To Dry Brush or Not? Yep … Another Question!

The Soft, Supple Skin Series Part 3 – Dry Brushing

The series continues with question about how effective dry brushing is.



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The best dry brushes are made from plant fibres and  have detachable arms -  pic via

The best dry brushes are made from plant fibres and have detachable handles – pic via

Dry brushing has been a health and beauty regime for many people over the past century. I have to admit I have had a dry skin brush in the past but found it hard to get into a routine with it. In summer I found I didn’t really need it and in winter I found it was too cold to dry brush before the shower. Having admitted my downfalls I am a proponent of the dry brush because of its simplicity and they way it can make you feel truly enlivened.


From my research into this topic it seems as though the dry brush (although probably used for hundreds of years if not more), sprang into modern culture via the Nordic countries in combination with the sauna. Dr Paavo Airola extolled the wonders of dry brushing in his book “How to Get Well”. He was born in 1918 and died in 1983, having written 14 books on health and wellness, he was definitely ahead of his time. Dr Airola talked about juicing, taking supplements, a raw diet without meat and many other health regimes we accept today as part of the norm. Looking back, his work on nutrition and biochemistry helped form the naturopathic way of life.


Feel fresh and enlivened with body brushing

Feel fresh and enlivened with body brushing

The Benefits of Dry Brushing

From his book, and what we know today, some of the benefits of dry brushing are:

* increase lymphatic drainage which is one of the detoxification systems of the body

* which in turn helps to remove cellulite

* and increase immunity

* remove dead skin cells

* gently massage internal organs and promote healthy digestion

* make you feel fresh and alive by tightening the skin, improving muscle tone and increasing circulation


How to Do It

The best way to brush is to be gentle and let the bristles do the work.

Brush toward the lymph nodes and I understand you might not know where they are so here’s an easy guide:

Easy dry brushing guide - pic via

Easy dry brushing guide – pic via

So basically you work up the legs to the groin.

Up the arms to the arm pits.

Downwards on your neck.

Upwards on your back.

Up and down on your stomach.

This is why its better to have a detachable arm as it easier to do the dry brushing with your hand on top of the brush and just add the arm for your back.

Have a shower after your brushing!

Detach the arm for most of your body as its easier to use - pic via

Detach the arm for most of your body as it’s easier to use – pic via


Why Can’t You Use the Brush In the Shower?

* the bristles are better when dry

* it doesn’t work as well with water, as the water can make the brush heavy, and you are working against the force of the water flow. This can lead to over scrubbing and very red raw skin – ouch!

* it’s generally less effective for improving skin tone

So yes dry brushing is probably the best way to exfoliate and make your skin feel great because it has many other health benefits that using a scrub does not. It even surpasses the body puff and gloves for this reason.

Do you dry brush?

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.

copryright SR Banks 2015



The Perfect Aromatherapy Skincare Regime

Beautiful skin is easy with natural products - pic via

Beautiful skin is easy with natural products – pic via

I know its sounds corny but people always comment on how good my skin looks. When asked how I do it, I usually say there’s no quick answer but essential oils help. I’ve been using essential oils in my own handmade products on my skin for almost 20 years and would never use anything else. Apart from the natural simplicity of oils, it’s the scent of most skincare products detest. Even if I couldn’t access essential oils, I’d still use plain cold pressed oils on my face and body, and for sensitive skins this could be the best thing to use. I like to mix it up a bit and not use essential oils everyday.

Here’s an outline of my easy, natural aromatherapy regime:



1. Shower

* No soap or other foaming agents on my face just water, with a face cloth if I want a deeper cleanse

* No soap or other foaming agents on most of my body – maybe some natural soap on the underarms and nether regions

2. Moisturise

Moisturising with oil on your face can have fantastic benefits

Moisturising with oil on your face can have fantastic benefits

* Face – spritz first with a rose or neroli hydrosol or floral water to really boost hydration (see my article “Hydrosols vs Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?”) then use rosehip oil with rose essential oil

or plain rosehip oil

or a cream I have made myself containing essential oils

If you are buying a small bottle of rosehip oil you could add the drops of rose oil into the bottle or just add the rose on a daily basis. For quantities to add to your bottle please check the 3% article below or the article above about the basics.

For example, for small squirt of rosehip oil onto your fingers, add a drop or two or rose oil 3% (see my article “Essential Oils 3% in Jojoba – What are they, and Why?”) and spread liberally all over your face. The only downside is that it’s a bit fiddly. Practice makes perfect though.

nourish your skin with oil blends

nourish your skin with oil blends

* Body – a nourishing body oil containing essential oils all over my body (see my article “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics”)

or a rich cream I’ve made myself containing essential oils

or just a plain cold pressed oil like almond, grapeseed, sunflower, olive, coconut


Remove makeup with the best makeup remover in the world - oil!

Remove makeup with the best makeup remover in the world – oil!


* Remove makeup (if applicable) with a damp cotton pad, with oil on it. This is the best makeup remover n the world! You can use sunflower, almond, olive etc and any cold pressed oil really

* Wipe with a warm, damp face cloth and only moisturise if you feel you need it. Often there is enough oil remaining on your skin to leave it feeling hydrated and soft

or shower and repeat the morning’s step

A clay face mask is the best and most natural clarifyng mask. pic vis

A clay face mask is the best and most natural clarifying mask. pic via


And occasionally I’ll give myself a body scrub, face scrub and face mask to remove old skin and tone and refine the top layer.

Face Scrub

Try some almond meal mixed with a little water. Stand over the basin so falling almonds can be caught and gently scrub. It’s wonderful how your skin feels with the oils of the almond infused into your skin. Then either apply a face mask or add a little extra moisture if needed.

Face Mask

Mix a little clay (any colour – for more info see my article “The Wonderful World of Clay”) with water or a hydrosol. You can add a few drops of essential oil if you like just stay with lavender, geranium, chamomile, neroli and the softer oils. Apply. Rest for 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Moisturise.

A salt scrub is easy to make! pic via

A salt scrub is easy to make! pic via

Body Scrub

The easiest body scrub is a salt scrub. Use fine sea salt, add some water and a little oil and mix to a slurry. Scrub all over your body standing in the shower or bath. If you are in a bath, then take the opportunity to soak for another 15 minutes.

Add 5 – 10 drops of essential oil to your liking to create an aromatherapy treatment at the same time. Or get creative and add things from your cupboard or fridge like fresh lemon rind and juice, cinnamon or fresh herbs. For more info see my article “It’s Easy to Make Your Own Body Scrub”.

Moisturise with an oil blend or cream.

Body Mask

Same for face mask but you’ll need about a cup and a half of clay. Add water slowly and mix well. Add 20 drops of essential oil if you like, and then wrap yourself in towels and a blanket as the clay will make you COLD! Rest. Shower off and moisturise with an oil blend.


Rose and Rosehip – A Winning Combination for Youthful Skin



I declare the best facial moisturiser in the entire world to be essential oil of rose with rosehip oil. Some may disagree but I don’t care because I love it. And here’s why ……

Rosehip Oil

the orange colour of reosehip oil

the orange colour of rosehip oil

Rosehips are the little buds left on a rose bush after the flowers have gone. They are high in Vitamin C and are now being used in supplements for immune strength and as an anti-inflammatory agent in joint formulas too. We have been drinking delightfully pink rosehip tea for years too, which is high in anti-oxidants and can help with colds and flu. It is the fruit of the rose bush and is also used in jams and jellies.

The oil can be extracted by cold pressing the buds or by using CO2 extraction process. This sounds a bit technical but it is actually a good way to extract oils as not much energy is needed, and the products are very near to their natural state.

It is obvious that all these amazing properties are present in the oil which is a dark orange colour, quite viscous with a distinct scent. It is luxurious to say the least and I find it funny when I read the back of the labels of some retail products that say to use “a few drops”. I use way more than that everyday. I use a decent pump’s worth. It is hydrating. soothing, and the Vitamin C really keeps your skin looking and feeling youthful!

Sometimes the scent is what puts some people off but I use it straight and love it. This is where mixing some rose essential oil into it will turn it into a stunning serum.

Rose Essential Oil

Rosa damascena - the most used rose for oil production

Rosa damascena – the most used rose for oil production

As a skin oil rose is amazing because it treats heat and redness in the skin. It is a complex oil revered through the ages for its use in beauty and femininity. Great for any skin condition from eczema and psoriasis through to scars and sunburn.

It is called the “Queen of Oils” and will make you feel just that. It is an oil of inner strength and wisdom.

Who wouldn’t want to have it everyday? I’d take a drop of rose oil over any perfume or any scented skin cream, any day.

Quantities for mixing (assuming you have rose 3% in jojoba):

5 mls rosehip oil          add           4 drops

10 mls rosehip oil        add           7 drops

15 mls rosehip oil        add          11 drops

20 mls rosehip oil        add          15 drops

25 mls rosehip oil         add          19 drops

30 mls rosehip oil        add          22 drops

(These are my own ratios for any oil in 3% jojoba for the face. It will be a higher concentration for the body. They are also rounded up and down to get a whole drop – unless you can get 1/2 a drop or 3/4’s of a drop, but I cant seem to do that very well!)

Or just pump some rosehip onto your fingers and add a few drops of rose oil. Sometimes we just need to simplify things.

create your own natural skincare

create your own natural skin care

For more notes on rose oil please see my article “Stop and Smell The Roses”


copyright suzannerbanks 2013

World Peace, Hippies, Patchouli Oil and The Evolution of Human Consciousness



We owe the Hippies from the 60’s a great deal more kudos than they receive today. They tapped into the energy of the coming of the new world age, and displayed a radical yet peaceful way of behaviour. It really was the first signs of the “dawning of the age of Aquarius” and 50 years later we, the common people, are really feeling the vibe in everyday life. The age of Aquarius is finally here and we are being summoned by the universe to improve, change, be kind to animals, be peaceful, add value to the world, be positive, look after the earth, tap into our spirituality and connect with people we have never met before. The scent of change in the 60’s was patchouli oil, and as a scent of peace, it is our oil now! It is an oil of the evolution of mankind.

The patchouli shrub

The patchouli shrub

Patchouli oil on it’s own is not particularly lovely, but when used with others oils, really comes alive. It is a “base oil” meaning that is dark, deep and heavy and related to the base and second chakras. The base chakra “Muladhara” is about survival (food, nurturing, shelter) and the second chakra “Svadisthana” is about our scared sexuality.

chakras via

chakras via

So it’s easy to understand why the hippie culture used this amazing oil. It is “grounding” as it helps us place our attention on our lower chakras – the ones closest to the earth. It helps us place our feet firmly in this world now and creates an empathy toward the planet and all the beings who reside on this planet. I would even say patchouli oil is almost buddhist in its existence.

hippies via

hippies via

The “free love” ethos of the hippie culture was supported by patchouli oil, and a need to connect with others in a deeply spiritual and sexual manner. It was all about the sharing the love and if we are to evolve beyond war, famine, politics and money we need to be peaceful and loving. We need patchouli oil!

Patchouli oil is also;

* great for skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis to help calm the symptoms

* wonderful to blend with other oils to help consolidate the scent and keep the formula in harmony

* a good oil to use on nail fungal infections – a drop straight from the bottle is best for this treatment

* an oil used to stimulate cell growth (like lavender) and therefore lovely in skin and hair care

Here are some recipes:

Hair Mask

Warm 6 teaspoons of olive oil, add the following essential oils, then massage into hair and scalp. you can sleep on a towel overnight so the oils really penetrate, or wash and condition after an hour.


Patchouli             4 drops

Lavender             6 drops

Orange                5 drops


Body Oil

A deep moisturising oil blend to promote peace and harmony in your environment. To 3 teaspoons of oil (almond, jojoba, sunflower, grape seed) add:

“Miss Universe”

Patchouli      2 drops

Rosewood   4 drops

Ylang Ylang  2 drops


Scent Your Space

In a traditional oil burner with a candle or an electric vapouriser add:

“Om, Baby”

Patchouli           5 drops

Mandarin          15 drops

Lemongrass       5 drops


Patchouli is peace.

Patchouli is worldly love.

Patchouli is the scent of the evolution of human consciousness.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

The Wonderful World of Clay

Pink Clay from Argiletz in France

Pink clay from France – pretty

Clay. In French it’s argile. Clay can be used for many things, including building materials, but we will be looking at clay as a form of therapeutic treatment.

French clays are the most widely used and green clay tops the list of the most popular. All the colours are so beautiful – just look at the pink clay in the pic above. There is also white clay, yellow clay and red clay and I’ve always kept the entire range. When I see them all together it’s soothing to the soul – it’s beautiful enriching colour palette from mother earth. Each colour has a different chemical composition with green being the most powerful in absorption. This is one of the reasons green clay is most popular in beauty treatments like face masks, body masks and baths.

green clay mask

green clay mask

The clays are used to extract and absorb extra “stuff” floating around in your lymph, connective tissue, skin, and extra-cellular spaces where interstitial fluid resides. Some of the clay’s minerals are also absorbed by your skin too. Anyway you look at it, when you’ve had a clay face or body mask you do feel great!

It’s interesting how quickly you feel cold when the clay is smoothed on your skin. The earth is surrounding you with her deep, cool energy. If you’ve ever had a body mask with clay you can get very cold. It’s important that your therapist keeps you wrapped up in towels and blankets so your core temperature doesn’t drop too rapidly.

In general, topical application of clay on the skin will be rejuvenating, clarifying, cooling, help cell renewal, lessen the appearance of spider veins and varicose veins and make you feel like you’ve had a mini holiday.

Of course everyone will recommend different clays for different issues and I probably use green clay the least. I tend to use white clay as it’s more gentle, or mix some white clay with another colour. Here are my tips with my favourite clay at the top – White Clay

White Clay

* gentle face masks and gentle body masks

* in baths

* in body scrubs

* as an absorptive soft powder on a cut or graze

* for eczema and psoriasis – especially for kids

* for rashes or skin disorders on dogs I either just sprinkle it on dry or mix into a smooth paste

Pink Clay

* this is my favourite face clay – face mask when the skin is red or for sufferers of rosacea

* face masks for eczema or psoriasis on the face

* anytime you need a good facial cleanse, and to reduce puffiness

Green Clay

* acne on the face or body either with a mask or just a little dotted on a spot

* face or body mask for oily skin

* body mask when you are doing a detox to help with the processing of toxins out of your system

* cellulite (it does help but I haven’t found anything yet to get rid of it completely – ugh!)

yellow clay

yellow clay

Yellow Clay

* face and body masks and to add to body scrubs particularly when the skin is dull and needs energy – it really brightens the skin

Red Clay

* I tend not to use this clay as much as the others but this one is great for spider veins, red skin, broken capillaries

And of course adding essential oils to your clay treatment turns it into something else all together.

I’ve got more to say on clay so stay tuned for recipes and Australian clay in The Wonderful World of Clay – Part 2.


copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Aromatherapy Body Oil – It’s as Easy as 1 2 3

What’s as easy as 1, 2, 3?

Nourishing your body with an oil blend every day. I know it does kinda sound a little bit hard, but you can start simply and build your skills.

sneakily borrowed from

What You Will Need To Get Started

1 or more bottles of essential oil

carrier oil (almond oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil or anything else you can think of or that’s in your cupboard)

a teaspoon

a saucer or little ramekin

How to make a Blend for Your body

Put 7 drops of essential oil into your container

Pour in 3 teaspoons of carrier oil

That’s it. Mix it with your little finger (any finger really). Now go ahead and coat your body with your delicious formula.

your easy, beautiful body oil blend

I have used oil all over my body for many, many years and it’s kept my skin looking and feeling fantastic. Once I’ve had a shower and moisturise with an oil blend, I just put on a robe for about 10 minutes before dressing. This allows time for the oil to soak in and any excess to be absorbed into your robe. In that time I have breakfast or do whatever I’m doing to start the day.

For some people this is too time consuming. Others don’t like oil but prefer a cream. I understand every one’s preferences are different but to me there’s nothing more beautiful than starting the day with a formula you have made just for yourself that’s totally natural. No preservatives, no artificial fragrances or waxes, no cream that’s been made in massive vats full of yucky synthetics.

Just oils.


If you are just starting out you could try buying one new oil each month or every 2 weeks. As your library grows you will increase the amount of combinations you can create and as the time passes you will feel more comfortable with mixing. As a beginner it’s easy to make mistakes but if you just mix a little at a time then the wastage is minimized.

The next step is to find lovely glass bottles from a supplier – just have a look on the Internet, there are lots available. You must know how many mls your bottle is and then you’ll know how many drops of essential oils to put in. If you are in the USA and are not metric (!) you’ll have to convert these ratios:

10 mls carrier oil add 5 drops

20 mls carrier oil add 10 drops

25 mls carrier oil add 12 drops

30 mls carrier oil add 15 drops

40 mls carrier oil add 20 drops

50 mls carrier oil add 25 drops

100mls carrier oil add 50 drops

200 mls carrier oil add 100 drops.

******Always put the essential oil drops in first so they can have a get together, gel, mélange and synchronise before you add the carrier oil.

Voila. You are creating your day with Aromatherapy. It’s easy as 1,2,3.

It’s Easy to Make Your Own Body Scrub

Sneakily borrowed from

It IS easy. I recommend using sea salt as a base and adding ingredients to that. Use fine grade as the coarse grade will scratch your skin.

If you are a lover of essential oils then try adding about 5 drops (or a few more) of the oils you choose, into 2 cups of salt and slosh in some oil to make a gooey, grainy paste. It can be olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or anything you have in the cupboard. You could even try coconut milk or coconut cream to take you away on an island holiday in your mind.

Essential Oil Suggestions

Lemon – fresh wonderful scent, alpha hydroxyl acids to help get rid of dead skin

Orange – sweet and gorgeous and also has alpha hydroxyl acids to help get rid of dead skin

Lemongrass – invigorating

Lavender – an all purpose oil which helps skin regeneration and is fortify to the spirit

Peru balsam – great for the skin and has an amazing soft honey-like scent, similar benzoin in it’s healing ability

You can use any oil really so go with your intuition and your vibe. You will be giving yourself a skin scrub and an aromatherapy treatment to nurture your emotions and ease toxic thoughts.

The best way to do your body scrub is in a bath. After a 5 minute soak, stand up in the bath and scrub each part of your body with care. You are not trying to scrub oil off a baking pan so take it easy. The salt is the medium that will ease off old skin so don’t press too hard. After you have completed your ritual you can then soak in the treatment until your heart’s content – or until you get all pruney. If you only have a shower like me, wet yourself first, do the scrub, then shower off.

Get Creative


This is the fun part. There are so many things you probably have in the house that could turn your salt scrub into a tropical delight. Try:

A teaspoon of vanilla extract

A few tablespoons of almond meal will make the scrub a little milky and leave your skin feeling soft

Grated lemon rind – or the rind of any citrus fruit will really make your scrub zesty, natural and alive with energy.

A tablespoon of coffee – some claim it helps get rid of cellulite and while I’m not sure about that, it will stimulate your skin and your senses

Herbal tea – either grind up a loose leaf tea or rip open a teabag and use the contents

Go on give it a whirl at Spa You. You don’t have to travel very far and it wont cost a fortune. Good luck my friends, scrub on.