This baby e-book has been, well, my baby.
If I could compare it to an actual pregnancy, I'd say that the idea is fun, the work is hard, and the end result is the very best part. The most difficult, painful, back-breaking part is the final week, to be honest. This past week has involved too much time at the computer putting all the finishing pieces together, last minute meals for the family thrown together without much thought or nutrition put into it, and everybody leaving the room so that mom can concentrate (moms, sound familiar?).
Along the way, though, I have had incredible support. First, from my husband, who has acted as my soundboard every step of the way, and who has given me generous feedback on my ideas, recipes and inventions... all of them. Then I had amazing people on my Facebook page who told me what they'd like to see in a book like this, readers who emailed me with suggestions and questions about recipes I had already posted, my graphic designer who once again did magic with turning my photos into a luscious cover, and a generous group of ladies who gave up time to edit the e-book. I can't forget to mention my 20 month old, who decided that summertime fruit provided plenty of opportunity to put the diaper rash cream into good use. This ebook is for the babies like her, and their moms, who will find out first hand how easy is it to make quality skin care products for the baby in the house.
Here's a peek at the final week:
.75 oz beeswax
2 oz coconut oil
8 oz liquid oil like olive oil or almond oil
2 TBS zinc oxide
Instructions: Using a double boiler, combine the beeswax, coconut oil and liquid oil and melt the ingredients together. Remove from heat. Add zinc oxide and blend using a stick blender. Pour into container(s) and wait until set before using.
Clean up is important! While everything is very hot, wipe out all equipment using paper towels until all lotion is removed. Then scrub in hot, soapy water.
Whether it’s rash cream, sunscreen, itch relief salve or wound care, there’s a common ingredient listed in a variety of skin care products: zinc oxide. If zinc oxide can truly be counted on to prevent or treat a wide range of skin conditions, the next question is, is it safe?
After reading up on what the experts say, I continue to bank my confidence on this mineral and here’s why:
- Chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone (in 60% of sunscreen products) penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, potentially disrupting the hormonal system. Physical or mineral sunscreen ingredients, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, reflect the sun like a mirror, and keep the sun’s rays from reaching your skin. Unlike oxybenzone, zinc oxide is non-toxic.
- Authorities like Dr. Mercola, the Environmental Working Group, and Dr. Sears recommend using a sunscreen with zinc oxide as the primary sunscreen ingredient. It is the broadest spectrum UVA and UVB reflector that is approved for use as sunscreen by the FDA, and has a time-tested safety record.
- We’ve used our homemade rash cream and sunscreen on our own family and we’ve found that diaper rash disappears, chaffed skin from rubbing heals quickly, and sunburns are avoided.
So what’s the deal with the nanoparticle controversy and is zinc oxide linked to cancer?
A nanometer refers to size, and one nanometer is 100,000 times thinner than a strand of hair. There was concern that particles less than 30 nanometers could be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Cosmetic companies preferred the smaller particle-sized zinc oxide because the finished product could be applied without excessive whiteness to the skin. It turns out, there are no studies proving that nanoparticles of zinc oxide could penetrate healthy human skin, and studies linking zinc oxide to cancer have been inconclusive. To calm customer fear, the majority of companies who use zinc oxide now use the larger, non-nano sized particles. If you are making your own skin care products and want to be on the safe side, make sure the zinc oxide you buy is non-nano zinc oxide. (You can order uncoated, non-nano zinc oxide from us at MadeOn or in larger quantities at From Nature With Love.)
Is there any way that zinc oxide is NOT safe?
- It’s not safe to inhale.
- It may not be safe to consume.
- By itself it is not an allergen, but combined with other ingredients, you could react to something in the product. It could be irritating if rubbed into the eye.
- For best results, use sunscreen containing zinc oxide within a year as zinc oxide has a one year shelf life (unless otherwise noted on your purchased sunscreen).
- Too much of a sunscreen protection and you’ll keep out the needed UVB light needed to produce vitamin D. You need to spend some time out in the sun with NO sunscreen.
Have you considered making your own sunscreen? It's easy!
This week I heard from Thomas who used the lotion bar recipe to try out on his pityriasis rosea (a.k.a. "rash").
Along with the photo, he wrote:
I brought some to work and already some people want me to make some for them. The doctor said there is no cure for my rash, but when it goes away I should not get it back. I think your recipe, possibly with the essential oil I used is a cure. Today my rash looks almost gone, and it's the first time in three months I haven't had to slather myself with hydrocortisone cream.
I love that he used some silicone molds from Halloween as his own reminder that he's killing the rash.
That's awesome, Thomas.
Hi Renee, I made your recipe for homemade suntan lotion and howdo I clean up bowls, spoons used in mixing after having zinc oxide in it?I can't seem to get items clean, everything is greasy and white and itslike I can't break through and get my mixer paddles clean???Please advise, thank you!
Jessica's email to me started as a “When will your honey goat milk soap be back in stock?” and several emails later, I learn that her father is a true, all-American beekeeper in the small town of Kimball, South Dakota (pop. 750).
Jay Fatland started out in beekeeping when he was 10 and helped his father in the business called Fatland Honey Company. The “honey house” is a converted laundromat, filled with equipment to extract the honey from the combs and a spinner to “spin out” the beeswax. He's been doing this for 50 years. Jessica says, “he does everything the way my grandpa did: take your time and get every little drop!”
Jessica and her siblings pitch in and help their father when they can. Her brother makes beeswax candles and ornaments for Christmas, and made Jessica's unity candle for her wedding.
If you ever find yourself in the small town of Kimball, South Dakota, make sure to drive by this honey house on Main Street (I'll just assume you won't need directions), and also look for the famous “Original Kimball Popcorn Ball.” From the comments I read on their Facebook page, these popcorn balls are worth the trip to SD, and they're made with Fatland Honey.
Hats off to all the dads who work hard and pass on their skills to their children. Happy Father's Day!
Jessica from MN made hard lotion, lip balm and sunscreen using one DIY kit:
Three reasons you should make your own:
- Control your ingredients: zinc oxide offers the best sun protection with a low hazard rating (per EWG). You can create a high or low SPF when you make it yourself.
- Four ingredients and 30 minutes is all you need.
- No need to worry about expired sunscreen in the cupboard. Make fresh sunscreen that lasts all summer long (plan for a year shelf life).
Instructions: Melt ½ oz beeswax, 2 oz shea butter, and 2 oz coconut oil using the double boiler method (Pyrex or glass container with ingredients, sitting in a pot of boiling water until mixture is melted).
Remove from heat. Add 1 oz (2 TBS) zinc oxide to melted mixture and using a stick blender, blend until all zinc oxide is well-blended. Pour into a glass or plastic container. Sunscreen is ready when solidified.
Important: clean your equipment while it's still hot. Immediately wipe everything with paper towels to get rid of the residue as much as possible. Then wash in hot, soapy water with a scrub brush.
This is approximately 30 spf – I wouldn’t add more zinc oxide than the recipe calls for unless you can handle the extra “whiteness” which might be difficult to rub into the skin. Use less zinc oxide for a lower spf.
For a video and more summer skin care recipes, see the My Buttered Life ebook.
Last weekend my mom won a door prize: an appointment for a free massage from a licensed massage therapist.
She was dismayed and tried to swap the gift for another winner's gift, but that woman didn't want the massage either.
I can totally relate. Two years ago my husband presented me a gift certificate for a massage as a Mother's Day gift and I almost cried... and those weren't tears of joy. I had this huge fear of having someone other than my spouse touch my exposed skin, even if I was fully covered. Do I chat during the massage or am I required to be completely quiet? If an hour of full relaxation was the plan, I could think of 101 other ways to achieve that. I also didn't want to be "her" - the woman who had to have her weekly spa treatment to survive motherhood.
Not wanting to waste the gift, I swallowed my pride and went.
NOW I get it. Massage therapists have a method to their work, and deep tissue massage truly relieves the pain in the upper back, shoulder and neck area that I get from working at a computer a couple hours at a time. It is absolutely WORTH IT.
Here are 10 tips to get over the fear of the first massage:
- There is no "stupid question" when it comes to a massage. If you have any questions about what the massage therapist will be doing, ask her.
- A good massage therapist will ask you what areas of pain you are experiencing or what you expect from the massage. My MT asks me at every visit: "are we working the upper back again?" because that is what I ask for almost every time.
- Your massage therapist will obviously need to have full access to your skin, so removing all clothing but underwear is recommended. She'll leave you alone to disrobe, lie on the massage table face down, and cover yourself with a sheet.
- Get comfortable (often you begin by lying on your stomach on the massage table), fully comfortable, because once she starts, you'll want to keep every muscle relaxed for best results.
- Relax, let the massage therapist move your limbs for you, and talk only to give feedback.
- A good massage therapist will ask you what level of pain you can handle (if doing deep tissue massage). Let her know, and definitely feel free to tell her to lighten up if the massage is painful. A massage therapist is often strong and her work on your back (and legs and feet) is to your benefit, yet a slow, gentle pressure is very effective in the overall treatment.
- If you're prone to being ticklish, know that this only lasts a few seconds.
- If you have a favorite oil for your massage therapist to use, bring it and ask if she'd be willing to use it for you. She may be concerned about the oil on her massage sheets, or she may have a preference for using an oil with the right "grab," but a high quality oil (like jojoba) may be worth bringing with you.
- Drink plenty of water, and if you feel sore after a massage, apply ice. Salt baths are also recommend following a massage.
- After the massage, get up slowly, especially if you feel lightheaded.
Thanks to Debi, Debra, Teresa, Kathy, and others for their contributions to this Facebook post.
This is probably the best education about shea butter you'll ever receive.
This video, filmed in West Africa, shows two women harvesting shea nuts in a rural village in Mali. Their conversation is included, with English subtitles. You will have a new appreciation for shea butter and the African people who work the harvest.
Let's say you have a few unused lipstick tubes laying around. They are likely too bright, too brown, too red, too pink, or just too-not-you.
If you've seen my video "how to make lip balms" on YouTube, you'll be happy to know that throwing lipstick into the pot of melted lip balm (equal amounts of coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax, with a tad more coconut oil if outside temps are cooler than 70 degrees) is all you have to do:
For a stronger color, add at least as much lipstick as lip balm liquid. I could have (should have) added more lipstick in my mixture for a more colorful tint.
Melt everything. At this point, add drops of a favorite essential oil (I chose peppermint) to flavor your lip balm.
Use a dropper to drop into lip balm tubes AND into your empty lipstick container.
And you have a nourishing lip balm with added color and scent.
It sounds about as counter-intuitive as feasting on Twinkies in order to lose weight, but the oil cleansing method is an effective way to clean your face.
The reason it sounds off is because we're assuming that oil is the problem when it comes to pimples, blemishes and other forms of "dirty" skin issues. And so we pull out the scrubs and soaps and start the battle of getting rid of oils that are clogging our pores.
But here's what your skin is really doing:
- your skin is trying to re-lubricate itself with your natural oils to protect itself.
- the pimples, blackheads and other skin afflictions are the result of hormones, bacteria, and what goes into your body.
- scrubbing with soap that dries out the skin, or exfoliating products that contain fragrances and colorants, only worsens the problem.
And so, because oil disolves oil, you need to apply oil to your face in order to clean it.
Rub oil into your face for approximately two minutes. Drape a warm, damp wash cloth over your face until it cools. Wipe off the oil. Add one or two additional drops to moisturize the skin. (source)
Here's Crunchy Betty's rule of thumb in choosing the correct oil for your skin type:
- Oily skin: Use 2/3 castor oil to 1/3 carrier oil. (Or measure out 2 tsp castor oil and 1 tsp carrier oil.)
- Normal skin: Use equal parts castor oil and carrier oil. (Measuring out 1-1/2 tsp castor oil and 1-1/2 tsp carrier oil.)
- Dry skin: Use 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 carrier oil. (Again, 2 tsp carrier oil and 1 tsp castor oil.)
Check out her oil cleansing blog post for carrier oil options and detailed instructions, should you need them.
My face feels amazingly supple and nourished when I oil cleanse. It takes time to get used to the habbit, but it's definitely worth it.
Here are what others have said about their oil-cleansing experience:
Sharon M. via Facebook: "It feels counter-intuitive for oily skin, but it works great. It also takes my makeup off ever so easily. It doesn't irritate my eyes if I accidentally get oil in them."
Amy Yu, Founder of Poochi & TouTou:
I have combination skin- oily and dry. I have had terrible acne with lots of whiteheads. People always tell me NOT to use oily products for oily skin, but I can tell you they are wrong!! After I've started using oil cleansing, my skin has gotten a lot better! If you rub the oil on the face for about 3 min, you can clearly see the whiteheads and whatever dirt coming out of the pores. And you can even feel it on the your fingers... I've used oil cleansing as a first step for more than 6 months (once a day when i clean my face at night), and my skin has gotten 90% better from last year. No kidding!
Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh, editor-in-chief of VitalJuice:
I'm personally passionate about oil cleansing. My skin is extraordinarily sensitive, and I had been breaking out from everything--including natural products--for several years. The breakouts left marks for weeks. Desperate, I read about oil cleansing and decided to try it. That was nearly a year ago. My skin is completely transformed. I almost never break out, and if I do, it clears up within a day. I constantly get compliments on my skin. I have even noticed fine lines seem to disappear. I tell everyone I know about this little-known skin care method!
Do you oil cleanse? How has it changed your skin?
Question via email:
I found your site from a Pinterest board. Just wondering how you colour
the lip balm and bars if you didn't want a natural look. My daughter
loves pink! Will colouring it change the consistency?
Answer: I've colored the lip balm with something called carmine (it's insect
material but you might not have wanted to know that!). Here's a video I did on that:
You could also go to fromnaturewithlove:
http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/?affiliate=34177 (it's my affiliate link
- I highly recommend the products and I also get a cut if you purchase
through the link) and look for their mica powders. Some are safe for the
lips and some are not. Just make sure whatever colorant that you use, that
it's not a water based colorant because there is no water in the lotion - it's all oils/wax.
BUT, I would only tint a lip balm and not a lotion bar, or your body
will become that color!
Here's my carmine-tinted lip balm mixture: