Pumpkin Spice Body Scrub

The name of this body scrub says it all, it smells like pumpkin spice perfect for the beginnings of longer days and cooler weather. In any body scrub the salts and sugars are meant to gently exfoliate the upper layers of dead skin so that the oils can more deeply hydrate fresh skin, something often needed as the weather dries out and the heaters come on. And in this body scrub we have the added benefit of herbs that gently increase our bodies circulation helping to keep us warm while at the same time adding the immune boosting effects of ginger and cinnamon.

Adding the essential oils of ginger and cinnamon furthers the beneficial effects and over all spirit warming effect of this particular body scrub.

You can use any carrier oil you like. For autumn I like a mix of pumpkin seed oil and sunflower seed oil, these are both high in Vit E and deeply hydrating for the skin. But any oil could be used, just keeping in mind not to use a strongly scented one or the scent of your herbs will be masked. Also this is where using essential oils is nice, because they offer a stronger longer lasting scent.

pumpkin spice sugar scrub

 

When you use this in a warm shower the oils can soak right into your open pores while you are gently rubbing away dead dry skin to allow the oils to do an even better job of moisturizing your skin.

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

¼ cup Carrier Oil

¼ cup Sugar

¼ cup Sea Salt

1tsp Cinnamon

1tsp Ginger

⅛ tsp Cloves

⅛ tsp Nutmeg

**A drop of Cinnamon and Ginger Essential Oils

Mix your salt and sugar and spices together. Then mix in your oil and essential oils.  Store in an airtight container.

**The essential oils are optional but their addition takes it to the next level of yumminess.

That’s it. You now have an incredible skin softening warming scrub for these lovely autumn months.

 

A few notes

Oils.

A Carrier Oil is any high quality vegetable oil, they all have beneficial skin properties, but for this recipe stick with the non-scented ones, like Sunflower or Almond. Stay away from the heavier ones like Olive Oil or Sesame Oil.

Water

Since this is to be used in the shower, you need to be careful to not get water in your container. I use my salts up fast enough that this is never a problem, but that said, allowing water in your container can introduce the yuckies (also known as bacteria).

 

~Enoy!

 

Finding Your Roots

treehugger

This world, this life spins so fast. Sometimes you have to find something bigger than yourself to hold onto. Trees are such things. Tall, strong, and patient they give great hugs.

They remind you of your roots, your ability to sink into the earth and gently take what you need, no more, no less.

They reach to the sky, and grow for the light, providing shelter, food, and housing for creatures around them.

They bend in the wind and sing silent songs.

They remind of us, to stand tall and breath it all in.

Trees remind of the stillness and breath that lies within all things. And our connection to all things.

Find yourself a tree, a forest if you can and go there.

After Sun Oil Recipe

 

It’s summer!! That means sun kissed skin and maybe even sun burned skin, dry skin, and over heated skin.  This after sun oil recipe is soothing and hydrating to skin that has had too much exposure to summer weather. The herbs used in the oil are cooling and healing to the tissues of the skin and are often used in recipes for treating burns. The essential oils in the recipe are also known for their tissue repairing effects after the damage of too much heat and sun.

This oil is not for severe sunburns, severe sunburns need to be treated carefully. If you have a severe and painful sunburn you need to cool it down with cool water baths for the first 4-6 hours after the burn. And drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Applying aloe to the burn may also help in between the cool water baths.

This After Sun Summer Oil recipe is for mild sunburns, dry skin, wind chapped skin, skin that has had too summer weather exposure or when a severe burn no longer hurts and is in the healing stage.

It can help to repair and restore skin to its natural balance.

I slather it on myself during the summer even when I do not have a sunburn because my skin loves to drink up the herbal infused oils that help it to hydrate, cool, and repair.

 The Healing Herbs in the Mix

Calendula-These happy little flowers are well known for there skin healing abilities from bruises to burns. They are considered cooling in the Aryuvedic tradition, which is exactly what sunburned skin needs.

Lavender-Another herb well known for it’s benefit in skincare, lavender can help soothe weather beaten skin with its analgesic properties and helps repair the skin after exposure to heat and sun.

Chamomile-An anti-inflammatory known for its healing affinity towards the skin offers its ability to cool and soothe.

The Nurturing Oils

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Sunflower Oil-Many of the carrier oils could be used but sunflower and apricot are two oils that always work. Sunflower is high in Vitamin E, making it great for the skin and apricot oil is also known to be high in anti inflammatories (helps cool the skin) and contains anti oxidants to fight against free radical damage. Another great oil is Jojoba Oil.

The Essential Oils

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Lavender Essential Oil-Known for its ability to soothe and heal skin that has been burned.

Carrot Seed Essential Oil-Is used for its ability to repair sun damaged skin and possibly in helping to reverse precancerous skin cells.

Geranium Essential Oil-Is used for its soothing and healing affinity for the skin.

There many choices of essential oils that would be good in this mix, like like frankincense, peppermint, or spearmint, so get creative!

After Sun Oil Recipe

4oz Sunflower or Apricot Oil

2tbs Lavender

2tbs Calendula

2tbs Chamomile

A couple drops Lavender EO, Geranium EO, and Carrot Seed EO

A Mini Croc Pot or double broiler

Cheesecloth

To Make:

1. Combine your carrier oil and dried herbs into your croc pot or double broiler and set on low for at least 40min. I do a couple hours on a low setting. Make sure to keep your oil on the lowest setting. If you see any bubbles, its too hot.

2. After a couple hours, turn off heat, and allow the oil/herb mix to cool. Then strain through your cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup.

3. Add a few drops of your essential oils.

4. Pour into a massage or lotion pump bottle or glass bottle of your choosing.

Wondering what to do with the leftover herbs in the cheesecloth? I’ve got an idea!

You now have a wonderful After Sun Oil infused with healing herbs for mild sunburns or summer exposed skin.

*Please note this is not a remedy for severe sunburns. Please take the necessary steps to treat severely sunburned skin, and take precaution not to let this happen!

I keep a bottle around during the summer, we use it on sunburns, dry skin, rough feet, cheeks that have too much wind, or for generally thirsty skin. I love knowing that as I use it my skin is drinking up nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help it rejuvenate, repair and maintain health. I also love being able to give my friends and family something when they show up a little too kissed by the sun.

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dancingsun

Extra Herbs from Infusions? Herbal Hot Oil Bath

At the end of your herbal oil infusions you have this little tight ball of cheesecloth filled with herbs and oils that are perfect for a herbal hot oil bath.

No matter how hard you squeeze your cheesecloth it is impossible to get out all the goodness from the herbs. So what do you do? I have had teachers recommend infusing them again, which does work but the oil is definitely not as strong and if you are going for uniformity this method does not work. I’ve saved them and rubbed on my skin after showers, which can be messy, but the best thing to do is to take a hot oil herbal bath with them.

Make a Hot Oil Bath

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Take the ball of cheesecloth and tightly tie a string around the top. Store the herbal oil ball in a little dish or baggie until you are ready to use. It should be used within a day or two for freshness.

Simply turn on the warm bath water and put your herbal oil ball in the tub. As you soak in the warm water it opens your pores allowing the oil and herbal properties to soak deep into your skin. This is a lovely way to honor the herbs, end your day, and soothe your mind and body all at the same time.

I usually add about 5 drops of essential oil to the herbal oil ball for an added benefit of relaxation or clarity or immune boosting or whatever it is I am needing right then.

Enjoy!

Got any tips? Share them!

Natural Insect Repellent

Its summer. Time for picnics, hikes, camping,swimming, and bugs. Time to whip out the insect repellent. Bug spray is one of the simplest things you can make, and a great way to eliminate one more source of unnecessary chemicals your life

Why make your own?

Natural insect repellent is easy to make.
You can tailor it to your own needs (think pets, children, aversions to certain smells).
It is natural and effective.

Citronella, yes or no?

When people think of bug spray they often think of Citronella. Memories of childhood waxy candles with an overpowering perfume are brought to mind. But research says Citronella is not actually that effective and can in fact be irritating for many skin types. However Citronella is derived from Lemongrass, which is considered to be an effective bug repellent.

My true love of insect repellent essential oils is hands down Eucalyptus combined with Lemongrass. Another essential oil that occupies a special spot in my heart for skin care purposes is Geranium which turns out is effective in repelling ticks.

Insect Repelling Essential Oils

Eucalyptus the essential oil known for sinus trouble and it’s menthol scent is a great ingredient for bug spray.

Lemongrass is known to repel ticks and mosquitos. It is also the plant from which citronella is derived.

Lavender essential, good for some many things, also makes the list for a great bug spray ingredient. (Is there nothing lavender cannot do?)

Geranium Essential Oil is another great essential for bug spray recipes. Research has suggested that it works in repelling ticks, fleas, and other flying insects. It has a strong floral scent and a little bit goes a long way. It blends well with Cedarwood.

Cedarwood Essential Oil along with pine is an earthy woodsy essential oil that also has a knack for repelling those biting bugs. It blends really well with Lavender and Geranium. This one is great for the undertone and contrast it gives to the floral scents. And of course because it works!

Peppermint Essential Oil and Spearmint Essential Oil are both great for repelling the creepers and crawlers. It is recommended that peppermint not be used on children under 2 years of age, but spearmint is fine.

Tea Tree Essential Oil is also a great bug repellent, I always include it any recipe I use. I feel like together with Eucalyptus they have a synergistic effect that makes a pretty powerful combination.

Bug Spray Recipe

This is the recipe I use, it is an all purpose bug spray. Meaning its has essential oils that repel fleas, ticks, lice, and mosquitos.

These were the oils that I felt intuitively needed to be blended together, they go well together, and compliment each other’s strengths. I suggest you do the same when formulating, get quiet inside and feel out which essential oils are the ones for you to use, which ones are stepping forward and offering their medicine.

Remember you are making magic!

Natural Insect Repellent Essential Oil Recipe

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10 drop Eucalyptus
10 drops Lemongrass
5 drop Geranium
5 drops Tea Tree
4oz Witch Hazel

Combine in a 4oz spray bottle.
Shake before use. Spray on skin or clothing, and avoid contact with eyes.
And label your bottle!! Label it with the ingredients and the date.

Word to the wise;
Make sure to test a patch of skin for sensitivities or allergies before applying.
Applying to clothing only if you are sensitive.
Consult a doctor before using if you are pregnant before using any bug repellent, natural or not.

Have suggestions on a recipe that you have used or other essential oils that you have found to be effective, please share your knowledge!!

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Natural Beauty Products??

What does Natural mean?

To me and you it means things that are unadulterated. Things that are wild and free. It may conjure up images of forests and fields where the mark of man is missing. It means foods that have not been altered. It means (to you and me) things that are as close to the source as possible without having harmed the environment or its inhabitants to acquire it.

But legally that is not what it has to mean.

Unfortunately is doesn’t really mean anything as far as regulations and labels go.

What natural means on a label;
Whatever the manufacturer wants it to mean

This is an important point. The beauty industry is not heavily regulated. Which is crazy because 60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. Essentially your skin drinks and eats what you put on it.

Two things are going on.

People, women especially, are turning more towards sustainable and natural products when it comes to body care and cosmetics.
The manufacturers know this.
The manufacturers also know when people think “natural” they think of all those things we just listed above and they also know there is no definition for natural.

The result is you have companies that truly are answering the call, and creating wonderful safe, eco friendly, sustainably harvested, products that contain natural ingredients.

The other result is companies that are merely giving the impression of being natural, eco-friendly, and sustainably harvested. This is commonly known as green washing. I know, I myself have fallen for it.

It happens so quick.

The eyes process images a great deal faster than words. So there you are in the store, in a hurry, and you grab the new product with the brown packaging and cute green leaves on it. Only later to find out it’s got MSG in it.

Skincare advertising is the exact same way.

We have to be detectives. We have to make choices that speak to what we are willing to spend our money on.

We have to be nature warriors.

We have to be wild women foraging through the fields of green beauty.

While what you and I think means natural is truly natural, there is no law or standard deeming what makes a product natural. The label can say natural and still contain questionable or known to be hazardous ingredients.

With the desire for green and clean beauty we need clarification on what is actually green. Where do we draw the line with the ingredients? Every product out there can be called natural because natural has no definition as far as labeling goes. Sometimes we may not even find an ingredient label on a beauty product and if we do we may not be able to recognize the ingredients.

It can be confusing trying to figure out what is actually a toxic chemical and what is an isolated plant compound in chemical form and of those which ones are safe, which ones are questionable, and which ones are toxic. And that is part of the problem, everything on this planet originated from a natural source, so technically it is all “natural”.

Thus it can be even more confusing. Just because it originated from a plant does not mean its safe or healing. Cocaine came from a plant, and yes it is a stimulant, but does that mean it is safe in place of coffee? Of course not.

What natural means to me and you;
Clean
Safe (as in not potentially harmful with short or long term use)
Close to the source
Was grown organically
Was grown in general (meaning not manufactured by a man in lab coat)
Was harvested sustainably
No one was harmed in the making (think animal testing/slave labor)
Non-gmo
No-chemicals

What can we do?

We have to do our homework and question ingredients (read labels!)
We can make our own products
We can look to other green beauty products that truly are green as green can be
We can decide for ourselves where we draw the line on ingredients
We can support organizations like EWG and look to them for safety information and regulation updates

We know there are products out there that are claiming to be natural and are not and these are giving a bad rap to the products that claim to be natural and are. For the health of yourself and the planet find a green beauty company selling earth friendly safe chemical free products or make them yourself.

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Wild SkinCare Ingredients

The Wild Ingredients

The ingredients that we use in our herbal products and skincare recipes are so much than just products themselves. They were at one time individual living plants lives in a field or forest. Breathing, eating, reproducing. Amazing plants that have the superpower of turning sunshine into sugar. Pretty sweet.

I call them wild ingredients because they had lives rich with existence spending their days with the wind and the rain. They grew for the sake of growing, of breathing and stretching for the sky. They grew in their own way, bound to none, they were wild and free. Even the plants on a farm. Most of them spent their days under the sun, their nights under the stars, and their lives full of a freedom that many of us long for.

Take Jojoba oil for example.

jojoba
(image http://www.beardsmanoilco.com/)

The jojoba shrub is native the southwest deserts of the United States. It grows under the searing sun with a heat that drives most other life away. In the quiet of the desert it thrives soaking in the heat, witness to few other lifeforms while it silently produces one of the most healing oils (a wax really) available. I like to remember this when I am soothing my child’s chapped cheeks, that this stoic shrub survived in the burning desert under a scorching sun while making an oil that is now soothing the burn on his cheeks. Amazing.

The plants and oils that we use are more than just isolated ingredients on a list.

The herbs and plants we use were once living and breathing. The rain fell on their leaves and their flowers blossomed in the sun. They were home to small little lady bugs and great big soaring eagles. They had lives out in the forest and field, and some of that life was stored in the very molecules and cells that made up the plant, that you are now absorbing into your skin when you use them in your recipes.

They were living breathing entities that made oxygen for you to breathe and now once again they offer up their medicine to you as they are absorbed into your skin ultimately becoming a part of your own being.

It keeps you grateful to remember where your ingredients came from to be sure. It also deepens your connection with them, remembering that they were living, breathing plants, that gave life for your benefit. It opens the door to understanding their properties on an intuitive level.

Know your plants like you know friends.

Health and Beauty, An Ancient History

As I talked about before, the green beauty movement may seem like a new trend, but really it is a turning back to the wise ways of our ancestors who walked this planet before us and used the plants around them for health and beauty long before modern science deemed them valuable or trends deemed it cool.

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians had a great love of their cosmetics and skincare and used oil, gems, clays, soot, and animal products to achieve their desired effects. Fenugreek was one herb they used for the appearance of youth. They had a method of taking fenugreek through a long process that resulted in an concoction (an ungent) that allowed the oils of dried fenugreek to be massaged onto the body. It was said to make one appear young again. The process was a complicated one that seems to be part magic and part cosmetic but even today fenugreek is used in many facial mask recipes for it’s anti-aging and rejuvenating properties. (1)

The Egyptians were also known to mix barley with butter to heal skin imperfections like acne and pimples, and use a mixture of chalk and oil to remove their make up. (yes women have been wearing make-up forever!) (2)

The Celts

But they were not our only ancestors to use the gifts of the earth for beauty and skincare, the ancient Celts were very familiar with the plants and herbs that grew around them and how to use them for skin care. It is known that the Celts used burdock for healing the blood understanding that the blood affected the skin. Celtic shamans used to give concoctions of burdock root to teenagers to help with acne thus enhancing their beauty. (3)

In the same neck of the woods the inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands were known to use Elder Flowers to heal and promote beauty in the skin through washes and face balms mixed with lard. Elder flower is used today in many formulas for its anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties.

The Greeks

The Greeks also had a love of beauty. They used cosmetics and took the time to care for their skin. They were a culture that had an understanding of the aging process so among their favorites were olive oil for keeping the skin soft and supple while protecting from the damaging effects of the sun. They also had a love of honey and used this in face masks and facial treatments. Both of which are still used today. (4)

The Eastern Indians

The Indians of the East have also been using herbs and plants for thousands of years to promote balance, health, and well being through their Ayurvedic traditions. Commonly used herbs of the ancient Indians were sandalwood, neem, turmeric, tusli and saffron. They would incorporate these into creams and masks to nurture and balance the skin. (4)

How did they know?

Without science and labs our ancestors understood the properties of the herbs that grew around them. How did they know the things they knew? They were observant. They understood the energies of the plants. They understood the environments that the plants grew in and how this translated to the properties the plant offered in healing. They were quiet in their spirits and used their intuition. And they observed the results of the herbs they used when they followed their intuition to use them. Of course they also passed the knowledge on others and shared what they knew for the benefit of others.

Today we are still using much of what our ancestors used for healing and beauty while discovering through science just how spot on they were.

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References
1–http://www.touregypt.net/egypt-info/magazine-mag05012001-mag4.htm
2-http://www.thebeautybiz.com/67/article/history/beauty-through-ages-egypt
3http://www.megabored.com/beauty/ancient-herbal-secrets-of-the-celts/
4-http://www.annmariegianni.com/ancient-beauty-rituals/

Vanilla Infused Oil

Vanilla infused oil is perfect for a lot of things, it can be used skincare recipes like lotions, body butters, body oils, or in food recipes, but it also makes a wonderful homemade massage perfect for Valentine Days or other special moments.

You will need:

1 Vanilla Bean
1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil (non scented like almond or sunflower)
Mini-crockpot
Cheesecloth

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1. Slice your vanilla bean open and scoop out the vanilla paste, place in crock pot. Chop up the rest of the vanilla bean and place it too in the crock pot.

2. Pour your oil over this.

3. Turn the crock pot to the lowest setting and infuse for 2-3 hours.

4. Strain your oil through cheesecloth and bottle it up. You may have little brown specks of vanilla in your oil and that is fine.

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Tip: Don’t let your oil get too hot. Not all crock pots are the same, so check on yours too make the oil is not too hot. You will know it is too hot if it is bubbling.

If you don not use your vanilla infused oil right away store in the fridge, like all oils shelf life will vary.

Vanilla has been used through out the ages to inspire feelings of wealth and sensuality. It is an exotic aroma that has been used in aphrodisiac formulas as it tends to awaken the senses with its deeply rich aroma. Now you have your very own homemade exotic vanilla infused oil. Enjoy!

Be well!

Winter’s Essence Essential Oil Spray

We are half way through winter, which for some of us can be the hardest part. We started out strong. We started out loving our big comfy sweaters and hot chocolate, but now our longings have turned to flips flops and sunshine. Our internal sunshine is running low and our endurance and tolerance for the fickleness of coldness is running thin. Sure not everyone is like this, but those of you that are know what I am talking about.

This essential oil spray is for you. And for those of you whose endurance is still running high for cold air and slippery things I commend you but think you will still enjoy this winter essence spray.

This is an uplifting spray for the winter blues with essential oils that bring a combination of joy, warmth, and invigoration.

-Wild Orange is an essential used for it’s joyful effect on the emotions, it inspires happy sunny thoughts and feelings.

-Petitgrain is an essential oil derived from the small unripe oranges before they grow into maturity. It too is used for its happy factor.

-The Chamomile essential oil brings an earthy calming factor to the spray while encouraging feelings of happiness. It is a plant known for its ability to lift feelings of depression while giving one the lightness they need to keep going. It supplies an energy needed to endure and maintain a positive outlook at the same time.

-Cinnamon is included for its warming effect both on the body and the mind. I love cinnamon! It is amazing at increasing warmth in the body and comfort in the mind. Perfect for winter blends.

Mixed all together the essentials combine to offer warmth, happiness and an endurance that can be needed to keep on going through the darker, colder winter months.

It’s like sunshine in a bottle.

Winter Essence Recipe

1oz Witch Hazel
5 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil
3 drops Petitgrain Essential Oil
2 drops Chamomile (German or Roman) Essential Oil
2 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil

Combine all ingredients in a 1oz spray bottle.

Tip: It is a good idea to always clearly label your bottles with ingredients and the date. It saves a lot of confusion when you have a lot of bottles, can’t remember what you put in it, misplace it and find it months later, or for others that may pick up your homemade herbal products.

One of the best parts of making your own products is that you can tailor it to be exactly how you like it. Maybe you want to cut down on the Petitgrain and add more Chamomile. Experiment and have fun or buy it here.

Be well & stay wild,
Janet