Archive for the ‘homemades’ Category

A Dabble in Essential Oils

The Big Man caught a bit of whatever is going around. The Kid has a touch of it, too. I was determined that I wasn’t going to get it … but that was just crazy talk.

So we all had a bit of congestion/stuffy nose, and some coughing. Nothing too serious, but not healthy, either.

The biggest problem was that we’d wake each other (or ourselves) coughing.

Segue to—

I have heard and read a fair amount on the amazing properties of essential oils and have just never given them a try.

But with this coughing problem, I remembered a tip I’d seen for shutting down nighttime coughing with essential oil. What better time to try it out?

We used eucalyptus oil. It is not advised to use it straight, as it can cause skin irritation (and probably other issues, but I don’t know a lot about it). The only oil on the list of those recommended that we had on hand was olive, so that’s what I used.

I put two tablespoons of olive oil in a little container with a lid (for storage) and added 15 drops of eucalyptus oil. At bedtime, I took a cloth wipe from the stash, rubbed some of the oil mixture onto The Kid’s feet, and put socks on him. I did the same to myself.

We both slept really well!

But his socks chafed (they had an elastic band in them), so I didn’t put them (or the oil) on again the following night. He didn’t sleep well.

Next night, new socks, used the oil: good sleep.

There it is, friends! That is all the evidence I need.

I posted about it on Facebook, and a friend said that she uses a diffuser instead of a topical application. Haven’t tried it, so I can’t say. You would need to be more amenable to the smell for that, but many of these oils smell really nice.

Give it a try!


Homemade Deodorant, Take 2

You might remember a while back I made some gel deodorant. It worked really well, but I’m not a gel kind of gal.

I had saved a container from a stick deodorant and decided it was time to fill it.

My hesitation all this time with making stick deodorant is that all of the recipes except for one use coconut oil as the base. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. We do not keep the house that cool year-round (we’d have a zillion dollar electric bill!), which means I’d need to keep it in the fridge. (The one that doesn’t rely on coconut oil uses shea butter, which I could only find in fragranced versions. Blah.)

So I made it and I keep it in the fridge. The part I was concerned out — chilly pits! — has not been an issue at all. The issue I’ve had a couple of times is remembering to put it on, since I don’t have a fridge in the bathroom.

Interesting thing that I noticed: since I started using natural deodorants, I can get away with not wearing deodorant on a day that I’m not really sweaty and not stink. This was definitely not true before. Why is this so? I don’t know. Don’t really care, though — it’s a very nice side effect 🙂

So the recipe!

  • 3/8 cup melted coconut oil (that’s 6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

Mix. Pour into container.

That’s it!

You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, if you like fragrance. Tea tree oil is some pretty amazing stuff and will help reduce the stink as well. I haven’t used it yet, so I can’t attest to what it smells like, but it has some amazing properties.

Unlike no-poo shampoo, this deodorant has no breaking-in period. You just use it, and it works. Makes sense that it would take care of smells — it’s main ingredient is baking soda. Baking soda is the anti-stink go-to product.

Also, because mine is in the fridge, I need to leave it out for a minute before I can roll it up. This is only an issue every now and then, as I’ve taken to just rolling it up about 1/4 inch over the top of the container anyway. The lid more than accommodates.

Are you a homemade deodorant kind of person?

FYI on Homemade Cleaners

As you know, I’m a big fan of homemade cleaners for the house, the body, etc.

I haven’t used Dr. Bronner’s (yet?), but I know a lot of people do. Don’t worry — it’s not bad.

Just don’t mix Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap with vinegar or lemon juice.

See here to learn why.

Revisiting No-Poo Shampoo

The Big Man, The Kid and I were out of town last week visiting relatives and the beach. The Kid was a pretty good traveler, though he woke up at night more often than usual. Overall, it was nice to visit, and it was nice to come home.

In packing for the excursion, I put some baking soda into my bag but decided to do without the vinegar.

(For those just tuning in, I use baking soda to wash my hair and white vinegar as a rinse — commonly referred to as “no poo shampoo.”)

As it turns out, the vinegar is pretty critical.

Normally, my hair feels fairly soft (not as nice as it was pre-cancer, but better than it was immediately afterwards) and it lays nicely. By the end of our five days out of town, it felt heavy and gross (not a great descriptor, but it’s all I got right now) and didn’t lay well at all.

Not having time to wash it right away before I wanted it to look decent, I decided to just give it a vinegar rinse and see what happened. Result: much improved, though not as good as when I use the two together.

Moral of the story: the vinegar rinse is important!

My current usage: about a teaspoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of vinegar. I don’t keep them in the shower itself. I scoop out the baking soda into a little cup and pour the vinegar into a large plastic glass, left over from many years ago (I think I bought it when I was in college). The little cup fits perfectly over the mouth of the glass, helping to minimize the vinegar smell.

I dump the baking soda into one hand, then transfer some of it to the hand that had handled the cup, and work it into my scalp with both hands. Then I rinse with water. I fill the cup with water (so the vinegar is diluted; the original recipe I saw said one tablespoon vinegar to eight ounces of water), tip my head back, and pour the mixture all over. I’ve been doing this for over a year and got vinegar in my eyes only once. (It didn’t feel great, but it’s pretty diluted, so it’s not as bad as it could have been.)

Have you tried no poo? Do you otherwise avoid chemicals in your hair care products?

Homemade Deodorant … And Shampoo?

A long time ago — probably a year? — I saw this recipe for homemade deodorant and was interested to try it. I bought most of the ingredients but couldn’t find shea or cocoa butter that wasn’t scented. I was also slightly wary, as the coconut oil would melt around here. We have some in the pantry, and it’s liquid in the jar at least half the year.

Anyway, I was going to give it a shot and store it in the fridge as needed, but I couldn’t find the shea butter and eventually just stopped looking and forgot about it.

In an e-conversation with a friend about six months ago, she mentioned a very easy gel-type homemade deodorant, and that sounded like it might be good, though I’m not a huge fan of gel deodorant.

And I procrastinated and never tried it.

Then I learned that my “all natural” deodorant has ingredients in it that are less than savory. Very not excited to learn that.

Then the stick came to its end. I really wanted to give something new a shot, so I made up this recipe of homemade gel-type deodorant.

It was easy to make, though the baking soda took longer than I anticipated to dissolve.  (Not a big deal — just expectations vs. reality.) I also whisked it for a while, trying to get out all the lumps when I added the xanthan gum, but by the time the lumps were mostly gone, it was really thick. Will need advice on how to get a thinner consistency without the lumps. (Actually, I admit here that I didn’t watch the video again before making it, so perhaps my concern is addressed. Maybe I should watch it…)

I have used this both for deodorant and shampoo. Its thickness makes it a little unwieldy for shampoo but again, I will find a solution for that and it should be fine. I do still use a vinegar rinse, and my hair still feels nice and soft.

The deodorant gets the job done. It’s still hot here in Phoenix (and I’m still pregnant, so I’m still hotter than usual), and in my few days of wearing this deodorant — one a.m. application, same as my usual routine — I wasn’t smelly. This is Good.

However, I suspect that my dislikes of the deodorant are things I’ll need to just deal with.

It takes a while to dry. I put it on, then brushed my teeth, then put on my shirt, and the shirt still got stuck to it. I suspect that this would be worse in a setting where I don’t take several minutes between putting on deodorant and putting on my shirt.

It leaves a crusty residue. Have you ever gotten a thin patch of white glue on your hands? That’s kind of what it looks like. Not too big a deal as long as I’m accurate with application, but it is visible if it goes outside the pit area.

I am continuing to use it, at least for the time being, because it works and my complaints about it are pretty minimal.

Would you try a homemade deodorant?

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