This time of year is full of traditions, whether universally adopted or ones special to just you and your family, we pack the season with memories and expectations.
The Christmas stocking is one of these practices, steeped in ritual from the ceremonious hanging alongside a hopeful sherry and mince pie to the curious squeezing and prodding to guess what’s hidden inside.
If you’re lucky, and receive some of the most traditional stocking fillers like an orange, walnuts, chocolate or maybe marshmallows, here’s how they can be great treats for your skin. Maybe you’ve been naughty and are given a lump of coal – no worries, that can be great for your skin too (kinda ;-))
Orange is great for dry skin, making it a go-to ingredient throughout the cold winter months when skin needs all the moisture it can get. Orange smells great and is a stress reliever; it dissolves hard skin and brightens dull and oily complexions. Field Fresh Skincare’s Orange Smoothing Balm is great for soothing dry winter skin.
Oranges are packed full of vitamin C which is fast becoming the new super-ingredient in skincare. It’s difficult to incorporate in off-the-shelf products because it is quick to destabilize when exposed to air, but it’s great to use fresh in products you blend yourself at home.
The vitamin C helps produce collagen which gives skin strength and elasticity, minimising wrinkles. It’s also an antioxidant acting against the free radicals that age skin.
Typically found in powdered form, that you can blend with water as you use it, you can also benefit from simply using a freshly peeled orange. Try rubbing the pith of an orange onto your skin next time you have a bath and see how smooth it makes your skin. This does have a low pH which some find irritating so you might prefer to combine vitamin C in a soothing serum.
Orange oil soared in popularity at the end of 17th Century when the Duchess of Neroli used it to scent her bath and her gloves. It has been known as Neroli oil ever since.
Sweet orange oil comes from the same orange tree blossoms as neroli oil but the different extraction process makes it a sweeter, warmer, more floral scent. Orange is relied on in aromatherapy to create the feeling of happiness and warmth.
Walnut is known as the royal nut – and it can give you smooth, aristocratic skin. All Field Fresh Skincare One-Pot-Kits include walnut butter as a rich, hydrating base for the creams and balms.
Walnut is good for general regeneration of the skin so it’s a real boost for mature skin and the fight against wrinkles. Walnut oil has a dry feeling on the skin and disperses well leaving the skin feeling soft and supple. It can be used as a skin, nail or body oil where you want to increase circulation, such as on legs and feet. You can also use ground walnut shells in an exfoliating scrub, here’s a recipe.
Hopefully you’ll find some chocolate, ideally dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) in your stocking. Simply eating it provides potent antioxidants in the form of flavonoids, omega 6 fatty acids, and some essential nutrients including vitamins A, B, D, E and K and minerals, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium and protein as well as potassium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, copper and magnesium and manganese (which helps nutrient absorption and sex hormone production – it’s all making sense now!).
The benefits are so numerous I’ve written a longer piece about them here, it’s really worth indulging in. You’ll also discover how to benefit from chocolate without piling on the calories and find 10 recipes to enable you to luxuriate in chocolate from head to toe.
The lovely, fluffy sweets were originally made from Althea officinalis, the marshmallow plant. This has long been used in confectionary and in middle eastern halva. And it’s traditionally used in herbal medicine and skincare as it is a great skin conditioning agent helping moisturise and soften the skin. It can boost cell immunity, soothe irritated, inflamed or injured skin and gently smooth skin.
In Field Fresh Skincare’s award-winning Marshmallow Dream Cream, there’s a double dose of marshmallow: marshmallow leaf is used in the infusion and this is then combined with macerated marshmallow root oil. Applying it at bedtime gives the marshmallow plenty of time to work its magic while you sleep. Sweet dreams!
Ok, so the activated charcoal that’s becoming mega popular in skincare may be a bit different to the lump of coal naughty children find in their Christmas stocking, but it’s worth knowing why it’s considered such a great ingredient for blend-it-yourself skincare. Find out all about it here.