Heavy Metal in Cosmetics: It’s Not Music to Your Body

We’ve been seeing more and more in the news about heavy metals like lead, cadmium, chromium and more in lipstick and other cosmetics products from major global manufacturers. It’s scary stuff.

But it’s nothing new:
“Concern about metals in cosmetics came to the forefront of American media in 2007, when an analysis of 33 popular brands of lipstick by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics showed that 61 percent of them contained lead. The report eventually led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which doesn’t regulate cosmetics, to look into the issue, and what it found wasn’t any better: it found lead in all of the samples tested, with levels four times higher than the earlier study, ranging from 0.09 parts per million to 3.06 parts per million. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of lead for humans.”

And keep in mind that since these heavy metals are not ingredients but rather contaminants from the industrial manufacturing process, cosmetics conglomerates can get away without listing any of these poisons on the label.

Does “poison” sound too strong? Not when you realize that “minor exposure to cadmium … can result in flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills and achy muscles. In the worst cases, the metal is linked to cancer, attacking the cardiovascular, respiratory and other systems in the body. Chromium is a carcinogen linked to stomach ulcers and lung cancer, and aluminum can be toxic to the lungs. Long-term exposure to manganese in high doses is associated with problems in the nervous system. There are no safe levels of chromium … ”

At JOBOMAX we have always been champions of natural, traditional production processes that keep industrial heavy metals out of your skin care products, and create greater economic opportunity for the women who work so hard to gather and process cosmetics raw materials. Whether you source from us or another sustainable import competitor, please think about the impact of your purchase on supplier groups, and on your own body.

Shea Butter for Hands – and Elbows and Knees too

I started using shea butter as a moisturizer about two years ago and I have never looked back nor have I ever sought out an alternative.  Shea butter is natural, kind to your skin and has amazing moisturizing properties; it ticks all the boxes for me!

Take –

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax pellets

Yes, it’s the same list as I used for foot balm and lip balm – it’s so good I decided to use it everywhere!

For this recipe I added

  • a little bit of glitter.  Always use a glitter that is suitable for skin – one that is used for making soap or bath bombs is perfect.

shea butter hand cream with glitter

  • A few drops of a fragrance oil

Melt all the ingredients together and stir gently.  Do not let the mixture boil. Pour into a jug then into the mold of your choice.

I used a silicone tray – I always use silicone molds for all my balm and soap making, they are just so easy to work with.

shea butter hand cream

The liquid should set after a few hours and be ready to use.

I find this balm lovely after a hard day at work or when I’ve spent too long washing and scrubbing trying to get the house clean.  I rub the balm around in my hands as if I was washing with soap.  When my hands feel good and soft I pop the balm back in its dish and carry on moisturizing up my arms and over my elbows.  It feels so luxurious it almost makes doing all that housework feel worthwhile!  I can also recommend it on hard working knees too.

shea butter hand cream in bom-bom dish


By Emma Evans


Shea Butter Balm for Cold Mornings

This week I found another wonderful use for my shea butter cream.

shea butter hand cream in bom-bom dish

We’ve just had some unseasonably cold weather and it feels particularly biting first thing in the morning when I’m walking into work and in the dark evenings when I’m walking home.  I’ve dug out my beautifully knitted gloves but the icy wind manages to find it’s way through the holes to my skin.

And my nose, my poor nose cold nose!  It’s starting to look red even though I don’t have a cold and my skin feels like its taking a real beating.  I’m all for getting into the festive spirit but I don’t want to start or end my day looking like Rudolph.

The other morning I decided just to pop a little bit of shea butter balm on a dry patch on my elbow before I left the house but I wasn’t concentrating and pinched off a blob far too big.  In order to use this up I, still half asleep, spread it liberally over my hands and face.

And then off to work.

And the wind couldn’t hurt me.  By accident I’d used my favorite shea butter recipe as a barrier cream. The cream on my hands, even inside my gloves, protected my skin from the icy winds that were trying to get through –  and also kept me toasty warm too.  And the cream on my face – well it was more than I’d normally use on my face and probably made my skin look a bit shiny but this didn’t matter – nobody could see it and it had all the journey to work to sink in.  And whilst it was moisturizing away giving me healthier, smoother, more rejuvenated skin it was also protecting me from the harsh weather.  And in addition to all its moisturizing properties shea butter also contains cinnamic acid which protects against the elements.

So no more Rudolph the red nose reindeer biting wind worry for me – I’m all warm and my skin is looking great!

shea butter body balm perfect for skin on cold mornings

By Emma Evans

Shea Butter Soap for Kids

Most store bought soaps contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which whilst great for creating a lather can also be an irritant, especially on young skin. An SLS free soap is great for children, for adults with sensitive skin or for me – someone who wants to limit the number of chemicals my body absorbs through my skin, and someone who likes to play – because - making soap is fun!

Today I decided to use the excuse of making soap for children to have a good play.  I always like to add shea butter to the soaps I make. It’s full of wonderful moisturizing properties and its kind to skin, young and old.  You can make soap without shea butter but it always seems better with – who doesn’t want healthier, smoother, happier skin?

I used -

  • SLS free soap base
  • shea butter (size wise – a knob of butter about 5%-10% of the size of the soap base you use)
  • a few drops of blue soap coloring

Melt the soap base and shea butter together in a pan over a low heat.  Add a few drops of colour and stir gently.  Do not allow the mix to boil.  Transfer into a jug and then pour into your mold.

silcone mold for shea butter soap for kids

I used a fish ice cube tray that I found in a thift store last month.  I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it ever since!

Leave to set on a flat surface.

In a few hours you can remove the soap from the mold and admire your handy work.

shea butter soap for kids, child-friendly soap with shea butter

 Beautiful shea butter fishes


Shea Butter Fishes in the Sea

If you want to carry on playing you could try embedding some of your fishes in their very own sea.

Melt some more SLS free soap base. We want this base to remain as clear as possible so don’t add any color or shea butter this time (we’ve already got plenty of lovely moisturizing properties in our fishes so it will be ok).  I did add a few calendula petals (marigold) to the mix, these will be my water weed!

Pour the liquid soap base into a mold about twice the size of your fishes.  Leave the base to cool slightly then, whilst its still liquid and warm lower in a fish.

The edges of the fishes might melt a bit and the colour could bleed but it will still look great.  Leave to set for approximately 3-4 hours (these will take longer to set then the fishes as they are larger)

Remove from mold and enjoy

shea butter soap for kids, fishes in the sea

Shea Butter Fishes in the Sea

By Emma Evans

Shea Butter Soap – Make a Simple and Kind Soap for all the Family

shea butter SLS free soap heartsWe all need to wash to keep fresh and dirt-free but although store-bought soap might leave you clean it can also leave your skin feeling dry and tight.

Most store-bought soap contains all sort of manmade agents including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which has great foaming properties but it’s also very harsh on the skin.  It’s the same chemical that is used in garage floor cleaners to remove oil – great at cleaning but not something I want on my skin!

An increasing number of people are now seeking out SLS free soap.  I find the easiest way to get a soap which is kind to the skin types of my whole family is to make my own.  Shea butter has fantastic moisturizing properties and is rich in vitamins which are great for the skin.   I add shea butter to my soaps whenever I can.

You will need: -

  • A SLS free melt and pour soap base.  This is avaible from your local craft or hobby store or from 100’s of places online
  • Shea butter – I always buy unrefined shea butter as this still has all its goodness in and I always buy Fair Trade
  • Fragrance and color if desired

And just a few basic bits of kitchen equipment

equipment for DIY homemade SLS free shea butter soap
Six easy steps:-
1) Cut some of the soap base into 1 inch cubes (ish) and melt in a pan on a low heat
2) Add shea butter.  A little goes a long way so you’ll only need a blob that’s 5%-10% of the size of the soap base you added.  I’m always tempted to add more but when I do it doesn’t mix properly, the end result isn’t so visually pleasing and when using its harder to create a lather
3) Stir gently
4) When melted pour into jug then into the mold of your choice

Some people recommend finely spraying the tops of the soap with surgical spirit.  It helps to pop all the little bubbles and will hopefully improve the appearance of the finished item.  It’s not essential though; sometimes I bother, sometimes I don’t.
5) Leave to set on a flat surface for several hours
6) Remove from mold and there you have it

shea butter SLS free soap hearts

Simple, kind shea butter soap that leaves your skin feeling amazing!


By Emma Evans


Shea Butter Foot Balm Recipe

diy shea butte foot balm recipe

Over the last few years I’ve found my shea butter foot balm a life-saver – or a foot saver at least!  During my working day I’m quite often on my feet for 8+ hours, then there is the walking to and from work and even when I’m not working I always seem to be running around.

My feet used to get very hard on the balls of my toes and especially the heels.  Sometimes the heel skin would even crack and become very painful.  I’ve tried every heavy-duty cream I could find over the years and bought my fair share of foot exfoliating stones and graters in an effort to remove those thick layers of hard dead skin.

But no more.

Take -

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Fair Trade shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon of Fair Trade (or locally sourced) beeswax pellets

Don’t worry if you can’t measure exactly 1 level tablespoon of shea butter – a little bit more or a little bit less of any of these three ingredients won’t hurt.

  • Melt all the ingredients in a pan over a low heat, stirring gently.  It will only take a few minutes to melt.
  • Empty the liquid mix into a jug (you could just pour straight from the pan if you wish but it’s easy to spill if you don’t use a pourer) then pour into your mold.  I always use silicon molds as they make removing the finished product so easy.  For this foot balm I used a small ice cube tray

shea butter foot balm recipe


  • Leave to set on a flat surface.
  • After a few hours your mixture should be set and ready to use.

At the end of your evening rub the balm generosity over your toes and heels, pop on an old pair of socks and off to bed with you.  I find that one of these small hearts is enough for both feet.

Awake in the morning with beautiful soft younger-looking skin.   Repeat as needed.  When I first starting using this balm I was using it every other night but now I find my feet only need it once a fortnight.

Whenever I use this foot balm it always feels like a treat and I make sure I’m never out of stock.

By Emma Evans

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Shea Butter Lip Balm

diy lip balm

I have some friends who seem to have a different lip balm in every pocket and are never without it whatever the season.  I have never been a big lip balm user; I have never felt the need.  But all this changes over the winter months.  It feels like one day everything is fine and the next the wind and rain and freezing cold mornings are here and I’m searching through old make-up bags for long-forgotten stock and begging lip balm off friends like other people beg cigarettes.  Lips seem to lose all their moisture and become so hard and cracked – and right in the center of your face for all to see.  Painful and embarrassing.

You could buy a range of balms and creams but they will be full of chemicals and probably won’t be as good as this wonderful shea butter lip balm.

Take –

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Fair Trade shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon of Fair Trade (or local US) beeswax pellets

These ingredients can also make a great foot balm.  When using the balm for my lips I add

  • A few drops of flavor oil (I used orange.  Take care and make sure that the oil you add is suitable for lips, most scents for soaps and bath bombs are not.)
  • A little color.  I have found nothing works better than a little of an old lipstick – you know it is suitable for lips and it’s a great way to use up old lipsticks when they have gone below the case level.

Lip Balm recipe

  • Melt everything together in a pan on low heat stirring gently.
  • Pour into a jug then into your choice of mold.  I always use silicone molds – it’s so easy to remove the balm from these molds and there are a great range of shapes; ice cube trays work particularly well.  To use the lip balm on the move you could also pour into a small clean tin or pot.
  • Leave to set for a few hours on a flat surface.
  • Use as needed.  Remake when required – I always do!

The “bubbles” seen in the photo at the top are because I didn’t dry the mold properly before pouring - I think they still look good though and they certainly work beautifully.

I quadrupled the recipe when I made my last batch of these.  I’ve found they make very welcome little Christmas gifts!


By Emma Evans

“Choose Fair Trade” – A short video

We thought you might like to watch this short video from Fair Trade International USA entitled “Choose Fair Trade”.  Please feel free to leave any thoughts or comments below.

Choose Fairtrade from Fairtrade International USA on Vimeo.

More Great Hair Care Ideas with Shea Butter

unrefined shea butter hair care

There are many great ways that shea butter can be used in really effective hair care treatments and the good news if you don’t know it already is that many of them are really simple to make and take very little time.

Shea butter is rich in vitamins A, E and F plus Cinnimic Acid, all of which mean that it can moisturize your hair and scalp, ease frizz, sooth and soften, repair damage done by heat styling, blow-drying and pollution and protect your hair from sun and wind damage amongst other things!

Shea Butter & Olive Oil Treatment for Normal Hair

Melt 2 tablespoons of shea butter and add ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Transfer to a suitable container and leave to cool for a few minutes.

melted shea butter for hair careMassage into your hair and scalp (you might not need the whole mixture – start with a small amount, you can always add more), then comb through and style as normal.  Do not wash out.  This shea butter mix will happily work its magic on your hair as you go about your daily whirl.

Shea Butter, Coconut Milk & Avocado Treatment for Dry or Damaged Hair

This one uses a few more ingredients but they should all be easy to get hold of if you don’t already have them in your kitchen cupboard.

Into a blender place –

  • 3 tablespoons of  Fair Trade shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (Fair Trade or local)
  • 1 peeled and stoned ripe avocado (Fair Trade if possible)
  • 14oz coconut milk (Fair Trade if possible)

Mix in the blender for a few minutes until you have a smooth paste.  Rub into your scalp and hair working through to the tips and leave on for about 15-30 minutes.  As this mixture has quite a bit of liquid in it it might be best to wrap your hair in saran-wrap or a shower cap to keep the mix from dipping.  Wrapping your head will also keep things warmer which really helps the shea butter to work its magic.  Wash your hair with a mild shampoo and style as normal.  The remaining mixture should keep well in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Please feel free to add your comments, pictures of making these recipes or your own ideas in the facebook comments below.

By Emma Evans

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Great Infographic from Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA Infographic

As part of our celebrating Fair Trade Month we thought this would be a great opportunity to share this infographic with you.  Want to know more about Fair Trade USA then check up their website here.




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