Natural beauty…

Beeswax is known for its healing properties. It locks in moisture, fosters skin cell growth, and helps protect skin from damaging environmental factors. It is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-allergenic. Basically, it’s fantastic.

When I started researching how to make beeswax lotions it turns out that it’s quite a messy process. So I was pretty excited when I found this recipe that can be mixed, melted, cooled, and stored all in the same container! I’m really am amateur when it comes to making lotions, but I think this one came out great.

Beeswax Lotion… (original recipe from A Sonoma Garden)

Ingredients: Beeswax pastilles, coconut oil, olive oil, vitamin E oil & lavendar essential oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup Beeswax
  • 1/2 tsp. Vitamin E Oil (or 5 capsules cut open and squeezed out)
  • Optional: 20 drops (approx.) Essential Oil
  • Note: If you want to put your lotion in a pump-bottle reduce the beeswax by a few tablespoons.

Directions

  • Combine olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax into a pint sized canning jar.
  • Put jar into a saucepan and fill pan with water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the canning jar (be careful not to get water into the oil mixture!)
  • Put on the stove over medium/low heat
  • Heat and stir occasionally until melted
  • Let cool to room temperature (you can put into the refrigerator to speed up the process)
  • During the cooling process, put a fork in the jar and stir vigorously every 15 minutes
  • Once at room temperature, add Vitamin E and essential oil
Extra directions (When packaging for gifts)
  • Spoon into jars and secure lid
  • Heat on the stove just enough to melt a little (place closed jars in a pan with water)
  • Remove jars from water
  • Shake vigorously (this smooths out the lotion)

Melting it all together! (I doubled the recipe)

Waiting for it to cool (I put it in the fridge to speed up the process)

Finished product

To gift: Put in individual containers and heat up just a little.

We often forget that “reuse” comes before “recycle”… The packaging issue.

When making my first lotion recipe I thought to myself, “I don’t want to go buy mason jars… so, what do I use?” I happen to work where there are lots of baby food jars available. So I saved them from work along with other jars around the house (peanut butter and jam jars work great) and used those as my lotion jars.

Note: To remove the label from my “reused” jars I soaked the jars  in warm water with dish soap then used a straight-edge razor to scrape off the glue.

Baby food jars + ribbon + tag = homemade gift

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Natural beauty…

With a little time off from school and work for the holiday I had some time to try out a soap recipe that I’ve been dying to try!

In my quest to make everything I put ON my body organic and natural I found this great recipe for homemade body wash. Not only will you feel at ease because you know exactly what you are putting on your body, but it’s way cheaper than buying it in the store!

Ingredients: vegetable glycerin, pure-castile soap, {and distilled water}

Homemade Body Wash… (original recipe from Proverbs2Six.blogspot.com)

Ingredients needed:

  • 1/2 gallon distilled water (or previously boiled water)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable glycerin
  • 2 bars of pure-castile soap (grated; should equal 2 cups) 
  • Few drops Essential oil for scent (if desired) 
  • Note: The original recipe calls for Tom’s natural soap, but upon reading the ingredients on several different soaps in the store, I decided on Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap. There are lots of yummy scents to choose from! (leave out the essential oil if you use a scented bar)
  • Note: If you are going for an extremely mild body-wash (ex. for skin with eczema) I would not add the scent.
Directions:
  • Melt grated soap, distilled water & vegetable glycerin in large pot
  • Add essential oil if desired
  • Put into large mason jars and let cool
  • It will solidify into a thick substance, shake it up for the perfect consistency!
  • I put mine into an old body wash bottle and keep it in the shower.

All grated up!

Melting it all together...

Finished product! Homemade body wash.

I love my homemade body wash and not to mention… I’m saving lots of money! But if cooking up your own soaps isn’t your thing or money isn’t an issue (I’m officially jealous) here are the store-bought natural body washes I have grown to love…

Natural beauty…

I just made my first homemade lotion and I couldn’t be more excited!

What are the ingredients in your store-bought lotion? One of mine that claims to be a shea butter body-lotion has over 20 ingredients some of which are: Stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, dimethicone, and triethanolamine… yuck. I’d rather have fewer and more natural ingredients… like this recipe!

Winter Hand Salve aka. Eczema Fighting Lotion… (original recipe from A Sonoma Garden)

Ingredients: Shea butter, Sea Buckthorn oil, Vitamin E

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Shea Butter
  • .45 oz. Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • 4 Vitamin E Tablets (or .025 oz)
  • All of these ingredients can be found at your local Health Food Grocery store. I get mine at Organic Harvest. If you can’t find them locally, you can purchase online at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Directions

  • Combine Shea Butter and Sea Buckthorn Oil in a Pyrex measuring cup
  • Place the Pyrex in a pot of simmering water until melted
  • Remove from heat and add Vitamin E
  • Let cool to room temperature
  • Transfer the oil mixture into a mixing bowl and whip it into a meringue-like consistency (it must be at room temperature for this to work!)
  • Transfer the lotion into a container
  • Store in the fridge!

Melting the shea butter and sea buckthorn oil

Whipped into a lotion

Finished product! Ready to use. (I reused a baby food jar. Reduce, REUSE, Recycle :))

 Why is it so good for eczema?…

It’s the Sea Buckthorn Oil! This marvelous oil has copious amounts of Phytosterol, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Anti-Oxidants, and Carotenoid which helps to substantiate its relatively high success rate as a skin repairing and conditioning oil. Sea Buckthorn has been traditionally used for a wide range of skin ailments for its revered nourishing, regenerative, and restorative actions. Sea Buckthorn oil is used superficially to assist in healing skin injuries, burns, wounds, eczema, lesions, sun damaged skin, and abrasions. Current studies are being performed on its ability to combat wrinkles, acute dryness and other symptoms of prematurely aged skin.

What about the Shea Butter?…

Shea Butter has been used for centuries in Africa  for its moisturizing and healing properties, where it has been used to protect and condition skin which has been damaged by the sun and wind. Shea Butter is naturally rich in Vitamins A, E, and F, as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and E help to soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin. They also provide skin collagen which assists with wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Vitamin F contains essential fatty acids, and helps protect and revitalize damaged skin and hair. Shea Butter is an intense moisturizer for dry skin, and is a wonderful product for revitalizing dull or dry skin on the body or scalp. It promotes skin renewal, increases the circulation, and accelerates wound healing.

How does it feel?…

It is a little oily but my hands feel great. My skin gets pretty dry in this crazy Alabama fall weather (70 degrees one day, 50 degrees the next). When you store it in the fridge it will harden a bit. I scrape it out with the back of my fingernail and it melts almost instantly in the heat of my hand. A little goes a long way! Use a small amount.

Reference: Mountain Rose Herbs

Natural beauty…

I could spend all day in my local Organic Harvest, especially in the soaps/oils isle. No kidding. This week I purchased ingredients to make homemade face wash.

I’ll admit it. Up until about a month ago I used Proactiv face cleanser. It worked, left my face feeling clean, all that good stuff. But the active ingredients in Proactiv were basically bleaching my skin. Why didn’t I stop using it sooner? I’ll blame this one on my own stupidity.

So, here we are with a natural face-cleansing regimen that I like even better.

Homemade face wash… The oil-cleansing method (OCM)  (found at Simplemom.net)

Ingredients:

  • Castor Oil (I purchase mine at Organic Harvest)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) (purchase at any grocery store) 
Directions:
1.  Make your cleanser: There are 3 different combinations for this recipe depending on your skin type. Choose the best fit for your skin, mix the oils in a small bottle, and shake it up. Simple-dimple.
  • Normal skin: start with a one-to-one ratio of castor oil and EVOO
  • Acne-prone or oily skin: try three-parts castor oil to one-part EVOO
  • Dry skin: start off with one-part castor oil to three-parts EVOO
Experiment and find what ratio works best for your skin.
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2.  Gently rub it in: Pour a quarter-sized drop into your palm, rub your hands together, and slowly massage it into your face. Do not splash your face with water first, apply to dry skin. Don’t scrub – just rub.
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3.  Steam your face: Wet a wash cloth with hot water and put over your face until it’s about room temperature. This is steaming out your pores, removing the impurities and dead skin cells. It will take a minute – lay back and enjoy.
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4.  Wipe off the oil: Take the wash cloth, rinse and wring it, then gently wipe off the oil. Your face will feel softer immediately!
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So you’re thinking…
“You want me to clean my face with oil?!?!”  Think about it this way – When skin’s natural oils are removed, the body’s reaction is to compensate by producing more oil, much like shampoo does with our hair. Or if your skin is dry, it’s because all the oil has been stripped away, and your body doesn’t compensate by replenishing it.
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If you’re still not convinced, here’s a quote from acne.org…
Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”
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Enjoy the benefits! I have only been using this method for a few days and my skin already feels softer and looks brighter. I do this once a day, at night just before bed.
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My nightly routine... pure castile soap, witch hazel, OCM (in that order).

Other Natural face-cleansing ideas…
  • Witch Hazel – this is a natural toner that is a blend of oils & teas. It reduces redness and blotchiness, removes impurities without irritation, and helps restore skin’s natural moisture balance.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Tea Tree is a natural antiseptic and is great for clearing up acne. Add a few drops into your OCM mixture. A little goes a long way.
  • Use a natural soap – I used to be an avid Dove user. I do believe that their soaps are milder than many others, but recently I have switched to pure-castile soap. I use the Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps brand.
  • Experiment with other carrier oils – Castor and EVOO are carrier oils. Other carrier oils to try for oily skin are jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and flaxseed oil. For dryer skin, try almond oil and evening primrose oil.

Keeping it au-naturel…

There’s a funny thing that happens as you deepen your yoga practice. You want to tell everyone about it and practice everyday. There’s this freeing feeling at the end of every class that you can’t get enough of. Then it starts spilling over into other parts of your life. You’ll notice that certain people who aren’t positive-forces in your life will start to fade away. You’ll start to recognize your thoughts and actions and refine your ways of interacting with other people. You may even have an overwhelming need to give back to your community. You realize that peace begins with YOU. Your actions and your contributions make a big difference in the world. Next, you start questioning your diet so maybe you start to shop in the organic section, eat more veggies and less red meat. You start eating “cleaner,” un-processed foods. Then, as in my case, you may start to question all the non-organic things in your life, such as your cleaning products, beauty-care products, etc. What’s in them? What am I really putting on my body? What chemicals am I breathing in as I scrub my tub?

This train of thought led me to research natural products (and yes, it happened while scrubbing my tub). I found that there are companies out there that offer these wonderful products (Clorox GreenWorks, Burt’s Bee’s) but they’re expensive! So, what’s next? I can’t afford this stuff! Back to researching (man, I love google). I found some great recipes for homemade products (lotions, soaps & bathroom cleaners, oh my!). As I experiment and messy-up my kitchen I’ll share with you! All beauty related recipes will come to you via “Natural beauty…” and all home-care related recipes will be listed as “Natural home…”

Let’s get cookin’!

Ground your Energy…

I was recently talking with a fellow yogi friend about her crazy travel schedule (fully equipped with nightly hotel stays) and she said that she was always feeling frazzled. I thought about her problem and wondered if there were any holistic remedies for sleeplessness and nervous energy. And lucky for me, as I was reading this month’s Yoga Journal I found this remedy:

For a good night’s sleep, here’s a tried and true Ayurvedic tip for drawing nervous energy out of your head and down to earth.

  • Fill and eye-dropper bottle with unrefined and un-toasted Organic Sesame Oil (can be found at Specturm Organics).
  • Pack the bottle and some cotton socks in your bag.
  • Before you get into bed, warm the oil by immersing the bottle in hot water. Massage warm oil into the soles of your feet. Slip on socks to keep the oil close to your skin and prevent stained sheets.
And this oil isn’t just for your feet! You can cook with Sesame Oil to add a delightful new taste to your home-cooked meals.