Being a gardener, a mother, a housekeeper, a homesteader, and if there’s time left over – an artist, I always have rough hands. On top of all that, I suffer from eczema from time to time and have dry skin. We joke about it at my house: that I have “manlier” hands than my husband. Admittedly I’m not always the best at donning gloves when I’m working outdoors.
In the winter time and early spring, my hands would chap so bad that they’d bleed. Switching from anti-bacterial soaps throughout the household helps tremendously. I also stopped using mineral oil-based lotions and switched to those made with beeswax and other healthy emollients.
With our focus this month on REAL clean items, I thought it’s time for me to work on making some of my own lotions, scrubs, and oils in an effort to save money and concoct some brews with my very own herbs and blossoms. I have to tell you that the process has made my house smell amazing – that in itself is worth the whole thing!
Start by making an infusion of your desired herbs or flowers. I used rose petals because they have a skin-softening effect and lavender because it’s my favorite aroma. You can also use violets and chamomile for a soothing blend. I wanted my infusion strong, so I used equal parts rose petals and distilled water, then tossed in several lavender stems and branches. Cover and heat on medium for about 1 hour, but do not boil. Allow to cool, pulling lid off every few minutes to gather evaporated goodness in an atomizer to spray on linens.
Strain liquid and store in a dark jar. I ended up with 6 cups of the infusion which will last a very, very long time. I’ll keep it in the refrigerator and use as a cooling spray during the summer, or to mix with iced tea, or to make more balms and lotions.
- 1 cup herbal or floral infusion
- 4 Tbsp vegetable glycerine
- 2 tsp sweet almond oil
- 2 tsp grapeseed oil
Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously. This will not emulsify completely, so you will need to pour into decorative jars quickly. Shake again before using.
My first impressions: My skin feels incredibly soft and not oily in the least. And the fragrance… not the least overpowering, although I may stay away from my beehives today.
My feet, on the other hand…
Those have always been rough. I have to keep them constantly exfoliated to keep them smooth or they snag everything they touch. For the holidays I made my family and friends a foot soak and scrub that is a great exfoliator. Last summer I’d made some grape jelly from Concords, and saved the seeds for this purpose. They make an excellent scrub, but remember that you’ll want to strain them from the water as they may clog your drain. Add them to your compost pile instead.
Grape Seed Foot Scrub and Soak
- 4 parts Epsom salt/Sea Salt
- 1 part whole, clean grape seeds
- several dashes Essential Oil like rose, geranium, or lemon grass
Combine all ingredients together in an airtight container and label. Allow to rest in a dark room for several days before using so that the oil infuses the salts.
As the month progresses I plan to experiment a little and actually use my own products. At the end of the month I’ll report my results to see if they’re any better than over the counter items.