For a while now I have been eyeing the offerings of The Amazings, it’s a very nifty concept, where elders share their knowledge and talents, and you get to learn a new skill. You can do a wide range of workshops, from knitting and quilting, to bread-making, business skills, philosophy and many more.
The workshop I attended on Thursday evening was learning to make natural products. I am slightly sceptical of all the cleansers and products advertising eternal youth and beauty. They do tend to over-exaggerate their advantages.(see: keeping up appearances) Even David Horne, makeup-guru for Illamasqua, said that the best thing to do to keep your skin looking young is use a good sunscreen, and remove makeup before bed.
So, I thought that it would be really good to learn how to make my own cleansers without a million ingredients and chemicals, and be thrifty and eco-friendly as well! Judith Paris was our most knowledgeable Amazing, who took us through the process of making our own lavender water, face cleanser, toner, body-scrub and lip balm. All of these things can be made very simply with ingredients to be found in your supermarket, local health store, or online.
Our session kicked off with a glass of wine and some snacks made by JP, French cook and bread maker, who also gives classes – and then Judith started by explaining the many characteristics of Lavender which makes it an excellent fabric cleanser, conditioner and moth deterrent. Its also great for fighting sleeplessness and serves to relieve stress and anxiety.
Next on the list was oil cleanser. The cleanser is based on the idea that like cleans like, and therefore it is better to use oil for cleaning than harsh soaps that dries out the skin. The Romans knew it in antiquity; they covered their bodies in oil, sat in steam, and then scraped the dirt off. The same effect can be achieved with this cleanser and a hot flannel on your face.
For the body scrub we used coarse sea salt from the supermarket, I have got some epsom salt at home that I want to use for a next batch. We added dried lavender, coconut oil, and I personalised it with a couple of drops of Ylang-Ylang, which has euphoric properties – just the thing for a relaxing bath.
Above you can see the finished products as well as a lovely bag made from repurposed fabric by students of Thrifty Cuture, Judith’s sewing class venture. I really enjoy using the rosewater toner in the mornings, I am notoriously bad at waking up, and it’s refreshing without drying out my sensitive skin. The shea butter is also fantastic in this cold weather and works for everything from chapped lips to scruffy hands and elbows.
I can highly recommend attending an Amazings’ workshop, it is a great way of meeting new people and learning or refreshing a skill. In a city such as London where we have lost the ability to connect with our neighbours, this is something that brings generations together and shares knowledge on a very human level.