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Category — Skin health

Homemade Shave Oil Scrub

Tomorrow is Father’s Day!  Mr. Milk (my toddler – need to think of a new name for him since he’s been weaned for quite a while – at 2 years old Mr. Mischief seems appropriate) is at a birthday party with Daddy and Mr. Muscles (the newest addition to the family) is napping so I took this rare moment of peace and tranquility to whip together some homemade shave oil scrub to add to my husband’s shave-inspired Father’s Day gift.  We’ve recently gotten into reruns of Queer Eye on Netflix and he is especially intrigued by their shaving advice so I thought to get him some aftershave in his favorite fragrance which would be a true classic Father’s Day gift from his two boys.  Below is the recipe for the shave scrub I made just now in less than 3 minutes from ingredients I already had in the house!  Now he can exfoliate once a week before shaving just like the guys on tv tell him to.

The ingredients you need are:

  • Exfoliant – I used fine grind Celtic salt that I had in the cupboard.  Finely ground salt or sugar are the best because they dissolve and don’t clog your sink drain but ground oatmeal, almonds, or flax are good also.
  • Oil – I used coconut oil (of course!) but olive oil, almond oil, jojoba, or avocado would work.  Really almost any oil works, just don’t use a janky oil like canola or vegetable oil or something that will become rancid like cod liver oil or flax oil unless you like the smell of dead fish on your man!
  • Fragrance – I used jasmine essential oil to go with the coconut and appeal to my husband’s Hawaiian DNA.  Originally I was going to use peppermint oil but it was in the bedroom with my napping infant and there was no way I was going to go in there to retrieve it!  You can use any essential oil or combo of fragrances that you like.
  • A container – I had a nice glass flip-top container that I picked up at one of those organizational stores for $3.  A small glass mason jar would have worked also.

You want a ratio of 3 parts exfoliant to 1 part oil.  I had limited time so I just eyeballed it and filled the jar halfway with Celtic salt and then added about 1/3 that volume of coconut oil.

For a traditional body scrub the consistency should be like wet sand, but for shave scrub I wanted to add a little more oil to act as a moisturizer so the consistency was more liquid.  Safety note: don’t forget that this is oil so if you use it in the shower the floor will get slippery!

Once you have the scrub to desired consistency, add a few drops of your essential oil for fragrance and you’re all done!  Father’s Day gift complete – and it was so easy that our sweet boys could have almost made it themselves :)

June 16, 2012   No Comments

Honeymoon Nutrition

My fabulous, wonderful, beautiful, talented, brilliant, and hilarious little sister got married a few days ago and is currently on her honeymoon.  While shopping for her bachelorette party gift I came across a horrifying amount of artificial sweeteners in the various edible oils and lubricants you can buy at Victoria’s Secret and other less classy establishments (sorry Grandma if you’re reading this!).  Yes, while everyone else is enjoying the funny gag gifts at such stores, I am the weirdo in the corner reading all the labels of the freaky love potions (I ended up buying my sister a tasteful nightgown and a classy and respectable book).  On almost every single container, I found various artificial sweeteners hidden in the ingredients such as Acesulfame K, Sucralose (Splenda), Aspartame, and Saccharin.  I do understand the rationale behind using artificial sweeteners in these products – you wouldn’t want to add real sugar to an area prone to yeast infections and artificial sweeteners are cheaper than natural alternatives.  And yes, I don’t think anyone is going to buy these products and eat entire bowls of them for breakfast so it’s not like the amounts you would be exposed to are the same as those causing cancer in lab rats.  But still, with so many chemicals in our environment that are causing levels of sperm to drop worldwide and making fertility more of an issue for so many people, it seems to me that the last thing a person should do is apply artificial sweeteners to an area that absorbs so much.

So, all that to say that I was deeply troubled after my shopping excursion, thinking of all the new couples starting out with funny wedding gifts that are actually poisoning their genitals (okay maybe I am being a little dramatic).  Rather than running into the shops and breaking all the bottles on the ground while hysterically screaming about the worldwide decline in sperm counts I decided to fight back by posting a few recipe ideas for all natural freaky deaky love potions that my dear readers can enjoy and make for their friends as wedding or anniversary gifts.  Enjoy!

Warming Coconut Cream -Combine the following in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle (for warm climates where coconut oil stays liquid) or a small jar (for cool climates where coconut oil stays solid):

  • 4 oz. Coconut oil (any kind except hydrogenated)
  • 2 drops Cinnamon essential oil
  • 2 drops Orange essential oil
  • 2 drops liquid Stevia

Cooling Coconut Cream– Combine the following in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle (for warm climates where coconut oil stays liquid) or a small jar (for cool climates where coconut oil stays solid):

  • 4 oz. Coconut oil (any kind except hydrogenated)
  • 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops Vanilla essential oil
  • 2 drops liquid Stevia

For a gift, you can give a cutely wrapped bottle of each of the above as a kind of His and Hers gift. Please note that any kind of oil will weaken latex so even though coconut oil is exceptionally good for skin it may cause your friends to have a creature of their own before their time if they’re using any type of birth control involving latex, such as latex condoms or a latex diaphragm (though most diaphragms these days are made of silicone).

Tropical Delight– Yes, the name is creepy enough to make it just as cool as any other edible massage oil on the market.  In an 8 oz. glass bottle or plastic squeeze bottle, combine:

  • 6 oz. Jojoba oil
  • 8 drops Jasmine essential oil
  • 4 drops Vanilla essential oil
  • 1 tsp Xylitol

Since this one is oil based it will also weaken latex.  Using xylitol as a sweetener may actually have some benefits for skin, since xylitol has been shown in some studies to kill overgrowth of yeast and harmful fungus or bacteria.

Cookie Potion– This one uses glycerine as a base, which is safe for latex.  The smell I recommend is vanilla, a smell which many men associate with love.  The theory behind this is that the smell of vanilla reminds them of the childhood smell of baking cookies.  In an 8 oz. squeeze bottle, combine:

  • 1/2 cup Glycerine (look for it either in the cosmetic or baking section at your local health food store)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp alcohol-free Vanilla extract (real, not imitation) or 12 drops Vanilla essential oil

Glycerine has a naturally sweet flavor, so there is no need for added sweeteners.

August 5, 2011   1 Comment

Update on the Battle Against Stretch Marks and Hints for Losing Baby Weight

A few days ago I turned 30!  And I’m excited about being 30 for reasons I will explain in another post if Mr. Milk stays asleep long enough for me to enjoy some birthday week blogging.  Last year at this time I was very pregnant and wrote a blog on stretch marks.  I must admit here that I did not escape from pregnancy stretch-mark free – I do have a few souvenirs around my midriff to remind me that my little daredevil baby decided not to “drop” (the term used to describe when the baby moves from kicking you in the ribs constantly to a lower position in your pelvis which makes you waddle like a penguin and is usually a sign that they baby will be born in the coming weeks) until 8 hours before he was born.  So, rather than the gradual drop that most women get to enjoy a week or two before labor, I experienced rapid stretching of the skin as my little boy planned his great escape from my uterus which will cause some stretch marks no matter how much lotion it rubs on its skin.  But they are fading with time (and liberal application of coconut oil) so there is hope.

Stretch marks and all, I’m pleased to share that I’ve been happily sporting a bikini since my first trip to the beach a couple months after the boy was born.  And somehow I’ve managed to lose the baby weight well enough that I don’t have to wear my son as an accessory to explain to other beach goers “it’s baby weight, so stop wondering if I’m still pregnant”.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Heidi Klum – but I was able to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly without turning into a fitness freak mom.  Here are some things that helped me, hopefully they can help you too!

  • If possible, breastfeed.  Breastmilk contains about 20 calories per ounce, and with Mr. Milk drinking an estimated 40 ounces of milk daily I’m burning 800 calories extra calories a day doing nothing but sitting on the couch!
  • Eat lots of healthy fat.  The term “lots” may mean different things to different people (gauge it by how you feel when you eat healthy fat) but to me this is about 6 tablespoons of extra fat daily in the form of butter, cream, coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil on top of a base diet of foods rich in healthy fat such as fatty fish, eggs, shellfish, organic cheese, and grassfed meat.  Eating healthy fat helps your body to get rid of extra fat pounds and has the added benefit of making sure your baby is getting all the good brain fats from your milk.
  • Eat enough protein.  This helps your body to build muscle mass, repair from birth, and keep your hormones at healthy levels to prevent postpartum depression.  A good general marker is to eat the number of grams that is equal to half your body weight in pounds.  For example, a woman who is 120 pounds should eat about 60 grams while someone who is 160 pounds should eat about 80 grams a day.  If you are under more stress or are very active you may need more protein to help conserve muscle mass.  Also, if you have kidney problems then you may need less protein (ask your doctor).  To give you an idea of the protein content of foods, an egg contains 7 grams of protein, a large chicken breast or hamburger patty contains about 30 grams, a 3 oz. piece of fish contains about 20 grams, and a cup of beans contains about 15 grams.
  • Eat small meals all day (and night, if you’re up and you’re hungry).  This one is easy to do with a newborn because unless you have a live-in nanny or your mom lives next door you probably won’t be sitting down to three big meals a day for a while!
  • Drink lots of water.  Again, amounts vary but drink enough that your urine is light yellow (even if it is fluorescent from vitamins) and your milk (if breastfeeding) flows freely.  It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger and overeat the wrong kinds of foods as a response.  I have found that drinking out of a huge cup or quart-sized mason jar with a straw helps me drink enough water through the day to keep up with demand.
  • Take the baby for walks.  This was especially helpful for me in the weeks after Mr. Milk was born because I needed to get out of the house!

So that’s it!  It’s not rocket science but it worked (and was about all I could handle as a new mom figuring out how to care for my new creature).  If any of you have tips for losing baby weight please share them in the comments section!

September 27, 2010   3 Comments

Homemade Body Butter

CB107516I love the body butter that I buy at the Body Shop but it is expensive and has a few questionable ingredients, so once I ran out of it I decided to make a homemade version.  I kept the body butter container, washed it out, and poured into it a combination of gently melted coconut oil (about 8 ounces) and my favorite essential oils (about 30 drops).  Swirl this mix a few times so the ingredients blend together, then store in a cool place until the coconut oil solidifies. 

This stuff works great as a moisturizer or lip balm with the added benefits of nourishing the skin, preventing scars, reducing the visibility of existing scars, and preventing stretch marks.

March 6, 2009   2 Comments