How it all started
As a child growing up in Ghana about the age of 7, I shared some very wonderful moments with my now late beautiful grandmother. The ones I cherish most and remember till this day are the moments we made body oils and butters together; all from very basic ingredients to create effective natural skincare products.
Grandma’s Peppermint Body Oil
The palm nut tree produces nuts covered in red straw like skin from which the red palm oil is made from for cooking. After the palm nut has been stripped off of the red skin, it is left with the nut. The nut is in a shell, like the coconut but about the size of M & M peanut. This is perfect for creating very effective body moisturiser in the form of body oil.
Firstly, we would crack a bowl full of the palm nuts with a piece of rock and separate it from the shell. I thoroughly enjoyed this because I got to chew some of the nuts even though I was told not to. I knew she saw me, but she loved me too much to tell me off. However, when it came to distributing the finished body oil, my bottle was never quite full and when I asked her why, she would tell me “It is in your stomach”. Busted!
Please note that there is palm oil which is the red oil from the flesh and then there is palm nut oil which is from the nuts. The latter is what is used for the skin back in Africa. The palm nut oil is great oil that is rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It makes a magnificent ingredient in organic skin care or natural skin care.
The next stage is to extract the palm nut oil from the nut and this is done by pounding the nuts with a wooden pestle in a special large wooden mortar – this we took turns to pound. It was a rather funny sight as the pestle was almost bigger than me but I insisted on pounding!
When it turned to pulp, my grandmother would scoop it into a gauze like fabric then hand squeeze the pulp and you could see the fresh oil dripping into a bowl. Once all the oil has been squeezed, all that remains is the chaff of the nut and this were used as scrubs.
The freshly squeezed oil would go into bottles and my grandmother would put freshly plucked peppermint leaves into the bottles and leave them in the sun for about a week. After which the peppermint leaves would have macerated and the oils had become extremely cooling, nourishing body oils that we all used at home. And voila! A natural beauty product made without synthetics or chemicals. It was especially useful in a very hot climate like Ghana – one felt really cool as soon as the oil touched the body. There were other variations but it will take forever to write about.
I always carried these joyous moments with me and continued to make body oils and butters for friends and family. When I arrived in London I continued only I didn’t have to pound any nuts as the oils were readily available. I came up with raw moisturisers such as Shea butter and aloe-vera gel blends that were enjoyed by everyone. What a moisturiser it was! It managed to relieve me of an extreme dry skin condition I was suffering from on my legs.
Arabelle Skin Sense Ltd was born out of a desire, passion and very fond memories to create natural skincare products to help others manage their skin concerns by going back to nature. Nature has all the answers but evolution has made us to turn far away from it and thus develop allergies and several skin conditions from the chemicals and synthetics that are now ever present in our skincare. Natural skin care or organic skincare is the way forward.
By creating these natural skincare products, I hope to help others look after their skin in the most natural way. They will also be helping me to keep very fond memories alive.