Easy AHA exfoliating melt and pour soap recipe (variations for all skin types)!

This recipe is super-easy and so good for skin, especially in wintertime when dryness can be an issue. It seems like the combination of leggings, hot air indoors and going out on cold wintry days can cause skin to become flaky.

Add to that, on a cold day, no one wants to spend time moisturizing when they get out of the shower. I know at this time of year I’m so busy and cold, my skincare routine always goes right out of the window!

If you need to know how to get started with soapmaking, go here. Otherwise, read on and find out how to make an AHA exfoliating melt and pour soap. This recipe makes 1 bar of soap that should fit into a rectangular silicone soap mould, so scale it up to suit your needs.

Ingredients:

10 ml Cherry kernel oil

90g Melt and pour soap base

1 ml Cherry blossom fragrance

A pinch of sliced up loofah

Method (makes 1 soap weighing 100g):

  1. Cut about 90g (3 oz) of soap base from the block of melt and pour base. Chop the base finely and place into a glass jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave or place the jug in a pan of boiling water until all the base has melted.
  3. Add 10ml cherry kernel oil and about 0.5ml of fragrance.
  4. Mix in the sliced up loofah for extra exfoliating power. Once it’s all stirred up, pour into a soap mould and wait for it to harden.

How it works:

The cherry kernel oil is a natural AHA exfoliator, that helps get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of your face and body, increasing cell turnover and ditching dry skin.

Most AHA ingredients found in shop-bought products are chemically derived, whereas the cherry kernel oil retains its moisturizing properties, making it perfect for exfoliating dry winter skin!

The loofah helps speed up the exfoliating process by physically removing any dead skin (the stuff that can sometimes flake when you’re drying off after a shower).

An advantage of melt and pour soap is there’s no lye to handle, so this recipe is safe to make around pets or children. Having said that, be sure not to let them eat the finished product or any of the ingredients!

You can probably turn this into a cold process soap recipe, if you’re the sort of person who likes to customize every last ingredient in a soap recipe, but if, like me, you’re more excited about the finished product than the process taken to get there, melt and pour is a great choice!

Any melt and pour soap base will work fine with this recipe. I prefer the goat’s milk one but obviously, if you’re vegan, you would want to avoid that. The standard SLS/SLES free Stephenson’s melt and pour soap base is always a good choice, but there are so many choices for melt and pour soap bases, you’re bound to find one which becomes your favorite!

Variations:

Combination skin (oily and dry)? If you want this recipe to work better on oily skin, switch the fragrance oil for tea tree oil instead. The tea tree oil will help with hard-to-clean blocked pores and encourage spots to clear.

Super-dry, sensitive skin? Add 10ml avocado oil to this recipe, use no fragrance at all, halve the amount of loofah and be sure to use your usual cream(s) after the shower. Avocado oil is super-hydrating without being greasy or weighing your skin down (there’s nothing worse than feeling shiny after a shower, is there?) and many people with extremely dry skin find fragrance oils can dry them out even more, so making it unscented will help, too. By reducing the amount of loofah, you still get rid of dead skin cells but without causing irritation.

Oily skin? Add 1/4 tsp of French Red Clay (ultraventilated) and switch the fragrance oil for tea tree oil. The French red clay will help control oil production from your pores, and draw impurities out of them, while the tea tree oil will help with problem spot areas.

Did you try this recipe? Let me know in the comments!

How to get rid of blackheads on your chin

Ok so you were looking for how to get rid of blackheads on your chin, and all the articles were general advice, usually aimed at getting rid of blackheads on your nose. But the chin area is the second commonest place to get blackheads and they can be especially hard to remove in this area because the skin on your chin is different to that on your nose.

First, are you sure you definitely have a blackhead on your chin?

What is a blackhead?

They are usually straightforward to spot, because they look like black dots on your face, however, on the chin, they can be confused with ingrown hairs, so knowing how to tell the difference between the two will help you know how to treat them.

An ingrown hair often has redness around it, and the skin covering the ingrown hair swells as the hair grows. There usually isn’t an obvious opening (a pinprick-like black dot, for example) and it often resembles a regular spot or pimple, but black under the surface of the skin.

By contrast, a blackhead is a pore in your skin which opened and then dirt got inside it, making it look black. The black dots of blackheads are a lot smaller than the blackness of ingrown hairs and usually a blackhead doesn’t hurt. In a blackhead, it’s only the open part (the clogged pore) which appears black; there won’t be any blackness beneath the skin.

Just to confuse things, blackheads can sometimes get swollen but these are rare.

To understand how to get rid of blackheads on your chin, we need to look at what actually causes them and what you can do to get those pesky blackheads to go away!

What causes blackheads on the chin?

Like other types of blackheads, the ones on your chin are caused when a pore is blocked. There are many reasons this can happen but a toxic mix of several factors make it more likely.

It happens more in warm climates because warmth makes your pores open up. Then when you are out in the environment with pollution and tiny particles of dirt being blown around by the wind, these can get inside your pores.

Bacteria that lives on the surface of your skin, along with dead skin cells, also fall into the open pores, like sea pouring into a big hole on the beach.

Even if you wash your face regularly, you can still get blackheads on your chin. Bacteria can grow in external clothing, such as turtle necks or scarves, and on necklaces. When these brush against your chin, they cause the bacteria to get into the open pores. Your pillow can also be a culprit, if your pillow case isn’t changed often enough.

Microscopic food or drink residue from cups and bowls can get in there, making a physical obstruction but also feeding the bacteria and causing them to multiply. When you sneeze, a fine mist of bacteria can get onto your face, too.

And it doesn’t need to be a hot day for blackheads to form. Your pores open for a lot of different reasons, even in winter (although blackheads are more likely in summer and warm climates). Wearing a warm scarf, doing exercise, resting your chin on your hands, the warm air in your car’s heating system, all cause your chin’s pores to open up, making them vulnerable to blackheads.

Once the pores are open and things have gotten into them, the sebum your skin produces will mix with the dirt. Sebum is supposed to keep things clean, but when there’s an overload of environmental factors getting into the pore, the sebum begins to harden and stops it all getting back out. Because the pore is forced to stay open, it doesn’t close over like a regular spot.

Once the sebum has hardened, your skin struggles to naturally clear the blackhead. At that point, you have a newly-minted blackhead on your chin and your face needs help to clear the blackhead. It’s rare for blackheads to form in isolation; usually the conditions that form them will affect dozens of pores at the same time.

How can you get rid of blackheads on your chin?

There are a lot of articles telling you to use steam, that certain essential oils work, or that you need to pay for a pimple popper. The reason very few articles can agree on how to get rid of blackheads is they are all valid methods. One will work better for you than the others, everyone’s different!

Here are the best ways to get rid of chinheads:

  1. Bioré charcoal pore strips. These are the big guns when it comes to clearing blackheads. These say they’re for oily skin but mine is ultra-dry and these are the best thing. If you can’t get a chin pore strip, cut down a nose one to get several chin blackhead strips. #moneysavingexpert
  2. Steam. You can try sitting over a bowl of hot water, maybe with some tea tree essential oil in it, although I find that while this opens up the pores, it doesn’t actually get the stuff to come out of them, so I would combine this with another method.
  3. A pimple popper. Not all pimple poppers are created equal. Some work quickly to clear your spot. Others are a useless beauty device that does nothing at all.
    Get a good one such as this one.
  4. Wash the area with a tea tree or witch hazel face wash. For natural results, tea tree and witch hazel are both good at helping with clogged pores. Witch hazel is an astringent which has been used as a toner for decades and tea tree is a natural antiseptic. Dab a bit on a cotton swab and swish over the affected area 1-2 times per day.
  5. Use an exfoliating AHA or BHA scrub, such as one containing salicylic acid. This is a great prevention, too, especially if you find a good scrub. I like the St Ives Apricot scrub which contains salicylic acid and the Nip+Fab glycolic fix one, which contains glycolic acid. To use, massage in circular motions with your fingers. Exfoliating scrubs containing these ingredients are really good for clearing problem areas such as the chin where you can really get those circular movements right. I’d recommend only using them 1-2 times a week once you’ve cleared your skin because they’re strong exfoliants.
  6. Use an electrical device. These are great for prevention and cure. The Clarisonic is a good option if you have the budget, otherwise I love my infrared sonic skin peeling tool, which uses infrared light and ultrasound to “bounce” the dirt right out of pores.

And the things that don’t work…

There are a lot of things that truly do not work to get rid of chinheads, but people keep doing them. Here’s a rundown of the worst offenders:

1.. Don’t squeeze a blackhead. They will splodge under your skin and spread, turning into horrendous spots.

2. Don’t scratch them. I always thought this was a given, then I met this guy who did this every time he had a spot. And he wondered why he was inundated with them. *facepalm.

3. The toothpaste method does not work for blackheads. That’s the one where you put a dot of toothpaste on the spot and leave it overnight. As the toothpaste dries, it sucks the gunk out of the spot. Doesn’t work for blackheads of any type or any location. This is good for other types of spots and pimples, though.

4. Don’t use a needle to dig them out. My mum used to swear by this. She had permanent scarring from it, and pore damage. Bad plan.

5. Don’t use oil-based products (except tea tree oil in small amounts) on the affected area until you’re sure the blackheads have gone away and when you use them, make sure your pores aren’t open or they’ll fill up again.

6. Don’t wait to take action against blackheads on your chin. The longer they are there, the more likely you are to have permanent damage from them. The pores can get stretched to a point where they’re always big and open.

7. Silver powder. Total pseudoscientific nonsense that’s been doing the rounds since the 90s. Don’t waste your money.

That’s basically all you need to know about blackheads on your chin. Here are my product recommendations for getting rid of blackheads.

Top products to get rid of blackheads on chins:

  1. Biore charcoal pore strips (cut up nose strips to get strips for your chin as they don’t seem to sell them separately).
  2. St. Ives Apricot Scrub
  3. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub
  4. Witch hazel toner (alcohol free)
  5. Tea tree oil. Use this sparingly as it’s potent stuff!

Top electrical devices to get rid of blackheads:

  1. An ultrasonic skin peeler and blackhead remover. These work really well to clear the skin. I recommend the Gugug Skin Spatula which is a steal at $21.99. I love mine so much and I use it once or twice a month as prevention.
  2. A complete skin cleaning device. The Clarisonic Mia is the gold standard but they’re very expensive and the Olay Pro X is a brilliant dupe (I used the Olay Pro X weekly to clear my husband’s problem skin in the 12 weeks before our wedding day… #guyfacial) and at $39.99 it’s less than half price of the latest Clarisonic tools.
  3. A specific blackhead sucker. The ones with blue light work well to kill the bacteria. A great choice is the Lonove Suction Blackhead Remover with Blue Light which is currently $24.99 although prices fluctuate.
  4. A facial steamer such as this one will focus the steam better on your face than a bowl of hot water, and as a bonus, it comes with a complete set of pimple-popping tools too! If $26.99 is too much to spend on something like this, a bowl of hot water will still help.

Got any blackhead-killing tips? Share them in the comments!

A Day In The Life Of A Blogger

I saw this bizarre title on someone else’s blog, and I was a little bemused about how the day of a blogger would be any different to the day of a non-blogger.  So I thought I’d be a bit imaginative.

6:00am:  I leap out of bed, like a LEAPING LION and stretch and yawn and hop into the shower to clean all my sleep away.

6:20am: Wrapped in a soft fluffy dressing gown, I skip down the stairs like SKIPPY THE FREAKIN KANGAROO and investigate how to turn on the mysterious drinks making gadget that the drinks company sent me in exchange for a good review.  This week, it’s coffee, but last week it was smoothies, and the week before it was a juicer.  Imma dedicated follower of fashion.

6:30am:  Once I’ve figured out how to make the drinks making gadget work, and set it going, I go out into the garden – well, my fifty acre smallholding – and fetch some eggs from the henhouse, then I bring them indoors and make up a BRAND NEW RECIPE that I just KNOW the whole world needs to hear, I make a mental note to write about it on my blog after I’ve finished breakfast.

6:40am: I start making my BRAND NEW RECIPE and am pleased to see that the drinks making gadget is pouring coffee into a cup for me.  How exciting.  I take a couple of photos of it with my camera.  I am Martha Stewart.

6:50am:  My food is on a plate and I sit at my dining table with my breakfast, trying to think of a name for this recipe.  Something that comes up high in the Search Engine results but is still super-unique and catchy.  No, brain, Eggs Bunnydict is a terrible name for anything ever.  Something more like “fluffy cloud eggs.”  That’ll be good because it sounds light, like healthy, and fun, like it’s going to be delicious.  Like me. Haha.

7:10am:  Armed with my second cup of coffee I relocate to my study, which is really a corner of my bedroom or living room, and I turn on my laptop.  My laptop is top of the range and never needs restarting because I got it free in exchange for a good review.  I check all my social media accounts, I reply to everyone’s messages (or at least a representative sample), and I check out what is trending, so I can be relevant.

7:30am:  I write up my eggs recipe and add the photos.  They looked a bit crap so before I hit “publish” I head on over to Photoshop and do some photowizardry on them.  In a few minutes, they look like Rainbow Eggs that were laid by freaking UNICORNS who live in the crescent moon.  Of course.  Because they were made by ME.

8:30am:  Now I need to go to the store and get some groceries before it’s delivery time.  I get into my Porsche 911 and ZOOM to the store like a TURBO WILDCAT and maybe annoy a few people with my slightly reckless and inconsiderate driving (unless I’m vlogging, in which case I will drive to the letter of the law).  I park in the special “reserved for bloggers” bay at the car park and I get a trolley.  My personal grocery shopper is there to greet me, and she shows me around the store, picking out foods I will like, and when we get to the checkout, the store manager has a word with the cashier before I reach her.  The cashier tells me this food is all free because I’m such a special and amazing and wonderful famous blogger and they are only too thrilled that I could visit their store today.  Then they serenade me out with a choir of disadvantaged children who I throw some dollar bills at as I leave.

9:00am: DELIVERY TIME!!! WHAT FREE PRESENTS WILL I GET TODAY???  For the next three hours, I mess around on the internet and watching cats on Youtube while my doorbell rings constantly from the crowd of delivery guys bringing me presents.  Companies just send me stuff for free because they love me so much.  I write reviews for them, on my blog and on sites like Amazon and Makeup Alley so that customers think well of the brand.  I turn down many things, such as reviewing horse meat jerky or laxatives, because I want to protect my image.  That way, I can legitimately say on my about me page, “believe me, I turn down more things than I review, because I am committed to my readers.”  I open the boxes in an excited frenzy.  Every day is like Christmas when you are a blogger.

12:00pm: I get in my Porsche 911 and drive to an expensive restaurant.  I hand the keys to the valet and go inside.  I didn’t book, but I’m so famous, I don’t need to.  The Maitre d’ sees me coming, and runs to bring out the secret extra table that all quality restaurants have stashed in case Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift, or ME turn up unannounced.  He sets the table in seconds with mad skills, and I sit down and browse a menu.  I get a text from this boy who is a fairly well known Vlogger; we chat occasionally.  He’s just got out of bed.  Boys are so uncomplicated.  I order a cruelty-free salmon salad with magic fountain of youth lemon vinaigrette dressing and extra-healthy weird fruit from South America.  Everything from South America is extra-healthy.

1:00pm: I collect my Porsche 911 and drive back to my house.  Did I tell you about my house?  It’s an amazing four bedroom condo with glass walls overlooking my garden and smallholding.  I park the car in the double garage then ascend the spiral staircase to the kitchen.  It’s time to feed the animals and water the plants.  I press a button near the back door and this automatic watering system kicks in, watering every plant exactly the right amount of the right temperature of water.  When it’s done, I pop out and scatter some grain for the chickens, then I go and pick some fruit from my orchard and bring it inside.  I am going to write an article about all the different uses for fruit, I just need to think of a catchy title that will come up top in all the search results.  I’m thinking “17 things to do with Autumn’s fruit harvest” or possibly 11.  I can never decide which prime number is best for these articles.  I’m glad people are starting to see numbered lists as clickbaity titles, it means the new trend for article naming will be something with less math.

2:30pm:  I phone my accountant and find out how much money I made today, then I phone my agent and find out how many brand placements are begging me to mention them on my videos, then I phone that Vlogger boy and it’s super awkward because I don’t know what to say, so I get off the phone fairly quickly.  He’s going to guest blog on my blog.  Oh God I hope he isn’t illiterate.

3:00pm:  I have an afternoon tea party with all my friends and we put make-up on each other in silly ways (like seriously silly, like, matt foundation and finishing powder together kinda silly, we are so cray cray) and then we have dance around the lounge to MTV, in our underwear.  We have a pillowfight as well.  Throughout the whole thing, a photographer, who just so happened to be passing through the neighbourhood, is shooting pics in the corner so I will have plenty of pictures to write about this on my blog.  It’s not staged in the slightest, honest.

6:00pm:  I get rid of my girlfriends and they drive off in their expensive sports cars.  I go outside and have a swim in my pool.  The pool was mailed to me for free from this company which makes pools.  It even has a waterslide.  I spend the next hour or so splashing around in the pool, working off the calories from lunch because I see my personal trainer tomorrow.

7:00pm:  I change out of my bikini, shower off the chlorine, then get ready to go out for dinner to the most expensive restaurant in town.  It does get a bit boring only eating at the one restaurant all the time, but my agent says I have to create a buzz and make people think I’m a superstar until I get the Chanel contract.  I get a text that says I’ve been nominated for beauty blogger of the year award, which comes with a $50,000,000 prize.  That might buy me, like, THREE new Tom Ford lipsticks.  Squee.

9:00pm:  I go home, text my mum and dad to tell them I’m fine and ask them if they’re fine, they say they’re fine.  Everything is good.  I snap a quick selfie of myself and upload to Instagram, caption: “getting my beauty sleep like a GODDAMN PRINCESS.”  What am I like???  I make myself laugh sometimes.  I take off my make-up, being sure to use the latest cleanser that I got sent today.  I go to bed alone and fall asleep dreaming of hair and make-up and cookie recipes, because this is the perfect life that everyone gets automatically as soon as they sign up for a WordPress blog or Youtube channel.  Life is perfect, and I am certainly not out clubbing until 2am and getting very, very drunk in the company of some people I barely know, because that would damage my image as a squeaky clean upstanding member of the blogging community.

I take a quick selfie for instagram.
I take a quick selfie for Instagram with a humorous caption.

After Word:
Just in case anyone is even REMOTELY wondering, this was totally made up.  I just thought it was an interesting flight of fancy to explore some of the stereotypes and assumptions surrounding bloggers and vloggers.  And I don’t accept products, payment or other sponsorship in exchange for writing reviews.  And there’s no such thing as “cruelty free salmon.”  Or Fluffy Cloud Eggs laid by unicorns.  Or “the secret table” at restaurants.  OR IS THERE??? DUN DUN DUNNNN….