22 Dec 2016

Out With the Old, In With The New

Latest news over on the website - 
 Out with the Old, in with the New at Orchard View

With my hands full, treating customers & creating new formulas, I'm on this blog less these days. So don't miss out!
Find out about the latest product news on our website using the link above. Then sign up to our e-newsletter to stay in touch by receiving updates straight to your inbox.
Thank you,
Lucy Stevens MFHT
OV naturals

21 Jul 2016


For those of you who, like me, love a superfood smoothie, this is for you!

1) Pour boiling water onto a Matcha Green Teabag & leave to steep for up to 15 mins (I used Pukka Herbs)
2). Chop generous helpings of kale, celery (stalks & leaves), rocket & flat-leaved parsley. Add to your blender (no fancy gadgets needed).
3). Add half an apple & 1 or 2 slices of watermelon. We're looking for the main % to be veggies with just a little fruit to sweeten.
4). Add a sprinkle of ground flax seeds, sun chlorella, tumeric & cinnamon
5). Add the Matcha Green Tea.
6). Add some ice unless you want a warm soup!
7). Whizz it up. Drink. Feel healthy, full & a little bit virtuous!

Many of these foods are found in The Sirtfood Diet which is all about foods to boost your immune system, regulate metabolism & even prolong life.
If you'd like to read more about nutrition, health & skincare, visit the OV blog http://www.ovnaturals.co.uk/aromatherapy-blog/ 

Love Lucy, OV x

16 Jun 2016

Ideas to Improve Your Acne

Ideas to Improve Your Acne 

through Nutrition & Topical Treatments

Acne is one of the most common problems I am asked about in facial treatments here at Orchard View. Acne vulgaris/cystic acne occurs when the sebaceous glands become inflamed, often clogged & forming blackheads & pustules which may eventually lead to scarring. 

Factors which adversely affect our skin are diet, sunlight, pollution, weather, genes, ageing & hormones. This is a wide spectrum of influences & the question is often, where do I start?

Here are a few simple ways to get back on track through nutrition & topical skin ‘food’:

1. Improve Digestion & Absorption

Cleaning up your diet is the most important thing you can do for your skin. 

Skin health is directly related the gut – so your nutrition and your body’s ability to absorb nutrients are key. None of us are saints, and there’s no use trying to be one – we are all imperfect humans! However, just being mindful of your diet can help dramatically. 

Refined sugar promotes bacterial growth, so is likely to make acne worse. Sugar forms ‘advanced glycation end products’ which cause collagen & elastin to cross-link & produce loss of elasticity in the skin, as well as inflammation caused by blood sugar imbalance. So do try to avoid white carbohydrates, processed foods, cakes, sweets, biscuits, sugary chocolate, crisps etc. Read labels, you’ll be astonished which foods contain refined sugar. Salt & saturated/hydrogenated fats are also best avoided. If this sounds daunting, set a realistic goal & start to cut back.

2. Reduce Inflammation

Essential Fatty Acids help reduce inflammation in the body. These are not made in our bodies, so need to be consumed through diet. The word ‘fats’ can scare people off, but there are healthy & unhealthy varieties – we need the healthy ones for balance. 
oily fish
ground flax seeds
olive oil

Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral & antioxidant actions. 
green tea
green peppers

Sulphur is an anti-inflammatory trace mineral vital for skin health. 
Water - 70% of our skin is water so we need to drink approximately 8 cups (1.5 litres) of water a day to allow cells to rebuild & excrete waste. This keeps skin looking plump & healthy. Dehydrated skin may be dry & inflamed or shrivelled looking. You can also add a slice or squeeze of lemon or lime to water which helps alkalise the body. An easy way to feel healthier. Just don't do it every time you drink water as your teeth don't want to be subjected to too much acid. (In your body, this acid is metabolised & actually has an alkalising effect in your gut).

Stress also causes inflammation in the body. Give yourself time to relax.

3. Prevent & Counteract Free Radical Damage

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant & helps counteract free radical damage & reduce scarring. 

4. Regulate Sebum Production

Zinc helps to regenerate cells & to regulate oil glands & hormone balance. Zinc has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of acne & also helps wound healing, stretch marks & eczema. 

Vitamin A helps normalise sebum production & the rate of keratinisation (shedding of dead skin cells which otherwise may clog & infect the pores). 
fish liver oils

Topical skincare

Tea Tree

Topically you could try OV Tea Tree Purifying Facial oil. This may sound like a counter-intuitive method of treating acne, but skin needs healthy oils to function properly. With acne often comes dryness & flakiness, redness & inflammation. Research has shown that Tea Tree Essential oil is effective in treating spots & breakouts.

Linoleic Acid
We have added other ingredients to our Tea Tree blend based on research, for example, plant oils rich in linoleic acid, which may help with barrier function & pore-clogging: 
“If you have low levels of linoleic acid, your skin does not function as well.  In fact, it doesn’t protect from outside stressors as well (barrier function), nor does it clear out old skin cells as fast (follicular hyperkeratosis).  This, in turn, leads to more pore-clogging.”
(Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1986)

Retinol or Vitamin A 
This can be found naturally in nutritious quantities in OV Triple Rose Luxury Organic Facial Oil, which contains a high quantity of potent Organic Rosehip oil (very different from cheaper more refined versions of Rosehip which don’t have the same potency). Rosehip is the only plant oil which contains natural tretinoin, the acid form of vitamin A, also known as all-trans-retinoic acid. OV Triple Rose is a ‘dry’ oil, with a short surface time on the skin, so it is rapidly absorbed & doesn’t leave any fatty residue, which makes it an excellent face oil. 
As Sarah Stacey of the Beauty Bible said when she wrote about OV Triple Rose Luxury Organic Facial Oil:

"It may seem counter-intuitive but actually facial oils rebalance combination or oily skin. You only need a very few drops, pressed into clean skin under your moisturiser and it smells divinely of rosehip seed oil, damask rose otto and rose geranium, plus lavender, apricot kernel and 100 per cent natural antioxidant vitamin E. You won’t know how you lived without it."

Use natural sun protection daily. 

Vitamin E
You can also apply Vitamin E topically, which is highly effective in helping to reduce damage from the sun & other environmental factors. A pure, natural form of Vitamin E is found in all OV facial & body formulas.

And finally:
Don’t scrub your skin with a harsh foaming cleanser. This will signal your body to throw out even more sebum & cause inflammation & sensitisation. Use a gentle, non-perfumed creamy cleanser with a soft cloth instead.

Have regular facials with a trusted practitioner.

Here are some other testimonials we have received from customers using OV formulas:

"Dear Lucy,
My daughter and I use a combination of your oils between us, and they are all wonderful! My daughter is 17, her skin is oily with breakouts. The  tea tree oil has made a HUGE improvement to her skin in a relatively short time period: the spots have cleared without any scarring at all. She wears less make up, and her confidence has returned. I use the Triple Rose, which really improves the look and feel of my mature skin …Thank you so much for such natural and effective skin care; my daughter is a committed vegan, and we both prefer natural skin and beauty products, cruelty free, of course. Lastly, the oils always arrive so beautifully wrapped! I have never written to a company before, but we both wanted to say "thank you" properly!”
Marianne Lynch. 2015

"I have been using the triple rose for the past few days and have to say I am very impressed! My acne scars have definitely appeared less red and angry and generally my skin looks radiant!" 
Charley, Plumberry Beauty 

"A great product to improve not just the hydration and softness of your skin but the clarity too." 
Victoria Dance, The London Luxe 

"My skin feels so velvety smooth and soft and super hydrated after applying this oil, and over the months it has improved not only in softness but in texture, clarity and tone too."
Reheadbeautydiaries Blog

OV Tea Tree Purifying Organic Facial Oil
"Unlike most of the Tea Tree oils out there on the market, this big boy is really nourishing and not stripping at all, whilst purifying the skin and aiding the skin with its anti-bacterial properties." 
9 out of Ten Blog March 2014

“An uplifting oil. Easily absorbed into the skin. Light but full of zest... my skin is smooth without feeling greasy and my pores are noticeably smaller, particularly first thing in the morning.” 
Claire Jones, Somerset

"Used @OVnaturals Tea Tree Facial Oil after cleansing today. My skin feels heavenly!! XO" 
@ttbphoto on Twitter

"First thing I can say about the tea tree oil: makes skin silky smooth! X" @PracticallyPure on Twitter 

I’d love to hear success stories from any of you who have found something that helps their acne, so that I can pass these on to others with the same condition. Contact me lucy@ovnaturals.co.uk 

Lucy Stevens MFHT holds a 2013 CNM Certificate having completed a course in Natural Skincare & Skin Nutrition at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is a qualified Aromatherapist & has studied anatomy & physiology of the skin, Robert Tisserand’s online Skin Series, courses on product blending and facials.  

Changes to your diet are best approached c/o a qualified nutritionist or dietician. You can research a nutritionist through the NHS or the British Association for Applied Nutrition.

Love Lucy, OV x

21 May 2016

Top 5 Foods for Glowing Skin

Top 5 Foods for Glowing Skin

I was recently lucky enough to be able to tap into an online natural beauty & wellness summit, The Glow Summit, organised by Ailish of The Glow Getter Blog. I thought you'd love to hear some Top Tips from a nutritionist, to help you stay healthy both inside & out. Here are some of the top foods recommended for glowing skin by Nutritionist Clare Fairhurst, of Jigsaw Nutrition. As you know, I'm an advocate of the holistic approach to health & nutrition and strongly believe that balanced skin starts inside your body. So here goes...
Top 5 Foods for Glowing Skin

Clare advocates a bright, colourful, varied diet & specific foods to help the body make collagen, a vital protein which acts as "scaffolding" for our skin, supporting it & keeping it firm & youthful. The body's ability to make collagen starts to reduce at the grand old age of 25! So you can give it a helping hand...

 Here are Clare's Top Five favourite foods for glowing skin:
Ground flax seeds kept in a closed container in the fridge – to move everything through the gut & eliminate effectively. High in Omega 3, they are great for digestion & supporting hormone balance, which often manifests as spots around the chin.
Wild salmon – high in Omega 3 which is essential for nourishing the skin & is anti-inflammatory; contains zinc which helps collagen production to repair the skin & help prevent spots. (Note from Lucy: for vegans, many nuts & seeds also contain high levels of Omega 3, such as walnuts & almonds).
Berries – high in antioxidants to help repair sun damage & in Vitamin C for collagen production. Darker berries contain Vitamin A, to help reduce any excess sebum which may be the cause of spots & inflammation.
Greens – kale, watercress, rocket & especially cucumber. Cucumber is high in water content so moisturises the skin cells & contains silica which helps the body to make collagen. Great to add to your green juices.
Tumeric – a powerful anti-inflammatory to help reduce overall inflammation in the body & anti-oxidant to help repair & prevent damage in the cell structure of the skin. A whole spectrum of antioxidants helps your skin, more examples being garlic, green tea, cacao, cayenne pepper & parsley.

So there you are! Try adding these to your diet & see if your skin & gut health improve. Do let us know (:

With thanks to Ailish & Clare for permission to publish (: Photo credits: pexel.com

12 May 2016

Ingredients Spotlight - Neroli


Neroli. It’s said that this lovely orange blossom flower is named after an Italian princess, who scented her gloves with its aromatic petals.

The botanical name for neroli is Citrus Aurantium var. amara, Amara meaning 'bitter'; or Neroli Bigarade. The flowers grow on the bitter orange tree, originally sourced from the Far East. To produce the essential oil, the flower petals are steam distilled. It takes many, many flowers to yield the oil, hence its high price tag.

Limonene, a Terpene & Linalol, an alcohol, are the main natural chemicals found in Neroli. Generally speaking, terpenes have many different therapeutic effects, including anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial while alcohols have antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal properties.

Neroli is one of our favourite essential oils in skincare & aromatherapy. 
For your skin, it helps cell regeneration so is good for many different skin conditions. I use this oil in treatments in particular for ageing skin, as it can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles & thread veins. In aromatherapy treatments I would use it to help hot, agitated conditions. It is a tonic for the nervous system & circulation. I would choose Neroli to help alleviate insomnia, anxiety & shock.

The aroma is relaxing and uplifting. It is soothing and delicate with a rich, floral sweetness.  If someone came to me with low self-esteem or needing a confidence boost, I would turn to Neroli.

At OV naturals, we have named one of our facial oil blends “Orange Blossom” after this precious essential oil.

Do you love Neroli too?

What are your favourite essential oils?

P.S. Remember to always seek professional advice before using pure essential oils at home.