Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What is your summer project?

For a change we are sticking close to home this summer.  So I thought I'd get out a big project that I've had planned for years and get to work on it. I'm scanning all our old print photos to digital.  This will also allow me to get rid of several shelves full of ring binder albums that are taking up space.
Me with my brothers 1969

My husband and his little sister
I expect this will take me months, if not years, to do. So far I've scanned all of my own photos and my husband's photos up to right before our wedding in 1989.  It's a trip down memory lane.

My husband, June 1968
Poor kitty
School I attended until 7th grade
What is your summer project?  Gardening? Landscaping? Organizing your recipe file? Garage sale? Cleaning out closets?  Leave a comment and let me know what it is.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homemade Facial Scrub Recipe

my homemade facial scrub powder
Some of you know that I make my own lip balms, soap, skin care products and non-toxic cleaning products.  In making non-toxic products I've realized that most of these products that I make are actually far superior to those products that I've been spending a lot of money on for years and they are so much more cost effective. Some of my best recipes are available on my website.

Buying skin products over the counter comes with some risks. Most contain preservatives and fragrances which can be irritating if not downright toxic. And most also contain a host of ingredients that really haven't been tested over time.  One example is retinol. It's a form of vitamin A touted for it's wrinkle fighting properties, but it's been in the news lately as it has been found to cause birth defects even when used topically. And if it can cause birth defects how good can it really be for anyone? Retinols are found in a majority of the anti-aging skin moisturizers.

One of my new favorite products is my own facial scrub.  It's made with natural ingredients and no fragrances or preservatives at all. All ingredients it contains have been used for centuries for skin care products with no ill effects. It has a very mild texture that will leave your skin silky smooth, but is not as harsh as micro-dermabrasion scrubs. What is the downside?  Well, it doesn't come in a convenient tube or bottle and it's a little bit messy as it contains clay powder, but it's not nearly as messy as a typical facial mask as it is a light scrub. The addition of baking soda makes it easier to rinse off. I use this once a day.


2 tablespoons baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons french green clay powder (or other clay powder of your choice)
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more if desired
1 teaspoon green tea powder, optional
2 capsules olive leaf, broken apart (toss the gelatin capsule and use the powder), optional

1.    Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. 
2.    Place in a sealed container and store where it won't get wet.  I use a small demitasse coffee spoon to portion it out, but any spoon will do--even a plastic one.
3.    To use: place a small amount in your palm and mix with a tiny bit of water to form a paste.  Apply to wet skin and gently massage in with fingertips.  Rinse off.  You may also leave it on for a while as a facial mask to get the full benefits.  Alternately you can mix some of the powder into a paste using honey or Dr. Bronners liquid baby soap and store in a small container for use. Honey has many beneficial properties and Dr. Bronners liquid baby soap will make this more of a facial wash.  Mix up just enough for one week at a time and store at room temperature.

Cumin is high in vitamin E and has great antiseptic, anti-inflamatory and anti-oxidant properties.  Ground, it also has a nice texture for a facial scrub. Women in India have been using cumin on their faces for centuries, but, yes, it does smell like food. You can leave the cumin out of the recipe if you don't care for the scent. You can find ground cumin in the spice section at your grocery store. Olive leaf and green tea are well know for their many benefits for skin, but they do not contribute to the grainy texture needed for a good scrub like the cumin does. Olive leaf capsules are available at health food stores. Green tea powder is available at tea shops, health food stores and gourmet stores. It's the type of green tea used for Japanese tea ceremonies. Matcha is one type. If you only intend to use this as a facial scrub and not leave it on for a little while, there is no need to include the olive leaf and green tea.

You can use any type of cosmetic grade powdered clay for this. Some clays are more absorbent than others and are therefore better for different skin types.  I prefer French green clay for it's natural herbal scent and mildly absorbent properties and color. You may be able to find clay powders at your local health food store.  I purchase them from Majestic Mountain Sage on-line.

The baking soda makes a finely textured scrub and the clay powder gives a silky texture. You can customize this by adding other ingredients such as ground oatmeal or a few drops of tea tree oil.

As this is a dry mix, you can easily put a little in a small sealed container to take with you when you travel without worrying about leaks.