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As the days get shorter, and stress starts piling on, I think it's high time time to dial up the self-care. My idea of self-care general involves massages, pretty smelling things, and face masks that sting a little bit. But on a freelancer's salary, those luxuries come few and far between. Luckily, it turns out making your own lovely face and body scrubs is crazy easy.
In addition to being easy and fun, it also might be the right move for the environment to DIY your own natural, cruelty-free products. I'm a big believer in knowing what's in your cosmetics -- did you know many face and body scrubs contain plastic microbeads, which do not biodegrade, and end up polluting our oceans and other waterways? (Obama signed a ban on microbeads which takes effect in 2017.) And animal testing of beauty products? Not cool.
Here are some easy recipes for delicious and nourishing treatments that you can feel good about.
Salty Honey Scrub
This is a great use for any honey you have that’s gotten crystallized (crystallized honey is still perfectly fine, BTW - you just need to gently warm it to get it to liquify again). Depending on how you like your scrubs to feel, you can use either coarse or fine salt.
- Sea salt (I used fine pink Himalayan salt because that’s what I had)
- Your favorite essential oil
Start with 1/2 cup of salt in a bowl. Add the honey by the tablespoonful, and combining with your hands (because why not? bonus exfoliation!) Add honey until the scrub reaches the consistency you like. I like a dryer scrub, so the ratio was about 4 parts salt, 1 part honey. When things are mostly mixed, add one drop of your favorite essential oil. I used ylang ylang, which is pretty light and floral. I could see clove, sage, lavender being good for fall and winter. Store extra in a repurposed glass jar.
Honey Face Scrub and Mask
I used Manuka honey for this one - if you're not familiar with Manuka, check it out! It's a special honey from New Zealand with some fascinating healing properties, including the ability to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But you can definitely use regular honey. There's some back and forth about using baking soda as an exfoliant - some love it's gentleness, others say that it's too alkaline to be good for your skin. I've used this mask multiple times, and it's worked great for me. The acidity of the honey may nullify the alkaline issue, but regardless if you have sensitive skin, test this out on less sensitive skin first. This makes a single serving:
- Manuka honey
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Manuka honey with one teaspoon baking soda. Add a drop of vanilla extract. Apply to damp face, rubbing in a circular motion. Let soak into skin for up to ten minutes for a little tingle and glow.
Bonus recipe: Milk and Honey Bath
This is delicious, and so so easy.
- 1 cup milk (this is a great to when you have an excess of milk that’s creeping towards it expiration date)
- 1/4 cup honey
- Optional: spices like whole cloves, star anise, cardamom, or whatever you have hanging out in your spice cabinet
Heat milk in a small pot on low. As it warms, add honey and whole spices and stir, preventing milk from boiling or scorching. When honey is dissolved, remove pot from heat and set aside to cool to about 100 degrees (F); then add to bath water or pour over yourself Cleopatra-style.
Now get to it!