I make most of my own skincare products, out of food-quality ingredients – well, out of food, really! Which makes this post somewhat food related! I needed to mix up fresh batches of a few items today so I figured I’d share my “recipes” with you.
I put it in quotes because it’s not technically a lotion, but I use it all over my body as a lotion alternative after stepping out of the shower. I make this one differently in the winter than in the summer because it’s mostly just coconut oil, which solidifies at around 70 degrees or cooler. So during the winter months, I add some almond oil to keep it soft. During the summer, it stays soft on its own.
Coconut and almond oils are both very inexpensive in Indian and Asian grocery stores.
almond oil (during cooler months)
vitamin E (optional)
essential oils or other fragrance
If your coconut oil is at all solid, use a spoon to scoop out some into a glass jar.
Then microwave it for about 20-25 seconds to liquefy (or use a hot water bath).
If using, add some almond oil (I use about 2 Tbsp for the size jar shown) and vitamin E. Also add some fragrance if you’d like. Sometimes I use sandalwood, but today I wanted to smell like the baby Jesus, so I used frankincense and myrrh.
Stir. I like to use a tiny whisk, which I bought at an Asian grocery store and which Fortinbras is always trying to steal.
Depending on the ambient temperature, it will take a day or two for the oil to solidify again. It will turn whiter and look more like coconut oil again when that happens.
To use, simply emulsify in your palms (if necessary; generally it’s not) and apply to your entire body.
sugar (white or brown is okay)
sweet almond oil
Fill a glass jar nearly to the top with sugar.
Add just enough sweet almond oil to saturate it. Add fragrance if desired. I use bergamot for a citrus-but-a-little-different scent.
Use a chopstick to encourage the oils to completely saturate the sugar.
To use, simply scoop a little bit into your hand and apply to your face, scrub, and rinse off. I use it maybe once a week or so.
Instead of expensive moisturizers, I just use oil. I use jojoba because it is the closest to human skin oil. I mix in a tiny bit of tea tree oil because it is antiseptic, it’s good for your skin, and because I like the smell (not everyone does, however). It is drying, so I don’t use much.
tea tree oil
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into the jojoba. Place in a pump-type container.
To use, pump out just a FEW drops and apply to your face. A little goes a long way.
Instead of soap, I use the oil cleansing method. I won’t give you a recipe because everyone finds different combinations of oils that work for them. (I use half caster oil and half sweet almond.) I store it in a pump like this:
I’m not going to say that using oils instead of soap and moisturizers will solve any skincare woes, however, I will tell you that I developed rosacea about five years ago. My face was a total mess and I went to a dermatologist who prescribed about four different medicines, none of which worked and one of which reacted weirdly with alcohol and gave me bright (and burning) pink rings about my eyes whenever I had a glass of wine. Needless to say, that didn’t last long with me. I stopped using all medicines and switched from cleansing with soap to oil, and I haven’t experienced a trace of the rosacea since. I must stress that part of me believes this is just a coincidence! Although I do believe oils are better for your skin, I do not believe they work miracles!
Also, I have naturally oily skin. You may be adverse to slathering yourself with oils if you share this characteristic with me, but actually it’s good for this skin type. When you wash with something drying, your oil glands react by generating a lot of oil to counter the dryness. If you instead apply oils, your glands don’t end up overreacting. Just use them sparingly. A little really does go a long way.
rosemary essential oil (optional)
peppermint essential oil (optional)
In a measuring cup, stir together equal parts water and aloe vera, as well as a few drops of the essential oil(s) if using.
Decant into a spray bottle.
I use this both to encourage my natural waves to come out with scrunching, or to smooth fly-away and otherwise misbehaving hairs.
I use this occasionally to combat dryness.
neem oil (available at Indian groceries) (optional)
rosemary oil (optional)
Place the coconut oil and neem oil in a small glass jar.
Warm in a microwave (or hot water bath) until stir-able, then add rosemary oil if using, and stir.
Allow to solidify again. To use, emulsify between your palms and apply to your hair, concentrating on the ends. Comb through if you can. Leave on for a few hours, then shampoo out thoroughly.
And that’s about it for skincare products for me! They’re cheap, they’re edible, and they work great! And if you use them you can be as beautiful as me!
Since I was playing with oils, I filled these pretty little perfume bottles I scored at the thrift store for $2 yesterday, with various scents I like to wear, including amber and sandalwood. Aren’t they cute?
Finally, Mark said I should show you this item I made for him. I told him it wasn’t food and he said I’ve posted crafts before, which is true. Not only that, but this entire post has not been about food, so it’s the perfect opportunity to show off my (lack of) sewing skills. The story behind this item is: one day a few years ago, Mark, who in the winter perpetually has cold feet, complained to me, “They need to invent a blanket for feet”. I immediately responded, “They did: they are called socks. Try them.” Although I like to kid Mark about this, I later decided I was going to get into quilting and decided that my first project would be a “blanket for feet” for Mark.
Now, I have explained here that I am REALLY bad at sewing. I have NO idea why I thought I was going to “get into” quilting. It was a huge mistake. It caused me a lot of headaches. I later decided it was among my dumber ideas. Not before I DID manage to make a quilt top of sorts for Mark, though. It was simple: merely squares of different plaid flannels, but I did sew it together. When it came time to actually quilt it, though, I realized that either my sewing machine or I personally – or likely both of us – are not made for quilting. I shoved the flannel, the batting, and the fleece I’d gotten for the quilt bottom into a closet and promptly forgot about them.
Last weekend I got around to cleaning out that closet (I’m in an organizing frenzy around here lately!) and found the quilt parts. It’s freezing here. Mark’s feet are cold. Heck, MY feet are cold. I decided to assemble the blanket without actually quilting it. So I just sewed the batting to the flannel, then sewed the flannel to the fleece.
Then I added a pocket on the underside at one end.
Mark can slip his feet into the pocket and voila! – a blanket for feet!
Although it wasn’t quilted and the three layers therefore aren’t sewn together (other than at the seams), it is actually extremely soft and comfortable. And warm! I might have to steal it from Mark!