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Handmade Holidays: Bath and Beauty Edition

A couple of years ago, Frances and I made scented bath salts to give as Christmas gifts. Frances chose the essential oils and mixed them up with the sea salt. I packaged the finished product in hand-stamped glassine envelopes, and everybody loved them. This year, all the ladies on my gift list will be getting homemade bath and beauty products.

The web is full of recipes—some of them as easy as our bath salts, some of them a little more involved. If you have a natural foods store in your area—or even a well-stocked supermarket—you’ll probably be able to find most of the supplies you need. The rest you can get online (Mountain Rose Herbs is a great source for all kinds of organic ingredients, and Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies has a great selection, too.) After considering a lot of options, I’ve decided to make six products, many of which call for the same ingredients, which makes shopping for supplies a little easier and a little more economical.

Sugar Scrub

I posted my sugar scrub recipe here not too long ago. I’m thinking of playing with some new fragrances this time—neroli, black pepper, and vetiver, maybe? I’m also omitting the coffee grounds, for two reasons: It seems kind of rude to give someone the gift of a really messy bath tub, and some ladies might not be too excited to get a present that says, “Hey, girl, thought you might like to do something about that cellulite!”

Lip Scrub

Exfoliation gets rid of chapped skin while it stimulates circulation in the lips, and the honey found in this recipe is a wonderful  humectant. I’m thinking of adding a little cinnamon-leaf essential oil for extra plumping.

Salt Polish

Like sugar, salt is a great exfoliant, and sea salts are full of minerals. I’ll probably opt for Dead Sea salt, because it mixes well with other ingredients. I’m going with avocado oil—rich in fatty acids and a whole lot of vitamins—and I’m leaving out the coloring. I’m thinking a bright, citrus oil will be nice as fragrance.  (Recipe here.)

Body Butter

This body butter looks great, and I’m excited to try it out myself. Jojoba oil is a fantastic moisturizer, because it’s chemically quite close to the moisture produced by the sebaceous glands. I’m thinking I’ll make a custom scent for each recipient. 

Lip Balm

There are a ton of lip balm recipes online, and a number of shops sell kits. I chose a recipe that uses many of the same ingredients in the body butter. I’m making cardamom lip balm for the grownups (including myself). I’m not adding coloring, but Bramble Berry has some pretty interesting options, including mica if you want a little sparkle. I’m pretty sure Frances will approve of this chocolate lip balm for the kids (NB: I really don’t recommend using “an old candle” for lip balm. Food-grade beeswax isn’t hard to find.)

Bath Teas

This is a great way to get beneficial herbs into the tub without making a huge mess. Heat-sealable tea bags are available from several sources online. I’m planning to use calendula and chamomile petals for their anti-inflammatory properties, and Dead Sea salt.

Packaging and presentation can be as fancy as you want. Mountain Rose Herbs sells some nice tins and glass jars, and you can reuse jars destined for the recycling bin as long as they’ve been carefully cleaned and sterilized. You might also think about using a food-storage container, so that the recipient can repurpose the container when the beauty product is gone. Mountain Rose Herbs and Bramble Berry both sell tubes and pots for lip balm, and, as much as I hate disposable, plastic pipettes make lip balm production a lot easier, and they also prevent a great deal of wasted beeswax and cocoa butter. I’m probably just going to hand-letter paper tags for most of these items, but I plan to get waterproof printer paper to make my own lip balm labels.


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November 22, 2011 | Permalink