Oh, no, don’t worry, I didn’t make any amazing natural beauty products that I will feebly give you instructions on how to create. Before a few days ago, I would have considered making my own beauty products a “craft” and therefore something I only would think I could make, but ultimately ruin. But Renae has changed my mind. Who is Renae you ask? Why she’s my new friend I met through my blog who lives in Germany, don’t you know…
During my Eco Mama month, Renae has made so many great comments on how to make chemical free, inexpensive creams and deodorants that I asked her if she would compile a list of all of her recipes and do a guest post.
And here it is!
I’ve already starting washing my face with coconut oil and Renae isn’t kidding — the stuff is amazing! My skin looks and feels fantastic — like an aging baby’s butt. I swear, the best thing about my blog this year has been the people I’ve met. Sure, I love that I have more confidence about my style, but what really wows me on a daily basis is connecting with other women from all around the world. Thanks so much, Renae, for inspiring me to think outside the expensive store bought soap box.
Here’s Renae’s story –
“I was raised on the west coast in a pretty alternative family. My five siblings and I were homeschooled back before homeschooling was the norm it is now. As an unconventional family, we always had a huge stock of weird grains that my mom bought in bulk from our health food co-op, and she embraced the fine art of using herbal medicine. When other moms were shopping or going to the park with their kids, my mom was getting us together with her friend and making this awful stuff called the plague formula. My dad used to joke that we kept ourselves from getting sick by sheer will power just so we wouldn’t have to take it. She even had a couple of her babies at home–totally against the flow for that time.
Nowadays, my husband and I are raising our kids pretty much the same way. We’re into homeopathic medicine, we homeschool, and after having my last baby at home, I’m a huge advocate of homebirthing. There’s one big difference, though: we live in Bavaria, now. Why Bavaria you might ask? Well, my husband is in government so we get to move often. This just happened to be one stop on the path of our life.
When Holly asked me to do this guest post I was so excited! Well, that was before I realized that I have no idea what my personal style is (how do you reinvent yourself every month? Holly, you are wonder woman!) and even though I live in one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen, I don’t have any good pictures. But since I’m writing for a fashion blog I guess I have to define my style: I would call it organic mixed with classic and for good measure, bit of rock and roll. Geesh! I feel like I might have multiple fashion personality disorder! Good thing I have found that in Europe anything goes as long as you’re wearing a scarf!
Now as for natural beauty, that I know a little more about. I think that we all know that the beauty and hygiene products on the market are expensive and even dangerous. Maybe it’s the influence of my mom and her Plague Formula, but I believe that anyone can make just about anything they need, safer and cheaper, at home.
The following are some of my favorite and easiest ways to make natural, healthy beauty products:
I have found that coconut oil is an all around miracle substance. I use it for lotion, I use it for cleansing my skin at night (say goodbye wrinkles!), and It’s the main ingredient in my homemade deodorant.
For a cleanser — simply take about a half teaspoon full and warm it in your hands. Gently massage into your skin. Next get a washrag as hot as you can stand and lay the rag on your face like a mini facial. I rinse and”steam” my face a couple of times until I’ve removed most of the oil. When I’m done removing the oil I finish with Organic, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar. Some people like to water this down but I just use it straight with a cotton ball.
I have struggled with cystic acne since the birth of my oldest daughter and this has not made the acne worse. In fact, it’s regulated the oil production on my skin since I’m not stripping my face like I used to.
Baking Soda is another miracle worker. Every morning, when in the shower, I get about a quarter cup and add enough water to make it the consistency of frosting. I exfoliate my neck and face, wherever I’m prone to getting cysts. Like most people with acne, I’ve tried everything. Since I started using baking soda my acne has completely cleared up, for the most part.
For a shampoo and conditioner — I also like baking soda and apple cider vinegar used as shampoo and conditioner. Basically, I use it the same way I use it on my skin: I just massage it into my scalp instead. A word of warning though, used daily bs&v can be hard on the hair. I use it in tandem with a good organic shampoo and plain water cleansing so I’m only washing my hair with bs&v every three or four days. More like a clarifying shampoo.
For a milk and nutmeg mask — I also love to make masks. I alternate between a milk and nutmeg mask that removes blackheads and a mask of honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice. The milk mask is simply equal parts nutmeg and milk.
For the lemon mask — it’s one teaspoon of raw honey, the juice from half a lemon and a half teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. This is my absolute favorite mask! For the record, I have heard other people say that lemon can burn. I’ve never experienced that, but I would suggest testing the lemon to see if it irritates your skin. If it does start to hurt, try using less lemon juice and experiment until you find what’s right for you.
I mentioned homemade deodorant above. This is probably the most important thing that we women can do for ourselves. I won’t go into the dangers of conventional deodorant (breast cancer anyone?) but there is a ton of info out there in the alternative health community on the danger of these products. Even conventional doctors are beginning to recommend that women diagnosed with breast cancer should stop using antiperspirant. Without question deodorant has to work for me–and it does! For instance, most of the year I ride my bike everywhere, usually with kids in a trailer on the back. Anyone switching from antiperspirant to homemade deo should be prepared for a lot of pit sweat but eventually your body gets used to it and you don’t sweat as much. Even though it’s kosher to go without deodorant in Germany, I’m still an American and I don’t like to stink! There are a lot of different recipes out there. Some of them are fairly elaborate and some of them fairly simple. I found mine on a site called Crunchy Betty. She has several posts on homemade deodorant and several different recipes.
For homemade deodorant — The recipe I use is simply coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and essential oils of ylang ylang and lavender. Best part? It’s effective. I promise!
I could go on and on, did you know that tea tree oil clears up blemishes, or using coconut oil for oil pulling (You’ll have to look it up I can’t elaborate or I’ll never finish this post) can cure gum disease? But I think that I should leave you all with one last thought –
Taking care of ourselves doesn’t have to be difficult nor expensive. All it takes is a little bit of education and a little bit of experimentation. So thanks Holly for the opportunity to pass on a little of my own knowledge. Cheers from Bavaria.”
Doesn’t Renae’s skin looks AMAZING? She’s so pretty, her children are gorgeous and they’re all living in Bavaria. If I wasn’t such a wonderfully kind, non-jealous person I would find her idyllic life kind of nauseating.
Thanks again, Renae! And if you ever start a natural-beauty-idllyic-homeshool-family-living-in-Bavaria-blog, consider me your first follower…
I hated to write “nut butter” in the title of this post because that phrase sounds sooooooo unappetizing to me. Like if somebody said, “Hey, you want a nut butter sandwich?” I’d have to say, gross, no…. But that’s what they are — the stuff you get when you smoosh nuts into a paste. Maybe they should be called nut paste? Smooshy nuts? Pete’s Schwetty balls? No wait, that’s something else. My kids eat a lot of peanut butter and…