Honey, I Shrunk the Pores

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Cleanser, toner and face cream

Cleanser, toner and face cream

 

Today I am sharing with you my 1,2,3 skin care regimen I use on my face.

Over the years I have spent a good bit of money on face washes and lotions. Only to face extreme breakouts and rashes. The only thing that did not break me out was Noxzema, which is a great product. But as I began to age my skin began to dry. Badly. I suspected at one time I was beginning to mummify because my skin was so dry.

So I had to say goodbye to my beloved Noxzema and search for alternatives. Luckily my search was short. I researched natural beauty products and singled out a few ingredients I knew my sensitive skin could handle.

Step 1 is the sensitive skin cleanser.
Step 2 is a toner
Step 3 is an anti-aging cream

Before we go any further lets talk about shelf life. After researching natural skin care I have learned this: shelf life is a tricksy thing. Some people believe these products have a shelf life of three weeks other three months. Yes that big of a difference. I just make small batches of these recipes so I know I will use them up sometime during the 3 week to 3 month range. Now each product on it’s own seems to last forever but once mix together that changes. I don’t know why. Maybe they don’t play well together?

Step 1: SENSITIVE SKIN CLEANSER
I’m going to share some information on the Sensitive Skin cleanser, which I found on Pinterest which led me to Beautyandthefoodie blog. Check her out she has some great DIY beauty recipes. Here is the recipe located on her blog. Sensitive Skin Cleanser.
I have been using a few weeks now. Just twice a week and eventually three times. The other days I wash my face with coconut oil.
So far I am liking this cleanser. It is gentle yet you feel like you are getting a deep clean. The recipe does call for raw honey, I used some honey I bought during a trip to Asheville, NC. It is that dark amazing tasting honey. So good. I’m sure you can find a good quality honey at your local farmers market.

face cleanser

Step 2: SKIN TONER
The toner I also got from Pinterest but as sometimes happens you pin then next time you try to visit the site it is blocked. Luckily I wrote down the recipe, I changed some amounts because I felt the amount of one item was too much for my aging dry skin.

Skin Toner
1 oz distilled water
½ oz apple cider vinegar
10 drops tea tree oil

Just mix. I store in an amber glass jar. You can also use 10 drops lavender essential oil instead of the tea tree oil. The vinegar has a strong odor but will be gone by the time the toner dries.

Step 3: FACE CREAM/OINTMENT
The Face Cream or Ointment. It does look more like an ointment instead of a cream. I concocted this recipe from products I researched and had on hand. This stuff turned out to be amazing. AMAZING! I use it at night before bed. A little goes a long way. Sometimes I use a dab in the morning after my shower. Once a week I heavily slather this on my face, let it sit for an hour then use the cleanser. I love this stuff.

What you need

What you need

GOTHA’S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH OINTMENT

¼ cup almond oil
2 droppers full of Argan oil
2 tbsp coconut oil (solid)
2 tbsp beeswax pellets
1 tbsp Shea butter
10 drops lavender essential oil

Use a large glass measuring cup, that is sitting in a water bath on the stove (medium low heat). Add your two droppers full of Argan oil. Pour in ¼ cup almond oil. Add the coconut oil, beeswax and Shea butter. After everything has melted and stirred well remove the glass measuring cup or whatever you are using from the heat. Add your lavender oil. Mix well. Pour into your storage containers. Let cool completely before putting on lid. Store in a cool dark place.
You can add a few drops of vitamin e oil when you add the lavender. It would just make this great cream even better. I do not use vitamin e oil because my skin tends to itch when I use it.

Freshly poured magic

Freshly poured magic

Fountain of youth?

Fountain of youth?

Just for your 411: when you begin to use natural products your face may experience a breakout or two as your skin releases built up toxins and anything yucky lurking about. Now if after a few weeks you are still experiencing breakouts this stuff may not be for you.

I buy everything but the coconut oil off of Amazon. Only because that’s where I find the best deals.

Now let’s talk common sense. If you begin to break out in hives or your skin begins to experience a burning sensation STOP. WASH OFF PRODUCT! As I always say, research all the ingredients before using them. Know what is going on your skin!

 

Natural Deep Conditioner Treatment for Hair

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Ingredients
Remember me mentioning some beauty products I ordered at a deep discount? They arrived yesterday. So now I have my Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Argan Oil and Lavender essential oil. I also have the coconut oil I always keep on hand. I still need a few other things to arrive but I can begin with what I now have.
I’m so excited to try all my experiments!

Today I will share with you some natural deep conditioner treatments for your hair. I opened my package of products as soon as I got home from work. I had to try the Shea butter and Argan oil right away. I wanted to see how each product conditioned my hair on its own. So on one side of my head I slathered on the Shea butter the other side I applied Argan oil.

The Shea butter. Taking it straight from the jar and putting directly to the head is not an easy task. It is solid like coconut oil but as I discovered it doesn’t melt as quickly as coconut oil. You have to really do some rubbing of the hands to get it to melt. It will melt but you will have to work for it. It did take a good bit of the butter to just one side of my head. Once you get this stuff on don’t try to run your fingers through your hair, won’t work. The hair feels a little bit tangled. By the time I was done coating my hair my hands were really soft. My hair wasn’t feeling soft , yet.

The Argan oil. This stuff went on easy. It’s a liquid oil. I had my hair covered in just a few minutes. Bonus: it did not take much oil to coat my hair and scalp. My hair felt really good and I could run my hands through it easily.

So half an hour later I’m ready to hop in the shower to wash my hair. I’m gathering up my towel and other things I need when….the power goes out. Yes the power went out. We have well water so when the power is gone the pump doesn’t work. Three hours and some odd minutes later the power comes back on. By then the Shea butter side was a hot mess but the Argan oil side was pretty decent.

Shower time! Woohoo!

The result: my hair, both sides felt soft and amazing. Will I do this treatment again? Yes but not this way. After referring to Pinterest I found several recipes I thought were okay then adapted it to my very own hair treatment.

Natural Deep Conditioner Treatment for Hair
( I think this will make a good skin lotion to use right before bed also.)

Ingredients:
½ c. coconut oil
½ c. Shea butter
3 tbsp. sweet almond oil
3 tbsp. Argan oil
5-10 drops lavender oil
1 tbsp vitamin e oil (optional)
(1-2 tsp. olive oil if mix is to thick)

I didn’t want to make a full batch for the first time, just in case I didn’t like the finished product so I halved this recipe. It still made a good size batch.

Shea butter, Lavender oil, Sweet Almond oil, Argan oil, and coconut oil

Shea butter, Lavender oil, Sweet Almond oil, Argan oil, and coconut oil


In a medium to large size bowl combine the coconut oil and Shea butter. Microwave for 20 seconds or until just begin to melt. With your electric hand mixer beat a minute. Add your sweet almond and Argan oils. If it seems to thick, like a body butter add a tsp. of the olive oil. Beat a minute more. Add your vitamin E and Lavender oil. Beat 2 minutes. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Beat on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the last few minutes of beating the more your mix it the more it increases in volume and it will look more and more like conditioner. Pour into your storage container.
This is how the conditioner looks before the fridge and mixing a second time with hand mixer

This is how the conditioner looks before the fridge and mixing a second time with hand mixer

A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA: After pouring into my jar there was still a ‘film’ of the mixture in bowl. I scraped it out with my hand and massaged it into my hands and arms. It did a pretty good job as a skin lotion. It did take several minutes to absorb.

To use has a deep condition treatment for hair: Massage in beginning at scalp and work to the ends of hair. At this point your could cover your head with a shower cap or not. Leave on 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo out.

The finished product

The finished product


Okay now do yourself a favor, go onto Pinterest and search “Argan oil for hair. You will see some many hair uses, for example: You can add a drop or two of oil to your hands, rub together then work that tad into your hair ends. Or to smooth those splits, or to control those fly away hairs and so much more.

I will be using this treatment to get my hair in shape for some abuse later this year. This fall is the time for Gotha to go all black. Yes there is nothing that enhances that pale deathly looking skin like black hair.

FYI: It’s has been almost five hours since I massaged the hair treatment mixture into my hands. I’ve done a sink full if dishes and some gardening. My hands are still soft.

The coconut oil I got at Wal-Mart (I usually get their organic brand but they were out of stock this past time)
Vitamin E at CVS
Sweet Almond Oil (gift from sister) she got at Amazon
Native Soul Shea butter I got at Amazon along with the Argan oil and Lavender oil.
Since I have Amazon Prime I paid nothing for shipping!

Scrub a Dub Dub – DIY Body and Hand Scrub

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trio scene

Today I will be sharing recipes for two types of scrubs. One is a strawberry scented body scrub, for a gift, the other is a pumpkin spice hand scrub (it can also be used as a body scrub but your shower/tub will get slick). The hand scrub is for me.

My sister, we will call her D had her 30-something birthday a few weeks ago, I would tell you the exact age but she would never forgive me. Let me tell you something about my sister. She is spring/summer where I am fall/winter. When the first blooms fight their way out of the earth after winter my sister comes to life. She smiles more, there is excitement in her voice when she talks about her garden plans, and she will happily spend her days sitting out in the sun reading a good book. Me, my life is fall. When the days get shorter and there is that cool bite in the air, that is my time. Oh I still love to garden in the summer but I’m not happy out in the hot sun. I worry about bursting into flames.

For Ds birthday I decided to make her a summer scented body scrub. The recipe I used is similar to whipped coconut lotion. You just add an extra ingredient.

D has always loved strawberries. The scent and the taste. A few years ago she suddenly developed an allergy to strawberries. I don’t mean she breaks out in hives, no it’s an allergic reaction that requires a trip to the ER. She misses strawberries dearly. I went on Amazon to find some strawberry fragrance to use in her body scrub. If she can’t eat them I can at least give her strawberries in a safe way. I ended up getting a multi-pack with several summer scents.

 


 

Strawberry Body Scrub

Ingredients:

1 cup to 1 ½ cups coconut oil.

Vitamin E oil (1 tbsp) optional

Tea Tree Oil (just a few drops) optional

1 to 2 cups Brown sugar

Strawberry fragrance (12 drops or more depending on how strong you want the scent)

Bowl

Hand mixer

Fork

Container for the scrub. For a gift I use a pretty glass jar with lid, for me I just use a plastic container with a lid.

I must tell you this will be a thick body scrub. Not a runny oily one. I like the thick ones with coconut oil for the shower. Coconut oil seems to just run down the drain if the water is hot enough whereas the runny oils tend to stick to the tub making a slick mess which could result in slips and falls. This I have learned the hard way.

Instructions:

Scoop out several big spoonful’s of coconut oil.(it is a solid oil, like lard). If you don’t have a measuring cup, six or seven heaping spoonful’s should be plenty.

Add your vitamin E and tea Tree oil if you are using them.

Now with your hand mixer, whip up the coconut oil until is the consistency of a thick hand lotion. This will take several minutes.

Add your fragrance.

Mix it in by hand or mixer.

Now add you brown sugar. Use enough to make the concoction feel more like a paste instead of a lotion. Usually one to two cups. Mix it in by hand, with a fork. Fork just seems to work better than a spoon.

making scrub

Smell your wonderful scrub. If the scent isn’t strong enough now is the time to add more.

Now your are ready to put the scrub in pretty jars to give as gifts. This filled three 4 oz. jam jars and one slightly larger decorative canning jar. D got strawberry whipped coconut lotion, body and hand scrub.

sisters


 

Here is the recipe for hand scrub I use when I come in from the garden. I have dirt on my hands and a ton under my nails. This scrub does a good job of getting that stubborn dirt off my hands. I keep a small jar by the kitchen and bathroom sink. I got this recipe from Pinterest. Pumpkin Spice Scrub. On Pinterest it is called a body scrub but I like it as a hand scrub.

p s hand scrub

Pumpkin Spice Hand Scrub *

Ingredients:

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 cup of vegetable oil. Since this is just to get dirt off my hands I don’t use the more expensive oils.

Bowl for mixing.

Jars for storage.

Instructions:

Mix the dry ingredients: the two sugars and pumpkin spice together. Mix well. Try to get all the lumps out. Add oil and stir. If it is too thick add more oil until you get it to the consistency you want.

*This will make a heck of a lot of hand scrub. I halved the recipe, it was still too much. I could tell it was going to be too much before adding the oil. So I poured the dry mix in the two jars I was using then added the oil to the jars. I had quite a bit of dry mix left. I just poured the remaining dry mix into a labeled baggie to use at a later date. It was a warm breezy day when I made these scrubs. I had windows and doors open enjoying the nice weather. Sadly as I was pouring the dry mix into a baggie the wind slammed the front door shut making me jump out of my skin which resulted in half of the mix missing the bag and spilling into the floor. And on my pants leg. And down my shoe. Do you know how sticky brown sugar is? Pretty darn sticky I discovered.

Now if you are using this for gifts go with the full recipe. I don’t know how many jars it will fill up but I’m sure it will be more than plenty.

How easy was that? Once you learn the process there are so many scents you can use to customize your own scrubs.

open scrub

 

Making Lavender Oil

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Lavender steeping in oil. My Lemon Yhyme and Rosemary are in the background

Lavender steeping in oil. My Lemon Thyme and Rosemary are in the background

Last summer was the wettest summer my area had experienced in many years. Most of my plants and vegetables could not handle all the rain being dumped upon them. I lost all of my vegetables except the pumpkins, my lavender plants suffered horrendously as well.

Once I realized I was losing my lavender plants I waited on a dry day. We didn’t have many. I then harvested every bit of the lavender as I could. Once picked I wondered how was I going to preserve this smell-tastic plant.

I decided to make lavender oil. I also made rosemary and lemon thyme oil. To make the oil is easy. But it is a long process. I know how to make the oils, been doing it for several years. I decided to check out Pinterest to see if I could learn anything new about the process. What did I learn? Seems there are a whole lot of ways to make herbal oils. Some of the things I read made me go, “WTH?” so I left Pinterest deciding to go with my own way of doing it.

When I was a teen I spent some time with a family I knew. The grandmother had been raised deep in the North Carolina mountains. I must tell you her upbringing was very interesting, oh the stories she told. She shared a lot of her knowledge with me, my young short attention span mind tried to soak up as much as it could.
I have remembered a few things, some of them useful, some strange wives tales and a little bit of stuff my family did not approve of.

Two main things have been put to use many times over the years. One was how to ‘read’ cards. Yes I can tell your future with a regular deck of cards. Am I accurate? Who knows? I did it for fun in my younger years. I rarely read cards anymore but the knowledge is still there. Taking up space in my brain that more useful stuff could be occupying.

The second main thing I learned was how to make herbal/essential oils. I will share that knowledge with you now.

Sunlight is a no-no. Some Pins I read required the oil concoction to steep in sunlight. I was taught you must let it sit in a dark cool place for a few weeks because heat from the sun would destroy the essential oils in the plants. Is this 100 percent true? I don’t know I do know the woman who taught me had been doing it that way her whole life and her mother before her and her mother before her and so on.
Any oil can be used but if you are wanting to capture the scent of a plant use a light scented oil. I did go against this bit right here, only because the only oils I had on hand were olive and coconut. Coconut is a solid like lard so I used the olive oil. It was a light olive oil so the smell was not as strong as most olive oils. The olive oil scent was still pretty noticeable. But I was able to make it work. Now if you are making oils for taste/cooking nothing beats rosemary steeped in olive oil. Yummy.

The lavender oil turned out rather nice, with the olive oil having a noticeable I had to repeat the process twice. Now I must warn you homemade essential oils are not going to smell as strong as store bought essential oils. Even though the smell isn’t strong I still believe this is a good way to bring a part of your fragrant garden indoors so you can enjoy year round.


 

Lavender Essential Oil

Fresh cut lavender.
Glass canning jar with lid. If you have a tinted glass jar with a lid that is even better.
Oil (a light scented oil, like safflower or canola)
A cool dark place

Cut enough lavender to fill a glass canning jar. Rinse your lavender of any dirt. Let dry completely. I let mine dry overnight on a clean towel or a stack of paper towels.
Stuff the jar full of the clean dry lavender.
Pour in enough oil to cover lavender completely.
Screw on lid tightly.
Put jar up in a cool dark place.
Shake jar every few days for two to three weeks.
Strain.
Done.
Store the jar away from heat and sunlight.

Now since I used olive oil after my two weeks I strained the oil and you could just barely detect the scent of lavender. I did happened to have one lavender plant that was refusing to die so I still had some blooms available. So I cut those blooms, rinsed, dried them then stuffed them into the jar of my weak scented lavender oil. Again in a cool dark place shaking the jar every few days. I let it steep for thee weeks this time before I strained the plant material out. Steeping a second time did the trick. You could still smell the olive oil but the scent of lavender came through strong.

I use my lavender oil in my whip coconut lotions. As a massage oil. As a treatment on my scalp and hair. I’m down to my last little bit, I’m going to use it in a body scrub. I will share how to make that with you later this spring. Or summer since it looks like mother nature is going from winter to summer and just skipping over spring all together.

How long does it keep? Well that depends on how you store it. Trust me you will know when it goes bad, the oil will have a rancid smell. Most of my oils last several months. I have had a few go bad within a few months, but on those I did use low quality/cheap oils to begin with.

Lavender oil about to be used in whipped coconut oil lotion.

Lavender oil about to be used in whipped coconut oil lotion.

Now you can use hard to find expensive oils, that is up to you. But me, I feel if the ingredients cost more than what you can purchase the finished product for, it’s not worth it. Some projects I will go buy things I wouldn’t normally buy but most times I make use of the items I have on hand. If you have read my other posts you know sometimes making do (substituting) items doesn’t always work out. Those instances don’t bother me, I learn from them. Life is an adventure, throw out the owners manual and just do it your way. Unless you’re a surgeon than maybe it is best to stick with the rules.

Good luck on your essential/herbal oil making. If my process does not appeal to you. Hit up Pinterest, there are many different ways to make your oils.

This post is done. Now go forth and pin. Pin your heart away.


 

Why are you still here? How can you have your own Pinteresting adventure if your still here? “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

Care For That Living Dead Skin

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It has been awhile since I posted. Holidays, heavy work load and novel writing have taken me away from the Pinteresting Life Of Gotha Stewart blog. But I have still been trying things from Pinterest while also uploading some of my own creations to Pinterest.

The hard part is deciding which to share with you first. Should I follow the wheel of the year by going season to season? Or should I buck the system and just go with some random make no sense order?

Maybe I should flip a dead mans coin to decide. How convenient I just happen to have a dead man handy to go through his pockets. The winner of the coin toss is….randomness. Just like the chaos that is my life.

So today we shall talk about care for that living dead skin.

Zombie skin has more moisture than mine. I believe I have the worlds driest skin. So I’m always on the lookout for that ‘miracle cure’. I am ashamed of the amount of money I have spent on name brand high dollar lotions. Did they work you ask? Hell no. So I turned to the one place I could find dry skin ‘cures’ that us everyday hard working people have tried and are willing to share. Pinterest!

What came up often in my searches was coconut oil. Oh my goodness, coconut oil is used for everything. Everything! Do yourself a favor a look up coconut oil on Pinterest. Just be prepared to spend the day there exploring.

My favorite coconut lotion turned out to be very effective for treating my dry skin but also simple to whip up. The pin used only coconut oil but suggested you could add other ingredients.

Here is the original pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/314337248962080739/

Here is my whipped coconut lotion

What you will need: coconut oil (I get mine from Wal-Mart)
If you want to amp it up: lavender essential oil (I make my own)
Vitamin E
Tea Tree Oil
Bowl for mixing
Hand mixer
Container to store your whipped creation.

What I use

What I use

First things first: for those not familiar with coconut oil. The oil is solid, like lard. It has a low melting point, 78 degrees. Your body heat will melt it just fine. There is many kinds you can buy: Organic, refined, unrefined, coconut oil expressed by young beautiful island virgins. Okay the last part is not true. But you get my point. Some people say they can smell a hint of coconut. I can’t. But hey I did snort pop rocks once when I was a teenager. My sense of smell could have been compromised from that wild night.

Back to the whipped lotion. I’m not going to give you exact measurements. I’m not the measuring type. Except with baking. One must always measure with baking.

Scoop out some coconut oil into bowl. A cup or more. Next add a few drops of the lavender oil, vitamin E oil and tea tree oil. Now if this is for my face that is all I add. For a body lotion or deep hair condition treatment I will add several drops of fragrance.

Get out that hand mixer. Now whip it, whip it good. Several minutes. Once you have a bowl of fluffy goodness you are done. Transfer to your container.

For the face, a little of this lotion goes a long way. I use it everyday and do not experience clogged pores or breakouts. But everyone is different.

For skin, slather on. You will be greasy but the lotion will be absorbed in just a few minutes.

For hair treatment, massage into scalp and hair. Optional: you can cover head with shower cap and apply heat from your hair dryer. You can leave the treatment in several minutes or one hour. Shampoo twice.

Add some sugar to your whipped coconut oil for a sugar scrub. I do this a few times a week. My living dead skin loves it.

Pinterest

Pinterest

My Whipped Coconut Lotion

No go forth into that good night and whip it. Whip it good.