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Eco Living: Candy Cane Body Oil
Li Wong's Eco Living Articles
Written by Li Wong of Earth Alkemie   

Candy Cane Body OilI love the smell of candy canes!  Since I can’t eat candy canes, I enjoy making skin care that smells like them.  I’ve previously shared my recipe for a candy cane toner, and this year, I am sharing my recipe for a candy cane scented body oil.  It’s very simple to make, and smells delicious!

Ingredients:

1 oz of vanilla infused oil or your favorite carrier oil

6 drops of peppermint essential oil

Directions:

Pour the vanilla infused oil or carrier oil into a one ounce bottle.  Add the peppermint essential oil, cap, and shake well.

Notes:

To make vanilla infused oil, see my previous eco living article on how to make many different vanilla products, including vanilla infused oil, extract, and glycerite!  If you haven’t made a batch of vanilla infused oil yet this year (it takes time to infuse the vanilla beans in a carrier oil), then use your favorite, plain, unscented carrier oil.  Good carrier oils that you may like are almond oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil, or camellia oil, which work for most skin types.  But you can use any oil you like.  Your body oil will still smell fantastic without the vanilla! 

Instead of using vanilla infused oil, you can also use a different vanilla aromatic (with the plain carrier oil).  Vanilla CO2 extract and vanilla absolute are oil soluble: vanilla CO2 extract is completely oil soluble, and vanilla absolute can dissolve in oil but will make the oil cloudy.  They are both very expensive.  However, they are very potent, so you’d only need to use a drop or two in recipes to impart a strong and heavenly vanilla scent.  You could add as much as six drops to the recipe, if you desire.  The least expensive, concentrated vanilla aromatic is vanilla oleoresin.  It is usually water soluble, so if you use it in body oils, you’d need to shake the body oil well before each use.  It comes in different strengths, such as 10x, 20x, and 30x.  Vanilla oleoresin 10x is the least expensive option and it is very affordable, while vanilla oleoresin 20x costs a bit more.   Vanilla oleoresin 30x is very expensive but not as expensive as vanilla absolute or CO2 extract.  Try adding 1 to 6 drops of vanilla oleoresin:  the amount will depend on the concentration and how strong of a vanilla scent you like.  Vanilla oleoresin 10x and 20x will temporarily be suspended in the carrier oil if you shake it before each and every use, but vanilla oleoresin 30x is very thick and will probably just stay on the bottom of the bottle (it will impart its scent over time though). 

Candy cane body oil’s shelf life depends on the carrier oil you used.  But its shelf life typically ranges from anywhere from a few to nine months or more.  It is best to store in a cool, dark, non-damp place.  I do not recommend storing any all natural cosmetics in the bathroom, unless you are using them daily and will use them up in a few weeks.

This recipe is recommended for adults and for older children only.  For safety concerns, peppermint essential oil is not recommended for use on young children (under the age of six).  Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, which can cause severe respiratory issues; it can slow or stop breathing in the young.  If making this body oil for older children (over the age of 6), then use less essential oil and aromatics in this blend.  Try only three drops of peppermint essential oil with the vanilla infused oil.  Or only three drops of peppermint essential oil and one to three drops of vanilla absolute, CO2 extract, or oleoresin.  When formulating for kids, it is always best to use less than more essential oil.  Spearmint essential oil or many of the citrus essential oils (like sweet orange, mandarin, tangerine, etc) are good and safe alternatives for young kids.  For babies, I personally don’t suggest using any essential oils on them unless it is necessary (many essential oils are not safe for babies), and other plant ingredients (like herbs, hydrosols, etc) have not worked.   

 

Links:

Here is my eco living article on vanilla infused oil and more vanilla products!

http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/791-eco-living-vanilla-extract-vanilla-glycerite-and-vanilla-infused-oil-recipes

 

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, try my candy cane toner too!

http://allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/67-formulating/797-eco-living-candy-cane-toner

 

 

About The Author: 

Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company.  She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy.  Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001.  Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception.   She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer.   http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm  

For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog:  http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/

For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog

For Earth Alkemie's news and products, environmental issues, eco living, herbalism, aromatherapy, and crafting tips, visit Earth Alkemie's face book fan page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthAlkemie 

 
Eco Living: Citrus Vinegar
Li Wong's Eco Living Articles
Written by Li Wong of Earth Alkemie   

When I think of winter, I think of citrus!  I like using the peels to make citrus vinegar.  I love citrus vinegar because it can be used for multiple purposes.  I use citrus vinegar as a general all purpose cleaner: it is a great cleaner for counter tops, sinks, floors, bathtubs, and more!  I often recommend it for skin and hair care.  I like adding citrus vinegar to foods: it makes a delicious, fruity vinaigrette.  Best of all, citrus vinegar can be made year round, and not just during the cooler months.  Here is my version of this awesome wonder.

 

Ingredients:

Vinegar (enough to fill the jar)

Citrus peels (any amount)

A glass jar (any size)

 

Directions:

In a glass jar, add the citrus peels.  Pour in the vinegar, and make sure you add enough vinegar so that it covers the peels

as much as possible.  Since the peels usually float to the top of the jar, I usually just fill the whole jar with vinegar, and push the peels down with a spoon so that they are covered with the vinegar.  Cap and gently shake.  Let the peels infuse for a few days to a couple weeks.  Shake every once in a while.  Strain.  If the scent isn’t strong enough, you can add more peels and infuse again. 

 

Notes:

You can use any type of citrus peels including oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, or more.  I recently made a wonderful smelling vinegar using pomelo; it smells amazing!  You can use just one kind of peel or use the peels from many different kinds of citrus fruits.  The combinations are endless!  If you are going to use citrus vinegar for food, skin or hair care, it is highly recommended that you use organic citrus peels.  But if you are making citrus vinegar for cleaning, then non-organic citrus peels are fine to use, but I still recommend getting organic when you can!  If you don’t care for citrus, then you can make infused vinegar with other types of herbs.  I enjoy making rosemary, lavender, or other herbal vinegars. 

You can use many different kinds of vinegar.  If your citrus vinegar is going to be used for household cleaning, I suggest using white vinegar.   For food and cosmetics, I like using apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, brown rice vinegar, or coconut vinegar.  Balsamic vinegar is wonderful for food too.

In my instructions, I did not list a specific amount of citrus peels or vinegar to use.  The reason is that there is no right or wrong amount!  You can use as much or as little citrus peels as you want, and make as much or as little citrus vinegar as you desire.  Just make sure the peels are covered in the vinegar, and that you fill the whole jar with vinegar.  Of course the more peels you use, the stronger the scent will be. 

To use citrus vinegar as a cleaner, use it full strength for tough jobs, or dilute it with distilled water to make a gentle all purpose cleaner.  I use it on many different types of surfaces, but as vinegar is acidic and citrus is a solvent, spot test it on surfaces using a diluted concentration.  I often use a 25% concentration when I dilute it.  When I make it, I just eye ball it: I fill a spray bottle ¼ of the way with citrus vinegar and fill the rest with distilled water.  But many people use less or more citrus vinegar than that.  Try different concentrations and see what works best for you!

For skin and hair care, it is best to dilute it well before use.  (Well diluted) vinegar toners are mildly exfoliating and are gentle enough to use daily.  Citrus vinegar makes an awesome skin toner or hair rinse.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of citrus vinegar to an ounce of distilled water.  Once you dilute vinegar, its shelf life decreases so make small batches and use it up within a couple weeks. 

For foods, my favorite recipe using citrus vinegar is salad dressing.  You can add it directly to your salad, or make a delicious vinaigrette with it.  Whisk the citrus vinegar with a good oil (like olive oil or grapeseed oil), herbs, salt, pepper, and a little juice if desired.  Yummy!

Enjoy making and using citrus vinegar!

 

Link:

Here is my recipe for vinegar toner.  I suggest reading the whole thread, as the FAQ in this thread is extensive.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/earthalkemie/messages/?msg=144.1

 

 

About The Author: 

Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company.  She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy.  Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001.  Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception.   She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer.   http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm  

For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog:  http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/

For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog

For Earth Alkemie's news and products, environmental issues, eco living, herbalism, aromatherapy, and crafting tips, visit Earth Alkemie's face book fan page: https://www.facebook.com/EarthAlkemie 

 
Healthy Living: Caring for Dry Skin Naturally
Pat White's Healthy Living Articles
Written by Pat White of Essential Body Pleasures   

Help for Dry Skin 

Dry skin is caused by a lack of production of sebum, or oil, which is the skins’ natural moisturizer.  The lack of sebum decreases the skin’s ability to retain moisture, so dry skin is often dehydrated as well. Dry skin often appears delicate, with fine, small pores.  It can develop unsightly flaky or ashy patches that can peel. Dry skin can be triggered by menopause or other hormonal changes.  This type of skin needs a lot of moisturizers and protection.

Tips:

  1. Bathe less often. Sometimes bathing every other day can alleviate dry skin.
  2. Use warm, not hot water in the shower or bath.
  3. Use mild cleansers instead of harsh, drying ‘detergent bars’.
  4. Use moisturizers regularly. 

Natural Ingredients May Also Help 

Look for products with the following ingredients, as they may help combat dry skin:

  1. Humectants – these ingredients attract moisture from the air, draw it to the skin and ‘lock’ the moisture into the skin. Examples of humectants include:
    1. Vegetable glycerin
    2. Honey – try making a simple honey facial mask once per week to gently exfoliate flaky skin while also moisturizing.

 

  1. Vegetable oils

Examples of vegetable oils that are beneficial to dry skin include:

  1.  
    1. Avocado oil
    2. Rice Bran oil
    3. Argan oil
    4. Olive oil
    5. Rose Hip Seed oil
    6. Coconut oil

 

  1. Butters – these natural butters help to restore moisture deep into the skin and lay a protective barrier down on top of the skin to help moisture from escaping.  Examples include:
    1. Shea butter
    2. Cocoa butter

 

  1. Essential Oils – these are essences taken from plants, flowers, roots, trees spices, citrus fruits, etc.  Examples of essential oils used in formulas to combat dry skin include:
    1. Jasmine
    2. Neroli (Orange Blossom)
    3. Chamomile (both Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile)
    4. Rose Otto
    5. Lavender
    6. Sandalwood
    7. Geranium

 

 

Though it can be difficult to find products that work effectively on dry skin, this article has provided a number of tips and natural ingredients to try in your efforts to combat ashy, flaky and dry skin.  Reading the ingredient listing on products or making your own skin care products to include the ingredients listed above may be an easy way to use natural ingredients to bring about the desired change in your dry skin.

 

Pat White MSN PMh NP-BC

Clinical Aromatherapist

Make sure to visit Essential Body Pleasures - Skin Care Nature's Way

 

 

 

 
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