Category Archives: Eco-Purpose

Earth Week 2014!

Earth Week 2014 | Tiffany Lane HandmadeEarth Week 2014 is upon us and we’re already a day in!

At my day job, I’m part of the Green Team for our office and we’re celebrating by reminding people to be good stewards of the earth and raffling off “green” prizes like small succulent plants, reusable water bottles, reusable tote bags and reusable food storage containers.  Tomorrow and Thursday, we’re also showing the movie Walle during lunchtime.  Lots of fun things!

Off the clock, this week (like every week) I’m being green by limiting my driving and carpooling when possible, composting, recycling, eating organic, using non-toxic products, buying in bulk to reduce packaging and waste, and so much more.  But while Earth Week is a good reminder for us to be living “green”, I want to stress that we shouldn’t wait all year until Earth Week, we should be green everyday!

How do you celebrate earth day (everyday)?

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Homemade Green Tea Face Wash

It takes a little bit of research to go from commercial face wash to homemade.  You’ve got to evaluate your skin tone (which hopefully you know already since you would take this into account when purchasing face wash), decide which type of face wash you like and want (i.e., creamy, foaming, scrubbing…), compare ingredients (price, ease of acquisition, etc.), and finally determine how much effort you are willing to put in.  

A lot of the research I did led me to the oil cleansing method, which is quite popular in the natural cosmetics sphere.  Because I have naturally oily skin, cleaning my skin with more oil simply does not sound appealing.  I cannot vouch for this method either way since I have never tried it.  Have you?  I’d love to know what you think.

Alternatively, I landed on a concoction that lathers and is made with components known for healing properties such as green tea and tea tree oil.  It also includes another oil component to balance the skin and keep it from drying out; I used sweet almond.

The recipe I sourced mine from via DIY Natural calls for chamomile tea for its anti-inflammatory properties, but I didn’t have chamomile tea on hand. Instead I used the organic green tea I typically keep in stock, which bodes well since green tea is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.  I chose tea tree oil as my essential oil since it is supposed to help with acne (which I have unfortunately struggled with this past year) because of its anti-septic and anti-fungal properties.

GREEN TEA FACE WASH

Makes: approx. 4 oz

green tea face wash - tiffany lane

Ingredients
1/4 cup liquid castile soap (I love Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap – Almond*)
1/4 cup green tea
3/4 tsp sweet almond oil*, coconut oil, vitamin e oil, or olive oil

8-10 drops essential oils (I used tea tree, try eucalyptus or peppermint)

Preparation

Brew a cup of strong green tea and allow 1/4 cup to cool.  In the meantime, combine all other ingredients and add green tea once completely cool.  Pour into a squirt or pump bottle and shake slightly to combine before each use as it may separate.

I happen to love this recipe as the cleanser lathers nicely, takes off all of my makeup, and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, without drying it out.  I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, or have any others you love!

P.S. In case you missed it, check out my recent post for a homemade shampoo and conditioner!

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Homemade Shampoo + Conditioner

In my journey to rid our home of nasty toxins, I’ve now added shampoo, conditioner and face wash to my ever growing list of homemade things. Today I’ll spill the dish on my homemade shampoo and conditioner, but stay tuned for a post about homemade face wash coming up soon.

This is my first attempt at homemade shampoo and so far I really like it.  I don’t even need to use conditioner!  But wait, this post is about homemade shampoo and conditioner.  I know and I thought I needed conditioner, which I probably did when I was using commercial shampoo which really just strip away the good with the bad, leaving hair feeling dry.  During my switch to all natural products, I actually made this conditioner before the shampoo, since I ran out at home first.  Then once I got around to making the shampoo, it never even crossed my mind to ditch the conditioner.  Well, last weekend the spray bottle for my conditioner broke and there I was in the shower with nothing to do about it.  Turns out, my hair dried beautifully and soft anyway.

So why did I even include the conditioner recipe?  Maybe your hair is different than mine and requires a little extra something after washing.  Or maybe you just like using some form of conditioner.  Whatever your reason, if you want it, the recipe is below for the taking.

But, there is a small catch that I didn’t notice right away with the shampoo.  It requires a more tedious rinse out than my old commercial shampoo, otherwise I notice teeny tiny white specks once my hair is dry that I believe to be the coconut milk.  I actually noticed it while brushing my dry hair before taking a shower.  The brush had a powdery almost film looking substance after brushing, similar to brushing hair with hair spray in it.  I’ve never had this problem before and no, I do not have dandruff.  After noticing this, I rinse my hair more thoroughly and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

One last thing about this shampoo.  The original recipe calls for the addition of oil (sweet almond, olive or vitamin e).  I used sweet almond in my first batch, but it left my hair too oily.  My second and current batch doesn’t have the oil (just the castile soap and coconut oil), which works better for my hair.  If I were you, I would try it first without the oil, and add the oil in if you feel you need it.  It’s easier to add than it is to take out!

But now I’ve got a question for you:  have you heard of the no ‘poo method and are you ‘poo free?  I had heard about this a while ago, but ran into it again while researching all natural shampoos.  I’m not going no ‘poo since I definitely prefer a hair cleanser that lathers.  But I am intrigued and would be very interested to get your feedback.

As far as conditioner goes, this is my second attempt at using natural ingredients to detangle and soften my hair.  My first attempt was a major fail, but that may have to do with my hair type (I have long straight hair, that tends to get dry near the ends and oily at the roots).  Out of ease, I tried using pure olive oil (coconut works too), but it left my hair too oily.  Maybe I just used too much and added it too close to my roots, I’m not sure.  In any case, I didn’t even give that one a second chance.

After that, I decided to go a completely different path.  Instead of fat (i.e. oil), I went acid (i.e. vinegar).  More specifically, apple cider vinegar.  If you haven’t used this for anything yet, I urge you to purchase some organic, raw, unfiltered, ACV (I like Bragg).  It’s a miracle substance!  Great for aiding relief and recovery from colds, good for baking, cooking and cleaning, and what do you know, it makes a great hair conditioner.  But be warned, this recipe is not your run of the mill, thick and creamy conditioner.  It’s literally water and apple cider vinegar, plus the optional essential oils for scent.  And since this isn’t your average conditioner, it doesn’t make your hair feel as soft and smooth while wet, but once towel dried and brushed, my hair feels and works the same as it did when I used store bought conditioner.  I could have made something thick and creamy, but to be honest, I don’t want to use non-food ingredients in my blender and I don’t want to purchase a second blender just to emulsify my cosmetics.  It seems the recipes I found for thicker and creamier conditioners required some sort of high speed blending.  Everyone has their own preferences.

But, like I said before, I don’t even need conditioner so I haven’t been using it.  You may wish to try washing your hair without the conditioner to see if you need it before you make it.  In any case, if you make it and end up not needing it, just clean your bathroom instead!

COCONUT MILK SHAMPOO

Adapted from One Good Thing By Jillee

coconut milk shampoo - tiffany lane

Ingredients
2 cups coconut milk (homemade or canned, I used a whole 13.5 oz can)
2 2/3 cup liquid castile soap, scented or unscented (I like Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap – Almond*)

2 tbsp sweet almond*, olive, or vitamin e (I used and love Sweet Almond Oil*) optional

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shampoo bottle or jar (I cleaned and reused the bottle from the commercial shampoo I had been using).  Shake well to mix before each use.  Store in your shower for up to one month.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR DETANGLER

Sourced from DIY Natural

ACV detangler - tiffany lane

Ingredients
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

8-10 drops essential oil (I use a combination of tea tree and eucalyptus)

Preparation

Combine in a spray bottle and shake slightly to combine before each use. After cleansing, spray into hair roots and ends and allow to sit for a minute or two before rinsing well.  If you rinse properly, your hair will not smell like vinegar once dry.

READER FEEDBACK: Have you tried any natural/homemade shampoos or conditioners/detanglers?

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Homemade Oat & Herb Facial Scrub

I’ve been busy cleaning out the last of my over the counter beauty products the past couple of weeks.   On my long to-do list of homemade products was facial scrub.  I can happily say I’ve checked that one off my list, and yet again, it’s one of those why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-do-this things.  Seriously, it’s so easy and inexpensive. What are you waiting for?

oat herb face scrub 1 - tiffany lane

I love that there are so few ingredients and you probably already have these at home, I did.  The original recipe calls for almonds, but I used flaxseed (since I accidentally grabbed the wrong mason jar, oops!) and it worked perfectly.  For the herbs, since the recipe calls for chamomile, yarrow and elder flowers which I did not have on hand, I used the herbs from tea bags, specifically Trader Joe’s Pear & Ginger White Tea.  This not only gives you the external health benefits, but it makes the scrub smell amazing!

OAT & HERB FACIAL SCRUB

Adapted from Crunchy Thrifty Healthy Cool

Ingredients
Oats
Flaxseed or almonds
Herbs

Oil (sweet almond oil*, jojoba oil or olive oil)

To prepare, simply use a ratio of 3 parts oats to 1 part flaxseed or almonds and 1 part herbs.  Finely grind the almonds and oats separately, add to a mixing bowl and toss with herbs.  Slowly add the oil to your desired consistency.  I like mine a bit wet, but not soaked.  It will be crumbly.

To use, wet your face and hands, scoop out about one tablespoon of the mixture and massage into face, circling upwards.  For best results, allow scrub to rest on your skin for at least a minute prior to rinsing.  This allows all the good stuff to actually get into your skin.  Rinse with warm water.

My ratios: 1/4 cup oats, 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (approximately), 3 tea bags, 4 tablespoons almond oil.

oat herb face scrub 2 - tiffany lane

The mixture before adding oil:

oat herb face scrub 3 - tiffany lane

IMG_6217oat herb face scrub 4 - tiffany lane

The finished product:

IMG_6225oat herb face scrub 5 - tiffany lane

I’d love to hear your experience with this scrub or any others you’ve made before.  Leave your comments below!

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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How Are You Commemorating Earth Day?

earth day 2013 - tiffany lane

Yep, it’s that time of year again.  Next Monday is Earth Day and can I just say that it is truly amazing how quickly time flies.  We’re already three quarters through April people!

Last year for Earth Day I touched on my most recent (at the time) decision to clean out our toxic cleaning supplies (pun intended) and start using products that are safe for the environment and my family.

Something to keep in mind is that Earth Day is not just about the way we treat nature and our environment directly.  The way we live our lives and treat our own bodies have a huge effect on the outcome in this beautiful world we’ve been blessed to occupy.  Another good point to touch on is that Earth Day should not be the only day we take the time to consider making healthier choices, but it is a great time to reflect and recharge.

Looking back, it’s nice to say I’ve upped my game this past year, working my way to a healthier home, in turn paving a way to a healthier place for our children and the next generations to come.

The ways I currently reduce my toxic fingerprint (for my family and the environment) are all over the map (and growing):

Cooking with organic and local ingredients when possible (we joined a CSA – that I also worked for a few months last year): reducing toxic chemical infiltration in our produce and the soil, reducing fuel consumption, and eating fresher/more nutritious foods.

Purchasing bulk ingredient items to make wholesome foods from scratch: reducing our intake of nasty food additives and reducing product packaging.

Cleaning with natural, non-toxic cleaners: reducing the chemical effects on our bodies and the environment.

Planning my errands logistically: reducing fuel consumption.

Using natural beauty products (almond, coconut and olive oils as moisturizers, etc.): reducing toxic chemicals absorbed by my skin.

Making my own beauty products (deodorant and face wash for now – shampoo/conditioner to come): reducing product packaging, driving time for errands, consumption of toxic ingredients and more!

One (of the many) great benefits to all of this, besides being and feeling healthier, is that these things almost always save money too, and who doesn’t want a little more moolah in that bank account!  A secondary, but no lesser, benefit is that all of this means voting with your dollars.  You’re instantly and directly supporting the whole living lifestyle, taking a stance without saying a word.

Like I have said before and I’ll say it again, none of this happens instantaneously, it’s a process.  It’s a mindset and a lifestyle.  While I of course encourage each and every one of you (and remind myself) to take healthy steps each day, don’t push too hard and go cold turkey on me!  It doesn’t work that way.  Change one thing (or two or three) and once that becomes normal/routine, change something else.  Soon enough you and your family will be living a healthy, wholesome life and I promise, you’ll feel the difference.

I’d would love to hear your stories and what you are doing in your lives right now.  Do you have any great healthy recipes: food, cleaning or otherwise?

I’m no expert and I’m not claiming to be.  Just a wife and animal lover trying her best to be, stay and live healthfully.  If you ever have questions or have anything to say, I’d love to chat.  Leave a comment or send me an email.

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Health: The Many Uses of Tea Tree Oil

tea-tree-essential- via viva women[Photo Courtesy of Viva Woman]

In my pursuit to rid our home of any and all things toxic, I’ve begun using natural oils for projects all around the house.  Coconut and almond oils as makeup removers and skin moisturizers.  Rosemary and other lovely scented essential oils as a faux perfume.  Eucalyptus oil in candle making.  And now tea tree oil .

Each oil has its own great skill set and they’re all pretty versatile.  Check out Simple Homemade for list of uses around the house, from skin care to house keeping, with lots in between, and Viva Woman for Tips on Using Essential Oils for Health and Beauty.

Starting today, I’m going to be including some posts on health periodically, with lots about my journey delving into the world of natural oils.

Today I want to focus on Tea Tree oil and its many uses.  It has anti-septic and anti-fungal properties, making it a great staple to your first aid and cosmetic collections.  Try it for treating acne, body odor, athlete’s foot or nail infections, cold and flu symptoms, and cuts and burns.  It also makes a great house cleaner and disinfectant.  Instead of regurgitating all the research I did, I’ll just link to some good sources below:

Medical and Cosmetic Benefits of Tea Tree Oil via Viva Woman

20 Great Uses for Tea Tree Oil via Care2 Make a Difference

Tea Tree Oils Uses & Effectiveness via WebMD

A note of caution: do not rub pure essential oils directly onto your skin. Always dilute with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, vitamin e, coconut, almond or olive.  The suggested ratio would be half or less than half essential oil to carrier oil.  Also, proceed with extra caution if you have any health conditions or are pregnant.

Keep an eye out for a couple upcoming health posts including one about coconut oil (my very favorite oil!) and another about natural skincare for babies.

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My New Rosemary Plant!

Since we moved into our new place, I had been wanting to get a small rosemary plant for our picnic table.  I had the perfect pot in mind that I had been meaning to paint for a couple of years.  Don’t ask why it took me that long to actually do it.  It’s probably because I had nothing to put in it, until now!

The pot I am talking about was gifted to me with a flower in it (that of course I killed, darn my black thumb) and bright pink and green with swirly flowers painted all over.  Don’t get me wrong, it was cute, but if you know me at all you would know that’s not my style.  Paint can fix that.

So paint away I did and in about 20 minutes it was ready for my new rosemary plant.  It really softens the rough table and looks great out on the patio.

Now the challenge is to keep the plant alive!  We eventually want to build above ground planters to start a veggie garden.  How’s your hand at gardening?

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