Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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Clean Your Hardwood Floors Without Harsh Chemicals!

I know y’all have heard me say it a thousand times but I seriously use Thieves Household Cleaner to clean everything in my house! Kitchen counters? Glass stovetops? Leftover food grime in fridges and microwaves? No problem! Bathroom tile? Toilet bowls? Mirrors and windows? Sure thing! Even caked on food in the baby’s high chair ain’t got nothing on my Thieves Cleaner!!!  During my recent  “New Year New You (and how Essential Oils and oil infused products can help!)” online class I mentioned that I even use my Thieves Cleaner to make my own hardwood Swiffer WetJet alternative and was asked to share my recipe. So I figured I’d share with you all as well!

As much as it kills my inner hippy to continue to use disposable Swiffer WetJet pads I haven’t found a good reusable alternative (see Update at bottom of post!).  With an old dog whose bladder sadly isn’t what it used to be I’m ashamed to admit how often I have to clean up accidents on my hardwood floors so I’m still on the hunt for a good, absorbent, washable mop and pad system that won’t break the bank (If anyone wants to gift me one of those fancy Norwex mops to review I wouldn’t say no!).  Until then, I’ll keep using my trusty Swiffer.  Until a couple months ago I just turned a blind eye and tried to pretend that what I didn’t know didn’t hurt me.  But we all know that’s faulty logic. So when my Swiffer Wood Floor Cleaner Refill ran out of juice I decided that I couldn’t ignore it any longer and went on over to Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning and gave it a search.  I’d like to say that I was shocked but sadly I wasn’t.  It just confirmed what I already suspected.  The cleaner I’d been using to clean my hardwood floors for the last several years got an overall score of D! The biggest concern is a cleaning agent called Lauryl Pyrrolidone which has been shown to be toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects but an also cause severe skin burns and eye damage and/or allergic reactions! In addition, synthetic fragrance also warrants concern for skin irritation, allergies, asthma, and possible neurological or respiratory effects.  Other ingredients of moderate concern are Benzisothiazolinone, for skin irritation and allergies, as well as Acrylic Copolymer and Dimethyl Siloxanes and Silicones, for persistence in the environment and a lack of data on health effects.  And to think, I’d been cleaning my floors that my dogs and infant were rolling around on with this stuff???

So after joining Young Living and trying out their Thieves Cleaner for the first time I started researching all the different ways I could use it.  Naturally, replacing my hardwood floor cleaner was at the top of that list! Young Living took the guess work out of a lot of uses for their Household Cleaner with their DIY Cleaning Recipes (see image below).  They suggest mixing together 1 capful of Thieves Household Cleaner with 10 drops Pine essential oil and 1 cup of Olive Oil and applying to hardwood floors using a damp (not wet) mop.  While this sounds divine and would likely be an amazing alternative to popular pine scented floor cleaners, I was hoping for something I could use in my Swiffer WetJet for ease of application.  So my search continued…

DIY Cleaning with Thieves Household Cleaner

That’s when i  stumbled upon Don’t Mess With Mama’s 20 Ways to Clean Your Home with Thieves Household Cleaner. Her floor cleaner recipe seemed much more likely to approximate the consistency that I was looking for since I wanted it to be sprayable.  Check out her recipe below:

Thieves Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Thieves Cleaner Hardwood Floor Recipe:

  • 1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2-3 drops Lemon essential oil for a fresh scent (although I bet you could add or substitute with Pine for a delightful fragrance!)
  • 1 tsp Distilled White Vinegar (DWV) for a streak-free shine to your floors

You can also use this same recipe to clean windows, sills, mirrors, sticky residue and grime from nearly any surface!

So armed with a new recipe I was excited to try out I pulled out my empty Swiffer WetJet Wood Floor Cleaner container and got set to refill it with my new non-toxic alternative only to discover that it is damn near impossible to get that screw cap off!!!! Initially I was a bit deflated but thought surely I couldn’t let a common household cleaner defeat me so I set out to google a solution.  Turns out, it’s actually pretty easy to get these screw caps off! Here’s how:

  1. Bring approximately 2″ of water to boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Hold the Swiffer cleaner container with the cap submerged in the boiling water for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Carefully, using a towel or rubber gripper, turn cap to remove.  If it doesn’t come off easily, submerge again for another 30 seconds or so.
  4. You can carefully clip the little prongs on the inside of the cap to make the cap easier to remove if you so desire.  Or you can just repeat this simple procedure when it’s time to refill.

Once I got the cap off I simply poured my mixture in the container and recapped it, making sure to secure the cap so it doesn’t leak.  The recipe will fill your container approximately 2/3 of the way full.  Then you can use as normal.  I have been using this recipe now for several months and it cleans every bit as well as the brand-name cleaner and I haven’t had any problems with it spraying at all!

So there you have it, a non-toxic way to use your trusty Swiffer! Now to find a reusable cloth for it to alleviate my guilt over throwing away expensive disposable pads…  Have you used this recipe, or another non-toxic wood floor cleaner? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below!

 

**Updated March 18, 2016:

After I wrote this blog post back in January, I started my hunt for a reusable option to alleviate my landfill guilt that I had by still continuing to throw away those WetJet pads every time I used my mop.  Now those who know me well know I absolutely love Amazon Prime (I’m too cheap to pay too much for shipping and Free is definitely my kind of price range) so naturally I headed on over to try to find a solution.  Reusable Swiffer Pads These Orowix Spray Mop Pads are what I found and ordered for only $8.99 for 6 reusable mop pads.  I’ve been using them now for a couple months and am overall pretty pleased with them.   You add the included Velcro strips to your Swiffer WetJet and the pads attach easily.  I was worried they might not stay on but I have yet to have one come off while mopping.  I’ve mopped my bathroom tile, the hardwood floors in my large open floor plan living/dining/kitchen area and cleaned up accidents that my old pooch hasn’t been able to hold in and so far there hasn’t been a job these can’t tackle! So if you’re like me and not ready to give up your old Swiffer WetJet add these to your Amazon shopping cart to get you by until it’s time to invest in that amazing Norwex mop system!

Here’s the link to the Orowix Reusable Mop Pads on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009MPA3AG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

Clean Your Hardwood Floors Without Harsh Chemicals! was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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Oily Support for Healthy Weight Management: A Supplement to My 10 Day Detox

Sadly, my September Essential Rewards order processed a couple days later than expected so it did not arrive in time to start my new weight management routine or my 30 day NingXia challenge on the same day as my 10 Day Detox but better late than never! I’m excited to tell you all about my new oily routine to help support my healthy weight management goals as a supplement to my 10 Day Detox.

NingXia 30 Day Challenge

First up is NingXia Red.  I’ve been hearing so many things about this great product since I joined Young Living.  I tried the samples in the Starter Kit but didn’t really know a whole lot about what it was or why I need to take it until recently. Have you ever heard of the Wolfberry or Goji berry? The wolfberry is a “superfruit” that has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to help strengthen the body, promote fitness, prolong life, and ease transitioning of the seasons. In addition, Wolfberry supports healthy eye function and some research suggests that they may even help improve vision imperfections common with Type 2 Diabetics!

NingXia Red is Young Living’s propriety blend of Wolfberry with pure Orange, Yuzu, Lemon, and Tangerine essential oils, along with blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices to deliver a whole-body nutrient infusion.  The wolfberry and other superfruits provide sustainable energy and also contains powerful antioxidants to help support a healthy immune system by preventing free radical damage and oxidative stress.  The citrus oils contain d-limonene a powerful component that can help support GI and other bodily systems.

Now that I know a little bit more about NingXia Red I figured it was a good time to take the 30 Day NingXia Red challenge.  Not only could I use a bit of a sustainable energy boost as I give up coffee during my detox but the added nutritional benefit couldn’t hurt either. Not to mention, everyone around me is getting sick lately with the changing of the seasons so a little boost to immune support seems like a good idea!

More about the Wolfberry here from the National Institute of Health – Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects of Chinese Wolfberry.

More about d-limonene and how it helps support various body systems here from the National Insitute of Health – D-Limonene

DiGize Support

In addition to my shot of NingXia Red each morning I’ve decided to add a couple drops of DiGize to help support my digestive system.  DiGize is Young Living’s proprietary blend of Ginger, Anise, Fennel, Peppermint, Tarragon, Lemongrass, Patchouli, and Juniper essential oils.  It contains naturally occurring constituents like menthol, citrol, and zingiberen which can help soothe stomach discomfort, calm burning sensations after meals, and promote regular movements and healthy GI function.

My GI tract function is hit or miss and honestly I don’t really know what all sets off discomfort or irregularity.  I’m actually kind of hoping that after my 10 Day Detox when I add back dairy and gluten per Dr. Hyman’s recommendations that maybe I’ll discover the root cause.  But since a detox is all about flushing toxins from the system I figure a little boost to the Digestive system might help rid my system of sugar and unwanted toxins in a more efficient manner.  I’ve heard lots of personal testimonials about people taking DiGize daily either before meals or in a capsule as part of their vitamin and supplement routine.  I highly recommend searching some of these out to find out how DiGize has helped others maintain a healthy digestive system and minimize discomfort!

 

Weight Management Support

Lastly, is my weight management routine.  There is lots of information on the interwebz about essential oils for weight loss.  In fact, Lemon, Peppermint, and Grapefruit have long been dubbed the “weight-loss trio.”  The idea of taking essential oils to help reach and maintain a healthy weight seemed a bit too good to be true but I did a little research and was surprised by what I found about these oils and how they can be used along with proper diet and exercise to help support healthy weight management goals.  First a little about the individual oils then I’ll tell you how I use them.

Lemon – Lemon is well known in diet and weight loss circles as having a natural detoxifying effect on the body. In fact the Master Cleanse diet that was so populare several years ago is based on this premise. Lemon essential oil contains limonene which helps aid in healthy digestive function, cleanses and revitailizes the urinary tract, supports a healthy immune system and can promote healthy, younger looking skin.

More about limonene from WebMD

Peppermint – Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for supporting normal digestion, including promoting healthy intestinal function and gastrointestinal system comfort.  Peppermint may also act like a diuretic to help flush the toxins from your system!

Grapefruit – Grapefruit helps promote healthy weight management by supporting proper metabolic function and reducing sugar cravings.  Like Lemon essential oil, Grapefruit oil contains limonene and also helps cleanse the system and aids in digestion and immune system support. (Note: consumption of Grapefruit, or other citrus oils, may increase photosensitivity.  Always wear sunscreen!)

 More about Grapefruit essential oil from Dr. Axe

Cinnamon Bark – Cinnamon Bark contains the naturally occurring constituent cinnamaldehyde which stimulates metabolism, helps support healthy blood sugar levels and promotes a healthy immune response.

Ocotea – Ocotea is an essential oil extracted from an Equadorian tree, Ocotea Quixos.  It is also known as “fake cinnamon” and like cinnamon Ocotea may help support healthy blood sugar levels.  In addition, Ocotea has the highest level of alpha humulene of any Young Living essential oil, which is a compound that helps aid the body’s natural response to irritation and injury. Ocotea also has natural cleansing and purifying properties and can help promote relaxation as well.

More about alpha humulene here from The Leaf Online – Terpene Profile: Humulene

Slique Essence – Slique Essence is a unique blend of Grapefruit, Tangerine, Lemon, Spearmint and Ocotea essential oils with stevia extract.  It is part of Young Living’s Slique line of products designed to help promote satiety and support healthy weight management.  They also offer Balance Complete meal replacement shakes, Slique protein bars, Slique tea, Slique dietary supplements, Slique gum and a Slique Complete kit of products to help you find the right solution for your weight management needs.

 

 

Oily Support

So how am I using these to support my healthy weight management goals?

First thing in the morning I take a 1 oz shot of NingXia Red with a drop or two of DiGize to help provide some energy and support my digestive system during my detox.

In a vegetable capsule (which I also ordered from Young Living) I combine 3 drops of Lemon, 3 drops of Peppermint, 3 drops of Grapefruit, 2 drops of Cinnamon Bark, and 2 drops of Ocotea and fill with carrier oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil).  I take a capsule in the morning before breakfast and in the evening before dinner.  To make it easy I’ve been taking them at the same time as my Glucomannan fiber supplement, about 20-30 minutes before meals.

In the afternoon after I finish lunch, I add 4 drops of Slique Essence to my water.

 

Want more information on how essential oils can help you achieve your weight management goals? Check out this article from Natural Living Ideas: The Complete Guide to Using Essential Oils for Weight Loss

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant

Before I started my WordPress blog I had a Facebook page where I was sharing about my adventures and DIY ideas. This past Spring I shared a post per special request about my Quest for the Perfect Deodorant.  I never shared it here but it seems pertinent to do so in order to give you some background on just how long I’ve been seeking the what was starting to look like the Holy Grail of deodorant recipes. So here’s my original post:


(5/1/15) The Quest for the Perfect Deodorant:
There was a lot of hype on the interwebz about the dangers of antiperspirant a couple years ago, theorizing that your deodorant caused everything from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, science has pretty much debunked most of these rumors. But the gist of these rumors was that the active ingredient in antiperspirant, aluminum chlorohydrate, was the culprit.

In the 1960’s researchers found high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, the safety of any household or cosmetic product containing aluminum was called into question. Since then, no sound scientific study has been able to prove that aluminum is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease (remember correlation does not equal causation). In fact, most researchers point out that the aluminum chlorohydrate in deodorants doesn’t enter into the body at all. It works by reacting with the sweat produced in your underarm area to form a plug or sorts into the sweat duct effectively blocking the sweat from being released. Which brings me to the rumors about breast cancer risk.

In the 1990’s a group of researchers theorized that aluminum chlorohydrate in antiperspirants was linked to breast cancer because the majority of breast cancers develop in the upper, outermost portion of the breast, the area closest to the armpit. Two theories emerged: 1) because antiperspirants block the sweat we are preventing the body from its natural ability to rid itself of heavy metals and thus leading to cancer, and 2) the chemicals in deodorant and antiperspirant are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving, and that these chemicals supposedly interact with DNA to interfere with estrogen levels and can lead to cancer cell growth. Again, neither of these hypotheses have been supported through peer reviewed research.

There is some legitimate risk concern over aluminum possibly leading to dementia in patients with kidney disease, however. This comes from several studies showing that dialysis patients given aluminum hydroxide had difficulty ridding the aluminum from their system due to improper kidney function and leading to higher percentage of these patients developing dementia. This lead to the FDA requiring the warning you may have seen on antiperspirants that says “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.” Despite this relationship, however, most doctors believe that the likelihood of absorbing enough aluminum through the skin to harm the kidneys is unlikely.

My quest for the perfect deodorant began when I wanted to decrease the number of chemicals and questionable ingredients in my skincare and beauty products several years ago. Even if aluminum chlorohydrate doesn’t lead to cancer or Alzheimer’s there are still a lot of other questionable ingredients in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants, including:

Phthalates– chemicals used to soften and increase flexibility in plastics that may* cause endocrine disruption or hormone imbalance. (* this relationship is largely unknown and more research is needed)

Propylene glycol– also called antifreeze. There is a lot of debate about adding this ingredient in skincare and beauty products. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) propylene glycol carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.

Formaldehyde – recognized as a known carcinogen but commonly added to help kill germs.

Parabens – a preservative used in pharmaceuticals, beauty products, and even the food industry. There is some concern that Parabens cause estrogenic disruption but this is largely unsupported by the research.

Antibacterial Substances– There is emerging concern that antibacterial substances, such as triclocarban (commonly found in soaps), can be endocrine disruptors and thus negatively affect the immune system

So, armed with a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce I declared that I would give up my beloved Secret Clinical Strength deodorant. I don’t know about any of you but I sweat… like a man – there is no “glisten” where my pits are concerned. And, I stink. I said it, I can have pretty wicked BO… So giving up my Clinical Strength deodorant that I had used for years was no small feat. I tried lots of products that claimed to be “better” than other deodorants that had more chemicals. Even falling victim to the “Natural” marketing campaign (which if you didn’t know marketers can put the words “natural” on pretty much anything when there may be nothing “natural” about that product – it means zilch in the real world…) and landing on Secret’s Natural Mineral Antiperspirant and Deodorant for a couple years thinking it was a better alternative.

Once my blinders were removed I transitioned to Tom’s of Maine deodorant as a healthier choice and was terribly disappointed because quite frankly it didn’t really work for me (hindsight is 20/20 and a lot of why I think it didn’t work was diet – more on that in a minute). So by that time I was getting into the whole crunchy granola lifestyle and thought “what the hell, why don’t I just make my own deo!?!” So I tried one of the most common homemade deodorant recipes out there:

• 1/4 c. baking soda

• 1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

• 5 Tbsp. coconut oil

• Essential oils (optional – I used 3 drops of lavender, 4 drops of sweet orange, and 2 drops of tea tree)

Mix everything together very well in a small container. Pack it in an old deodorant container and use it just like you normally do.

And you know what? It worked!!! I was thrilled! But after using it for a while I discovered that, like many people out there, my skin is way too sensitive for baking soda as a deodorant. My pits turned an angry shade of red, peeled, and itched like crazy. Nothing so sexy as walking around scratching your pits like a monkey all day. So I tried decreasing the baking soda and added more arrowroot powder and much to my dismay I continued to have the same reaction, although slightly less severe. Saddened by this turn of events, I continued my quest.

Next I tried Milk of Magnesia (MoM) – yes, the same stuff you use for constipation and heartburn, but hear me out. Because the active ingredient, magnesium hydroxide, is alkaline it helps balance the acidity of the sweat and sebum (skin’s natural oils) mixture. This worked okay, but I wasn’t a super huge fan of having to rub a quarter sized dollop of MoM on my pits and wait for it to dry. Some critics of MoM as deo point out, however, that an inactive ingredient in MoM is sodium hypochlorite, which is essentially bleach and while this does a fantastic job of killing bacteria, it is a known skin irritant. These critics will often advocate for using magnesium oil (which can be purchased in an aerosol spray) as an alternative or even just increasing your magnesium through supplements to decrease body odor (but I take a mag supplement daily and still need deo).

Next I was led to the Natural Crystal deodorant, which is basically a “salt” crystal, or potassium alum. It has also received a lot of criticism for being a type of aluminum but since I know that the aluminum-cancer/dementia risk is slight (see above) I wasn’t particularly concerned. Again, I was surprised by how well this actually worked for me! But again, sadly disappointed when my pits started itching. Not as bad as BS but still not sexy and super annoying.

So feeling dismayed I went back to Tom’s of Maine. I was pleasantly surprised that it was working better than it did a couple years ago and I credit our change in diet/lifestyle as the reason behind this change. We gave up processed foods, cut back on sugar (although admittedly I’ve relapsed since the little one was born), and traded in “white” foods, like sugar, rice, potatoes, bread, etc. for whole and ancient grains, sweet potatoes, and sugar alternatives, like honey or agave nectar. I haven’t found a whole lot of evidence to support my claim that my healthier diet changed my BO (because I still drink caffeine and eat lots of garlic and onions as well as other BO-causing spices like curry) but that’s my anecdotal evidence for ya!

That said, I still wanted to get away from having to purchase store-bought deodorant and continued my quest for a homemade recipe that didn’t irritate my armpits. My recently re-ignited passion for essential oils lead me to search for new recipes. Below is what I discovered!

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant:

A  fellow essential oil enthusiast recently shared with me that she was having luck using Rosemary oil as a deodorant alternative. Now, Rosemary essential oil is technically classified as a dietary supplement but I’m all about experimenting and finding new ways to use essential oils.  My friend had said she just dropped a few drops in her hands, rubbed them together and applied neat to her pits. I admit, I was super skeptical that one single oil, let alone something I associated more with cooking than sweat could tackle this challenge. But, willing to try pretty much anything, I added Rosemary oil to my Essential Rewards order back in July and gave it a whirl.


This stuff is amazing! For a month and a half I wore nothing but Rosemary oil, neat, as a deodorant alternative and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t stink! I still sweated but the Rosemary oil is a natural camphor so it provides a nice cooling sensation in warm summer breezes which was nice. But I did want to try to find something to provide some wetness protection.  I had such a bad reaction to Baking Soda in my deodorant that I wanted to find something else to help absorb sweat and set out to look for alternatives.  While scouring the interwebz I stumbled upon Simple Life Mom’s blog post and recipe for a Detoxing Homemade Clay Deodorant.  She skips the Baking Soda and adds Bentonite Clay to help absorb wetness and odor.  In addition to soothing the skin, the clay also helps detox heavy metals and other toxins from the skin!  The blog was originally published  on my daughter’s birthday so I thought that perhaps this was kismet.  I already had all the ingredients on hand and decided to give it a whirl.  Since I’d had such good luck with the Rosemary essential oil I knew I wanted it to be included and decided to add a bit of Lavender essential oil as well to help with any skin irritation that I might have from the Arrowroot powder or Bentonite Clay.  Here’s the recipe with my essential oil ratios:

 

DIY Rosemary & Lavender Detoxing Deodorant (for sensitive skin):

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay (Simple Life Mom suggests substituting Kaolin or other clay if you desired to have a whiter deodorant)
  • 5 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 tsp Beeswax (I used pastilles because they melt easier and get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I use Carrington Farms brand and get it at Costco. That big ol tub is only like $14.99 and we use it for cooking in addition to my DIY projects.)
  • 2 tsp Shea Butter (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops of Lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Combine Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Shea Butter in double boiler.  Heat on high and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. Combine Arrowroot powder and Bentonite Clay in bowl.
  3. Pour oil mixture into powder mixture and stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Add essential oils and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour into empty deodorant container (mine was gifted to me but you can find them on Amazon or at other online aromatherapy supplies dealers websites)

 

I’ve used this new deodorant for a week now.  I’ve made sure to wear every color and style shirt conceivable and the verdict is I freakin’ love this stuff!!! I feel like my long quest for the perfect deodorant is finally over.  This, my friends, is my holy grail of DIY deodorants!!! I absolutely love that I get the fragrance of the Rosemary essential oil, with just a touch of the Lavender, in addition to the wetness protection from the Arrowroot and Bentonite Clay.  It goes on smoothly which I also really like. For what it’s worth though, I have two (small) constructive criticisms of the recipe. First, it does show up on black (but not white as I feared) fabric.  It is not any more visible than a white solid deodorant, however.  But if I was going to wear a black tank top, or little black dress if you’re more fashionable than me, I would probably just use my Rosemary oil neat to avoid the powdery bits.  And second, because it is pretty soft, which makes it glide on easily, it does tend to ball up a little bit in the creases of my armpit.  However, this is very short lived as the melting point of the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter is pretty low so after 30 minutes to an hour it is all absorbed and no more balls or clumps.

So there it is.  Try it out and let me know what you think!  Comment below with your results to help keep the conversation going!!!

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


Leave a comment

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant

Before I started my WordPress blog I had a Facebook page where I was sharing about my adventures and DIY ideas. This past Spring I shared a post per special request about my Quest for the Perfect Deodorant.  I never shared it here but it seems pertinent to do so in order to give you some background on just how long I’ve been seeking the what was starting to look like the Holy Grail of deodorant recipes. So here’s my original post:


(5/1/15) The Quest for the Perfect Deodorant:
There was a lot of hype on the interwebz about the dangers of antiperspirant a couple years ago, theorizing that your deodorant caused everything from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, science has pretty much debunked most of these rumors. But the gist of these rumors was that the active ingredient in antiperspirant, aluminum chlorohydrate, was the culprit.

In the 1960’s researchers found high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, the safety of any household or cosmetic product containing aluminum was called into question. Since then, no sound scientific study has been able to prove that aluminum is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease (remember correlation does not equal causation). In fact, most researchers point out that the aluminum chlorohydrate in deodorants doesn’t enter into the body at all. It works by reacting with the sweat produced in your underarm area to form a plug or sorts into the sweat duct effectively blocking the sweat from being released. Which brings me to the rumors about breast cancer risk.

In the 1990’s a group of researchers theorized that aluminum chlorohydrate in antiperspirants was linked to breast cancer because the majority of breast cancers develop in the upper, outermost portion of the breast, the area closest to the armpit. Two theories emerged: 1) because antiperspirants block the sweat we are preventing the body from its natural ability to rid itself of heavy metals and thus leading to cancer, and 2) the chemicals in deodorant and antiperspirant are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving, and that these chemicals supposedly interact with DNA to interfere with estrogen levels and can lead to cancer cell growth. Again, neither of these hypotheses have been supported through peer reviewed research.

There is some legitimate risk concern over aluminum possibly leading to dementia in patients with kidney disease, however. This comes from several studies showing that dialysis patients given aluminum hydroxide had difficulty ridding the aluminum from their system due to improper kidney function and leading to higher percentage of these patients developing dementia. This lead to the FDA requiring the warning you may have seen on antiperspirants that says “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.” Despite this relationship, however, most doctors believe that the likelihood of absorbing enough aluminum through the skin to harm the kidneys is unlikely.

My quest for the perfect deodorant began when I wanted to decrease the number of chemicals and questionable ingredients in my skincare and beauty products several years ago. Even if aluminum chlorohydrate doesn’t lead to cancer or Alzheimer’s there are still a lot of other questionable ingredients in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants, including:

Phthalates– chemicals used to soften and increase flexibility in plastics that may* cause endocrine disruption or hormone imbalance. (* this relationship is largely unknown and more research is needed)

Propylene glycol– also called antifreeze. There is a lot of debate about adding this ingredient in skincare and beauty products. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) propylene glycol carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.

Formaldehyde – recognized as a known carcinogen but commonly added to help kill germs.

Parabens – a preservative used in pharmaceuticals, beauty products, and even the food industry. There is some concern that Parabens cause estrogenic disruption but this is largely unsupported by the research.

Antibacterial Substances– There is emerging concern that antibacterial substances, such as triclocarban (commonly found in soaps), can be endocrine disruptors and thus negatively affect the immune system

So, armed with a list of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce I declared that I would give up my beloved Secret Clinical Strength deodorant. I don’t know about any of you but I sweat… like a man – there is no “glisten” where my pits are concerned. And, I stink. I said it, I can have pretty wicked BO… So giving up my Clinical Strength deodorant that I had used for years was no small feat. I tried lots of products that claimed to be “better” than other deodorants that had more chemicals. Even falling victim to the “Natural” marketing campaign (which if you didn’t know marketers can put the words “natural” on pretty much anything when there may be nothing “natural” about that product – it means zilch in the real world…) and landing on Secret’s Natural Mineral Antiperspirant and Deodorant for a couple years thinking it was a better alternative.

Once my blinders were removed I transitioned to Tom’s of Maine deodorant as a healthier choice and was terribly disappointed because quite frankly it didn’t really work for me (hindsight is 20/20 and a lot of why I think it didn’t work was diet – more on that in a minute). So by that time I was getting into the whole crunchy granola lifestyle and thought “what the hell, why don’t I just make my own deo!?!” So I tried one of the most common homemade deodorant recipes out there:

• 1/4 c. baking soda

• 1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

• 5 Tbsp. coconut oil

• Essential oils (optional – I used 3 drops of lavender, 4 drops of sweet orange, and 2 drops of tea tree)

Mix everything together very well in a small container. Pack it in an old deodorant container and use it just like you normally do.

And you know what? It worked!!! I was thrilled! But after using it for a while I discovered that, like many people out there, my skin is way too sensitive for baking soda as a deodorant. My pits turned an angry shade of red, peeled, and itched like crazy. Nothing so sexy as walking around scratching your pits like a monkey all day. So I tried decreasing the baking soda and added more arrowroot powder and much to my dismay I continued to have the same reaction, although slightly less severe. Saddened by this turn of events, I continued my quest.

Next I tried Milk of Magnesia (MoM) – yes, the same stuff you use for constipation and heartburn, but hear me out. Because the active ingredient, magnesium hydroxide, is alkaline it helps balance the acidity of the sweat and sebum (skin’s natural oils) mixture. This worked okay, but I wasn’t a super huge fan of having to rub a quarter sized dollop of MoM on my pits and wait for it to dry. Some critics of MoM as deo point out, however, that an inactive ingredient in MoM is sodium hypochlorite, which is essentially bleach and while this does a fantastic job of killing bacteria, it is a known skin irritant. These critics will often advocate for using magnesium oil (which can be purchased in an aerosol spray) as an alternative or even just increasing your magnesium through supplements to decrease body odor (but I take a mag supplement daily and still need deo).

Next I was led to the Natural Crystal deodorant, which is basically a “salt” crystal, or potassium alum. It has also received a lot of criticism for being a type of aluminum but since I know that the aluminum-cancer/dementia risk is slight (see above) I wasn’t particularly concerned. Again, I was surprised by how well this actually worked for me! But again, sadly disappointed when my pits started itching. Not as bad as BS but still not sexy and super annoying.

So feeling dismayed I went back to Tom’s of Maine. I was pleasantly surprised that it was working better than it did a couple years ago and I credit our change in diet/lifestyle as the reason behind this change. We gave up processed foods, cut back on sugar (although admittedly I’ve relapsed since the little one was born), and traded in “white” foods, like sugar, rice, potatoes, bread, etc. for whole and ancient grains, sweet potatoes, and sugar alternatives, like honey or agave nectar. I haven’t found a whole lot of evidence to support my claim that my healthier diet changed my BO (because I still drink caffeine and eat lots of garlic and onions as well as other BO-causing spices like curry) but that’s my anecdotal evidence for ya!

That said, I still wanted to get away from having to purchase store-bought deodorant and continued my quest for a homemade recipe that didn’t irritate my armpits. My recently re-ignited passion for essential oils lead me to search for new recipes. Below is what I discovered!

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant:

A  fellow essential oil enthusiast recently shared with me that she was having luck using Rosemary oil as a deodorant alternative. Now, Rosemary essential oil is technically classified as a dietary supplement but I’m all about experimenting and finding new ways to use essential oils.  My friend had said she just dropped a few drops in her hands, rubbed them together and applied neat to her pits. I admit, I was super skeptical that one single oil, let alone something I associated more with cooking than sweat could tackle this challenge. But, willing to try pretty much anything, I added Rosemary oil to my Essential Rewards order back in July and gave it a whirl.


This stuff is amazing! For a month and a half I wore nothing but Rosemary oil, neat, as a deodorant alternative and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t stink! I still sweated but the Rosemary oil is a natural camphor so it provides a nice cooling sensation in warm summer breezes which was nice. But I did want to try to find something to provide some wetness protection.  I had such a bad reaction to Baking Soda in my deodorant that I wanted to find something else to help absorb sweat and set out to look for alternatives.  While scouring the interwebz I stumbled upon Simple Life Mom’s blog post and recipe for a Detoxing Homemade Clay Deodorant.  She skips the Baking Soda and adds Bentonite Clay to help absorb wetness and odor.  In addition to soothing the skin, the clay also helps detox heavy metals and other toxins from the skin!  The blog was originally published  on my daughter’s birthday so I thought that perhaps this was kismet.  I already had all the ingredients on hand and decided to give it a whirl.  Since I’d had such good luck with the Rosemary essential oil I knew I wanted it to be included and decided to add a bit of Lavender essential oil as well to help with any skin irritation that I might have from the Arrowroot powder or Bentonite Clay.  Here’s the recipe with my essential oil ratios:

 

DIY Rosemary & Lavender Detoxing Deodorant (for sensitive skin):

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay (Simple Life Mom suggests substituting Kaolin or other clay if you desired to have a whiter deodorant)
  • 5 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 1 tsp Beeswax (I used pastilles because they melt easier and get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I use Carrington Farms brand and get it at Costco. That big ol tub is only like $14.99 and we use it for cooking in addition to my DIY projects.)
  • 2 tsp Shea Butter (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops of Lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Combine Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Shea Butter in double boiler.  Heat on high and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. Combine Arrowroot powder and Bentonite Clay in bowl.
  3. Pour oil mixture into powder mixture and stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Add essential oils and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour into empty deodorant container (mine was gifted to me but you can find them on Amazon or at other online aromatherapy supplies dealers websites)

 

I’ve used this new deodorant for a week now.  I’ve made sure to wear every color and style shirt conceivable and the verdict is I freakin’ love this stuff!!! I feel like my long quest for the perfect deodorant is finally over.  This, my friends, is my holy grail of DIY deodorants!!! I absolutely love that I get the fragrance of the Rosemary essential oil, with just a touch of the Lavender, in addition to the wetness protection from the Arrowroot and Bentonite Clay.  It goes on smoothly which I also really like. For what it’s worth though, I have two (small) constructive criticisms of the recipe. First, it does show up on black (but not white as I feared) fabric.  It is not any more visible than a white solid deodorant, however.  But if I was going to wear a black tank top, or little black dress if you’re more fashionable than me, I would probably just use my Rosemary oil neat to avoid the powdery bits.  And second, because it is pretty soft, which makes it glide on easily, it does tend to ball up a little bit in the creases of my armpit.  However, this is very short lived as the melting point of the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter is pretty low so after 30 minutes to an hour it is all absorbed and no more balls or clumps.

So there it is.  Try it out and let me know what you think!  Comment below with your results to help keep the conversation going!!!

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

The Holy Grail of DIY Deodorant was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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Ouchie! For Life’s Scrapes & Bruises: An Essential Oil Roller Ball Recipe

More and more I find myself incorporating my essential oils into my daily life and yet still I never cease to be surprised by just how amazing these oils can be! When I first got my starter kit I researched a lot of different uses for each of the 11 oils I had added to my collection.  Some, like lavender, tea tree, and peppermint, I was familiar with and had already incorporated into my hygiene and beauty routines.  Others, like Thieves blend, frankincense, and lemon, I was excited to finally get to try.  Part of my research involved looking up different oil blend combinations to help with life’s little annoyances – like the sniffles, coughing, scratchy throats, dry and itchy skin, aches and pains, upset bellies, scrapes and bruises, and a pounding head!  I found lots of great recipes online, ordered some really pretty 10 ml cobalt roller ball bottles, and set to mixing and blending.  I’ve incorporated several into my daily life, including my favorite for aches and pains as well as sniffles, coughs and a scratchy throat.  I’ve even shared the recipes for my Ache Away and Seasonal Relief blends at my Essential Oil Make ‘N Take parties and they have been guest favorites! But one I had made had sat unused in my cute little oil bag until yesterday!

See, I’m super clumsy – like the kind of clumsy where door jambs jump out in front of me or I trip on flat surfaces.  True to form, I was walking to my car after work yesterday and tripped over the curb in the parking lot only inches from making it to my car unscathed.  My ankle rolled (but thankfully didn’t sprain or break which would’ve been incredibly painful and inconvenient) but I did manage to land on my knees onto the asphalt.  So I limped around to the driver’s side of my car to check out the damage I had done.  Thankfully my pants didn’t rip but I did manage to scrape up my knee pretty bad and just knew that it was about to start bleeding pretty good and would likely leave me with quite the bruise by the next morning.  And then I remembered – I have an oil for that! So I pulled out the lonely, unused Ouchie blend and rubbed a little onto my scraped and bruising knee.  I was shocked how quickly it took the sting out and stopped the bleeding!  I’m now applying it twice daily to help speed up the healing process.  And so far, no bruising!

I was so impressed with how well this blend worked I had to share it with my readers!  So without further ado, here it is:

Ouchie! roller ball recipe:*

  •  10 ml roller ball bottle (make sure you get metal not plastic roller balls)
  • 30 drops of Tea Tree oil
  • 20 drops of Lavender oil
  • 15 drops of Frankincense oil
  • fill roller ball with carrier oil – I prefer fractionated coconut oil (I buy Dr. Adorable brand from Amazon Prime)

This recipe is great for cleaning and taking the sting out of scrapes, cuts, and blisters as well as providing soothing relief from scaly, itchy patches of skin.  Plus, it’s safe to use on children!

*This is not my original recipe.  But sadly many of the reference websites I used to create my roller ball recipes have been removed due to FDA regulations and noncompliant language (don’t get me started on that tirade) so I can’t give you the source for this recipe.  But if its your original recipe please let me know and I’ll be happy to give credit where credit is due!

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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General Musings on Getting Started with Essential Oils and a Lemon Sugar Scrub Recipe to Share the Love!

Sorry I’ve been absent the last week! I was busy planning my first Essential Oil Make ‘N Take party that I hosted yesterday! We had so much fun using essential oils to make home, health and beauty products.  It can be really overwhelming to know where to start with essential oils so I always suggest taking a personal inventory of the areas in your life that you are unsatisfied with and starting your research there.  Maybe you want to rid your home of toxic cleaning chemicals.  Maybe you want to find natural hygiene and beauty routines.  Or maybe you just want to support your family’s health and wellness.  Whatever the need, there’s an oil for that! I love doing research on ways that essential oils can enhance the lives of my friends and readers because I learn so much about what these amazing oils can do! So feel free to message me with your areas of concern and I’d be glad to help!

At my Make ‘N Take party this past weekend I shared several options for my guests to choose from.  My skin has gone bonkers lately! I’m not sure if it’s hormones or my body trying to detox since I started adding Lemon essential oil to help me meet my daily water intake, but whatever the reason it’s not happy.  So I was most excited to try out a new recipe that I shared with my guests, a Lemon Sugar Scrub.  This recipe can be used on both the body and face. It’s ideal for rough spots like feet, knees, elbows and hands.  It’s also great for nail beds and cuticles.  And with a few simple modifications this scrub makes an excellent choice for people who suffer from occasional breakouts because it contains ingredients that are beneficial to acne-prone skin:

  • Lemon essential oil helps tightens pores and evens out the skin tone.
  • Sugar helps remove dead skin cells and cleans pores.
  • Substitute Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the Coconut Oil as it is less comedogenic (less likely to clog pores) and helps heals acne scarring.
  • And adding a bit of Honey helps prevent future breakouts.

I tried the recipe out last night and it was lovely! I love a good scrub and felt like my skin was so much smoother afterwards! Plus, the olive oil helped prevent my skin from feeling overly dry after I rinsed it off.  This one is definitely a keeper!

So without further ado, here it is:

Lemon Sugar Scrub

  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil (can substitute EVOO, especially for acne-prone skin)
  • 5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 tsp Honey (optional)

Mix ingredients and store in 8 oz glass jar.

As a body scrub: Apply to body, paying extra close attention to elbows, knees, feet and hands (nails and cuticles especially), and rub in circular motions for 3 to 5 minutes.  Rinse.  Enjoy the silky softness of your impossibly smooth skin.

As a face scrub: Clean face as usual with warm to hot water to help open up pores.  Apply scrub to clean face in gentle, circular motions.  Be cautious of using on open wounds, as lemon has a tendency to sting. Leave on for a few minutes and rinse with cool water.

** The above is not my original recipe.  I modified it from one I found in one of my YL business Facebook groups and regretfully cannot find the post again to give proper credit.  So if it’s your original recipe, let me know and I’ll gladly give proper citation.

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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Sore Nips? Here’s a Homemade Boobie Balm Recipe to Help! #WBW2015

One thing that any breastfeeding mother will tell you is that a good salve or balm for the nipples is a must!  Especially in the first few weeks when you and your baby are trying to find your nursing rhythm, he/she is trying to find the perfect latch, and your nipples are getting used to their new role in helping to provide sustenance to your little one!

While there are a lot of products on the market to help ease tenderness and soothe chapped nipples many of them contain lanolin.  Lanolin has been used for many many years and is a highly recommended product because it works so well.  However, there was some concern about a year ago about lanolin and whether or not it was inadvertently exposing babies to toxic chemicals.  So what is lanolin? Lanolin is basically the sebum, or the waxy substance produced by sheep to coat their wool and moisturize their skin.  After the sheep are shorn, the lanolin is harvested.  But in addition to containing the moisture rich sebum, lanolin also contains traces of dust, dirt, pollen, and even fecal matter.  As a result it must be processed and refined to remove all of the unsavory bits.  This refining process can vary from company to company and may involve any number of chemicals.  Some mothers are even concerned that the refinement process may not remove all of the impurities and that they may be exposing their children to GMO’s through the pollen and food particles that remain in the lanolin.  Because infants have such delicate immune systems, many mothers choose to refrain from using products containing lanolin to help minimize exposure to toxic chemicals.  Other mothers simply choose to avoid lanolin because they live a vegan lifestyle.

There are also several great products on the market that don’t contain lanolin, like Earth Mama Angel Baby’s popular (certified organic and non GMO certified) Nipple Butter but I’m a DIY junkie and if I can make it I’m going to try.  So I sought out recipes for my own homemade nipple cream and stumbled upon one that I just love! So, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, 2015 here is my DIY Homemade Boobie Balm recipe!

Homemade Boobie Balm:

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Coconut Oil – to help moisturize, promote healthy skin regeneration, and fight off infection.  I prefer Carrington Farm Organic Coconut Oil and can get a giant tub at Costco for like $14.99.  We use Coconut Oil for everything at our house! It’s excellent to cook with as well as makes a wonderful diaper rash ointment and helps alleviate itchy dry skin from cradle cap!
  • 2 parts Shea Butter – helps strengthen and protect the skin by moisturizing and promoting regeneration.  Shea butter is wonderful to help speed up healing of minor cuts and cracks in the skin.  I buy mine at Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • 1 part Beeswax – helps protect the skin by locking in moisture and promoting new cell growth.  I prefer to buy the beeswax pastilles because they melt easier.  You could also buy a block of beeswax and shred it before melting. I buy mine at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a double boiler and stir occasionally until all ingredients have melted.  The beeswax will take a little longer than the rest.  Once all your ingredients are combined pour into reusable glass containers.  I prefer to upcycle baby food jars that friends have given me as they are the perfect size to carry with me.  Let sit for 24 hours.

The resulting balm will be slightly hard but melts easily with body heat.  I take my thumb nail and scrape a bit off the top and rub between my thumb and index finger to heat up before applying to my nipples.  Usually by the next feeding session (unless we were in the midst of cluster feeding) it has all been absorbed into my skin.  But if not I’ll wipe any excess off with my breastpad before nursing.  It certainly won’t hurt your baby but I’m always worried that it might affect the flavor of the milk or feel waxy and strange if I don’t.

Recipe slightly modified from its original source: MY Little Me’s Breastfeeding Boobie Balm Homemade Nipple Cream Recipe

More information on lanolin concerns from Mamavation’s blog: Killing You Softly, the Dangers of Lanolin

** Note: if you have severe or persistent nipple pain while breastfeeding please visit your pediatrician, lactation consultant, or other medical professional to rule out improper latch, tongue or lip tie, and/or thrush. 

Do you have a DIY nipple salve or balm recipe that you love? Please share it below!