Monday, March 11, 2013

Safe Toiletries from Your Kitchen

It's a rare rainy, gloomy day here in Cincinnati.  I miss the sun!  It's a good day to catch up with household duties such as laundry and cleaning, but I have fabrics all over my family room in the process of becoming quilts of all sorts and sizes.  I have company coming this week, and I'm excited! 

My Minnesota son and his family are coming... these are my youngest grandchildren (pictured on the left)... and it is a delight to be part of the excitement they feel with the possibilities of each new day.  As they grow into teenagers, they become less excited with the world around them and more involved with their own social circles.  Then, when we are busy raising children and earning a living, that becomes our primary focus.  It isn't until we graduate into retirement that we have an opportunity to regain that child-like excitement and delight with each miracle unfolding around us, moment by moment. 
I now have great-grandchildren, as well, who can refresh our perspective on life.  There are many things children are able to teach us about living in the moment and savoring each experience as it comes, if we are open to their observations of the world around us.  And there are many things we can teach our children, if we take the time and put forth the energy to do so.  We can teach them that it is more rewarding to make something with their own two hands than to write a check at the store.  We can teach them that money does not carry the most value in their lives... there are qualities like honesty and compassion that will purchase more peace in their hearts than any amount of dollars in their pockets.  We can teach them that a hard day's work may tire the body, but it is a good kind of tired, one that is rewarding to the soul.  We can pass on the talents we have, the bits of wisdom we have gleaned through our mistakes.  I can remember my oldest daughter when she was a teen telling me once, "Mother, PLEASE!  Let me make my own mistakes!"  Sometimes we just have to learn through experience. 
One of the things I've been aware of from the time I started having children over fifty years ago is that it is very important what we put on and into our bodies.  I cooked and baked from "scratch", and we didn't have fast foods or packaged foods available to us.  We churned our own butter and baked our own bread, kneading it by hand, inhaling the yeasty aroma and learning by the satiny feel of the dough when it was ready to be turned into a greased bowl and covered with a tea towel, to raise. 
My grandmother used to "doctor" us up with Comfrey tea (now herbalists say it is dangerous, but there is more of the harmful chemical in a peanut butter sandwich than in a pot of tea!)  She greased our chests with skunk grease (her brothers were trappers) and put more skunk grease on the bottoms of our feet.  There is a lot of truth to those old wives tales... the "grease" on the bottoms of our feet hold in our body heat, and if there is something medicinal in it, that is absorbed through the skin, also.  I learned a lot of common wisdom from my grandmother, often while we sipped green tea with a bit of sugar and a lot of milk added to the brew.  Special moments are made more memorable by those who share them with us. 
I learned to value things that were simple and made in my own kitchen, and as I became an adult, I learned to make more of them for myself.  I made oatmeal soap, which my children hated because it did not lather well.  I learned to develop the recipes with different oils, each bringing their own lathering qualities to the finished product.  And I learned to make other things... salt scrubs, face masks, astringents, lip balms, and even a non-petroleum jelly.  Here are some of the recipes I have made that work for us.  You will need a small kitchen scale, pyrex measuring cups, and a small stainless steel pot to melt things in... preferably with a kind of pouring spout.

Non-Petroleum Jelly:
1-1/4 oz. Natural Beeswax
3/4 cup Sweet Almond Oil
Combine and heat gently until beeswax is melted.
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil  and the following OPTIONAL essential oils.
20 drops Egyptian Rose Essential Oil
20 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil
12 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Mix well.  Pour into container with lid.

Lavender Sugar Scrub:
Grind 1/4 cup dried Lavender Flowers in a spice grinder until fine consistency.
Layer 1 cup of granulated sugar with the ground Lavender in a pretty glass goblet or jar, making thin layers of each.
Cover and let rest for several weeks to integrate the Lavender scent with the sugar.
To use:  Pour about a teaspoon of mixture in the palm of your hand, moisten slightly with water and massage into your face.  Rinse well with warm water.  Pat dry.

All-Purpose Cleansing and Nourishing Grains:
1/2 cup organic oat flour; 1/2 cup dried milk; 1/4 cup ground Lavender Flowers; 1/4 cup ground Comfrey Root
Add 20 drops Lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until well mixed.  Drop Lavender oil in while processing. 
Store mixture in a covered jar.
Mix about 1 teaspoon of mixture with enough water in the palm of your hand to make a thin paste.  Massage into face.  Let sit a few minutes and rinse off with warm water.  Apply toner to finish.

Orange Almond Scrubbing Grains:
1/2 cup dried Orange Peel, finely ground and sifted (dried peel can have sharp edges, if not sifted);
1-1/2 cups ground organic oatmeal
1/2 cup ground almonds (works best to grind almonds with oatmeal so they do not become almond butter)
Blend until in fine powder form.  Place some in the palm of your hand and moisten with a few drops of warm water.
Rub onto face gently, with a circular motion.  Rinse with warm water, followed by astringent.

Rose Cleansing and Moisturizing Oil:
1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil
1/2 cup Jojoba Oil
1/2 cup Apricot Kernel Oil
1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
20 drops Egyptian Rose Geranium Essential Oil
12 drops Lavender Essential Oil
12 drops Chamomile Essential Oil
8 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
Shake all oils in a corked bottle until well mixed.  Using a cotton ball, apply oil to face and gently massage in.  Wipe excess oil off with a clean cotton ball, and finish by patting on a toner.  May massage in and leave overnight to moisturize dry skin.  This is my absolute favorite cleansing oil for dry winter face, followed by the Rose Geranium Splash as a toner.

Rose Geranium Splash:
Rose Geranium oil is antiseptic and has an uplifting scent.  Use after cleansing to tighten pores and reduce any remaining oiliness.  Leaves skin soft and supple.
1 cup distilled water
1/2 cup witch hazel
1 teaspoon Polysorbate 20, emulsifier
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon Egyptian Rose Geranium Essential Oil
Mix well.  Apply as a splash or with cotton ball after moisturizing face.

Rose Vinegar Astringent:
Fill a jar loosely with dried rosebuds and petals.  Pour distilled white vinegar over dried roses.  Steep for at least 2 weeks.  May use a cotton ball to put on your face, or put 3 to 4 Tablespoons in bath water.  I find I need to rinse it off with cool water, if I use this on my face.  It's a little too astringent for my face, but is wonderful in bath water.

Chamomile Tea Astringent:
1/4 cup Chamomile flowers steeped in 1 cup boiling distilled water until cool.  Strain water from herbs.  Add:
1/2 cup witch hazel, 1 teaspoon Potassium Sorbate (preservative)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
15 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Chamomile has strong anti-inflammatory and disinfecting qualities, and is soothing to wind-chapped or sunburned skin.  This recipe will soothe and calm your complexion.  Best stored in the refrigerator, even though it has a preservative in it.

Herbal Wipes:
1 roll Bounty paper towels, cut in half. Use a serrated, sharp knife.  Remove cardboard tube.
Put in a Rubbermaid container... I use the Collectible round 2-quart with a screw-on top. Note: Each recipe makes 2 containers.
16 oz.. bottle witch hazel
Add: 1 Tbsp. Egyptian Rose Geranium Essential Oil
1 teaspoon Lavender Essential Oil
1 teaspoon Clary Sage Essential Oil
25 drops Rosewood Essential Oil
Shake well.
Add half of this mixture to 2 cups distilled water and mix well. Pour over the 1/2 roll of Bounty towels in jar. Put lid on jar, and turn jar upside down and on its side to moisten all towel segments. These are popular with everyone... and other combinations of essential oils work well for facial wipes. It's best to use a top, middle and base note for each scent combination. I am told they work wonders for cooling down hot flashes!  They are great for hand wipes, too... put a few in a zip-lock baggie and stick in your purse.  Tea tree essential oil to added to the basic recipe and leaving out the other essential oils works well on painful hemorrhoids.  My youngest son adapted this recipe for natural baby wipes, adding a half teaspoon of liquid castile soap to the witch hazel and water.  A tiny bit of Lavender or Chamomile essential oil added for babies also works well in this combination.
I certainly hope you will find some things of value in these recipes.  Decorative bottles can be purchased at most places like Michael's, Target, Wal-Mart or other stores in your area.  Now, I think I will have a cup of green tea with milk, and say a prayer of thanks for having such a wonderful grandmother who planted my feet firmly on this path!

1 comment:

  1. I love your recipes. Also, the grandkids are wonderful to see. Thanks again!