What do you put on your body every day? By the time I’ve finished my morning routine I’ve used shampoo, conditioner, soap, facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen for my face, and body oil for my body. Somehow, it took me close to a year before I started wondering what the heck was actually in those bottles in my shower. Isn't it odd that we’ve become so conscious of what we put inside our bodies, and somehow managed not to give any thought about what we were putting on them?
All of that changed a few weeks ago when a friend recommended The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database which rates products according to the chemicals they contain and how harmful they are. I searched the items in my bathroom and found that all of them except for what we make here on the farm (Activated Charcoal soap as my facial cleanser, and Elasticity Serum instead of body lotion) had a moderate to high hazard score. Scary!
I decided to replace some of the items in our routine with safer, natural products - preferably something homemade (well, yeah!). The first to run out was body wash. We had been using Dove's Go Fresh Bodywash which is a 5 on the 0-10 hazard rating system. I am a huge fan of a nice creamy bodywash and an exfoliating pouf and felt a tinge of dismay thinking about the future of my suds, sure that I would have to give up this little luxury for a bar of something filmy and a washcloth. Little did I know that I was about to make the best bodywash EVER. I’m serious.
I searched out different recipes and ingredients that would be good for my skin -not so easy when you have been fighting a lifelong battle against the frustrating combo of hypersensitive skin and acne. I went with an infusion of oats and rosemary to soothe and tone, coconut oil to moisturize because we had it in the house and it’s one of the few oils that doesn’t make me break out, and the essential oils of chamomile, lavender, and lemongrass for their properties and scent.
Scrapple and I have been using it for about 2 weeks now and will never go back! Actually, I think he'd use whatever I put in there, but at least I'd never go back! It smells amazing, produces a great lather, gets you clean, and actually leaves you moisturized. It’s an amazing shave gel for legs (not so sure how it would fare on Scrapple’s stubble) and Scrapple's been using it as shampoo (again, I think he'd use anything). I should also mention that this batch that made 24oz using all organic (and local where available) ingredients cost only $4.50 to make - half the price of the scary stuff! Here's the breakdown:
Give it a try! Swap out oils and infusion ingredients to make a recipe that’s perfect for your skin. This would be a fun project to try with kids too.
- 1 Tbs steel cut oats (optional - to infuse)
- 1 sprig of rosemary (optional - to infuse)
- 1 c. distilled water
- 1 Tsp citric acid (to prevent bacterial growth in your bodywash)
- 2 Tbs coconut oil (can swap out with olive, grapeseed, almond, jojoba, apricot kernel or any other oil)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1-1/2 c. liquid castile soap (I used Dr Bronner’s)
- 1 tsp guar gum (you can find it in most markets that carry natural foods with the Bob’s Red Mill grains)
- 30 drops essential oils (your preference - I used a blend of lavender, chamomile, and lemongrass)
1. Boil water in a kettle and once boiling pour over the oats and rosemary (or whatever you decide to infuse). Cover and let sit for an hour, then strain to remove oats and rosemary bits from your infusion.
2. In a bowl whisk your oil, honey, infusion, and citric acid together.
3. Sprinkle in the guar gum, whisking to combine, and then immediately afterward whisk in the castile soap (if you wait too long the guar gum will thicken and you’ll have clumps) until blended and smooth.
4. Drop in your essential oils and fold in with a spoon or spatula. Store the mixture in a bottle that you have sterilized (opaque is best) out of direct sunlight and shake before each use.
PLEASE NOTE: As this recipe only contains mild natural preservatives (citric acid) and has not been created by a chemist, you may want to store the finished body wash in your refrigerator or make a batch small enough to use within 3-4 days. It is very important that you sterilize (boiling water or the dishwasher will do) all implements that will be used to avoid introducing any bacteria into your bodywash. We personally have not had any issues with bacterial contamination and are still using a bottle from a large batch that was made over 6 months ago that has never been refrigerated.
Next up will be body lotion - let me know if you have a great recipe you’d like to share or any other tips related to making your own body care products. I'm especially interested in eventually trying to make soaps from rendered animal fats (I don't think we're going to have an olive grove or coconut trees on the farm) and would love any info you might have on that as well!
That's all for now - keep it clean!