Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Happy Homesteader Blog
Sponsored By: Gurneys! - Get $20 off any $40 Order!
We all have our regimen and daily routine that can involve drawers full of cosmetics and hair rollers to nothing more than a stick of deodorant. No matter how much you pamper yourself, one thing about becoming closer to nature inevitably always seems to lead to questioning, "what kinds of things am I putting on my body?" For me, I noticed things gradually. First, a conscious switch to buying more natural products after reading a list of toxic chemicals found in most store bought items. But then things changed even more subtly when, without noticing, I became accustomed to the smell of fresh air and compost. My overly perfumed store bought items seemed to suffocate me when I used them. When I would go out to do chores on a windy day my skin would hurt. If I didn't cover my lips with something then they would get chapped. My body was talking to me and I had been ignoring it all of these years. Unfortunately, I didn't ignore the commercials on TV telling me that I needed to moisturize and exfoliate and whatever else was the new wonder treatment for youthful looking skin. I blindly covered myself in a million different things each morning after a hot shower. Well, I was wrong. So I began experimenting with many homemade products and listening to what my skin needed.
Now, before I lose all of the men in the audience, homemade beauty products should concern you too! It's not so much about looking good, but it's about feeling good and giving your body what it needs the same way you want to feed it healthy organic food. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and one of it's jobs is to filter what goes in and out of your body. Think of it like armor! If you take care of it, then it will protect you. Now let's consider what modern society tells us to do with our armor. Every morning you must take a hot shower with a bar of detergent. Yes, that stuff is not actually soap any more. Most of the "soap" sold in stores these days is actually a chemical combination that barely resembles what soap used to be. In the shower you might likely use shaving cream and exfoliators. So in effect, we've washed off all of the natural oils that our body worked so hard to produce, used the hot water to draw out more of those oils, scrubbed off the top layer of our skin with an exfoliant, and then added some chemicals to the now open and exposed pores. Once you towel off, then your skin is so dry that you must add the oils back just to keep it from cracking and breaking. But we don't use any type of oil that is like our own. Instead we use moisturizers that sit on top of the skin rather than penetrating it, so in effect it makes us feel like our skin is moisturized, but in reality it never goes deep enough to actually help and instead it smothers our skin by sitting on top and not allowing our pores to breathe. This causes a reaction in our body to feel very thirsty and to also realize that lots of foreign things are trying to enter through our armor, so the defense is to overproduce oil to try to compensate and to try to flush out the toxins. It makes our body work harder and causes a cycle where we rely on more products to try to create balance.
This definitely didn't seem right to me, but I wasn't ready to leave the shower behind and smell like a dirty hippie either! No offense to the dirty hippies out there - I love ya! I began experimenting with homemade products...and some of them were certainly experiments! Changing to homemade products isn't only about finding things that work well with your skin, but it's also about science. Natural ingredients and products that aren't laden with preservatives can mold. Oils and water do not mix without emulsifying. And you have to realize the science behind what you're making in order to push through the fact that you might be using beef fat to make a soap that is supposed to clean! There was also an adjustment period that I had to go through when weaning myself from chemical products. At first, the things I was making seemed oily or greasy, but I soon came to love that and interpret that as actual moisturizer that protects my cells. And initially my body had trouble balancing the oils because it was so used to overproducing that there was a physical change it had to go through before learning how to balance itself again. The hardest thing however was weaning myself psychologically. If it wasn't lathering or stinging slightly and didn't smell super perfumey, then I didn't think it was working.
One by one I began to find the recipes that worked for me and found one item at a time becoming replaced with a homemade alternative. I would encourage you to give it a go and so here's some info that might help you get started.
Items you need:(I keep a plastic bin together with all of my ingredients and supplies so it's always organized and available.)
- a dedicated cheap saucepan that you don't mind ruining with wax, etc.
- a few utensils like spoons, spatulas, etc. that you can dedicate because they also will become waxy
- some old glass jars, chapstick containers, deoderant containers, spray bottles that you can recycle
- a good book on homemade beauty products (I recommend Natural Beauty at Home)
- some basic ingredients to get you started such as:
oil (you'll find ones you like best like almond or grape seed but you can always use olive oil as a fall
beeswax (if you don't have your own, then look for organic wax to buy because wax holds a lot of
chemicals that the bees collect while foraging on crops that have been sprayed)
distilled water (Found in most grocery stores. Tap water can cause things to get moldy.)
essential oils (These can be expensive, but start with one you really like and take it from there. Lavendar
is a good choice because most people like it and it has healing properties for your skin.)
exotics (Before you know it you'll be looking for fun things to try like shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba
oil, etc. Try Soap Goods for many supplies you'll need. Don't go crazy in the beginning unless you
have money to spare. You don't really need any of these. In fact, most additives can come right
from your kitchen!)
First recipes to try:(This is a collection of recipes adapted from many different sources. You can get lost with all of the recipes online, but I've found these to be pretty fail safe and therefore are good ones to start with.)
Chapstick - In a saucepan over low heat melt 2 tsp beeswax with 2 Tbsp liquid oil such as olive oil. Pour into a small container or old lip balm tubes.
Deodorant Solid - In a saucepan over low heat melt 2 Tbsp beeswax and 4 Tbsp liquid oil such as olive oil. Once melted, take it off the heat and add 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of rosemary oil. Pour into an old deodorant container or jar. The tea tree and rosemary oil are strong at fighting bacteria. Human sweat is not what smells bad, it's the bacteria that grows in it.
Deodorant Spray- Mix a cup of distilled water with 1 Tbsp baking soda. Add 6 drops of tea tree oil. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake before using. This spray in combination with the solid deodorant work well.
Shampoo - If you're not ready to make your own soap yet, then try this shampoo starting with store bought liquid castile soap. Mix 1/2 C liquid castile soap with 1 C distilled water. Add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil and 1/4 C borax or baking soda especially if you have hard water. Shake well before using.
Exfoliating Face Scrub -Mix 1/2 C baking soda with 1 Tbsp ground dried mint leaves. To use, make a paste in the palm of your hand by sprinkling some face scrub and water together. Apply in circular motions on your face and rinse clean.
Basic Light Lotion- This can be use for body or face any time of year. In a saucepan over low heat melt 6 oz. liquid oil, 1/2 oz. beeswax, and 2 oz. of cocoa butter. Let this mixture cool to room temp. In a separate bowl mix 8 oz. distilled water and 20 drops of any essential oil you like. This mixture should also be at room temp. Once both mixtures are at room temp, you must mix them vigorously to emulsify. A blender or stick blender work best. Slowly pour oil mixture by the drizzle into the water mixture while you are blending. A lotion will form which you can then spoon into containers.
Shaving Cream - It doesn't foam, but works even better! Mix 1 cup liquid oil of your choice with 20 drops of essential oil. Pour into a container with a squirt top like an old honey bear or shampoo bottle. After your done shaving your skin is also moisturized!
Exfoliating Body Scrub or Hand Scrub -Mix 2 cups of sugar with 2/3 C honey and 1 Tbsp of liquid oil. Add 20 drops of any combination of essential oil that you like. Spoon into a jar and use it in the shower. Rinse it off sparingly so that the oils remain on your skin.
Solid Perfume- Love the scents in natures? Replace your artificial scented perfume with natural essential oils. Mix in a saucepan over low heat 1 Tbsp beeswax and 1 Tbsp liquid oil of your choice such as olive oil. Once melted, take it off the heat and add 6-10 drops of your favorite scented essential oil. Pour into a container and let cool. Rub a dab on your wrists or neck just like you would spray perfume.
Scented Room Spray- In a glass measuring cup, measure 3/4 C of distilled water, add 6-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. You can add 1/4 C distilled white vinegar if you wish. It gives a little bit of a vinegar smell, but the vinegar deodorizes things like smoke, etc. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake before using. Use it to replace scented candles or bathroom spray. Add essential oils with aromatherapy properties for day to day relief such as lavender for sleep, rosemary to increase concentration, patchouli to bring a feeling of peace, etc.
~ Daisy, The Happy Homesteader
Make a comment!