Tag Archives | DIY

Whipped Body Butter 2.0

 

Whipped Body Butter 2.0 - 4 easy ingredients.  {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}

 

Whipped body butter 2.0 – why 2.0?  Well, this is a little step up from my simple 1 ingredient body butter.   When you first start out making your own products, the list of ingredients in some recipes can be so overwhelming and, for me, a show stopper.  I don’t want to invest a lot of money in several ingredients when I’m not even sure I’ll like them.  This is little step up and it’s worth it!  Plus the added ingredients are still very basic and can be used in many other recipes.

I love making my own beauty products.  I swear they work soooo much better than anything I have ever purchased.  Even better – I control what goes into them.  Not only can I make them free of toxins and other bad ingredients, but I can add ingredients that I find work for me.  Win – Win!  

Whipped Body Butter

 Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut oil (like this ONE)
1/3 cup cocoa butter (like this ONE)
1/3 cup shea butter (like this ONE)
2 TBSP avocado oil (olive, jojoba or almond oil are all good choices as well)
1 tsp Vitamin E (optional)

Directions:

doubleBoiler

  1. In a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter. You will be whipping this later with a hand or stand mixer so use a bowl that will work.
  2. Add shea butter and let it melt. I find that if I heat shea butter too long or too hot, it gets gritty. It’s a soft butter and won’t take long to melt.
  3. Take off the heat and add Vitamin E (if using) and avocado oil.
  4. Put the mixture in the refrigerator or even freezer and let it cool. Mine took almost an hour in the refrigerator. You want it at a sort of a gel like state. Alternatively, you could place the bowl in an ice bath.
  5. Whip the mixture until it is soft and frothy and completely cooled. If it’s not starting to look like whipped cream, it may need to cool more.  Whip for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Whipping

Notes:  

  • Vitamin E is used as a preservative.  I always add some to anything I’m making just ’cause.  If you don’t have any, it’s not a big deal.  The other oils have a pretty long shelf life all on their own.
  • Essential oils could be added to this base as well.  This is your mix, so add whatever you like – lavender, grapefruit, rosemary….

Easy peasy, right?  

Are you gonna try this?

 

This post has been shared at Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural, Small Footprint Friday

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Arizona-Inspired Hand Scrub – EASY!

Arizona-Inspired Hand Scrub - EASY!

As the weather gets colder, my hands start to feel like alligator skin.  Well, what I would imagine alligator skin to feel like since I am totally freaked out by any sort of reptile and could never touch one!  But I digress, back to my hands – rough, dry skin that catches on everything.  This hand scrub does the trick!  And it’s so easy.

A few years ago a friend of mine and I took a girls weekend trip to a spa in Arizona. It was lovely.  The spa had this wonderful scrub in the bathroom.  Our hands felt incredible after using it.  Every time we did I analyzed it, sniffing, rubbing, trying to figure out what was in it.

So here is my closest approximation to that wonderful spa scrub.

 

Arizona-Inspired Hand Scrub
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  3. 2 TBSP Apricot Kernel Oil (could substitute olive oil or almond oil)
  4. All of the ingredeints below are totally optional
  5. 1 tsp vitamin E
  6. 1 tsp vegetable glycerin
  7. 3 drops each lemon, lavender and rosemary essential oil
  8. 1 TBSP aloe vera gel
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients until combined completely
To Use
  1. Take a bit and rub all over your hands, rinse with warm water only, no soap.
The Greening of Westford http://thegreeningofwestford.com/

As much as I love the benefits you get from using several ingredients, it can be a bit much when you are just starting to make your own beauty products.   Start with a few key ingredients and build from there.  This recipe could be made with the first 3 ingredients only, even the first 2 honestly!  It will be a bit stiffer without a liquid oil (like olive oil), but coconut oil is a great moisturizer on it’s own and the sugar scrubs.

I think next time I’ll try using some real rosemary from my garden! 

As you add more ingredients to your arsenal, add to this recipe.  I’d suggest  Vitamin E  and one (or more) of the essential oils.  (disclosure: affiliate links)  They are easy to purchase and can be used in a variety of products.

By the way, wouldn’t this look so cute in your guest bathroom!

Easy Homemade hand scrub

 

Put this in a cute glass jar, label it, maybe a ribbon.  Voila!  Holiday gift!

Have any good tips for rough hands?

 

This post has been shared at Natural Living Monday

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Easy Foaming Hand Soap

{The Greening Of Westford} Easy Foaming Handsoap

There was a time when you would place a bar of soap next to the bathroom sink for washing hands.  Somewhere along the way, that became a disgusting thought – “Use the same soap someone else has used??”  Ewww!”  Honestly, if it’s my own house I don’t mind so much but do feel a little weird elsewhere and forget that concept in a public restroom!  Plus that bar can get pretty slimy and gross – think kids playing with the bar of soap while washing their hands.

In comes liquid foaming soap.  Convenient, not as messy, and scents that can make you feel like you are on vacation.  On the other hand, there is the wasteful packaging, those scents contain Phthalates, anti-bacterial liquid soap most likely contains triclosan, and they are expensive!

So pick your reason for wanting to rid your bathroom of these liquid foaming soaps:

  1. Wasteful
  2. Potentially dangerous chemicals
  3. Expense

I’m not going to suggest we go back to the bar of soap, although that is an option.  I’m going to say,

Make your own!  
 
It is so easy.  The most difficult part, is finding a container you like.

Foaming Soap

It’s not special foaming soap, its the container does the foaming action  I tried ordering empty foaming soap dispensers.  They were difficult to find and expensive.  Buy one already filled with soap and refill that one when it becomes empty.  Whole Foods carries their 365 brand foaming hand soap for about $5.  Or if you have those pretty smelling ones lying around, keep them!

Materials

liquid soap of your choice (Castile or anything unscented and without triclosan)
water
container

Fill your container about a 3/4 with water, then fill the rest with your liquid soap.  (You might need to play with this ratio.)
Mix gently

That’s it!  You can add essential oils if you like for fragrance or extra cleaning properties.  Teat Tree oil and lavender work nicely.  Vitamin E or glycerin can be added for softening qualities.  It’s up to you.

Cost Savings:
This method costs a fraction of what it would cost to buy new foaming dispensers filled with soap each time. Plus don’t forget your other savings in terms of health and resources.

32 oz of Castile soap (at Bed, Bath and Beyond) is about $9.  You can make 128 oz of foaming soap from this.

Pretty smelling scented ones, on sale, are 5 for $15.  Even at this great price it would cost $45 for the same amount of soap*.

Do you make your own foaming hand soap?  Will you now?

*The math:

Each pretty smelling bottle contains 8.75 oz. and costs $3 (on sale)

128oz/8.75oz  =  15 bottles (rounded up to whole bottles)
15 * $3 = $45

This post has been shared at Simply Natural Saturdays, Your Green Resource, From the Farm, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

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Why Conventional Deodorants Stink

Why Conventional Deodorants Stink {The Greening Of Westford}
Ah puberty.  That magical age where your body grows hair in weird places, your hormones rage and you start to stink!  Lovely!   In comes deodorant.  Probably one of the first personal care products you start using as a tween. 
 
But how safe are the typical deodorants/antiperspirants on store shelves?   There has been much about deodorant and the chemicals within, links to Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and the like.
 
The Problem
 
As with all other personal care products, they do not need to be tested before they go on the shelves nor do all the ingredients have to be disclosed.  Some of the chemicals found in  deodorant/antiperspirant are:
 
Triclosan:   Used as an antibacterial in many products.  It is thought to accumulate in our bodies and has been associated with hormone disruption.
 
Aluminum:  suspected to be linked to Alzheimer’s.
 
Parabens:  Mimic estrogen which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer.
 
Once again, there is no conclusive evidence stating that deodorants/antiperspirants definitely cause problems.  But there isn’t conclusive evidence to the contrary either.  I’d rather be safe than sorry.
 
Sweating is Natural
 
We wear deodorant to stop the stink.  An antiperspirant to stop the sweat by blocking the sweat glands under your arm.  They are 2 separate things.
 
Your body is supposed to sweat.  That is one way we release toxins.  Ingredients such as aluminum block the pores to stop you from sweating.   Your underarms are home to a lymph node location.  If your body cannot release toxins from your underarms, your lymph nodes are right there to suck up the toxins.   This is one thing that can be difficult for people to get used to – that wet feeling under your arms.  Honestly, I don’t like it.  And on special occasions, I admit to wearing an antiperspirant. 
 
Changing The Routine
 
Personally, I think our bodies become dependent on deodorant.  Years ago, I found myself increasing my deodorant use and gradually moving toward the clinical strength deodorants because nothing seemed to work.  While using the clinical strength, I finally read the directions and it stated that I should put it on at night to be absorbed into my skin.  Something about that struck me as wrong.
 
I backed off and used a regular deodorant/antiperspirant, occasionally not wearing any at all if I wasn’t going anywhere.  Little by little I think my body adjusted.  A few years ago, I gave up the antiperspirant all together and went with just a plain deodorant.  It worked OK, but I found myself reapplying at the end of the days.
 
Finding a Natural Alternative
 
What I find difficult about deodorants is that each person’s needs are unique.  What works for one person may not work for another.  Some natural deodorants are downright expensive.  I really don’t want to be paying over $20 to try one then have it not work only to go spend another small fortune on something else that may not work.  All the while wondering if I am stinking out my friends!
 
About a year ago, Cheryl of The Whole Body Spa was experimenting with deodorant.  I had the pleasure of being a tester!!!!   I started using her version – cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil and lemongrass essential oil.  It worked!  This is what I use all the time.  Now, it did take a little bit of getting used to because it comes in a jar and you rub it on with your fingers.  Honestly, not a big deal.  I think of it like lotion.  
 
You can buy this from Cheryl or look up recipes and make your own.  It is quite simple and inexpensive.
 
 
If you are not ready to take the plunge just yet, try these steps:
 
 
  1. Buy JUST deodorant, not an antiperspirant.   At least this way you are still allowing your body to sweat and release toxins.  And no Aluminum.
  2. Go scent free – fragrances usually contain phthalates.
  3. Avoid Triclosan and Parabens.
  4. You can check Skin Deep and Good Guide for health ratings on deodorants. 
 
For The Tweens In Your life
 
I gave some of the Whole Body Spa deodorant to my daughter recently as she is just starting to wear deodorant.  She has no preconceived notions about deodorant so she didn’t think twice about applying with her fingers.  My plan is to start all of my children off with natural products.  They won’t know the difference.
 
Have you made the switch to more natural personal care products?  What are your favorites or ones you find difficult to replace?
 
 
Top Photo By Don DeBold used under Creative Commons license

This post has been shared at Natural Living Monday, Small Footprint Friday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

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Preschool Teacher Approved Playdough Recipe

Preschool teacher approved play dough recipe
(Photo Credit: Gina Guillotine/Flickr)

When my kids were little, they loved playdough.  Actually who am I kidding, they still love it!

Because I love to cook and so do my kids, we used to make our own playdough often.  They loved picking their colors.  Sometimes, we would scent the playdough with vanilla or peppermint extract.  Smelled so good.  Of course, I wouldn’t do this with very young children who might be tempted to eat the dough.  But then again, with these ingredients, it probably wouldn’t be that bad!

We always used this recipe from their preschool teacher.  Preschool teacher approved!  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup cold water
1 TSBP oil
coloring of your choosing

Directions:
1) Sift flour, salt and cream of tartar.
2) Put all ingredients into a non-stick sauce pan and whisk together until smooth and creamy
3) Cook over medium heat stirring until a ball of dough forms (about 1 – 2 minutes)
4) Remove from heat.
5) Knead for 5 mins.  Store in airtight container.

Cream of tartar can be expensive.  I tried cutting back to 1 tsp.  It’s OK, but the cream of tartar gives the dough it’s smooth silky consistency.  If you buy cream of tartar in bulk, it is so much cheaper.  Try Whole Foods bulk bins, Penzey’s, or other bulk spice companies.

As for the coloring, when we made this dough, I was not the greenie I am now.  We used Wilton icing color paste.  Probably not the best choice.  Now I would try some natural dyes like the ones I did for Easter eggs this year replacing the water with the dye.

Have you ever made playdough?


This post is part of Vintage MauveJillify It and Frugally Sustainable.

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Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally: Lessons Learned From Our First Attempt

In our family, we always have reddish-brown Easter eggs.  We are Armenian and the Armenians dye their eggs this color using yellow onion skins.  My aunt still does this every year.  It’s not the most exciting for kids though.

This year I finally took the plunge and made my own natural dyes.  It was a lot more work!  But the eggs came out pretty cool.

First of all, plan to prepare the dyes early in the morning or the day before you decorate the eggs.  The dyes take a while to make, plus they will need a few hours to cool.

Choose Your Colors

There are plenty of websites out there listing different spices or veggies that make certain colors.  

We kept it pretty simple this year and did 4 colors.

RED – 1 can of beets and cranberry juice (in place of water) – Lesson #1: Ours turned out more ugly brownish grey.  Next time I wold try using fresh beets and more of them.

DARK ORANGE – 2 TBSP chili powder – Lesson #2 – Use more Chili powder

YELLOW – 2 TBSP Turmeric

BLUE – ½ of a head of red cabbage (chopped) Lesson #3 – Turned out great!

Other color choices:

GREEN – spinach, blueberries

BROWN – strong coffee

PINK – cherries

Anything that stains your hands could be used.
Note:  If you remember your preschool color combinations, you should be able to make green by combining yellow and blue, purple with red and blue.  I tried to do this, but totally forgot my color combos and mixed red and yellow thinking it would make green!  Oh well, on the bright side it did make orange. 
Make the Dyes

Lesson #4 – Definitely plan on doing this early in the morning or the day before.
Add the color ingredient of choice to 2 cups of water and 1 TBSP vinegar.  Simmer on the stove for 20 – 30 mins.  Strain the liquid and let it cool to room temperature.

Lesson #5 – Turmeric “stains” your pot.  I think it’s actually that the turmeric is really hard to get off.  Make this color last!

Decorate!  
We used rubber bands to create stripes.  We tried to use white crayons to draw on the eggs before dying them, but that didn’t seem to work so well.








Lesson #6 – Rubber Bands worked well, white crayons not so much

Our Results




From left to right – Red cabbage, Turmeric, chili powder, beets.
None of us were impressed with the beets.

Lesson #7 –  The red cabbage dyes the eggs pretty quickly.  The rest we let sit in the coloring overnight in the refrigerator.  Turmeric did well, but something weird happened with the others, especially the beets.

Lesson #8 – Would totally do this again!


For more green Easter ideas, check out Big Green Purse’s Easter Blog Carnival!

Have you ever used natural dyes?


Update 4/7/12:  For more ideas on how to dye Easter Eggs naturally, check out Kelley’s Passion for Nutrition.




This post is part of Frugal Days Sustainable Ways and Crunchy Betty’s Outside the box Tuesday.

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