Archive for the ‘DIY Recipes’ Category

The creator of Soapwalla, Rachel Winard, has so graciously provided the following DIY recipes for holiday gift ideas.  Her product line, Soapwalla is one of my absolute favorites so I know you’ll appreciate her bountiful knowledge –   Enjoy!

Want to give your loved ones something special this year? Why not make them something that’s sure to please, won’t break the bank, and is good for the environment to boot!

Below are some basic, high quality skincare products that can be created with items you’d find in your kitchen cabinets.  Dressed up in beautiful jars and lovely labeling, these presents will be a huge hit.

You can purchase many of the specialty ingredients, as well as bottles and jars, from one of my favorite sources — Mountain Rose Herbs.

Face Mask – for all skin types

You’ll need:
1 cup kaolin clay
1 cup baking soda
1 cup finely ground oat flour (or rolled oats ground in your food processor)
15 drops lavender essential oil

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add essential oil and mix thoroughly with your fingers until the oil is thoroughly incorporated.  Divide into 4- or 8-oz glass jars.

How to use: pour a generous amount into the palm of your hand or small bowl (1-2 tablespoons). Add enough water to make a thin paste. Apply to dry face and neck in a gentle upward-sweeping motion. Let set for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Use twice a week.

Volumizing Hair Rinse

½ cup witch hazel
¼ cup rose water
Splash vodka (½ oz at most)
2 drops peppermint essential oil
4 drops rosemary essential oil

Mix all ingredients and store in an opaque 8 oz. glass or metal bottle.  Shake thoroughly before each use.

How to use: twice a week, apply rinse to damp hair that has been washed. Allow to penetrate for a few minutes, then rinse off.

Uplifting Eau de Toilette (Room Spray)

2 cups distilled water (not tap or purified)
½ cup vodka
10 drops each of the following essential oils: lavender, lime
5 drops cedarwood essential oil

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in opaque 4 oz. glass or plastic spray bottles. Let sit for 1 week, to allow the ingredients to meld. Shake before each use. Can be used as room refresher, on bed linens, and in bathrooms and kitchens. Do not spray on food, pets, or children.

Rachel Winard is the Brooklyn-based creator of Soapwalla, a line of luxury organic face and body products made with the highest quality organic and food-grade ingredients, never questionable additives such as sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens or harsh and synthetic additives.

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Categories: DIY Recipes, Gifts, SoapWalla

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One of the best things about attending BlogHer this summer was being able to meet some of the bloggers that I read regularly, like Victoria from Mommy Is Green.  She so very graciously offered to share with you her own DIY recipe! Here it is:

DIY Cleansing Facial Scrub recipe from

DIY: Cleansing Facial Scrub

I’m always looking for the safest bath and body products. I find it important to use items without parabens, phthalates, petroleum-based products, etc. Sometimes the safest products are the ones you make yourself. I had a difficult time finding a facial scrub with ingredients I felt good about. So I decided to come up with my own. I decided to make a Cleansing Facial Scrub. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of Pure Cane Sugar (finer grain than Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 tablespoon of Castile Soap
  • 1 teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil
  • 10 drops of essential oil (optional)
  • 2 oz. container with lid

Pour the castile soap into your container (a tinted glass container will help preserve the essential oil if you have one). Add the sweet almond oil and the essential oil drops to the castile soap. Mix well. Add the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon while stirring.

You can keep the scrub refrigerated so it stays firmer. You’ll also want to mix it with your finger before each use. Apply the scrub directly to your face and add a few drops of water when needed.

Personally, I like to use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap, Florida Crystals USDA Certified Organic Pure Cane Sugar, and Aura Cacia USDA Certified Organic Sweet Almond Oil and Essential Oil. You can mix and match the scented castile soap with different essential oils to create your own unique scents. A couple of versions I use are citrus castile with sweet orange oil, and peppermint castile with grapefruit essential oil. If you have sensitive skin you can use an unscented castile soap and skip the essential oils.

I usually prefer to use a facial scrub and cleanser separately, but this scrub is for the end the day. It’s for at night when you’re just too tired to go through a whole routine. You have the sugar for exfoliating, the soap for cleansing, and the oil for moisturizing. If you’re concerned about having oil in your cleanser, remember that oil dissolves oil.

Mommy Is GreenPlease visit Victoria at Mommy Is Green for more of her insightful writing about her journey through becoming green and the products and practices that get her there.

Thank you Victoria!

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Categories: DIY Recipes, Face Wash

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My husband reluctantly switched his body products to greener products.  It was a slow process, but over the last two years, we’ve made progress.  If you have a boyfriend, or husband, you know how stubborn men can be.  My husband would sneak poisonous toothpaste on business trips, because he hated the “hippie stuff” I was using.

One of the last things to give up, on his list of products, was antiperspirant.   It took me forever to get him to stop using the toxic, aluminum laden axe or whatever he could find on sale.  “But I don’t want to pit ouuuuuuuuuuuuuut,” he would whine.  But I bought him a stick of Tom’s anyway, and he wasn’t impressed.  When my husband isn’t impressed, he takes to the internet.   He came up with an awesome recipe for making your own deodorant, and it’s really easy:

What you’ll need:

  • A deodorant container (save your old one, and re-purpose it)
  • coconut oil (the solid kind)
  • baking soda
  • essential oil (whatever your favorite is, which is nice, you don’t have to smell like “fake baby butt”)
  • vitamin e oil
  • corn starch

To Mix:

  1. Add the dry ingredients in a bowl first.  Mix equal parts corn starch and baking soda.
  2. Add equal parts coconut oil, mix thoroughly.
  3. Add a few drops of vitamin e and your essential oil.  You can add as much as you like, but I wouldn’t go overboard.  The mixture will be a bit more flaky if you use more oil.
  4. Knead the mixture with your fingers until it forms a ball like consistency, it should be hard enough to put into the deodorant container, but still malleable and not crumbly.  Put the cap on and let set overnight, and voilà!

Keep in mind that this is obviously a deodorant, not an antiperspirant.  You will still sweat using this stuff, but you won’t stink.  I’ve used this recipe on some pretty hot days, as well as during workouts and I haven’t smelled at all.   Needless to say, since making this deodorant, my husband has been a convert.


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clayEver since I’ve started the journey into living a “greener” life, I’ve come to the realization that we rely so much on commercial and processed products, if only for the convenience factor. And I’ve also come to realize that it’s so much easier and cost effective to make a lot of these beauty products at home. Look, I’m a total sucker for beauty products. I love my stuff, but after realizing how horrible most of this stuff was for me, I pitched/freecycled everything that I knew I would never use again. And you know what? I’ve gotten along without most of it just fine, for well over a year. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still make the attempt to take care of my skin. I don’t mess with it the way that I used to and I find that it looks better (when I’m not pregnant and the wind isn’t whipping my skin raw) than it did when I had a whole ritual of crap I put on it every night.

But there are certain measures you should take to at least do the bare minimum for your skin, to keep it healthy and youthful looking.

One of those things would be clay masks. I love a good clay mask. It makes my skin feel great for days afterward, and helps to draw impurities out of your skin that soap can’t. Clay has been used for eons as a beauty staple, because it’s so multi-purpose. It cleanses, purifies, exfoliates, and the list goes on. There are quite a few different types of clays out there and each one has a different property due to it’s mineral content.

You can go and buy a clay mask at your local drug store on the cheap, but of course, it’ll have a bevy of chemicals and preservatives so that it can sit on that shelf for as long as they’ll let it. Or you can buy one that’s greener and chemical free (ultimately more expensive), but for as often as you use it, will probably be more cost prohibitive, because it’ll have a shelf life. Or you can make one yourself for a fraction of the price, as needed and feel good knowing that it’s two ingredients.

Here’s a basic white clay mask that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin, and is safe enough to use every day:

  • 1 tablespoon of white clay
  • 1 teaspoon purified water

Combine in a bowl to form a paste and allow to thicken. Spread on your face with your hands and allow to sit for about 20 minutes and then rinse. You can also make this in larger quantities if desired for all over the body. It can be used as an exfoliate or cleanser.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing dry clay is to make sure that it’s cosmetic grade clay. Regular clay contains very high traces of lead. So don’t go raiding your kids art cupboard. You can purchase cosmetic grade clays online, which are relatively inexpensive. I found a great site that has white clay for about $8 for 8 ounces, which should last awhile. The more you buy, the cheaper it is. They guarantee their product to be lead free.

I’m beginning to think that our ancestors got it right the first time.

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Categories: DIY Recipes, Masks

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lm-vday1Valentine’s Extravaganza Week continues with massage oils!  Granted, there isn’t a whole lot of massaging going on around my house considering I’m pregnant.  However, making a point to put each other first is important in any relationship! Typically, massage oils are made with mineral oils that use up valuable resources that are taxing on the environment.  Plus, wouldn’t you rather put a natural unprocessed oil on your body rather than some refined petroleum?  Me too.

There are a few store bought brands that use natural ingredients if you’re looking for a nicer gift… or you can stick to the tried and true at-home ingredients that are both affordable, multipurpose and make your skin feel great.

Massage Products We Love

Mountain Rose Herbs Massage Oils: These oils contain only blends of natural essential and organic oils like organic olive oil and organic almond oils and vitamin E.  They offer a range of scents, scented with rose, chamomile, and lavender and come in 4oz pumps and 1oz sample kits!

weledamassageoilWeleda Massage Oil: This is a great massage oil for those of you with active lives… whether you’re chasing kids or a workout king – this oil helps restore tired, aching muscles before and after physical activity.  Weleda is one of our favorite lines using only natural and organic ingredients.

AuraCacia Massage Cream in Tangerine Grapefruit: A cream instead of an oil this might be a little less messy.  Based with grapeseed oil and scented with oils like tangerine and grapefruit this sweet smelling citrus rub down will refresh and awaken the senses for a fun night out. Rawr!

DIY At Home Massage Treatments

Pure Coconut Oil: Available at your local health food store or aisle, this ingredient is great for your skin.  Use it to moisturize after a shower, soften cuticles or massage your muscles.  Better yet, you can cook dinner with it too. Add it to a romantic meal with stir fried veggies and shrimp to add a full flavor.  Also, we hear it makes a good personal lubricant. *Tee Hee*

Make Your Own: You can make any kind of massage oil concoction that suits you with a few simple ingredients from the health food store.  Pick up organic vegetable and nut oils, such as olive (great for skin and hair), sweet almond, jojoba, avocado and some vitamin E to make your own sexy combination’s.  Add drops of your favorite essential oils like lavender, orange, or arnica to spice it up.

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Categories: DIY Recipes, Massage Oils, Weleda

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lm-vdayI think Valentine’s Day is one of those days you’re either fond of or you’re not. In general, I’m not a fan of the commercial aspect, and on another level, I feel that you can tell someone you love them any day of the week. BUT, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to hide our really cool Valentines Day finds from you. Afterall, even if you aren’t into the commercialism aspect, you’re still into being eco-conscious, sexy AND green all year ’round. Right?

We’re starting off the week with candles. Who doesn’t love candles? They’re great for romance. They’re great home accents, and they’re great when you just want a refreshing pick me up in the form of a pleasant scent. I absolutely LOVE getting candles as a gift. For the home, it always makes a great gift, and from that special someone with a little nudge nudge wink wink, it takes on a whole different meaning. And it’s also something that lasts a while, unlike candy and flowers (although, I still LOVE getting candy and flowers. *hinthint*).

But you don’t want to just go out and get any kind of candle.   You want to find a candle that is phthalate free AND made of soy.

A lot of conventional candles are made from artificial fragrances that are impossible to create from nature.   Therefore, they’re made with parfums, which are made with phthalates.   Like we need more of those in our house than are already floating around.   Stick with candles that are made from natural essential oils.   This limits your choices, of course, but you still find some really great scents.

Why soy?  Soy is a cleaner burning wax that, because of its organic nature, doesn’t emit toxins into the air when burning, unlike paraffin, which often has petroleum based ingredients in it.  Soy also burns cooler and lasts longer than regular paraffin.  Another bonus to soy is that it cleans up much easier with soap and water.   The benefits of soy wax are just all around better.

Soy candles are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s a little harder to find them without phthalates.

Our top picks!

than2Timothy Han candles are beautifully simple.   They’re completely unobtusive and fit in well with any type of decor.   I really love the plain design of these candles.  They are a bit expensive at about $50 US dollars, but they’re about 6.5 ounces and provide about 50 hours of burn time.   Try saying that about any phthalate laden paraffin candle!

breadbadger2 There is NOTHING you can’t find on Etsy.   I stumbled across these really great soy candles that are contained in a hand cut recycled wine container.  I don’t know about you, but I love anything that features recycled goods.   There are many scents to choose from, and while not all of them are phthalate free, a great deal of them are and are noted as such.     The jar also features a hand etched design of your choice.   For $28 dollars, this is an absolute steal!

Do it yourself!

It’s also really easy to make your own soy candles.   There are really great directions on ehow and you can find soy wax at just about any craft store.  The beauty of making your own is that you can be really creative in the scents you choose as well as your container.   It’s a great way to recycle old candle containers, instead of throwing them out.  You can use an old glass, a mason jar, or find something eclectic looking at a yard sale.   It’s a a great thing to do with older children.   And an inexpensive way to give a gift.    Nothing says love like a homemade gift!

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milkI’m a sucker for bath products.  I mean, tell me what girl doesn’t love a good pampering spa day?   I know that’s where my love of all things bath for the home, stems from.   Of course, it’s a little harder now that I don’t have:  a.) dispensable income and b.) limited choices in the name of greener beauty.   But that’s OK, because there are a lot of things you can make for a nice luxurious spa like bath for a way smaller price tag.   Of course you have to listen to the hum of a monitor with your martini (organic vodka, of course), instead of that new agey soothing music, but hey, it’s a little time for Mama, and that’s what really counts, right?

Let’s talk about milk baths.   Milk baths are popular at swanky spas and resorts.  Why?  Because they’re great for the skin.  They’re great for nourishing really dry skin, because the lactic acid helps to loosen dead skin cells.  Milk baths date back to the days of Cleopatra, who swore by milks beautifying properties.   The best thing is,  you can make a nice milk bath from products you probably already have.   I found one in a book, that’s really quick and easy, and also easy to alter based on your needs.  You’ll need:

1 cup of heavy-cream, half and half, or regular milk.

1/2 cup raw honey.

That’s it.   Just blend together,  add to your running bath and swish.   If want a little more luxurious, add some of your favorite essential oil.   If your skin is extra itchy, blend a cup of oats in a blender or food processor and add to the mix.   If you’re lactose intolerant, you can try goats milk.   One of the other great things about this recipe, is that you know exactly what’s in it.  No hidden ingredients like you might find in the overly processed, high priced “milk baths” out there at a beauty store.

I have heard that the thicker dairy products might leave your skin feeling a little oily afterwards, which makes sense, since you’re basically soaking in milk fat.  You could also use lower fat milk to acheive the same effects.   I’d stick with at least whole milk at the very least, if your skin is really dry.

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Categories: Bath & Body, DIY Recipes

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Organic Coconut OilLots of organic skin and body care contains coconut derived ingredients and some contain coconut oil.  Since I have started greening my beauty routines I have become far more interested in home made spa recipes.  One ingredient I found to be particularly awesome is Organic Coconut Oil.  You can buy a jar of it in the natural foods section of the grocery store (or online) and while yes, it is great for cooking (stir fry!) it is also a really moisturizing emollient.

Coconut oil is great for dry skin… and we’ve all had our bouts of the flakiness come winter months, while some of use suffer from more persistent dryness.  A coconut oil massage before a shower or bath can do wonders for your skin.  Some recommend using it on dry hair as a “mask” to restore shiny frizz free hair.  Some of us have dry spots in areas like cuticles, elbows, knees, lips and feet.

The nice part about it is, in the jar its in a solid form and only turns to oil once warmed up with your hands. One of my peeves with some body oils is the utter mess I make applying them.  Its on the floor, on the counter and all over the bottle.  Since coconut oil is in a sold state at room temperature applying it is considerably less messy.

Something else to note is the lack of fragrance.  When I bought a jar my immediate assumption was that I’d open the jar and smell the tropical no mistaking scent of coconuts.  Not the case.  It is completely odorless when bought this way.  (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has that telltale coconut smell)

LovelyMama Moisturizing Body Scrub

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic raw sugar (or fine)
  • 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil (orange oil works well for a day scrub)

Mix organic coconut oil, sugar and 1-2 drops of essential oil of choice (I like lavender but some people don’t so choose whatever strikes your fancy).  You can let this solidify a bit in the refrigerator if you want a solid scrub or use it as a warm oil scrub.  Scrub gently all over and rinse.

Edited to add: Lovely reader Rachael wrote in to remind us that coconut oil can also be used as a sexual lubricant!  Nice!  However not suitable for use with condoms and beware if you have any kind of coconut related allergies… that could get ugly.  Thanks Rachael!

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