A blog chronicling skin care, DIY beauty products, wishes and daydreams, life transitions, and other random stuff...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Neem Oil - Amazing Oil that Stinks Like Sh*t!

Neem Oil is amazing.  It treats several of ailments and skin issues, from psoriasis to hair loss.  It's a cure-all like Tea Tree Oil.  But, again, I learned another thing from my last serum-making experiment.  Neem Oil STINKS! I used a very tiny amount in my failed Anti-Wrinkle serum.  I wish that I had known about the odor increasing with time.  I was excited about the amazing stories and somehow never came across an article about the smell.  So, not only did my big experiment clog my pores and give me a rash, it wreaks.  I considered making lip balm or combining it with more aloe and essential oils, I don't know if anything will make this stuff smell better.  I think I had better call it a loss and appreciate what I've learned.  I might give it one last try as an anti-septic / anti-fungal ointment for bug bites or athlete's foot.  But I don't want that crap near my face again.  http://www.discoverneem.com/neem-oil-smell.html

Saturday, September 12, 2009

DIY Beauty: Learning from my Mistakes at 2am - Face Serum and Body Scrub

I stayed up until almost 2am on a product-making mission:  Face Serum and Exfoliating Body Scrub.  

First, the serum:  It came out way too thick and oily.  I wanted it to be super rich, but not too greasy or drippy.  I combined two previously-made recipes, one a serum, and the other a face cream.  Now I have 10 ounces of "balm" that will create an oil slick on most people.  I have dry skin, but I don't imagine most people will tolerate it, even as a night treatment.  I put it all over my face, especially around my eyes before bed, and woke up with really nice, dewy skin.  I honestly believe that my crow's feet have vanished!  But I have a stained pillow and a greasy hairline.  Not good.  Today's rainy day project is to keep a little bit of the balm for the eyes, then throw the rest back in to the double-boiler, melt it down, and whip in more aloe vera juice and fresh aloe vera gel from our giant aloe plant outside.

I could just toss it, but the ingredients are expensive and I had to special order them.  You might recognize some of these from other expensive products:  Meadowfoam seed oil, shea butter, plum kernel oil, carrot seed oil, avocado oil,  neem oil, aloe oil and rosehip seed oil, plus essential oils of chamomile, lavender, geranium and lemon.  Then, to give it emulsion:  aloe vera juice, glycerin, distilled water infused with green tea and bees wax as a thickener.  I created a balm, not a cream or a serum.  So, back to the laboratory!  Maybe aloe will come to the rescue.  That's what aloe does, right?

For the body scrub: I found a bunch of cocoa butter and shea butter body balms that I made a while ago.  It was just too rich to use on a daily basis, so it sat in my room feeling neglected.  I melted it all down again, whipped it for a while with the stick blender to give it emulsion and body (like whipping oil to create mayonnaise), added a little liquid soap to cut down the greasiness (and slipping in the shower).  Finally, I added a bunch of white and brown sugar and spearmint essential oil.  It's a chocolate-mint treat!  Now, I won't feel guilty about slathering it on in gobs, because the shelf life on the shea butter is winding down and it needs to get used in the next few months.  It's a great excuse to be indulgent and scrub off my summer-weathered skin at the same time.  My next recipe will use healthy carrier oils like olive, jojoba or avocado.  Shea and mango butters are pretty expensive and better for lotion-making.  I don't like to wash money down the drain.  One of the many benefits of DIY beauty is saving money, especially when you're still in the learning stages.  I promise to share my recipes when I get it right!

Update: 9/16/09 - My face "balm" made me breakout!  I have more pimples that I did when I was a teen!  Livin' and learnin' the hard way...

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Follow Your Nose: Perfume and an Addiction to Lemon

I took a great class at The Nova Studio in Point Richmond a few weeks ago called "Making Natural Perfumes" and I learned a lot about natural scents, how they make us feel, how long the top, middle and bottom notes last, etc.  I had a headache from so much sniffing, but it was well worth it.
I realized later, after wearing all of my perfumes, that I used way too much lemon in all of them.  And those light, citrus-y notes fade the fastest.  Like, they hit you once and make you feel good, but the scent is gone in 20 minutes or less.  The middle and bottom notes last longer, but are usually more woodsy or floral, like rose and cedarwood.  I learned that, although I really like citrus, my perfumes smell like Pledge furniture polish. 
Anyway, that's what learning is all about.  It's important to not get in to a "smell rut":  stuck on one scent or scent family.  There are so many different beautiful, natural creations out there, and they smell a lot different once they've mixed with our own unique body chemistry.  You can totally make perfume at home using items from the drug store.  I'll publish another post after I've experimented a little more, and hopefully won't end up smelling like I've been polishing floors.
Here's a cool diagram of different notes:

Bookmark and Share