In the colder months of the year, I am susceptible to very dry, itchy skin and chapped lips. After years of trying the different specially formulated lotions and lip balms available on the market and ending up with disappointment (at the best) and a bad allergic reaction (at the worst), I started using natural, pure moisturizing ingredients. I enjoy playing with my collection, creating my own skin care products. Here are my go-to items:
- Sweet almond oil: An excellent overall moisturizer. I use it as a massage oil, eye makeup remover, and facial moisturizer. We recently discovered that our cat also is a big fan of sweet almond oil and I often find her on the bathroom counter, licking the bottle. Since the bottle is usually hidden inside the cupboard, she goes to great lengths to try to lick the oil off my face!
- Shea butter: The richest moisturizer of which I know. I slather it on my hands and feet at bedtime and wake up with incredibly soft skin.
- Castor oil: I have to confess. I haven’t had a ‘real’ haircut in a salon in the past six months. I’m in the process of growing out a pixie cut and my hair is finally starting to resemble a short, layered bob. To keep those pesky short layers healthy in the process of patiently growing out my hair, I turn to castor oil for a deep conditioning treatment. After brushing my hair before bedtime, I work a small amount of the oil into my hair and massage my scalp. It’s not an attractive look, but I leave the oil on overnight and wash it off in the morning shower. Castor oil is not only a great ingredient for soft hair but also for soft skin. Instead of washing my hands after applying the hair treatment, I simply let it absorb. I have also, under the direction of my Naturopath, used castor oil in conjunction with a heat pad to relieve muscle cramps and other aches.
- Essential oils: I love aromatherapy and the wonderful effect essential oils have on the nervous system. My favourite soothing oils are lavender and/or lavandin. I have a tiny bottle of pure lavender oil that Mr. Wanderlust and I purchased during a tour of a lavender factory in Provence more than nine years ago while on our honeymoon in the region. I use it sparingly, as just a drop of the oil goes a long way. I also enjoy fir needle oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, patchouli, sandalwood, geranium, and tea tree oil. I use these oils in conjunction with shea butter or sweet almond oil, adding them to my DIY scented moisturizer, massaging them into the soles of my feet at night, adding them to my bath, or simply using them as perfume. I stopped using conventional perfume years ago, replacing it with essential oils.
I use essential oils and a couple of basic kitchen ingredients to make a ‘universal cleaning spray’ for disinfecting everything from my yoga mat to the bathroom counter. I promise to share the simple recipe with you in an upcoming blog post.
A combination of coconut oil and shea butter makes an excellent moisturizer for the lips. About a year ago, I started to concoct my own lip balm using a few of my favourite clean and natural ingredients. I use it myself on a daily basis and gift it to others at Christmas to help us enjoy the winter season with healthy skin.
DIY LIP BALM
- 200 mL pure shea butter
- 100 mL pure coconut oil
- approximately 100 g pure beeswax
- 5-6 drops of pure peppermint essential oil
1. Chop the beeswax and allow it to melt over a double boiler, stirring constantly using a metal spoon.
2. When the beeswax is almost completely melted, add the shea butter and coconut oil. Continue to stir.
3. Add the peppermint oil. Stir. Remove from heat.
4. While the mixture is still hot, pour into small plastic containers, filling them about 3/4. I use plastic containers purchased at the local dollar store.
5. Allow to cool completely before twisting on the lids. The balm should be solid.
6. Enjoy, and pop a few containers into Christmas stockings! One batch is enough to fill 10 containers.
What are your favourite DIY skin care recipes? Have you found innovative ways to use oils? Please share them in the comments below.
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