Category: Beautify

make: silky aftershave

To go along with the moisturizing shaving lotion, I made a silky aftershave for my husband. He liked this a lot more than the suds, and said he wanted to drink it. I think that means it’s awesome.

Silky Aftershave

Adapted from Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living.

  • 4 oz. witch hazel extract
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. vegetable glycerin
  • 7 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 7 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1/2 oz. aloe vera gel (add 1/2 oz. more if skin is dry)

Combine all ingredients together in a glass jar, shake, and splash over skin. I plan to change up the essential oils, as the seasons change. Whenever possible I keep concoctions in either amber or cobalt apothecary-style glass, to keep the contents protected from light. Keeps for a year or more at room temperature, and might I add,

makes a great gift.

2. Skin, Beautify

moisturizing shaving lotion

During my third trimester I read that one should stock their freezer with food, so that cooking won’t become a burden during those sleep-deprived early months. Seeing as how Portland broke records for heat that summer, the only thing I was able to do in the kitchen was open the refrigerator and let the cold air envelope my pregnant belly. I found solace in the air conditioned big box stores and instead stocked up on ridiculous amounts of toiletries. What does this have to do with shaving cream? Because last week we finally ran out of our last can of shaving cream, and I was stoked to whip up a diy version.

This literally whipped up in less than 30 minutes, including a quick shave in the tub. These luscious suds left my legs smooth and silky, protected them from nicks, and left no need for moisturizer afterwards. After the suds mellow down, it turns into this wonderful shaving lotion (as depicted in first photo), that suds up nicely, but not too over-the-top.

Moisturizing Shaving Suds

Adapted from recipes found in Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living and Readymade*.

  • 1 oz. olive oil
  • 1 oz. coconut oil
  • 1 oz. beeswax
  • 4 oz. water (room temperature)
  • 2 oz. liquid castille soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild)
  • 1 oz. vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tsp. borax
  • 1/3 tsp. grapefruit seed extract (or substitute either tea tree oil or vitamin E)
  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil

Melt the oils and wax over a double boiler over medium heat. Combine the water, liquid soap, glycerin and borax in a small bowl, stir to dissolve and slowly pour into the melted oils, using a hand mixer to whip until frothy. Drizzle in the grapefruit seed extract (or tea tree oil or vitamin e) and add the essential oils, stir and pour into a shower-friendly container until the suds settle down. Now get silky!

Update: Once the suds settled down I transferred the mixture into one a super shower friendly bottle.

My husband used this and requested something richer and creamier for his needs, though indicated that “this doesn’t suck as much as that other stuff,” referring to the store-bought hippy shaving soap he’d been using. So I’ll make something richer and creamier for him and report back.

*Did you know that Readymade is no longer? Sad day. I’m still savoring the last issue.

2. Skin, Beautify

how to: healthy, radiant hair

This white powder has become my go-to for healthy locks.

By now you might be aware of the “no ‘poo” movement out there, and for the past eight months, this is how I’ve kept my hair clean. When I first started this new hair care regime, I quit conventional shampoo and conditioner cold turkey. Good riddance toxins! Good bye expensive products! My hair went through this weird detox period; lots of greasy, limp hair days, where I was questioning the whole thing. As the weeks wore on though, my hair mellowed out and I started to see improvements in my hair’s texture and luminosity. Now I’m not going to claim that my hair is Hollywood-ready, but I’m quite pleased with it. This is what my hair looks like, candid and unstyled, three days after washing it:

and 12 hours after washing it:

For baby fine hair like mine, not too shabby.

My “No ‘Poo” Hair Care Regime

Every two – four days:

  • Mix one teaspoon baking soda in one cup of warm water. Dump over head, massage in, rinse.
  • On occasion, follow with a few spritzes of an apple cider vinegar rinse. I keep a mixture of a scant tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar, 8 ounces water and several drops each of rosemary and sage essential oils* in a spray bottle in my shower.

Your personal needs might require more or less baking soda or apple cider vinegar. Give your hair what it requests – don’t be afraid to experiment! I started out using one tablespoon of baking soda and realized it was drying my hair out too much and causing it to lighten. These amounts suit me best.

Have you experimented with homemade hair care?

* Adding essential oils to your rinse isn’t necessary, though it smells amazing and gives it a boost with added benefits. Rosemary and sage are amazing herbs for darker hair. For lighter hair, try using chamomile or lemon.

3. Hair, Beautify

homemade deodorant (that actually works)

About a month ago I made a batch of deodorant to get us through the hot summer months. It works amazingly well. Seriously. My husband echoed that this morning even, “I can’t believe this works so well!” Which is how I remembered that I had snapped a photo of the jar, but never blogged about it. I do that a lot. I used Amy’s recipe, which she shares for free on her website, and also includes in her beauty booklet (which I adore).

In lieu of cornstarch I used arrowroot powder, mainly because I’m avoiding grains in my diet, among other things. For me, the diet doesn’t just stop with food, it continues on to anything that comes into contact with my body, including skin care. Hardcore, I know, but a necessary part of the healing process. This deodorant whipped up in about 7 minutes, including prep and clean-up, and will last us a long time, and will save us moola in the long run. While it does contain essential oils, the smell dissipates really quickly, so it’s not one of those pseudo “perfume deodorants” that simply mask odor. I went on an hour long bike ride yesterday in 80+ degree weather, unshowered, and this kept me fresh.

Bambino Step: If making your own freaks you out, try to make the switch to a natural, mainly toxin-free deodorant (found in health food stores, or most stores carry Tom’s of Maine) instead. Not all brands work for all people, so it might take some trial and error before you find your match. I make my own deodorant because I never had luck finding a natural deodorant that did the job well. Also, it’s cheap, fun to make, keeps packaging out of the landfill, and it replaces a skin care item that typically contains toxins. If you’d like to make your own but don’t want to purchase all the ingredients that go along with this particular recipe, there are lots of other (free) recipes around the Web. For instance, try using Kat’s method: dab coconut oil under your pits and dust with baking soda. Voila – freshness.

2. Skin, Beautify

a gift for a new mama

Those early days after my son’s birth were magical, emotional and overwhelming. Pre-birth nesting habits consisted mainly of being in total denial of my son’s arrival by sipping cool drinks while window-shopping at local boutiques and having lunch with friends. With labor as my main focus, I spent a considerable amount of time lying in bed, air conditioner blaring over my huge pregnant belly, listening to Marie Mongan chant the rainbow colors until I fell fast asleep for siesta numero diez of the day. Incredibly important, yes, though virtually all of my efforts went into preparing for labor; pretty close to zero were spent educating myself about how to care for a newborn and equally as important, myself.

The Gift

So a couple months back when an old friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, I knew I wanted to give a simple gift that focused on new mama care. A lesson that I personally (and quickly) learned was of great importance.

Postpartum my midwife gave me a bottle of calendula tincture and instructed me to squirt a dropperful in my peri-bottle to aid in the healing process. Calendula is a wonderful healing flower that reduces inflammation, controls bleeding, is anti-viral, and is an overall healing super plant. While I didn’t have a fresh bottle of the tincture to give, I did have beautiful dried flowers. In addition to using a peri-bottle, I also took many sitz baths, in a wonderful infusion of incredibly interesting herbs, flowers, and I believe even roots and bark. My husband would brew up big pots of this, letting it simmer all day long, and made our house smell so incredibly earthy and wonderful. My gift was an extremely humble (and much less involved) version.

Postpartum Calendula Flower Infusion

Method #1

  1. Place dried petals in a pot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a slight boil, reduce heat to very low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let it rest for several hours.
  3. Strain; pour into sitz bath water. Relax.

Method #2

  1. Place dried petals in a clean sock.
  2. Attach to bath faucet with a rubber band or string.
  3. Turn on hot water and fill tub to sitz bath level.
  4. Wring out sock into tub, or place in tub during bath. Relax.

I also made up a little bottle of herbal hand sanitizer for visitors and those on-the-go moments when clean hands are a must.

Several bags of my favorite nursing tea.

A jar of delicious high protein Spiced Nuts & Seeds, along with the recipe (granola would also be a nice)

A handmade bib.

And a bundle of ceremonial sage for purification and healing.

A couple months after my son was born I was able to go to a Closing of the Bones ceremony, a womb wrapping ceremony which “honors the postpartum mother. It is a setting of intentional space, to nurture the mother after her passage through giving birth, as an initiation into the flowering of motherhood and beyond.” I will not be able to adequately express the experience I had during this ceremony. Whew. It was a life changing experience, highly emotional, highly spiritual. Unbelievably…necessary.

I was so pleased with how this gift turned out and it really got my brain swirling for other interesting, mama-centric gifts. Do you have a special go-to new parent gift or Mother’s Day gift? How will you be honoring yourself and other mamas this weekend?

P.S. – There are still two days left to enter the anniversary giveaway which includes some of the items mentioned in this post.

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5. Give, 6. Mama & Baby, Beautify, Create