Homemade Natural Deodorant

After my last post about Natural Deodorants, whether they work and the testing of a few brands, I decided to look into a homemade option as even the ones I tested contained a few ingredients I was unsure of. For full comfort and control over what is going on my body, I went with a simple recipe whose competence is assured by many bloggers and naturalists.

After scouring the internet, blogs and write-ups, I discovered that one recipe monopolized the internet. I decided to try it out for myself and see if it was something practical and efficient.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil (solid state)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 cup starch (arrowroot powder, cornstarch)
  • essential oils (optional)
Mix together the arrowroot powder and baking soda in a bowl before adding the coconut oil. Warmed the oil a little bit on the stove in a water bath to soften it. Add the coconut oil and any desired essential oils. Place the mixture in a flexible container and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden. Silicon ice pop trays work well.

Coconut oil solidifies at roughly 76°F so it is best to keep this deodorant in the fridge, especially during the summer and to take great care when traveling with it. One of the bloggers who used this recipe loaded it into a cleaned out deodorant stick before being placed in the fridge to harden and form a deodorant “stone.”

All of these ingredients are inexpensive and the concoction works! Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is deemed to have antibacterial qualities. The starch assists in keeping you feeling dry while the baking soda removes any and all odors. As the coconut oil is cold pressed and organic, it is as unrefined as possible and only has a slight coconut smell that will not last long. I decided to add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil for a fresh and fragrant scent. Be careful when dressing as it does contain oil and can stain your clothes (will come out in the wash). It helps to let it soak in for a bit before dressing. I still found applying twice a day to have the best results.

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Arbonne April Giveaway

SPRING IS FINALLY HERE!

Start your spring cleaning by getting rid of all the chemicals and enjoy the ALL NATURAL products by Arbonne.

Arbonne personal care products are formulated WITHOUT:

  • Animal products or byproducts (vegan certified)
  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde-donating preservatives
  • PABA
  • Synthetic dyes
  • Triclosan
  • Hydroquinone
  • Gluten
  • These petroleum-based ingredients: benzene, mineral oil, petrolatum or petroleum jelly, phthalates, and toluene.

Arbonne nutrition products are formulated WITHOUT:

  • Artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners
  • Animal products or byproducts (vegan certified)
  • Cholesterol
  • Trans fats
  • Gluten

Now, for the Giveaway! My cousin, Nicole, is hosting a giveaway between now and April 26th. All orders placed with Arbonne (input her ID at checkout) will be entered to win a Free FC5 Shower set! Arbonne makes excellent products that love nature and promote beautiful healthy skin naturally without chemicals and artificial ingredients. Pure, radiant beauty and care!

Click on the image below to be taken directly to the Arbonne website and remember to enter in Nicole’s seller ID at checkout (14774833). Enjoy and good luck!

ArbonneAprilgiveaway

For Martha Stewart, the Secret Is Routine

The New York Times recently posted the article below on Martha Stewart’s beauty and makeup regime. For a woman of 72, Martha looks pretty spectacular. Her secret surprised me. She uses a lot of oils and serums. I was stunned to find out that a lot of the products she uses are relatively affordable. Now the same routine doesn’t work for everyone, but as you age, piling on the hydration is key to preventing wrinkles and signs of aging. Go Martha!  

The Martha Stewart Beauty Regimen: Fitness, Skin Care and Diet

JAN. 8, 2014

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

It turns out that the Bedford, N.Y., bathroom cabinet of Martha Stewart, 72, is as well stocked as its gardening shed. The many products help prime Ms. Stewart for on-air appearances like her show, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School,” which began airing its third season on PBS last week.

SKIN CARE

I get up a couple hours before I’m supposed to leave in the morning and I’ll put on a mask. I like the Yon-Ka Gommage 305 or the Susan Ciminelli Hydrating Gel Mask right now. Or I’ll use the collagen mask from Mario Badescu or the Chanel Correction Lift, a firming mask, which works great for me. I’ll do this about five days a week and I don’t repeat the same mask two days in a row. I’ve always done this — well, basically since I discovered masks. I have to wear makeup for photo shoots, television and appearances, so I have to make sure my face is extremely clean in the morning. Then I shower and I wash it all off.

I slather myself with serums. First, it’s a toning lotion. Right now it’s either the Yon-Ka Lotion or a more specific spray, like the rose spray from Mario Badescu. I spray my whole face and body and then its Susan Ciminelli Marine Lotion from head to toe. I use the same products on my body as I use on my face. I don’t think there’s really any difference between the two, so the more moisturizers and serums you use, the better off you are. Then I might use a vitamin B or SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum. I’ll also put on Clé de Peau or SkinCeuticals moisturizer. With all of these serums, I find I don’t have to put on an eye cream, although my facialist insists I put one on. Sometimes, I will and the Clé de Peau is good or Caudalie has one — it’s the fancy one from their high-end line — and it’s very good, too. At the end, before any makeup, I use SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense. If I’m not going to use foundation, I’ll use the tinted version, or if I use foundation, it’ll be the white one. Otherwise, I do my best to stay out of the sun. That’s very important. I do a lot of outdoor activity like gardening and I try to cover up and do SPF. Actually, I just bought a new sun hat that goes over your riding helmet. It’s pretty ugly, but it works.

‘I slather myself with serums.’ But first, a toning spritz or two.

If I’m traveling that day, I’ll be sure to have my Yon-Ka Lotion with me, which is a spray. On a recent plane ride to L.A., I sprayed myself five times. It’s hydrating, so I don’t look like a prune after flying.

I never go to bed with makeup on. First, I steam my face with a hot washcloth and then I use the AmorePacific or Shu Uemura cleansing oils. Johnson’s baby oil works really well, too. I use those as cleansers and they’re also excellent makeup removers. I like oil because it keeps my skin very moist, and it works for me. I don’t get clogged pores.

MAKEUP

I was told years ago by my daughter, Alexis, that I shouldn’t leave the house without makeup on. You’ll pay for it if you don’t because somebody will be there with a camera snapping away and you’ll look awful or just plain. I put on a light foundation, usually the AmorePacific tube called the Moisture Bound Tinted Moisturizer or the Clé de Peau Refining Fluid Foundation. I really like the YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch stick, which is fairly new I think. Then it’s Bobbi Brown bronzer. For mascara, I use Clinique High Impact mascara or I just got a new one from Givenchy. It has three little balls almost — it’s very cute. I got it from a makeup artist at John Barrett, when she did my eyes for the ballet. It’s a little short mascara but it makes your eyelashes look elongated. Also, I’ve used Latisse and it’s really helped. People should try that. It really works. I use a gloss on my lips. I use Buxom — I like the Samantha color — or a little bit of a lip pencil. I stick with nude colors, and maybe at night I’ll wear red and it’ll really stand out.

Quench time: The sea, Vitamin C and New York spa line Susan Ciminelli.

FRAGRANCE

I’ve been wearing Fracas since I was 19. I’ll put fragrance on three times a day. I’m thankful every day that they haven’t altered their formula. Although, I did just discover a new one by Hermès called Jour d’Hermès. It’s lovely.

HAIR

I use different shampoos. For me it’s like with skin care: I try to use a variety. I have to wash my hair almost every day because I have to have it done for pictures and stuff. Frédéric Fekkai Ageless shampoo and conditioner and Shu Uemura, the green line, are my two favorites. For styling, I don’t like a lot of mousse. I do use Sally Hershberger’s Texture Blast, which is like a hair spray, but just at the roots. I have really good hair and I don’t like to plaster it.

Robert Piguet’s classic Fracas and Yon-Ka lotion are some staples.

Parvin at John Barrett has been my colorist forever. She’s the blond expert. I think she’s the busiest colorist in New York. I like her because she does it in an hour so you don’t have to spend all day sitting there.

For cuts, I’m not fussy. I’ve been to Kevin at Frédéric Fekkai in the Mark. I’ve gotten my hair cut twice at Sally Hershberger recently, and they’re fabulous, too. There are so many fantastic haircutters in the city. Everybody’s hair looks much better than it used to.

Otherwise, Daisy Schwartzberg does my daily makeup and styling. Kevin from Fekkai will do styling for photo shoots, and Katsu from John Barrett does my blowout. They’re all good.

SERVICES

I’ve been going to Mario Badescu for 45 years for facials. I try to go at least once a month. For brows, Julia Haaland at John Barrett does them when I get my hair done. Luda, also at John Barrett — where else in New York can you get everything done at once? — does my nails almost exclusively. And she’s the best massager in the world. I stand, walk and hike and I still have good feet, and I thank her for that.

FITNESS AND DIET

Exercise is a necessary part of the day. I went to the gym this morning. I have a really great trainer in the city. We’ve worked together for at least eight years. Or I do yoga with James Murphy. I like to spin, but I don’t have enough time to do it. I also have a green juice that I drink every single morning. It’s very important. You can be the most beautiful person on earth, and if you don’t have a fitness or diet routine, you won’t be beautiful.

A Makeup Artists Perspective on Beauty

We all criticize and judge ourselves and others, women especially. Society has brainwashed us into believing in this false ideal of beauty that in unattainable and unhealthy. We look in the mirror and criticize every flaw, ignoring the beauty and strengths within us all. Oftentimes it is the most beautiful who judges the harshest. It is time to change. Time to recognize the positive and focus on loving ourselves and others for what we truly are and offer the world.

Home Made Organic Deodorant

Deodorant can be a VERY controversial topic when it comes to personal hygiene. This is something that cannot be skimped on. Even the most organic, all-natural individuals will opt for the store bought brands with aluminium for fear of body odor. But there are recipes that work! Recipes that are organic and natural and work! 

Something to note when switching to an all natural, organic deodorant such as the recipe below: There is a learning curve. The body needs roughly 1-2 weeks to fully adjust to the new deodorant. During this time some odor may be experienced. This is merely built up toxins leaving the sweat glands. I suggest switching over during the winter months. 

The following images and text are courtesy of We Support Organic. The article on organic deodorant can be found by following the link below. 

How to Make Long Lasting Organic Deodorant

Image: wellnessmama.com

Below is my favorite deodorant recipe. It is AMAZING!!! My husband can ride his bike 70 miles in the blazing summer and still no BO! I also love that it’s a great alternative for my girls who are just reaching the age of needing deodorant. It’s easy to use and you can add essential oils for a “pretty smell”, if you want.

Deodorant Recipe

Ingredients:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.

Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.

You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

Source: Heal Thyself

Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

With winter approaching, our homes are beginning to get stuffy and dry as the heat turns on and the indoor pollution increases. There are a few ways to counteract this including the use of humidifiers and air purifiers. Here are a few natural ways to help keep the indoor air clean this winter. The following text and images are courtesy of Wellness Mama. See the full article here

3 Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

3 Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air 3 Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

Turns out that indoor air can often contain more toxins and chemicals than outdoor air. Everything from mattresses to pots/pans to kids PJs can contain harmful chemicals in indoor air.

It’s best to reduce chemical exposure in any way possible, but in today’s world, it is practically impossible to completely avoid harmful chemicals.  For the remaining chemicals in indoor air, there are some natural ways to help reduce your family’s exposure.

I’ve mentioned houseplants before and they are a great option for improving indoor air (read my full list of recommended plants here). We have about eight indoor plants and I’m hoping to add more soon. For those who don’t want the upkeep of indoor plants or can’t have them due to pets/kids/etc, there are some other natural options.

Besides indoor plants, these are my top three natural air cleaners (and I use all three):

Beeswax Candles

Regular paraffin candles are petroleum derived and can release chemicals like benzene,  toluene, soot and other chemicals into the air. These types of candles do more harm than good for indoor air quality and should be avoided.

Pure Beeswax Candles on the other hand burn with almost no smoke or scent and clean the air by releasing negative ions into the air. These negative ions can bind with toxins and help remove them from the air.

Beeswax candles are often especially helpful for those with asthma or allergies and they are effective at removing common allergens like dust and dander from the air. Beeswax candles also burn more slowly than paraffin candles so they last much longer.

I personally only use beeswax candles in our house. We buy them by the case and our favorites are:

Salt Lamps

Salt lamps are another natural way to clean indoor air. They are made from himalayan salt crystals and just like the beeswax candles, they release negative ions in to the air to help clean it. They are also a beautiful light source. The only downside…. my kids like to lick them!

“The Himalayan Natural Crystal Salt Lamp also works as an air purifier. When lit, the lamp emits negative ions that fight against positively charged particles that cause you to feel stuffy and sluggish. The lit salt crystal clears the air naturally of allergens like smoke, pet dander, pollens, and other air pollutants. It dilutes odors so that you can breathe easier. People with asthma often find it helpful in reducing their symptoms. You can keep the lamp lit for as long as you like to maintain this purifying effect.” (from this description)

We don’t do night lights in our kids rooms, but if we did or if we need a light source at night for reading, we use salt lamps. The natural orange glow doesn’t disrupt sleep hormones like fluorescent or blue lights do and I find it very relaxing.

We have an 8-inch salt lamp that we use regularly (it is also the most cost effective for its size, as the bigger lamps can get very pricey).

Bamboo Charcoal

Another natural air cleaning option I recently discovered is bamboo charcoal. I’ve talked about one of my unusual uses for charcoal before and we use a charcoal block water filter to remove toxins from our water.

Charcoal can have the same toxin-removing effect on the air. We use bamboo charcoal in burlap bags in our house. They work wonders for odor removal and removing toxins from the air:

“Moso air purifying bags, made of linen and filled with bamboo charcoal, absorb unpleasant odors and dehumidify the air. The porous structure of the high density bamboo charcoal helps remove bacteria, harmful pollutants and allergens from the air and absorbs moisture, preventing mold and mildew by trapping the impurities inside each pore. The Moso air purifying bag has been scientifically proven to reduce the  amount of formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and chloroform gases emitted from everyday items such as paint, carpeting, furniture, air fresheners, chemical cleaners, rubber, and plastics. Toxin free, the bags are safe to use around pets and children. The bamboo charcoal rejuvenates when the bags are placed in sunlight once a month. You can reuse the bags for two years, after which the charcoal can be poured into the soil around plants to fertilize and help retain moisture. (source)

I’ve found that these are also great for removing odors from cars or from the bathroom (especially if you have recently potty-trained boys who don’t always have perfect aim!).

We use these Mosu bags in every room of our house.

DIY Salve for Cracked Heels

Thanks Wellness Mama for this great recipe for foot cream! I’ll be making this for my mother for Christmas. The following images and text are courtesy of Wellness Mama. Enjoy!

DIY Salve for Cracked Heels DIY Salve for Cracked Heels

I had a reader email to ask about natural remedies for cracked heels. Cracked heels can cause problems that range from minor discomfort to pain and bleeding. My husband and I met walking across the country and cracked heels were pretty common.

Cracked heels can be the result of several things:

  • the way a person walks
  • poor circulation
  • a skin problem like eczema or psoriasis
  • fungal infection
  • nutritional deficiencies

Finding the Cause:

Since cracked heels can have a variety of causes, it is important to find the root of the problem. Often, I’ve seen cracked heels improve with dietary changes. Deficiencies of zinc, magnesium and omega-3 can contribute to cracked heels, and fat soluble vitamins and gelatin are also important.

Skin related problems and fungal infections can often be helped with regular detoxifying foot soaks and a homemade healing salve.

Personally, we take fermented cod liver oil daily and make it a point to consume wild-caught fish to maintain Omega-3 levels. Since zinc is important for men’s health, my husband also takes a zinc supplement regularly.

As a general rule, I suggest trying any remedy for at least a few weeks to see if it is working. For best results, try external and internal approaches at the same time.

Internal Remedies for Cracked Heels:

  • Consuming enough Zinc, Magnesium and Omega-3s in food or supplement form
  • Consuming Gelatin and Vitamin C which increase skin elasticity and may help reduce cracking
  • Optimizing fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D (found in Fermented Cod Liver oil, supplements or from sun exposure) and Vitamin K (found in grass-fed butter or supplements). Consuming foods like bone broth and organ meats is also helpful.
  • Drinking enough water and consuming trace minerals

External Remedies for Cracked Heels:

Cracked Heel Foot Salve Recipe:

Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water in to the magnesium flakes in a small container and stir until it dissolves. This will create a thick liquid. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a quart size mason jar inside a small pan with 1 inch of water, combine the coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter and turn on medium heat.
  3. When melted, remove the jar from the pan and let the mixture cool until room temp and slightly opaque. At this point, put in to a medium bowl or into a blender.
  4. If in a bowl, use a hand blender or immersion blender on medium speed and start blending the oil mixture.
  5. Slowly (starting with a drop at a time) add the dissolved magnesium mixture to the oil mixture while continuing blending until all of the magnesium mix is added and it is well-mixed.
  6. Add the oregano and peppermint essential oils if using and whip until combined.
  7. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes and re-blend to get body butter consistency.
  8. Store in fridge for a cooling lotion (best consistency) or at room temp for up to two months.
  9. Use on cracked heels at night. Apply a thick coat and wear socks until the salve absorbs.
Notes
Do not use Oregano or Peppermint Essential Oils on children or while pregnant. As with any medical condition, check with a doctor if things don’t improve or if you have any specific concerns.

For best results, exfoliate feet with dry skin using the pumice or Ped Egg, then do a detoxifying foot soak, let dry and apply the salve. Repeat as needed until problem resolves.