I recently wrote a post called “Squeaky clean”, talking about the grand idea of trying to make my own toiletries and cleaning products. If you haven’t read it, you really should. It’s awesome….
(By the way, this Saturday, sees the lovely Emma Croft from Wiltshire Wildlife, and I running a “Green Clean” workshop in Chippenham, showing people how to do just this. I will let you know how we get on..!)
Lots of lovely people left lots of lovely and encouraging comments, and one faithful reader, “Kiwi-Jo” let slip that she is in fact a qualified herbalist and makes a lot of her own toiletries and things. Well, I could hardly let a comment like that slip by could I?! So, I jumped at the chance to get Jo to write me a guest post all about it. I have split her original post into two instalments, as it contained so much information. Here is the first part:
Firstly I’d like to say a big Thank You to the lovely Jen for asking me to do this guest post. This is my first, so I’m excited and a bit nervous as well. Please be kind. )
I’ve been making my own cleaning and beauty products for some years now. I’ve always had a passion for Herbs (I have a Diploma in Herbal Medicine) and this, along with several other factors, lead me into producing what my other half calls my ‘Lotions and Potions’.
Years ago I watched a short TV series fronted by the property guru Sarah Beeny called “Beauty Addicts – How Toxic Are You” (strangely enough its really hard to find any info about the series on the internet now!). It focused on the chemicals which are in beauty products and really opened my eyes.
The following article appeared at the time explaining what the series was about – http://www.naturalmatters.net/article-view.asp?article=3374
This made me look at the things I used in a different light, and I started avoiding things with SLS and parabens in them. Now when I shop I search for these on the labels (just like I read ingredients lists on food). This means that I have had to give up some things like nail polish (contains formaldahyde), mouthwash (contains SLS) and lots of popular brands of body lotions, shampoos, soap, shower gels etc and means that when I get smellies for Xmas and birthdays they are usually swapped or re-gifted. Now my only body moisturiser is Coconut Oil and for my face either Rosehip or Borage oil.
So I guess you could say I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet when it comes to the ‘crap’ that goes into mass manufactured products (don’t even get me started on the parabens they put in stuff for kids!!!!)
Anyway, whatever your reasons for wanting to have a go at making your own, it’s not difficult. In Jen’s case, she is looking at making her own as she is concerned with the level of throw-away packaging products produce, which is another great reason to make your own. You can collect jars, tubs and bottle which can all be reused.
It’s also worth while finding some good books on the subject. Most of my collection has come from Amazon, or Charity Shops.
The book I use most often, which has the greatest range of ‘recipes’ is the Readers Digest “Hints and Tips From Times Past”, and this is the one that Im going to share some recipes from.
The ingredients are easily obtainable from your local chemist or Herbalist, or can be found on Ebay (some of the more obscure ingredients may be hard to find and may take some searching, but I just avoid those recipes). Its also worth noting that as these recipes (especially the beauty products) don’t contain perservatives (unless its got a natural perservative like honey in it), they will not last as long as mass manufactured products and are best used up within a few weeks.
The cleaning products make much use of the usual vinegar, baking soda, salt etc and are pretty much the same as any others that you find for natural cleaning products (after all they have stood the test of time). One of my favourites makes use of Celeriac leaves, and is used for removing the musty smell from jars and thermos’ when they have been stood for a long time…….
1 litre warm water
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 handful celeriac leaves.
Dissolve the baking soda in the water and use to rinse the jars etc. Dry them thoroughly with a clean tea towel. Place the celeriac leaves in the jars and stand on a damp cloth. Pour in boiling water and leave to stand. The damp cloth helps to prevent the jars from cracking when the boiling water is poured in.
Thanks Jo-some great information here! Jo has also given me a couple of beauty ‘recipes’, which I will share with you next time!
You can read more about Jo, and her adventures as a Kiwi living in the UK, on her lovely blog Crafty Kiwi