Archives for essential oils

Homemade Coconut Oil Soap

It’s not always about food on the blog. I like to experiment in the kitchen with natural home care and body care too; making my own glass cleaner using cheap vodka, water and essential oils. I brush my teeth with simple baking soda, and wash my face with honey, using apple cider vinegar as a toner. And in the past year and a half I started making my own coconut oil soap! How about you? Do you try to be chemical free in your home and with your body care? Well, if the answer is yes, I think you’re going to love giving this recipe a try. There is ONE tough ingredient to deal with when making homemade soap, but once you get over that, you are GOLDEN.

homemade coconut oil soap with essential oils

I never thought I’d actually be able to make homemade soap. Every time I looked it up online, or read about it in a book, it always seemed SO complicated. And dealing with lye seemed extremely scary – so I would always just buy it at the store. Then after I broke out in the all body rash in 2015, with no real explanation, I was willing to try anything to keep it simple when it came to my skincare. In searching for a soap recipe that DIDN’T use lye, I found this amazing recipe for coconut oil soap instead. Heather from Mommypatamus made it seem so simple and attainable for me to do at home. Thank you Heather! <3

homemade coconut oil soap with aroma foundry essential oils

This new essential oil company produces some excellent smelling oils. Check them out at Aroma Foundry.

Needless to say my first batch ended up overflowing out of the crock pot, and I was a stress case due to dealing with that pesky, caustic, lye which might burn my skin. It didn’t go as well as Mommypatamus’, that’s for sure.

However, Mr. Zuccchini Runner really liked how the soap turned out and kept asking me when I was going to make it again. This was after the 3 successful bars I squeezed out of the original batch were gone.

Eventually I built up enough courage to give it another shot. This time, I had a large enough crock pot and at least I knew what to expect. I also skipped trying to put the soap in molds, because this stuff hardens up QUICK. We are talking within a couple minutes. NO TIME FOR MOLDS PEOPLE. Which actually makes it easier in the long run. You can just dump it all straight into a parchment-paper-lined loaf pan. Once it hardens, you simply cut it into the desired thickness of bars and you are done.

homemade coconut oil soap

Homemade Coconut Oil Soap {and Shampoo Bar too!}

First of all, I want to give you a little bit of science behind soap-making, because I think it is very useful when diving into making your own soap.

A few facts… (source)

  • If there is no lye, there is no soap. When you use a bar of soap, you are using soap, there is no lye left. Lye is used to MAKE the soap, but is not IN the soap.
  • SOAP is a result of a chemical reaction between LYE and FAT, called saponification. So neither of the original ingredients – fat or lye – exist in the finished bar of soap.
  • If you add more FAT than is required for the chemical reaction to take place, it’s called “superfatting”. Which ensures all the lye is consumed during the chemical reaction process.
  • This is a superfat recipe.

Secondly, yes, you read that headline correctly. Not only do I use this soap to wash my body, I also use it to wash my hair. This comes in very handy when in a hurry, traveling, or camping. No liquids to pull out of my bag at airport security checks and since one bar does it all, I save storage space in my bag for more important things — like running gear. I don’t need to condition my hair with every wash either when using this shampoo bar.

Homemade Coconut Oil Soap
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Homemade Coconut Oil Soap

Ingredients

Before you begin, you will need:

crock pot – 8 quart

immersion blender

digital scale

thermometer

glass measuring cup

small glass bowl

designated wooden spoon (use ONLY for soap making)

glass bowl filled with white vinegar and water for neutralizing anything that comes in contact with lye. (Also clean with soap after neutralized.)

protective equipment: long-sleeved shirt, pants, plastic/rubber gloves, safety glasses (I use my running sunglasses; they work great)

standard size loaf pan

parchment paper (for lining the loaf pan)

apron (optional; you can also just wear "junk" clothes or painting clothes)

Soap Ingredients

33 oz. coconut oil, (be sure you don't get the fractionated kind) 

4.83 oz. lye (sodium hydroxide; NaOH)

12.54 oz. water

1 oz. essential oil(s)

Instructions

    1. Gather all of your necessary equipment and ingredients before beginning.

    2. Dress in long sleeves and pants. Wear an apron you don't mind getting dirty or wear old clothes.

    3. Ensure your kitchen is very clean. Dishes away, no dishes in the sink, except your glass bowl of white vinegar and water. I usually dump about 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar into the bowl of water.

    4. Weigh all your ingredients, into the following glass containers. **Be SURE to account for the weight of the each container before the addition of the ingredient:

    • water - glass measuring cup

    • coconut oil - large glass bowl

    • lye granules - small glass bowl

    5. Add your coconut oil to your crockpot to melt. I have to put mine on high to achieve a temperature of 120*F.

    6. While the coconut is melting, get your protective eyewear and gloves on. Take the lye granules and water outside, along with your wooden "LYE ONLY" spoon. **IMPORTANT** ADD THE LYE TO THE WATER. This order is very important, because if you do it the other way, it will essentially boil over and you'll have a nice, big, chemical mess. So, as you add the LYE TO THE WATER, stir with your wooden spoon, being careful not to inhale any of the vapors. Do not touch the glass, it will be HOT. Stir until the granules are dissolved; the mixture will be cloudy. Leave mixture outside to cool and clear up for about 10-12 minutes. Be sure no animals/pets go near it either. It is extremely alkaline and hot, and will burn.

    7. You can prepare your essential oils while the lye finishes clearing up. For this batch, I mixed one bottle of Tangerine and one bottle of Lavender essential oils by Aroma Foundry. {This has been my favorite combo so far, I really loved these clean and crisp scents. And, the tangerine oil made the bars a beautiful pale yellow. The house smelled like a spa all day!} I dumped each bottle into one small glass bowl, to have it ready to go later.

    8. Using your thermometer, test the temperature of the coconut oil. It should be close to 120*F.

    9. Check your lye outside. If it is clear, it is ready to go. Wearing your protective gear, bring the lye inside and add to the melted coconut oil in the crockpot, stirring with the wooden spoon.

    10. Add the glass measuring cup to the vinegar bowl in the sink, along with the lye spoon.

    11. Using the immersion blender, and definitely still wearing your protective gear, start blending the lye mixture and coconut oil using a figure 8 pattern. Do this for roughly 10 minutes. You will get a good arm workout! The goal is to finish with a pudding-like consistency. (See pictures in slideshow)

    12. Place your immersion stick (without motor of course) into the vinegar bowl in the sink.

    13. Cover the crockpot with a lid, and turn heat to low. Let cook for roughly 2 hours. (Heather's recipe says 45 minutes to an hour, but mine always takes much longer. I think it's due to the variation in crock pots.) So just keep an eye on it, and ensure it doesn't overflow. If it gets close to the top, use your wooden spoon to stir and knock it down.

    14. Get your loaf pan ready, by lining it with parchment paper. (see slideshow)

    15.The saponification process is happening at this point! It will start to curl into itself in the center of the pot. Once there are no pools of oil remaining, your soap is complete. It will look like vaseline; sort of transparent. You should also test a tiny bit on your tongue, to see if it tastes like soap. Don't swallow it, just tap it to your tongue. (I always give this job to Mr. Zucchini Runner.) If it zings back, it is not ready. If it tastes like soap, you are good!

    16. Turn off the crockpot. Remove the ceramic pot from the heating element and stir well to release some heat. If you don't want any essential oils, just pour the soap directly into your parchment paper lined loaf pan. If you DO want a scent, now is the time to add it to the soap. It is best if you let it cool slightly before adding, so the essential oils don't lose their scent! But don't wait to long, because once the soap is removed from the heat, you have less than 5 minutes before it begins to harden. Move fast! Dump into the parchment lined loaf pan once your scented oils are added.

    17. Let cool on the counter for about 2 hours. If you wait too long, the loaf will get pretty hard and difficult to cut. I like cutting mine when the loaf is still warm, but not soft in the middle. Cut as thick or thin as you like. We do about 1/2-3/4" thick.

    18. Let cool completely before wrapping and storing.

    NOTE: This recipe for homemade coconut oil soap produces a very thick lather, so it's best to use with a washcloth to get the most out of each bar. Also, store away from water, to ensure it lasts as long as possible. In other words, don't let it sit in a pool of water after your are done with your shower.
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Homemade Coconut Oil Soap and Shampoo Bar {Slideshow}

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Have you ever made homemade soap before? What are your favorite essential oil scents you’d like to try in homemade soap?

homemade coconut oil soap and shampoo bar

Pick your essential oil scents.

Am I becoming a hippie… again?

hippie

Yep, this is me in 1996 🙂

Back in college, I was what most people would call a hippie.  After I graduated and got a job in the “real world” (as EVERYONE liked to call it), I decided I needed to cut my ridiculously long hair and trade in my sandals for high heels. About 3 years into working, I got a job in the corporate world and any remaining hippie in me was eradicated from my system… or at least in my physical appearance. (Although, I still had a secret stash of my tie dyed shirts and backless hippie tops in my bottom dresser drawer.) But why did I keep those shirts from days of old? Does everyone do that? Could I ever be hippie on the outside again? What was so wrong with dressing that way AND functioning as a “normal” member of society? Would I be an oxymoron?

Bottom line: Be who you want to be and don’t apologize for it.

Let’s take a quick look at the definition of hippie:

hippie |ˈhipē|(also hippy )

noun

(esp. in the 1960s) a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.

So yeah, I have my long hair again… and yeah I’d say I reject conventional values… hygiene methods… whatever. Which brings me to the main purpose of my post. About a year ago, I read an article about using baking soda in place of shampoo.

Whaaaaa…?

But I have to tell you, it was utterly convincing. So much so, that I swapped my bottle of shampoo for a box of baking soda in the shower. I was a convert. That same article said I could use apple cider vinegar for conditioner. I tried that a few times… it seemed to work well enough and no, my hair didn’t smell like vinegar… at first. Whenever I would workout, of course I would sweat… it was then I would smell a hint of ACV. NOPE. Not THAT hippie. So, I switched to using a paraben, phthalate, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate free conditioner by Alba Botanica. Sweet success. I wanted to write a post about it almost immediately, then life got in the way and before I knew it a year has passed. Over the past year, not only have I swapped out my shampoo for baking soda, I’ve also swapped out my toothpaste AND (the biggest one for me) my deodorant. HIPPIE!

Here are are few pics of my hair in the past year: all washed with baking soda and Alba conditioner.

baking_soda_hair

This was after 2 months of using baking soda, after getting my hair cut.

green_drink_hair

One of my I don’t care hair days where a bun produced some cute waves!

crazy hair

My friend Jeremy and I picking up our race packets at the hot chocolate 15k. Photo credit: Jeremy

When you go to any drugstore, grocery store, gas station, clothing store — you name it — you are given quite literally a 100+ choices in hygiene products. Now that I’ve switched to these basic products at home, I see what a racket all the stuff lining the shelves truly is. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for some of these items, but 99% of it is over the top and unnecessary – not to mention loaded with chemicals. Chances are, if you’ve made it this far into this post, you have an interest in this type of stuff or you’re at least curious. So instead of going on and on about how corporations are screwing us all over and selling us crap – I’m just going to say – stop buying it and try some of these for yourself. If you end up liking them, GREAT; if not, that’s great too… to each their own. 🙂

Baking Soda Shampoo

IMG_2680

Why I like it: It removes dirt and grime without harsh chemicals. It brings your hair back to it’s natural color state – in my case – it lightened it up a bit. Your hair is not weighed down with product, allowing for more natural body. Once you use it regularly, you don’t have to wash it as frequently because your scalp’s oil production is in a more natural balance. It’s super cost effective.

How to use: I bought a simple squirt bottle from Bed, Bath and Beyond and a giant bag of baking soda from Costco. I add about 1/4 c. of baking soda, 4 drops of my favorite essential oil blend and the rest of the bottle with water. I cover the bottle tip with my finger and I shake vigorously to incorporate the ingredients and I have shampoo for 3 washings. When in the shower, you simply use the squirt bottle to apply the mixture to all your hair (shake before each use) and massage into your scalp and hair. It will not foam or lather – that feeling does take some getting used to – but after a while you will enjoy the scalp massage.

Baking Soda Toothpaste

IMG_2681

Why I like it: It’s simple, it doesn’t make my teeth sensitive, it’s cheap and my mouth feels so fresh afterwards I don’t need to use mouthwash anymore! It is also dentist approved. 😉 I went in for my dental cleaning about 3 months after I had been using just baking soda – my dentist commented on how nice and clean my teeth were (as always – so I was happy nothing had changed) and I told her I had switched to baking soda! She approved and said people used to use baking soda all the time and some still do. No brainer here.

How to use: I simply fill a little jelly sized mason jar with baking soda and store it in my medicine cabinet. When it’s time to brush I wet my toothbrush with water (or hydrogen peroxide for a little whitening effect) and quickly press the wet brush into the baking soda to pick up a wet clump. Voila. It’s that easy. Then brush teeth as normal. Again, no foaming, it won’t be sweet or minty, but it will be CLEAN.

Baking Soda Deodorant

IMG_2684

Why I like it: BECAUSE IT WORKS. BOOM. And I know there is nothing harmful going into my body via my freshly shaved armpit pores. I also don’t get little red bumps anymore in my underarms. Customizing the scent with my favorite essential oil is also a bonus.

How to use: Ok, this one is a little more involved, but once you have a batch made it should last you about 4-6 months depending on how often you apply your deodorant. I put together a little slideshow below to help as well. I was given this recipe from a friend, who found it online here. Mr. Zucchini Runner and I always use this recipe with the exception of the cornstarch, which is used as an antiperspirant. We leave that out since sweating is a natural thing and I don’t mind when my body is doing what it was designed to do… cool itself off.

1/3 c. extra virgin, unrefined, organic coconut oil
1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. arrowroot powder
20-24 drops of essential oil

When we make the above recipe, we blend it all together in a single bowl, with the exception of the essential oils. We then divide the mixture into two small mason jars and then add our own essential oils. So for Mr. Zucchini Runner, I recently added tangerine, frankincense and sandalwood ~ 10 drops total. For mine, I blended ~10 drops total of lavender and Ameo’s Pure Tranquility blend which contains – lemon verbena, lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, roman chamomile and sandalwood oil. (This is also the one I use in my shampoo!) We have a package of popsicle/craft sticks from the craft store that we use to scoop out about a pea size of the deodorant for each underarm. You could use your hand too, but I don’t like getting it under my fingernails. 🙂 Because it has coconut oil in it, it will melt almost immediately upon touching your skin, which allows for easy spreadability. It takes some getting used to, but I will take this way any day over applying something loaded with chemicals.

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Coconut Oil As Lotion
Why I like it: Because I smell like coconuts, OR I can add my own essential oil and smell like that. It absorbs quickly and it’s simple.

How to use: I use coconut oil as a face lotion and body lotion. Sometimes I use it plain, sometimes I add 1-3 drops of lavender oil, sometimes 1 drop lavender and 1 drop tea tree. It just depends on what my skin needs that day. I always use smaller than a pea size of coconut oil, rubbing it between my palms to melt it, and then use my hands to spread it on my face evenly. Be sure you do this before bed, with your hair pulled back until it absorbs into your skin – about 15 minutes. If you do it after a shower or in the morning, make sure your hair is pulled back with a towel still and add the oil to your face, neck and shoulders right away so it has a chance to absorb. If coconut oil gets in your hair, or is you hair touches your face or shoulders freshly lathered with coconut oil, it makes it look greasy and unshowered right away! (I learned that the hard way… you’re welcome. 😉

Have fun experimenting with new (old) ways of keeping yourself clean, you may surprise yourself!