I've come to realize that it is almost impossible to eradicate all of those chemicals from our home because they are now in our soil, water, and even clothing that we depend upon. However... one thing is for sure. Making a conscious effort to avoid putting lesser chemicals into and onto our bodies is definitely a way out of this chemical pit the world around us has turned into.
Many people are aware of chemicals and additives in their foods, but not many are aware about the effects are of the chemicals we put on our skin. Since becoming aware of both, I have been making a conscious effort to rid our home of as many chemicals as possible. This obviously is a work in progress, and it takes time to turn a big ship around.
One thing that I have wanted to do is to get away from lotions and body care items that contain chemicals with names so complex you can't even pronounce them.
I happened upon a book written by Rosemary Gladstar: "Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner's Guide".
Through this book, I began to see just how beneficial many herbs/weeds/flowers that grew in my own yard were!
So then, one of the steps I took was to begin growing our own herbs. There are many herbs that you can grow in your garden that can be just as beneficial or even more than any chemical man has created. There are even weeds that grow in your yard that have great benefits as well! Once I began to learn more about herbs and even weeds, the world outside my back door took on a whole new perspective!
One flower in particular that I became interested in, and began to grow was calendula, after learning about the healing skin properties found within its flower.
I learned that calendula has great healing properties for the skin. Calendula is a noted antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and also great for healing wounds by promoting cell repair and growth. Calendula can be applied topically or used internally. It can keep infections at bay and it is a common ingredient in many creams, salves, and ointments for treating bruises, burns, sores, skin ulcers, skin infections, and rashes. Calendula is one of the most popular herbs for treating cradle cap, diaper rash, and other skin irritations. For more information on calendula oil, check out this link: Calendula oil
So, I began collecting the calendula blooms from my garden early in the morning. I filled a glass quart jar three-quarters full with calendula buds.
I then filled the jar to within an inch of the top with grapeseed oil, placed it in a warm, sunny spot, and let the herbs and oil infuse for 3-4 weeks. Then I strained the oil, and rebottled into a clean jar. The oil will keep in a dark cool place for up to a year.
You may wonder why the oil is green when calendula is yellow - this is because grapeseed oil is green, as it is made from the seeds of grapes. Grapeseed oil is know to have helpful skin properties as well! To read more about grapeseed oil - check out this link: Grapeseed oil
Now, it was time to put the calendula infused in grapeseed oil to good use!
The recipe I used was out of this book: Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar (mentioned above) It really is an excellent book to get started growing, drying and using herbs in healthy ways. The book has lots of great recipes, with full color illustrations - always helpful! It is one of my favorite go-to books when working with herbs.
So, I mixed together the following (you can click on each ingredient to see where to purchase it)
1/8 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup calendula infused grapeseed oil
1 Tablespoon grated beeswax
1/8 cup grated cocoa butter
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
10-15 drops essential oil of choice (I used rosehip essential oil)
3/4 cup distilled water
Place the oils, beeswax, and cocoa butter in a saucepan over very low heat until melted together. Pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl and let cook for at least several hours (or overnight), or until mixture is somewhat firm, thick and creamy. Add in the aloe vera gel, distilled water, and essential oil mixing with your blender at high speed and slowly drizzle water mixture into the oil, continuing to blend until the water mixture has been absorbed by the oil. The blender should "choke" as the mixture thickens and becomes white and creamy. Turn off the blender and scoop the cream into small jars. Apply the lids and store in a cool dark location, where the cream will keep for up to a year.
You can apply this rich, thick cream as often as you like. It works wonderfully for your face, but also any part of your body will enjoy it just as well!
Here is my end product:
Since I had leftover essential oils from my Homegrown soap making endeavor, I added some of the tuber rose essential oil to the cream as well. It smells heavenly!
NOTE: If you are not able to infuse your own calendula, you could still make this recipe as the grapeseed oil has marvelous skin healing properties as well as the cocoa butter, aloe vera gel and coconut oil.
Making my own face/body cream is another step down the road of keeping our bodies as healthy and chemical-free as possible. I can read each and every one of the ingredients in this cream, and had a part in growing the calendula that adds huge skin healing properties to this cream. It feels really great to put this cream on my face and body knowing that I made it myself. I encourage you to give it a try. It is so easy, that you will wonder why you haven't done it sooner! :)