Lotions & Potions, Making your own from Sugar Scrubs to Toothpaste

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Dear Reader, it is almost the start of summer and everywhere you look, all of nature is in bloom. We are having an unseasonably warm spring here in Ireland with temperatures up to 26c and I can see the effects in the incredible growth outside my window. Its probably global warming but its lovely to see the world turning lush and green again.

I’ve set out on a quest to find the answer to what can I do to help make the world a better place? Well, I can start with myself and how I live. The task at first felt overwhelming but I’m finding the best way is to start small and the more you change things around you, like switching from oil to renewable energy or from plastic to glass, GMO to organic, mass produced to home grown…, the more empowered you feel to make other changes in your life.

Over the last few years, I’ve discovered the joy, pleasure and satisfaction of making my own preserves, jams, jellies, tonics, wines… I have chronicled many of these endeavours on this blog. I learnt how to grow my own fruit and veg, how to cultivate a herb garden, create compost and how to repair or recycle rather then throw away.

I have been thinking about my lifestyle, how it’s not enough to change how and what I eat and drink but also what I use to clean my body. The essentials for most people are soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, bath salts, toothpaste, deodorant, face cleanser, make -up remover, eye cream, face cream, body butter, shaving cream, foot and body scrubs, hair masks…the list is shockingly long when you look hard at what beauty and hygiene products are in your typical bathroom.

Have you ever looked at the back of any of these core staples on your bathroom shelf? The list of ingredients is disturbingly long and usually phrased in chemical equations that hide dozens of toxins, never mind the horrifying fact that most cosmetics are tested on animals who suffer unbearable pain. By buying these products, we are endorsing the policies of these companies, causing suffering to animals and underage underpaid workers and adding to the billions of profit these companies make, which increases their power on a global scale.

These companies are not concerned about your health, your ethics, your core values but rather your wallet. They have systematically brainwashed us into thinking that there is no other way to keep clean and fresh, through pervasive advertising and product placement in supermarkets.

1Some of the few companies I would exclude from this list are The Body Shop and Lush. [They are not paying me to endorse them, rather it is based on my own personal experience over the years]

o-SKIN-CARE-PRODUCTS-facebookThe time of these mega international companies and their hold on our world needs to come to a end. It stops here, with myself, you, your friends and family saying, No more! I have discovered that I can make my own cosmetics at home, thanks to all the wonderful people on youtube and for a fraction of the cost. Even better yet, all the ingredients are good for you!

The list of products I needed to make was daunting so I’ve decided to replace each product as I run out with my own homemade version. I started off with a simple sugar scrub. Here is the recipe below:

Body Sugar Scrub:

  • Using a large glass bowl, place one handful of Fresh Rosemary, Calendula and Mint in with 500 grams of Organic Coconut Oil.
  • Place over a boiler [saucepan with water in it] and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Filter through a muslin cloth draped over a sieve.
  • Using gloves, squeeze the soaked herbs until you have all the flower infused oil in a small glass bowl
  • Slowly mix in 500 grams of granulated cane sugar
  • Add in some of the used herb mix for extra roughage and spoon into a glass jar, ideally with a lid
  • Top with fresh or dried rose petals for a luxurious touch
  • Leave to cool
  • Use as needed, once a week is recommended
  • I really enjoyed making this scrub and my kitchen smelt amazing after wards for hours. I started using it last week and its truly a gorgeous heavenly scrub. I don’t have a bath, just a small shower, so I recommend a drain catcher to prevent clogging for all the petals.

The next thing I tried was Dry Shampoo. As an acute asthmatic for most of my life, I’ve tried to stay away from sprays and strong smelling chemicals but on occasion, I’ve found the need for dry shampoo. I wanted to find one that would be safe, healthy and easy to use. After some searching, I came across this recipe:

IMG_20170510_204903Dry Shampoo 

[Warning, its scent will make you hungry!]

  • Using a base of Arrowroot [I found mine in Holland & Barrett but any health store should have it], mix all the dry ingredients in a glass bowl
  • Mix 70% Arrowroot, 20% Coco powder [the better the quality, the better the scent] and add a handful of lavender and rose petals.
  • Mix well and add essential oils if desired.  Use a old large make-up brush to apply to the roots of your hair.
  • I personally recommend leaving the mix in a mason jar for a week and then using a sieve to filter out the rose and lavender petals, as I found when I’m applying it to my hair, the petals get everywhere!
  • The dry shampoo really works, I usually rub it in the night before if I don’t want to wash my hair too often. Use only a little, the darker your coco, the darker the colour of the mix. I suggest adding the coco only if you are dark haired. One lovely side effect of using this dry shampoo is when washing it out, everything smells like chocolate! 🙂

IMG_20170530_163024This morning, I set out to mix up a batch of Homemade Toothpaste. It is incredibly simple and easy to make.

  • All you need is Baking Soda, Coconut oil and an essential oil of your choice. I took 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of Baking soda and then 20 -30 drops of essential oil.
  • I used 20 drops of Peppermint oil and 10 drops of Tea Tree oil but it is essentially your own preference.
  • Mix well, put into a glass container with a lid and use as any other toothpaste.
  • Oh before I forget, you can buy bamboo or sustainable wooden toothbrushes from Ebay in a variety of sizes

I’ve used the toothpaste twice so far today and found it pleasant, there is a slight numbing of the gums, a fresh and sweet taste and a slightly gritty texture. I have heard if you swish coconut oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes each evening,a technique  called ‘Oil Pulling’, it is an astonishing teeth whitener and cleaner, so I will be definitely be trying that!

grass_flower_light_lying_face_girl_69989_1920x1080I plan to make my own deodorant tomorrow [waiting on the last ingredient Raw Shea Butter which I had to order online as couldn’t find it in Galway, but should arrive in the morning by post].  I am really eager to try out some Body Butter recipes I found online, as well as a fascinating thing which I came across last night called ‘Sugaring‘, a non toxic  and hopefully, not too painful method of hair removal.

maxresdefaultBig shout out to all the incredible people on Youtube for their fantastic videos. Please click on the links below to view the actual video tutorials. Enjoy! 🙂

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