3 Last Minute DIY Body Product Gift Ideas on the Cheap.

Need a last minute gift for someone who enjoys all natural body products? Don’t have a lot of money to spend?  Want to quickly make it yourself?  Check out these three recipes for spa-quality products made from easy to find ingredients, some of which you will already have in your pantry!   They make great stocking stuffers or put them  together in a basket and you’ll have a fantastic gift.

Decadent Whipped Body Butter for thirsty skin

You can easily spend $20 on a 3 oz container of all natural body butter.  Make this one for a fraction of the price!

Chai Spice Body Scrub and more!

A 15 oz. all natural sugar scrub can cost up to $34 for a container.  Make the equivalent product in less than 5 minutes for less than $1.

Chocolate Chip Mint, Honey Vanilla, or Sweet Almond Lip Balm

You can buy 1 tube of organic lip balm for $8.  You can make 3 of them for much less than that!!

Need more convincing?  Check out 100% Pure products to see the price comparisons.  They have delicious products, but you can make products of equal quality and effectiveness for a fraction of the price.  And who doesn’t love homemade gifts!  Merry Christmas!

 This post has been shared on Homestead Barn Hop 92., Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways#58, Waste Not, Want Not #10, Homestead Abundance #2, Farm Girl Blog Fest #14 and Wildcrafting Wednesday #68.

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Lip Balm Recipes: Honey Vanilla, Chocolate Chip Mint and Sweet Almond.

Most commercial lip balms contain petroleum products, artificial colors and flavours, and are loaded with preservatives.  Applying these to your lips is as good as eating these ingredients.  Thankfully, lip balm is simple and cheap to make.  You can make it with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, or at the very least, that you can find fairly easily in natural foods stores.  With pure, all natural ingredients these lip balms are effective and safe, and they make fantastic little gifts!

Choosing your oils

You can use any cooking oil you like.  Some have better qualities than others.  Choose one with little or no fragrance unless you love the fragrance.  Good ones include olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sweet almond oil etc.  You can use any of these oils instead of the ones in the recipe.  They will all work well.  You can also use herb-infused oils such as chamomile or calendula to create a very soothing, calming product.

Choosing your butters

Butters are oils that are solid at room temperature.  (Except coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature but classified as an oil, not a butter).  Butters are loaded with enriching qualities.  Cocoa butter, shea butter and mango butter are great choices for lip balms and other body products.  Cocoa butter is probably the easiest to find.  You can substitute any of the butters with each other.

Beeswax

Beeswax is necessary to solidify the product.  If you are vegan you can try substituting carnauba wax for beeswax, but you will need some kind of wax in the balm.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is moisturizing and has antioxidant qualities.  It is also added as a natural preservative.  It helps prevent rancidity, and extends the shelf life of the product.  No natural preservatives are as effective as synthetic ones, so use up your products in a matter of months, not years.  Store any products you aren’t currently using in a freezer in a sealed container.  If you don’t want to use vitamin E you can substitute it for rosemary essential oil, which also has natural preservation properties.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be substituted for others, or left out entirely.  They do have a bit of a natural preservative effect, but if you don’t want fragrance they can be left out.  Do not use citrus essential oils.  Most citrus (and a few others… worth checking out the link) are photo-toxic and should not be worn when you are exposed to the sun.  Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, a natural analgestic which soothes sore, chapped skin.

Extras, such as honey or chocolate chips.

Again, these can be left out entirely.  Honey is great in body products because it attracts moisture.  It is also naturally antibacterial and… it tastes good…  The chocolate chips are added for color and flavour.  I choose organic, all natural ones to maintain the purity of the product.  Do not add ingredients that are water based such as aloe, or rosewater etc.  Introducing water to your product will allow a bacteria-growing medium into your product which you don’t want, and is completely unnecessary for lip balms.

Choose your recipe below, and follow these directions. 

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except essential oil in a small sauce pan or double boiler and melt, on low heat.   Stir just until melted.  Do not allow the ingredients to boil!
  2. Stir in essential oil.
  3. Pour immediately into lip balm container.
  4. Allow to cool before moving.  Cap and use!  Or gift!

Here are three “tasty” recipes to choose from.

Chocolate Chip Mint

Honey Vanilla

Sweet Almond

Mountain Rose Herbs has exceptional quality, certified organic herbs, spices, essential oils and more.  They maintain a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture.  I highly recommend them for outstanding quality and service.

Notes:

  • Each recipe fills 2-3 tubes or tubs.
  • You can purchase the lip balm containers at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Search “lip balm containers”.
  • Use up in a few months to avoid the oil from going rancid.

This post has been linked to Homestead Abundance #1Waste Not Want Not #9 and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #57.

And then there is wild blackberry home-made ice cream.

The quietest time in the house is not nap time.  It’s not when the kids aren’t home.  It’s when we are all eating ice cream.  My usually chatterbox kids are absolutely silent, except for the lip-smacking sounds of ice cream being enjoyed.  Thoroughly.  A few years back we were terribly disappointed when the “all natural” Breyers vanilla ice cream became double-churned and  ”natural vanilla” with a bunch of additives including Poly Sorbate 80.  We wrote to them to complain and were told that everyone prefers the double churned style but the double churning process could not be done in an all natural way.  We were given a handful of coupons for the ice cream.  We handed the coupons over to someone else and never bought Breyers again.  Our little protest against changing a perfect product to something less desirable (to us, anyway).  We still bought ice cream in general, and enjoyed it.  It has always annoyed me though to read ice cream ingredients and find things like:
Modified Milk Ingredients, Glucose, Mono And Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Colour, Polysorbate 80, Carrageenan, Glucose-Fructose
What are modified milk ingredients anyway?  How about Mono and Diglycerides?  (Click and find out)  We all know “colour” isn’t natural, and as for polysorbate 80… yikes.  Glucose-fructose is deceptive but it is the same thing as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).   Coconut oil is good for you.  Hydrogenated coconut oil isn’t.  There are so many man-made ingredients in store-bought ice cream that don’t need to be there.  Some are preservatives, some are thickeners, some make it melt slower, some are for color, and some are for flavour.

For Father’s Day this year, I copied my sister-in-law and bought my husband an ice-cream maker.  So far I have made fresh strawberry, blueberry, blackberry chocolate chip mint, and vanilla ice cream.  The ingredients?  (For the fruit ice cream) Fresh organic fruit, fresh lemon juice, whipping cream, organic milk, cane sugar, and vanilla extract.  All natural, as organic as you want it, no preservatives or coloring, and flavor-FULL!!! 

My favorite so far is the wild blackberry ice cream.  I followed the basic vanilla ice cream recipe that came with the machine not altering anything except for the addition of the blackberries:  I soaked a cup of blackberries in 3 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar for an hour.  Then I cooked them in a pot for about 5 minutes, or until they mashed into a dark purple juice.  I strained the juice into the ice cream mixture.  What a treat!!!   The ice cream was naturally pink from the blackberry juice, was made from fresh, wild blackberries picked that morning, and a fantastic, mild blackberry flavour.  Served over fresh blackberries, this makes perhaps the best summer dessert ever!

Our ice cream maker is a Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.  It is bpa-free and makes 1.4L of delicious, all natural ice cream.  It comes with a recipe book and is easy to make.  The mixing of the ice cream takes 20 minutes, and then you can either eat it as soft ice cream, or pour it into a container and place in the freezer for 3 hours to make hard ice cream.  I paid about $60 for it.

The cons of home-made ice cream:

  • It takes about 3.5 hours to complete if you want hard ice cream
  • It melts faster compared to store-bought ice cream
  • It doesn’t last very long in the freezer compared to store-bought ice cream

The pros

  • It is all natural
  • it doesn’t contain added ingredients that aren’t necessary (unless you want bionic ice cream that doesn’t melt, that is a fluorescent color or that lasts forever in the freezer).
  • You can make it with organic ingredients if you choose
  • You can add whatever you want to it!

The cons aren’t cons to me since I avoid bionic food products.  I love to make home-made ice cream.  I love knowing what is in the ice cream, and I love the superior flavour.  The contented silence of ice cream being eaten is complete to me now.  I know their treat is a safe one, and I value that above all.  (Oh, OK, and the silence…)