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.

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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 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 “all natural” 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.

Facial Moisturizer

Is it just me or can facial moisturizers be ridiculously expensive?!  I understand that different people have different skin care needs.  I happen to have a pretty normal and complexion, so I have a really hard time spending a lot of money on facial moisturizers.  I believe facial moisturizers are an important part of short- and long- term skin care, but I have often wondered if they’re worth the price I pay for them.  If your skin is more problematic, you may believe differently.  I tried out a few homemade facial moisturizer recipes and settled on this one.  I can’t believe how easy it is to make and how effective it is in use.
I will add one disclaimer, it does not have the texture of a typical store-bought facial moisturizer, but rather feels more like a salve going on.  My face sometimes feels a little oily for a minute, but it quickly soaks in and that feeling goes away (and doesn’t lead to breakouts as I thought it might).  I’ve been using it now for at least 2 years and am very happy with it; I can’t remember a time in the past 2 years that my face has felt dry, oily, or acne-prone.  It makes my face feel “just right.”  And, when you get to the budget section below, you’ll see why my husband loves it so much, too!  🙂
Ingredients 

4 ounces Coconut Oil

0.75 ounce Beeswax Pellets

4 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil (optional)

2 drops Lavender Essential Oil (optional)

Preparation and Use

1.  Measure each of the ingredients 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 until the beeswax melts.

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3.  Turn off the heat and add essential oils if desired.

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4.  Carefully, pour the warm/hot liquid into a container.  I like to use Ball 4 ounce Jelly Jars or a previous facial moisturizer container because I believe they’re a perfect size for scooping out the lotion without being too cumbersome.

Facial Moisturizer

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

6.  Clean your dishes with hot, soapy water.

Science

If you’ve read my previous lotion/moisturizer posts, you may remember that coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm.  Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin owing to its small molecular structure.  Coconut oil aids in the removal of dead skin, revealing the smooth, youthful surface beneath and providing instant relief for chapped skin.  Coconut oil also provides long-term healing properties to connective tissue cellular structure by providing it with nutrients and antioxidants, leaving your skin smooth and radiant.  Coconut oil is composed of triglycerides that, when applied to the skin, convert to antimicrobial-free fatty acids which bolster infection-fighting abilities.

Beeswax has emollient, soothing, and softening properties, which help the skin retain moisture, making it beneficial cosmetically.  It’s also great in skincare products because it acts as a thickening agent (because it turns into a semi-solid substance when it comes into contact with air), emulsifier, and humectant.  After processing, beeswax remains a biologically active product retaining anti-bacterial properties. It also contains vitamin A, which is essential for human cell development.  So, it’s great as an antiseptic and for healing wounds.

Essential oils have a wide variety of skin supporting properties.  If you choose to use essential oils, you can select them based on scent preferences AND/OR based on their skin supporting properties.  There’s a great reference chart here on selecting oils to relieve dry, sensitive, oily, or acne prone skin as well as to support better elasticity and wrinkles.

Budget

As I mentioned earlier, facial moisturizers be ridiculously expensive!  The cheapest somewhat “natural” facial moisturizers that I have shopped for cost at a minimum $10-15 for 2-4 ounces (conservatively, $2.50-7.50 per ounce).  The moisturizer presented here costs $2.29 for 4.75 ounces ($0.48 per ounce).  So, the homemade facial moisturizer presented here is FAR less expensive than pretty much anything you’ll find in stores.  What’s more, it has all natural ingredients, is easy to make, AND the scent and properties can be tailored to your skin care needs!  With all those benefits, it’s definitely worth trying – so go make some!  It will only take about 15 minutes!  🙂

DIY Laundry/Carpet Stain Remover

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I started making cleaning solutions for my home about 3 years ago.  Most of the recipes worked on the first or second try, so there wasn’t a lot of experimenting.  However, I have to admit that I had a really hard time finding a homemade laundry/carpet stain remover that actually worked for me.  I tried several different recipes and methods before finding this one.  I love the fact that it’s simple (two easy, all natural ingredients) and that it works for me every time!  I hope it works for you, too!

Ingredients

1 cup dishwashing liquid (like Dawn, which is my preference)

2 cups hydrogen peroxide

Preparation and Use

Mix both ingredients together in a dark, opaque spray bottle until well combined.  Spray or pour the stain remover directly on the stain (whether it’s on laundry, carpet, tabletop, …) and then wash as usual.  If it’s a big stain, add the stain remover to a bucket of hot water and soak the stained item/s in the bucket for a few hours before washing.  If you plan on storing the stain remover, be SURE to store it in a dark, opaque bottle because hydrogen peroxide is sensitive to temperature and light.  Otherwise, the hydrogen peroxide will break down into water and oxygen (which are more stable than hydrogen peroxide itself but not as useful for removing stains).  Here’s a tip, since you’re using a lot of hydrogen peroxide for this recipe, you can use the dark brown bottle the hydrogen peroxide comes in to hold your stain remover.  Simply, take the sprayer off of another spray bottle and screw it onto your dark brown peroxide bottle.

Science

Dishwashing detergent and soaps are used for cleaning because pure water can’t remove oily, organic soiling. Soap cleans by acting as an emulsifier, allowing oil and water to mix so that oily grime can be removed during rinsing.  Detergents are primarily surfactants, which lower the surface tension of water, making it ‘wetter’ so that it is less likely to stick to itself and more likely to interact with oil and grease. Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizer, making it useful as a color safe bleach or cleaning agent.  Hydrogen peroxide is also safe for the environment because it simply breaks down into water and oxygen!  Hydrogen peroxide is a great natural cleaning agent due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-mold and anti-mildew properties.

Budget

The cheapest laundry stain removers cost about $2-2.50 for 30 ounces ($0.07-0.08 per ounce).  The cheapest “all natural” stain removers will cost more.  The stain remover presented here costs about $2-2.50 for 48 ounces ($0.04-0.05 per ounce…$1 for 32 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, $1-1.50 for 16 ounces of dishwashing liquid).  The savings on this one doesn’t seem as big as some of the other recipes I have talked about; however, it’s still about half the price.  Not to mention that I go through a lot of this AND, as always, I like knowing what the ingredients are!

DIY Dishwashing Salts

Let me begin with a promise…I promise that when this cleaning series is over, I will post on something other than cleaning…no spoilers for now, but I will aim for something VERY different.  🙂  However, in my defense, these are the a few of the recipes I am asked for most often, so I thought I would get them out of the way first.

That said, the third recipe in my cleaning series is for dishwashing salts.  The dishwashing salts presented here are similar in purpose and function to commercial dishwasher detergent, but more natural, as you will read in the “science” section below.  We have been using these dishwashing salts for 2 years or so and have been very happy with the results.  In the interest of full disclosure, occasionally (once every few months or so), I will start seeing a white residue on my glassware.  My non-all-natural, but oh-so-easy way of removing the film from my glassware is to load my dishwasher from top to bottom ONLY with my glassware, run a cycle with Finish Quantum Dishwasher Detergent Tablets, and that’s it.  The film is gone for another few months.  Like I said, I usually only do that every few months though, so the un-natural-ness of the Finish Quantum is overshadowed by the simplicity of using it and my desire for crisp, clear, non-filmy glassware.  My all-natural way of removing the film from my glassware is to do a 1:1 vinegar:water soak, followed by some hearty scrubbing.  If I’m in the mood for a workout and less chemicals in my home, that’s the way I go.  Now, let’s make some dishwashing salts.

Ingredients

1 cup Borax (sodium borate)

1 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

1 cup citric acid (if you have soft water, use ½ cup citric acid)

½ cup salt

Preparation and Use

Gather your ingredients, an air-tight container for storing your dishwashing salts, and some measuring cups.

Add 1 cup of borax to your container.

Then, add 1 cup of washing soda or baking soda to your container.

If you have soft water, add 1/2 cup of citric acid to the container.  If you have hard water, add 1 cup of citric acid to your container.

Lastly, add 1/2 cup of (any kind of) salt to your container.

Mix all ingredients together until well combined (sometimes I stir with a spoon…sometimes, I’m feeling a little more aggressive and I put the lid on and shake).

Label the container.  Use 1 Tbsp. per load.  For the best results, also use full strength vinegar in your rinse cycle.  Occasionally, the citric acid in the dishwashing salts will absorb moisture from the air, causing the dishwashing salts to “clump up.”  You can prevent this by making sure you use an “AIR TIGHT” container.  Or, you can just work around it and pound the container against the side of your countertop to break it up (which is what I do because the yogurt container shown in the pictures is not air tight)…or break it up with your fingers or with a cooking utensil.  The clumped up salts will perform just as well as the powdery ones (after all, it’s just a little water that they’ve absorbed), they just don’t always fit in the dishwasher compartment designed to hold the detergent.

Science

Borax (sodium borate) produces a basic (alkaline) solution in water thereby increasing the cleaning and bleaching power of the other cleansing components. Washing soda (sodium carbonate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) act as a water softeners as well as removing odors and food particles from dishes.  Washing soda also competes with the magnesium and calcium in hard water, preventing them from inactivating the dishwashing soap and thereby allowing you to use less soap per load. Salt is a natural preservative, abrasive cleanser, and deodorizer.  Citric acid competes with the metals in hard water, preventing them from inactivating the laundry soap thereby allowing you to use less soap per load.  Citric acid will also remove hard water stains from glass without scrubbing.  Vinegar is also acidic and can dissolve mineral deposits from glass and other smooth surfaces.  Vinegar is also anti-bacterial.

Traditional dishwashing detergents are just that, detergents.  Detergents are made from petroleum products and primarily consist of surfactants, foaming agents, and alcohols.  Since these chemicals smell bad, detergents are usually heavily scented with artificial fragrances.  Detergents also contain preservatives and antimicrobials to prevent spoilage.  All of these chemicals are common allergens and skin irritants.  In contrast, all the ingredients in this recipe are salts and work as described to naturally clean dishes.

Budget

Depending on how much you pay for dishwasher detergent, rinse aid, etc. and how much of these you use will determine how much you are paying per wash for clean dishes.  The dishwasher salt recipe presented here costs about $0.05 per load or $3 for 28 ounces ($0.24 for 8 ounces of Borax, $0.32 for 8 ounces of washing soda, $0.13 for 4 ounces of salt, $2 for 8 ounces of bulk citric acid, and $0.01 for vinegar).

DIY Laundry Soap (Powdered)

The second recipe in my cleaning series is for an all natural, powdered laundry soap.  The recipe for this DIY laundry soap and its cost-effectiveness can be found numerous places on the web.  However, I have yet to come across an explanation that satisfies my scientific curiosity about each ingredient’s purpose in the laundering process.  So, I’ve decided to re-post the recipe here with a little more information about what each ingredient does in the washing machine.

On a personal note, I have been using this laundry soap for a few years now (in our high-efficiency, aka “HE”, washing machine) and have been amazed with how well it cleans our laundry.  We use cloth diapers and even they get completely clean using this laundry soap.  I have used a variety of bar soaps in the recipe, including Zote, Ivory, Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Castile Soap, Kiss Me Bar Soap, and Kirk’s Natural Fragrance Free Castile Soap.  All have produced similar results in my laundry, but my personal favorites are the fragrance free castile (vegetable based) soaps.

Ingredients

2 cups fragrance free soap, finely grated

1 cup Borax (sodium borate)

1 cup Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) or Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)

Preparation and Use

Gather the ingredients as well as a cheese grater, measuring cups and a container for storing your laundry soap.

Finely grate the bar soap using a handheld fine cheese grater or a food processor fitter with the finest cheese grating blade you have.

If you chose to use a food processor, you may want to dump the soap out, insert the standard steel blade in your food processor, dump the soap back in, and process a little longer (10 seconds or so).  This will break the soap up a little more and make for a more uniform laundry soap in the end.

Add 2 cups of finely grated bar soap to your container.

Then, add 1 cup of borax to your container.

Lastly, add 1 cup of washing soda to your container.

Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

Use 1-2 Tbsp. per load.  High Efficiency (HE) washing machine safe.

Science

Soaps are used for cleaning because pure water can’t remove oily, organic soiling. Soap cleans by acting as an emulsifier, allowing oil and water to mix.  The soap traps and suspends grease and oils inside the soap molecules during the wash, allowing the grease and oils to be rinsed away.  Borax (sodium borate) produces a basic (alkaline) solution in water thereby increasing the cleaning and (color safe) bleaching power of the other cleansing components.  Washing soda (sodium carbonate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) act as a water softeners as well as removing odors and stains from clothing.  Washing soda also competes with the magnesium and calcium in hard water, preventing them from inactivating the laundry soap and thereby allowing you to use less soap per load.

HE washing machines require a laundry soap that does not produce a lot of suds.  Castile soap, borax, and washing soda are all naturally low in soap bubble production.

Traditional laundry detergents are just that, detergents.  Detergents are primarily surfactants, which lower the surface tension of water, making it ‘wetter’ so that it is less likely to stick to itself and more likely to interact with oil and grease.  Detergents are made from petroleum products and primarily consist of surfactants, foaming agents, and alcohols.  Since these chemicals smell bad, detergents are also usually heavily scented with synthetic and artificial fragrances.  Detergents also contain preservatives and anti-microbials to prevent spoilage.  All of these chemicals are common allergens and skin irritants.

In contrast, true soaps are made with natural products (fat and lye).  Ecologically, it is possible to produce soap without any by-products.  Additionally, the soap that goes down the drain during washing is bio-degradable.  Soaps have an alkaline pH (between 9 and 10), which (as mentioned above for borax) increases their cleansing power as well as acting as a natural preservative and providing antimicrobial properties.  True soaps can be made from animal or vegetable based fats.  Zote and Ivory are both soaps made with animal based fats, which are by-products of the meat packing industry.  So, the factors that might concern you about meat (the treatment of animals, the use of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, etc.) may also concern you about animal based soaps.  Vegetable based soaps can be made from coconut, palm, castor, or olive oils.  And, again, the factors that might concern you about your vegetables (herbicides, pesticides, etc.) may also concern you about vegetable based soaps.  So, you’ll have to do some research to make an informed decision about your soap.

Budget

The cheapest laundry detergents cost about $0.20 per load.  The cheapest “all natural” laundry detergents cost even more.  The laundry soap recipe presented here costs about $3 for 32 ounces ($0.05 per load)!

DIY All Purpose Cleaner

My first blogging series here at Simple Solutions for the Home is going to be on how to make your own all natural cleaning solutions.  We moved into our first home 5 1/2 years ago when our oldest son, Elliot, was 9 months old.  Our home has lots of hard floors and before we unpacked all our moving boxes, we wanted to do a thorough cleaning.  Without thinking, I picked up a bottle of floor cleaner at the store, went home, and began scrubbing the floors while our son played nearby.  As he inched closer to the wet, freshly cleaned floor.  I suddenly realized that I wanted to know exactly what he was about to crawl into.  I now know that the companies that make cleaning solutions are not required to disclose their ingredients; however, this company happened to list the ingredients on the side of the bottle.  I knew that ingredients on a label were always listed in order of highest concentration to lowest concentration, so I was alarmed to see sodium hydroxide at the top of the ingredient list.  I have normal (not sensitive) skin and I remember getting sodium hydroxide chemical burns from my college laboratory.  Sure, it was a great laboratory cleaner, but I didn’t need anything that strong for my home and I definitely didn’t want to let my baby crawl near that stuff!  Needless to say, my search for safer, more natural cleaning solutions began that day, 5 1/2 years ago, and continues today.  As you will see in the “budget” breakdown below, grocery store varieties of all natural cleaning solutions can be expensive, but the crafty scientist in me knew I could make my own.  Of all the recipes, I’ve tried, here is my favorite DIY all purpose cleaner (which was inspired by the ingredient list on the Eco-Clean All Purpose Cleaner from Rocky Mountain Oils).

Ingredients

3 Cups Water

¼ Cup Isopropyl Alcohol

¼ Cup Dishwashing Liquid (like Dawn, Joy, Method, etc.)

2 Tbsp. Citric Acid

Essential Oils (optional)

Preparation and Use

Gather all the ingredients as well as some measuring cups, measuring spoons, a funnel, and an empty spray bottle.

Place the funnel in the empty spray bottle and add the citric acid into the bottle.

Add the dishwashing liquid, isopropyl alcohol, and essential oils (optional) to the spray bottle.

Fill the spray bottle with water.

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined.  Label the bottle and then use to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces as you usually would.

Science

Isopropyl alcohol dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds (like grease and oil), is an anti-septic, evaporates quickly, and is relatively non-toxic.  Dishwashing detergents and soaps are used for cleaning because pure water can’t remove oily, organic soiling. Soap cleans by acting as an emulsifier, allowing oil and water to mix so that oily grime can be removed during rinsing.  Detergents are primarily surfactants, which lower the surface tension of water, making it ‘wetter’ so that it is less likely to stick to itself and more likely to interact with oil and grease.  The citric acid competes with the metals in hard water, preventing them from inactivating the dishwashing liquid and thereby allowing you to use less soap in the cleaning solution.  Citric acid will also remove hard water stains from surfaces without scrubbing.  Essential oils have a wide variety of cleaning properties depending on the specific oil used, but a few properties of a few of the more popular oils include cutting grease, deodorizing, and killing bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Budget

The cheapest all purpose cleaners in my area cost $2-3 for 24-32 ounces ($0.06-0.13 per ounce).  The cheapest organic or “all natural” all purpose cleaners will cost more.  The all natural, all purpose cleaner presented here costs about $0.70 for 32 ounces ($0.02 per ounce).  The cost breakdown was $0.06 for 2 ounces of alcohol, $0.33 for 2 ounces of dishwashing liquid, and $0.31 for 1 ounce of Citric Acid (which I bought in bulk from Amazon.com, citric acid from the grocery store would have cost much more).  Essential oils will add a little to the cost of the cleaner, but will boost its cleaning power and, for may of us, make cleaning more pleasurable to the senses.  The savings on this cleaner is about a third of the cheapest store bought varieties AND this cleaner is all natural and you know all of the ingredients.

So, now that you have the recipe, go make some!  I hope you love it as much as we do!