Category Archives: Natural Bath and Body

A Day of Handmade Beauty

As most of you know by now, I am a big advocate for green beauty products.  Because your skin is the largest organ, it’s not only important to watch what you put in your body.  It’s just as important to watch what you put on your body. So, basically, you can eat organic produce and grass fed beef all you want, but unless you change your skin care routine, you’ll still be putting all sorts of unwanted carcinogens in your body daily.

Sunscreen, whipped body butters, lip balm, and chapstick with sunscreen.

Sunscreen, whipped body butters, lip balm, and chapstick with sunscreen.

On that note, this weekend, I biked (5 miles, whoot!) over to my cousin’s house and made all sorts of goodies for us to share.  The sunscreen and chapsticks are a new experiment for both of us this time, but I have been using her whipped body butter for a few months now.

In fact, until I switched my skin care routine a few months ago, I had horrible, horrible acne.  Like, the deep, painful, ones all over my face that left scars.  Now, I use an organic face cleanser from a local store called Down to Earth, a gentle astringent, and some of this whipped body butter twice a day.  Poof! No more cystic acne! Don’t get me wrong, I still get tiny white-heads due to hormonal changes, but it’s nothing like before.

The best part about all of these are, I know what every single ingredient is.  There isn’t a single ingredient hidden in my new skin care products that I didn’t put in there.

If you’re interested in making your own products, trust me, it’s not hard.  If you can cook by following a simple recipe, you can do this, too.  In fact, we followed the recipes over at Wellness Mamma to the “T.” We just added our own scent combos to make them more enticing.

So, this weekend, I encourage you to go out and try some recipes of your own.  You may surprise yourself by how much more you like the stuff you make! I mean, isn’t that how it always goes?

 

 

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Aloe Vera: For More Than Sunburns

The Aloe Vera has been called a “miracle plant” for years.  However, most people grow the plant strictly for it’s sunburn healing properties.  If you’d like to do more with your Aloe Vera plant, here are some of the amazing “miracle” properties it possesses.

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Here is our aloe plant, ready to bloom.

 

1) The first, and most obvious, use for the Aloe Vera plant is to help with sunburns, minor burns and cuts.  It’s what everyone uses it for and buys it for.  Stores even sell the containers of it (very modified & chemical laden versions, anyway) for consumers coming back from beach vacations burned to a crisp and looking for some relief.  If you’d rather not buy the store bought kind, try growing your own plant and get the benefits in their purest form.

2) Aloe Vera can also heal blisters and insect bites by swabbing a bit over the affected area.

3) Aloe Vera can fade or prevent stretch marks, freckles, and age spots.

4) It can be used on hemorrhoids, too! The anti-inflammation properties that make the gel so great for things like burns and blisters can also be taken advantage of for those pesky, irritating hemorrhoids. Just break off a small piece of the plant and apply it to the irritated area and let the healing properties start working.

5) Use Aloe Vera to sooth razor burns and you’ll get a lot of relief.

6) It can also be used as eye-makeup remover, and is perfect for the dry, sensitive skin around your eyes.

7) Aloe can be used on other skin ailments such as acne and eczema by applying Aloe gel to the affected area 2-3 times a day.  It helps sooth and heal these ailments with it’s cooling, moisturizing, and protecting properties.

8) Eliminate dandruff by adding some Aloe Vera juice to your shampoo or conditioner.

These are just some of the ways you can use Aloe Vera on your skin.  There are also many other health and beauty benefits of using Aloe Vera! Some of these include:

9) Asthma relief can be attained by boiling asthma leaves and water.  The vapors help end an asthma attack with their anti-inflammatory properities.

10) You can also take Aloe internally to relieve many digestive issues such as heartburn, irregularity, stomach issues, and many other problems.  Take caution, though, that there are adverse effects (including diarrhea) from taking Aloe Vera that can get worse with prolonged use.

11) Aloe Vera is also great during cold and flu season because of all the amazing vitamins it contains, including A, B, C, & E.

12) Take advantage of the Vitamin B complexes that help boost your energy, too!

13) Aloe Vera also has anti-fungal properties, making it a great treatment for yeast infections.  You can take it internally or apply it directly to the infected area.

14) Some researchers have found that Aloe Vera juice is great for weight loss and control of Type 2 diabetes, because it lowers blood sugar.

15) Soothe an ear ache by adding a few drops of aloe vera gel to your ear.  You’ll experience instant relief.

These are just some of the more common uses for the Aloe Vera plant, but they are certainly not all of the uses for this amazing plant.  If you are not currently growing your own Aloe Vera plant, I highly recommend you make space in your garden (or even a pot on your patio!) for this “miracle plant.”  They are easy to grow and have so many uses.  Plus, with how easy it is to grow, it’s sort of silly to buy the stuff in the plastic bottles at the store!

 

 

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DIY Mineral Powder Foundation

With my current mission to eliminate toxins from my food and skin care, I recently became obsessed with the idea that I could make my own make-up.  I’d been going without for a few weeks, and I was beginning to feel rather frumpy.  I was so glad when I found this post on how to make your own mineral powder foundation! I was even more excited when I saw how easy and cheap it is.

DIY Mineral Foundation

At first, I was really nervous that this wouldn’t work as well as store-bought foundation, but I figured the materials were cheap enough to be worth the experiment.  I mean, c’mon.  Baby powder and corn starch?! Most people have that somewhere in their houses already!

Now that I’ve tried it, however, I can attest to the fact that it works as well as the store bought stuff.  I’m also baffled by the fact that I always agonized over what color foundation to buy for what time of year (it changes as much as 3 shades between summer and winter!)  This stuff is totally white, but goes on translucent, which means I won’t have to change shades when my skin darkens up this summer!

If you’re frugal and green, I really suggest you try making your own foundation.  Not only is it very easy, but you could be saving yourself $30 a pop, and that really adds up!

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No Poo: A Natural Hair Care Alternative

About two years ago, I was introduced to the idea of going “no poo,” or shampoo free. I was interested, but very hesitant to try it.  Then, we moved across the country, my hair went a little crazy (and started falling out), and I figured I’d give it a try.  I fell in love within a few weeks, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.  I’ve just never been brave enough to come out and admit it until now.  However, I want to take the opportunity to educate others about the benefits of going shampoo free, and erase the idea of dirty, greasy hair from your mind, so here I am, going public for the greater good. You’re welcome.

Image

Shea Butter Natural Shampoo Bar from PuurBody on Etsy

Why You Should Stop Using Shampoo

It’s simple, really.  Commercial shampoos are full of scary chemicals.  Even if you are eating local, grass fed meats and organic veggies, it basically makes no difference if you are pumping chemicals onto your skin through your soaps and shampoos.  Remember, your skin is the largest organ on your body, so anything you put on it, gets absorbed into your body and carried to your blood stream and other organs.  A simple rule of thumb to live by: If it’s too toxic to put in your body, it’s too toxic to put on your body.

But, Not Washing Your Hair is Gross!

I know what you’re thinking.  Not using shampoo will leave your hair greasy, smelly, and unmanageable, right? It’s what I thought at first, too. You know what, though? That’s just not true.  In fact, it’s totally the opposite.  The thing is, your body creates oils based on supply and demand, so if you use shampoo to strip the oils in your hair every day, your body will create more oils.  Once you stop using harsh chemicals, the supply and demand will balance out and your body will create only what you need. Yes, there is an adjustment period when you eliminate the chemicals cold turkey.  It varies by person, but it can last anywhere from two weeks to two months.  Hang in there.  I promise you, once you get past this point, it’s easy, peasy.  If it gets too oily, just try gradually increasing the number of days between washing your hair.  Start out every other day and go from there.

How to No Poo

Now that I’ve talked you into it, you’re probably wondering how to go no-poo.  I mean, you can’t truly never wash your hair.  See, that’s when your hair will get stinky and greasy.  So, you still wash your hair, but you do it without the harmful chemicals.

The most basic way to wash your hair without shampoo is by using a mixture of baking soda and water.  You simply take approximately 1T of baking soda and mix it with just enough water to make a paste.  Then you massage it gently into your scalp by working in a circle around your crown.  After you let this sit and tingle for a minute, you rinse it out and then use a mixture of about 2T of apple cider vinegar and water over your whole head and rinse it out. This will leave your hair soft, smooth, and clean.  And, don’t worry.  The vinegar smell will go away completely by the time your hair dries.

If you’re not brave enough to go with just baking soda and water, or you want to incorporate some smells into your shampoo regiment, there are some other alternatives.  Some people like to pre-make their own shampoo concoctions by mixing the baking soda, water, and essential oils into a squirt bottle.  Another alternative is to find someone that makes natural shampoo bars.  These are bars of shampoo that look just like a bar of soap, but they are amazing for your hair.  These are my personal preference.  It’s something I don’t have to worry about making myself (and since I already make all of my cleaners, detergents, and meals from scratch, it’s nice to get a break), it has nourishing butters and oils which are great for my dry scalp, it has a nice smell, and it lasts forever.  My favorite is a shampoo bar by Brandi from PuurBody on Etsy.  It’s the first one I tried and it works great.  I’ve tried a few since, but hers is still my favorite.  Still, everyone has different scalp-care needs, so find a no-poo method that works for you.

With the shampoo bar, I still use an ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse when I’m done shampooing.  It’s the best of both worlds, really.  I steer clear of the harsh chemicals, and I still get to enjoy a nice smelling shampoo that’s pre-made.

It took a lot for me to finally decide that I wanted to eliminate shampoo and all of the chemicals from my body care regimen.  I just wish I had tried it before, because I will seriously never go back.  If you’re on the fence about trying out the no-poo method, I urge you to give it a try.  It’ll take just a few short weeks to decide if it is right for you, and the cost is so minimal, it’s almost silly not to try it!

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Handmade Holidays Gifts {Bath and Body}

Well, I was planning on waiting until after Halloween at least to start this post, but since it appears that Christmas really is starting earlier every year, I decided I don’t want to wait until it’s too late.

Christmas time (or any winter holiday that has gifts) is a source of a lot of stress for many families in today’s economy.  Gone are the days when people swipe their plastic without any thought for the consequences.  Families are more budget conscious, which makes gift giving a lot harder.  Don’t worry, though.  With a little bit of time and effort, you can still show your generous spirit without ruining your winter budget.  There are countless gift ideas out there these days, thanks to Pinterest, and I’ll admit that’s where I’ve found a lot of my tutorials!

Handmade Bath and Beauty

Today I’ll show you my favorite recipes for homemade bath and beauty, because things like soaps, lotions, and bath goodies are a popular gift this time of year, and there are so many recipes to make some of this yourself for much less!

  Sea Salt Body Scrub

I made this sea salt body scrub last year for all of the adults I wanted to gift that weren’t immediate family.  It doesn’t have an overbearing scent, and is a great simple gift that you can easily make in batches.  I used olive oil in mine, and it is so incredibly moisturizing, which is great in the winter months when everyone seems to complain of dry, chapped skin.  As a bonus, the biggest expense for this gift was the small mason jars, and that was still so much cheaper than buying individual gifts.

This salt and honey scrub recipe also uses olive oil, and sounds amazing.  I think this will be on my list this year.  While it does require a couple of bottles of essential oil, which are expensive, those go a long way and you’ll be able to use them for many other projects as well.

If you’re looking for something other than scrubs to give as gifts, these homemade bath salts are a simple and easy gift to make for others!  With how incredibly easy it is to make your own, it seems like a waste of money to buy these in the store, right?  I personally love bath salts, but hate paying the price for something that I use up so quickly.  By making a large batch of bath salts on my own, I can enjoy them more often without the guilt.

Last but definitely not least in this category is homemade soap.  While this craft does take a bit more practice, by using a soap base that’s already done, you don’t have to worry about working with lye.  This blog post is a great read if you’re interested in making soap for the first time, and has some great recipes to try!

As you can see, there are plenty of homemade options for the holidays that cover every budget and experience level.  If you’re short on time, try one of the simple scrub recipes or even the bath salts,  If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, perhaps you’ll be interested in making your own soaps this year.  Whatever you choose, you can save a lot of money by making your own gifts instead of buying them from the big box stores.  What are your favorite bath and body recipes? Are you making any to give as gifts this year?

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Sea Salt Body Scrub Recipe

One of my biggest skin problems-and a common skin problem for a lot of people-is dry flaky skin.  I’ve tried so many lotions and moisturizing body washes, and no matter what, I just couldn’t get that soft, smooth skin that I wanted.  Enter, Pinterest! (Seriously, what did I do before Pinterest?!)

I stumbled upon an awesome recipe for a handmade body scrub last fall.  It met all my criteria.  Beginner friendly, cheap, handmade, and effective! That’s a win-win-win-win, right?!

Giant batch of homemade body scrub

I loved this stuff so much that I made a huge batch to hand out as Christmas gifts to most of my extended family.  Seriously. Best. Stuff. Ever.

Pistache and I love using it for our “spa pedicure” days, too.  We ran out recently, and since I was crunched for time I decided to buy some foot scrub that was on sale.  Why did I do that?! This stuff is much cheaper and really only takes five minutes. Basically, I was being lazy.  I went ahead this past week and made another small batch just for us, and thought I’d post the recipe here for you to try, too!

It’s a tad bit messy if you fill your jar too full since the oil separates a little during storage, but if you just give it a quick mix with your finger before you use it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Next time I’ll have to play around and try some different ingredients to make this my own.  I’ll be sure to share if I have success!

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