In my post earlier this week about the bachelorette party I went to at the Donkey Sanctuary, I mentioned that my friend Eve taught us all how to make some fun homemade bath and beauty products. It was such a fun activity to do together.
Eve is a natural teacher – engaging everyone in the activity, asking us questions and sharing her wealth of knowledge on natural ingredients. Every time we hang out, I learn something new that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve made homemade dry shampoo, but I’d never thought of making other beauty products from scratch using ingredients you can find at the health food store, grocery store and even in your own backyard.
Homemade Hand Salve
What you’ll need:
- olive oil
- fresh/dried herbs: plantain (not the banana kind, you probably have some in your backyard), lavender, St. John’s wort, calendula and comfrey are great for insect bites and stings.
- tea tree oil
- lemon essential oil
- optional: other essential oils for scent
Depending on how much you want to make the ratio is 1 cup of oil : 1/4 cup beeswax : 10 drops essential oil.
Eve was able to pick the fresh comfrey from the garden and let it steep in the oil for awhile. Ideally you should add all the herbs to the oil and then let it sit for 6 weeks to get all the medicinal properties. If you don’t have that much time, you can speed up the process by heating the oil with the herbs, which is what we did.
Pour the oil (along with any herbs in it) into a large stainless steel bowl over a large pot of water. This will act as a double broiler.
Next you add in all the herbs that you want to use. Eve brought plantain, lavender, St. John’s wort, calendula, comfrey which are great for insect bites and stings, while the olive oil acts as a moisturizer. She advised us not to put this over a deep cut as the calendula can seal the skin over the top and interfere with the healing process.
Stir in all the herbs.
Heat the oil over the double broiler for 2 hours for low heat.
Meanwhile, grate or chop up the beeswax.
Strain the oil into a large bowl. Discard the herbs.
Return the bowl to the double broiler and add the beeswax to the bowl.
To test if it is ready, dip a spoon into the mixture. It should harden as soon as it touches the air.
Take it off the heat and then add in the oils. Essential oils are super concentrated so use sparingly. Stir and then carefully pour it into the containers. We used a cup with a spout to pour it into the containers.
It doesn’t take long for the mixture to cool down and go from liquid to solid. We packaged ours up in these adorable little glass jars and added a label. The mixture doesn’t really have a scent, so everyone could add in the essential oils they liked. I put in some orange essential oil and it smells awesome.
I used it last night after I got a couple of mosquito bites at the park. The itchiness was gone almost instantly. I forgot I even had bites!
Homemade Epsom Salts
Contrary to the name, Epsom salt is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Having a bath with Epsom salts can help relieve stress, soften your skin, soothe achy muscles and may even reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
You can add different fresh herbs and essential oils to create a variety of Epsom salts to use in the bath or as a foot rub.
The essential oils are quite strong, so you only need a couple drops of each. Different essential oils are said to have different properties, such as lavender which is said to provide a calming effect.
Everyone scooped some Epsom salts into small bowls and added in the fresh herbs and essential oils that they preferred.
This mint-eucalyptus combo smelled just like Vick’s Vapour Rub that my mom used on us as kids. I’m planning to use this when I have a cold, to clean out the stuffiness in my head. You could put some in a bowl of hot water and lean over it with a towel over your head.
This combination of fresh lemon balm leaves, lavender buds along with marjoram, lemon and orange essential oil is a lovely floral mixture. Perfect for a nice bath!
I made this masculine mixture for Garrett – with cedar, thyme, nutmeg and clove essential oils. After a long day at work, this would be nice to soak your feet in.
Now that I’ve realized how easy it is to make your own bath products, I want to make more! I love knowing exactly what went into them. No hidden ingredients. If you have other recipes like this, I’d love to hear about it!