Saturday, 25 February 2012

Flax Curl Cream

Since beginning my quest to avoid products with harmful chemicals, I've been making and testing a lot of my own homemade skin and hair care.  My last post was a recipe I followed for making my own body balm.  It's very moisturizing and works way better than the store-bought stuff for my eczema and dry skin in winter.  

My next move is towards not using shampoo, conditioner, and any purchased hair products.  Shampoo became mainstream in the early 20th century, before that, people just used plain old bar soaps and water.  It worked for people back then, but advertising has led us all to believe that we need to buy specific shampoos and conditioners to have beautiful hair.  Today's shampoos contain chemicals like Methylisothiazolinone a powerful preservative and artificial colours and fragrances.  I'd rather go without, thank you!  So lately, I've been washing my hair with an organic shampoo bar and rinsing with apple cider vinegar or coconut milk to hydrate my hair.  But the one thing I haven't been able to go without is my mousse!  

So after trying a few other recipes, the best thing I found was this:

1 tablespoon whole brown flax seeds
1 cup water
3 drops essential oil

Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan on medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of whole brown flax seeds and keep stirring.  

Allow the seeds some time to boil so that they will start to release their gel.  Keep stirring occasionally so that the seeds don't stick to the bottom of the pot.  You will start to see a thin layer of film on the surface of your mixture.

Take it off the heat once you see the water getting white and milky.  Pour your mixture into a knee high stocking stretched over a bowl.  The stocking will sift out the seeds, but it will require some assistance.  

Using plastic or bamboo tongs, squeeze the cream out through the stocking and into a bowl.

Add a few drops of essential oil - I used sweet orange oil - smells nice!  I also added a few vitamin E capsules to make my hair healthy and increase the shine!  Use a whisk to mix.  

This recipe makes about a 1/2 cup of product.  Store yours in an airtight container and refrigerate it.  It will last about 3-4 weeks before you can consider it expired.

My curls are soft and bouncy now, no flakes too :)  I like it even more then my expensive mousse.  

You can wash your stocking with warm water and save the seeds for your next batch.  Use them twice to extract your own curl cream or make a second batch for a friend!  And the best thing is that flax seeds are so affordable, it will cost pennies for each batch of curl cream - $2.00 for a year of beautiful curls!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Bri's Beeswax Body Balm

Lately, I've been researching the many harmful chemicals in various cosmetic and beauty products.  I was so alarmed to find that many Canadian products contain Parabens, BHA and Formaldehyde!  Some of these chemicals may interfere with reproductive functions and are known to contaminate our bodies and brains and cause cancerous tumours.  Of course, after reading, I checked all of my cosmetic products and almost everything I own contains these ingredients!!!  So, I am making an effort to replace my body wash, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and other products with human-friendly alternatives.  However, since making a few shopping trips to the drug store and health food store, I've realized that there aren't very many affordable and readily available options... so I am making my own!

Beeswax Body Balm
1/2 cup Beeswax
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Almond Oil
5-6 Vitamin E capsules

To make the balm, you need an old jar, an old rag and an old pot.  You don't want to use anything new or valuable because the beeswax, when liquid, will stain/coat any hard or soft surface and cannot be washed off.  Please use caution and be careful not to ruin your clothes!

Start with half a cup of beeswax: it should be pure 100% beeswax that has been filtered.  Beeswax locks in moisture and protects your skin from the environment.  I bought my raw beeswax unfiltered from a honey farm at about $1 per 1 cup and filtered it myself before I started.  Use your hands to break up the wax and place it in the jar.  Make a homemade double boiler by filling a pot with water and placing the wax jar in the centre.  Turn your burner on high to bring the water to a boil.

When the wax starts to melt, add your half cup of coconut oil: make sure to use 100% pure virgin coconut oil (it looks like Crisco or lard).  Coconut oil is an excellent skin conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged cells.  You can get coconut oil at any health food store or international food store.  The coconut oil will start to melt into the beeswax - stir every 5 minutes.

Finally, add half a cup of olive oil and half a cup almond oil.  I used, extra virgin olive oil since it restores your skin to a firmer and smoother state.  Sweet almond oil softens the skin and keeps it feeling great.  Keep stirring until the whole mixture is clearly liquid and remove from double boiler. 

Use a scissor to cut the Vitamin E supplements; squeeze the vitamin E into the mixture and stir.  I decided to add vitamin E to my balm for it's anti-aging and antioxident properties.  Vitamin E also helps to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks!  Allow your mixture to cool and stir every 10 minutes. 

You will see the balm begin to solidify from the bottom all the way to the top.  Eventually, the whole mixture will reach a thick consistency and you can scoop it into smaller cosmetic jars while it is still warm.  I used small jam jars with mason jar lids.

I really love the smell and the creamy texture of my new balm, but what I love most is that I know exactly what the ingredients are and I know it's good for my skin (and completely edible LOL!).  My hands and elbows are smooth and it was really fun to make!