DIY Lip Balm

3 DIY lip balm recipes

Are you a lip balm connoisseur? Picky about what goes on your skin and lips? Outraged at the high price of natural products from big stores and little vendors?

It’s time to start making your own!

Lip balm is very simple to make. I can make a batch in about ten minutes and it gives me about 10 tubes of amazingly silky soft lip stuff.

And it’s cheap. It costs about $2.00 for a whole batch of DIY lip balm. Yeah. Totally worth it!

Its an amazing gift for friends and family. Give them a tube of lip balm that you made and you’ll be admired for years to come. It’s like science.

So are you ready for three amazing DIY lip balm recipes?? Check out my guest post on Smithspirations! I share all the fun details on my secrets to amazing lip care. —> DIY Lip Balm Recipes!!


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DIY Beard Oil

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DIY Beard Oil

Does the man in your life have a beard?

Beards are amazing…as long as they are maintained properly! A scraggly and unkempt beard puts a man in the not so desirable category. But with a nice trim and a little beard oil, he can be back into the confident, manly-man group in no time.

A freshly grown or scruffy beard can be very scratchy. When my husband recently started growing his beard back in he was complaining about the itchiness. He needed something to soothe his skin as well as keep the prickly hair from scratching his face. Instead of ordering an expensive beard balm, I looked around my DIY supplies and found the perfect ingredients for beard oil.

Beard oil softens the hair and soothes the skin. It will help tame the wild hairs and keep a beard from getting frizzy. The oils are nourishing to the skin and hair and also promote strong, healthy growth.

With my husband’s input, we found these ingredients to work great for beard oil:

Avocado Oil – this is my favorite oil for maintaining a clear complexion. It’s light and non-greasy feel will keep a beard and face clean and clear.

Argan Oil – this non-greasy oil is a natural conditioner and keeps the hair from frizzing or drying out. Also acting as a toner and great for reducing acne, argan oil is perfect for the skin.

Jojoba Oil – this oil is long known for benefiting the skin and hair. Used in many beauty products this vitamin rich oil is similar to the natural sebum that excretes from skin. Jojoba oil will naturally nourish the skin without drying or causing the skin to over produce sebum.

Essential Oils – there are various essential oils that are amazing for skin and hair. Rosemary, peppermint and frankincense are excellent choices. They stimulate hair growth and keep the skin and hair clean. Choosing other essential oils to create the perfect scent will give a variety of aromatic benefits.

To make beard oil, mix your base oils of avocado, jojoba, and argan in a 1 oz dropper bottle until it’s ¾ of the way full. (Reusing an old essential oil bottle works great too.) Add in 20-30 drops of essential oils. Top off with a little more base oil leaving enough room for the dropper. Shake gently to mix.

To use beard oil, drop a dime size amount on the hands and rub into a freshly washed beard. Brush with the fingers or a natural bristle brush to smooth the hair.

Beard Oil

The exact recipe we used is as follows:

DIY Beard Oil

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix base oils in 1 oz dropper bottle.
  2. Add essential oils.
  3. Top with a base oil leaving room for the dropper.
  4. Shake to mix.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2016/03/08/diy-beard-oil/

 

For a soft, kissable, woodsman look, make your man some beard oil. He will thank you for it.


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How to Make Beer Soap

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How to Make Beer Soap

I love that my husband and I share several interests together. Camping and hiking are at the top, but also simple living and the desire to be off-grid homesteaders one day. I also love that some of our independent hobbies overlap.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I love DIY projects, such as soap-making. It seems to have rubbed off on my hubby a little bit because he has a few DIY hobbies, one of which is brewing beer. And we found a way to combine soap and beer! Beer soap!

beer soap 2

I won’t get into how to homebrew because I’m sure I’ll forget some important step and it’s actually quite lengthy but part of the process uses crushed grain. It is soaked in hot water for a specific amount of time allowing the water to pull the sugars from the grains. After it is soaked and “spent” there is a lot of crushed grain left over.

Instead of wasting the spent grain, we like to find creative uses for it. One way we use is to dry it in a dehydrator and then add to breads and baked goods for a unique texture. When we had chickens they would love to nibble on spent grains. I like to use a bit of it in soap.

beer soap 3

Using my basic Hot Process Soap making technique, I adjusted my recipe to include beer and spent grains. It turned out amazing! Very soft and soothing, with a slight soapy scent. The spent grain foliates to soften the skin even more. SO without anymore introductions here’s the beer soap recipe:

How to Make Beer Soap

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wearing proper protective gear, measure beer by weight into a heat proof bowl. In a well ventilated area (I go outside), add lye to the beer (NEVER pour liquid into lye). Stir carefully to incorporate the lye into the beer. It will get very hot. Let rest while you work on the oils.
  2. Measure each oil and add to a large slow cooker. (Sometimes I will melt the hard oils/butters in the microwave to speed up the process.) Once the oil is melted, carefully add lye/beer mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Using an immersion blender, mix soap together until it reaches trace, a pudding-like texture. Cover and cook on low for at least an hour. It will thicken and bubble strangely. At this point you can stir in the spent grains. This will add an exfoliating texture. Add more or less depending on your preference. You could also grind the grains into a finer texture if desired.
  4. Pour soap into a mold lined with parchment paper, a loaf pan works great as a mold! Nestle the mold into a cardboard box and cover with a towel. Place in a safe location to set. After a day or two, remove from mold and slice into desired size bars. The bars store best standing up without touching in a cardboard box.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2016/02/02/how-to-make-beer-soap/

You can find a photo tutorial of the hot process method on my original soap making post here. You can also add scent to this recipe at trace. I like to add scent with essential oils.

Beer soap is very gentle on the skin. If you leave out the spent grains it would make a great shaving soap.  Pair this soap with an old fashioned shave kit and you have an excellent gift for the man in your life.

beer soap

Have you ever made beer soap?


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How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

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How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

Have you ever tried lavender in your coffee?! AMAZING!

I would not have thought that lavender would pair well with the rich earthy flavors of coffee, but it does.

Just imagine the sun is rising, you are sitting in a rocking chair on a beautiful porch overlooking the serene beauty of the forest. You’re sipping on a lovely cup of goodness that brings into your soul all the wonderful feelings of joy and joyness. Add into that mix the delicious floral aromas of lavender. Calm, sweet, heavenly lavender.

Now, before I lose my non-coffee drinkers, this isn’t just about the coffee. You too can enjoy the delicious taste and flavor of lavender in a variety of ways. Keep on reading!

You might say I have a thing for lavender. I rarely go to sleep without rubbing a bit of lavender essential oil on my wrists before bed. I love using lavender in my homemade soap and body oil. The soothing scent combined with the sweet aroma lifts and calms me.

I honestly didn’t care for lavender before I discovered the essential oil and the dried flowers. Most commercial uses of lavender always had an off scent to them that I couldn’t place. Now I’m assuming it was the artificial aspect of lavender scented things. They tried, but you just can’t beat the real thing.

Lavender Simple Syrup 2

Back to the subject at hand, lavender simple syrup is a treat. It uses refined sugar, which I know is not a real food item, therefore, I really only use this recipe for special occasions. (Or on occasion because I made this batch up for the sole purpose to enjoy it and share with you.)

Lavender simple syrup is of course delicious in coffee. Just add a dash of milk and there you go. Sweet, floral, and yummy. But it also tastes amazing in lemonade, orange juice, tea, and steamed milk. I’m thinking of trying a bit of it in some oatmeal with a little cream!

You could definitely come up with some delicious ways to use lavender simple syrup. The key thing to remember is you only need a little bit. You might be surprised at the amount of flavor it adds.

Lavender Simple Syrup

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat ingredients in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer about two minutes. Let cool. Pour into an airtight jar or container. (These work really well.) Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2016/01/27/how-to-make-lavender-simple-syrup/

Have you tried lavender in your coffee?

 


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How To Make Hot Process Soap

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How to Make Hot Process Soap in your Crock Pot

It’s no secret that handcrafted soap is amazing!

Handcrafted soap, also known as Castile soap, is moisturizing, nourishing, cleansing, and all-natural. It suds well and doesn’t leave your skin dried out. There are many recipes available online for hot process soap and a lot of room for creativity!

I love hot process soap because it is easy to make and ready to use right away. Sometimes I go for a basic recipe like I’m going to share with you here and sometimes I like to make herbal, coffee, or coconut milk soap!

Basic Hot Process Soap:

Ingredients:

Supplies:

Note: It is very important to wear protective gear when handling lye. It is a caustic substance and will burn the skin! This is not a good DIY to do with the kids around.

To start your hot process soap, measure your oils by weight and add them to your crock pot. Melt the oils on low.

Measure out your water by weight in a heat proof bowl.

Wearing your protective gear measure your lye into another bowl.

Carefully add the lye to the water (you may want to step outside, it can put off some strong fumes). Stirring as you pour. Note: Never add water to lye, it will cause an overflowing chemical reaction!

Once your oils are melted, add the lye mixture to the crock-pot.

Continuing to wear your protective gear, use your hand blender to mix your soap to “trace”. Trace is when your soap appears like pudding.

soap at trace

Cover your crock-pot and let the soap cook for about an hour to reach neutrality. If you desire you can test the soap to be sure it is between 7 and 10 pH. This is the neutral zone for soap. (You can find test strips here.)

At this point your soap should be starting to bubble over itself. (See the photo, it’s hard to explain!) Add in your essential oils if using and stir well. Your kitchen will smell fantastic for the rest of the day.

hot process soap cooked to neutral

Line your soap mold with parchment paper. Carefully scoop your soap into the mold, it’s hot so don’t get it on your hands! (I speak from experience…)

Place your mold in a cardboard box and cover with a towel. Set it where it won’t be disturbed for 24 hours.

hot process soap in mold

Once your soap is set, remove it from the mold and cut into bars. Hot process soap cooks to neutrality so it is safe to use right away!

For the remaining bars, place them in a cool dry place slightly spaced out from each other. (I use a cardboard box.) This helps the soap to continue drying. Fully dried soap will last longer once you start using it in the bath or shower.

And now you have handcrafted soap!

hot process soap bars

Additional soapmaking tips:

If you’d like to create an herbal soap, simply replace the water in the above recipe with herbal infused water. I like to steep lavender in water to make a skin soothing soap.

For an exfoliating coffee soap, replace your water with strong brewed coffee. Instead of adding essential oils, mix in fine ground coffee to create an exfoliating texture.

Making coconut milk soap is a little trickier. Cut your water amount in half and sub coconut milk for the rest of the liquid. The trick is that you wait to add the coconut milk until the soap is at trace. Mix your half amount of water and lye, add to the oil mixture, blend until trace, and then add the coconut milk before cooking.

The coconut milk adds a nice nourishing softness to hot process soap. It doesn’t smell much like coconut, although that would be nice with a little lime essential oil!

There is some upfront cost to soapmaking, but in the end you are saving quite a bit per bar of soap compared to purchasing handcrafted soaps from shops like mine. If you are a little leery to get started you are more than welcome to try a bar of hot process soap from my shop Southern Vines Soap Company.

Green Tea and Lemongrass

Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions! I love making soap and I make a lot of it. My friends and family are always asking me to bring them soap!

Have you tried hot process soap making?


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How to Make Garlic Oil

how to make garlic oil revisedGarlic is one of THE BEST real food ingredients that you can use to boost the immune system.

It has high antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties to it that will strengthen your immune response and help your body fight bugs. (I wrote more about it a while back on Wellness Wednesday.)

If you have a little one, feeding them raw or honey infused garlic is not the easiest thing! It’s very strong in flavor and not very easy to swallow by itself. A good alternative for use for children (and adults!) is to make Garlic Oil.

Garlic oil won’t be quite as strong in its benefits but it will help nonetheless! It is especially helpful for potential ear infections.

This past week our little man came down with his first bug. It was not fun. He ran a very high fever and indicated a sore throat by his behavior. I didn’t want it to develop into an ear infection and promptly made some garlic oil.

Although little man was very clingy while he was sick, he did lay down and sleep a lot which allowed me to make him some garlic oil! I applied it to his neck and ears to absorb into his skin and help fight the infection in his throat and prevent any issues with his ears.

How to Make Garlic Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup of olive oil

Instructions

  1. Slice or smash the garlic and let sit for a few moments. (This allows the allicin to react with the air, increasing the strength of its infection fighting properties.)
  2. Warm the olive oil up in a pan to warm but not hot. Add the garlic and let heat for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit over night. You can use some after a couple of hours if needed, but the longer it sits the more garlic will be absorbed into the oil.
  4. To use: apply oil around ears or topically near potential infection or inflammation.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/05/28/how-to-make-garlic-oil/

Don’t worry about the garlic scent being too strong. The scent is rather mild and not irritating at all. It is also not near as strong as essential oils or certain herbal tinctures and should not interfere with the use of homeopathic medicines.

Garlic oil is also useful for other things besides infection and inflammation. You could use garlic oil as a drizzle on salad or bread. Use it on your pet’s collar to help repel ticks, or even in your door frames to prevent pests.

Have you made some Garlic Oil? What do you use it for?

Note: I am not a medical doctor. Please read my full disclaimer here. Consult your medical practitioner if you have an illness.


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DIY Dog Shampoo

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DIY Flea and tick repellent dog shampoo

You know one of the best parts about living in the woods??

We can open the door and let the dog run out, free to explore the woods! Our lab mix, Bella, loves running in the woods. And she is FAST. She’s mixed with something that gives her speed. Like crazy fast speed. It’s hilarious to watch her run.

Bella is fast, beautiful, and loves to roll in the mud. No matter if we are outside for five minutes or an hour hike, she will find the mud. Which means she gets a lot of baths. Thankfully she has a good attitude about it. She doesn’t love them, but she will glumly walk to the tub when we tell her it’s time for a bath.

Just like our human selves, we don’t buy commercial products to bathe and wash our lovely pup. For one, I think it’s a little silly to buy expensive products, like dog shampoo, for a pet. (Don’t get me wrong, she IS part of the family, but she is still a dog.) Also, if I won’t use chemical products on myself, why would I use them on my beloved Bella?

Most of the time if I have a batch of Liquid Shampoo made up, I’ll just use that on her. But lately since we’ve mostly been using Herbal Shampoo Bars, I need something different for her. Partly I don’t really want to rub a soap bar on her and then on me. I love her, but sharing soap is a little over the line.

Another great reason for a separate dog shampoo for Bella, is I can include essential oils that help repel ticks and fleas! We haven’t had many fleas, but we get terrible ticks out in our woods and are constantly picking them off of Bella. They aren’t as bad when she is frequently washed in her own shampoo.

dog shampoo ingredients

DIY Dog Shampoo

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients in an old shampoo bottle or recycled jar. Use as needed on your dog to lather well.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/05/18/diy-dog-shampoo/

I’m sure you know how to wash your dog so I won’t go into all the details. But, I can tell you that I have got to get one of these. I don’t know why I haven’t. Using an old cup is terribly annoying.

bella

Bathing our sweet pup is almost a daily occurrence in the summer. Now we double up our bath with a dog shampoo that includes a flea and tick repellent that works great! She still gets a tick here and there, but it is reduced and that’s something I am very happy about.

What do you use to wash your dog?

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