Thursday, February 5, 2009

Take A Moment to Relax...Naturally

After speaking with my sister on the phone today, I was wishing for a chance to pamper her.  Fighting (and winning) against the cancer trying to make her body it's home, she just sounded like she needed a good spa treatment - as long as it was in the privacy of her own home and she could be alone!  So I thought about it for a while.  I have done loads of research on herbs, herbal remedies and natural beauty preparations over the past few years.  Why not post some of these for everyone to enjoy?  There are so many wonderful concoctions made with basic supplies many people already have at home.  

But as I think about what skin care products I purchase and use straight off the shelf, and compare to how simple it is to make my own, I begin to wonder, why do we, as naturally-minded individuals reach for the product on the shelf that is full of unpronounceable chemicals before heading to our pantry or grocery store for simple ingredients to make our own?  And on the other hand, I am curious why companies have begun marketing new lines of products glamorizing natural ingredients.  Obviously, they are looking toward a new group of customers, trying to win over the health-nuts with their "New and Improved" soap or lotion.  And yes, I admit that I fall prey to their "Made with 1700 organic essential oils" hype almost every time.  Sad, I know.  When I go to my natural foods store, though, I am shocked at some of the prices.  Sometimes, the fewer the ingredients, and the more natural the ingredients, the higher the price.  Who are they kidding??

Try a few of these homemade lotions and potions and let me know how it goes.  And if you have other favorite treatments, share them with us!

Make your own essential oils
Place 3 TBS of your favorite dried herbs, crushed, into a pint of vegetable oil in a quart container. Add 1 TBS of plain vinegar, not malt vinegar. Cap jar and place in the sun. If done during the winter, put jar in very warm place. Steep for 1 week, then strain the herbs, adding more crushed dried herbs and recapping. Repeat for 2 more weeks. Strain and bottle. Store in a cool, dark place. From Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies, by Jude Williams

Bath with oils and salt
Mix ½ cup sea salt. ½ cup Epsom Salts and ½ cup baking soda. Mix well and add scented oils if desired. Add to bath water by tablespoonfuls to desired strength. From Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies, by Jude Williams

MindfulMama's Foot scrub – salt and oil and cream
Mix ½ cup course sea salt with enough almond or other scented oil to make it moist but not dripping. Over bathtub or paper towel, scrub feet with mixture. Rinse with warm water and follow treatment with a rubbing of thick foot cream. (My own creation)

Face masks
For Normal/combination skin mix one egg and 1/2 cup cooked instant oatmeal and a teaspoon olive oil until smooth. Spread on your face and leave 15 min then rinse.

Aphrodite Face Mask

1 T Applesauce
1 T Wheat Germ
To Make: Purée apple in a blender or add applesauce to a small bowl. Mix in the wheat germ to form a paste.
To Use: Apply to washed, scrubbed, and steamed face. Allow mask to set for 10-15 minutes. Tone then moisturize.
Noreen Finneran, "Incredible Edible Spa"

Avocado Carrot Cream Mask

1 avocado, mashed
1 carrot, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Spread gently over your face and neck, and leave in place 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and follow with your favorite toner.

Coffee body scrub
3 T Coffee grounds (organic-caffeinated)
1 T Salt (optional)
To Make: Brew a fresh pot of coffee. Enjoy a cup, if you like. Put grounds (and salt) in a small bowl. Use grounds within 20 minutes of brewing before oxidation occurs.
To Use: Scrub mixture over entire body while in the shower. Rinse. Tone. Moisturize.
Noreen Finneran "Incredible Edible Spa"

Ginger Skin Creme
Ginger invigorates, and oil soothes. Try this double dose for dry skin.
2-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 teaspoons light sesame oil
2 teaspoons apricot kernel oil
2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
½ cup cocoa butter
Preheat oven on lowest setting. Finely grate the ginger just enough so that you have about an 1/8 teaspoon of ginger "juice." To obtain the juice, squeeze the freshly grated ginger over a small bowl. Place the ingredients (including the ginger) in a glass container and heat just until the cocoa butter is melted and the oils are blended. Pour into a clean, dry container and store in a cool dry place. You can add a few drops of orange or other essential oil for a nice twist.

Lavender-Honey Milk Bath

3 T dried Lavender flowers*
1 1/2 cups whole mild, cream, or combination
1/3 cup Honey
Process lavender flowers in a blender until they become a powder, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides as necessary. Whisk together lavender powder, milk and honey in a glass bowl, then pour into a jar. Before each use, shake the jar and pour half of the mixture into the bath. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes enough for 2 baths.
*Dried lavender flowers can be found in the spice section of gourmet and specialty stores.

Shar-Ambrosia Kelp-Firming Mask
This mask treatment will help to soften and firm your skin at the same time.
3 T Yogurt
1 tsp. Organic Powdered Kelp
1 tsp. Honey
Place 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt into a small dish. Add the powdered Kelp, stir well. Add the honey and stir until all three ingredients are blended into a smooth consistency. To use: Cleanse face, apply the mask all over face, neck and shoulder area. Massage lightly (the Kelp acts as beauty grains to promote exfoliation). Leave on for about 5-10 minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth. Use a tonic or hydrosol on a cotton ball for complete removal. Apply your moisturizer as usual. Kelp contains iodine, so those with iodine allergies should not use this mask.

Sumptuous Rose Bath
1 Cup Rose Petals OR
1/2 Cup Rose Water (found in health food stores)
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
To Make: Draw a warm bath. Add the Rose petals (or any type of pesticide-free edible flower) or Rose Water and Coconut Milk.
To Use: Slip in tub and relax for 10-15 minutes. Rinse, tone, then moisturize.

Noreen Finneran "Incredible Edible Spa"

My thanks to for many of these references.

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