Category Archives: Health, Beauty, Skin Care

Vanilla Lavender Body Scrub

Vanilla Lavender Body Scrub | Tiffany Lane

There’s something about facials, massages, masks and scrubs that just seem to do the trick. They can take away a day’s stress in just a few minutes.

This body scrub doesn’t disappoint in that department and can be used all over the body, face included! The all natural and accessible ingredients make it a home run for the DIY gifter. I recently gifted it to my friend along with this candle.

Vanilla Lavender Body Scrub | Tiffany Lane

And to take it up a notch in the packaging department, but not break the bank, I reused an empty condiment jar, made and printed a label, then wrapped some packing paper around the lid and topped it off with a bow of twine. Simple and sweet.

Basic Ingredient Ratios
1 cup sugar (any kind will work)
1/2 cup oil (sweet almond oil*, coconut, olive)
1 tsp vitamin e oil

essential oil(s)

Vanilla Lavender
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet almond oil*
1 tsp coconut oil (since I didn’t have vitamin e on hand)
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lavender essential oil

vanilla lavender body scrub | tiffany lane

READER FEEDBACK: What’s your favorite skin care scent?

*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 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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Health: What’s All The Hype About Coconut Palm Sugar?

cps - spencers market [Photo Courtesy of Spencer’s Market]

If you’ve done any research of your own on coconut palm sugar, you may have come across this article, The Truth About Coconut Palm Sugar: The Other Side of the Story or this one, Coconut Palm Sugar: Friend or Foe, both of which raise concern over the “health” benefits of CPS, with the latter having a somewhat more positive take on the matter.  To round it out, here is an article by Gnosis Chocolates advocating it as a sustainable, healthy sweetener of choice.  As with anything, there are multiple sides to this story.

Basically, there are four main reasons coconut palm sugar is being touted as a healthier alternative to granulated sugar: (1) low glycemic index (simply meaning it won’t cause as much of a blood sugar spike); (2) more nutrient rich (minerals and B vitamins); (3) minimally processed (only heated to evaporate the water); and (4) sustainable (coconut palm trees grow almost anywhere in the tropics and do not require much tending).

So what do I think about all of this?  Let me begin by stating that sugar is always still sugar, so I do my best to reduce my overall consumption, satiating my sweet tooth with fruits and other naturally sweet whole foods instead of constantly chowing down on things with added sugar.  Yes, I know, those still have sugars, but they occur naturally in those whole foods and I am also getting the other whole food nutrients at the same time.  And when I do use sweetener, for instance in all my homemade sweet treats, I use just a touch so you know you’re eating dessert, but not enough that you have a sugar high afterwards.

I appreciate that coconut palm sugar may (and hopefully is) a healthier alternative and I will most likely be using it along with honey and dates to sweeten my treats.  Most importantly, though, is that the way I think about sugar is the same stance I take for “dieting” (as read in “Health: The Diet Conundrum”): moderation is key.

Since I purchased coconut palm sugar, I’ve only used it a couple of times, but love it already! The lovely caramel notes make it perfect for baked goods like these Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies I made on Tuesday.  I’m looking forward to having a healthier alternative to granulated sugar that I can use in my baked goods since honey doesn’t always bake quite as well.  It also worked nicely in our cabbage salad last weekend.

For a list of other natural sweeteners and their benefits, check out Eat Naked Now’s post, “Know Your Sweets: Natural Sweeteners 101.”

Do you use natural sweeteners?

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Health: The Diet Conundrum

strawberries - naturally ella Photo Courtesy of Naturally Ella

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of hearing about the latest and greatest diet.  It seems everyday someone has a newer, better, faster, cheaper version.  But what’s all the hype?

My diet is just that, my diet.  The term “diet” has this new connotation attached to it so hard (like super glue) that anytime I mention my diet, someone almost certainly asks me which one.  Huh?

The dictionary definition of diet is simply: “The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats,” (Dictionary.com).  I habitually eat whole, unprocessed or minimally processed, mostly plant based foods.  All the research I have done (and continue to do) has helped me decide this is the healthy way I want to eat and live. Yes, it’s a lifestyle.

We’ve talked about processed foods here before (see Food + Recipes and Health), so I won’t regurgitate it all again, but a huge take away is that moderation is key (which should go for many aspects of life, not just eating).  I vary my diet between whole grains, nuts, beans/legumes, dairy, fruits and vegetables, with the very occasional seafood or meat addition.  Since I’ve been eating clean (as some call it), I feel better: more energy, healthy weight.

For the record, being healthy is not just about diet; hydration, exercise and rest are just as important.  It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.  The hardest parts for me are passing up sweets (which is why I make so many healthier sweets at home to satiate my sweet tooth); staying hydrated (since I forget to drink water – don’t ask me how or why), exercising as much as I know I should (since sometimes I am just tired and lazy), and getting enough rest (since my mind doesn’t always stop when my body does).

How do you live out your healthy lifestyle? What’s keeping you from fully experiencing a healthy lifestyle?

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Almond Beeswax Body & Face Moisturizer

Earlier this week we talked about my new face scrub, how’d you like it?  I hope it went over well, because today I’ve got a body and face moisturizer for you!

almond beeswax moisturizer - tiffany lane

And boy does this concoction make for some soft skin!  Gentle enough for your face and lips, yet strong enough for your toughest dry spots.  It’s pretty thick, but soaks into your skin nicely and doesn’t leave an oily feeling behind.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can play around with different ingredients and scents.  For a more body butter texture, try adding or substituting shea and/or cocoa butter.  Or experiment with whipping the mixture in a blender.  I had almond oil and almond extract at home already, so that’s what I used.  Vanilla extract would smell yummy too!

ALMOND BEESWAX BODY & FACE MOISTURIZER

Sourced from Wellness Mama

Ingredients
1/2 cup sweet almond oil(you could also use olive oil)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup beeswax (I used pellets)

1 tablespoon almond extract

almond beeswax moisturizer 2 - tiffany lane

Preparation

Add about an inch of water to a medium saucepan.  Place a glass jar or wax pouring pot (what I used) upright in saucepan, then add oils and beeswax.  Heat through, stirring occasionally, until melted and thoroughly mixed.  Remove from heat and immediately add your scent, mixing well.  Pour into your storage container (I used an 8 oz glass canning jar) until completely cooled.

Because of the ratio of room temperature liquids (almond oil + almond extract) to solids (coconut oil + beeswax), it is pretty firm at room temperature,  more of a pomade.  In the summer, when the house is warmer (or hot like ours since we don’t use AC), it may melt, which is okay.  When melted, it’s obviously not as thick so a little goes a long way.  To use when it’s solid and thicker, lightly rub with your fingers and it will melt onto your finger tips (for small applications like lips or hands), or use the back of your finger to scrape off larger chunks for full body use.

UPDATE: after using this for a few weeks now and feeling how thick it is, I prefer to use it as a spot treatment for dry hands, feet, knees, elbows, etc.  I mixed up a smaller batch adding in a little olive oil which thinned it out and works wonderfully for everyday, full body use.

almond beeswax moisturizer - tiffany lane

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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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