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Good morning greenies!
It’s been some time since I’ve posted here, the last post was all about homemade toothpaste. But I promise, I have a good reason for my disappearing act.
For the past 11 months I’ve been a pretty busy gal. Between work (released two books this year which you can see at my Amazon author page) and figuring out ways to homestead(ish) in the city, my time to write about greener experiences has been limited.
Because I’ve been living them!
But today I’m going to give you a post-game wrap up of all things homemade that I’ve been working on for the past year. Hopefully it will inspire you to get out there and give DIY a try in 2016!
Before we go any further I want you to be aware that there are affiliate links in this post, that means if you purchase the products (other than my books above) you’ll pay nothing extra but I’ll make a small commission. It helps fund my green endeavors and I appreciate the support!
Now, with that said…
First up – whipped body butter
I’m a regular reader of (okay, I admit, I’m obsessed with) Katie, AKA: Wellness Mama. She’s been doing this stuff for a long time and has a good mind for creating healthful products from scratch.
So when I wanted to try my hand at a body lotion, her blog was the first place I went for inspiration.
I was excited to see that most of the ingredients she suggested were ones I already had in my closet/cabinets and some of the same ingredients I was considering using in my formula!
For this recipe I used:
The first thing I did was work out ratios. For this recipe I used: 2oz = 1 part (1 part can be anything you like – a pound, 6oz, ¼oz – whatever works for the needs you have).
Because, while Katie has a family to use up the items she creates, over here in Casa de Shon there’s just Matt and myself (and sometimes, like in this case, I’m the only one using the item in question).
Determining ratios helps with a couple things:
1. I can reduce / increase as necessary so my product fits in the container.
2. I want it to remain shelf-stable until I run out (nothing extra / wasted!).
Of course, #2 isn’t going to be a problem. I live in the desert. I’m using this stuff at least 3 times a day!
But here’s the thing, I’m kind of a lazy homesteader. There, I said it. I just loathe spending tons of time because I have a day job and a life to live on top of doing all this green stuff. I want things as efficient as possible so I can get in, get out and get it done.
That’s why I use a crock pot instead of a double boiler.
It’s one of the small ones but it works great – 1 “pan” = minimal cleanup. Convenient, efficient and simple…what’s not to love!?!
Here’s how I do it:
1 part cocoa butter
1 part shea butter
1-¼ parts coconut oil
¾ part sweet almond oil
Put everything in the crock pot, heat on warm until melted – stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Stir in 20 or so drops EO of choice. Put in fridge** for an hour and a half. Reheat on warm setting and add more cocoa butter (because mine was staying liquid, if yours starts to set don’t add more), stirring until melted. I put the crockpot back in the fridge and left it there overnight. Next morning it was hardened completely. Put on counter and once at room temp (3 or 4 hours), whip with a hand mixer until it resembles meringue. Scoop into container and / or slather all over your lizard-like skin. (Oh, that’s just me?)
In the winter it gets chilly in my house, so everything gets a bit more solid, but this stuff scoops right out of the container no problem and it’s light, fluffy and so chocolatey smelling!
I love using this after I shave my legs, all day as a hand moisturizer, and anytime I need a healthy glow to my skin.
A couple notes:
1. This doesn’t “spread” like a commercial lotion.
2. As you warm it in your hands it will resemble melting butter.
3. The oils can stain clothes, wait about 5 or 10 minutes after applying before dressing.
4. This won’t cure anything but it sure feels wonderful and is chemical free.
5. So far I’m on my second batch and haven’t had any problems with shelf stability (each lasting about 4+ months, I use a gasket air-tight glass jar and don’t let water creep in to harbor bacteria).
What else have I been working on?
This year has been about lots of experimentation with various household and beauty products. Some of which I’ve mastered (hello never having to buy lip balm again!), while others are taking numerous tries to get good enough that I’m comfortable sharing my method (I’m looking at you deodorant!).
Now, it may seem like a lot of money spent and up front, it is. But in the end I’m actually saving. I buy my ingredients in bulk and the good news is I can use many of the same ingredients across multiple items.
For example, in the past 2 years we would have bought a tube of toothpaste roughly every 2 months. That’s 12 tubes, at about $5 per tube we would have spent $60.
As of right now I’m still on the original box of baking soda ($4), vat of coconut oil ($25) and peppermint EO ($14).
Add it up and in 2 years I’ve spent $43 on toothpaste. It may not seem like $17 is much but all those $17 items add up over time and help our one income family live more healthful, planet conscious and frugally. And don’t forget, the coconut oil is also used for more than half my beauty products as well as our cooking oil when needed.
In the last couple years or so I’ve managed to switch over to the following chemical-free products:
- Lip balm
- Shampoo / conditioner (so much fail in this experiment, I use Shea Moisture brand now)
- Wool dryer balls (best investment ever!)
- Cleaning products (lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda – that’s it)
- Laundry detergent (summers bode well for liquid, sadly winters in my garage are cold so I’m testing different powdered formulas now to see what works best with our hard water & will report back eventually)
- Hair color (henna rocks)
- Deodorant (I’ll get this one eventually but for now using Tom’s of Maine)
- Candles (I use a wax burner, beeswax and a couple drops of EO)
- Face lotion (straight coconut oil works just perfect for me but some people have issues because it can clog pores so be aware)
Next on the list of items to DIY for health?
- Body wash (exfoliating)
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher packs
- Makeup (which I’ve started experimenting with and hope to get at least 1 good cover stick, loose powder recipe by next year)
- Air freshener / fabric refresher
And that may not be everything but it sure feels great to be living more healthfully!
How about you? What commercially produced, chemical-laden products are you trying to replace in your house? Share your recipes in the comments!
**if you go right to the fridge it can strain the cold glass shelves, use a hand towel under the ceramic vessel to protect both from breaking.
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