Thursday, August 29, 2013

Deodorant


This is my homemade deodorant made with three basic ingredients.  I spent a few days thinking about making my own deodorant as I did my research and collected data.  I purchased the ingredients, made a trial batch, tried it for 3 days and I had some great results.  My pits felt smooth, the odor was minimal to none, and even after sweating a few times in one day it masked the odor.  My batch doesn't contain an antiperspirant ingredient, and I don't mind sweating since antiperspirants haven't worked for me in the past anyway.  What I have also found is that a little bit goes a long way and I don't need to refrigerate my batch.  I have yet to determine what the shelf life is, but in the mean time this works well for me.  The scent of my deodorant is fresh with a subtle coconut scent when it's initially applied, and even when I sweat profusely after a good workout it still remains odorless.  I made a 5 oz. batch, but you can always transfer a portion of it to a 2 oz. jar for quick access as shown below.



I can't begin to tell you how many sticks of commercial deodorants I've rotated over the years, because it wasn't long before I had an allergic reaction to each one.  There were some that lasted several months or maybe 2 years max before I had to move on to something else that wouldn't irritate my skin.  Two years ago I did some research online and found an all natural deodorant paste.  I had been using it for months since it worked very well to minimize body odor and didn't irritate my skin, but I kept having to order more of it nearly every 3-4 months and it became costly.  That's when I figured out just recently that I could easily make my own, and so I started researching.

Recipe
1/4 cup - Coconut Oil (Organic, Virgin, Cold Pressed, Unrefined)*
1/3 cup - Arrowroot Powder
1/3 cup - Baking Soda
6 oz. jar (This batch is approx. 4 oz.)

Measure out and pour all three ingredients into a bowl, mix them together until it becomes a pliable paste, and transfer the mixture to a jar or small container.  The climate will determine the consistency of the batch depending on where you live.  When it's time to apply the deodorant to your pits, scoop a dime-sized amount with your fingers and spread it on your skin.  Your body heat will melt the paste therefore you only need to spread it on once rather than rub it in and apply extra.  If you plan to engage in heavy physical activity, then it might be a good idea to apply some more, but each person's body is different.  You may add your own essential oils if you wish to have a different scent, but I don't use any because I'm sensitive to most of them.

Brands 
*Coconut Oil - Trader Joe's or Carrington Farms (Read my Body Butter post for processing details)
Arrowroot Powder - Bob's Red Mill (A natural thickening agent)
Baking Soda - Bob's Red Mill (or your choice i.e. Arm & Hammer)

(I purchased most of my ingredients from Vitacost.com since they have great deals) :-)

Toothpaste

This is my homemade toothpaste made with four basic ingredients.  The process is very simple and only takes a few minutes.  For years I've used commercial toothpaste, but there were some brands that irritated my mouth.  I used other brands that worked moderately well, until a few months ago when I started reacting to some of them.  So after going through my process of elimination, I realized that the whitening agent used in most toothpaste brands was one of the ingredients that irritated my mouth.  

I switched to an all natural toothpaste that did not contain the whitening agent (because some of them do), and immediately I noticed a difference.  I kept using this natural toothpaste for a while, but after researching  the ingredients labeled on the tube I figured that I could make my own.  So I ordered my ingredients, made a trial batch, and waited 24 hours to see how well I would respond to it.  Thankfully everything turned out well, and so I proceeded to make a full batch that smells minty fresh! 

Once I made my full batch, it became a pliable paste ready for use.  I keep this batch out on the counter, and when it's time to brush I just dip my toothbrush in the batch.  However,  the batch might slightly melt if you live in a warmer climate, and the coconut oil might settle on the surface.  One solution is to cut the stem a plastic spoon in half and place it in the jar to use as a stirring stick.  You can also use it to scoop a glob onto your brush for sanitary purposes.  As a result of using my homemade toothpaste, my mouth feels clean and fresh, and it leaves a subtle sweet taste which diminishes minutes later.  I've also noticed that my morning breath has decreased.


Recipe
1/4 cup - Coconut Oil (Organic, Virgin, Cold Pressed, Unrefined)*
1/2 cup - Baking Soda (Red Mill's 16 oz. bag)
4 tablespoons - Xylitol (a natural sweetener to combat bitterness)
2 teaspoons - Peppermint extract (for smell & taste)
6 oz. jar (This batch is approx. 5 oz.)

Pour the coconut oil, baking soda and xylitol in a bowl, and mix them together.  Then add your peppermint extract and mix it some more.  Keep mixing until the it becomes a pliable paste, and transfer the mixture to a 6oz. jar with an airtight lid to store it on the shelf. (The xylitol seems to partially dissolve in the mixture, so you might feel or taste a few sugary grains in your mouth).  When you're ready to use your toothpaste scoop some out with your brush, or with a plastic spoon as mentioned above.

Brands
*Coconut Oil - Trader Joe's or Carrington Farms (Read my Body Butter post for processing details)
Peppermint Oil - Frontier Organic Alcohol-Free Peppermint Extract (the kind you can ingest)
Xylitol - Your brand of choice

(I purchased most of my ingredients from Vitacost.com since they have great deals) :-)

Body Butter

Left: Solid (Refined) Butter..............................Right: Solid (Unrefined) Butter
Above: Liquid butter 
( refined butter maintains it's liquid state, while unrefined butter tends to coagulate)

This is my homemade body butter/lotion that I use to moisturize my skin from head to toe after I shower.  It's a mixture of raw shea butter and coconut oil.  I've used shea butter intermittently over the years mainly for my hair and scalp, but not so much on my skin.  I've used various commercial lotions on my body for years, but several months ago I noticed that my skin would react to some of them.  That's when I had identified an increase in my sensitivity level and had to make some changes.  I had some left-over refined (white) shea butter and I used this to make a trial batch that lasted me 3 months.  My skin responded well to it.  However, I plan to use the unrefined (yellow) shea butter instead with my next one, since it contains more nutritive and moisturizing properties.

Application
(Left pic) Sometimes I'll keep my batch refrigerated and since it's solid I simply take the batch out of the fridge, slice a chunk, rub it together in my hands until it melts and then rub it all over my body.
(Right pic) I'll use it as a liquid and just pour some into my hands and rub it all over my body.

Within a week of using my body butter I noticed my skin changed.  It felt softer, more moisturized, and blemishes became less visible.  Better yet when I did not use my butter after I showered, my skin still remained silky soft!



Recipe
1/4 cup - Unrefined (or refined) Shea Butter
1/4 cup - Coconut Oil (Organic, Virgin, Cold Pressed, Unrefined)  
  
It's easier to mix both ingredients if they're at room temperature, or you could melt them on the stove.  I scoop out the butter and oil into a small glass bowl, then place the bowl in a steel pot, and turn on the burner to let the ingredients melt.  You may add your own essential oils if you wish to have a different scent, but I don't use any because I'm sensitive to most of them.

Once they've melted, I'll do 1 of 2 things: 
1) I wait for the glass bowl to cool and then I refrigerate it until the mixture solidifies, OR
2) I pour the liquid into an old empty 8 fl oz. bottle and use it as is (i'll make a funnel using foil and pour the contents in that way to avoid spillage). 

When I'm ready to use my batch then I'll:
1) (solid): cut a chunk out with a knife and rub my hands together until it melts, OR
2) (liquid): Pour some liquid from the bottle into my hands. 

Shea Butter comes in two forms:
Unrefined Shea Butter is yellow, oily, smells nutty, more moisturizing and melts easily
Refined Shea Butter is white, less oily & odorless, but less moisturizing and lacks nutritive properties
Click here to learn more about Shea Butter and the difference between both forms.
(Many different website sell shea butter, so it would be a good idea to search for deals)

Coconut oil is processed in one of three ways:
Expeller Pressed - Uses high heat and harms nutrients
Centrifuge - Contains more water which causes it to become rancid much faster, but it saves nutrients
Cold Pressed  - It preserves nutrients

Coconut Smell:
Refined - It's odorless and processed with chemicals
Unrefined  - It has the delightful meaty coconut smell

Brand
Trader Joe's or Carrington Farms 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my blog and following my journey as I seek to find natural solutions for my skin sensitivities and allergies.  'Dewdrop' is my blogger name in case you're wondering. ;-)


The link to my hair blog is located near the bottom*

History
Since my childhood I've had different skin issues, which led to numerous dermatology visits, topical prescription medication, and failed attempts to relieve the problem.  For years I struggled to find beauty products that would work for me without causing an exacerbation of symptoms.  I slowly became increasingly allergic to a majority of the commercial products sold on the market and even some hypo-allergenic products (to my surprise)!  My allergic response seemed to fluctuate seasonally with some of these products, which resulted in wasted product use and cost.  Nothing seemed to work and I grew weary of searching and trying.

Present Day
Now that I'm an adult, I've noticed within the past 1-3 years that my skin sensitivities have increased or changed where I've developed new allergies.  My body started rejecting some of the commercial products I had been using prior to my search for natural alternatives.  I knew that I had to make some changes immediately, and so I began my research.  I'm still observing my skin changes and identifying my triggers (some of which are environmental or food-related), while experimenting with more natural ingredients.

After praying and seeking guidance from God about exploring more natural solutions that were practical, inexpensive and provided relief, He led me to some wonderful resources.  As I continued my research, I became excited and eager to experiment with these natural ingredients by trying new recipes and creating my own DIY (Do It Yourself) beauty products.  Just recently He gave me the idea to start this blog and share my experience and recipes with individuals.  My purpose is to find a natural solution while helping others who might have similar skin challenges.  My blog will be used to exchange information, share recipes, and be a source of inspiration and encouragement for others.

Here is a list of what I'm sensitive to:

Commercial products
-Brand name deodorant, shampoo and conditioners
-Creams, Gels, and some brands of toothpaste and make-up
-Facial washes/cleansers
-Sunscreen and some essential oils
-Non-natural household cleaning products

Natural Alternatives
-Unrefined Raw Shea Butter (my skin moisturizer/lotion)
-Coconut Oil (my skin and hair moisturizer)
-African Black Soap (Soap and shampoo)
-Aloe Vera Juice (Leave in Conditioner)

Since the start of this year I have come up with my staple of natural products.  I use them regularly and my skin is responding positively to them.  I've also noticed a difference in the health of my skin, because it feels so good and I have relief.  It's as if my skin experiences freedom and can finally relax, hence the blog name "SkinParadise".  I believe in using a simple regimen as I continue experimenting with various recipes, and I have some other projects I would like to develop as I continue my journey:

Goals/Possible Projects
-Soap
-Sunscreen
-Chap-stick/Lip Gloss/Lipstick (i'm currently using shea butter as my chap-stick)
-Hand Sanitizer

I'm still adjusting to the changes with my skin as I continue to do my research and experiment with natural recipes.  You are more than welcome to share your journey with me, ideas, recipes, ask questions etc. and together we can try new things!

*Hair Blog / Other Information:
In 2003 I started my natural hair journey in order to share my experience with others and receive feedback, since there was very little pubilc information available at the time.  As a result I was able to provide resources and gather information while proudly wearing my kinky/coily crown (loose and loc'd).  My hair blog contains video tutorials, product reviews, and pictures of my beautiful kinky/coily hair.  Be sure to visit!   http://kalia-dewdrop.blogspot.com