Spray on Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

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So while I simply love my original recipe for natural deodorant, I do find that some people aren’t able to use it because of their sensitivity to baking soda and / or corn starch. If over-applied, even individuals with lower sensitivity may find they need to take a break from it every once in a while, as baking soda does tend to be mildly abrasive. So I have a great alternative for you – which has been working very well for my hubby who works long, sweaty days outdoors in construction – is there a better test for this, really? I even enjoy alternating using my baking soda deodorant with this one once in a while, if my pits need a vacay from the baking soda. And it is incredibly easy to make!

All you need is:

A small spritzer bottle,
One part freshly squeezed lemon juice,
One part alcohol free witch hazel like THIS one.

Combine in the bottle, shake and spray! If you don’t have witch hazel around, you can even skip it altogether and just use the lemon juice, although I think the witch hazel does improve the effectiveness, as well as being tonifying for your skin. The shelf life will also reduce without the witch hazel. This recipe DOES need to be kept in the fridge, which is one reason why my first recommendation is always my original recipe. But I personally don’t find it that inconvenient to just spray it on in the kitchen instead.

You can even just rub some juice from a sliced lemon on your armpits, if you don’t have a spritz bottle. Yup, just a lemon. Just rub it on there and go. Keep the slice in a container (you might want to mark it: “this lemon for armpits only”) in the fridge. My husband found this somehow unappealing, and thus this recipe was born. But hey, if it works for you, and is easier, go for that option instead!

Give it a few minutes to air out on your pits, to avoid rubbing it all off on you shirt when you put it on. And do beware of freshly shaven armpits, the lemon juice might give you a bit of a sting if you’ve nicked yourself anywhere!

How easy is that? No aluminum or other toxic ingredients, incredibly cheap, and amazingly effective. Hope you have success with it!

DIY Products and Temperature Shift – How to Deal.

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So if you’re new to DIY products (especially for your bod) and you’re experiencing the summer heat, you may be noticing your creations are not handling the heat well. That’s ok – I don’t always handle the heat well either, but I have lots of tricks to help my body cope – and good news: you can help your body butter cope, too. Here are a few of the tips I have up my sleeve:

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1). Some recipes can benefit from a higher ratio of solid / higher temperature withstanding ingredients. For your body butter, you may consider greatly increasing your ratio of cocoa butter, which holds a solid state at a much higher temperature than coconut oil, or adding a bit of beeswax to the mix. For your toothpaste, you may want to increase your baking soda content by a tablespoon or so. Play with your recipes a bit to get the mix that works for you.

2). Experiment with changing your location of storage. Some rooms in your house might be hotter than others, maybe you can keep your product in a downstairs bathroom if it is cooler there? Even switching the product from your countertop to under the sink might be enough to make the difference. On the extreme end, you may just want to keep it in the fridge. However, this can cause it’s own problems for texture – some things you just don’t want to be rock solid. For this problem, I recommend either:
A). Popping your products in the fridge from the time after your hygeine / beauty routine til about 8 hours beforehand, and then taking them out again, to soften up until you start your routine again (for example, if you have a morning routine, refrigerate the items during the day, and then take them out to sit overnight to be malleable for the morning) OR
B). Keep a lunch cooler bag in your bathroom with an ice pack in it. I have done this in my hot bathroom, and it works like a charm. Just don’t forget to change out your ice pack!

3). Just use your recipe in liquid form, or try an alternate liquid recipe. For example, you could use my glycerin based spray on moisturizer for your skin in replace of a body butter. However, even if your body butter turns to body oil, it still works just as awesome, it’s just not as fun to apply. Consider transferring it to a squeeze bottle, or just using plain old olive oil out of a squeezer instead if you are worried about the mixture solidifying in there again.

Out and about with some sunscreen or another product in danger of melting? Keep a freezer pack in your bag with it. Have a product that’s already separated or melted? Not to fear, just mix it again as per the directions in the recipe, and refrigerate or freeze to harden prior to leaving it out again to soften to workability. The only thing that might need adjustment is the essential oil content – you may want to freshen your oils up by adding a few extra drops when you re-mix, as extreme temperature changes and additional processing can cause them to evaporate off a bit.

I hope this helps with your temperature troubles!

Keep It Simple Sunscreen!

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So I posted my first sunscreen recipe a while back, and am extremely sorry to say that the consistency of the recipe has not proven itself to be reliable. It seems to work fine as a sunblock, we haven’t had any burns with it on (unless we’ve been in extreme conditions or forgotton to reapply) – but I really hate making the lotion, and find that it separates, gets gummy and develops hard bits in it after a while. Furthermore, I find the clean-up ridiculous using a food processor.

So…..apologies to any of you who have had mixed results with that recipe. I know when to admit I haven’t gotten something totally right, and this was one of those times!

But I have good news for you! A new, SIMPLE recipe is here! I have now tried and tested this recipe and I think it is not only mountains easier to make, but clean-up is easier, and the lotion is of a much better consistency. It glides on super smooth, and the zinc oxide blends much nicer without any chunks. I have omitted the aloe verathat was in my past recipe because I think it was contributing to the lumpiness and lack of emulsification, being water based and not oil based. If you would like to include aloe in your sun exposure regimen, I suggest making a spray out of food grade aloe juice and applying it after being in the sun 🙂

And it WORKS! I am talking moderate exposure, of course. I haven’t tried this in the desert in Arizona. If you are out and about at a spray park for a few hours, at the park, spending the day at the beach (with some shade time interspersed) and reapplying once or twice, you are golden. Literally ;). I can’t attest for severe conditions, as I don’t expose my family to them – we do moderate sun exposure and seek shade often. The only time I’ve burned with this lotion on is while standing in a paddle pool with my son from 12 pm – 2 pm, after having applied it at like 9 am, and likely having the stuff on my back partially rubbing off in the car (read: human error). My son has never burned with it on, including during that same time in the pool :). Please re-apply after swimming or extended water play, as this sunscreen is not entirely waterproof (I haven’t met a sunscreen that really is, frankly).

And in case you’re new here, or you’ve forgotten, check out these few articles on the toxic nature of commercially produced, chemical based sunscreen, and do some additional research for yourself:

EWG’s “The Trouble with Sunscreen Chemicals”
Mercola’s Sunscreen Guide

My recipe utilizes only TWO ingredients, both of which contribute to the SPF of the recipe, extra virgin coconut oil, and non-nano zinc oxide. “Non-nano” zinc oxide means that it is not penetrating your skin’s mucous barrier, and going into your bloodstream. You can buy non-nano zinc oxide online at New Directions Aromatics, or at many soap making shops or bulk ingredient stores like The Soap Dispensary. I buy my coconut oil at Costco – they have a very affordable extra virgin organic oil there, and it seems to always be in stock.

Sure, you can buy zinc oxide based sunscreen, but holy moly does it ever put a dent in your wallet – and if you don’t use it all within season, don’t expect it to have held together for next year! So I choose to make my own, cheaply and simply.

So let’s get started on how to make super easy, inexpensive, low toxin sunscreen.

1). Start with one cup of softened or completely melted coconut oil. I prefer softened only, if possible.
2). Put in a bowl big enough to mix it in with an electric mixer with beaters.
3). Add 1/4 cup zinc oxide, being careful not to inhale any (wear a mask if possible). Although fairly benign on your skin, you do not want to inhale the stuff.
4). Beat together the mixture until very well blended.
5). Put mixture in the fridge for 5-15 minutes, depending on how soft your oil was to begin with. You want the oil to cool significantly, but not become very hard or solid.
6). Beat the mixture again until it develops soft peaks and takes on the texture of a thick lotion. If it does not seem to be getting creamy, only staying soupy, you need to refrigerate a bit longer and try again.
6.5). If you would like to add some mosquito repellent qualities to your recipe, add about 10-15 drops of citronella essential oil to your recipe now, and continue blending.
7). And you’re done! Store the mixture in a cool location, but preferably not in the fridge, or it will get too hard. What you can do is store it in the fridge for longer periods of non-use, and then take it out the day before you plan on using it. If it is super hot in your house, or if you plan to take it with you to the beach and leave it in a hot bag – store it with a freezer pack so it stays cool. The ingredients will separate if it totally melts. If this happens, not to worry, just repeat steps 5 & 6 🙂

If you mix the same proportions as me, you will end up with a sun lotion with about an SPF of 30. But you can add more zinc if you wish, to increase the SPF – the higher proportion of zinc in the recipe, the higher the SPF – supposedly the percentage of zinc you add is your recipe’s SPF; and coconut oil has an SPF of between approx 5-10.

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*A note about clean-up: I caution you from just putting your bowl and beaters directly into the dishwasher or sink prior to doing a wipe down with paper towel. This will likely result in a lovely greasy film spreading all over your entire load of dishes, that you will need to hand wash to remove. I almost never use paper towel or any other disposable cleaning product in my house, but I DO use it for cleaning up zinc oxide sunscreen. It is quite hard to clean off, because it is greasy and not very permeable (hence making it a great barrier for sun protection, but not so great a barrier to clean through). So I suggest wiping as much as you can off your utensils and bowl with paper towel, and then hand washing them in a sink by themselves so as not to get the sunscreen residue all over everything. You’ve been warned!

For low sun exposure, I just use my Whipped Body Butter, or plain coconut oil. How easy is that, just rubbing on some coconut oil?

I can’t wait to hear what you think about this new recipe. I am super excited about how easy it is to make, and how effective it has been. Let me know how it goes!

Three Amazing Chia Recipes!

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I love the versatility of this seed so much that i decided to post about some of my favourite uses. As you can easily google the health benefits of chia, I won’t spend much time detailing its nutritional profile, but will say this – it’s another “super food”, loaded with healthy omega 3’s, calcium, manganese & phosphorus, as well as essential amino acids. You can count on chia as a brain food that gives you an energy boost, as well as keeping your bones & teeth healthy. Apart from just adding it to a lot of recipes & baking, I have a few favourite uses for chia that I would like to share with you.

ONE: As a thickener in recipes calling for things like corn starch or pectin. Jams, jellies, sauces and other dishes that need thickening or a little extra cohesion benefit from added or substituted chia. I personally don’t like using corn starch (because of its low digestibility) or pectin (because of the cost, and it being an extracted ingredient rather than a whole food). I haven’t figured out a super reliable substitution rate, but I would say a safe assumption to start with would be a sub of 2:1 of chia to starch or pectin. If you don’t want the minor seediness that comes with whole chia, you can grind it in a coffee grinder to get the thickening benefits without the seedy texture.

A recipe for quick chia jam:

Combine in a saucepan / small pot:

1 cup of (I use frozen) berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, huckleberry – whatever you like, or a combination).
2 tbsp of chia seeds
Simmer until reduced (and thawed if frozen) for 5 minutes.
If you want a jam with uniform texture, use your hand blender to lightly puree the mixture while still in the pot. If you like it chunky, leave it! For the pureed jam, simmer for another 5 minutes or so after pureeing; for the chunkier jam, give it about 10 minutes on the stove (or longer) to soften up the lumps a bit. After your jam has finished simmering, stir in:

Approx 1 tbsp raw honey (to taste – however sweet you like it – the chia adds a mild sweetness as well).

You can use the jam warm, or transfer to a jar in the fridge. After some time in the fridge, it will thicken even further. And voila! A jam with added protein and omega 3, without the use of other thickening agents or sweeteners. This jam also freezes very nicely.

TWO: For a homemade hair gel. That’s right, I said it! Hair gel! Chia makes a wonderful plant based jelly when combined with any liquid. For a hair gel, you can combine:

1 cup of water with
2 tbsp of whole chia seeds

Simmer in a small pot for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring fairly constantly to separate lumps. Remove from heat and stir in:

2 tbsp aloe vera gel (food grade please)

– and let cool. Once cooled, get out a jar for storage and place fine meshed cheesecloth over top. Begin pouring mixture over the cheesecloth, and when enough accumulates on the top, squeeze the gel through the cloth into the jar – the leftover grit and seeds will stay in the cheesecloth. Continue until you have strained it all. If you have a very fine mesh strainer, this would work as well – but it needs to be very fine or you will get chunks in the gel.

Keep it in the fridge and use as needed – it will work like a “wet” hair gel. Both the chia and aloe are very conditioning for your hair, so it also makes a great dry hair treatment!

THREE: Chia fruit juice jelly: A really fun, refreshing light snack that is super easy is this chia seed jelly – a little like a slightly softer jello :). Combine in a jar:

1 cup of your favourite fruit juice (my favourite for this recipe is grape) with
2 tbsp of ground or whole chia seed (depending on the texture you would like).

Stir well until distributed evenly in the juice. Let sit on the counter for five minutes in the sealed jar. Give it a good shake or another stir, and place in the fridge for several hours (I let it sit overnight). It’s perfect for a hot summer day, especially to get some fun fluids and vitamins in your kidlets.

And there you have it! My favourite chia based recipes both for on your bod and in. Also check out my recipe for chia rice pudding HERE. A yummy gluten free breakfast! What are your favourite uses for chia?

All natural bug spray!

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So I know this has been a long time coming, but I really wanted to test it out. This recipe combines a lot of tried and true ingredients for homemade bug sprays. Although this recipe mostly targets mosquitos and certain flies, apparently it offers moderate protection from ticks as well – although I really have no sound way of proving this at all, as I have not knowingly exposed myself to any.

I know that when I am out in my garden or sitting on my patio, the mosquitoes leave me quite alone when I am wearing this! But I imagine that if you are in a crazily mosquito infested deep woods scenario, it might not be foolproof. So keep this in mind. I urge you to try it out for yourself in a situation of lighter exposure, and then move towards more intense situations gradually. Also be aware that all bodies are different, and certain people tend to attract mosquitoes and bugs more than others, be it due to amount of CO2 they are releasing, or something about their blood composition – although this seems to be a relative mystery, it does seem to be a reality.

I’ll start with my recipe, and then offer a few other suggestions to naturally keep mosquitoes and bugs away from your campsite or backyard. This is a ‘combine and go’ bug spray, so it is an easy one if you have all the ingredients on hand:

In a bowl or large pyrex pourable measuring cup, combine:

1/4 cup whole leaf aloe vera juice
1/4 cup diluted, alcohol free witch hazel formula (like THIS one)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cups filtered or distilled water
30 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops peppermint essential oil

Stir well, and pour through a funnel into a spray mister bottle. Shake to mix further. Spray on all parts of your body, and if in tougher conditions, even on your clothes and hair. The mosquitoes will sometimes bite you right through your jeans if you omit these areas! It should not stain most clothing, especially if you are only applying a light mist.

And there you go! I recommend keeping this product refrigerated if you are storing it for long periods (to prolong shelf life), but it should be fine in your backpack or camping kit over the weekend or whatnot.

Some other tricks to keep the bugs away:
Burn citronella candles. These are great for keeping the mosquitoes away from a contained, small area, like around your campsite or back patio. I do not recommend burning these in a more enclosed space, as they are usually made of parrafin, which can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities for prolonged periods. If you can find a non-parrafin citronella candle, like one made with beeswax, even better – and let me know if you find one!

Stay away from standing water, and remove any from your backyard. Things like bird baths and backyard ponds are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and should be avoided, unfortunately, if you want to banish the bugs. And if you are camping, obviously try and stay away from any boggy or marshy areas.

In an area a little ways (at least 10 metres) from where you are camping / hanging out, put a bowl of baking soda out, and combine it with vinegar. This lets off a bunch of CO2 for a short period, and fools the mosquitoes into thinking someone is exhaling over there. Keeps them distracted and confused for maybe fifteen minutes or so. If you want to prolong the reaction, keep a bunch of small bowls of baking soda out, and then add some vinegar to one every fifteen minutes or so. This is time consuming, but helpful if you are desperate!

Let me know how this bug spray works for you, I would love to hear your feedback on how it works in more intense situations, in different climates, and for different bodies!

“Beauty” Regimens I No Longer Perform

20140528-215510-78910454.jpg…….because it’s unnecessary, and I don’t care what “you” think. That’s right, I said it. I really don’t care what you think, and I don’t think anyone should have to care about it. And if it bothers you that I don’t do these things, well, I think you are sweating the small stuff, baby 😉 Let loose, and check out what I don’t worry about in terms of my beautiful body anymore:

Shaving. Yup, I don’t shave. Anywhere. I personally think it’s ridiculously unnecessary. Sure, if you have hair somewhere that is functionally or hygienically getting in your way, take it off. Like a beard, for example – I get that. It gets food in it. It hangs in yours or your girlfriend’s mouth, yeah. If I had a beard I would probably trim or shave from time to time so it didn’t get out of control. If you are a championship swimmer and you want to cut a few millisecs off your time – raze away. But do I need to spend countless hours of my lifetime stripping minor, non-irritating hair from my pits and legs? And other uncomfortable areas? God, NO! My hubs does NOT care (really, he really really doesn’t) and I don’t think he should. My legs are actually softer without shaving, and I certainly don’t have stinky armpits. In fact, the hair actually binds to my deodorant to make it more effective, IMO. Be strong and resist the brainwashing, ladies! We don’t need to be hairless.

Styling my hair with product. I keep my hair on the short side, although I am waffling on the style lately. My hair has very little volume, and has a lot of weird little flicks and waves in it. But I am NOT spending my time putting product in it anymore. 1). Because I can’t get behind using the kinds of toxic products that it takes to give my limp hair more shape, 2). I can’t be bothered to waste my time making alternative products for it, because I don’t care. If it’s clean and brushed, it is soooo not my problem if you think it looks ‘weird.’ It’s hair. It’s unique. It doesn’t need to look like the overly coiffed hair in commercials. But just FYI, I will eventually be posting a recipe for chia hair gel. It is pretty cool stuff…and fun to make with the kids. Stay tuned.

Applying make-up. So you may have noticed I don’t have any make-up recipes on the site yet. I confess, it’s because I don’t wear it. Ever. My complexion loves me for it. No pimples, no problems. Why do we need to look like dolls? Why? Make-up is super time consuming and annoying to apply (especially eyeliner, holy hell), and creates a vicious cycle of clogged pores and irritated skin cells that fight back and then need to be squelched again under another layer. I really don’t get the whole make-up thing. Well, okay, I do, I guess, maybe you want to impress someone….and I will probably figure out some basic recipes for those of you who may need it. But I am not rushing on that, because I really don’t think you need it. And I will probably only go as far as lip tint, rouge and mascara. I would be more thrilled if y’all would just let your natural loveliness out 🙂

For fun, check out this article on “How to Liberate Yourself From Make-up”.

Dying my hair. So I think it goes without saying that if I am not styling my hair with product, I am certainly not dying it. Dying your hair is an incredibly toxic process (Don’t believe me? Read THIS). It was fun in my youth to play around with crazy colours, but that is soooo done. And I am not interested in covering my grey, which has actually started to come in, by the way (hmmmm, maybe kids really do give you grey hair). You know, I actually kind of like it! I look at it as my wisdom and experience shining through. I earned that grey. And I wouldn’t cover it up for a minute. I think we need to remember that we can age gracefully and without shame. Be proud of your grey – it’s who you are, and it’s beautiful.

So okay, maybe I am extra crunchy for being this way. Then CRUNCH AWAY, I say. Take control of what is really important in your life, like eating healthy, staying active, respecting the earth we live on, being mindful and present, and enjoying each moment and person in your life like this is your last day on earth. And lastly, being kind and compassionate to one another, and teaching our children to do the same. When you think about how important all of these things are, make-up and hair dye seem a little ridiculous, don’t they?

What parts of your beauty routine have you thrown to the curb?

Multipurpose Skin Ointment

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Way back when I promised you my ointment recipe. I wanted to really give it a good test before putting it out there. I just LOVE this ointment for our family’s skin issues. This recipe is a very effective balm for lots of problems, such as: eczema, psoriasis, generally chapped skin, rashes, mild burns – try it for anything!**

Melt together, stirring constantly, in a double boiler on medium-low heat (see my FAQ for an explanation of double boiling):

1 part coconut oil
1 part beeswax pellets (organic, preferably)
1 part cocoa butter

Remove from heat, wait to cool for about 3 minutes while still stirring, and then mix in (per 3 tbsp or so of base ingredients):
15 drops cedarwood essential oil*
15 drops rosemary essential oil*

*Please make sure you are using high quality oils, as pure as possible, to get their maximum benefits. A few highly reputable companies are doTERRA, Young Living, and Mountain Rose Herbs.

Pour / spoon into desired container immediately and allow to cool, in the fridge if desired. Should be good to remove in about 5 minutes. Finished product will be somewhat hard – use a fingernail to remove some and soften between fingertips when applying. Can be applied to the face as well (I use it a lot in the creases of my nose) but MAY be pore clogging if used in excess, due to the high beeswax content. Keep applying as often as needed until the issue resolves!

If you are breastfeeding, apply the balm with some of your freshly expressed breast milk, and you will get brilliant results. Breast milk is a fabulous tonic for the skin!

**For pimples / acne related issues, do not apply this balm – it may aggravate the issue by preventing the oils in the pimple to escape. Instead, try using my deodorant recipe to treat a fresh pimple – it will dry it out really well. Apply a thick coating of it directly to the pimple and allow to sit overnight.

Hope this does wonders for your skin troubles! I also sell this balm if you can’t make it yourself. Drop me a line and we can arrange for local pickup!