Homemade Hummus

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Hey guys!

I’ve finally got around to making my own hummus. I buy it so frequently that it really should have been something I made myself a long time ago.. but better late than never!

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I’ll be experimenting with different flavours of hummus in the future, but for now this is just a basic (and delicious!) hummus recipe.

Hummus is a great healthy food to add to your diet as it’s full of protein and healthy fats.

What you’ll need

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Chickpeas- 1 can, drained and rinsed

Tahini paste- 2 tablespoons

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 3 tablespoons

Garlic- 1/2 cloves

Fresh lemon juice- 2 tablespoons

Salt & Pepper to taste

Paprika- half/1 teaspoon (optional)

Fresh parsley to decorate

Blender

Making the hummus

Place all of the ingredients in the blender, bar the olive oil.

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Pop the lid of the blender on and put it on a high blend  setting. As it’s mixing, pour the olive oil in slowly, a bit at a time. (Thanks for helping, Dad!)

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Some people like chunky hummus but I like mine to be really smooth. Blend for as long as you like, depending on the consistency you prefer.

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Serve garnished with parsley on top!

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I adore this as a dip for raw carrots or pitta bread and eat it every day, so I’ll definitely be saving money now that I’m making my own.

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Send me your photos if you decide to make your own hummus, I’d love to see them!

Sinéad X

 

 

 

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DIY Coconut & Honey Lip Scrub

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Hi guys!

I’ve been wanting to make a lip scrub for some time now. My lips are always so dry! Anyone who knows me well will always see me popping lip balm on my lips a ridiculous amount of times during the day.. and I’ve never been willing to spend money on a lip scrub from a shop as they’re quite pricy. Lush is a brand I like, as they use a decent amount of natural ingredients. Their lip scrubs always look so nice, but at 7/8 euro a pop, it would make more sense to try and whip up your own. You’ll save on money, and will most likely have these ingredients in your kitchen press!

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This lip scrub is great, as you’re getting the moisturising and healing properties from the coconut oil and honey, and a gentle yet thorough exfoliation from the brown sugar.

What you’ll need

Coconut oil- 1 teaspoon

Honey (I used manuka for a thicker consistency, read about it’s benefits here)- 1 teaspoon

Brown Sugar- 3/4 heaped teaspoons (I find white sugar to be too harsh on the lips)

Making the lip scrub

Scoop out one teaspoon of coconut oil, and melt it in the microwave until it is liquid in consistency, about 30 seconds should do… Mix in one teaspoon of honey and 3-4 heaped teaspoons of brown sugar and mix well.

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Pop this into the fridge for 5 mins, so that the coconut oil solidifies somewhat.

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You should see some white harder parts in the mixture now (solidified coconut oil). The mixture will be more stiff, so you need to mix it well. I like to use a firm hand a cream the mixture with the back of the spoon until it is mixed well and fairly smooth in consistency.

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Pop the mixture into small jars. I used an empty carmex jar, and a body shop sample tub.

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And there you have it! This is so simple to make, and works really well to exfoliate lips. I use this in the mornings before I apply lip balm and really do feel the difference. It gets rid of any flaky parts on your lips and leaves them really soft.

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If you want a more solid consistency, leave your scrub in the fridge. It will soften on contact with your lips, as coconut oil melts at body heat. I prefer to leave mine out of the fridge, but it’s nice either way!

Happy scrubbing,

Sinéad X

 

 

 

 

Review: Vichy Idealia BB Cream

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Hi guys!

I’ve been wanting to review this BB cream for the past couple of months, as I’ve been using it every day and really loving it. In fact, this is my second tube!

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I usually go for a medium to full coverage foundation, but being someone who suffers from dry skin, this can leave my face looking dehydrated and patchy at times, so in the past couple of months I’ve begun to experiment with different ways of wearing makeup. Instead of wearing foundation, I’ve been opting for a BB/CC (They’re really the exact same!) cream instead, and then just using concealer on any areas of the face that need it. This has completely changed the look of my skin!

My complexion no longer looks or feels as dry, which was always my main problem. This Vichy BB cream is hydrating, with really light coverage. It basically just slightly blurs imperfections and adds a hint of colour. I then go in with concealer over any areas i need it. This results in a much more natural looking finish to the skin, and most importantly for me, it’s non drying and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and fresh. If you want a more full coverage look with a great base, this works wonders underneath a foundation too for a flawless finish.

I really like Vichy as a brand. Of course they’re not all natural, but in comparison with other makeup they really do have quite few ingredients, and good ones at that. Their hyaluronic acid serum is another favourite of mine, which appeared in this blog post a few months back.

Vichy’s Idealia BB cream comes in two shades, light and medium. I’m extremely pale, so the light is a teeny bit too dark, but so are all of my foundations so it’s nothing new for me. The key is to blend well down onto your neck and nobody will ever notice.

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This BB cream claims to illuminate, hydrate, smooth wrinkles, refine skin’s texture, reduce the appearance of dark spots and protect with an SPF of 25. That’s quite a claim! Of course it doesn’t do many of these things, but I didn’t expect it to. What I wanted was a light coverage BB cream that would hydrate and give a bit of a glow to my skin, and it does exactly that. It does claim to have a decent SPF, but I would always use my own physical SPF underneath.

The nozzle is great, as it allows great control for how much of the product you want to squeeze out, and you don’t need very much. I can’t stand makeup packing that doesn’t allow you to control how much you’re pumping out as you always end up wasting product, such as with MAC’s Pro Longwear concealer.

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The amount I squeezed out on my hand below is probably all I would use for my entire face.

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It begins to blend out really easily, almost like a moisturiser.

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What I really love about this BB cream is the glow it gives your skin. It’s not glittery, but it’s definitely light reflecting and leaves a lovely natural sheen on the skin, which I hope you can see from the picture below!

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The price point is the only downfall of this product, as it comes in at €23.50 (Matt O’Flaherty chemist). Saying that, it will definitely last you a long long time, as you only need a small amount at a time, and for me it’s so hard to find something that won’t dry out my skin, so I see it as a good skincare investment.

If you’re looking for a good quality BB cream that will hydrate and give you light coverage and a glow, i would highly recommend giving this guy a try.

Sinéad X

 

Nordic Nut Bread

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Hi everyone!

This recipe was sent to me by a friend, John. I haven’t tried it out myself yet, but I can’t wait to! He said it went down a treat in his house, and was especially tasty with some stilton cheese. John found the recipe on http://www.kvalifood.com. His bread turned out great, see the picture below! One of my last blog posts was about the benefits of including different kinds of nuts in your daily diet.

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Ingredients

dry ingredients

  • 100 g pumpkin seeds
  • 100 g sunflower seeds
  • 100 g almonds
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 100 g linseed
  • 100 g sesame seeds
  • 100 g poppy seeds (optional)
  • 100 g water (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt

wet ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 0.4 cup (1 dl) oil
  • A quarter cup of oil

Method

  • Add all of the seeds in to a large mixing bowl, along with the salt.
  • Next, add the oil, some water and the five eggs. Mix well, folding the wet and dry ingredients in together.
  • Mix it really well until everything is wet and until there are no parts of the egg yolk visible anymore.
  • If you prefer, you can pop the nuts into a food processor first, like John did.
  • Line your baking tin with parchment paper and bake for one hour at 160 degrees.

For a moister bread

For a moister consistency to the bread, you can add in one grated courgette.

Happy baking!

Sinéad X

 

Baked Eggs in Ramekins

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Happy New Nears to all of my Skindividual readers! I had a lovely New Years Eve.. We stayed in and watched things on TV with chocolate, Indian takeaway and a couple of baileys! So my head is quite fresh today, but for those of you who are feeling a little foggy from the night before, this breakfast/brunch will be right up your alley.

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I’ve been having a lot of baked eggs recently. They’re so easy to whip up, and taste delicious! Perfect for a lazy breakfast or brunch.

What you’ll need – the base ingredients (serves two)

  • Rapeseed oil/ Olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper

The filling

  • Baked ham
  • Red Pepper

Other options… (anything you like really!)

  • Spinach
  • Feta
  • Rocket
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Salmon

Method

Lightly grease two ramekins with oil and place your fillings in. Tear up some of the fresh basil leaves and mix them in.

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Next, crack two eggs into each dish. Sprinkle with some sea salt, ground black pepper, and the rest of the ripped up basil leaves.

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Pop into a hot oven for 10-12 mins. The yolks should still be runny and the white part should look fairly set.

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And that’s it! They look impressive if you’re feeding guests, but they’re so easy to make. And they taste incredible which is always a plus…

Enjoy!

Sinéad X

 

 

 

Nuts about nuts!

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Hi guys! I’ve finally returned back to the blogging world, after what must have been the busiest few months of my life! I’m well and truly rested now after the lazy Christmas days, and I don’t return back to college until the end of January, leaving me plenty of time for blogging and all the other things I love to do in my free time.

When I was studying in college for my undergraduate degree, I worked in a nut shop (yes, they exist!) during all three years to support myself financially. During the last year, we received a lot of training about all of the different types of nuts we sold, and the different health benefits that each type contained. So, what better place to share this knowledge than on this blog! I thought it would be best to mention the six most popular types of nuts we sold, and explain the benefits each brings into our diets.

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Almonds

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I rarely run out of almonds. For me, they’re the perfect nuts to snack on in between meals. As they are full of protein and healthy unsaturated fats, they satisfy hunger pangs until your next meal! They also taste really nice too. If you avoid or are intolerant to dairy, almonds contain a decent amount of calcium and would be great to include in your diet.

Almonds are also high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. I’ve written about vitamin E being the ultimate beauty vitamin before!

Choose unsalted whole almonds, as the skin contains flavonoids which are heart-protecting compounds.

Cashew nuts

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Cashews are in my top two when it comes to the flavour of nuts! They taste so good, and I’ve also recently discovered cashew butter which is delicious. As well as protein, cashews contain a good amount of iron, zinc and magnesium. They taste really great when thrown into a stir fry, or used as a nut butter with crackers.

Brazil nuts

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Brazil nuts were always the most popular nuts we sold in the shop I worked in. Most people would come in looking for them after reading about how they are a great source of selenium, which is great for many reasons including promoting regular thyroid function.

You only need three or four Brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you require.

Macadamia nuts

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I used to be addicted to the salted version of these nuts, but came to realise that the unsalted were just as nice, and of course, a lot more healthy. Macadamias have one of the highest fat contents out of all nuts, but supply great levels of healthy fats. As well as this, they are a useful source of fibre.

It is best to buy these in small batches, as they can go off quicker than other nuts.

Pistachio nuts

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Pistachios are well known for containing plenty of vitamin B6, which is an important vitamin for keeping hormones balanced and healthy. Of course, simply eating lots of pistachios won’t cure unbalanced hormones, but using them as part of a healthy diet in small amount will certainly help.

These nuts are most commonly sold salted and with the shell on. Try to look for the unsalted kind, once you get used to the flavour they taste just as good. I adored these as kid, mainly for the satisfying feeling of breaking the shell open before you eat each one! Pistachios work great alongside any chocolate dessert also!

Walnuts

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Ah, walnuts. I try to love you, but I just can’t. I do make a good effort to eat these nuts on a regular basis, but I definitely don’t like the taste. My Dad loves them, so maybe I’m in the minority walnut hating club! Despite what I may think of their flavour, I can’t deny how great they are for our health. They’re really high in omega-3, so if like me, you don’t eat fish, they are a fantastic source of this to include in your diet. Omega-3s are great for your heart, and of course your skin, too.

All of these nuts contain a multitude of health benefits, but it’s important to include them in your diet in small doses. I would say that a small handful or two of nuts a day is definitely sufficient. they contain really healthy fats, but obviously too many healthy fats at once will become unhealthy. I love to use them in between meals, in cooking, over oatmeal, in desserts.. the list goes on!

One of my favourite snacks would be a piece of fruit along with a handful of nuts, ensuring I get my protein fix in. I am not a nutritionist, but I love researching all about the foods I like to include in my diet, and I would definitely recommend the addition of these into your daily eating plan!

Sinéad X

Easy Oaty Bread (Gluten Free)

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I’ve been making a lot of porridge bread recently and I’m finding it great for mornings when I don’t have much time for making breakfast. With full time college hours and early mornings, I sometimes struggle with time keeping…

With this bread, I simply pop a slice into the microwave for twenty seconds and spread some natural peanut butter on top, and I’m good to go! This mixture of carbohydrates and protein leaves me feeling fuelled and full of energy.

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What you’ll need

  • A large tub of natural/greek yoghurt
  • Porridge oats
  • Baking soda

Extras

Any kind of seeds you like..Pumpkin/sunflower/chia/flax etc

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Utensils

  • A standard sized bread tin (greased)
  • Mixing Bowl

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Pour the yoghurt into the bowl. Rinse and dry the empty tub of yoghurt, and use it to add in two tubs of porridge oats. Mix well.

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Add in one teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt.

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Next, mix in your choice of seeds. i used sunflower seeds as I adore the taste of them in bread.

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Place mixture into a greased bread tin, and sprinkle some extra oat flakes and seeds on top for decoration. The seeds on top will get a lovely toasted crunch from the oven. Place in a middle shelf of your oven and bake for 40-45 mins.12119159_10154021062564316_2483502140212343730_n

And voila! Allow to cool on a wire rack for ten/fifteen mins before slicing.

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My favourite way to eat this bread is when it’s served warm with some natural peanut butter. Nutella also tastes divine with it!

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Just to note, my flat mate is a nutritionist and said that if you are a coeliac it’s best to specifically buy gluten free oats!

Happy baking!

Sinéad X

My Autumn Skincare Saviour (Dry Skin)

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Hello everyone!

I hope everyone has had a nice transition into the Autumn months, not that we had much of a summer here in Ireland this year! Is it just me, or did it really feel like the wettest and most overcast summer ever?

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I just adore Autumn. It really is when nature is at it’s most beautiful, with all of the gorgeous green/yellow/orange/red leaves flowing all around us. Inevitably, the weather gets a lot cooler, and this past week I have really been feeling the chill. With this change, comes those dreaded dry skin issues we can all have. For me, I tend to have dry skin all the year round, but for many people these issues mainly flare up in the colder months. My skin definitely feels extra dehydrated around this time of the year.

Changing up your skincare for the cooler months with hyaluronic acid

My number one tip when changing up your skincare for the colder months would be to introduce a hyaluronic acid serum into your skincare routine.

If your skin is dry, most moisturisers are only a temporary fix, as they will keep water from evaporating, but won’t add additional moisture to your skin. That is why many people turn to hyaluronic acid serum, especially in these colder months. This type of serum is great at keeping the water within your skin there, and also adding additional hydration. Because hyaluronic acid has a small molecular weight, the hydration is able to penetrate deep into our skin cells, and that, combined with the way it bonds to water, is part of what makes it so effective.

There are many hyaluronic acid serums to be found on the market, but the one that has really worked for me is the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum. I first heard of this about a year ago, as so many beauty and skincare bloggers were raving about it. I thought it might be one of those things that just get really hyped up, but decided to try it out for myself anyway. I also recently included it in a post I wrote about skincare and travelling by plane.

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This product claims to help soothe sensitive, dehydrated skin and restore it’s comfort, while also leaving it intensely hydrated. And it really does. I just bought my second bottle of the serum, and i definitely found that when I stopped using it for a couple of weeks, my skin was noticeably more dry. When I was using it, my skin was in better condition within two weeks of daily use.

It contains absolutely no parabens, which is something I always watch out for when buying skincare items.

How I use Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum

Morning: Apply a pea sized amount onto face and dab in. Follow with oil/moisturiser and SPF.

Night: Apply a pea sized amount onto cleansed skin. Follow with an oil/moisturiser.

I always wait about 5/10 minutes to allow the serum to properly sink into my skin before applying the next layer of moisture.

Skincare tip: Instead of rubbing the product into your skin, try to rub it between your finger tips first, and then press it into the skin all around your face and neck. This allows for maximum penetration of the product into your skin.

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I used to curse my oily skin when I was younger, and now I think I’d give anything to have it back! Dry skin can be a real pain to deal with, but with products like this, it makes it that bit more manageable. This serum retails at around 20/22 euro, but it will last you a long time, as you only need a pea sized amount each time you use it. For me, it’s worth the investment, as my skin feels a lot more comfortable and hydrated throughout the day and night. Many serums on the market are a lot more expensive than this one, but I don’t feel the need to invest any more money when this one works perfectly!

This is also great to use on your skin for the morning after a night out, when your body (and therefore your skin!) are dehydrated, especially if you leave your makeup on overnight.. It’s one of the biggest skincare sins we can commit, but let’s face it, we’ve all done it!

If you decide to try this serum out, let me know your thoughts.

Sinéad X

Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

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Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope everyone has been enjoying September so far. I, for one, am really missing the summer months, as I have just began an extremely intense masters course. During the summer, I absolutely adored making berry smoothies. Seeing as we still have access to fresh strawberries for a while longer, I thought I’d share my favourite strawberry smoothie recipe with you guys.

These honestly taste like regular strawberry milkshakes, so they’re great for kids. I’ve even managed to convert my boyfriend, who always drinks the unhealthy kind of milkshakes, onto these! They are a great healthy alternative, with all the flavour.

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You’ll Need

1 cup of strawberries

half a ripe banana

half a cup of natural yoghurt

Ice cubes

Drizzle of honey (optional)

Method:

Chop up some fresh strawberries until you have one cup’s worth. Pop into blender/juicer.

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Chop half a ripe banana. You’ll know the banana is ripe when it has lots of brown speckles on the skin. Ripe bananas contain far more nutrients than the unripe kind!

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Add in half a cup of natural yoghurt.

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Blitz until smooth. This won’t take long, as fruit blends very quickly. I always use short pulses when making smoothies and juices, as it seems to give a better end result.

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Once your mixture is smooth, add in a big handful of ice cubes. Blitz again until blended.

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I don’t find that this smoothie needs honey, but if you like that extra sweetness, you can easily add a drizzle in along with the ice cubes.

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I love a fresh smoothie first thing in the morning, or in between meals. They ward off hunger and give you great energy. The vitamin C from the strawberries will also help to keep your immune system in tip top shape, which we need coming in to the colder Autumn months. I hope to avoid catching any colds for as long as possible!

Enjoy!

Sinéad X

DIY Natural Deodorant (Chemical Free)

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A lot of people think sweating is something we need to prevent, however it’s just our body’s natural way of restoring health by releasing toxins and impurities! Sweating can also help to unclog pores and improve skin clarity.

The common thing for people to do is to apply antiperspirants to control body odour, but most of these products contain chemical ingredients which can be harmful to our health.

This simple DIY deodorant is really effective and completely chemical-free, using only three main ingredients. If you’re on a budget, this will also work out to be extremely cost effective for you, as store bought deodorants can be quite expensive, and never last very long!

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Aluminium, the main ingredient found in deodorants, actually blocks the glands from producing sweat. In the past, this ingredient has been linked to breast cancer. Who knows if this is true, however it’s something that always runs through my mind when I apply regular deodorant, and it’s not a pleasant thought! Why not choose something that is all natural and chemical free instead. Aluminium has also been thought to cause underarm darkness, so if you suffer from this, try this natural deodorant for a month and you will most likely notice the darkness fading.

What you’ll need

Coconut Oil

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Baking Soda

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Arrowroot Powder

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Mixing Bowl

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A glass container

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Essential Oils for fragrance (optional)

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Making the Deodorant

Measure one third of a cup of each ingredient into a large mixing bowl.

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Start to mix the ingredients together. This will take a little time! It will probably seem like you need more coconut oil, but don’t worry, you just need to be patient and keep mixing.

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After some good mixing, start to cream the mixture together. This means pressing the ingredients together with the back of your spoon, so that it comes together like this…

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It should eventually look like this! You can mix in your essential oils at this stage, about 8 drops will do. I used a mixture of lime and orange oil!

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Transfer the mixture into your glass container.

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I’ve been using this deodorant for a month, and I absolutely love it. I asked my boyfriend to try it out and made an unscented version for him. He loves it too and said it really works for him.

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Let me know if you try this out, I’d love to hear/see how you got on!

Sinéad X