Give your skin and natural soap a caffeine boost! :kissing:

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans

Most of us think of coffee as a pick-me-up, a drink to energize us and get us going in the morning. And most of us love and appreciate the taste and aroma of coffee. Green unroasted coffee beans are one of the most-traded agricultural commodities and coffee is one of the most-consumed beverages all over the globe. Have you ever tried it in natural soap?

Would it surprise you to learn that coffee is also a wonderful pick-me-up for your skin and hair?

Coffee comes from the seeds, or “beans”, of the coffee plant. The beans are found in the coffee cherries, or “berries”, growing on trees in more than 70 countries around the globe, primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. In fact, the stimulating effects of coffee were first discovered in Ethiopia in the 15th Century.

Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap

Blue Mountain Mocha soap

As you would expect, we at Blue Mountain Soapworks only use one of the world’s finest coffees, Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee, in our delightful Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap!! Jamaica Blue Mountain® is made exclusively from the Arabica bean and is renowned as one of the best and most flavorful coffees in the world. We use both the brewed coffee and coffee grounds along with cocoa powder and vanilla to handcraft this delightful Jamaican natural soap. And the coffee aroma is natural – no fragrances are added.

So what does coffee in natural soap do for our skin?

Coffee in natural soap is wonderful for any skin type, from dry to oily to acne-prone to sensitive skin. Coffee in natural soap can:

  • Exfoliate your skin – New skin cells are created in the dermis, the lower layer of our skin. The new cells eventually work themselves to the surface but, as we age, the process slows down and becomes uneven, giving our skin a dry, rough look. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells on the surface of our skin to reveal the newer skin underneath. Coffee is a very effective natural exfoliant in natural soap. Coffee grounds are gritty enough yet not abrasive, so they exfoliate gently. Natural soap containing coffee makes a great scrubbing soap for both body and face and will help you achieve smoother, better-looking skin. It is also great for men because it helps expose hair follicles, allowing for a better shave and preventing ingrown hairs. Because exfoliation can dry the skin, we put wonderful oils and shea butter in our natural soap to keep it moisturized. Why spend your money on expensive chemical peels or products to exfoliate when you can use our Blue Mountain Mocha soap instead?!!
  • Fight acne, eczema and psoriasis – The natural oil in coffee contains enzymes that detoxify, cleanse and help unclog pores, making it ideal for treating acne, eczema and other skin problems. Coffee oil is very similar to our natural body oils and has the same PH level as human skin. Your skin will absorb the oils in this natural soap, giving it a soft and silky feel.
  • Reduce skin redness – The caffeine in coffee has the ability to constrict blood vessels (vasoconstrictor), making it very useful in natural soap for those who suffer from rosacea and skin redness. It will even out your skin tone. It can also help minimize the appearance of tiny “spider” veins on the skin.
  • Reduce under-eye puffiness – While it may not get rid of those dark circles under your eyes (which are often hereditary), the anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine in coffee help minimize under-eye redness and inflammation. It also helps prevent the build-up of blood under your eyes which contributes to those dark circles. You may discover it as an ingredient in many eye creams.
  • Absorb odors – When we cook, our hands absorb the unpleasant odors of pungent foods like garlic, onion, hot peppers, fish, etc. Keep this delightful natural soap on hand in your kitchen! It will remove all of these, and other, nasty odors from your skin. It really works! (Tip: Place a bowl of coffee grounds mixed with a little vanilla in your fridge to absorb unwanted smells.)
  • Add shine to your hair – There are some nourishing oils in coffee beans. They help retain moisture levels in hair (and skin). Wash your hair with our Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap bar, rinse, and enjoy softer, shinier hair.
  • Prevent sun & cell damage – Our cells and tissues are constantly under attack from excessive amounts of free radicals. Free radical damage is a known contributor to the premature aging of our skin, along with acne, eczema and other problems. Our bodies naturally fight off free radical damage with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and polyphenols, such as those found in green tea. The coffee cherry, the fruit of the coffee plant, has gained attention for its powerful antioxidant properties. Promising research studies have shown that the antioxidants in topical cream or solutions (and natural soap!) containing coffee/caffeine may prevent sun (UV) damage, or repair it if it has already occurred. In fact, extracts from the coffee cherry may even be three times stronger as an antioxidant than green tea (an antioxidant powerhouse)!
  • Get rid of cellulite? – Recent studies show that coffee/caffeine applied to the skin may tighten and firm skin, reducing cellulite! Researchers in Brazil at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (2007) and the Universidade de São Paulo (2008) found that the application of skin cream and solutions containing caffeine significantly reduced the size of cellulite cells by 17%. Caffeine apparently dehydrates fat cells by energizing them which causes the elimination of water and the sodium/potassium component of the cells. By massaging and rubbing the areas with natural soap containing coffee, the fat cells break up and the lumps and bumps of cellulite decrease. The end result is smoother skin.
  • Lift your mood – Last, but certainly not least, is the spectacular natural aroma of coffee! The aroma relaxes us and clears our minds. Just the smell can lift our energy or mood. Smelling coffee is also known to reduce nausea.

How many natural products can boast of all these benefits? And you can get them all by bathing with a product such as our Blue Mountain Mocha natural soap handcrafted in Jamaica by Blue Mountain Soapworks. Beautify your skin with coffee! Your skin will look lovely and smell great too!

Go Green for Better Skin & Hair Care!

date25 Apr

At Blue Mountain Soapworks, we LOVE Shea butter!

Dry, wintry weather can strip our skin of its natural moisture barrier causing the top layer to dry and flake off. When combined with coconut oil, shea butter soaps soothe the skin, making them the perfect choice for getting rid of that dry, itchy mess. Get your skin ready for Spring!

Nearly all of our Blue Mountain Soapworks natural handcrafted soaps contain soothing shea butter because we want your skin to feel soft, supple and luxurious!! Let’s find out why shea butter is so great.

The African Shea Karité Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa or Butyrospermum parkii)

Shea Karite TreeShea butter is a solid nut fat (oil) extracted from the kernels (nuts) of the wild African Shea Karité tree. Most of the world’s Shea Karité trees grow wild in the equatorial savannas of 19 countries across central Africa. Some of the largest producers are the West African nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia and Nigeria.

Living as long as 200 to 300 years, the Karité tree begins to bear fruit after 10 to 20 years and doesn’t bear a full crop until it’s 20 to 40 years old! The trees grow wild (there is very little cultivation of these trees) and they are pollinated by small fruit bats to ensure they continue to thrive.

Shea trees are most active during June and July, bearing dark green fruits that fall to the ground when ripe. The source of the shea oil/butter is the hard white kernel of the nut inside of those fruits. In Ghana it is common for prayers to be said before harvesting the fruits to praise Mother Nature. The name “Karité” means “the tree of life”.

So how did it get the name “shea”?? The English word “shea” comes from ‘s’í, the tree’s name in the Bamana language of Mali. Shea butter is also known as “Nkuto” in Ghana, “Beurre de Karité” in French (Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo), and “Ori” in Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria).

As recently as 2010, researchers estimate there are nearly 500 million productive Shea trees and over 2,000,000 African women working with shea butter in this equatorial African region!

The Making of Shea Butter

Raw shea butter and nutsRaw shea butter looks a bit like whipped cream, but varies in color from grayish-yellow to light almond to a light yellow color. The colors make no difference (unless it’s pure white); color is determined by the nut itself. When extracted using traditional methods, it is completely pure, has no preservatives and no added mineral oils.

Raw unrefined shea butter has a natural earthy, nutty, smoky aroma. Although the aroma may sometimes be strong, it loses its smell within minutes of being applied to your skin or hair.

Most of the traditional African shea butter process is passed down through generations. The nuts are picked, sorted, boiled, and left to dry in the hot sun. When they are completely dry, they can be stored for months or be processed into shea butter.

Crushing shea nuts with a pestle - Ghana, 2006Crushing and pounding the dried nuts with a pestle makes the kernels separate. Next, the kernels are roasted in large metal pots. The labor-intensive procedure continues with the mixing and kneading of the kernels while adding water. While this step of the shea butter making production goes on for several hours, it’s a vital step as this is what creates the shea butter itself. The shea butter is then scooped into gourds and left to cool. At this point, the shea butter is raw and “unrefined”.

Today, many African women use a metal press to crush the nuts and squeeze the butter from the kernel. This enables them to produce more butter in less time. Shea butter may also be filtered through clay to strain debris such as dirt and leaves (a good thing). The end result is still pure, raw, unrefined shea butter with no added chemicals.

Producing shea butter is a long, involved manual process but this is an important economic crop in Africa, and traditional extraction is a way of providing good employment opportunities to the local villagers.

Refined (or processed) Shea Butter

As with many other things in the world today, people want things faster, easier and prettier.

Shea butter can be chemically extracted, bleached to a pure white color, and deodorized (bad things). This involves the use of hexane solvents, a toxic by-product of petroleum production. These solvents bleach the shea butter, removing many of its natural vitamins and minerals in the process, and can remain in the finished product. Most shea butter that is refined in Africa is usually free of hexane solvents.

Refined shea butter is pure white, has no aroma, and has practically none of the wonderful benefits for our skin left in it. (We use only raw and unrefined shea butter in our products!)

Why Shea Butter is Fabulous! :wub:

High in triglycerides and fatty acids, the soft buttery texture penetrates easily into your skin. Shea butter naturally contains cinnamic acid, which protects skin against the harmful UV rays of the sun and benefits those of us who suffer from dry skin, dermatitis and sunburn. Shea butter usually does not trigger Minty Pick-Me-Up Jamaican Shea Butter Soapany allergic reactions, so our soaps and lotions are fantastic for people with sensitive skin.

Shea butter was traditionally used by herbalists for burns, wounds, sunburn, muscle aches and as a moisturizing beauty aid for hair and skin. Africans use it to heal skin and scalp ailments. The Vitamins A and E found in it help to keep the skin supple and healthy. Vitamin F works as a rejuvenator. It also helps to prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. Can there be a more delightful beauty product??!!

Shea Butter is beneficial for:

  • Moisturizing all skin types, babies to adults
  • Restoring elasticity to the skin and slowing down aging
  • Healing blemishes and keeping wrinkles at bay
  • Restructuring dry and fragile hair
  • Easing dry scalp and irritation from chemical processing (hair dyes)
  • Restoring the luster of hair
  • Protection from the harsh sun and wind
  • Moisturizing tough skin on feet
  • Eczema, psoriasis, dehydrated skin, diaper rash, insect bites, burns, stretch marks

Do your skin and hair a huge favor and pamper them! Our wonderful Jamaican handcrafted shea butter soaps can be used all over the body (including the face), by men and women alike, and you will LOVE the results. Try one of them today!!

date2 Apr