Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ingredient Highlight

Cocoa Butter`
Cocoa butter is one of my favorite ingredients to use.  This ingredient has a light, chocolate scent which is perfect alone or in combination with other complementing scents (peppermint, strawberry, cherry, and so many others.)   The butter is a solid at room temperature but has a low melting point, so as you rub it across your skin or lips, it glides on smoothly, softening and lubricating the skin.  This is a popular ingredient in massage creams and lip balms due to its low melting point.  It is absorbed into the skin fairly quickly, so it does not leave a greasy feeling behind.

Cocoa butter has antioxidants which fight free radicals and also act as a natural preservative, giving products an extended shelf life (up to 2 years, depending on the other ingredients).   The anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa butter may help ease arthritis.  It has been used for reducing or preventing stretch marks, helping to heal scars (including acne scars), and in the prevention and healing of chapped skin.  The fatty acids in cocoa butter help hydrate the skin.  Cocoa butter acts as a natural barrier, helping to keep moisture in the skin.

If you have read my blog from the beginning, you likely know that I use this ingredient all by itself as my go-to skin moisturizer.  It only takes a tiny amount rubbed on my face and neck at night to make my skin soft and hydrated.  It smells great, too!

Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY Warming/Cooling Sore Muscle Lotion

Too much yard work?  Pull a muscle playing soccer?  Make your own Warming/Cooling Body Lotion.  I used a bottle of my Peppermint Lotion with Aloe and added some ground cayenne pepper.  That's it!  The capsaicin in hot peppers is a pain reliever and the peppermint cools.  Be sure to wash your hands after applying the lotion, especially before touching your eye area.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

cuticle oil

I have posted about this miracle oil previously and if you do not already use cuticle oil, you really should start.  Dab a small amount on your fingertip and rub it into each cuticle at least once a day, especially after your hands have been in water.  The oil makes your dry, rough, ragged cuticle into soft and supple cuticles like magic.  It even helps prevent your nails from peeling.  If you have experienced peeling nails, you know exactly why you should start using this oil.

This version is made with jojoba oil, vitamin e, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil.  If you prefer, put the oil in an empty nail polish bottle (washed and well rinsed) and apply the oil with the brush included in the bottle.  Personally, I just rub the oil in with my fingertip.  No need to rinse the oil off.  It is quickly absorbed.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Age spots

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was recently asked to find a natural product to help lessen the appearance of age spots.  Age spots, officially known as lentigo, are uneven melanin deposits in the surface of the skin.  These can occur for a variety of reasons such as a greater amount of melanin produced in a certain area of the skin, melanin not being properly absorbed by the kerantinic cells, hormonal imbalances, or even irritation of the skin including those caused by acne conditions.

If you are using a commercial bleaching agent (and even some natural ones like lemon juice) to lighten age spots, avoid applying the product before going into the sun.  Many of the ingredients used to lighten the skin can react with the sunlight, making the problem worse.  In fact, anytime you are out in the day, be sure to use sunscreen.  If you do not, not only do you risk creating new age spots but you may be negating any effect the bleaching product you are already using may be doing.

Some of this information came from Milady's Skin Care & Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary.  Be sure to check it out if you would like more information.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Peppermint Lotion with Aloe

If you like a lotion not quite as thick as body butter, this is your recipe.  Made from aloe vera, coconut oil, vitamin e, beeswax and your favorite essential oil, it glides over the skin and is very quickly absorbed.  The hands are really soft, but not greasy or oily.  You can use whatever scent you want, or leave it out completely.  Peppermint will help energize you.  If you are looking for a more soothing lotion, try lavender.  Do not be afraid to blend your fragrances together.  A vanilla-lavender blend would be nice here, too.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whipped Vanilla Body Butter

This smells AMAZING.  It is made with three ingredients- cocoa butter, coconut oil, and vanilla.  It is then whipped together.  The heat from your hands helps the butter melt into your skin, but it is absorbed quickly, leaving behind soft and delicious smelling skin.  I could bathe in the stuff.  Yum!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to Identify and Care for Your Skin Type

Before you can decide which product(s) to use as part of your skincare routine, you must know what type of skin you have.  There are three main skin types and you may have one or a combination of these.  The three categories of skin classification are: normal, oily, and dry.  People often confuse the classification of their particular skin type because of use (or overuse) of certain products.  Let's discuss identification of each type and how to best care for your individual type of skin.

Normal skin is well hydrated and appears soft, moist, and plump.  This type of skin does not show wrinkles or fine lines.  People that seem to have a healthy glow usually have a normal skin type.  If this sounds like you, be sure to properly cleanse your skin twice a day (morning and evening) and moisturize to keep your skin hydrated, especially at night.  You want to avoid overuse of exfoliating products, but occasional use is good for normal skin.

If you have oily skin, you may be surprised to learn that with proper care, this is actually the preferred skin type as it can help delay the effects of aging.  Oily skin appears shiny and firm.  The pores may appear enlarged (and appear even more so when the skin is dehydrated.)  Oily skin may have blemishes and usually will feel oily to the touch.    People tend to aggravate oily skin by misusing skincare products, especially harsh soaps, astringents, and scrubs.  If you have oily skin, you should cleanse the skin thoroughly, but gently, twice a day.  You should use a morning and evening cream to help skin retain suppleness and moisture while regulating oil gland secretion.

Dry skin is often worsened by the aging process, but may appear at any age.  Skin in this category is often dehydrated, and has problems retaining moisture since oil production, which normally acts as a natural barrier against moisture loss, may lessen with age.  Dry skin is usually thin and delicate.  Pores are hard to see and the skin wrinkles easily and has fine lines.  Care for dry skin includes using products that leave a layer on the skin to keep in moisture.  Use a good skin nourishment and lubrication system, including use of hydrating masks.

Regardless of your skin type, adequate protection against the sun should be used at all times when you will be outside during the day.

All of this information was taken from Milady's Skin Care & Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary by Natalia Michalun with M. Varinia Michalun.  Be sure to check out this book if you are interested in learning more about three skin categories and the six skin conditions that you might experience.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Linen Spray

One of the problems with me "talking" with you via the internet instead of in person?  You are missing out on the scent of this linen spray.  Seriously.  Sure it is a cute bottle, but you really have no idea how great this smells.  

While I guess it is not technically a beauty product, anything that makes me feel good is a beauty product to me!  To use, lightly mist your bed linens right before bedtime.  Then climb in those sheets and enjoy the light fragrance.  It is sure to help you relax and drift off to pleasant dreams.  

This is another one of those super, super easy recipes.  It contains rose water and distilled water.  That's it.  You could add other scents, especially lavender, but this one is perfect just as it is.  

Let me know if you give it a try.  It is really great!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cooling Body Mist

Having one of those hot days?  This Cooling Body Mist can help!  Spray the back of your neck, inside of your elbows, behind the knees and anywhere else you could use a little fresh-up on those muggy days.  Keep it in the fridge for extra oomph!  Or throw a bottle in your briefcase, gym bag, or backpack for on-the-go freshness!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Beeswax Pellets

Last week I posted about Honey to kick-off September's National Honey Month.  To keep up the celebration, I wanted to talk about another beauty recipe ingredient that is also made by those awesome little honeybees.  I am, of course, going to talk briefly about the benefits of beeswax!

Obviously beeswax comes from bees.  They excrete it from a gland, chew that secretion a little, and then form it into the six-sided honeycomb shape most of us are familiar with.  They produce this wax to line the inside of the hive.  These honeycomb cells are used by bees to store little baby bees (which sounds so much better than larvae) and to store honey.  

Beeswax has a light, natural fragrance and one reason it is added to beauty products is for its light honey-ish fragrance.  Beeswax, like honey, has many other qualities that make it a great addition to your beauty products.  It can be used as a thickening agent.  It will not only thicken your creams, but help those creams glide more easily over the skin.  It locks in moisture and even attracts moisture to the skin.  Additionally beeswax is an:

  • Anti-inflammatory- reducing redness and blotchiness to even out skin tone and to help heal wounds;
  • Anti-bacterial- inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus making it an effective treatment for bacterial infections including diaper rash;
  • Anti-Allergenic- making it good for all skin types; and
  • Antioxidant- reducing environmental damage from the sun, pollution, or air and inhibiting free radical damage.   

Beeswax was used by the Romans to help soften skin and heal wounds.  It protects the skin and provides a protective coating that will not clog your pores.  It is a perfect addition to lip balms and will help heal chapped lips and prevent them from reoccurring.  

I personally get my beeswax in small, pellet form so that it is much easier to melt.  I hope you will give this ingredient a try in your recipes.  I think you will be pleased with the results.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Almond Salt Scrub

Another scrub great for gifts.  This recipe is so simple!  It used sea salt, coconut oil, and almond extract.  I thought about chopping up some almonds into small pieces, but decided to keep this one easy instead!  Great for gift giving.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Another Squeel Worthy Outcome! Mocha Coffee Scrub Bars

I am so, so thrilled with how these turned out.  Full disclosure- I attempted to make these one other time but it was a total failure that I turned into regular ol' coffee sugar scrub in a jar.  But success!  Yahoo!  I am loving these.  

The coffee bean on top is purely decoration.  These have fresh, ground coffee (cheap stuff is okay here), granulated sugar, cocoa butter, a little beeswax (which I did not use the first go 'round), a pinch of cinnamon (leave this out if you are sensitive to cinnamon on your skin), baking soda, and corn starch.  The coffee and sugar both provide the exfoliating features.  The coffee also stimulates the skin and is supposed to help smooth out cellulite prone areas.  The cocoa butter gives a chocolate scent to these and helps to moisturize the skin.  

You use these just as you would other sugar scrubs (see my last post if you are unsure what to do with these.)

Another test kitchen success!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peppermint Bath Salt Scrub

Not to make anyone nervous, but the holiday season is quickly approaching.  I put together these cute little salt scrubs and think these would be great gifts that you could whip out in about fifteen minutes.  I recommend finding cute containers at the dollar store or your favorite thrift store.  Make sure any container you use is air-tight.  

The above is peppermint essential oil, Epsom Salts, sea salt, and coconut oil.  I added red food coloring to half the mixture and divided into the containers.  If you do this, be sure to push each layer to the sides of the container before adding the next layer.  Of course, you can leave the red food coloring out all together and this will work just perfectly.  (This is great if you seem to continue to run of red food coloring because your child has suddenly discovered that red food coloring on the skin is a great practical joke to make someone think they were recently injured.  *cough*  Not that I know any boys that would do that.)

Interestingly enough (as I thought most people knew already), I have had some family members ask what salt (or sugar) scrubs are for and how to use them.  When you are in the shower, grab a small handful of the mixture and gently rub it into your skin.  The salts (or sugars in sugar scrubs) help exfoliate your skin and remove dry and dead skin.  The coconut oil helps to soften and moisturize the skin.  The peppermint in this recipe is a nice pick-me-up.  After you have gently rubbed the scrub into your skin, rinse off and finish your shower as normal.  Your skin will definitely feel smoother.  

For the record, you do not have to do this in the shower, but I find it less messy if you are scrubbing your legs or other body parts with the scrub and it rinses away easily.  Many gardeners, painters, or others who do a lot of messy work with their hands, like to keep a scrub mixture at the sink and use it to scrub their hands whenever they need to get off some of the tough stuff left behind on their skin.  Please note:  While scrubs can be used on the skin of your face, I do not recommend this particular scrub to be used on that delicate area.  You definitely want something with fine granules, so look for some of my scrubs with brown sugar, baking soda, or other softer exfoliators.  

Whatever your method, do your best to keep water out of the container to avoid contamination by bacteria and other unfriendlies.  As with everything you make from my recipes using all-natural ingredients, I suggest you make these in small batches and store them in a cool, dark place when not in use.  

Let me know if you give these a try!  I would love to know what you think!

Monday, September 1, 2014


September is National Honey Month.  Honey is an excellent beauty aid.  It is one of the main ingredients in one of my more popular lip balm recipes and is featured in several other beauty recipes that will appear in the book.  Legend has it that Cleopatra used honey for her own beauty treatments.

Why is honey such a great ingredient to use in DIY beauty recipes?  The texture of honey attracts moisture, even drawing moisture from the air, and then helps infuse that moisture into your skin.  Regular use of products with honey helps skin to maintain elasticity without making the skin dry.  Honey's antioxidants help to delay the signs of aging and, when used as part of a face mask, helps in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Honey has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that speed healing, heal burns, reduce scars, and helps prevent infection.  Its antibacterial properties make it a great preventative treatment for acne.  It can even be used as a spot treatment for breakouts.

You want to use raw honey, not the over-processed and pasteurized product found in most stores.  Try to obtain local honey when you are able.

One simple way to add honey to your beauty regimen is to simply spread honey on your skin in a thin layer.  Let it sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.  Pat your skin dry and moisturize as usual.

Interested in writing an article about your products?

Are you interested in writing an article on your product(s) for my website?  I am especially interested in those who sell essential oils or other natural beauty products or natural ingredients that could be used in the book's recipes.

I would prefer informative articles about one or more of your products and a link can be provided to your website/Facebook Page/other social media site.

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