Basic Goat Milk Soap Recipe: Soothing and Rejuvenating!

Goat milk as an additive to skin care products has long been used to sooth and solve skin issues.  Raw goat milk in high in vitamins and minerals, in particularly vitamin A, which aids in repairing damaged skin. It is also naturally rich in caprylic acid, which soothes and rejuvenates skin. Lactic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid) is also present in goat milk which removes dead skin cells and is believed to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Goat milk soap is very gentle on the skin and is perfect for people who suffer from eczema, delicate, or dry skin. We have our own goat milk and one way of dealing with excess milk is to freeze it and later use it in body products such as this.

Soap-making is a skill everyone should learn.  It is easy, fun, environmentally friendly, economical and practical.  Once I began making soap, I soon discovered that you can replace the water in any recipe with goat milk, 1:1.  This allowed me to use my own goat milk to create recipes and products of high quality for a very low cost.

This recipe is a simple one.  Coconut oil, sustainably-produced palm oil and olive oil are all easy to find ingredients. You can substitute the goat milk for plain distilled water if you wish.

This recipe is meant as an ingredient list and basic directions for experienced soap-makers.  Click here for a complete photo tutorial with explicit directions.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

•26.5 oz. Olive oil Pomace
•16.5 ounces Coconut oil
•10 oz. Sustainably sourced Palm Kernal oil
•209 grams Lye
•2.7 oz. Essential oils of your choice
•20 oz. goat milk frozen in ice cube sized chunks.

Directions:

  1. Prepare your mold.
  2. Combine and melt olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil to 115F.
  3. VERY slowly, pour measured lye into semi-thawed (slushy) goat milk.  Stir constantly.  Measure temperature constantly.  If milk heats up too fast it will turn orange and scorch, so do this step very slowly.  Ideally you will get your lye mixture up to about 115F.
  4. Combine lye mixture with oils when temperatures are the same (between 105-115F).
  5. Using a stick blender, blend combination until product reaches trace.
  6. Add any essential oils, dried herbs etc at trace.
  7. Pour into mold. Cover mold with either plastic wrap or cardboard.
  8. Cover with towels to prevent cooling too quickly.
  9. 24 hours later, cut into bars.
  10. Set bars on towel in warm, dry location away from direct sunlight.  Let them “saponify” for at least 4 weeks.

Enjoy!

 

*Most ingredients can be found in natural health food stores and/or soap making supply stores.  Alternatively, ingredients can be ordered online from Mountain Rose Herbs: “Exceptional quality certified organic herbs and spices, with a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture.” By clicking on the links above you can buy directly from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I have an affiliate program with them and make a small percentage of sales made that are re-directed from my site.

This post has been linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #76, Waste Not, Want Not Wednesdays, Wildcrafting Wednesdays #92, and From The Farm Blog Hop #36.

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Chai Spice Sugar Scrub… and more! Great Gifts!

Last year I discovered the joys of sugar scrubs.  They are a great exfoliant, leaving your skin soft, moisturized and bright.  They make a great shaving “cream” or overall body scrub.  Talk about dessert for the skin!  Hand me a spoon!  They are almost too easy to make, and they make fantastic gifts.  My favorite to date is Chai Spice.  It is as simple as opening a Chai Spice tea bag, mixing it with the sugar, adding 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil to a base oil, and stirring!

Basic recipe:

2 parts sugar, 1 part oil. 

Choose your sugars.

  • Regular white sugar gives a soft, gentle exfoliation. (My favorite texture, although I don’t bake with it since it is likely GMO)
  • Brown sugar gives a deeper exfoliation.
  • White cane sugar gives a firmer, deeper exfoliation.
  • True demerara sugar (as opposed to demerara style) provides the deepest, firmest exfoliation.

Choose your oils.

Most liquid cooking oils will work fine.  I have used olive oil, sweet almond oil and grape seed oil.  Smell it first.  Make sure it isn’t rancid.

Choose your additives… or not.

  • Ground candy canes (run it through the blender to get small bits)
  • Ground coffee beans
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Almond or Vanilla Extract
  • Essential oils (Ex. Cinnamon)
  • Loose leaf teas (think, Chai Spice with cinnamon!)

Mix your ingredients.

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine liquid ingredients.  Add wet to dry and stir well.  Spoon into jars and decorate jars to your liking!  Enjoy!

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

 

 

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.

Before You DIY: Are your Essential Oils Phototoxic?

As we approach the summer season and the weather warms up we naturally gravitate outdoors and into the sunshine.  We have been pretty well trained to slap on the sunscreen when we are in the sunshine, especially during the heat of the day.  I have been using a safer sunscreen for years now to avoid unsafe chemicals used in many commercial sunscreens. This last year I have been making more of my own body products and the next one on the list will be homemade sunscreen.  I have recently come across some important information regarding homemade (and even commerical) body products and essential oils.

We are wrong to assume that all essential oils are safe no matter what.  Many are widely available, however, and if used for the wrong purpose or at the wrong time could create potentially dangerous situations.

Phototoxicity, or photosensitization, is a reaction that occurs when an agent (in our case essential oil) reacts to the UV in sunlight.  This can cause increased skin sensitivity and an elevated risk of sunburn, skin damage and potentially, skin cancer.  The agent can be applied topically or can be ingested.  It is important to stay our of the sun for at least 12 hours after applying or ingesting the agent.

While making homemade lotions, sunscreens, massage oils and lip balms make sure the essential oils you use are not phototoxic.  Make sure any commercial ones you might use aren’t either.

Many citrus essential oils are photosensitive, as well as Angelica and Bergamot.  For a more complete list head to Jo’s Health Corner: Avoid These Essential Oils if You Are Going To Be In The Sun.  Read the labels on your essential oils and make sure your dilute them appropriately before use.

If you are looking for high quality essential oils check out Mountain Rose Herbs.

This post has been linked to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways #28.

Homemade Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent

I have tried many different “eco-friendly” dishwasher detergents over the years.  From 7th Generation to Ecos, Method to Ecover, I just couldn’t find one that worked very well.  And with a price as high as those, I certainly wanted something that worked.

Eventually I came across a recipe to make my own dishwasher detergent.  It contained washing soda, borax, salt and citric acid.  It worked… somewhat.  I wasn’t satisfied with the results and neither was I satisfied with the ingredient Borax.  I am not convinced Borax is safe, especially when used on eating utensils etc.  After discussing the homemade recipe with some others, the thought came up “what if we just removed the Borax?”  So when I ran out of my detergent I did just that.  I removed the Borax.   I also added white distilled vinegar as a rinse aid.  The combination provides great results!!

So here is my borax-free dishwasher detergent recipe:

  • 1 cup washing soda (old recipe used  baking soda)
  • 1/4 c. citric acid
  • 1/4 c. coarse salt
  • 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (Optional.  Orange, grapefruit, or lemon essential oils have great cleaning as well as antibacterial properties.)
  • Distilled white vinegar (in the rinse aid compartment)

Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil.  Mix again.  Fill your rinse aid compartment with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Use 1 tsp. detergent for average loads.
Use 1 tbsp. detergent for extra greasy, dirty loads.

UPDATE:  More is not better!  If you are having any build up issues use less! 

Where to find ingredients:
Citric acid is easily purchased in bulk at  U-Brew  stores.  You may find it at grocery stores near the canning supplies, or in the bulk section.  You can also buy it at Mountain Rose Herbs Co.   Some people use plain, uncolored koolaid and get the same effects.  (Make sure you use the colorless koolaid or you will dye your dishwasher!) This is because koolaid is very high in citric acid.  I don’t like the other ingredients in koolaid though so I choose not to use it.  Lemi Shine is also sometimes used to replace citric acid.  I feel the same way about lemi shine as I do about koolaid.
Coarse salt: same as pickling salt.  Found in most grocery stores or purchase coarse sea salt online at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Don’t use regular table salt because of the iodine content.
Baking Soda: We all know where to find it!
Essential Oil: Found in most natural food stores or online at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Tips:

  • I rinse off my dishes reasonably well ever since I switched to chemical-free dishwasher detergents.  Rinsing off grease and baked-on food will help any cleaner, not just a homemade one.
  • Hard water: I don’t know if this would work in hard water or not because my water is soft.  However, my own research indicates that citric acid is often used in addition to regular dishwasher detergents to help prevent mineral deposits on the dishes.  Try it out and let me know!
  • I placed one glass in the dishwasher and left it in for many loads as my tester.  I have done over 30 loads with this recipe to date.

Cost: (based on Mountain Rose Herbs prices)
5 lb. of citric acid is $20.
5 lb. of baking soda is $11.75.
5 lb. of coarse sea salt is $15.
Essential oil (optional) varies in price..

Is it worth it to make your own?
Based on the prices above (not including essential oils), and the fact that there are 36 tbsp. of sugar in a lb. (similar texture and weight to this detergent), I worked this detergent out to cost $0.08 a load. 

7th Generation dishwashing tabs (about 1 tbsp. each) are $6.99 for 20. (based on online price from London Drugs)  So 7th Generation dishwashing tabs cost $0.35 cents a load.   

You’ll be saving a lot of money (not to mention your health and the environment) by making your own eco-friendly detergent.

This post has been linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #25, Simple Living Wednesday, Homestead Helps Wednesday #5, Homestead Revival Barn Hop #61MorrisTribe’s Homesteading Blog Carnival #6, Whole Foods Wednesday #56 and  Fat Tuesday.