Every holiday season I struggle. I struggle with gift giving. Do I simply make a large donation to a worthy cause in all my loved ones’ names? Do I make gifts, like jams, breads, cookies or pickles? Do I make watercolor paintings or drawings?
This year, I stumbled on a new idea and I hope you love it and try it out too. I was reading a magazine on making a lighter footprint and one of the articles was about making your own personal care products. The gist of the piece was that between waste, unnecessary packaging and scary ingredients (you know that what you put on your skin goes into your body, right?), you’re between a rock and a hard place when it comes to personal care products. All we want to do is clean and moisturize our skin, right?
How did it get so complicated? Truthfully, like food, the more people who handle an product, from inception to packaging, the more opportunities there are to make money. So there you have it. More stuff equals more money for the companies that are marketing perfect skin and hair to us.
And while this article was talking about making our own bath products, it got me to thinking. Could there be a more perfect gift than the gift of soft skin sans chemicals?
I came up with easy, accessible recipes that everyone will love. Inexpensive to make, you can indulge your friends with pretty (reuseable) bottles of body wash, scrubs and skin moisturizers that are good for their wellness and the planet. Talk about a festive gift! (You might end up keeping these for yourself.)
Here’s what I will be gifting this holiday season.
Scrumptious Body Wash
I love this recipe because you make it in a blender and it whips up like a milkshake…but for your skin. It’s positively dreamy.
Makes about a quart
24 ounces distilled water
2 ounces aloe vera gel
4 ounces oat milk
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces hempseed or chia oil
1 tablespoon shea or cocoa butter
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (as a thickener)
5 drops essential oil (the scent of your choice) I love grapefruit, but you can use what you like
1 cup Castile soap (unscented) I use the sensitive blend as it works for all skin types
Place all ingredients, except castile soap (too much foam; trust me) in a high-speed blender and blend on the highest setting for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and blend again for another 30 seconds. Add the castile soap and blend on low until incorporated.
Decant the body wash into the bottles of your choice and seal them. The mixture may separate so be sure and shake well before each use.
Cook’s Tip: I love to tie little raffia ribbons around the necks of the bottles with the ingredients and scent on a small tag. Totally cute.
Purifying Salt Scrubs
As a fan of the body scrub, I keep my body skin care simple. But I adore a salt scrub, especially one that’s scented with a light citrus oil like lemon, lemongrass or grapefruit. I love these kinds of scrubs after a tough workout to deeply cleanse my skin.
Makes 1, 25-ounce jar
25 ounces unrefined medium-coarse sea salt or Himalayan pink salt (which looks gorgeous)
4 ounces avocado oil (use jojoba oil for acne-prone skin)
10 drops essential oil (scent of your choice)
Place the salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together avocado oil and essential oil. Mix into the salt to combine well. Transfer the scented salt to a jar and seal. The scrub will keep for about 4 weeks.
Cook’s Tip: I keep my jar of salt scrub in my shower so I have it at my fingertips. My favorite scent is grapefruit. I feel like it wakes up my skin, but go for what you love. Many people like the relaxing perfume effect of lavender.
THE Body Moisture Bar
Want to create zero waste? No more tubs and tubes of body moisturizer. Try making these easy moisture body bars. There are a few steps involved but the results are completely dreamy for your skin. And won’t it be fun not to slather cream on your body anymore?
Makes about 10-12, 3-inch bars
1 ounce each candelilla wax (alternative to bee’s wax), cocoa butter, shea butter
1 ½ ounces avocado oil
3-5 drops essential oils
Dried flowers or dried citrus slices to place in the bars (optional)
Combine wax and butters in a heat-resistant bowl and place over a pot of simmering water, stirring until they slowly melt. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in avocado and essential oils.
Pour into soap molds (or any silicone mold) and place flowers or dried citrus in the melted waxes and oils. Set aside to solidify, which will take a few hours or overnight. Remove from the molds, wrap in festive cellophane and you have an adorable gift.
If all of this overwhelms you…and it might, give the best gift of all. Head to my website and search for The Body Scrub. Print out the instructions and give it to your friends and loved ones with a set of spa gloves that you can buy in any drug store!
Your loved ones with thank you…and so will your skin....all your skin!