Powder is alluring. Fresh powder, even more so. Ask any young child, snowboarder or weary office worker how they feel about waking up to snow. It makes the world appear sparkly and new.
And so I could think of no more a fitting recipe for the start of the blog than a dusting powder. Something that speaks of the past, but needs reinventing for the present. Because dusting powders have fallen out of favour haven’t they. Depending on your age, you may recall seeing powder puffs on our mother or grandmother’s dressing table – the silky feel of them against our skin, the heady scent of Yardley, Avon, Elizabeth Arden – rose, lavender, lily of the valley – lingering in the air. While nostalgic, many turn their noses up at smelling like ‘old ladies’. But it doesn’t have to be this way: perhaps it’s time for a powder revival. New formulations, a new image for a product with many virtues. Because not only do they make you smell nice after a shower, they can also help to absorb excess oil after moisturising, prevent chafing and double up as a dry hair shampoo. Read more about the history of dusting powders here.
Of the companies in the UK still making dusting powder – and there really aren’t many – the one that does it best, in my view, is the ever wonderful Lush. I followed the company from the start, back when they were Cosmetics to Go (they hail from my neck of the woods in Dorset) making outlandish, delightful bath bombs featured on The Clothes Show. I touted their catalogue around the playground at school, relishing the witty product descriptions and ordering stuff for my friends. Over the years I witnessed their dramatic demise and subsequent revival under a new brand, Lush, and then worked for them for a brief time after university. It’s safe to say they are one of my very favourite brands. Lush gushing aside, they do make some rather lovely powders. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I thought I’d have a go at duping one.
RECIPE: COCONUT DUSTING POWDER
Based on Lush’s Coconut Deoderant Powder, now out of production. Makes 450g.
100g corn starch (-absorbs oil and moisture)
140g tapioca flour (-velvety soft feel)
40g arrowroot (-skin softening, absorbs moisture and helps active ingredients penetrate the skin)
70g magnesium carbonate (-talc substitute, ultra light, smooths and softens the skin)
70g coconut milk powder (-soothing anti-inflammatory and smells delicious)
25g grated coconut cream (-moisturising, and add further coconut smell)
25g dessicated coconut (-prevents the powder from clumping)
30 drops benzoin resin (-vanilla-ish aroma, a natural fixative that prevents evaporation of active essential oils)
Essential oil blend:
10 drops vetiver (-earthy, almost dirt-like smell known for its grounding properties. Go easy, though, it can be quite overpowering.)
20 drops sandalwood (-combines well with vetiver to soothe and reassure. Also an anti-inflammatory)
10 drops sweet orange (-lovely uplifting citrus tang to tie the blend together)
- Mix all the ingredients above – minus the essential oils – very thoroughly in a ceramic or glass bowl. You may wish to wear a mask to avoid inhaling too much powder.
- Now add the essential oils to a cotton pad, and place inside the powder mix.
- Add the lot to a large kilner jar.
- Leave for 24 hours to allow the essential oils to permeate the mix, then shake again.
- Leave for a further 24 hours.
- Decant into suitable shakers. I bought this medium-hole shaker but you can experiment. Even a small, recycled spice jar will do.