Saturday, June 1, 2013

Beauty Feats and Flops

In between soap batches, I've been quite busy experimenting with homemade beauty products. Here's a running list of current feats and flops:

The Feats

Eye makeup remover: I stumbled on this super simple recipe from Babuska's Beauty Secrets: Old World Tips for a Glamorous New You, by Raisa Ruder and Susan Campos for eye make-up remover. I never liked traditional store-bought removers because they stung my eyes and Baby Oil never did it for me, so for too many years I've been scrubbing it off with store bought (horror) soap. This concoction was so simple, but so effective, it's almost ridiculous. She suggests a blend of canola and castor oil. Castor oil is reported to increase lash length in time. I substituted another oil for the canola, still light and lovely, and wonderful--sunflower. It's one of my frequent soaping oils, similar to olive, but a bit more fluid and cheaper! This was a very entertaining book, a Russian born esthethician, reminises on all her babuska taught her about simple beauty that won't bust the budget. She convinced me to happily put sour cream on my face.

Cleansing Grains: If you want your skin to look your best, you must exfoliate! I made my first cleansing grain based off a Crunchy Betty recipe, but over time, it's morphed into my own sweet thing. I use this at night and follow up with toner, then oil moisturizer. Here's my recipe: finely ground oats, almond meal, fuller's clay, powdered thyme, ground adzuki beans, and a touch of tamanu oil. The almond meal and adzuki beans provide exfoliating action while the oats and oil soothe. Warning: you only need a small amount to be effective.Con--it can be a bit messy, but oh, so worth it.

Sugar Scrub: This is so easy it's ridiculous and so effective you'll think you spent a fortune on it. Mix equal parts sugar, baking soda, and epsom salt. Add just enough light oil (ex; sunflower, avocado, apricot kernel, or grapeseed to achieve wet sand-like texture. Add essential oil blend in quantities appropriate for amount. Hint: essential oils can be expensive, but remember--they last a very long time since you use sparing drops for non-soap preparations. Also, there are several essential oils, especially the mints and citrus oils that are very inexpensive. Lavender is a must, but moderately priced as is patchouli. Chamomile is a work horse but I've been too cheap to invest so far. Soon!

Lotion Bars: What can I say, but these things are fabulous. Actually, while I was researching how to make cold process soaps, this was one of my first ventures. I've never liked to use lotions, for some reason--maybe the goopiness on my hands, I'm not sure, but lotion bars--these things really intrigued me. They're made with equal portions of beeswax, a hard oil like cocoa butter, shea or mango butter, and a liquid oil like olive, apricot, hazelnut, avocado..the possibilities almost endless. I melt my beeswax first, in the microwave on several 30 second bursts (it seems to take forever because beeswax has a high melting point) then the butter, then I add the liquid oil till everything is blended and completely melted. Here's where you need to move quick, because beeswax starts to harden up lightening fast...pour into molds, mix in fragrance or essential oils, then pop in the freezer to harden up. Seriously, in 10 minutes they're ready to pop out and glide  over your skin. I like to use them right after I get out of the shower, rub them all over and get on with my day. They suck right into your skin and don't leave behind the unpleasantness I associate with lotion. They're small and portable and much less bulky than big lotion bottles for traveling.

Lip Balms

These are another super cinch to make--similar to lotion bar, but using more liquid oil to give it nice glide...few drops of peppermint essential oil make it divine! I recycle old chapstick containers rather than buy new. My daughter swears by my formula and won't use anything else!


Stay tuned on this one--I have dozens of fabulous masks that it deserves its own post.

The Flops

Homemade Deodorants: 
Ok, I know many people have used these successfully--it just didn't work for me. I'm a uber-sexy strong smelling women if I don't deodorize properly, but as much as I wanted to use homemade deodorants, it just wouldn't work! First, I heard that a little baking soda and tea tree dusted on the pits could do wonders and yes, it did, but after five days left a raging red rash under my pits. I toned down the baking soda with a little cornstarch...that didn't help either. Next, I tried good ole apple cider vinegar swabbed every morning with a cotton ball. It smelled like heck, but worked, but I didn't like the cotton ball business. Finally, I went for the crystal thing sold at stores. It works marvelously and looks like it'll last a long time. It smells like nothing and doesn't create greasy nightmares in the pits in my clothes.

Homemade Shampoo

This particular venture was such a dismal failure that I can't recall how I did it. My hair looked like greasy straw. My daughter was horrified, as well so we threw it out.

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