I wanted a creamy feeling salve for dry skin in a dry climate, but it couldn’t feel greasy or tacky on the skin for too long, and it had to have a good glide since I wanted to use it for foot zoning also.
The basic ratio to make any salve is 1 part beeswax with 4 parts oil. Any butters (shea, coconut oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, lanolin, etc) can be added without changing the ratio.
Just melt the beeswax and butters on 50% power in the microwave or in a double-boiler on low heat. Add the oils, and stir occasionally as it cools to prevent separation.
If you want to add water-based liquids, you can add up to 2 parts to the above recipe.
Always melt and combine the oils first, and then add the water-based liquids. This requires more vigorous stirring. I like to use an immersion blender; with the stick blender, they combine and are ready to use in less than one minute.
So, now that you have had your science lesson 😉 here are the oils I used.
1 oz shea butter
1/2 oz coconut oil (virgin)
1/2 oz cocoa butter
1/4 oz lanolin
4 parts oil:
1 1/2 oz peach oil
1 1/2 oz sunflower oil
3/4 oz avocado oil
1/4 oz tamanu oil
optional – (see note above)
1/2 oz aloe vera juice or gel
1/2 oz glycerin
If you want to use this as a “naked salve,” so that you can use it to apply essential oils (or for foot zoning), then don’t add any essential oils. If you do want to scent it, add the essential oil after the oils have cooled partially or when you add the water-based ingredients. Vanilla is a great scent to blend with the slightly nutty smell.
Note: The aloe vera and glycerine help lighten the end feel of the salve so that it doesn’t feel as heavy. They are optional though, and it is still a great salve without them. If you want to make a larger batch, I recommend leaving them out because the shelf life is shortened when you use them. I made a larger jar without them, and then remelt a smaller amount and add the liquids as I need.
To do this, it is 7 parts salve to 1/2 part each aloe gel and glycerin.
The beautiful thing about oils is that you can substitute and use what you have on hand. They interchange really well. If you don’t like a recipe, you can always re-melt and add other ingredients until you have a mix you like. Start with a small batch (even smaller that what is above) if you are trying a new combination. I like to switch my scale to grams for smaller batches. If you don’t have a scale, 1 oz is roughly equivalent to 2 TB for most oils.
This is why I used the oils I included:
The natural beeswax, virgin coconut oil, cocoa butter and tamanu oil are what gave it the nutty scent. Hemp oil is also supposed to have a nutty scent and I will probably try including some of that with that in the future as well. Coconut oil absorbs rapidly, so it also helps with the absorption of any essential oils you want to apply at the same time.
The sunflower oil gives it a good glide so that it rubs in well and doesn’t feel sticky. The olive oil adds a little staying power, so that you stay moisturized longer, because it absorbs more slowly. I like to use the light olive oil because extra virgin olive oil stays greasy feeling for a long time. You can still use EVOO, just use less and add more of another lighter oil.
Peach oil and avocado oil are just medium viscosity oils. They don’t absorb too quickly, which is often a problem here in Utah, and they don’t absorb too slowly or clog skin. Some people like sweet almond oil, but I always have to use olive oil with it because it still doesn’t provide enough moisture on its own in our climate.
Shea butter needs no explanation if you have ever tried it. It is just creamy and luxurious. I even use it on its own.
Don’t let all the information overwhelm you. It really is hard to mess up, especially if you just start with the oil-based ingredients. It’s a bit like making jello or pudding; it is harder to describe than it is to do!
For me, making my own salves and soaps has been really fun, and a bit addictive! I love being able to make exactly what I want AND know that whatever it is, there are no harmful ingredients. About 3 years ago, I stopped using commercial soaps, lotions and hair products on myself or my youngest daughter and her eczema completely disappeared.
If you order from thesage.com
, go to the Catalog, and then the Fixed oils category. They have everything except the light olive oil, which I get from Costco, and the aloe vera which I get from Wal-mart in the pharmacy department. It is in a gallon sized jug and is under $7.
A friend sent me a note recently asking if I had a recipe for DIY Pillow Spray to help her fall asleep more easily. She often has issues with mind-chatter at night. I can relate, often having the same problem when my brain just won’t shut off despite the fact that the rest of me is so tired! Usually, applying essential oils in a carrier oil or a diffuser will satisfy most needs. However, some people don’t have a diffuser, or they may not want to move their diffuser back and forth between locations. A spray of essential oil combined with another liquid (such as water or alcohol) allows the oil to be sprayed over a large but specific area. It also is less likely to stain fabric this way.
There are a few different ways to mix essential oils and water. I wanted a recipe that used commonly available ingredients, and settled on using an alcohol-based mixture. This doesn’t mix the oil and water for a long a period of time – eventually they will separate – but, so long as you shake your bottle before use, they stay mixed long enough to use it successfully as a pillow spray. An alcohol-based recipe also has the added benefit of not needing a preservative. I chose to use Witch Hazel because it is easy to find in the pharmacy, inexpensive, and doesn’t have a scent that overpowers the smell of the essential oils. Keep in mind that most essential oil experts (I am not one) will tell you that essential oils will start to break down when mixed with other ingredients, thus lessening the therapeutic properties of the oils. Because of this, you probably don’t want to mix a year’s worth all at once. I kept the recipe small enough to fit in a 4 oz (1/2 cup) spray bottle with a little room to spare.
I looked up essential oils that are useful for sleep, for decreasing tension, and for quieting the mind. It turns out that many oils that are good at one of those things are also good at the others. I chose two different oil blends that I enjoy and created my sprays. I can alternate based on my mood, or just to prevent my body from getting too used to one smell or the other. Happy sleeping!
Orange Cream Linen Spray
1/3 cup water (distilled)
½ tsp witch hazel or rubbing alcohol or vodka
40 drops vanilla essential oil
20 drops orange essential oil
Mix ingredients in spray bottle. Shake well before use.
Lavender Chamomille Pillow Spray
1/3 cup water (distilled or pre-boiled)
1/2 tsp witch hazel or rubbing alcohol or vodka
40 drops lavender
20 drops chamomile
Other suggested oils: Valerian, lavender, vanilla, chamomile, frankincense, orange, ylang ylang
Raise your hand in the air if the first time you heard of homemade deodorant, your thoughts were something along the lines of: That is just GROSS, Those people are crazy, They’ve taken DIY/all-natural way too far, They must be a bunch of dirty hippies, Some people have too much time on their hands. If you could see me, I would have both hands waving in the air. I had heard the hype about aluminum & other nasty stuff in the commercial deodorant, but I was sure that there was aeasier way to get a nice safe deodorant without mixing it in my kitchen. Something along the lines of handing over some money for it at a store. Something that felt a little more hygienic or scientific or something like that. I mean, I make soap, shampoo bars, and lotions, but making deodorant felt like it was only one step away from making my own tampons and hauling my own water. I’m not quite ready to go there.
Then I was browsing a blog that interested me, and saw a link to a homemade deodorant post. And I had to pause, because the author was not a dirty hippy. In fact, she was really put together and organized. So I gave it a look, and it didn’t look too bad. Then, shortly after that I came across another post about making your own deodorant
where the author listed all the scientific reasoning behind the ingredients she had used. And it made sense.
I mean, baking soda absorbs odors. And coconut oil has all sorts of great properties, some of which are that is kind to skin and anti-bacterial. The same goes for tea-tree, rosemary and citrus oils.
And then I noticed my deodorant was running low. And I did have all the ingredients on hand for one of the recipes, so I tried it. And I really liked it. I didn’t stink at the end of the day like I did with store-bought anti-perspirant/deodorant. I didn’t feel any more moist. And in fact, when I did get all hot and sweaty (in my exercise classes), I smelled really yummy when the essential oils were released as the oils warmed up. There were only a few problems.
1 – was that I wanted to keep smelling my armpits, which really isn’t proper social etiquette.
2 – the recipe I tried got hard on cold mornings and it had too much powder. The result was that it was crumbly, so if I pressed too hard (which I nearly always did), little bits would break off and fall into my clothes, or I would get a large smear of powder/wax across my armpit, which really isn’t the look I am trying to pull off. Also, nobody else in my family would use it this way. My husband just refused, and I didn’t offer it to my nearly teenage daughter because I could just picture her mashing it onto her armpits, only half paying attention, and running off to school with a trail of white pasty chunks falling out of her clothes as she moved.
So, I looked at other recipes and the ratio of powder to wax/oil ranges. I tried a few of those & felt waxy/sticky, and I was noticeably more moist. Not my favorite feeling in the world unless I am swimming in a pool on a hot day. So, I tweaked the original recipe some more, by softening it up a bit and lowering the amount of powder just a tad. The result is a creamy, non-crumbly concoction that stays soft, rubs on cleanly, and does not leave any white smears behind as evidence.
Citrus Vanilla Mint Deodorant
3 TB cornstarch
2 TB baking soda
2 TB arrowroot powder (or just use more cornstarch)
2 TB coconut oil
1/2 TB olive oil
12 drops essential oil (I used 2-3 each of Tea Tree, Orange, & Vanilla)
optional * 1 TB shea butter (to soften more)
Melt oil in microwave on 70% power. Start with 2 minutes and stir. Microwave for 30 second intervals at 70% power, stirring after each interval. Once fully melted, add olive oil and powders and mix with a fork until well blended. (If mixture firms up, return to the microwave to soften) Add essential oils, and mix again. Place in a clean container and rub a small amount on as you would a lotion.
I tried putting this in a clean roll-up container, and it was possible, but not really great. It is soft enough that unless I dabbed the deodorant on, I ended up using too much, and then I had to wipe off the extra white powder – which defeated the whole purpose of the container! So I just decided to come to grips with touching my armpit. And it really doesn’t bother me now because I know all the ingredients that are in the deodorant & I touch most of them all the time in some way or another. So go get friendly with your armpit & enjoy smelling great!
My children have crazy hair. It is straight in the front and on the sides. In the back, it is coarse and curly. Like many children, they wake up with a nest on the back of their head every morning. However, due to the texture of their hair in the back, which is very similar to my husband’s hair, it does not comb out without a HUGE tantrum-and-tear-inducing fight. We finally found a detangler that we liked, only to have it discontinued less than a year later. Being me, I looked up the ingredients that were in it, and compared it to other detanglers that we had tried. Eventually, I created this recipe for DIY Dry Hair Detangler to lessen our struggle.
The vinegar seems like a strange ingredient, however the slight acidity smooths the hair shaft, making the hair less prone to snagging. This makes for many fewer tears at our house. In fact, in a pinch, you can just add vinegar to water and use it. It will get the job done. Argan oil adds some moisture; as my older daughter has entered her teens, we have reduced the amount of oil we used in the recipe (12 drops instead of 18). For my younger daughter, who has very dry hair, we use 18 drops of oil. Castor oil adds shine. The optional ingredients mainly add a silky appearance and feel to the hair. They aren’t necessary at all, but they do make the final product feel more like commercial detanglers. Most likely, you will have to order these two ingredients online. I get my argan oil, castor oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and liquid silk from The Sage. (I don’t get anything for referring you. I’m just trying to make your life easier.)
Finally, we have found that, along with the a hair pick, Goody makes a line of Ouchless brushes that we use with our detangler to make our lives much easier.
DIY Hair Detangler
4 oz water
2 oz white vinegar
12-18 drops argan oil (or other light easily absorbed oil such as fractionated coconut, almond, canola, or light olive oil)
10 drops castor oil
Optional: 10 drops hydrolyzed wheat protein
10 drops liquid silk
Mix all together and shake well before using.
Have you heard of lotion bars? Technically they are actually a body balm not a lotion because they are in solid form, but they are shaped like a bar of soap and used in place of your regular lotion (or after use of your regular lotion if you want super duper moisturization).
They are typically made of equal amounts of beeswax, solid fats, and liquid oils; there is some room for variation though based on your desired qualities and what oils/butters are being used. There are numerous recipes floating around the web, but the recipes I had tried were either too hard or too greasy feeling. Or both. I had a store-bought lotion bar that I loved; it was just so creamy and soft without being oily feeling, but it was often hard to find, and it cost $15 a bar! So, I made my own recipe based off the ingredients label of my favorite store-bought bar and made it for 1/10 the cost!
This recipe is the smallest I can make while keeping everything easy to measure. You can make it larger as needed, I frequently make it in batches 4x this size.
Luxurious Dry Skin Body Bar
Beeswax: 4 oz – I prefer beeswax with the natural scent
Solid Fats: 4 oz shea butter (you can reduce this measurement to 2 oz for a firmer bar for elbows, feet, etc)
Liquid Oils (or brittle butters): 2 oz cocoa butter – again I like the natural scented
1 oz sweet almond oil
1 oz sunflower oil (you could use 2 oz almond, but sunflower adds glide)
Extra Additives: 1 oz lanolin – this is the ingredient that really helps dry skin
essential oil as desired – my favorites are almond and vanilla, with a splash of amber
Melt all ingredients except the essential oil in the microwave on 60-70% power. Using reduced power keeps the temperatures lower so that the shea butter does not fractionate or become grainy textured. It isn’t a real problem if that happens, it just doesn’t feel as nice on the skin. I start with 5 minutes and then stir. Microwave for additional minutes on reduced power, stirring every couple minutes until everything is melted. Pour into molds – I use greased lotion tins from the dollar store which can hold 1.5-2 oz each. Place in the refrigerator for quick cooling – do not freeze at this point! Once they have solidified, pop them out of the mold and rub away!
Notes: You can substitute many of the fats and oils with other fats and oils that have similar qualities. Here are just some of my observations.
Solid Fats – Some people use hydrogenated vegetable oil (crisco) in their reicpes, but I LOVE shea butter. I think it gives me a richer feeling & longer lasting moisturization. I my climate I need all the help I can get, so I use Shea.
Liquid Oils – You don’t have to use all one type, as long as your total amount is roughly 4 oz. Sweet almond is great for many skin types and is fairly inexpensive, but I have also used sunflower and light olive oil. I want to try a small amount of Argan oil next because I love how velvety it feels and how quickly it absorbs.
“Brittle” butters such as cocoa or mango butter or coconut oil quickly turn to oil on the skin, therefore I prefer to include them in the liquid oil portion of the recipe to maintain a more creamy feeling bar. Initially I tried using these in the solid fats portion of the recipe (as many other recipes do), but noticed that it made a very oily feeling bar, which I didn’t like. Also, coconut oil will make a softer bar even in small amounts, so I always use an equal portion of cocoa or mango butter to firm it up a bit (for example: 1 oz cocoa butter, 1 oz coconut oil, 2 oz sweet almond oil OR 2 oz coconut oil, 1 oz cocoa butter, 1 oz olive oil).
Initially, I had less shea butter (as noted above). I liked this feel, and it felt nearly identical to the commercially manufactured bars I had purchased in the past. I altered this because a friend who always had noticed that the bar didn’t melt quickly enough for her because her hands were always cold. She was really having to rub to get the lotion to soften!
I tweaked the recipe a bit and noticed that the slightly softer bar was even more moisturizing on my skin as well, so this became my standard recipe!
I found a great picture tutorial at snapguide.com that covers a lot of detail as well.
One last note: I order my products from thesage.com . They have great quality and low prices. I have used them for years and never been disappointed. If this is your first time making lotion bars, you might want to get with a friend and split an order because, while there is no minimum order amount, the smallest size that many things come in is 8 or 16 oz, which can make an awfully large batch for a single person!
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