Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Simple Made-At-Home Beauty and Cleaning Products

One day last week, I decided to ignore the cold, snowy day outside by making some homemade beauty and cleaning products in my nice warm kitchen.


This was the third time I've made deodorant, using two different recipes. Something in the second recipe I tried irritated my skin, so I scraped that batch out of my recycled store-bought deodorant tube and refilled it with this one. I prefer the first recipe I used last summer, so that's the one I'm sticking with.

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 8-10 drops essential oils (I use tea tree, eucalyptus & lavender)
Melt the coconut oil in a glass dish in the microwave (takes about 30 seconds). Add everything else and mix well. Pour into recycled deodorant tube. Store in a cool place.

I think I need to find a different grade of coconut oil with a higher melting point to use in this recipe. This one is solid at 76°, but as soon as the deodorant touches my skin, it melts, making a drippy mess on the container. And I have to use my fingers to rub it in before it drizzles down my sides. Not a huge problem, but coconut oil with a higher melting point would help. Also, in the warmer months, I'll store it in the fridge.

Hair Spray

For the life of me, I can't remember where I found the directions for making hair spray. It was someone's blog, I'm pretty sure. Unfortunately, I didn't bookmark it, nor did I pin it on Pinterest:  I wrote it in my little notebook labeled "Naturally Clean Recipes". And so I cannot give credit where credit is due to any of the recipes seen in this post. They came from all over the web...blogs, business websites, how-to sites. Google any of these things, and you'll find a plethora of information!

At any rate, back to the hair spray. When I go see my favorite hairdresser, I always request that she "go easy on the sauce" because I dislike how hairspray makes me itch and cough and give me "helmet hair". Living in Kansas requires a gal to use some kind of product to keep her tresses from standing on end from the ever-present Kansa wind, however. When I saw this recipe for homemade hair spray, I thought I'd give it a shot:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 4 tsp white sugar
  • 6-8 drops essential oil, if desired (I used lavender)
Heat water in pan to boiling. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat. Cool to room temp. Add essential oil. Pour into spray bottle. Spritz on hair.

I've been using this concoction almost every day for the past week, and I must say that it's quite effective! The best part is that it doesn't make me itch or cough. Surprisingly enough, it does not leave my hair sticky or ultra helmet-like. A bit crunchy, but nothing a comb can't go through easily. I've noticed that the next morning, my hair is still more or less holding its shape from the day before when I use this spray. Regular hair spray always made my hair go all wonky the next morning, even after brushing out my hair. I do wonder if my sweet hair spray will attract buggies come warm weather, but I guess we shall just have to wait and see about that. It's still stinkin' rotten cold around here now.

Body Wash

When I shower, I prefer to use my homemade bar soap over body wash, but a friend of mine is interested in making her own wash, so I thought I would experiment with this and let her know how it goes. I'd also like to adapt it to make a doggy wash for Etta Pooka.

This isn't a precise recipe, but rather basic directions:

Pour equal amounts liquid castile soap and aloe vera gel (not juice) into a recycled body wash or shampoo bottle. Add a small amount of moisturizing oil such as sweet almond oil. Poke a Vitamin E capsule with a needle and squeeze the oil into the bottle. Add several drops essential oils, if desired. Shake well before using.

Well. Hmmm.... Let's just say I am not impressed. This stuff doesn't suds up at all. It feels nice enough on my skin, but even after squirting a huge amount into my pouf, it just smeared around rather than lathering. My guess is that there is too much aloe vera gel in the equation. I've got one other body wash recipe in my notebook that I'll try.

Laundry Soap

I've been making my own laundry soap for quite some time now, and have posted about it on this blog before. You can read about it here, at its new location on WordPress. The only difference is that now I turn baking soda into washing soda using the stove top method. It's faster and uses less propane. Simply heat the baking soda in a sauce pan on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up lumps. You'll be able to tell when the change has occurred because the soda will look more like fine sand. It's kind of cool to watch it "boil", too. Also, instead of grating the Fels Naptha by hand, risking the inclusion of knuckle skin in the soap, I use a hand-crank Salad Shooter type grater thing I found at a thrift store. Much less painful!

Brown Sugar Body Scrub

This is another product that I have made previously. It smells delicious, but don't eat it! It makes your skin feel very soft, too. Just be very careful when using it, because it will make your tub extremely slippery. Use a bath mat or something secure to stand upon. (I stood on a wash cloth.) Otherwise, you may slip and fall, injuring yourself, requiring someone to drive you to the ER. In the words of Sheldon Cooper, "for want of 99-cent adhesive ducks, we both might die in a fiery car crash."

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
Mix well and store in a tightly sealed container. To use, apply to skin in the shower and rinse off. Gently towel dry, being careful not to rub off the silky softness.

Other recipes in my notebook of Naturally Clean Recipes that I  will make someday in the future include shampoo, conditioner and lip balm. I have tried making dish soap, but it didn't work very well, so those recipes have been torn from the notebook. All of my bar soap recipes are kept in a different book. I may or may not continue to make all of these products myself. Sometimes it is nice to specialize in a few and purchase or trade with someone who makes other things. It's always good to support other artisans!

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