Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DIY: deodorant, hand cream, lip balm

I have been on a major DIY kick lately -- butter, yogurt, cheese, canning, drying, bread, you name it!  My DIY inclinations have even traveled into my medicine cabinet . . . and it all started with deodorant.

Historically, I have had a love-hate relationship with deodorant.  Why?  Well, I don't sweat much, but I sure do get stinky, and I've found most deodorants out there DON'T WORK.  I have tried practically every commercial brand known to man, and most natural brands, and every time I find something that works for me, the manufacturer STOPS MAKING IT.

Why????  (Wah!)

I figure, if I'm my own manufacturer, I won't do that.  :)  I found this recipe online, (via Facebook,) and fussed with it a little bit.  I ended up using 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 tbsp each cornstarch and baking soda, and 1/16 tsp tea tree oil.  (My tea tree oil bottle doesn't have a built-in dropper, so I had to improvise.)

I'd give my first efforts a B+!  My main complaint is that the deodorant has a tendency to separate while it is cooling.  I found sticking the jar in the fridge and whisking every couple of minutes seemed to help, but this is far from an ideal situation.  :)  In the future, I may consider adding a little beeswax to the recipe, so it firms up faster and also could be poured into a stick.  (I don't mind applying the deodorant like lotion, but it would definitely be more convenient if it could be applied traditionally.)

After my deodorant-crafting experience, I figured, why can't I make more stuff?  Next up . . . hand cream!

I found so many recipes, and settled on this one to start with, as it seemed so simple and so easy.  I bought my first-ever brick of beeswax, and a cheap box grater with which to grate it up for use in these recipes.  (Note: beeswax smells SO good while grating!)  I figured it would be smart to have a dedicated non-food grater on hand, as I will need to grate soap in the future for upcoming planned projects.  :)  I did have a wee struggle finding beeswax, as my usual online retailer didn't carry it, nor did my co-op.  Farmer's Market to the rescue!  (Duh!)  Only one of the honey sellers had bricks of beeswax for sale, but I'm sure any beekeeper would sell you some beeswax if you asked.

The verdict on the hand cream?  Amazing.  Simple.  Smells great.  Greasy, but that's what you expect from a heavy, salve-like concoction.  And I could assume you could use just about any essential oil you wanted in this recipe -- infinitely customizable fragrances!

Last on the list . . . lip balm!

I have, what I would consider to be, a lip balm obsession.  I always have a tube in my pocket, in my purse, and on my nightstand.  (Hey, we all have our vices, right?)  ;)  I also always feel a little sad when I throw those empty tubes away . . . and now I don't have to!

I found this page online, which detailed three different recipes for what sounded like very different lip balms . . . what a fun place to start!  From left to right in my picture: Minty Chocolate, Coco-Rosey, and Luscious Lavender.  Reviews?

Minty Chocolate: smells AMAZING, and was super-easy to make.  I would make this one again and again and again and again . . .

Coco-Rosey: my first attempt at steeping the rose petals in the coconut oil resulted in . . . fried rose petals.  Ick.  Smelled awful.  Washed out the pot, started over, and this time thought I might just use more essential oil, and skip the steeping step.  And then I over-measured the cocoa butter.  Sigh.  Result?  The lip balm smells nothing like roses, only like cocoa butter, and is not my preferred texture, despite the extra cocoa butter.  I don't know that I need to make this one again, unfortunately.

Luscious Lavender: this one might be that perfect base that I'm looking for, come to think of it.  I'd skip the cocoa powder next time, (the author of the recipe suggests it is optional, and I think it gave the lip balm a weird color, as it isn't chocolate-flavored,) and be excited to play around with different essential oil fragrances.  This balm also has simple, relatively easy to find ingredients, if you skip the cocoa powder and lipstick!  :)  It's basically olive oil and beeswax, with some fragrance and vitamin E.  Score!

P.S. These recipes yield a LOT of lip balms.  I made all three last night, and have 10 tubes and 12 pots of lip balm total.  WOW!  I better give a couple away ASAP . . . and store the rest in the fridge!

I also want to share a couple of things I discovered in my lip-balm and hand cream making process, so hopefully you can avoid the same mistakes I did . . .

1. Don't make any of the balms or hand cream directly in a saucepan.  It's a bitch to pour.  I found making the balms and creams in my glass measuring cup, sitting in a pan of warm water, worked best.  I was then able to pour the balms and creams directly into the tubes and pots with much less mess.

2. Line your work area with something, as you will certainly spill.  Paper towel doesn't work; parchment paper and foil do!

3. Make sure all of your lip balm tubes are cranked all the way down to the bottom before filling.  (Duh!)

4. I tried filling one lip balm tube with a funnel, with disastrous results.  (The funnel obstructed my view into the tube, so I couldn't see how full it was getting . . . massive overflow!)  I had better luck pouring carefully from the measuring cup directly into the tube.

5. Definitely invest in a non-food grater.  There is still some beeswax crusted in my grater, despite lots of hot water and lots of soap.

Next up on my DIY list of new projects . . . laundry soap!


Eileen said...

TIMES TWO, YEAH! Laundry soap: grate 1 bar ivory or castile soap (wear a mask). mix with 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda. That's it! Use 1 tbsp per load. I also hear that trying to make the soap liquid is a pain and it gets lumpy etc. I just use the powder and it's all good. :)

Ali said...

So cool! I'm very impressed, Catherine!

Catherine Weber said...

Thanks, Eileen!

Ali, thanks! I took a lip balm to a co-worker, and she exclaimed, "you are so badass!" I didn't realize I could be badass! :) Awesome.

Anonymous said...

OMG--if you make your own laundry soap, you will HAVE to let me know how it turns out. I have always wanted to make my own too! We should do it together one day...a DIY day :-)