Tag: natural beauty recipes

Two All-Over One Ingredient Exfoliating Scrubs

There is no better feeling than when you’ve taken a shower, washed your hair, exfoliated all your skin, and are as perfectly clean and new as you possibly can be. Both coffee grounds and oatmeal are fantastic one ingredient mild exfoliants, that can be used on the face and body.

Coffee grounds are an amazing wake-up scrub, the overwhelming smell of coffee is always invigorating. Use either fresh or used grounds, mixed with a bit of water to make a paste, and rub into the skin with circular motions. I use super cheap stuff that I buy specifically for this purpose. If you have very sensitive skin, olive oil or another oil can be used instead of water to soften the grounds. The caffeine in coffee is supposed to have amazing effects on the skin including reducing the redness and puffiness of skin and reducing cellulite (Source).

Oatmeal is also a great one-ingredient all over scrub. Just like with coffee ground, mix the oatmeal with a small amount of water and rub into the skin in circular motions. It’s more mild than coffee, in both smell, and texture. However it also has some great benefits. Oatmeal is so mild it should be safe even for the most sensitive of skins. It has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin, and is a mild cleanser (Source). I love this one for before bed.

Both of these scrubs can be mixed with other ingredients to intensify their properties. Some common additions are olive oil, honey, and sugar. I like them plain, because I can store them in containers in the bathroom ready to go when I need them. As always, if you try one of these scrubs or have tried one or have anything else to say just leave a comment.

Mayonnaise Split-End Repair Hair Treatment

This recipe gave me some trouble the first time around. Although I have heard of people using mayo to help split-ends for years, I had not tried it until I read about it in Mother Nature’s Beauty Cupboard. The book warns that using too much will result in your hair becoming “quite oily, needing several shampoos and rinses.” to get back to normal. So I followed the book’s recommendation, and used a mere teaspoon. Here is the proof:

Unfortunately, this was still a bit too much for my slightly longer than shoulder length hair. I should have been warier, since the book says fine hair is more susceptible to becoming greasy. My hair is extremely fine, which might be where I had the trouble. The next time I tried it I used 1/2 a teaspoon which worked well. If you want to try it, it’s super easy and I noticed a definite drop in the amount of frizzy, split-ends that I had. On freshly shampooed hair, work the mayo through the length of the hair, with special attention to the ends, and minimal attention to the scalp. Leave the mayonnaise on for 1 hour, and rinse out. If you try it out, let everyone know how it went by leaving a comment.

Castor Oil Hair & Scalp Treatment

This recipe comes from a newer find for me, although not new to the world: Mother Nature’s Beauty Cupboard by Donna Lawson which was published in 1973. As I mentioned previously, it’s an awesome read, full of cute anecdotes, recipes to try and antiquated recipes to laugh at.

This recipe uses castor oil and is meant to strengthen dry, brittle hair. Castor oil is derived from the castor bean and has long been used in holistic medicine. I purchased my castor oil from Sprouts. You don’t need to buy a large portion of the oil since a little goes a long way.

The book says to “rub the castor oil liberally into the scalp” but does not mention how much to use. The oil is hard to remove from the length of the hair so ideally you just use enough to massage the scalp. The first time I tried this I poured a little on my head and tried to massage but it all dripped into my hair making it matted and hard to work with. I had a very hard time getting it out of my hair, but I did notice that the strands seemed less dry in the week after the treatment. The second time I applied the oil I just dipped the tips of my fingers into the oil and massaged the scalp so very little coated the strands.

After you apply and massage the castor oil into the scalp, wrap your hair in a towel that has been wrung out in hot water. Leave on for an hour, re-wrapping your head in a new hot towel every so often. Shampoo thoroughly and rinse.

Here are a couple of tips for this treatment I found on this blog, 1000 Days of Hair, click here to go the post. Since castor oil is thick, you can thin it with a lighter oil like grapeseed. Also if the oil is hard to remove you can coat your hair in conditioner and leave it on to break up the oil. Check out 1000 Days of Hair, its got tons of great info on growing, cleaning, and styling extremely long hair.

I like this treatment, even if it is a bit time consuming. According to the book, this treatment “makes hair 9.2 percent stronger.” I don’t know if thats accurate, but I felt like my hair has been less frizzy and dry since the treatments. If you try out the treatment, leave me a comment to say how it went! Also check out more of my natural beauty recipes on my Simple Beauty page.

Egg, Honey, and Milk Hair Treatment

This recipe comes from “Health and Beauty the Natural Way“, by Nerys Purchon. It’s meant to be used as a hair treatment or mask. I really liked it, simple to make, no exotic ingredients needed, and effective.

Combine, in a small bowl:

  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Optional: 4 drops rosemary, and 2 drops lavender essential oil

Add enough powdered milk to make a paste, and work through slightly damp hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap or a towel that you have wrung out in hot water. Leave on for 20 minutes, rinse out and shampoo.

I made mine too thick at first, and had to thin it with a bit of water. I also omitted the essential oils, and liked it fine without. I used my recipe for castile soap shampoo, with a lemon rinse to finish, check that recipe out here.

I really liked the results, my hair was very silky, easy to style, and the conditioned feeling lasted for another couple washes. This recipe can be used on all hair types, and is particularly helpful for dry/fine/damaged hair.

If you try it, let me know how it turned out! Just leave a comment.


Mother Nature's Beauty Cupboard

I found this book for $1.99 at ARC a few days ago. “Mother Nature’s Beauty Cupboard” by Donna Lawson. ISBN: 0709149174. Check your library or buy one off Amazon, they go for about $6. Printed in the 70’s (the cover didn’t give that way right?) it’s full of natural beauty recipes. There are lots I would love to try, and some antiquated recipes I would never attempt, but are quite novel to read, for instance:

“To Extract a Tooth Painlessly”

“Find some newts [lizards] and some foul beetles found on ferns in the summertime. Pulverize the lot in an iron pot. Lick the forefinger of the right hand, then insert the powder and apply to the tooth. The tooth will fall out immediately without pain.”

Anyway it’s a good read, very entertaining. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes. Plus it’s covered in super trippy line drawings of famous historical women during their beauty routines, this one’s Lady Chatterley:

Castile Soap Shampoo

This recipe is a compilation of several that I read online, and in print. It’s not precise, it’s more of a procedure then a recipe, and will require some tinkering from person to person.

You will need:

  • Enough liquid castile soap to coat your hair (somewhere around a tablespoon). I use unscented, but if you don’t want to add essential oils, many brands offer scented varieties.
  • Lemons or vinegar. I highly prefer lemons, I didn’t like the smell or the texture of my hair when I used the vinegar.
  • Optional: Essential oils (I have tried a rosemary & lavender mix and just lemongrass). For more information on essential oils read this post.

The idea is to mix the castile soap with the essential oils of your choosing, and apply to your hair like normal shampoo. I mix mine right before I take a shower in a mason jar. The castile soap lathers nicely so it’s not too different from using regular shampoo. Once you rinse your hair, you will notice that it is very coarse and hard to run your fingers through. This is because castile soap like all soap is alkaline. Regular shampoo, is a detergent and is acidic. So to balance out the pH of your hair an acidic rinse is needed to neutralize the castile soap. You can use a number of acids as a rinse but the most common are lemon juice or vinegar diluted with water.

My favorite mix by far is using castile soap mixed with 3 drops of lemongrass essential oil and a rinse of lemon juice and water (2 tablespoons lemon, 2 cups water). I mix my lemons and water before each shower, but you could prepare the lemon juice or vinegar in bulk ahead of time.

I’ve used this method to shampoo my hair for a couple of weeks and I like it a lot. I’ve noticed my hair is easier to style since it has more texture than with regular shampoo. 

I also like being able to customize the smell. Rosemary and lavender are suppose to be good for dry hair (like mine), but when I use them my hair ends up smelling kind of funny. As my sister put it, it’s not a bad smell, it’s just an odd smell… kinda like a health food store. So I’ve started using lemongrass instead, in combination with the fresh lemons in the rinse, my hair just smells like… you guessed it, lemons. I want to try more oils, but I haven’t ordered others yet.

That is about it. I think it works great, and although I’d like to try more natural homemade alternatives to traditional shampoo, I will be using this method regularly.

As always, if you try it let me know how it goes. Just leave a comment.

Just the Essentials on Essential Oils

Quite a few of my upcoming natural beauty recipes contain essential oils, and I wanted to write up a quick introduction to buying and using essential oils as a reference for anyone who is unfamiliar. Please note that this is just a basic introduction to essential oils and should not be taken as law. If you have a medical condition, are taking medication, or are pregnant, please consult a doctor before using essential oils. Also keep in mind that this information is for using diluted essential oils topically on hair, skin, etc not for ingestion, inhalation, or holistic medical applications. Without further ado, here are the basics of essential oils and their use in homemade beauty recipes.

Essential oils are “Volatile, rapidly evaporating oils [which] are obtained from the leaves, stem, flower, seed or root of a plant, and usually carry the odor characteristic of the plant. Essential oils are used in cosmetics, aromatherapy, medicine, perfumery and flavoring. They add fragrance to natural skin care products, as well as contribute to their healthful and beautifying qualities through their various abilities to tone, balance, relax, cleanse and invigorate. Although all essential oils are ‘fragrant’, not all ‘fragrances’ are essential oils. True essential oils are plant-derived. (Source)

It is important to understand that although essential oil’s are “natural” it doesn’t mean they are harmless, they require special handling. All essential oils must be diluted with a carrier to be used safely. Examples of carriers are olive oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil. It is also possible to use water although most recipes will call for a carrier oil to be added.

Essential oils can cause irritation to the skin/eyes/nose especially when undiluted. They should be used with extreme caution in children, if not avoided all together. It is also advisable to avoid essential oils during pregnancy because they “…can cross the placental barrier and there is little clinical research in this area.” (Source) It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to essential oils and when trying a new oil it is advisable to try a patch test to determine compatibility.

The biggest way you can insure a favorable experience with essential oils is to purchase quality oils which are 100% pure. It can be hard to research and verify quality oils, especially online. There are minimal regulations on essential oils, and any company can claim “therapeutic grade.” For more information on this check out diyaromatherapy’s post on the Myth of Therapeutic Grade.

The company I bought from is Mountain Rose Herbs (check out their website here) which offers certified organic oils. They also use sustainable farming practices, and earth-conscience recycled packaging. It’s important to do your own research on sources and decide for yourself if a company is legitimate, however here are some guidelines for purchasing quality oils:

  • Check that the website/store has information on the country of origin, method of distillation, and specific species of plant, because all of this information is an indication the source is serious about providing consumers with a quality product.
  • Check what type of bottle the oil is packaged in. Essential oils are light sensitive and can degrade plastic, so they should be sold in tinted, glass bottles.
  • Check the price of the oil compared to other dealers, if it’s cheaper than anything else around it’s most likely not pure.
  • Another word of caution there are several multi-level marketing companies that sell oils. Check to make sure that the website you are on for information, isn’t written by a representative. It is impossible to be unbiased if you have a financial stake in a particular brand. I would also like to mention that although I have never tested Young Living’s oils, there has been much written on the dubious background of the organization. Check out these links for more information: quackwatch.org and scumtasticly.com

Now that you have researched and selected a quality brand of oil it’s time to decide which ones to purchase. Remember that not all species of plants have therapeutic properties, for instant lavender (Lavandula augustifola or Lavandula officinalis) which can smell different with each bottle has the aromatherapy properties associated with lavender. However, lavender 40/42 which is a blend of many types of lavender, smells consistent from bottle to bottle and is less expensive, but doesn’t have any of the aromatherapy benefits of true lavender oil. (Source) For natural beauty recipes, it’s important to consider whether the oil is an active ingredient or a fragrance. Some good beginner essential oils are lavender, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus and geranium.

For more information I would recommend the University of Minnesota’s page on aromatherapy, and organicfacts.net index on the uses of specific oils. Also check out “The A-to-Z of Essential Oils” by Joy Bowles and “Health and Beauty the Natural Way” by Nerys Purchon.

I am still new to essential oils, but I would be delighted to help anyone with questions, just leave a comment.

Baking Soda Shampoo

So I have already talked about this recipe a bit in my first post about natural beauty. I have tried it out a couple more times since then. The idea is to use regular old baking soda and water to make enough thick paste to coat your hair. Leave the paste on for 5 minutes or so and rinse out.

The biggest difference to traditional shampoo is no lather, which can make you feel like it’s not “working.” It is however stripping all the residual product that has built up on your hair and will leave it feeling very clean. I have very fine, very straight hair and this treatment always results in more body and texture. If however, I use this too frequently it dries my hair out.

I love to use it as a clarifying shampoo every so often. If you had very oily hair you might be able to use this as an everyday shampoo but like I said, for my semi-dry hair that would be too much.

As always, if anyone tries it out, I would love to know how it goes. Just leave a comment below.

Yogurt, Yeast, and Sugar Scrub

This is the first scrub I have tried from “Health and Beauty the Natural Way” by Nerys Purchon. It needs to be used immediately as the sugar will dissolve.

  • 2 teaspoons yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Mix together and gently massage into your skin, rinse and pat dry.

I didn’t like this scrub at all, I used it immediately but the sugar still dissolved quick enough that its exfoliating properties were minimal. I also felt like my skin appeared paler after using it. I don’t think I will be using it again. However, if you were looking for a very mild face scrub that is easy to assemble then give it a try.

If anyone does try it, let me know how it goes! Just leave me a comment.

Golden Complexion Mask

This is the most involved mask recipe I have tried so far, and it is by far my favorite. This recipe once again comes from “Health and Beauty the Natural Way” by Nerys Purchon. It promises “to rid the skin of impurities and improve sallow complexions.”

Here is the recipe for one use:

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon carrot juice
  • 1 teaspoon celery juice (from healthy stalks)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon yogurt
  • dried milk powder to mix

Just combine all ingredients, and add milk powder to make a paste. Spread on your face and leave for up to 30 minutes. Rinse off and pat dry.

To get the carrot and celery juice, I grated the sticks and caught the juices. So plenty of small chunks got in as well. My milk powder was also granulated so my mask was a bit chunky. Here it is ready to use:

I know it’s gross looking, but it’s an amazing mask. When I washed it off I noticed immediately a big change in my complexion. I am very fair-skinned and sometimes I look unhealthily pale and this mask really did give me a natural golden glow. I will definitely be making it again.

If anyone else tries it, let me know how it goes! Just leave a comment

Just Honey Face Mask

This is the simplest of simple natural beauty recipes. All you need is honey. Take enough honey to cover your face, 2 tablespoons or so, and warm it up enough to be runny. Be careful not to over heat the honey, and burn your fingers like I did. Spread the honey on your face. Gently tap on the honey, like your typing out an awesome blog post on your keyboard. Rinse off.

This recipe comes from “Health and Beauty the Natural Way.” I liked this mask, the idea is you are drawing out impurities in your pores and I thought it worked okay. It’s a great alternative to any store-bought cleansing masks, but it is very mild. On the plus side though, if any dribbles onto your lips it’s really delicious.

If anyone tries it out, I’d love to hear about it! Just leave me a comment.

Lentil Shampoo

If you’ve been reading along with Zounds, you’ll already know that I am trying out tons of natural beauty alternatives and posting about the experiences. If you don’t follow Zounds… you should. Anyway I’ve created a page called Simple Beauty (accessible at the top of the site next to the About Me page) which will have all my posts on natural beauty listed.

On to the real subject of this post… lentil shampoo.

I got the idea for the lentil shampoo from “Health and Beauty the Natural Way” by Nerys Purchon. In the book there is a story about a poor family in India where the women used a paste of cooked mashed lentil as a shampoo. I was intrigued, so I picked up some green lentils (it’s better if you can buy bulk lentils by the pound, since you don’t need much.) I boiled about a cup of lentils until they were soft enough to mash. Here is the result:

Appetizing, right? As you can see in the picture my lentils weren’t all mushy, some were still intact. I found out later, this isn’t good. You want all the lentils 100% paste, so cook them accordingly.

I took my pan of lentils into the bathroom, dampened my hair and tried to work the lentils into my hair. Most of the lentil paste stuck, but some just fell off and went everywhere. In the end I was having so much trouble trying to get the lentils onto my head I gave up. Instead I mixed the paste with warm water until it was very lentil-y and poured that on my head. I let it sit for about a half-hour and washed it out. Once again though, since I hadn’t cooked them enough I had to take a fine tooth comb and scrape all the intact lentils out of my hair.

As a shampoo, I’d say it didn’t work all that well. My hair didn’t lose any oiliness. However, as a hair treatment I would say it worked well. My hair was exceptionally soft, and did feel more conditioned. I made such a mess though, that I doubt I ever try it again. If you want to try it out, cook them throughly!! I would also use this after shampooing as a natural hair softening treatment, not as a shampoo.

If any one tries it out I would love to hear how it went, just leave me a comment!

Egg White Face Mask

As I talked about extensively in this post, I am trying out simple natural recipes in search of alternatives for my traditional toiletries. This time I tried an egg white mask. I got the recipe from this book by Nerys Purchon: Health and Beauty the Natural Way: Simple, Safe Recipes to Nurture and Beautify.

Take 1 egg white whipped lightly and spread over a clean dry face. If you have oily skin a bit of lemon juice can be added to the egg white. If you have dry or sensitive skin moisturize skin first or spread a thin layer of honey on your face before the egg white. Leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

I only used the egg white. Although you are suppose to let this mask dry for 20 mins I only got 7 mins in before I had to take it off. When they say it tightens they mean it, the egg white dried stiff and tight to my face. I tried to open my mouth, and it took my skin awhile to stretch. I think next time I might use the honey first.

Anyway I was impressed with how small my pores appeared after the mask, but the effects were gone by next morning. My skin was also very shiny afterward, again gone by the morning. Overall I would rather use this simple, cheap recipe than use the tightening masks I have bought from the store, but I wasn’t particularly wowed with the results.

If anyone tries it out, leave me a comment on how it goes!

Simple Homemade Beauty

Inspired by this book, Health and Beauty the Natural Way: Simple, Safe Recipes to Nurture and BeautifyI have tried out some natural alternatives to conventional toiletries. I picked my copy up at the library, but on Amazon a used copy will run you about 50 cents. My desire to switch comes solely because of the chemicals in traditional makeup, but natural beauty recipes are also better for the environment and generally incredibly less expensive.

Besides make-up I use around 10 different beauty products often and many more occasionally. All are store-bought and all have a myriad of chemicals, most of which have been proven to be harmful. For example I use a clarifying shampoo every 2 weeks or so and my favorite is Tresemme Deep Cleansing. Here is its ingredient list:

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