Inspiring DIY projects, beauty recipes and advice to green your daily routine.

For Your Body

Grandma’s Lye Soap – Giveaway & Coupon

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Skin & Hair Care | 26 comments

Grandma’s Lye Soap – Giveaway & Coupon

The nice folks at Grandma’s Lye Soap sent us some soap to review (it’s awesome, read on). Plus, they’re offering you the chance to win their winter skincare gift set and a coupon for a free bar of soap when you try their soaps. Good luck and enjoy! About Grandma’s Lye Soap As the name implies, Grandma’s Lye Soap was first made by Grandma in 2002. Today, she and her husband make a whole line of natural products. They never use detergents or additives, their product base of food grade lard comes from the U.S. and they make all of their soaps in the U.S. Is lye soap harsh? Lye corrodes metal! I’ve heard from some people who are afraid to use lye soap because lye is a corrosive material. Or they’ve had a bad experience with a lye soap or heard from others who had. So let’s set the record straight: it’s impossible to make soap without lye though it’s fair to say not all soaps are made equal. As a side note, many commercial “soaps” are made with chemicals and petroleum byproducts, they do not use lye but they are also not a real soap. A well-made bar of lye soap is great for skin and most will not find it harsh at all. Lye soap has three main ingredients – lard, water and lye – which combine to form glycerin, a substance naturally found in the skin. Glycerin is a cleansing agent – it removes dirt and oil – and it helps your skin attract and retain moisture. Usually, when someone has a bad experience with lye soap it’s because the ingredients in the soap were not mixed in the right proportions and the chemical reactions during the sopanification process did not complete, leaving lye behind. If there’s lye left in the soap, the user will find it harsh. When in doubt, smell or lick the soap. Soap that burns your nose or “zaps” you on the tongue has unprocessed lye and should never be used. Is lye soap environmentally friendly? Yes! Lye soap is all-natural and biodegradable as long as no chemicals, such as artificial fragrances, have been added to it. How good is Grandma’s Lye Soap? In January, I received a free trial sized 2 ounce bar of Grandma’s Lye Soap (original). The bar was small and I wondered if it would last long enough for me to give it a fair review. I had also been enjoying the homemade body wash I had been making and, being partial to body washes over bar soap, I was curious to see how they compared. I’ve been using the Grandma’s Lye Soap for about a month now, and it’s been bitterly cold in Pittsburgh with temperatures frequently below zero and not usually above freezing. This type of weather really dries out your skin so Grandma’s Lye Soap was put to the test to see how gentle and moisturizing it could be. The bar itself has a very mild, soap smell,...

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Homemade Body Wash Recipe

Posted by on Dec 21, 2013 in Skin & Hair Care | 4 comments

Homemade Body Wash Recipe

This homemade body wash recipe uses olive oil to create a thick lather of tiny bubbles that stay close to your skin. It feels luxurious and moisturizes well, so it’s great for the dry winter months. My friend, Helene first gave me a sample of this body wash several months ago and I’ve been making it myself ever since. Substitute the oil or essential oils for your own favorites if you feel inspired. Fractionated coconut oil would be a good substitute for the olive oil because it lathers well, is a little lighter and doesn’t have a strong smell. Switch up the essential oils based on the time of day you shower. Sweet orange essential oil will wake you up in the morning and since it improves circulation it will keep you warm in the winter. If you shower in the evening try lavender, clary sage or German chamomile essential oils. All of these are calming and will help you drift peacefully to sleep. Awakening Body Wash 2014-12-23 21:43:46 This homemade body wash recipe uses olive oil for a thick lather of tiny bubbles that stays close to your skin. It feels very luxurious and moisturizes well. Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 5 min Prep Time 5 min Ingredients 1 cup liquid castile soap 3 tablespoons olive oil 8-12 drops sweet orange essential oil Instructions Mix all 3 ingredients in a bottle. Shake before use since the olive oil and soap will separate. Notes Yields 9 ounces. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Coconut Mango Body Butter Recipe

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Skin & Hair Care | 6 comments

Coconut Mango Body Butter Recipe

A few weeks ago I finally dug into a box of new butters and essential oils that’s been sitting around the house for months. Life’s been hectic and I’ve been slacking on making my own skincare products. I was able to get away with that this summer because I discovered a shaving cream recipe that was so rich, I rarely needed to use a post-shave moisturizer.  But as the cold weather began to set in I had to get back into the kitchen to mix up a batch of body butter. This coconut mango body butter recipe, inspired by a recipe from Natural Girls Rock, has quickly become a personal favorite. Mango butter moisturizes and softens skin. It’s said to help regenerate skin as well which can help diminish the appearance of scars, stretch marks and wrinkles. Fractionated coconut oil absorbs quickly so it’s a great carrier for essential oils. Both mango butter and fractionated coconut oil have very light scents which can be enhanced with essential oils. Inspired by the tropical ingredients and the fall weather, I mixed sweet orange essential oil, cinnamon leaf essential oil and Tahitian vanilla fragrance oil. The result is a spicy, warming scent that’s perfect for this time of year. Plus, the cinnamon leaf improves circulation so the body butter has a warming effect – a nice bonus in colder weather. This body butter makes a great hand cream too because it is not greasy. Coconut Mango Body Butter 2015-03-06 17:25:29 Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 2.7 ounces mango butter 1 ounce fractionated coconut oil 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E 4 drops cinnamon essential oil 5 drops sweet orange essential oil 4 drops Tahitian vanilla fragrance oil Instructions Melt the mango butter in a double boiler. When the mango butter is melted, add the coconut oil, vitamin E and essential oils. Mix the oils together for a few minutes using a hand mixer. I use a whisk attachment, but beaters would work well too. Pour the liquid into a jar and let it cool. Leave the top off while it's cooling. You can put the mixture in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. When the mixture is cool and has thickened, but not yet solidified, mix it again for a minute or two to combine the ingredients. Notes Yields 3.5 ounces. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Luxurious, Rejuvenating Homemade Lotion

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 in Skin & Hair Care | 1 comment

Luxurious, Rejuvenating Homemade Lotion

A few months ago, I went to make Kim’s Coconut Orange Body Butter and realized I was out of coconut oil. I looked through my recipes to find another lotion and re-discovered this lotion recipe from the Mom Photographer blog for a homemade lotion using common kitchen ingredients. I remember bookmarking the recipe over a year ago, but never made it because the directions were not completely clear to me and I didn’t like the idea of storing lotion in the refrigerator. Out of options at the time, I decided to take my best guesses at how to make the lotion and get over the fact that I would have to store it in the fridge. Why Does This Lotion Need To Be Refrigerated? Two ingredients in this lotion make it less stable than other lotion recipes we’ve shared: milk and water. Milk will spoil at room temperature and water causes the lotion to go rancid more quickly. Since all true preservatives that would prolong the life of the lotion and allow it to be stored at room temperature are chemicals and most contain parabens and other harmful compounds, I don’t use them. Although storing the lotion in the refrigerator is the best way to keep it stable, many of the natural ingredients  in the lotion also help it stay fresher, longer. Citric acid raises the pH to prevent bacteria growth. Honey is antimicrobial and will inhibit the growth of microorganisms (like bacteria) that may still grow in the lotion. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and will remove free radicals released as the lotion breaks down. Other than the lotion simply “expiring”, the biggest concern is bacteria growth. To prevent bacteria from getting into the lotion, it’s best to keep your fingers out of the jar and use a sterilized spoon as a scoop. But, if you’re lazy like me, you can put a week’s worth of lotion into a small container and use your fingers. This way, if you do introduce bacteria into the lotion, you’ll only ruin a small amount of it. Since I usually apply lotion after I shower, I haven’t had an issue with bacteria growth yet. About The Ingredients In This Homemade Lotion Oatmeal, milk and honey are 3 foods found in most kitchens that will do wonders for your skin. They are full of vitamins to help heal and soothe your skin, antioxidants to rejuvenate it and healthy fats to moisturize. Choosing top quality ingredients will result in the best quality lotion. Use real honey, not the cheap stuff which is mostly sugar. Choose an organic full fat milk  produced by grass fed cows to add the most vitamins, minerals and healthy fats to your lotion. You may use refined or unrefined cocoa butter, but remember that you will get a nutty, chocolaty smell from the unrefined varieties. I have unrefinded cocoa butter and although I don’t mind the scent, it’s not my favorite, so I covered it up with vanilla fragrance oil the...

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Homemade Lilac Hand Cream (That’s Not Greasy!)

Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in Skin & Hair Care | 2 comments

Homemade Lilac Hand Cream (That’s Not Greasy!)

Although I’ve been making my own body butters for over a year, I’ve continued to use commercial lotions for my hands. Body butters use heavier oils so they take a few minutes to soak in, which is fine since they normally only need to be applied in the morning and evening, but I don’t have that kind of time when I’m using hand lotion during the day. Last week, I was running out of my favorite hand lotion and decided to try mixing up my own. As I surfed the Web for ideas I found a lot of recipes that had water in them. Having recently learned that products made with water are prone to growing mold and bacteria and  knowing that good and bad bacteria are often on our hands, I wanted to avoid that ingredient. Plus, any recipe with water should also contain a preservative but there are no natural preservatives. So if your goal is to make a natural product it’s best to avoid water. After having little success finding a recipe I liked, I decided to try my own concoction. I took the lightest carrier oil I had on hand, apricot kernel, and mixed it with aloe vera gel and beeswax. It was a success! The lotion quickly soaks in so it’s not greasy at all. Next time I plan to keep a closer eye on the beeswax and oil mixture. It cooled quickly so when I began to mix in the aloe vera gel it was already in a semi-solid state. The lotion looks like a bunch of little beads stuck together, but it still works great. Lilac Hand Cream 2014-12-19 20:42:49 A non-greasy lotion to hydrate your hands. Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 15 min Prep Time 15 min Ingredients 1/8 cup apricot kernel oil 1/8 cup aloe vera gel 1 tablespoon beeswax 3 drops vitamin E 3 drops lilac and lilies fragrance oil (optional) Instructions Melt the oil and beeswax in a double boiler. When the beeswax is melted, set it aside to cool. In a separate container, combine the aloe vera gel, vitamin E, and fragrance oil. When the oil and beeswax mixture is cool to the touch, begin slowly adding the aloe vera gel mixture, using a hand mixer to combine the two solutions. (A blender may also work but I haven't tried it.) A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Homemade Moisturizer for Dry, Sensitive Skin

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Skin & Hair Care | 0 comments

Homemade Moisturizer for Dry, Sensitive Skin

This easy recipe can be used to treat very dry, sensitive skin, but by using different oils a skin mousse can treat a variety of conditions.

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Dead Sea Salt Hand & Foot Scrub

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Skin & Hair Care | 0 comments

Dead Sea Salt Hand & Foot Scrub

In the warmer months I use a pumice stone to scrub my feet. The pumice stone is reusable so it helps me be green by reducing the quantity of materials I use in my personal care routine. When the air gets drier, however, I prefer this dead sea salt scrub because it moisturizes my skin while I exfoliate. The basic guidelines for this recipe are to use 2 parts salt to 1 part liquid. A liquid humectant should be include to increase your skin’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Below is a recipe for a scrub using sweet almond oil for the base oil and vegetable glycerine as a humectant. The lavender and eucalyptus essential oils have the desirable therapeutic qualities of healing skin and relieving joint pain, while giving the scrub a mild, floral and sophisticated scent. Always store salt scrubs in glass, plastic or other non-reactive containers that won’t rust. You may also want to keep a spoon with your scrub because the salt will settle to the bottom of the container if it is left to sit for a long time. I gave the scrub in the picture as a gift. I reused an empty mango chutney jar for the container and tied a scrap of fabric to the top with twine to make the gift a little more attractive. The acrylic spoon tied to the jar is perfect for stirring the mixture. I would have preferred a small wooden spoon, but couldn’t find any in local stores and I didn’t have time to place an online order. Amazon.com does carry small bamboo spoons. Bamboo is water and mold resistant which makes it a good choice as a shower accessory. When you make your scrub, feel free to substitute the base and essential oils to suit your preferences. If you create a scrub you think others would enjoy, please share your recipe with us in the comments. Lavender Eucalyptus Hand & Foot Scrub 2015-01-19 19:11:06 Lavender and eucalyptus essential oils heal skin and relieve joint pain, and give the scrub a sophisticated, mildly floral scent. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons dead sea salt 1/4 cup sweet almond oil 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin 1-2 drops lavender essential oil 1-2 drops eucalyptus essential oil Instructions Mix all ingredients well in a plastic, glass or other non-reactive bowl. Pour mixture into a plastic, glass or other non-reactive container. Leave enough room in the container to allow someone to stir or shake the mixture before use as the salt will settle if it sits for long periods. Notes Yields 6.5 ounces. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Jewelweed Salve For Poison Ivy

Posted by on Sep 23, 2012 in Skin & Hair Care | 4 comments

Jewelweed Salve For Poison Ivy

For all of those suffering from a late-season bout of poison ivy, here’s a recipe for a jewelweed salve that is equally as effective as the homemade poison ivy relief spray I shared a few months ago. The salve uses grapeseed oil because it is light and has an astringent quality to help dry up the rash which is often oily. Also, unlike other oils, grapeseed oil does not have a strong scent so there is no need to add fragrance or essential oils which could irritate the rash. The most difficult part about making the salve is identifying jewelweed for the first time, if you’re not familiar with it. For tips on finding the plant, see this post. Jewelweed Poison Ivy Relief Salve 2015-01-07 20:13:45 Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients 1/2 cup grapeseed oil 1 ounce jewelweed (cleaned and chopped) .3 ounces beeswax 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E Instructions Clean the jewelweed like you would if you were going to eat it so you remove germs and bacteria that could cause your spray to spoil. Finely chop the stalk, leaves and flowers (if there are any). You won't have to use the whole plant. Most of the juice is in the lower part of the stalk so I take the section from the root to the first leaf node for the infusion. Tie the loose jewelweed in cheesecloth. Put the grapeseed oil and pouch of jewelweed into an oven safe dish. Heat for 3 hours at 200 degrees. Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool until you can handle the pouch of jewelweed. Then squeeze all of the oil out of the cheese cloth, while crushing the jewelweed to get all of the juice out too. Heat oil in double boiler, then add beeswax, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the vitamin E. Immediately pour mixture a container and let it sit uncovered for 24 hours to cool. Notes Recipe makes 4 ounces. Plan for 15 minutes of prep time and 3+ hours of cook time. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Update 7/13 Today @NekoCase tweeted us at @AGreenRoutine and said she thought she over heated her jewelweed salve because there were browned bits that settled to the bottom of her salve. If this happens to you, don’t worry about it. It’s just small bits of jewelweed that made it through your strainer and were browned by the heat. This is common when your working with plants. If it bothers you, you can remove more of the plant matter by straining the infused oil through a doubled up cheesecloth a few times, before you heat it.   Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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