Soothing Calendula Body Wash Recipe

Making liquid soap, in this case a body wash, is a simple way to keep your shower well-stocked. With a relatively small amount of ingredients, you can create a beautiful and effective cleanser! I created this recipe for my fiancé who is sensitive to bar soap, and even added a custom fragrance that we both enjoy! It uses calendula infused olive oil to reduce irritation and inflammation on the surface of the skin, and a blend of conditioning oils to prevent dryness.

If you make your own soap or other skincare products, you probably have most of these ingredients on hand! However, while bar soap is made using NaOH (sodium hydroxide) lye, liquid soaps require KOH lye (potassium hydroxide) to stay diluted in water. This recipe uses a dual lye base to create a thick paste that dilutes well (without losing too much of that lovely gel feeling). I used SaponiCalc to create it, and went with 70% KOH lye and 30% NaOH lye.

As a side note, I added a very small amount of a preservative to keep it fresh in the warm bathroom environment, opting for Germaben II E at a ratio of 1 quart diluted soap to 1/2 tsp preservative. While many people don’t use preservatives in their liquid soaps, I would rather avoid potential mold contamination in the steamy environment it will live in.

Showing you how it lathers!

On to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 oz distilled water
  • Sodium hydroxide lye 0.59 oz
  • Potassium hydroxide lye 2.16 oz
  • Castor oil – 2.4 oz
  • Coconut oil (76°F) – 4 oz
  • Olive oil infused with Calendula – 5.6 oz
  • Shea butter – 2.4 oz
  • Sunflower seed oil – 1.6 oz
  • Sweet almond oil carrying helichrysum essential oil, rosemary essential oil, and peppermint essential oil (for fragrance; these essential oils can be omitted or replaced based on other safe fragrance options) – 2 oz

Total weight before dilution and added oils: 24.86 oz

Begin by turning on your crock pot to a medium-high setting (mine only has a high and low, so I started on high and adjusted throughout to avoid burning the soap). Add the coconut oil and shea butter to the crock pot. While that melts, add in your castor oil, calendula-infused olive oil, and sunflower seed oil.

Mix together your lye and water slowly, stirring well to disintegrate all of the flakes. Slowly add this to your oil mixture and emulsify with a stick blender. This step can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on your emulsifier. You will know when it is okay to stop when it reaches a thick mashed potato consistency. If your blender starts to overheat switch to another or leave the mixture on a low heat setting and come back to it once your blender has cooled. Make sure to wear protective clothing, including chemical resistant gloves, goggles, and long sleeves to avoid being splashed by the mixture; not only is it hot enough to burn you, it also contains unsaponified lye, which can cause chemical burns on its own. Use a small crockpot to avoid splashback or emulsify the mixture in a separate container before moving to your crockpot.

Stir every 30-40 minutes until you are left with a paste that is transparent before you disturb it by stirring. Keep on medium-high heat while you wait. Once it reaches the transparent paste stage, remove from heat, carefully transfer to a jar, and allow to cool. Once cool, you can add your distilled water and sweet almond oil. Depending on how thick you want your soap, you can add different amounts of water. Start with small amounts and stir or use a stick blender to dilute the paste into a liquid. In the end you should end up with a golden-brown soap that is translucent! If you use a stick blender to dilute the soap, don’t be surprised to see that it is opaque for the first week or so. It will settle over time into that beautiful golden-brown colour! At this point, you can also add a preservative of your choice and any colourants or additives you like. I prefer to keep it simple and don’t use any mica or other suspensions, but you can customize your finished soap as much as you like! To thicken it to your preference, you can also add a gum such as xanthan gum, or leave it as is. I prefer a thicker soap, but it lathers well and works as is, too!

Diluted soap in the process of settling after being blended a few days ago. The bottom is the end results’ final colour!

Tooth Powder Recipe

I’ve seen a few tooth powder recipes out there, and I’m out of tooth paste, so I figured now was a good time to give it a go! I won’t go into all the whys or how making it can be better for remineralizing your teeth because so many other bloggers have done just that (see my list at the bottom of this page). I took a look at their posts and recipes for inspiration, and I ended up with my own little version! I will link those blogs below, as well as why each ingredient is good for a toothpowder. I will say that I prefer to get my powder pretty wet before using it to avoid full granules of salt and baking soda, but otherwise, it’s awesome! I am going to add some peppermint extract later to give it less of a vaguely salty taste, but cinnamon powder seems to be another popular option.

Recipe

Recommended Reading

10 Useful Sewing Projects

I have a very strained relationship with my sewing machine. It’s confusing for me, and I always seem to mess up the simplest of projects. To help inspire my will to keep trying to use it, here are 15 useful sewing projects! Some of these could be done by hand, of course, but for the sake of forcing myself to do better on a machine, we’re just going to pretend they’re not. 😉

1. A simple quilt. While elaborate quilts can be tempting to take on, starting out with a simple design can get you used to how they’re made and offer a great way to use up cotton scraps. Whether you choose to make a block quilt or a simple pattern, finding a tutorial that suits your needs is the first step to success. YouTube is a great place to check for video tutorials like this series by Melanie Ham. If you prefer photos and text, try Pinterest, where you can find pictorials like this one by Diary of a Quilter. How lovely would it be to wrap yourself up in a quilt you made yourself? I can imagine misty mornings made better by such a nice blanket made by hand.

2. Makeup removing cotton rounds. I’ve made a few of these by hand, and while they’re awesome, I feel like it would make more sense to just bust out a few dozen on a sewing machine. Here’s a tutorial by Sustainably Savvy with multiple layers of cotton, which is what I prefer when I make them. I will note that some people make their DIY cotton rounds with old towels, but these can be exfoliators; if you already use an exfoliator, whether that be chemical or physical, be careful with adding in another. I would use 100% cotton for your rounds! I’ve also seen bamboo used as well, but I’m not sure how they fare as exfoliators!

3. Reusable cotton balls. I stumbled on this DIY by Southern Mom Loves and I think it’s a really useful idea! She uses polyfil as a stuffing, but I’d think yarn ends, clean wool, and even scrap cotton fabric could all work similarly if you have it lying around! Be mindful of washing these well before re-using, of course! They look awesome, and just like the disposables, should be kept in a sealed container… like a cute apothecary jar!

4. Drawstring bags. I use these to sort my odds and ends. You can also use them for gifts, bulk grocery shopping, and just to carry around small things! I love how simple they are to make. Check out this tutorial by Free Tutorial. They include labels in their tutorial and how to make fabric ribbons!

5. A potholder or hot pad. Okay but I swear we had a ton of these at one point, and now we have one. Being able to whip them up real quick would be such a useful skill! Here’s a tutorial by Melanie Ham, the same creator who made a video series on quilts!

6. Reusable sandwich wraps. Using a bulky Tupperware container for a small sandwich just ain’t it. Opt to house your sandwich in a wrap instead! I found this tutorial by A Rose Tinted World that looks fairly easy to replicate!

7. Elastic fabric bowl covers. These bowl covers are awesome for picnics, outdoor gatherings, and even indoor ones where the kiddos won’t stop opening the backdoor. This tutorial by Hearth and Vine does a great job in showing us how to make our own! I’m actually curious as to how I could create a drawstring cover instead of using elastic. Maybe I’ll give that a go in the near future!

8. An apron. One of the things we made in my senior FACS class as an apron. This tutorial by A Box of Twine is for a crossback apron which I think I prefer over the typical kind because I’m simply a mess. I really need to make myself one of these with wide pockets for carrying plants and gardening tools!

9. Sweatshirt gardening gloves. You can upcycle an old sweatshirt into custom gardening gloves. I love the idea of taking a favourite sweatshirt that’s torn and old and giving it new life in your gardening routine. This tutorial by Lately Reconstructed does a wonderful job illustrating just that.

10. A reusable Swiffer duster cloth. I do love making reusable things, but I have to say it… we don’t dust our house until it gets really bad. With 8 kids, my parents, and two puppers, it is always neglected. Maybe by making a few fun duster cloths I could get my siblings to want to help out? This tutorial by Sew Much Ado is a great one, and I think I’ll give it a try!

Daylily Cordage & Listening to Your Plants

There are certain DIYs and techniques spread all across the internet that, despite being part of the “use what’s around you” ideology, have become inherently attached to specific plants. It isn’t intentional, it’s just what works and is widely used, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking to these kinds of staples. However, without digging a bit deeper into why a certain plant appears with a certain DIY so often, we tend to make a mental note and move on. Maybe I’m projecting my own bad habits onto everyone else in the nature-loving communities I’m a part of, because this was something I recently noticed myself doing.

When I first started looking into cordage and how its made, I noticed that yucca, brambles, willow, and cedar based cordage was super popular and many tutorials seemed to be focused on these plants individually. And those are all awesome plants to make your cordage from due to their fibrous natures. I didn’t have access to any of those things, at least not in my yard or neighborhood, so I temporarily set the idea of making my own cordage aside. But, as with all of my crafty impulses, it came back. And this time, I called to mind the way I tried to weave different grasses when it was all I had to work with. While my attempts were unsuccessful and very poorly researched, I did find that grasses, especially greener (read: wet) blades were easy enough to work into plaits and simple woven blobs.

Bearing this in mind, I took a look at what I did have in my immediate vicinity. Right outside my back door, I had several lush, some may say overgrown, daylilies sprawled over their little mulched homes and onto my patio. I also have an ornamental grass bush thing that offers massive strands in midsummer and early fall, when I remember to pick them before they get chopped down to tiny tufts. Those are still quite small, so I opted to focus on the daylilies for now, and keep the grass in mind for late summer and fall.

Armed with the idea that daylilies had long, thin leaves that looked fair enough like cordage material to me, I took to the interwebs! I was going to try to make them into cordage either way, but I was seeking some validation and reassurance that this was a good idea, haha.

Well, find validation I did! Turns out that there are many people sharing their experiences with daylily cordage online, including a couple youtubers, like Leighanne Saltsman, for example. Seeing them share their experiences with daylily cordage made me feel a lot better about going “astray” from what I viewed as the traditional cordage plant fibers. However, the more I look into cordage, the more I’ve come to realize traditional cordage doesn’t have a set plant list. Traditional cordage is made with whatever you have in your area. Sure, plants like Yucca and willow offer awesome opportunity for cordage that’s strong and resilient, and they’re great options to use if you have access to them. But part of interacting with nature to fuel your life is listening to the plants and elements around you. I intuitively knew daylilies and the weird grass bush out back are fibrous and good for cordage and fiber arts. I wish I would have listened to that intuition sooner and just gotten started on my first cordage project, but I’m happy to get there in my own time anyways.

This idea of listening to your environment when choosing raw materials applies outside of cordage, too. It comes with the caveat that you need to know what you’re picking, and that it’s safe to handle and process. But if you have some fibrous leaves and you want to give cordage ago, don’t worry about finding it on some masterlist of the perfect plants for cordage. Give it a go. Document your personal experiences. Test it out in a variety of ways and let everyone else know how it worked out for you! That’s my plan, anyways, and I’m happy to be doing similar things with my plants that so many people of the past have done with theirs.

Here’s my cordage, which I’ve been creating after drying out the leaves (slowly, since I left them in a wicker basket in my cool basement) for several days, but letting them stay green so they’re pliable enough to twist. There are many tutorials for how to make cordage, but I used the one with daylilies by Saltsman. Here’s how it’s going!

It’s obviously imperfect, and several leaves are a tad greener than I think I need them to be, but I’m pleased overall with my very first bit of cordage. Have you ever made your own cordage, or used plant fibers in another way? Let me know in the comments, and tell me what you used!

Don’t forget to like, follow, and share if you enjoyed this post. I’ll see you all later! Bye!

Making an Herbalism Journal From Upcycled Materials

I love making my own journals and notebooks. I get to upcycle paper materials and fashion custom covers to represent me and the contents the journal will hold. I just finished one for holding my recipes and how I feel they went, as well as ratios and measurement guidelines for oil infusions and tinctures! I’m really pleased with how it came out, and hope that sharing my process will inspire some of you too make your own!

Materials I used:

I cut my pages into the same size rectangle (except for one special insert in the middle that’s much smaller) and sewed them together as three signatures. I’m not too savvy with binding methods, so I just sewed the middle signature to the ones on either side and then sewed the two on the side to each other. Then I modpodged a piece of tissue paper I’d gotten in a package over the stitching ant onto the front of the first and back of the last signatures just a tad.

After binding them, I made my cover. I cut out a sheet of magazine text just a little bit bigger than the papers with enough room to cover the spine added in. Then, after measuring it again and ensuring it was the right size, I laid down some mod podge and a piece of white tissue paper. On the back side, I folded the tissue over and used more mod podge to secure it.

I let these both dry before putting them together. Then, I cut out a mostly white page from a magazine (mine says chanel on it, but it’ll be covered eventually). It needed to be the size of the signature pages x2. Then I glued one piece to the pages, making sure to go close to the spine. Then, I folded it by closing the book, opened it up, and glued it to the inside of the cover. I repeated this process with the back cover.

Sometimes I add ribbons or closures to my journals, but I kept this one simple.

After this, I drew some herbs on the cover and used some an extra scrap piece of homemade paper to label it “herbalism” and glue down.

This is usually how it goes when I make my own journals! Not perfect, but functional and dare I say aesthetically pleasing for the most part. Let me know if you have any fun journals like this!

Thanks for stopping by! See you again soon! Bye!

Building Your Skills in Self Sufficiency | Part Two

In my first post about building your skills in self sufficiency, I mentioned a few skills you can pick up on, like sewing or soapmaking. While these kinds of skills are important to learn, I thought I would bring to mind some more trade-style skills that could potentially save you a lot more money should you have to use them. These are all things I have seen build up into expensive mistakes if done incorrectly or neglected. I hope we can all learn some of these skills to avoid accidents due to being uneducated! I’ve been trying to learn about them as I go, so feel free to drop your own advice or tips in the comments!

Basic Plumbing & Drainage System Knowledge

Most of us can unclog a drain with a snake or plunge a wad of toilet paper through a pipe. However, When bigger things come up and you need to figure out what’s wrong quickly, having some basic plumbing and drainage system knowledge can get you pretty far. You may still need the expertise of a professional, but you’ll be able to diagnose the problem before poking around and flooding your basement. Over at my house, for example, we just had a massive blockage in a pipe that branched off where it was super difficult to reach. Our kitchen was full of buckets and towels to catch the water that made its way downstairs. While it wasn’t something we could fix on our own, my Dad had been told by a previous plumber who came by to fix a bad clog (in the same spot) that it was a “double Y”, and it would most likely happen again due to the size of our family and the abuse our poor drainage system gets. Knowing this, my dad pulled down the dry wall and followed the leaky pipes to a common source. When the plumber got here, he knew exactly what to pull out, and the issue was resolved. If we had any extra knowledge on plumbing, we may have been able to rent some tools, remove the problem, and fix the issue without too much help. Seeing this happen and how easy the fix was (he removed the pvc joint and replaced it with one that had two separate channels, added sealant, replaced the toilets with new wax rings, and was finished) makes me wonder if taking a few classes wouldn’t be a bad idea. I’m not afraid to ask for help if I don’t know what’s wrong, but I think with enough training we could have fixed it ourselves. It took a long time and some expensive equipment, though, so maybe we would have opted for a professional. Still, it sparked some intrigue in me, and who doesn’t love the feeling you get when you fix something without needing to spend too much money? For now, I’m sticking to mending faucets and removing the hair from drains, but I do plan on researching avenues for some basic education.

Woodwork and Dry Wall Basics

We have basements here in Missouri, and basements mean extra usable square footage without too much of a hassle. I’ve watched my family renovate basements for years in one capacity or another, and it really is amazing what throwing up some drywall can do for a space. And while physically taxing, it usually isn’t very difficult to do. Of course, you need to follow the legalities and code of your area and keep in mind how easy it is to access important things such as your only manners of egress, which is usually a few of those tiny windows. However, if you follow the rules and understand the safety protocols for working with wood, drywall, flooring, etc., then you can finish your own basement. Or, if you live somewhere without basements, or just need a change, you’ll have the know-how for a more open floor plan and how to carefully remove walls without knocking a support beam out of place. This one obviously takes more than a few google searches, and I definitely recommend consulting professionals every step of the way (for the first few projects at minimum), but it’s a cool way to change up your own home, by your own hand. You may even have some fun modifying an attic into a kids play area if you feel confident enough!

Building Your Own Furniture

There’s nothing like using something you created. For me, that’s usually something like soap or paper. Going even further into something that lasts much longer, I’ve always thought building your own furniture would be an amazing way to feel at home in your space. Woodworking in this capacity isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t the safest thing to just give a go, but if you have someone in your life that is willing to show you the ropes, I recommend giving it your best shot. With help, it can be a much more enjoyable and less scary endeavor! And you may find that you love making things from wood, maybe even out of wood from your own property!

Car Maintenance

If all you know is how to change oil, you’re a step ahead of many of your peers. If you like cars and enjoy working on them, then learning to do your own maintenance safely is a great way to be more self sufficient. You’ll need to do some learning on not only how cars actually work, but how to examine them without getting hurt. Learn the ropes of car maintenance with someone who is already an expert. This may be a parent or friend, or maybe you decide to learn through courses online. Whatever you do, be diligent about learning about safety before anything else.

What are some large self sufficiency skills that you enjoy or have seen? Where are your favourite places to learn? I enjoy learning online with sites like You Tube or blogs. Let me know in the comments! Bye!

31 Things to Make With the Natural Resources in Your Area

Today I compiled a list of links to beautiful DIYS and tutorials that use wild and cultivated plants. Take a look and get inspired by the fresh ingredients you have all around you! Let me know what you make and if you have any other ideas! Have a great one, everybody!

  1. Birch Bark Paper
  2. Paper from Invasive Plants
  3. Raffia Baskets
  4. Willow Baskets
  5. Making Baskets from Natural Materials
  6. Cordage
  7. Cordage from Cedar
  8. Netted Bags from Cordage
  9. Wattle Fencing
  10. Flour
  11. Wooden Spoons
  12. Wooden Crochet Hooks
  13. Solar Dyes Made from Plants
  14. Bundle Dyed Scarves
  15. Eco Prints
  16. Botanical Prints on Paper
  17. Mineral Pigment Paints and Pastels
  18. Wooden Hair Comb
  19. Pine Needle Hand Brooms
  20. Broom Corn Brooms
  21. Coconut Leaf Brooms
  22. Pine Needle Baskets
  23. Black Walnut Ink
  24. Buttons from Twigs
  25. Activated Charcoal
  26. Linen from Flax
  27. Maple Branch Wreath
  28. Grapevine Wreath
  29. Rose Petal Beads
  30. Clay from Soil
  31. Biodegradable Confetti

Don’t forget to like and share with your friends and family. Bye!

Building Your Skills in Self Sufficiency | Part One

I live in the primitive world of HOAs and suburban soccer moms that yell that our fireworks are too loud at 8pm on the Fourth of July. I have all of my veggies struggling along in pots that rabbits continuously crunch on, and I am at the mercy of my parents who just aren’t too sure about my jar hoarding “problem”. That said, I’m doing my best with what I’ve got and the rules I have to follow. A lot of what I want to do just isn’t possible for one reason or another, but I have found several things that I can do to here and now to prep for a more self-sustaining future, and to lessen my wastefulness along the way.

When I started this whole thing, I first did a pseudo-audit of what I would ideally change in the future. For me, it included trying to be more zero waste and also learning to create more of what I needed. Here are some of the skills I have identified that I think any pre-homestead or current waste-reducing person could benefit from learning.

Community Building

A daunting part of homesteading or self-sufficiency is just how much you need to “do” or learn. I’m guilty of forgetting that self-sufficient doesn’t mean you do it all alone. To get things done and spread out work among other nearby homesteaders and yourself, you should learn to trade, barter, and sell within a community of like minded people. For example, I make soap, and I love to do it. I can trade some of my soap for other necessities like mittens or some food from another person. Not only do I get to make all the soap my little heart desires, I get to share and trade it for what I need but may not have the time or ability to create. There are many groups online and in-person that you can join. Some great ones that are found all over the US include Buy Nothing groups, where you give and receive items that aren’t being used, as well as the many facebook groups set up for local zero waste swap meets, clothing swaps, etc. This is one of the most important parts of being more self-reliant (as opposed to grocery store- or fashion chain, etc-reliant). Find communities and swap tips, tricks, and products. There are usually more people nearby that think like you than you’d expect! You can also head out to your local farmers market or artisan market and make friends there. Learn from others and share what you know!

Container Gardening

I have several small plants growing on my patio, despite the rabbits dining in every once in a while. I’m learning how to grow a variety of things now, and how to deal with furry buddies wanting in on the yumminess. By learning this now, I won’t be utterly lost when I decide to grow a large garden to feed myself and anyone living with me. I’m currently working through soil, water, nutrient, and light needs, as well as troubleshooting when things look off. Even if I don’t get much this year, I’m happy to be learning and growing food of my own. There are many great places to gain useful information, including the above recommended communities of fellow homesteaders! I’d also like to add that my veggies finally seem to be doing well, and that feels really good (especially when I stop to consider how many seeds I’ve planted, nurtured, overwatered, and lost).

Upcycling

I’ve always loved upcycling, so this comes naturally for me! Giving old, unusable things new life is a great skill to have. Another part of this is learning to think outside of the box, take a step back, and come up with a creative solution. You can do things like spin yarn out of plastic bags or newspapers, make produce bags from lace valences, and even upcycle old oatmilk containers into soap molds. Practice this sort of thinking when you want to buy something new or you are throwing something out. Can this be melted and used later (HDPE Plastic for example is a great material to add to your stockpile)? Can I replace what I need with something I already have (ex: a flower pot can be substituted with an old yogurt container)? Even if you don’t actively pursue upcycling for your own reasons, it’s good to start thinking critically. Break everything down to its bare bones and the raw material it can provide.

Mending/patching/darning

Mending is something everyone can use, no matter where you’re at. Sure, your family might be confused and ask why you’re darning those socks instead of buying new ones, but the skill is useful and practice makes perfect. Learn this skill before you need it. You can have a lot of fun with this, too, by adding aesthetically pleasing techniques to your work. I say all this assuming you can sew, at least by hand. That’s a skill that will serve you now (seams always split open when you can’t afford to buy a new pair of jeans, trust me) and later. If you can get your hands on a reliable machine, that’s even better! But if this skill does not come easily for you, learn the basics and turn to your community if you need help.

Canning

You don’t need to can enough to get through the entire winter if your fridge and pantry are packed as it is. In my situation, not only would no one eat anything I canned (it’s foreign to them, so I can’t blame them), but I would run out of room very quickly. To combat this, I’ll be trying something simple every few weeks to get the skill going. I’m going to have fun and learn all the tips and tricks along the way, and heed the many rules and safety protocols of canning as I do so. I’ll have a head start for when I go to harvest a bunch of tomatoes and find I have too many to eat! I can’t wait to can up some delicious apple butter in the fall, and ripe strawberry jam any day now. Mmm.

Simple Skincare Knowledge

Speaking as someone heavily invested in and pursuing the skincare industry, trust me when I say there’s a lot to learn. So many bloggers recommend things that make me cringe, and skincare experts like Dr. Dray, Cassandra Bankson, the Golden Rx (link is to a video I definitely recommend if you’re looking in to skincare DIYs) and Lab Muffin Beauty have all added their own informed opinions on this topic. Learn what to avoid by watching these amazing women and others who offer their advice and knowledge to us. They provide so many great scientific viewpoints, and it’s important to consult the realities of science when making your own skincare.

That said, there are ways to make your own great skincare essentials. I’ll be posting my recipes and those I have tried and truly believe in! I’ve recently posted a few in my last post, 7 things to make instead of buying! Until then, be very wary of posts using lemon essential oil in after-sun lotion, or apple cider vinegar as a toner.

Soapmaking

Oh man, I do love making soap. It’s a really fun way to customize your showering routine, not to mention you get to add delicious scents and beautiful colours! Learning how to make your own soap is quite the journey, but a very rewarding one if you find the perfect recipe.

Even if you never make it yourself, knowing how it’s made and how it works is a great benefit to anyone wanting to be more self sufficient. There are three basic ways to create bar soap: cold process, hot process, and melt and pour.

Melt and pour is by far the easiest in terms of finding recipes and starter kits, and involves simply melting a brick, adding things like colour and scent, and pouring it into a mold of your choice. That said, there is little room for customization or additions to melt and pour, as the soap bricks you get are already prepared.

After melt and pour, we have hot process. Hot process requires a lot less attention than cold process, but shares more similarities to it than to melt and pour but is kind of ugly in my humble opinion. I just made a shave soap using the hot process method and am waiting impatiently for it to cure. I didn’t have to give it nearly as much focus or attention as I usually do with my cold process soaps, and it seems much more forgiving if you forget about it for a few extra minutes. It does use lye, whether that be KOH (Potassium Hydroxide) or the more commonly used NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide). Lye can be dangerous to use and handle, so I recommend getting the proper protective gear in advance and learning about all the potential dangers, even if you only soap once or twice a year. And please, I speak from experience when I say this, get a tarp or a thick towel to use on your counters. Any drips of lye water onto a laminate counter top will stain them (sorry Mom) and by stain I mean eat away at. Permanently. Oof.

Cold process is the most nuanced of the bunch, and also uses lye in either of its common forms. It can be a pain due to its finnickiness when you add fragrances, soap at too high or too low of a temperature, or leave it in too cold or warm of an environment. However, this is the best method to use if you want to add aesthetically pleasing aspects to your soap! I have used ethically sourced mica for all of my soaps, but you can also use natural colorants like turmeric or rose clay, which each come with benefits of their own! Here are some of the beautiful bars I’ve come up with, each one made with a very nourishing recipe to soothe and moisturize skin!

It feels great to cut down on one more thing I would have to be buying at the store, and my skin likes this soap better, anyways.

How self-sufficient are you? What skills do you think are the most important to learn in today’s world? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to share this post with your friends! I’ll be back later with more skills to hone. Bye!

7 Things to Make Instead of Buy | Skin and Hygiene Essentials

I’ve been slowly creating some hygiene and skincare essentials that are both simple to create and easy to customize. From body soap to lip balm, there are many great recipes online to choose from. Here are some ideas for things to swap when you run out along with a recipe or guide I found useful!

Bar Soap

I’m a huge fan of cold process soap making, and this is my favourite recipe! You can add colorants and fragrance to it if you desire, or additives such as ground oats, kaolin clay, and goats milk for custom benefits. I’ve had so much fun learning to create beautiful soap bars, and I’ve gotten the cost down to about $2 per bar, or $24 ish for a 2 lb. loaf of soap. That’s about 11-12 bars when I cut it, which lasts a long while for a single person (about 6-8 months for me). Something I love about this soap is how nourishing it is. My personal favourite way to make it includes adding one tbsp. of ground rolled oats for gentle exfoliation and the skin-soothing power oats hold. I don’t use any fragrance or dye when I make it this way, but it smells great and is so pure! To avoid gelling and having a slightly off-white colour, place it in the fridge for 24 hours after placing your batter in the mold. Let it sit another 24 hours outside of the fridge, demold it, and cut into bars! Let it cure for 28 days and then enjoy!

Hand Soap

I’m not a fan of DIY soaps that don’t lather or the ones that feel like water. So after I found a good dish soap recipe to start off with (and it lathered like a dream) I was ecstatic! The original recipe is calls for baking soda, castile soap, and water. I cut out the baking soda and added 1 1/4 tbsp sweet almond oil (conditioning agent), 1 1/14 tbsp castor oil (which added a lot to the foaming action), a few drops of fragrance oil, replaced the water with green tea (as an antioxidant preservative), and added 12 drops of vitamin e oil (antioxidant preservative). So, the recipe now looks like this:

  • 1/3 Cup castile soap
  • 1 1/2 Cup green tea (cooled)
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. sweet almond oil
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. castor oil
  • 12 drops vitamin e oil
  • 3-5 drops concentrated fragrance oil (optional)

Stir well and voila! Lovely handsoap.

One of my favourite parts of making things for myself is being able to customize them. Identify your needs and modify recipes to fit your needs! My hands were dry from washing them so often, and this was a really easy way to remedy that!

Lip Balm

Lip balm is pretty pricey if you want the good stuff. My personal favourite commercial brand is Burt’s Bees, but I found that the one I like the best is their mango flavour. Working off of that as inspiration, I came up with a couple ideas and accidentally found my new favourite when trying to create a lotion bar in a jar! Using the ingredients I had chosen for the lipbalm and this super simple lotion bar recipe, I experimented until my bar idea became my dream lip balm. Here’s the recipe, which yields about 75 tubes in total, or 37 tubes and two overfilled 2 oz. jars (if you run out of tubes like I did haha):

  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup beeswax
  • 1/3 cup mango butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3tbsp. of a lavender infusion made with sweet almond oil and jojoba oil (2/3 sweet almond, 1/3 jojoba)
  • 1/3 cup sweet almond oil (omit or use much less of this for a firm lip balm. I like mine super soft)
  • 1/6-1/4 tbsp. vitamin e oil

You can use this as a skin salve as well. It is very nourishing and great for healing up small abrasions that aren’t infected. Sunburns, too, if they aren’t super blistered! I love it so much, and I’m really proud of how it feels, heals, and acts like butter on my lips. I originally planned to use some oil I infused with hibiscus for a subtle flavour, but it wasn’t ready at the time. I’ll have it at the ready next time I make this though and report back!

Lotion Bars

On the note of lotion bars (which are usually just slightly harder versions of lip balm), I found that my recipe above makes for a great bar if you subtract the 2/3 cup of sweet almond oil. As I stated before, it was originally a lotion bar recipe, and I did enjoy it as such before adding that sweet almond oil! I put mine in a jar because I didn’t have any tins, but I had plenty of those jars, haha. However, it’s getting warmer here and I don’t have as much of a use for lotion bars in the Summertime, so I opted for the lip balm formulation. That said, I’ll be getting some small containers ready to store nourishing, occlusive lotion bars all over the place come cooler weather. I used this recipe for my jumping off point, but there are so many others to choose from! It’s all about finding a balance of hard and soft oils, and if you use it, beeswax, too! Define your skincare needs and find infusions and oils customized just for you! I always recommend a healthy dose of vitamin e oil for antioxidative preservation, but there are many great hard and soft oils that have thermal and antioxidative properties! I enjoy searching through pinterest for recipe ideas, but another great way to find tride and tested formulas is to ask your friends and family that may enjoy making their own bars, too!

Toothpaste

I’m not a dentist, and I’ve always been wary of the DIYs I see for toothpaste and mouthwash. However, I’ve recently begun exploring recipes that dentists have approved of, and they’re not as hard to create as I anticipated.

One thing I’m okay with omitting is any kind of peppermint flavouring. I’ve never really loved my toothpaste giving me that cold spearmint taste anyway. But, if you’d like to keep it in your routine, you totally can. I’ve found some awesome remineralizing toothpaste powder recipes that include everything your teeth need for a healthy smile.

In terms of the form I have found most often, toothpaste powder seems to be the most popular. The dry ingredients prevent mold or mildew growth, and inhibit bacteria from building up inside a jar. It also makes it last longer and activate when used instead of instantly deactivating when the water hits the ingredients.

If you have concerns, I’d ask your dentist what they think a good toothpaste recipe needs for your teeth to be happy. Here are two great powder recipes I’ll be using when my toothpaste runs out! This one claims to have helped in curing minor tooth decay through the remineralization. And this blogger includes her dental results after 6 months of use.

Mouthwash

Along the same thread of toothpaste, I bring you mouthwash. It isn’t just a way to feel fresh in the morning after a good tooth scrubbing, but can also impact your oral health and hygiene, according to the American Dental Association. Depending on your very custom, very personal oral hygiene needs, you can create a great mouthwash to have on hand. “There are therapeutic mouthwashes that help reduce or control plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth decay,” the ADA says on their “mouthwashes” page. Following those particular reasons for using a mouthwash, I’ve found some potential recipes. Remember, I’m not a dentist, and if you have any concerns about the efficacy or safety of your recipe or one you find online, you should go to a trusted healthcare provider, preferably one with a background in oral hygiene.

If you just want a rinse to brighten up your morning and leave you feeling fresh, then this mouthwash recipe by one of the aforementioned toothpaste powder creators is an excellent choice! Otherwise, I found these 15 recipes approved and compiled by a dentist!

Deodorant

There are a few things I’m hesitant to make for myself, deodorant being one of them. That’s not say I’m afraid of getting hurt or using ingredients that could be potentially harmful; I just don’t want to stink! That said, I switched from dove antiperspirant to native several months ago, and while it definitely isn’t as strong as dove, it does work. I didn’t have to reapply dove at all, which was convenient, but the idea that the product was still there despite scrubbing in the shower was a little weird to me. I have to reapply native once in the afternoon on hot days or when I am running around, but I don’t mind like I thought I would. Deodorant should wear off, you know? I also found that less is more with it. I’m enjoying it for now, but I’d like to make my own since becoming more comfortable with the thought of natural/non-antiperspirants deodorant. Buying it helped me get a sense of what it should be like, and I’m excited to try it out!

That said, everyone’s bodies are different. What works for one person may be a complete flop for another. Some people hate native, but like lume. Others can’t stand dove and love their own creation. I do think this will be one of the hardest things to create for yourself simply because everyone’s needs are different. I recommend looking into the science of deodorant and antiperspirants before deciding what you need. Another thing I really hope people take into consideration is the sensitivity of their skin, especially over time. I never ever recommend using citrus or mint on sensitive areas of the body, especially not under the arms, which are prone to chafe. A common ingredient I see in DIYs for deodorant is baking soda, which can be irritating for some people. Coconut oil can be comodogenic in some formulations, but not always, so just watch out for clogged pores if you go with a recipe including it. All in all, I urge you to listen to your skin and body when testing new deodorants!

Since I’m still learning what you need in a deodorant, and all the DIY ones I’ve seen have been full of irritating ingredients and knocks to science, I don’t have any recommendations for you yet. I hope to update you soon!

I hope these ideas have inspired you to create some of your own products! Let me know what you make, and what works for you, personally! I’ll see you around with some more fun creating. Bye!