Spring Cleaning: Bathrooms

Continuing my blog series on spring cleaning, here is the plan I’ve devised for spring cleaning the bathrooms in our house, complete with tips and tricks for getting rid of those funny smells that may accompany them.¬†ūüėČ

Linens and Curtains

Open the windows (if possible, fresh air will mask a surprising number of funny smells in addition to its health benefits).

Launder all the curtains and air dry in the sun (if possible, the sun is an amazing all natural stain remover as well as sterilizer).

Launder the towels and wash cloths and dry thoroughly.¬† I dry towels and washcloths in the dryer because I don’t like the drying my skin with hard, crunchy texture they get from air drying, even though this does abate with time.¬† An alternative is to line dry them and then place them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up.

Clean the curtain rods, towel rods, and toilet paper holders with all purpose cleaner.

Vanities and Cabinets

Remove everything from the top of the vanities/cabinets.

Clean the top of the vanities/cabinets with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Perhaps you have a drawer that looks something like mine below.¬† Remove everything from the inside of the vanities/cabinets, one drawer at a time for simplicity’s sake if you like.

Before Cleaning

Clean the vanities/cabinets inside and out with wood or all purpose cleaner.

As you prepare to return things to each cabinet, make piles of things to keep, throw away, store, and/or donate.

ONLY replace the things on and in the table you’ve decided to keep.

  • Do not¬†keep things like bottles of lotion you haven’t used in a few months with a tablespoon of lotion inside. ¬†You’re cleaning, let’s use this time to get rid of those things.
  • Also, consider how many things you need to keep in a prime location like an upper drawer or eye level cabinet.¬† Did you buy a few different shampoos or toothpastes and decide you didn’t like some?¬† Go ahead and toss them (or, if you’re me, force yourself to use them now until they’re gone)?
  • Think about when the last time you used the items you’re going through. ¬†If it was a long time ago, get rid of them.¬† In the case of baby items, consider what to store, donate, or throw away.¬† Again, don’t allow things you’re not actively using to be stored or to clutter prime locations.
  • Lastly, this is a great time to take inventory of what you have and don’t need any more of as well as what is worn out and needs to be replaced.

After Cleaning

Place the things to store in a labeled box.

Place the things to donate in another labeled box.

Take out your trash (lest your children invade it and bring things back in the house like mine sometimes do).

Toilet

Clean the exterior of your toilet with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.¬† I know the smell of the vinegar can be overpowering, but it’s the only cleaner, homemade or commercial, that I’ve found effectively removes the smell of urine from my bathroom.¬† Be sure to clean the entire toilet, every square inch.¬† I’ve also found that there are parts of the toilet near the floor that often get missed in my general cleaning.¬† Since this is a deep clean, be intentional about scrubbing the entire exterior surface.¬† Scrub with an old toothbrush or cleaning brush if needed.

Clean the interior of your toilet with baking soda and 1:1 vinegar:water.¬† Begin by sprinkling the interior of the toilet with baking soda.¬† Spray with the vinegar mixture.¬† Then, scrub with a toilet brush.¬† If you have hard water stains in the bottom of your toilet, scrub them gently with a pumice stone.¬† Be sure the surface of the stain is submerged in water when you do this so that you do not scratch your toilet bowl.¬† You may have to work at these stains over the course of time, so don’t be discouraged if you have to come back to it again.

Flush away the dirty toilet water.

Bathtub/Shower

Remove all soaps, shampoos, razors and other body products as well as towels, washcloths, toys, etc. from the bathtub/shower.

Spray the entire surface with all purpose cleaner or stain remover and scrub with a brush.

For hard to remove stains, try a paste of baking soda, lemon essential oil, and a small amount of water.

Rinse then dry with a towel.

Consider cleaning shower head with 1:1 vinegar:water to remove hard water buildup.

Consider re-caulking if needed.

General

Vacuum the entire room.  Then, mop the entire room.

If your bathroom floor is tiled and (like mine) has an uncanny ability to harbor funny smells, consider re-sealing grout to keep the funny smells at bay (or consider hosting a don’t pee on my floor boot camp).

Clean the base moulding with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Clean the windows with window cleaner.

Clean any step stools with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Dust and clean clocks, picture frames, and other decor with all purpose cleaner.

Carefully clean the light switches with all purpose cleaner or soap/water.

And, if you’re really ambitious, clean the walls with soap/water.

Optionally, diffuse some lovely essential oils in the amazingly clean room; my favorites area a mix of lavender/lemon or the purification blend.

Last, but not least, enjoy your hard work!

Spring Cleaning: Bedrooms

With inspiration from the book I mentioned in the last post (Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House),¬†wonderful housekeepers I’ve met throughout¬†my life¬†and other wonderful blogs and articles,¬†I devised the following plan for spring cleaning the bedrooms in our house. ¬†I understand that there are times and phases of life for all of us, so you may be in a phase where you can do all these things – and you may not. ¬†So, give yourself grace and do what you’re able to do this spring and leave the rest for a better time/phase. ¬†I’m going to give you the¬†exhaustive list I aim for when I have lots of time, energy, and/or help! ¬†:)

Beds and Bedding

Open the windows (if possible).

Launder all the bedding and air dry (if possible because air dried bedding is simply a luxury and the sun is one of the best kept secrets of all natural stain removal as well as of sterilization).

Launder the pillows and dry thoroughly (or else they will smell funky).

Remove the mattress, vacuum, and air it outside (preferably, but you may also air it inside with the windows open).

Vacuum the bed frame.

Vacuum the carpet and base moulding underneath the bed.

Clean the entire bed frame with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Replace the mattress and rotate and/or flip.

Make the bed.

End Tables

Remove everything from the top and inside of the table.

Clean the table inside and out with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Vacuum under the table; clean the base moulding behind the table with all purpose cleaner.

Make piles of things to keep, throw away, store, and/or donate.

ONLY replace the things on and in the table you’ve decided to keep.

Place the things to store in a labeled box.

Place the things to donate in another labeled box.

Dressers

Remove everything from the top and inside of the dresser.

Clean the dresser inside and out with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Vacuum under the table; clean the base moulding behind the table with all purpose cleaner.

Make piles of things to keep, throw away, store, and/or donate.

ONLY replace the things on and in the table you’ve decided to keep.

  • Do not¬†keep things like socks with holes. ¬†You’re cleaning, let’s use this time to get rid of those things.
  • Also, consider how many things you need to keep in a prime location like a dresser or closet. ¬†Do you need 10¬†pairs of pajamas? ¬†Can you donate or store a few pairs and keep a smaller number in your dresser? ¬†Do you actually wear all 10 pairs or have you become impartial to a few?
  • Think about when the last time you wore the items you’re going through. ¬†If it was a long time ago, consider donating them (or storing them if you must).
  • When going through things my children have outgrown, whether toys or clothes, I sometimes have a hard time getting rid of them. ¬†In order to keep things moving as I clean (and prevent myself from falling into a heap on the floor crying about times passed), I allow myself to keep a few things from their childhood. ¬†Everyone is different and what’s special to you will be different. ¬†But, for a fun digression from out talk on cleaning, here are few things I’ve chosen to keep for my someday grandchildren or just for myself: ¬†our crib, our high chair, my favorite outfits for each child, my boys’ train set, their favorite cars/stuffed animals/books/games (if they are still in tact when the time comes), building blocks, and Gwyn’s dolls. ¬†I’m sure I’ll add to the list as time goes on, but that’s what I’m thinking for now.
  • Lastly, this is a great time to take inventory of what you have and don’t need any more of as well as what is worn out and needs to be replaced.

Place the things to store in a labeled box.

Place the things to donate in another labeled box.

Closets

Remove everything from the closet.

Vacuum the closet.

Clean the base moulding and shelves with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Make piles of things to keep, throw away, store, and/or donate.

ONLY replace the things in the closet¬†you’ve decided to keep.

  • Re-visit the bulleted list above under “dressers” as you consider what to keep, throw away, store, and donate.

Place the things to store in a labeled box.

Place the things to donate in another labeled box.

General

Vacuum the entire room.

Clean the base moulding with wood or all purpose cleaner.

Clean the windows with window cleaner.

Vacuum or launder the curtains.

Clean the curtain rods with all purpose cleaner.

Vacuum the lamp shades and clean the light fixtures with all purpose cleaner or soap/water.

Vacuum chairs and any other furniture in the room.

Launder accent pillows and/or throw blankets and dry thoroughly (or else they will smell funky).

Dust and clean clocks, picture frames, and other decor with all purpose cleaner.

Carefully clean the light switches with all purpose cleaner or soap/water.

And, if you’re really ambitious, clean the walls with soap/water.

Optionally, diffuse some lovely essential oils in the amazingly clean room; my favorites area a mix of lavender/lemon or the stress away blend.

Last, but not least, enjoy your hard work!

Spring Cleaning: Perspective

For the next few posts, I want to share with you how I tackle spring cleaning.¬† I want to preface this discussion with an understanding that my vision for spring cleaning isn’t about having a perfect, clutter-free home even most of the time or getting rid of every single useless but sentimental item in my home, but rather it’s about purging the excess and inefficient in all areas of my home in order to make what we do have more useful and efficient in our everyday lives.¬† Sometimes I tend to keep sentimental items in prominent places in my home where more useful, efficient items should be placed; for me, this usually happens in the kitchen as my family and I love to cook and have a many heirloom pieces in my kitchen.¬† In any case, the clutter disrupts the functionality of my space as well as our daily peace and comfort.¬† So, if there is a huge inward struggle in getting rid of something, I’ll store out of sight and mind somewhere (attic, shed, basement, closet, …) until I am ready to get rid of it.¬† I’ve digressed a little, but throughout this series I’ll try to address how I tackle these inward battles.

In any case, I believe housekeeping is an art and science that can become lost in certain times and cultures as well as in certain phases of life, but I also believe that it is an art and science some of use are trying to learn, explore and, even perhaps, revive.¬† If you find yourself among the latter, Cheryl Mendelson has written an amazing and comprehensive book on the subject entitled Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House.¬† She may have gotten me hook, line and sinker when she put the word science in the title.¬† But, honestly, her work in this book is amazing as it is delightful to read and teaches you how to transform your house into a a comfortable home by offering wise counsel, advice, and insight on food, fabric/laundry, cleanliness, daily life, sleep, safety, and etiquette.¬† She candidly offers lists, schedules, and instruction on these topics and while I often fall short of the ideal, at least I know what to add as I have the time and resources to add them.¬† I mention Mendelson’s work because in this series, I will not be able to come close to the detail she put into writing Home Comforts, so if these posts leave you wanting to know more or if you simply want a hard copy for quicker, easier reference, I would highly recommend her work.

I’ll outline how I deep clean and organize room by room with the hope of inspiring you to develop routine and spring cleaning plans that work well for you and your family.¬† I’ll also try to post before and after pictures as well as how I try to involve my children in the cleaning process.¬† I’ve only just begun spring cleaning this year, so I’ll be going along on this journey with you – from the bedrooms, to the bathrooms, to the living room/s, the dining room and the kitchen – let’s clean!¬†:)

Easter 2015

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Easter celebration! ¬†I promised to give you the details of ours, so here goes. ¬†Jeff’s parents were visiting the week leading up to Easter and left for home on Good Friday, so we had a Good Friday egg hunt and feast to send them off consisting of:

The Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Roast Turkey

The Barefoot Contessa’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

The Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Asparagus

Bulk Herb Store’s Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

Water Kefir Lemonade (fermented water kefir plus 1/4 cup lemon juice)

As you can tell, I love the Barefoot Contessa. ¬†I¬†am always delighted with how her recipes turn out; these recipes were no exception! ¬†I’m sad to say I was disappointed in the cheesecake recipe (sorry Bulk Herb Store!); though it’s not nearly as healthy, the Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake copycat recipe presented here is still my favorite.

We celebrated Easter at church on Saturday evening, which is our normal time to attend church.  Then, we had a pretty typical Sunday morning, but we did dye and decorate hard boiled eggs and take baths so that we would look our best for our EASTER PICTURES!  Here are the family picture highlights:

2015.04_Family Pic

(best family picture)

2015.04_Couple pic 2

(best couple picture)

2015.04_Kid Pic

(best kid picture)

2015.04_Worst Pic

(and, lest you think all our picture taking endeavors are magical, here’s the worst picture)

Then, we did our Easter egg and basket hunt. ¬†For those of you who are curious, I stuffed my kids’ plastic Easter eggs with: ¬†nickels, dimes, stickers, Barbara’s Vanilla Animal Cookies, nuts, Yummy Earth Gummies, Annie’s Gummies, “chore pass” coupons, and “free smoothie” coupons. ¬†In the past, I’ve also stuffed the eggs with bracelets, xylitol sweetened gum, pretzels, hair ties/clips, Legos, lip balm, balloons, dice, etc. ¬†In their Easter baskets this year were a small toy (car/plane), fun pencils, summer hats, a few crafts, and a chocolate bunny. ¬†Other great ideas I’ve heard or used are spring/summer clothes, shoes/sandals, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, garden/sand toys, games, books, art supplies, and Legos (do they ever get old?!). ¬†In any case, here are some pictures from the action.

2015.04_Egg Hunt Gwyn

Gwyn (22 months) got a 30 second head start in the Easter egg hunt, which didn’t help her very much because she would find an egg, then open it, eat what was inside (if edible), and then go searching again. ¬†In the picture above, she’s opening an egg, happy with what she found and probably surprised that we were letting her eat so many sweets.

2015.04_Egg Hunt Ben

Ben (almost 5) started the Easter egg hunt 30 seconds after Gwyn. ¬†He doesn’t have the same sense of urgency or¬†keen attention to detail as his older brothers yet (as you can see from the picture where there’s an Easter egg hanging in the bush beside him), BUT¬†he had still fun AND¬†found the most eggs!

2015.04_Egg Hunt Will

Will (7) and Elliot started the Easter egg hunt 60 seconds after Gwyn. ¬†Lest things get too easy for them, we hid their Easter baskets very well¬†this year. ¬†Here’s Will pointing to his in our backyard tree.

2015.04_Egg Hunt Elliot

Here is Elliot (9) jumping for an¬†egg. ¬†You can see his Easter basket in the background on the roof! ¬†Like I said, we didn’t want it to be TOO easy. ¬†(We also didn’t want Gwyn finding their baskets and eating their bunnies!)

After the egg/basket hunt, we made dinner.  The boys were excited to get to use their dyed eggs to make dinner.  On the menu was simple dinner of:

Tarragon Egg Salad on toasted English muffins with tomato and bacon

Salad of Mixed Greens with Brianne’s Poppy Seed or Honey Mustard Dressing

Chocolate Milk

Easter Candy

Throughout the weekend, we talked, sang, and thought about Jesus and his sacrifice. ¬†It was a sweet, simple time of talking¬†with our kids about who Jesus¬†is, why¬†Easter is important to us about it, and why we celebrate! ¬†Though I believe fun and food are important parts of our celebration, I believe our dialog is even more important, so we’re hoping to make that experience deeper and richer in the years to come!

Safe, Effective DIY Mascara

Today, I’m sharing a homemade mascara recipe with you.¬† My skin is fairly sensitive, particularly around my eyes, so I have to be careful when selecting eye makeup or my eyes will burn all day.¬† Before I share my recipe, I want to quickly go over the most common ingredients in commercial mascara and their properties.

Typically, commercial mascara is made of:

1.  Colorants

Colorants, of course, darken the eyelashes.  In commercial mascaras, carbon black or iron oxide pigment are commonly chosen colorants.  While iron oxide is fairly safe, carbon black is considered a moderate concern by the Enviromental Working Group (EWG) because it can cause organ toxicity.  In a more minor, but concerning, role, aluminum powder can also be added as a colorant, but can also be neurotoxic and is deemed a high concern by the EWG.

2. Polymers

In commercial mascaras, polymers form a film that coats the lashes.¬† Polymers vary widely in form and function.¬† Some are natural; some are synthetic.¬† Some are safe; some are not.¬† I recommend searching the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database to determine the safety of all the ingredients in your beauty products, polymers included.

3. Preservatives

Preservatives are added to prevent bacterial and fungal growth in cosmetics.¬† Typical preservatives in mascara are parabens and propylene glycol (a few even still contain thimerosal).¬† Parabens can act as endocrine disruptors by mimicking estrogen in the body and are considered a moderate to high concern by the EWG (depending on which paraben is chosen).¬† Propylene glycol (aka antifreeze – yes, the kind you put in your car) is considered safe by the FDA and the EWG, but is a source of skin irritation for some.¬† And, even though its not a typically chosen perservative, it’s worth mentioning that some mascaras still contain thimerosal.¬† Thimerosal is an organomercury compound, which is considered a high concern by the EWG because it can cause organ system toxicity and neurotoxicity.¬† Thimerosal is also has the tendency to bioaccumulate and is persistent and difficult to excrete.

4. Thickeners

Mascara also typically contains thickening waxes or oils such as lanolin, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, castor oil, carnauba wax, and candelilla wax, all of which are considered fairly safe by the EWG.¬† It’s worth mentioning here that retinyl acetate is a common thickener/conditioner, which enhances the appearance and feel of eyelashes, increasing body, sheen, and suppleness; however, it can cause biochemical changes at the cellular level (aka mutations) and is also considered a high concern by the EWG.

I actually didn’t intend to go into quite that much detail about commercial mascara, but I found the ingredients and concerns of them interesting and worth sharing.¬† Since mascara and all cosmetics for that matter are loosely regulated by the FDA, it’s wise to consider the ingredients in your beauty products and your use of them.¬† Today, I want to talk more about DIY mascara.¬† It turns out IT IS possible to have fuller, longer looking lashing without exposing your skin to commercial mascara‚Äôs harmful chemicals AND without breaking the bank.¬† Natural mascara provides a safe and healthy alternative for your skin and it’s SO EASY to make.¬† My inspiration for this recipe came from this post by Marie Rayma at Humble Bee & Me.¬† In this recipe, Australian midnight black clay and pink/red clay serve as the colorants (and also play same role as the polymer in commercial mascara).¬† Lavender essential oil is the preservative.¬† Guar gum is the thickener.¬† And, the vegetable glycerine and water dissolve everything and bring them together to form a liquid mascara that dries relatively quickly yet washes off easily.

Ingredients 

2 1/4 tsp. Australian Midnight Black Clay

1/4 tsp. Pink or Red Clay or Red Mineral Oxide

1/16 tsp. Guar Gum

1/4-1/2 tsp. Vegetable Glycerine (plus extra for moistening hardened mascara over time)

3/4-1 tsp. Water

5 drops Lavender essential oil (optional)

Preparation and Use

1.  Stir the dry ingredients (clays, optional mineral oxide, guar gum) together in a small bowl or tin jar.

2.  Then, add in the wet ingredients (vegetable glycerin, water, and optional essential oil) and combine well.  If the mascara is too thick, gradually add more vegetable glycerin or water.

3.  You can store the mascara in a NEW mascara tube or a small pot/jar with a lid.  Use a clean, bristle-y mascara brush to apply as usual.  This recipe makes enough for one tube/tin.

Note:¬† I’ve stored my mascara in a tin jar as shown below and it does tend to dry out over the course of a few weeks, so I simply add a few drops of vegetable glycerin to the top of the mascara mixture to moisten it.¬† I don’t combine it throughout the mix, I simply rub my mascara brush over the moistened area and apply as usual and it works great!

Mascara 2

Science

Australian black clay is matte black in color, fine yet heavy in texture, and mixes well with oil.¬† It’s a non-toxic mineral that helps cleanse, condition, and nourish skin and hair with iron and oxygen.

Guar gum is a resinous material made from the guar bean.¬† Guar gum can be used as a thickener in natural cosmetics, softener, moderate emulsifier, and also can help add “slip” when combing through hair.
Glycerin is an alcohol, obtained by hydrolysis of naturally occurring vegetable or animal fats, or via chemical synthesis from petrochemicals.¬† Some¬†sources of vegetable glycerin are coconut oil and shea butter and, typically, if you are purchasing glycerin, the label will say if it is from a vegetable source of glycerin.¬† However, it’s worth pointing out that some labels may not disclose the source of glycerin (animal, vegetable, or synthetic) unless it is a marketing point.¬† Synthetic glycerin has received some publicity as being a potential health hazard because it is typically produced from the starting material epichlorohydrin, a toxic chemical classified as a probable carcinogen, which may remain in the final glycerin product in trace amounts (along with other contaminants like 1,4-dioxane).¬† So, be sure to read your labels.¬† In any case, vegetable glycerin is a conditioning alcohol similar to other conditioning alcohols, but it has three very hydroxyl (-OH) groups as opposed to one.¬†¬†Vegetable glycerin has long been used in cosmetics and personal care for its moisturizing properties for skin and hair.¬† New studies have shown that it may also aid in the repair and regeneration of skin cells.

Lavender essential oil has a sweet soothing and refreshing aroma.  Lavender is an adaptogen, and therefore the most versatile of essential oils, assisting the body where needed.  Lavender is highly regarded for skin and beauty and may be used to soothe and cleanse common cuts, bruises, and skin irritations.  It is also antibacterial and moderately anti-fungal.

Budget

As with many other cosmetics, mascara varies widely in cost.¬† Since I know you can buy makeup at the dollar store, I think it’s safe to say that the cheapest mascara is $1 per tube; however, the cheapest ‚Äúall natural‚ÄĚ mascaras are much more likely to start in the $20 per tube range.¬† The DIY mascara presented here costs about $0.52 per tube/tin (I’m not joking, double-check my math), making it cheaper in price than dollar store varieties AND it’s made with beneficial ingredients for your hair and skin and free from harsh chemicals and preservatives.¬† Plus, it’s so easy, so I hope you’ll give it a try.¬† I hope I’ve shown you in this series that it’s possible to have pure, safe, beneficial and high quality homemade beauty products.

Up next, I’ll do a personal post about our Easter celebration, complete with pictures.¬† In an effort to take quality family pictures at least twice a year, I almost always take pictures at Easter and Thanksgiving.¬† The Easter pictures are my family’s gift to me on Easter (since I don’t need candy).¬† And, yes, I WILL postpone the Easter basket and egg hunt until I get a good picture – so, SMILE!¬† ;)¬† The Thanksgiving pictures are also my family’s thank you gift to me (uh-hem, for spending 3 days cooking 1 gigantic meal) and allow me to give our extended families an up to date picture for Christmas.¬† I digress.¬† Shortly after my Easter post, I’ll take you along on my spring cleaning and organizing journey.¬† For all you Type A’s out there, it’s going to be amazing!¬† For all you Type B’s, no worries, I hope you’ll find a tip or two you love and go with that!¬†ūüėČ

Red Lipstick and Rouge

Today, I’m going to share one of my new makeup loves with you – a lipstick/rouge combination.¬† I love it for several reasons.¬† First, I love the color.¬† It’s deep, rich and full.¬† I also love that you can tailor the color to your preferences (be sure to look at my notes in the preparation and use section below to see how to adjust the color).¬† I love that the rouge actually stays on my cheeks and doesn’t rub off after a few minutes.¬† I love that it’s nourishing and healthy and made from beneficial ingredients.¬† And, I hope you’ve noticed by now that it uses many of the same ingredients as well as the same procedure as the lip balm, lotion bar, facial moisturizer, and moisturizing lotion I’ve shown you previously.¬† So, if you’re planning to start making these things yourself, you’ll find that you use the same ingredients over and over again, which not only saves you money, but makes you more efficient in the process of making them (I often make them all at once to save on the time creating them, getting the ingredients out and putting them up, and on cleaning.)¬† So, without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients 

0.30 ounces Grapeseed or Almond Oil

0.25 ounces Unrefined Raw Shea Butter

0.15 ounces Cocoa Butter

0.15 ounces Beeswax Pellets

1/2 – 1 tsp. Red Mineral Oxide or Australian Reef Red Clay (start with less and add more, if needed, in step 3)

1 tsp. Light Clay (like Zeolite or Kaolin, start with less and add more, if needed, in step 3)

Pinch of Yellow Mineral Oxide (optional, start with less and add more, if needed, in step 3)

5 drops essential oil (optional)

Preparation and Use

Note:  Before you begin, place 6 spoons in the freezer.  Trust me on this one, it will make sense later.

1.  Measure the grapeseed/almond oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax into a sauce pan.  I usually place my saucepan directly on a kitchen scale to make the weighing/measuring easier.

lb_03

2.  Heat the mixture over LOW heat just until the beeswax melts.

lb_05

3.¬† Turn off the heat and add the colorants and also the essential oils, if you’re using them.¬† Combine well the mixture well to distribute the color throughout.

Note:¬† Since it’s hard to tell what color the finished lipstick will end up being after it cools, test the batch by removing one of your spoons from the freezer and dipping it into the lipstick mixture while it’s still hot warm.¬† The oils and butters will cool immediately on the frozen spoon and show you what color it will be once it’s cool.¬† You can remove the lipstick from the frozen spoon with your finger and test it on your lips or cheeks.¬† DO NOT LICK THE SPOON!¬† :)¬† If you like the color of your lipstick, proceed to step 4.¬† If you don’t like it, adjust the color by adding more clays or oxides to tint accordingly.

4.  Carefully, pour the warm/hot liquid into 4 lip balm containers. There are lots of options out there: tin jars, white plastic jars, clear plastic jars, or standard lip balm tubes. My personal preference is for the tin jars, but you can use whatever you like.

Red Lipstick

5.  Allow the lotion to cool completely before placing the lid on the container.

6.  Clean your dishes with hot, soapy water.

Science

I’ve written about the science behind these ingredients when I told you about my Deep Moisturizing All Body Lotion, so I won’t go over it again here.

Budget

Lip sticks and rouges can vary widely in cost.¬† Since I know you can buy makeup at the dollar store, I think it’s safe to say that the cheapest lip sticks and rouges out there are $1 per unit; however, the cheapest ‚Äúall natural‚ÄĚ lip sticks and rouges I’ve seen start in the range of $8-10.¬† The lip stick/rouge presented here costs about $1.31-2.32 per tube/tin, depending on which ingredients you use (red mineral oxide is cheaper than Australian red reef clay and kaolin clay is cheaper than zeolite clay).¬† The¬†lip stick/rouge presented here is comparable in price to dollar store varieties, BUT it’s made with beneficial ingredients for your skin and lips and free from harsh chemicals and preservatives.¬† Plus, it’s so easy, so I hope you’ll give it a try.

The next post in my homemade beauty series is going to feature something I never thought I would make – mascara!¬† It’s even easier to make than lotions, lip balm and lip stick/rouge, so I hope you’ll come back to read about it.

Perfect Lip Balm

Spring and summer, wind and heat, are approaching and we need to arm our bags and purses with lip balm.¬† While, I admit I don’t use as much lip balm as I should; I am still pretty picky about its texture, applicability, and feel.¬† I haven’t been overly impressed with store bought varieties, and given all the homemade recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest and that my friends have been making, I decided to make some.¬† I began with this post by Marie Rayma at Humble Bee & Me, but since I can never seem to follow a recipe as it’s written the first time, I tweaked it a little.¬† I’m sure her original recipe is fantastic as written, but I wanted you to have the one I actually made. ¬†I’ve been very happy with this lip balm and I hope you are, too.

Making lip balm is very easy.¬† You’ll follow the same procedure I’ve outlined in the past two posts for lotion making (facial moisturizer and deep moisturizing (all body) lotion) by heating the oils together, mixing them, allowing them to cool, and pouring into tins.¬† If you’re scenting or coloring, add the essential oils and colorant/s after you melt the waxes, butters, and oils. ¬†Be sure to use oil soluble colorants like mineral oxides or clays. ¬†Water soluble colorants will not work.

Ingredients 

1.4 ounces Almond Oil (optionally, vanilla-infused)

0.9 ounce Coconut Oil

0.7 ounce Beeswax Pellets

0.5 ounce Cocoa Butter

0.5 ounce Raw Honey (optional)

0.1 ounce Vitamin E Oil

20-30 drops Essential Oil (optional)

1/8 tsp. Red Mineral Oxide (optional)

Pinch of Yellow Mineral Oxide (optional)

Preparation and Use

1.  Measure the almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax pellets, and cocoa butter into a sauce pan.  I usually place my saucepan directly on a kitchen scale to make the weighing/measuring easier.

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2.  Heat the mixture over LOW heat just until the beeswax melts.

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3.¬† Turn off the heat and add the raw honey, vitamin E oil, essential oils and/or colorants, if desired.¬† Feel free to leave it “bare” (without essential oils or colorants) if that’s your preference.¬† I generally like to use vanilla infused almond oil along with either sweet orange or peppermint essential oil to get a sweet orange vanilla or sweet peppermint vanilla lip balm.¬† Use your imagination though.¬† Add any colorants if you’re tinting your lip balm and combine well.

Note: To make vanilla infused almond oil, chop a vanilla bean and place in a 4 ounce glass jar.¬† Pour almond oil within 1/4″ of the top of the jar.¬† Place the jar in a saucepan or a crockpot.¬† Fill the saucepan or crockpot within 1/4″ of the top of the glass jar.¬† Heat on low for 2-3 days, refilling the pan/pot with water as necessary.¬† After 2-3 days, line a colander with cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a coffee filter and place over another jar.¬† Pour your vanilla infused oil through the filter to collect the vanilla beans on top and the infused oil in the jar beneath.

4.  Carefully, pour the warm/hot liquid into a lip balm container. There are lots of options out there: tin jars, white plastic jars, clear plastic jars, or standard lip balm tubes. My personal preference is for the tin jars, but you can use whatever you like.

5.  Allow the lotion to cool completely before placing the lid on the container.

PLB  Coral Lip Balm

6.  Clean your dishes with hot, soapy water.

Science

I’ve written about the science behind these ingredients when I told you about my Deep Moisturizing All Body Lotion, so I won’t go over it again here.

Budget

Lip balms can cost as little as $0.50 to $1.00 per tube/tin.¬† The cheapest ‚Äúall natural‚ÄĚ lip balms I’ve seen start at $2.00 per tube.¬† The lip balm presented here costs about $0.24 per tube.¬† The lip balm presented here costs less than the cheapest you‚Äôll be able to find almost anywhere else.¬† It’s so easy, I’m sure it took me less than 10 or 20 minutes to make a batch.¬† For the next few posts in my homemade beauty series, I’m going to feature a wonderful, moisturizing lipstick/rouge and mascara, so I hope you’ll stay tuned for those.