Monday, 13 September 2010

How to make Sugar Scrub (and a tiny bit more anti-capitalism).

We nipped off to London quickly this weekend for a weekend away before Partner starts autumn term (Partner works for the university, I'm not involved with a sixth former). I had fun eyeing up brightly patterned things in Pop Boutique in Seven Dials and wondering if I might wish to make such cushion covers.
I wish my house looked like this and actually I don't know why it doesn't
Cupcakes may also have become involved.
That is Partner's hand. Oh my God, he said, are you photographing your bun? Stop it! None of your blog readers care about your bun
And (and if anyone wants to give me a gold star here I think one is probably warranted,) I braved the tourists at Portobello Road market on the Saturday morning to get to the man under the railway bridge who sells vintage scarves. I had a nice time popping into Books For Cooks, and admiring the shops and stalls, and pondering what seems to be fashionable in vintage this year. I think I may (casually buffs nails on lapel) have been ahead of the game with my sparkly butterfly top, which I will dig out and show you when we have some light here which is not grey. It is quite a top, and fine if I don’t sit in front of any lights, although if I do they reflect off me like a disco ball which can be a bit embarrassing.
I feel the thing which improves an antique shop more than probably anything is when the outside is sparkly
But then unfortunately, oh no. I came upon something which annoyed me.
Lush. Not entirely my idea of local, I would suspect. Not entirely my idea of fresh, either, come to that
Local, I thought? I don’t think so. Lush is a national chain. So I looked on their website, which tells me about 3 UK suppliers, although there could obviously well be more, and also tells me that Lush operates in 46 countries, which I didn’t know. I suspect their idea of local is ‘some of our ingredients are produced in the UK’. Which is fine, and there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, good on them: but that isn’t my idea of local, and I think that advert is disingenuous and misleading.

Now, is this important? Possibly it isn’t, and I’ve got to say, if I was going to go for the Heartless Face of International Capitalism I wouldn’t start with Lush. They might well be an excellent company, who deal with their suppliers really ethically, and I doubt it's possible for them to source all their ingredients from the UK, anyway. But it just hits a bit of a sour note with me. I have to confess, I probably wouldn't have found this so annoying if it hadn’t been right in the middle of an enormous street market full of people selling handmade and vintage things, and possibly some local produce, including a man with a stall full of handmade cold-process soap (and no marketing budget). Life is tough for independent businesses. It might be tough for the man with his cold-process soap, I didn’t ask him. And for a multi-national company to say that buying their stuff is buying local to take advantage of a shift in what customers want, well, I just don’t think that’s entirely playing fair. But I might be doing Lush an enormous disservice: so that’s why I’ve emailed them to ask how their products are local to the shop I saw, and if I’ve got the completely wrong end of the stick, which I do admittedly get sometimes, I’ll let you know and we’ll add Lush to some kind of mental Retail Heroes List (or even an actual one, because I'll be writing a links section one of these days!).
Finally! Someone else whose idea of minimalism is the same as mine!
And, as a thankyou for staying with me through my anti-capitalist ramblings (and I promise you we’ll have a break for the rest of the week, because I feel my focus shifting to sheep and to Ely Wool Shop where I had a marvellous but financially ruinous time today, I feel it shifting irrevocably), and just because genuinely handmade cosmetics (and on this subject Vivianne from Kismet's Companion has just put some of her soap up for sale! Congrats Vivianne) are actually rather nice, here is my recipe for Brown Sugar Scrub. If you’re in the UK, you can buy ingredients for stuff like this from your nearest health-food shop, or from Helen at Fresholi, who is terrifyingly efficient but in a good way. If you don’t have cup measures, just use anything (or use a small mug) but keep the proportions.

You need:
1 cup brown sugar (I tend to use demerara).
1/2 cup Sweet Almond Oil or olive oil or a mixture.
1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (you can leave this out if you haven’t got it).
1 tablespoon Aloe Oil.
About 15 drops essential oils (whatever you like – I always think lavender/ geranium and patchouli/ ylang ylang go well together. Coffee and vanilla would be delicious).

Basically – just mix everything together in a bowl. That’s it. You can keep it in any kind of container with a top (e.g. a tupperware). You might have to mix it together a bit each time you use it, as the oil tends to separate, but it will last a good long while. Do give it a try, it’s dead easy and nice. And who doesn’t want a gently exfoliated epidermis? I certainly do, but I wanted Malabrigo Lace more. And now I’ve got it! But more about that tomorrow…


Absinthe Fairy said...

love your rants - keep them up!

and actually a photograph of your bun is incredibly vital to your readers

Susie said...

I told him people would care about my bun. Does he listen... ;-) (He had to come and take photographs of local sheep today. For the first 5 minutes he thought it was daft, thereafter he thought he was David Bailey: 'this one Susie, now! It's looking at us!').

Kezz said...

Huzzah for someone ranting about Lush for once. I can't stand the smell in that shop, totally overpowering. I braved it once to try some of their samples as I have super sensitive skin and can only use a tiny number of products without shedding/itching/rash/etc. I tried 3 Lush products on the back of my hand, left the shop with 3 new spots of rash that had come up instantly!

Mumma Troll said...

Yep, pictures of buns all good here

Susie Jefferson said...

Pictures of buns Matter Deeply to us all - my man understands this (he has a very sweet tooth, as do I) and your man obviously doesn't. But they can be trained! Make sure he buys you the most photogenic (and therefore tastiest and most elaborately iced) ones. Make it a competition! (I've never looked back... probably just as well as the derriere is expanding in consequence).

I love the sound of your sugar stuff! And sourced from a health shop! Yaaay....

RE Lush - it isn't really. I'm allergic to a lot of their stuff although a friend loves it. And I used their 'pure' kajal in a handcarved wood container (from India I think) which has caused blepharitis - I'm still undergoing treatment for this at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Shame I didn't save the container & the receipt - maybe I could have sued if I'd kept the proof.

Vivianne said...

Thanks so much for the mention - very kind :)

Silver said...

You know what's funny? I was IN a Lush two days ago and they totally encouraged me to make my own sugar lip scrub, and happily told me what was in theirs (not that it isn't disclosed on the site and/or packaging anyway). Isn't that funny and a little bit perverse? ;)

I definitely think Lush products can be hit or miss and very much a matter of personal taste, but I ridiculously prefer what products I like of theirs to anything I've been able to make on my own and FAR above anything else I've bought from a large company. And there aren't exactly a ton of local independent handmade-stuff businesses in my area selling sea salt cream shampoo and spicy-smelling bar deodorant, or I would probably be buying from them instead ... ;)

I do appreciate that everything Lush sells appears to actually be a form of handmade, and that they do put far more effort into their company ethics than most large bath and body companies, they recycle, they use minimal packaging, etc. And I've heard from their employees that they're a good company to work for (at least here).

Then again, Lush where you are is probably a little bit different from Lush where I am, since you actually have Lush factories there and the closest one to me is in Canada. The Lush factoris are so much closer to you than they are to me that "local" looks somewhat reasonable from way over here in the land of Ridiculously Huge States. ;)