Here are a couple of easy ideas for giving your mom (or partner) a special homemade gift she will actually use.
This recipe is a fun one to do with kids because the process of whipping the cooled, melted liquid into a butter is quite magical to witness. And that’s just a start of the beauty alchemy because it also transforms dry patches, hands, feet, and elbows, into soft, silky, moisturized parts. Try putting a big scoopful on your feet before bed with socks, or on your hands, and see how different your hands and/or feet are in the morning.
Full recipe is here:
Enjoy this last week of February! My kids have their first snow day of the year today so it seems winter is sticking around here. I hope you are getting some hints of spring wherever you are!
Toner is one of the easiest things to make for your green beauty routine. Follow this link for the quick how-to.
Most of the time when I make perfume oils it’s all about the scent. (I have a couple of videos about making them, here and here.) This is different though, this one is all about the emotional benefits with my essential oil picks based solely on their traditionally recognized benefits for reducing anxiety and stress. I chose sunflower oil for the base because it hardly has any scent of its own so it carries the e.o. scents quite well. The essential oils I’m using are Neroli, known to decrease nervous tension and apprehension, so much so that Neroli blossoms used to frequently be placed in wedding bouquets, Clary Sage which is a happy scent, sometimes even described as euphoric and elation-promoting, and Lavender which is a relaxing scent. To make the blend, simply add the base oil (I use a funnel to reduce spillage) to the clean, empty bottle of choice. In the picture I have a clear, 1/3 oz. bottle, but I actually ended up using a dark amber bottle instead because dark-colored glass helps the essential oils stay fresh longer. In a 1/3 oz bottle I’d add about 12 drops of essential oils total, and in a 1/2 oz bottle size I’d add 15-18 drops total. For this blend none of the oils are exceptionally strong so I decided to add equal amounts to the base oil, so 4 drops of each oil went into the bottle. Always cap your blends right away and shake them, or better yet, roll them in your hands to mix the ingredients together. The blend is then ready to use but it will deepen and change a bit over a month’s time. Keep it out of direct light and heat for best results, and then use on pulse points to reduce nervousness and stress. Always remember to shake the bottle before using to make sure the essential oils are well mixed. This is so easy that even the most stressed out person can manage to do this without so much as a toddler sized tantrum or clenched jaw. Don’t forget to write down your personal blend formula for future reference, and also to label the bottle accordingly. I labeled mine ‘breathe’ so I remember to check on the quality of my breathing when I’m reaching for a stress-reducing scent. A mantra I learned a long time ago comes in handy at those moments: Breathe in the future, breathe out the past. The sweet spot is in-between the breath in and breath out which can only be recognized as the present. Let me know what your favorite stress-reducing techniques are. I’d love to hear them!
Normally I listen to NPR for the news at some point every day, but these last few months I’ve had no idea what’s going on in the world because I so loathe presidential election years I just can’t make myself turn on the radio. Why do politics always bring out the basest, vilest, most judgmental aspects of people? I get it that personal political beliefs are just that, deeply personal~ they are built on one’s value system and to have that value system on display on the big screen in a way and open to constant judgement makes people defensive and often offensive. It must be that the fight or flight mechanism is triggered and even the most rational people are reduced to their reptilian core and it’s a shame because no one learns anything. It’s such a divisive time and whenever I see well-communicated, complete thoughts on a political subject met with angry, incoherent, immature reactions it makes me so sad~ and that’s every single day of the election season. I suppose I’m in ‘flight’ mode which isn’t to say I’m not going to vote, because I always do, but I’m trying to stay focused on the beautiful things in life which are uplifting and make humanity more…human, instead of indulging in this display of schoolyard behavior. I get that some people like this stuff, that some actually get a kick out of the competition and one upping each other and debating values and feeling superior and that’s fine and dandy, but I feel like a lot of others get roped into this carnival show who really would be happier thinking about making dinner, or some mathematical problem, or their favorite quotes from their favorite books. The media is so ever-present, and social media is practically inescapable, that it’s easy to forget we each actually have choices about what we think about, how we treat others who disagree with us (whether we actually know them or just have thoughts about them), how we want our days filled and how we choose to conduct ourselves. I choose to focus on beauty and grace where I can find it. Whatever fills your life, I hope you are actively choosing it.
This is what I dream about making~ an all-natural salon and spa which only uses chemical-free dyes with henna and herbs,all natural hair products, and spa services with all botanical ingredients, nothing artificial or questionable or unpronounceable. I don’t know why these don’t exist already actually but I’ve searched and can’t find any place that is completely chemical free. Henna dying takes longer, so there would have to be WiFi so people can work while their hair color settles, and an organic coffee and juice bar for sure, and also the ability to do mani/pedis or other services to use the time well. I’d have all natural products to browse too, and be a real stickler on only bringing in the cleanest of the clean beauty companies out there, and really there has never been a better time for this because so many people are concerned about what is in their products that they slather on their bodies each day or soaks into their hair on a regular basis. Aveda started out trying to be as all-natural as possible, but if you look at their products now they may have a botanical component but the larger part is factory made chemicals. The book No More Dirty Looks discusses Aveda founder (the late) Horst M. Rechelbacher’s disappointment in what Aveda became after selling it to Estée Lauder. He went on to create Intelligent Ingredients which went back to his all natural philosophy. The website for No More Dirty Looks is a great place to get good information for health and beauty products but I highly recommend reading the book if you are concerned at all about what is lurking in your daily beauty routine. I think it’s time to take these cosmetic industry concerns beyond the bathroom and level up to the salons and spas we use. It’s the ‘natural’ next step.
I’m a sucker for a good infographic, especially one that details something I’m interested in and natural, healthy beauty is definitely on my priorities list. There are so many healthy alternatives to the toxic nastiness passed off as beauty products that it doesn’t make sense to put something poisonous, even just potentially poisonous, on our bodies and hair and nails. Make-up, masks, spa routines, and herbal enhancements have been around since ancient times so there is a wealth of history and tradition to draw upon when it comes to modern beauty routines, but we humans seem to have a tendency to want to replicate nature whenever we can to lessen costs, get a patent on it, “improve” upon it (though our bodies innately recognize what is natural and what is not), and therefore make more money. With these things on my mind, I’ve decided to start using Henna on my hair instead of the usual dye. (My brown hair has a large percentage of white or else I wouldn’t dye it at all, but I’m not ready for grey hair just yet, not when there is natural alternative anyway!) I’ll post my results soon because Henna has a bad rap which I think is truly undeserved because I’m feeling pretty positive about it so far. You’ll have to come back and tell me what you think. In the meantime, check out this infographic from Delicious Living and maybe think about what is in your cabinet that could be replaced with something that truly makes you feel beautiful and healthy. Once you discover how instinctively natural products work with your body you’ll never go back to triclosan and phthalates again. And I guarantee your hair, nails, and skin will thank you.