Honeysuckle Lotion

On the first day of spring here in New York City, we had some downright vernal weather.

The Manhattan Bridge is seen in the background as commuters make their way through the streets of Dumbo after a snow storm in New YorkDesperate for the tiniest hint of spring, I broke out the honeysuckle essential oil I’ve been holding onto since last October. I’d experimented with lotion before but my results were always hit or miss. One day I’d end up with a perfect, creamy lotion. The next, I’d have a lump of concrete in a puddle of water. I gave up. Last week, though – armed with my little bottle of honeysuckle and facing an nearly-empty bottle of store-bought lotion – I decided to give homemade lotion another try.

Honeysuckle Lotion

The result was a velvety, floral lotion that I’ve been able to duplicate twice with no concrete disasters.

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Making Lip Balm

The summer after 7th grade, I spent most nights at my grandma’s house. After three or four rounds of Hand and Foot, everyone else would go to sleep and my cousin and I would tumble into our blowup bed in the basement and watch reruns of Whose Line Is It Anyway until The 700 Club came on at 2:00. One night, I remember Drew Carey switching up his usual lame joke about the winner getting to do “something special” with him at the end for a different prize: a lifetime supply of chapstick (one tube). My cousin, in all her sparkly-eyeshadowed and lip-lined glory, laughed along with the audience, but I knew this wasn’t something to be taken lightly. Winning a lifetime supply of chapstick would be a serious coup. Even as a fledgling gay, I was already going through a tube a month. Chapstick was and is my lifestyle choice. I buy bulk chapstick the way Mormons prepare for famine. Every bag, pocket and drawer I own has a tube of chapstick hiding in it somewhere.

With roughly 17% of my income going to chapstick (okay, not really, but I buy enough that it’s got its own line in my budget), you can imagine how thrilled I was when Laneia sent me a recipe for a homemade version. Although she was worried that we wouldn’t be able to figure out how to keep it from melting in the sun, with a little bit of tinkering we were able to come up with a formula that’ll stay solid all summer long and is stupid-easy to make. If you can find beeswax, you can make this stuff. Let us know how it goes, what flavors you come up with and if you figure out a way to duplicate Dr. Pepper chapstick in your kitchen. Seriously, I’ll buy you lunch.
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Arrowroot and Baking Soda Deodorant

Contrary to popular belief, lots of hippies aren’t dirty. In fact, many of them smell pretty sweet, thank you very much.

I like to think that I smell positively floral. And a lot of that is thanks to my homemade deodorant. I’m gonna level with you here and let you know that the reason I initially switched to homemade deodorant (or any beauty products, really) wasn’t so much about my health as it was about a whole constellation of other things. Let me lay them out for you:

+ Cost: I find it really hard to part with my money when it comes to stupid things like toilet paper or tampons. Deodorant was just one more thing that I hated buying every month or so. But then buying the materials to make deodorant expensive too. $30 for a pound of cocoa butter? You’ve got to be kidding me. So I started with a cheap, easy recipe: coconut oil, arrowroot powder and baking soda. When I started making more of my own things, though, I started to realize that investing in raw materials wasn’t as expensive as I thought.

+ Product: The real thing that drove me crazy about store-bought deodorant was how sticky it made me feel. I didn’t like that I had to scrub under my arms every time I took a shower and I didn’t like how I could literally shave it off my skin.

+ Consumerism: Call me a crazy anti-capitalist lesbian feminist, but I like when I don’t have to buy something that’s been researched and marketed to me. I like not putting money in the hands of giant companies. And yes, I know that Whole Foods is just another one of those companies that does things like base prices for their healthcare on discriminatory pseudoscience. You can’t win them all, you know? As soon as I can find cocoa butter somewhere else, I’ll be running in their general direction.

+ DIY nerdiness: In the words of Angry Chicken, I understand that there are plenty of people who would read this and say “why would I bother making that?” And to those people I say: I feel you. I have never in my life felt any need to knit or make my own pickles. But this is a thing I enjoy making!

+ Health: Last but not least. So I’m not quite sure what I think about aluminum and cancer because scientists aren’t quite sure what they thinks about aluminum and cancer. But hedging my bets on that is a nice little bonus of making my own deodorant.


 

This stuff works differently from traditional deodorant and, as such, takes a little getting used to. Because it doesn’t block your sweat glands, you won’t feel quite as dry as you’re used to and this can be a little unnerving. I’m happy to report, though, that I’ve gotten nothing but positive reviews from my friends who I made smell me and assure me that I didn’t stink.

Even though it doesn’t prevent you from sweating, the powder added will absorb moisture, meaning that you won’t soak through your shirt. And if you’re worried about the oils and butters in this stuff staining aforementioned shirt, don’t worry! As long as you let it soak in for 30 seconds or so, you’ll be fine. I’ve been using this for months now and I haven’t noticed any oily (or sweaty) marks in my clothes.
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Oatmeal and Lavender Soap

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5.5 oz coconut oil Coconut oil gives your soap moisture, big bubbles and a harder bar. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Costco, but it’s pretty trendy right now so you can find it just about anywhere.
8 oz olive oil Olive oil gives a dense creamy lather and a soft bar.
4 oz water Water is used to dissolve the lye. It will evaporate as the bar sets.
1.97 oz lye You already know what lye does, but you might not know where to buy it. Check the drain-unclogging chemicals sold at at Lowe’s or Home Depot. As long as it’s 100% sodium hydroxide, you’re good to go.
1/4 t honey Honey is a natural humectant and will keep your skin soft. It won’t dissolve into your soap, so don’t add too much or you’ll end up with honey bubbles and oozy soap.
5 drops lavender essential oil Lavender oil is calming and helps keep itching from dry skin at a minimum.
1 t shea butter Shea butter is incredibly moisturizing. If you don’t want to buy any, you can add a teaspoon of any oil or butter.
1 T oats Oatmeal soothes dry skin and scrubs off dead skin. Grind it up fine (I used my magic bullet because I’m fancy) so that it doesn’t clog your drain.