Employment Series

Between now and April we do posts on employment, where we will support you with how to write a strong CV (not resume as this is American and completely different from British CV); how to nail a job interview, and how to use job search websites in an effective way to receive a better response from employers. This series is heavily based for our British Readers as we only know about British employment, but our readers from around the world may benefit from some of the advice and suggestions. As always in the Reference section, there will be links for further support from different parts of the world.

Stay Tune

To those who enjoyed our beauty and hair post, we will make this our main blogging focus again after April 2021. Right now, we are posting information on current affairs affecting the general population.

Thank you very much for your readership; we appreciate all the love, support, suggestions and feedbacks.

Fraud

The year 2020 was tough, but what makes it even tougher is the financial ramification it brought. 2020 started one of the worst recessions to happen in history with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost at the end of 2020 and more expected in 2021. What generally happens in a society that is facing financial austerity is an increase in the crime rate; especially financial crimes as people become more desperate. This is why we decided to do a post on fraud, as many people (both individuals and businesses) are now experiencing some form of fraud. Businesses experience the most fraud (reporting 65% of fraud) and the rest of the victims are individuals.

What is Fraud?

Fraud is a deceitful act where individual/s tries to gain financial advantages dishonestly over another person or business.

Fraud cost the UK around £130bn to £190bn a year, according to the Action Fraud Police website.

What are the most common Frauds?

Phishing; This is when fraudsters attempt to access an individual’s sensitive data (such as bank details, user name, password, card payment details, etc.). They pretend to be part of a trustworthy and respective organisation, through any communication method such as text, email, phone call, etc. This fraud requires the data entry of sensitive data by clicking or visiting a fake link.

  • Most Common Impersonated Companies

 Banks and Building Society: Fraudsters love to disguise themselves as a Bank or Building Society, especially via email communication.

Governmental Departments: The most governmental department fraudsters impersonate is HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue and Custom), aka the Tax Man. Now DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is on fraudsters list for car tax fraud. NHS (National Health Service) is also on the list for fraudsters but it is mostly aimed at NHS staff members.

Investment Scam; This is when fraudsters use pressurised, extremely intensive and persuasive sales techniques to lure their victims to invest in non-existing, worthless or cloned products such as gold, properties, lands, wines, painting, cryptocurrencies and carbon credits.

Invoice Scam; This is fraud is aimed at businesses. It is when fraudsters email a fraudulent invoice for a transaction (such as products or services) that did not take place.

Insurance; In the UK the most common insurance fraud in the UK is car insurance, where fraudsters pretend that their car is stolen or they cause car accident on purpose by pulling out unexpectedly, breaking sharply, reversing or slowing down unnecessarily too. These incidents usually take place at roundabout and junctions but it can also take place at motorways and dual carriageway.

Customer; This involves a wide verity of frauds that consumers can experience such as dodgy tradesmen, call centre cold calls, shopping fraud, online shopping, premium rate call lines, etc. Also, some businesses may illegally charge far more than the set price on items the government issues- This involves a wide variety of frauds that consumers can experience such as dodgy tradesmen, call centre cold calls, shopping fraud, online shopping, premium rate call lines, etc. Also, some businesses may illegally charge far more than the set price on items the government issues- this is an illegal practice and cross-reference with the going rate (this is where it is great to have smartphones). Items that this can be done things like postage stamps.

International Investment Scam; This is when either a Solicitor (Lawyer in the US) or some random family member a deceased person requests financial support, helping them get the inheritance, for a bigger return once the inheritance is released.

How to Spot A Fraud?

  1. Language: Phishing frauds are usually poorly written and are extremely vague. It also doesn’t usually address the recipient in the correct tone, manner or even name.
  2. Format: The presentation of phishing is not in the same format the company they are disguising uses. For example, individual banks and building societies follow a format and presentation they use to email their customer. Governmental Departments have a very strict format in how they contact their clients and it doesn’t involve any of the phishing methods. Governmental departments hardly contact customers to voluntarily offer to give them money, such as a refund or overpayment. It is usually the customers who act on this first by filling out a very long, winded-form (that probably requires months to fill and digging Great Great Grandmothers for their inputs) from either their GOV.UK website or the Post Office.
  3. Legal Source: Check out the source (i.e., email address, telephone number, etc.) of the email and telephone number. Please know that if the email doesn’t end with .gov.uk for example, it is highly unlikely coming from a governmental department, such as HMRC and DVLA as it is illegal for the none governmental body to use this domain. Also, banks, building societies and governmental department rarely use the mobile phone numbers to contact customers.
  4. Illegal Calls: It’s illegal for anyone to cold call you for potential investment here in the UK and if such call is received, it is highly likely that this is a scam.
  5. (FCA) Financial Conduct Authority: If the investment company is not listed in the FCA Financial Service Register, then be careful as all legitimate investment and financial companies are listed in this register. The FCA is the UK official financial regulating body.
  6. Recognition: Ensure you recognised the companies you have done businesses.
  7. Be Aware: pay close attention to the road and the driver in front and by the side of you.
  8. Research: Research the companies you want to have some form of consumer/business relationship with. There are different business structures in the UK depending on the type of business; the most common for SME (small or medium-sized enterprise) business structures are Private Limited companies (limited companies) and Sole Traders. Limited companies have to be registered with Companies House; this is a good place to start your research.
  9. Business Dealing: Phishing fraudsters send large communication hoping someone takes the bait. If you have never done any business with that company, it is a fraud; this tends to be the case with the Banks and Building Societies.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone and everyone is at risk, especially businesses (see the statistic above). With individual, it is reported that young people are now more at risks more than a then older generation.

How to Be Protected?

  • Research: Research the company that is contacting you. Research the name, email address and even number (if it is a landline). Research the industry (especially investment) and research any regulating bodies in the industry. Find out if the company is part of that body (Don’t just take the company’s word for it). Remember some professionals has to be part of a regulating body for them to be legally recognised and work (i.e., medical and health industry-such as doctors, nurses, etc.; gas engineers, etc).
  • Recommendations and Review: Get recommendations or look at the reviews (many start-ups may not have any reviews, which is why researching the company is very important). For Sole Traders- the recommendation is very important (please remember that this may not always protect you).
  • Shop Around/Quotation: Shop around and see what the going rate. Seek more than one quote (rule of thumb tends to be 3) and where possible (especially with sole trader home renovation) go and physically see their work and talk to former customers (if possible).
  • Call the Company: This is so important to phishing fraud. Please contact the company directly (research the real company’s number- HMRC, DVLA, your Bank, NHS, etc.). It is time-consuming (waiting 10 years on the phone whilst listening to a piece of repetitive classical music), but this will save you headache, heartache and potential financial troubles in the long run; as they will confirm how legit the contact/communication was.
  • Online Protection: Invest in really good online antivirus protection. These antivirus protections are sophisticated and can do more than protect you from virus; it can also protect you from identity theft, allow a safer way to make payment online, secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) and so much more.

Reporting A Fraud

UK

Police/999: First point of contact if you or someone you know may be in immediate danger or at risk of harm.

Action Fraud: This is a section of the police, and they are the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for fraud and scams. They can be contacted on 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday 08:00 to 20:00. The number is the same for abroad with the added UK code which is +44. Those who are hard of hearing or deaf can dial 0300 123 2050. To make an online report click here. To find out more visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

National Cyber Security Centre: This government department deals with all types of phishing, fraud and online security. They can stop and/or block the people from sending any more emails. Please note they don’t deal with crimes, Action Fraud is the organisation to contact for victims of fraud and scam crimes. A suspicious email should be forwarded to SERS (Suspicious Email Reporting Service) at report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious texts can be forward to this number: 7726

USA

This list of contact was taken from the Department of Justice and this government website list all the different fraud department contact details:

If you are in need of legal advice, please contact your local bar association at www.findlegalhelp.org. The Fraud Section conducts criminal prosecutions and cannot provide legal advice to citizens.

If you would like to report fraud, please contact the appropriate investigative agency as follows:
Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft
Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP, 1-877-ID-THEFT, or online at www.ftc.gov.
Disaster-Related Fraud
Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721, by fax at (225) 334-4707 or submit a complaint through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

Correspondence may be sent to:
National Center for Disaster Fraud
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909

General Fraud and Other Criminal Matters
Contact the FBI at (202) 324-3000, or online at www.fbi.gov or tips.fbi.gov.
Health Care Fraud, Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, and Related Matters
Contact the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS, or online at www.oig.hhs.gov.
Internet Fraud and Lottery/Sweepstakes Fraud by Internet
Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) online at www.ic3.gov.
Mail Fraud and Lottery/Sweepstakes Fraud
Contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-372-8347, or online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
Securities Fraud
Contact the Securities and Exchange Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330, or online at www.sec.gov or www.sec.gov/complaint/select.shtml.

State and Local Fraud
Contact your local Police Department or State Attorney General’s Office

Europe

Police/112: First point of contact if you or someone you know may be in immediate danger or at risk of harm.

European Anti-Fraud Office: Fraud can be reported here

This website allows individuals from individual countries to report fraud and cyber-crimes to the official organisation assigned for this.

 

PS: There are some scams and fraud which are legal, it is rare but they exist. A perfect example is a logo. There are companies out there who will charge about £1000 to register company logos, but the official place to register your logo are Intellectual Property by the .gov.uk website (UK), USPTO website (US) and EUIPO for the rest of Europe, so start-ups beware.

Please note, that there are many more different types of fraud and these lists are not exhausted. One rule of thumb to remember: “If it is too good to be true, it probably is”. Don’t be a victim and be vigilant at all time.

 

Reference:

https://www.durham.police.uk/Information-and-advice/Economic-Crime/Pages/What-is-fraud.aspx#:~:text=Fraud%20is%20defined%20as%20a,of%20dishonesty%20and%2For%20deception.

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/what-is-fraud

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/what-we-do/crime-threats/fraud-and-economic-crime

https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds

https://www.burtoncopeland.com/news/5-most-common-examples-insurance-fraud/

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/about-ncsc/what-we-do

https://report.ncsc.gov.uk/

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/vulnerability-reporting

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime

https://reporting.actionfraud.police.uk/login

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud

https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/report-fraud

https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview

https://www.uspto.gov/

https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Happy New Year

Wishing all our customers and readers a very Happy and Healthy New Year. May 2021 bring you great joy, happiness health and  prosperity.

Thank you for taking this journey with us, we appreciate all your support.

 

Picture by: Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

 

Menopause

What is it?

Menopause is the natural circle where the female hormones’ oestrogen and progesterone decreases and women’s fatality come to an end. Women’s menstrual circle (periods) ceases, the body can no longer release eggs (women are born with all their eggs), and they can no longer conceive children naturally.

The process of menopause can take place suddenly or progressively and on average can last for about 4 years. However, 10% of the female population can experience menopause for up to 12 years. Menopause starts between the ages of 44 and 55, but some women can experience it at a young age (premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency is used to describe menopause experienced by younger women). There are some factors which may cause premature menopause such as some breast cancer treatments (Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy), removal of the ovaries and some underlying conditions such as  Addison’s Disease and Down’s Syndrome.

Symptoms

Many women will experience symptoms and some at a more severe level. The symptoms of menopause are:

Hot Flushes: Is a sudden heat that spreads throughout your body, but there was no causation for this to take place. Sweat, heat or heart palpitation and flush on the face may be experienced during hot flushes.

Racing Heart: Heart palpitation (heart beating fast, strong (can feel the heart beating) or irregular) may increase between 8 to 16 beats per minutes (regular resting heartbeat is between 60-100 beats per minute) whilst experiencing hot flushes due to the huge drop in oestrogen level. There are times when a woman can experience heart palpitation when the body suffers a hormone imbalance such as pregnancy and during their menstrual circle.

Night Sweat: This is when your clothing and bedding is extremely wet, and the room or atmosphere is cool/cold.

Vaginal Dryness (discomfort during sexual intimacy): This can be self-rectified by using water-based lubricants before and during intimacy; part take in foreplay for longer and use unperfumed soap. If this continues, you may want to seek medical advice and referral.

Difficulty in Sleeping: If you are finding it very difficult to sleep, you can go to your Doctors who can advise on the right treatment for you;  such as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), or you could talk to your local pharmacist.

Low Mood or Anxiety: This is when the person feels sad, anxious, etc. See our mental health post here for more information on how to get support.

Low Libido (Low Sex Drive): For anyone worried about this, please speak to your UK GP (General Practitioner) or your regular doctor (outside the UK) for advice. You can seek information or referrals from other health professionals such as, Psychosexual Therapist or your local pharmacy as well as visiting sexual health services in your local area or visit this charity website: https://sexualadviceassociation.co.uk/ which offers many fact sheets on different sexual problems.

Increase Urination: Some women may experience Overactive Bladder (OAB), this can include anything from urine leakage (leaking urine before getting to the bathroom), using the bathroom two to three times a night, to a sudden urge to use the bathroom and urinating more often. OAB may increase the likelihood of a fall as you are trying to rush to use the bathroom

Dry Skin, Mouth and Eyes: Menopause can bring many changes to the skin (think puberty but minus the wrinkle) such as tingling, pins and needles in some extreme cases; these symptoms are called paraesthesia. Some women may even experience formication; this is when you think you have creepy crawlers (insects) crawling up and down your skin. If you experience any itchiness on the skin for more than 3 days, please seek medical advice to rule out any other underlying health issues. Menopause can also cause your tears ducts to dry out.

Weight Gain and Low Metabolism: Weight gain is not a sudden process during menopause, but rather a gradual process. Individual lifestyle choices and other factors can impact the speed at which they gain weight.

Loss of Breast Fullness: This happens when the skin and connective tissues become dehydrated and have less elasticity, therefore the breasts lose firmness and fullness.

Sore or Tender Breast: This can be a burning, soreness, throbbing, stabbing or sharp pain in one or both breasts. The discomfort can vary from woman to woman and this pain is different from puberty or menstrual sore breast.                                                             

Hair Loss or Thinning on the Scalp:  is caused by the drop in oestrogen and progesterone level. These two hormones are very important in supporting hair growth. These hormones encourage speedy hair grown and allows the hair follicles to stay on the scalp for longer. These hormones are the main components to thickening the hair, however, due to drop of these hormones in the body and the hormonal imbalance, the hair can become thin and hair loss can occur.

 

Increase Hair Growth on Other Parts of the Body: Dues to the hormonal imbalance.

Headaches: Headaches in some women (the severity varies from women to women) tend to take place during perimenopause as the hormonal imbalance isn’t consistent.

Reduction in Bone and Muscle Masses: Oestrogen is a natural protector of the bone and the drop of oestrogen can cause the development of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes the bone to become less dense and thin.

Memory Problems and Difficulties in Concentration: Research has found that just under 2/3 of middle-aged women have experienced some form of cognitive issue, including concentration and the numbers increase in women experiencing perimenopause.

How to Reduce Hair Loss

A  healthy diet can play an important role in hair loss during menopause.

Complex proteins are the making of hair, and the main protein that makes up the hair strand is Keratin. Amino acid makes up keratin. Eating protein and amino acid-rich diet can enhance the health of the hair and support the strength of each strand during menopause and perimenopause.

Ascorbic acid, otherwise known as Vitamin C, is great at stimulating healthy hair regrowth after hair loss, as well as promoting healthy hair, by removing free radicals due to its anti-oxidant properties; this protects any structural damage to the protein in the hair. Shampoo that has ascorbic acid is very effective at removing mineral build-up from the scalp and hair and improving the hair’s ability to absorb moisture (water).

Vitamin A can help to speed up the rebuilding of new cells, and it is a key vitamin for retaining the moisture in the hair whilst preventing brittleness.

 Linoleic acid (Omega 6 fatty acids) and poly-saturated fats are vital to strengthening the hair structure. This acid and fats are found in various fish, olive oil and flaxseed, and are regarded as good fat.

 Niacin is also known as Vitamin B3: It is great at converting food into energy in the blood.  Niacin helping to maintain the structure of the blood cells, and improving blood circulation. This vitamin will help the flow of the blood to the scalp as well as providing the scalp and hair follicles with vital nutrients it needs for health and; therefore reducing the effect of menopause.

 Iron just like Niacin helps with providing good blood flow and essential nutrient to the body and scalp. Meat such as the liver and dark green vegetables such as spinach is a rich source of iron.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) is also a very good vitamin for blood flow. It aids in the production of red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body. It is responsible for maintaining the hair colour. Unfortunately, this vitamin is mostly found in meat and fish products so vegans and vegetarian will need to take supplements of Vitamin B12 to benefit from its goodness and not become deficient.

Another Vitamin B that can support hair health, reduce grey hair and rebuild the follicle cells is Folates. Cod, green peas, white beans, egg and liver are all sources of folates.

The scientific name for Vitamin B5 is pantothenic acid. This vitamin strengthens the cells in the hair follicles and aids a healthy balance of sebum (oil the scalp produce) and moistures which helps to reduce Dandruff and/or itchy scalp. Egg yolk, tomatoes, beef, sweet potatoes, fish and liver.

Due to the drop of the female hormones during menopause, zinc is a vital mineral to have during this stage of a woman’s life as it helps to regulate the hormones in the body. Zinc reinforces the building of protein structure within the body and can play an important part in the construction of DNA. Zinc is found in spinach, egg, sweet potatoes, oysters, nuts, and chickpeas.

Stress is very important in how often it shreds. During menopause, the body is under a lot of stress, and it is then vital to find time to relax and de-stress. These activities can help to reduce stress: walking/exercise, listening to music, massage/pampering, socialising, talking about your stressors/problems, meditation, etc.

Hydration is very important, both external and internal. Drinking plenty of water or sources (oranges, grapefruit, cucumber, coconut water, etc.) rich in water will help to combat hair loss.

Cutting the use of direct heat and/or chemical processing the hair can support the health of your hair. Direct heat can dry out the strands, breaking the hair bond, causing brittleness, and increasing the chance of breakage. Chemicals can break down the proteins and the bond in the strands weakening the hair, and accumulating in the likelihood of breakage. Swimmers should protect the hair by wearing swimming caps, deep condition often as chlorine can dry out and damage the hair causing hair breakage and loss.

IF you’re worried about hair loss or any of the symptoms mentioned in this post during the menopause, you can seek medical advice from your doctor, who can refer you to either a dermatologist (skin specialist) or a trichologist (hair specialist). For women who are experiencing continuous or adverse effects of the menopause, your doctor may prescribe you Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)- please be aware that HRT can have side effects as HRT are synthetic (man-made) hormonal drugs.

Reference:

NHS (2018); Menopause; NHS;  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/

NHS (2018); Treatment Menopause; NHS;  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/treatment/

Mayo Clinical Staff (2020); Menopause; Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397

Huizen. J Ernst. H and PA-C (2020); Everything You Should Know About Menopause; Healthline;  https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause#symptoms

Healey. N and Jarvis. S MBE (2019); Does the menopause cause hair loss? Patient; https://patient.info/news-and-features/does-the-menopause-cause-hair-loss#:~:text=%22Hair%20loss%20during%20menopause%20is,much%20thinner%2C%22%20Denning%20explains.

Cappelloni. L, Sullivan, D (2019); Menopause Hair Loss Prevention; Healthline;  https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/hair-loss

The Marion Gluck Clinic (Accessed 11/2020); 10 Nutrients For Healthy Hair During Menopause; https://www.mariongluckclinic.com/blog/nutrients-healthy-hair-menopause.html

Durward, E (Accessed 11/2020); Hair loss and menopause Hair loss can occur because of the menopause; A. Vogel; https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/menopause/symptoms/hair-loss/

Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Photo by Park Street on Unsplash

New Wedding Accessories

These are our new wedding accessories coming soon (we hope to upload them on the site before Christmas, but sometimes our schedules can clash with the business angels’ schedules- biggest example of clash experienced by all business is Covid19). We are also happy to announce that we now add veils to our collections. These accessories have been specially hand-picked with your curls, coils and strands health in mind.

Tiaras and Combs

Vines 

Veils

In the New Year we will launch Flourishing Crown very own hair accessories including our wedding collections. Last month we did some previews on Instagram and WhatsApp of our African Print- silk lined hair accessories.

Earth Living

We all know this time of the year is a time of giving especially this year. What a year. Earth Living is very kindly giving free Caribbean food to the Elderly and the homeless (only these demographic group of people). They also offer local delivery. This offer is valid on 4th December 2020 between 13:00-15:00 (GMT- UK).  Address is: 472 Harrow Rd, London, W9 3RU and for local delivery contact between 09:00-12:00: 07309133310

Silk

What is Silk:

Silk is a protein fibre produced by the mulberry silkworm’s cocoon. This natural fibre (thread) has a triangular prism-like structure which deflects light at different angles to help produce different colours. Sometimes silk is referred to as Mulberry Silk in reference to the leaves the silkworm feast on (less valuable silk are from silk worms that feast on Osage Orange and lettuce) for about 6 weeks to support its development and growth. Silkworms are caterpillars that descended from the Bombyx Mori moth. Once they reached their full potential growth of about 3 inches, they are then ready to spin their cocoons in a figure of 8 movements by raising their heads. They spin their cocoons around 300,000 times and the process can last anywhere between 3-8 days. A silkworm can produce a single strand of silk of about 100 meters long which is held together by sericin (Sericin is a natural produced gum).  It takes around 2500 silkworms to produce one pound of silk.

History of Silk:

It is believed that the Chinese discovered silk around the 27th century BC (Before Christ) when the Chinese Princess Xi Ling Shi was the first to roll a cocoon of silk which had accidentally dropped into her cup of tea (allegedly). Since that incident the Chinese studied the life cycle of silkworm and became the biggest producers of silk whilst controlling the silk market (and keeping the silk making a secret) for 3000 years. There is evidence that silk does date back as far as 3000 BCE (Before the Common Era). The Chinese exportation of silk in the 3 century BC between Asia (where the Romans first discovered silk), Europe and Japan (by sea) is known as the silk roads.

The Chinese only allowed the women to farm silkworms and many women walked on silkworm farms. Silk was (and is still is) considered a luxurious item and was very popular amongst aristocratic and high society. The popularity of silk grew to a point where it had to be regulated for over a millennium for the use to only members of the imperial family. Silk had many uses outside of clothing, such as it was made into a luxurious paper where it was used to pay the governmental officials.

Around 500 AD (Anno Domini), Byzantium hide some silkworm in his walking stick made of bamboo, where the Byzantines were able to cultivate their own (this action marked the start of the silk Industry in the Eastern Roman Empire). The production of silk started to spread in Western Europe. Over time the Koreans and then later on the Indians were able to discover how making silk therefore making the Chinese lose their monopoly on producing silk.

Italian silk was far so expensive and the French started to make their own silk locally as they wanted lighter and less expensive materials. King Francis first of France approved a domination for silk production in the City of Lyon and so Lyon became Europe’s capital city of silk trade. By 1845 the European silk industry declined when the silkworms were hit with their first diseases and this increased the price of silkworm cocoons. Fashion was also changing in the aristocratic and middle-class circle which mean that the demand for silks in garment decreases. With all the mishaps happening in Europe, Japan became the world’s biggest silk producers up until the second world war. Today, China has regained their control and are now the largest producers of silk in the world.

The Making of Silk:

Once the silkworms have spun their cocoon and eventually enclosed themselves inside. To extract the natural silk thread, the cocoons are then placed into a boiling water. This softens the thread and dissolves the sericin. This step ensures that the full length of the thread remains intact and undamaged.

The threads are then unwind from the cocoon in individual long threads which are then wined to make a reel.

Once the threads are washed and degummed, they are then bleached and dried to prepare them for the dyeing process.

In the past silk dyeing techniques took dyes from nature and the local environment such as fruits and plants (like the indigo leaves) where the threads were placed and soaked in a boiling hot water of whatever fruit or plant, they want to extract the colour from. This process to repeated few times over days to get the desire tone and quality. However, in today’s most advanced technology, manufacturers opt to dye the threads with dyes such as acid dyes and reactive dyes. These dyes offer a far greater choice as well as to produce silk in a highly commercially demanding market.

The threads are then unwind on to a bobbin so that they lay completely flat to get ready for the weaving process. The process is call spinning and there are many different types of spinning such as: hand-spinning, mule spinning and ring spinning.

Weaving is where the silk comes together. There are many different types of silk weaving such as plain weave, open weave (most common weave), crepe and satin weave (please note there isn’t such material as satin and many materials/threads can be satin weave. Best to get silk woven into the satin weave).

If designers require special designs or pattern, then the Printing stage. Printing can take place as screen printing (this is traditional printing) or digital printing.

The silk is then treated using different chemical treatment which provides the lustrous sheen silks are known for as well as adding valuable properties such as crease-proofing and fire resistance. This final step is a most and it is known as the Finishing.

Benefits of Silk:

Silk is one of the softest, shiny, comfortable and breathable materials on the planet and it have many benefits to the skin and Hair.

Silk thread is very similar to human hair- It is 97% protein, 3% fat and wax and contains 18 amino acids, this makes it very kind and supportive to human skin.

Silk contains natural cellular albumen- this helps to speed up the metabolism of the skin cells.

Silk support the moisture in the skin and can support in the prevention of moisture loss in the skin or hair. This promotes the skin to rejuvenate, slow down the aging process (of the skin), relieves dry and/or flaky skin by locking in the moisture. It also encourages moisture balance in the hair.

Silk keeps the skin cool in the summer and preserve body heat during winter. It supports the body to regulate its temperature and provides thermal balance.

It can absorb moisture up to 30% its weight, it is very absorbent and dries very quickly by allowing good air circulation simply by the thread increasing in size. This property of silk makes the fabric great for perspiration whilst promoting the skin to breathe.

Silk keeps the moisture in the hair and doesn’t tangle up the hair as the hair simply glides over the smooth materials. Experts in the beauty field believe that it helps to keep the hair soft (it does this through the ability to balance the moisture in the hair).

Silk doesn’t create static electricity, so easily, so it keeps the hair strands in place, doesn’t cause frizz or breakage, doesn’t cling to the body and is very easy to iron.

Silk is very durable and will maintain its appearance and quality time.

Silk is very versatile and can be used for anything such as clothing, accessories, rugs, parachutes, beddings, just to name a few.

Silk is hypoallergenic, so it is a natural fungal repellant and doesn’t attract dust mites. Medical experts believe that it rarely causes allergic reactions.

Studies have shown that silk doesn’t cause the face to get wrinkled (on one side) at night when lying on silk pillows and beddings.

Reference

Balasa, O; Accessed on 05 November 2020; Great Benefits of Silk Fabric; https://www.ageberry.com/great-benefits-of-pure-silk-fabric/#:~:text=Great%20Benefits%20of%20Silk%20Fabric.%201%201.%20Silk,degree%20effects%20of%20aging%20and%20…%20More%20items

The Ethical Silk Company; Accessed on 05 November 2020; Benefits of Silk; https://www.theethicalsilkco.com/about-silk

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