Friday, January 14, 2011

Aftershave and Facial Moisturizer

I have been transitioning my wonderful and very willing 'guinea pig' of a husband to all natural, made from scratch shaving products. He currently uses strange foamy things in non recyclable metal canisters and i'd like that to change, both for the cost, the impact on the environment, and the improved health of his face. I found this recipe, and needed to get some witch hazel before i could give it a shot. I got the witch hazel, but the recipe calls for a few days to amalgamate, so in the meantime his shaving soap is curing, a badger hair brush for shaving is sitting poised on the bathroom sink, and the calendula succus i made the other day has been treating  his trouble spots.

After Shave
3  Tablespoons witch hazel
5 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
a few drops of essential oils

Mix the ingredients in a spice bottle or hot sauce bottle (preferably unused for hot sauce, or washed out very well!), shake up and store in a dark place, shaking daily for 4-5 days. Use as you normally use aftershave. I think i went a little too crazy with the lavender oil - you can see droplets suspended in the mix. Next time i'll stick with a 'few' drops instead of 15. Luckily, lavender oil doesn't irritate the skin like some essential oils can, so the surplus isn't a problem.

In my quest to understand herbs and use them for various health benefits, i like to play 'witch doctor' as my husband calls it. I was long skeptical of the efficacy of herbs on actual problems like psoriasis, dandruff, abrasions, insect bites, etc. But you know what? Herbs were used to heal all those things a heck of a lot longer than neosporin or head and shoulders were, and many of today's ointments and drugs are just pharmaceutical attempts at 'improving' nature's healing herbs.

I found this wonderful website that lists good essential oils for various skin problems. My husband suffers from a type of dermatitis similar to psoriasis so i chose Lavender e.o. and chamomile extract to add to his aftershave: both are considered soothing to psoriasis and dry skin. I also formulated jojoba based moisturizers specific to my husband and myself to replace the old 'oil of olay' i've been using most of my life. For mine, i included peppermint and rosemary to sooth my puffy eyes and promote regeneration. For his, I included calendula oil to sooth his troubled patches, lavender and patchouli to address his oily and itchy skin, and lemongrass to promote poor reduction. Jojoba oil is the closest to our skin's natural oil and is the absolute best for facial moisturizing. It even acts as a natural SPF up to 8. Sweet almond oil is another good oil for the face and it is suitable for all skin types, helps relieve irritation, inflammation and itching. It doesn't absorb into the skin very quickly, which makes it excellent as a massage oil. Because of that property, however i will include only a very small amount in our facial moisturizers.

Facial toner, some left over 'regenerist' my new moisturizer and hair polish in the back
To complete our skin regiments, i should mix up facial clay masks weekly or at least monthly - I'm just not the kind of person who likes to put much effort into my 'beauty' regime, however. I like to splash things on my head in the shower, rub something on my face when i get out and be done with it. That being said, Sundays are nice days for a hot bath with sea and epsom salts and a cleansing facial clay mask to suck all the week's impurities from our skin. We'll see, maybe we'll do it. Kaolin clay is pretty inexpensive, and i already have some that i use in my husband's shaving soap to make a slick shaving experience, and suck the oil from his beardy areas so prone to harboring body oil.

So far, my husband really likes the aftershave. He says it has a bit of a 'sting' and makes him feel clean, is razorburn free, and his skin is soft. In my opinion, he smells better ( i cannot STAND the smell of most aftershaves ) and it makes me happy to contribute to his morning routine. I'm loving the moisturizer so far. It's not as easy to apply as oil of olay from the squirt bottle, and I am noticing a few more blemishes than usual - but that could be from a lot of things, so i'll keep y'all posted.

Next week, more about hair health, elaborations on our opinions on the products i've already made, and some tips on making household cleaners. Have a great weekend, everyone - and see you at the new market if you're in town and willing to brave the rain. I hope we are!

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