DIY Plastic Free Aloe Vera

An essential part of my skin care routine involves aloe vera. I have come to rely on the cooling, healing elements of this amazing plant. The reason I feel so strongly about it is partly because I found a microbiologist’s blog about skin care and her views aligned with everything I already felt and was basically the routine I had intuitively been following for a while. I’ll be honest though, I’m not always the best practitioner of skin care on a regular basis. I love masks, and oil cleansing, even rose water and making facial sprays, yet I still am just not as disciplined with doing these steps every single day.

The easier thing would be to just own an aloe vera plant, and I do. However, it isn’t large and I think I would end up using it up super fast. I don’t live in the climate the plant needs and therefore the growth is stunted and is really only for decoration. There are places where I have sliced off the ends, and it heals well, so this is an option.

When I spotted very large aloe leaves at my local co-op, I snatched one up and decided to get started on making my own liquid.

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First, I sliced it into manageable pieces. Working with one piece at a time, I took a serrated knife around the perimeter, in between the pulp and the skin and was able to squeeze out a large chunk, then used the knife to scrape out any pulp still attached to the skin.

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The leftover pieces go into compost, and the pulp now will get blended up.

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An immersion blender will work, as will a stand up blender.

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When done, it is frothy and smooth. Now is the time to strain it using a mesh strainer or even a nut milk bag, or some tripled cheesecloth. There wasn’t much pulp left over, so not much is going to waste or the compost gods.

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Pour the strained liquid into a container of your choice. It is best to keep it in the refrigerator, which has been heavenly since it reaches 100° every day in the summer. You will notice it is less viscous than anything bought in the store, but it still works really well and has no additives.

I have read that this lasts a month, but I’m going to see how long it stays fresh and update. I don’t know if it could go in a freezer, but I know I won’t be able to use this much in one month, and I don’t have a way of getting more aloe during winter months.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Matcha Honey Face Mask

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This mask is heavenly, luxurious, and perhaps even a bit extravagant.

It’s also easy, cheap-ish, and fun.

It requires only three ingredients, one of them being water.

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To make mask:

Place 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder into a vessel. Add 1/2 teaspoon water. It could be warm water, leftover boiling water, or straight from the tap. Mix together well.

Add in 1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey of choice. I use Manuka due to its great skin benefits and I can find it in my local health and herb shop (where I also purchased the matcha powder in bulk). It’s quite expensive though, so any raw honey would work just fine and make this face mask more economical.

The mixture will be more serous than viscous and that is why a paintbrush may be useful. I paint the mixture onto my face and it feels relaxing, cooling, and sensuous.

Leave on for as little as 10 minutes, up to a few hours. Then simply wipe off with a warm, damp washcloth. Your face should be the smoothest it has felt in a while and have an undeniable glow.

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I like to go out gardening in this mask in the front yard to scare my neighbors.

Peace and love,

Kristan

A Variety of DIY

This weekend I realized I had run out of many of my essential products for hygiene and cleaning. I truly enjoy making things myself because I am sensitive to many scents and, as my husband would say, I have “touch issues” where many textures leave me with the heebie jeebies. I do my best to not buy into all the daily propaganda we’re bombarded with (mostly advertisements) and scare tactics of companies and people trying to make money. Trusting my instincts, reading up on research, and avoiding dangerous chemicals led me to many do-it-yourself products that I now love and wouldn’t want to be without.

A list of what I made then followed by general recipes and pictures: perfume, lip balm (chapstick), body lotion, deodorant, tooth powder / toothpaste, mouth rinse, and general purpose disinfectant spray.

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Patchouli, diluted sandalwood, bergamot, and jojoba oil bought in bulk.

This is a roll-on perfume diluted with jojoba as a carrier oil. I really just had a small amount of bergamot left and decided to make a grounding, sensual perfume. So I added one of my favorite scents, sandalwood, and only a couple drops of patchouli as a base note. Due to the sandalwood being already diluted, I filled a little less than half of the roller bottle with that, then about 1/5 was bergamot, 2 drops of patchouli, then filled it up the rest of the way with jojoba. Mmmmm! I can still smell it on my wrists and neck.

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Homegrown herb-infused oils (calendula and chamomile in olive, and yarrow in olive), beeswax, cocoa butter nibs, red raspberry seed oil, peppermint and orange essential oils, and reused lip balm tubes / tins.

I use a Salton warming tray and re-purposed glass jars to melt the waxes, butters, and oils together first. Then once the beeswax is melted, I add in the essential oils. The majority of the recipe is a mixture of the oils. These are both skin healing, nourishing oils with added help from the herbs. I love using red raspberry oil as well because of the possibility of sun protection. My favorite brand of lip balm is badger and it has mostly peppermint and a little orange, so I added quite a bit of peppermint essential oil, then a little orange. I always test my recipe by dropping a few drops into the container, wait for it to cool, then test the consistency. Too hard? Add more liquid oil. Too soft? Add more beeswax. This one somehow ended up perfectly hard, yet melts as soon as I touch my lips or finger to it. It’s extra pepperminty and I love it!

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Similar ingredients here, hence why I went on a DIY SPREE! Essential oils are ylang ylang, rose absolute, and geranium.

I’ve made other types of body butters or lotions before, but not quite something that was emulsified. I used these herb infused oils again because of their wonderful properties for skin. There was no real recipe for this, I melted only a small amount of beeswax and cocoa butter, and used more oils. Knowing I needed to eventually add water, I only made about half of what would fill my container. I use an immersion blender to make mayonnaise, which is notoriously difficult to emulsify, and it works beautifully and astonishingly quickly every time. This is what I employed for this project as well. It came together quickly, and I was able to gauge how much water to add by testing the lotion as I was making it. I added approximately an equal volume of water as oils. Then I mixed in the essential oils. I love rose scented everything, but I kind of needed the oils to help mask the strong herbal scent of the yarrow oil. I have been using this all day and am surprised and impressed how much I like it. It made enough to fill my cool vintage Oscar de la Renta jar and then some!

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Lemon essential oil, baking soda, and a vintage deodorant milk glass jar.

Honestly, I don’t even know where I get all of my items. As I type this, I am realizing how much vintage I own, and how I acquired it all is a mystery. Who owns a vintage deodorant jar? Me, I guess.

This recipe can barely be called that. It’s baking soda and lemon essential oil only. Lemon is antibacterial, which is what causes our armpits to stink. I wouldn’t put lemon on my skin neat, but it hasn’t bothered me in a deodorant before. I have experimented with more cream-based deodorants that are similar to Schmidt’s, but I took a jar of baking soda with me to Mexico and Cuba during the summer time and never caught a bad smell from my armpits. Except that one time when I forgot to pat it on, and it was not pretty. I know some people have bad reactions to baking soda only, but I only pat on a pinch when my armpits are totally dry and haven’t had any problems. I did feel some irritation from the cream-based ones I made in the past. Different strokes for different folks. I’m happy with my simple recipe.

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Baking soda, past life candle jar, peppermint essential oil, and my tools for clean teeth.

This also is barely a recipe. I call this tooth powder / paste because it essentially forms a paste once wet. I dump some baking soda into my jar, then drip plenty of peppermint essential oil in and mix! It’s nice to have that minty feel in my mouth when I brush so I started adding the oil. I used to brush with just baking soda, but this feels deluxe.

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A giant brown glass bottle, peppermint and clove bud essential oils, baking soda, and boiled water.

I put the kettle on with enough water to fill this bottle, then waited for it to cool back down to about room temperature. The waiting was the hardest part! When it was ready, I poured almost to the top of the bottle, then put about a tablespoon of baking soda in for good oral health, then about 30 drops of peppermint oil and 15 drops of clove. I don’t know if a mouth rinse is essential, but it feels nice sometimes and is extra healthy because of the clove, which is known to be useful for mouth complaints.

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Spray bottle, clove, eucalyptus, grapefruit, vinegar, and witch hazel.

When I went digging around my cupboards to find all my ingredients to make these products, I realized my disinfecting spray was empty and knew it was a quick and simple concoction to make. I filled the bottle up 1/3 with water, 1/2 with vinegar, then 1/6 with witch hazel, then put in 30 drops of eucalyptus and 15 drops each clove and grapefruit. I realize my vinegar isn’t pictured, and it’s because the bottle is too giant to fit in this scene. I buy white vinegar in a big plastic jug that I recycle so it’s not completely zero waste. I luckily can find witch hazel in bulk at my local co-op!

As you can see, I have quite a lot of essential oils and basics that help me make these items. I did not have to make any trips to the store and didn’t spend any money that hadn’t already been spent. For the record, I do not prefer one essential oil brand over another. I buy from my local shops brands that are trusted. I think there has been so much more talk about fraudulent essential oil companies since the start-up of other brands that are worried about not getting enough sales. Don’t buy into this nonsense. Essential oils are clearly labeled and you will not be easily fooled by “bad” brands.

Here’s what I keep them in:

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Vintage, of course!

Here is the Salton warming tray:

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This is actually my second warming tray, the other fizzled out during a lip balm making party. Vintage too!

I use these items very frequently and feel that they are necessary in my home. I am passionate about a clean and healthy home that is breathable. I am passionate about healthy, happy skin, mind, teeth, and body. Now I’m going to keep that perfume with me and breathe in deeply all next week at work with my Kindergartners. 🙂

Peace and love,

Kristan