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DIY Orange Lotion

I have been seriously obsessed with citrus lately. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s winter and cold, and citrus is so summery. Whatever it is, I can’t get enough. Two weeks ago, I made Meyer Lemon Jam and Meyer Lemon Curd. I’ve already consumed 1 jar of jam. I have an open jar at work and an open jar at home. I don’t think they’ll last long.

Anyway, I decided I wanted a citrus body butter and I figured that winter was the best time to have it [since you do not want to use citrus essential oils on your skin if your skin is going to be exposed to sunlight–google it].

I found an orange body butter recipe that seemed easy enough. You don’t even have to melt the ingredients. Just throw it in a bowl and use a mixer on it. The original recipe calls for lavender essential oil, but I didn’t use it because I already have lavender body butter and lavender vanilla body butter. Feel free to add it if you prefer.

Orange Lotion

1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup shea butter
15 drops orange essential oil

All ingredients should be room temperature. Put coconut oil and shea butter in bowl, whip for 30 seconds. [I hate measuring things that stick to the inside of a measuring cup, so I just eye-balled it.] Scrape bowl. Add essential oil and whip for a minute. Store in clean jars. [I stored mine in small baby food jars.]

Two things: One, the orange scent isn’t very strong, which I was disappointed about. Two, I have labeled the recipe as “lotion” instead of “body butter” because the texture is lotiony, not buttery. If you prefer the whipped butter texture of my Homemade Body Butter Recipe, then I would recommend following those directions and melting the oil and butter, then allowing it to cool/set up, and finally whipping it with a mixer.

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Mouth Care

mouth care

Left to right: Minty Mouth Rinse, Tooth Powder, Toothpaste

In my search of homemade health and beauty aids, I came across homemade toothpaste and thought, why would anyone make toothpaste? And what the hell is in my toothpaste? So, I started researching and discovered that fluoride is not as a good for oral health as people think. In fact, it’s probably pretty bad. I figured, I’m already getting fluoride in my water, so maybe I’ll cut it out of my tooth cleaning care. The other thing I learned is that you can re-mineralize your teeth (with bentonite clay) and help heal cavities. What-the-what? I know, I was surprised too. I have several fillings because evidently, I’m just cavity prone. I don’t want anymore, so I’m trying this whole thing out.

Tooth Powder Recipe

4 tablespoons bentonite clay
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons finely ground unrefined sea salt
½ teaspoons clove powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground peppermint leaves or 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil
1 ½ teaspoons unrefined stevia powder

Using a stainless steel spoon, mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar or bowl. Scoop into small (personal size) glass jars.

To use: Dip wet toothbrush into the powder. Brush as normal.

Things to note: Bentonite clay pulls stuff out of stuff. Let me explain, so if you were to put wet bentonite clay into a metal container, it would start pulling some of the metals out of the container and into the clay. The same would occur in a plastic container, except with chemicals. This is a dry recipe, but I still decided to put them into small glass jars with glass lids, just to be safe. They work perfectly and are just the right size.

So, this tooth powder takes a little getting used to. It’s very different than store-bought toothpaste. I was already using baking soda toothpaste, so I think it was easier for me to get used to. (My sister doesn’t use baking soda toothpaste and said the tooth powder is horrible!) I don’t think the taste is awesome, but it’s not bad either. It just is. The appearance is weird. When you spit into the sink it’s tan with flecks of cinnamon, mint leaves, etc. A mouth rinse is a really good idea as well, since the clay can kinda stick to your gums. Hence, the next recipe.

Minty Mouth Rinse

1 cup water, distilled, filtered (not tap since it contains fluoride)
1 tsp baking soda
4 drops peppermint oil
4 drops tea tree oil

I used this 8 oz glass milk bottle with lid. I added the baking soda and oils to the bottle. Then I filled it with water. Shake to mix. Shake before each use. Swish around mouth and spit into sink.

I found a recipe similar to the bentonite clay one above. It was part of a homemade tooth paste kit that you could buy. On that website, they said they recommended using that recipe only once per day, because it could irritate the gums. I haven’t had any issues with it, but I thought I’d make another toothpaste option anyway. Better safe than sorry, I suppose. Also, the below recipe is less weird than the clay one.

Tooth Paste

2 T coconut oil, warmed
6 T baking soda
10 drops peppermint oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Melt coconut oil in a wide-mouth half-pint jar. Mix in remaining ingredients until a paste forms.

To use: Scoop with wooden craft stick and smear onto toothbrush. Brush as normal.

**1/31/15 Update: While I really like the way the tooth powder cleaned, I am less interested in the fact that it is a powder. So, I mixed the homemade tooth paste and tooth powder together, and added a few more drops of peppermint essential oil. I am very pleased with the results.

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Dry Hands Lotion Bars

I really like this recipe because it’s less oily than the body butter. As much as I love the body butter (and use it daily), it’s not practical to reapply throughout the day at work. That’s why I love these lotion bars. They moisturize without leaving my hands (and desk, and keyboard) oily. I store my lotion bar in a small plastic container. It’s great to keep on my desk at work.

I got the recipe from the blog: In the Nursery of the Nation.

Equal parts of:
2 oz shea butter or cocoa butter
2 oz beeswax
2 oz coconut oil
peppermint or lavender essential oils

Melt the beeswax slowly in a glass wide-mouth pint jar (with measurements on the side) in the microwave. Once melted, add the coconut oil and melt until you have 4 ounces. Repeat with butter to get 6 ounces of oil.  Add 20-30 drops of essential oils. The mixture will begin hardening as soon as it cools, so pour it into a silicone mold right away. Let it cool on the counter for 15 minutes, then put the mold in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The lotion bars should pop right out of the molds. Store in an airtight container.

To use: Remove the lotion bar from the container. Rub it all over your hands. Return to the container. Rub your hands together.

I used this mold and was able to get 2 sets with the above amounts. (I poured the first set, let it cool, popped them out. Then remelted the mixture and poured it for the second set.)

lotion bars(I threw a little ground cinnamon in the mixture to make them pretty.)

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Homemade Body Butter Recipe

Pinterest is a time-sucker, but it can be pretty awesome too. Pinterest introduced me to making homemade body butter. It was easy enough, so I tried it. And just like that, a monster was born. Now I’m making my own toothpaste, mouth rinse, foot soaks, lotion bars, sugar scrubs, etc. I plan to make body wash, shampoo, styling hair wax, and deodorant sometime in the near future.

Why do I make my own products? I love to craft and making my own products is pretty crafty. Also, (even though I work for one of the largest chemical companies in the country), I really like the idea of getting more natural and removing chemicals from my life. I’m becoming quite passionate about it. Another reason, many lotions contain things like mineral oil which coats your skin and doesn’t let it breathe or release toxins. What is mineral oil? Most often, mineral oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil. Gross. I do not want that on my skin.

So, here is my first recipe. I can’t seem to find the blog that I adapted the recipe from, but most recipes ask you to weigh the ingredients. I didn’t realize the measurements were by weight, so when I made it, I went by volume (which I think is easier). Here it is, step by step.

body butter

Ingredients:

1 cup shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond oil or grapeseed oil
lavender or peppermint essential oils*

Directions:

Place a chunk of shea butter in large glass measuring cup (I use an 8-cup one). Melt in microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Add more shea butter until you have 1 cup of melted shea butter.

Add spoonfuls of coconut oil (solid at room temp) to the measuring cup, until it reaches 1 1/2 cups. Melt in microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds or so.

Stir in almond oil or grapeseed oil. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Stir in 20-25 drops of either lavender or peppermint essential oils.

Allow the oils to partially solidify. Partially is the key! I use the refrigerator to help this along. One time, I started a batch and then friends came over to visit. I forgot about the body butter until the next day, when it was completely solidified. I had to microwave it to warm it up before I could do the next step. It ended up working out, but it was a pain.

Use a hand-held mixer (this is why I like to melt the ingredients in such a large measuring cup, because I can whip it in the same container), beat until it looks like butter (should only take a couple minutes).

Store in clean containers (plastic or glass jars).

To use: Scoop from jar with a wooden spatula. Start sparingly. A little goes a long way. The body butter is different from store-bought (chemical-laden) lotion. It will feel a little greasy, but not to worry, your skin will absorb it fairly quickly. After a couple days, you’ll be amazed at how soft your skin is.

*Make sure you’re using pure essential oils. Personally, I prefer lavender and peppermint because I know they are safe to use on skin. Not all essential oils are skin-safe and some have weird side effects (citrus oils are light sensitive and you shouldn’t use them on your skin before going out into the sun). Before using essential oils, you should research their properties.

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