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Facing Spring-How is your skin?

A New York friend just sent me ceramide and retinol – two costly skin care products that are no longer confined to the dermatologist office. I could use a year's supply after this winter. The only thing that saves your skin in the long term is the food you eat. But relatively quick fixes can be as simple as using a humidifier. Or having beauty day with ingredients that are readily sourced from your kitchen or Instacart account.

Beauty products for all, made at home

After reading about two women getting scalded by beauticians in the Bronx, I wondered if I would be better off doing my beauty regimen at home, with products that have fewer preservatives.

Perhaps I could save some money as well. Without going to the lengths of making soap like my grandmother did in the yard, what could I make that did not require heat?

If you want to make some beauty products that do not require a background in organic chemistry-read on!

You need: Olive oil or shea butter. Rubbing alcohol (Not isopropyl alcohol) tea bags in your favorite flavor. Dead Sea or big grained salt. Coffee grounds or citrus skin scraps. Aloe vera spear (Mexican stores – under $2.00)

Also find different types of empty containers: spray bottles or small empty jars with screw on caps.

Major chains like Walmart or Walgreen drugs have a travel section with an empty jar kit, which may be used if you do not recycle. Always wash your containers out first, so that any old chemicals do not react with your new products.

Measuring cups –glass is highly recommended, so you can see proportions better. Measuring spoons-are okay too. I would personally avoid metal and plastic, and use a wood spoon to mix things because wood does not react. You can get cheap measuring utensils in the .99¢ store.

Hint: if you are using scents more intense than mentioned here-make sure they can be used on skin and get separate spoon and glassware for them. Mark them with the scent used, and Do Not mix anything up, once you have marked it.

Scented Hand Sanitizer – Made in a porcelain tea cup

Flu season is approaching. Make your own waterless hand sanitizer with equal parts of rubbing alcohol and aloe vera, and add scent with your favorite tea bags.

Soak tea bag in just enough water (porcelain teacup) to cover the bag.

Remove tea bag.

Scrape the gel from the inside of the aloe vera spear. You will have to cut it open from the side, then use a plastic or metal spoon to get the gel from the spear. Be careful with the knife. Do not use the knife to scrape unless you happen to be someone who can cook, and can handle a knife well. Add all the gel to the teacup.

Pour up to 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol into the cup. Less is okay because you would rather not dry your hands out. Mix with the wooden spoon.

Add mix to your container (small squeezable squirt bottle, small top lotion bottle?

Label it with a permanent marker.

After Shower Body Oil

Extra virgin olive oil can be purchased for under 10 dollars, and Olive oil blends (with canola) work great. (Canola will not kill you: it is derived from a plant, Brassica napus) and related to Brussels sprouts, which are Excellent for you) Mediterranean olive oil blends can be expensive, but this is my beach and daily post shower routine because your skin is worth it.

If you purchase expensive olive oil, you need to ingest it as well – by using it COLD on your food i.e.- bread, salads, even rice… The health benefits of olive oil are based on its chemical profile, so you will need a Separate bottle for eating, since oil can become rancid quickly.

Salt and Citrus or All Coffee Exfoliates ; aka “Scrubs”

Bliss™ and other companies make expensive scrubs with combinations like orange and cinnamon or grapefruit and sage. These scrubs contain chemical preservatives. Your scrub will be biodegradable, so keep it in the icebox.

Citrus Scrub

Shred citrus scraps in a blender or use a mortar and pestle to release the essential oils (Citrus scent) Mix in either olive shea butter (shea butter is available in the dollar store and hair supply in the strip Mall OR You can also purchase shea butter online at Amazon. Use about 1/4 cup of shea butter and citrus scraps, with the oil. If you do not see any oil, do not worry, you still have flavor.

Mix in an equal amount of salt until you have the desired consistency, which is thick enough to require rubbing into the skin. Scoop this mix into a container and refrigerate.

Coffee Scrub

Scoop used coffee grounds into a teacup, add in either olive shea butter in equal amounts until you have the desired consistency, which is thick enough to require rubbing into the skin. Scoop this mix into a container and refrigerate.

When you use a refrigerated scrub for a bath, it will invigorate you. The coffee scrub is great for putting your body in a ready state for an exam.

If you are into packaging these beauty products as gifts, be sure to include labels with storage directions, i.e., refrigerate upon opening. I made my labels in Illustrator and added some design touches using that program. Word Art is fun, too.

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