, then add water or coconut milk; mix well

2. Heat on low, stirring often with a wooden spoon. If bubbles form, stop stirring until they cease; if soap starts drying out, add more water or coconut milk

3. When soap flakes melt, remove mixture from the heat and add additives (except essential oils)

4. Stir mixture until it’s cool but pourable, then add oils

5. Spoon mixture into molds, packing well to avoid air bubbles. Once molds are full, tap gently against counter to settle soap and remove air pockets; then set aside to dry

6. Once hard, remove soap from molds and set on wax paper in a cool, dark place to cure thoroughly (this may take a few weeks)

7. Turn soaps once weekly; they’re ready when you can press them with your finger and not leave an impression

8. Wrap soaps in fun paper of your choice to gift or store!

AlmondsAlmond paste for hands

This paste feels slightly coarse and you will need to really massage it into the skin – but it’s all worth the effort for perfectly smooth hands.

What makes it Parisian?

Almonds from the South of France have long been revered the world over for their skin-nourishing properties and robust scent.

What does it do?

Almonds are très rich in calcium and minerals and leave skin soft and smooth.

Ingredients

1 cup bitter almonds
3 cups whole milk
4-5 white bread crumbs
Mortar & pestle (or food processor, set on low)
Heavy bottomed kettle

Method

1. Blanch almonds in warm water and remove skins; Leave to dry out completely

2. Beat the almonds in the mortar or food processor, adding just enough milk to form a paste.

3. Soak bread crumbs in milk and add them to the almonds; beat together until everything is well mixed. Pour this mixture into the kettle

4. Add enough milk to completely cover the mixture and let simmer over low heat until it turns to the texture of a soft paste; keep adding more milk if the mixture starts to look dry

5. Scoop paste into a glass bottle and store in the fridge

Any thoughts on The Paris Bath & Beauty Book?