January 31, 2014

Living Natural, Product 5: Natural Deoderant

So far we've discussed body wash/skin cleanser, skin moisturizer, facial toner/astringent, toothpaste and mouthwash. Moving on down to the armpits (LOL), let's make some natural deodorant.

Most commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants are contain aluminum. Anti-perspirants prevent you from sweating. Now I am going to put on my Science Teacher hat again for just a moment. Our skin or integumentary system, is the largest organ in our body, so we must take good care of it to prevent illness and diseases. Sweating is necessary for your body to rid itself of toxins. If you are not perspiring and allowing your body to detoxify and cleanse itself, aluminum toxicity can occur. Aluminum toxicity can lead to health problems, including cancer.  Okay, I'm putting my teacher hat away now......

These homemade deodorant recipes do not prevent you from sweating; however, they will prevent odor. I am going to show you two different versions: one for sensitive skin and one for normal skin. Both can be made in cream or solid form. Ready? Let's do it!


Extra virgin coconut oil
Baking soda
Arrowroot powder (I get mine at Sprouts), you can also use cornstarch but I think the arrowroot powder is more natural
Tea tree essential oil
Vitamin E oil
Lavender essential oil (optional)
4oz mason jar (to store the cream version)
If you do the solid version, you will need :
Beeswax, which I ordered from amazon.com. Beeswax
The beeswax raises the melting temperature of the deodorant to 120 degrees. Plain coconut oil melts at 76 degrees.
Stick deodorant container. I ordered mine from amazon.com. Empty Deoderant Containers
You can also clean out an old empty deodorant container and use that.

The Sensitive Skin Formula (cream version)
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (melted)
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
10-15 drops tea tree oil (I tend to use more but that is just me!)
1-1.5 teaspoons vitamin e oil
1. Combine the baking soda and arrowroot powder in a bowl. Mix well.
2. Add in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and stir. Add more coconut oil, up to 2 tablespoons total, until the consistency of the deodorant is smooth. The consistency you want will resemble that of icing.

3. Add in the vitamin e oil.
4. Add about 10-20 drops of tea tree oil and the lavender oil or any other essential oil of your choice.
5. Mix well and transfer to the mason jar for storage.
To apply, I use a small spatula like the one below. The coconut oil remains in a soft or semi-liquid state at 76 degrees or higher. If your deodorant becomes solid, just run the container under warm water. Or you can just use your spatula or fingers to apply and your body heat will soften the deodorant.


The Sensitive Skin Formula (solid version)
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
10-15 drops tea tree oil (I tend to use more but that is just me!)
1-1.5 teaspoons vitamin e oil
1-1.5 tablespoons beeswax
Empty deodorant container
Glass bowl to mix ingredients in
1. Melt the beeswax in the microwave.
2. Combine the baking soda and arrowroot powder in a bowl. Mix well.
3. Add in  the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and stir.
4. Add in the vitamin e oil.
5. Add about 10-20 drops of tea tree oil and the lavender oil. You may also add any other essential oil of your choice. Mix well.
6. Add in the melted beeswax and mix well.
7. As the mixture cools, it will begin to solidify. This is when you want to transfer the mixture into an empty deodorant container. This is why I find that a glass bowl works well for me. The glass will cool the mixture quickly enough so that you can pour it into an empty deodorant container, without melting the deodorant container because the mixture was too hot.
8. Allow the deodorant to set for a few hours; overnight is better.


For the normal skin formulas, you will follow the same steps; however, the ratios of your ingredients will be different. I've listed the amounts of each ingredient below. For the cream formula, you will need a larger container to store it in. For the solid version, you will need two empty deodorant containers.

The Normal Skin Formula (cream version)

5-6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
10-15 drops tea tree oil
1-2 teaspoons vitamin e oil
8 ounce mason jar or (2) 4 ounce mason jars

The Normal Skin Formula (solid version)

5 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
10-15 drops tea tree oil
1-2 teaspoons vitamin e oil
2 tablespoons beeswax
2 Empty deodorant containers

The first time I made this deodorant, I was so excited! I made the normal skin formula and it worked great for about a week. After a week, my armpits turned brown; however through shaving, my armpits returned to their normal color. My skin was noticeably smoother too. Sadly, about a week later, I developed a nasty, terrible rash. So I did some more research and learned that some people have a sensitivity to baking soda. So, after prayer and research, I found another recipe that uses less baking soda. Success! Praise GOD!

I use only the sensitive skin formula now. I have both the cream and solid on hand. Both work excellent for me. I've never experienced any type of odor and perspiring is minimal, even in the summertime. I live in the south and summer temperatures can be in the 100s plus high humidity!


1. The coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties and moisturizes the skin.

2. Tea tree essential oil kills bacteria that can cause odor.

3. Lavender essential oil adds a nice scent.

4. Baking soda absorbs moisture and helps keep you dry, but still allowing your skin the breathe and sweat.

5. Arrowroot powder is a thickener and also helps absorb moisture.

6. A 4 ounce jar of the cream deodorant lasts me a over one month. The only ingredient that costs a little more, up front, are the essential oils. But, with the essential oils, a little goes a long way. I get arrowroot powder at Sprouts for .47 cents a pound. 2 pounds can make about 4 batches of the cream sensitive skin formula.

I purchased a one (1) pound  bag of beeswax for $18.00. I gave half of the bag away to a friend and still have enough to make at least for 8 more batches of the solid formula. If you are looking to really save money, I'd recommend the cream formula.

What do you think? Let me know how you like it. Stay tuned for the next product......

As always, may God continue to bless you....  

January 28, 2014

Remembering the Challenger 7...28 years later

Many people remember when John F. Kennedy was shot. Some people remember such details as what they were wearing, where they were, what they were doing, how they learned about the tragedy, etc.

I will always remember January 28, 1986, when space shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after launch.

This is my recollection of the days events:

I was a 15-year-old high school student; I was in my 5th period Biology class. It was a sunny January day. I remember thinking to myself "I can't wait to get home to watch the replay of the launch while I do my homework". I remember looking at the clock; it was around 11:30am. However, my thoughts were not about eating lunch in 30 minutes; my thoughts were about Challenger. I thought to myself "surely the space shuttle has blasted off by now and they are in space.....I guess everything worked out this time."  I remember thinking about Ronald McNair and, at the time, I thought he was the 1st African American in space. I thought to myself "I am going to be the 1st African American woman in space!" I thought about Christa McAuliffe, the Teacher from New Hampshire, who captured everyone's heart, by being chosen to go into space.

About 11:45am, give or take a few minutes, my excitement turned to sadness when I heard PA system turn on over the speaker in the classroom. My spirit told me that something major had occurred...at that moment, my heart sunk and I knew Challenger was in trouble. A few seconds later, the Principal delivered the devastating news, "We have received news that space shuttle Challenger has exploded in flight...please pray for the 7 astronauts and their families." I prayed and I was numb the remainder of the day.

When I got home that afternoon, I was glued to the TV. I watched, over and over and over and over video of Challenger blasting off.....then exploding.

28 years later, I still remember that day very clearly.  So today, January 28, 2014, in memory of Challenger, I still say "God Bless You" and "rest in peace my friends". You will always hold a special place in my heart!

Challenger\'s Crew - Mission STS 51-L - Preview Image

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair. The crew members were lost with the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after lift off on January 28, 1986.

January 23, 2014

Living Natural, Products 3 and 4: Toothpaste & Mouthwash

I've been making my own toothpaste since 2011. I was inspired by a very Godly, sweet sister at church who is a true Proverbs 31 woman. She makes everything and uses natural herbs in her daily regimen. In 2012, I started using peroxide as a mouthwash. I did not like the taste but it whitened my teeth very well. Then God said "add some essential oil". I did and BAM, flavored mouthwash. These two recipes are super simple to make...about 5 minutes total for both!

Natural Toothpaste


Baking Soda
Peppermint or spearmint essential oil (I purchase mine at Whole Foods or Sprouts; I've also seen them at Vitamin Shoppe)
Mixing bowl
Measuring cup
Spoon for stirring
Storage container
1. Measure about 1 cup of baking soda into a bowl.

2. Add enough peroxide to form a paste and mix well. You want it thick but not too thick nor do you want it to be runny. You want the toothpaste to almost be able to stand up on your toothbrush. Have your toothbrush nearby so you can test the consistency.

3. Add the essential oil of your choice and mix well. Essential oils are pretty strong, so start off with a little. You can always add more later. Personally, I add about 35-40 drops because I like a strong, almost overpowering, flavor.

4. Put a top on the container and that is it! Just dip your wet toothbrush in the toothpaste when you are ready to brush your teeth.
NOTE: I got this tip from a sister at church. If you have several people in your household, use baby food jars, labeled with each person's name, to store the toothpaste. If you don't have baby food jars, you can use 4 ounce mason jars or a small container like this.

I make my toothpaste in large quantities, so I mix and store mine in a large container. This is a restaurant carry out soup container.

Natural Mouthwash


Hydrogen peroxide
Tea tree or spearmint essential oil
Storage container (see photo below for example)

1. Pour the hydrogen peroxide into a container. I use the 8 ounce bottle pictured below.

2. Add the essential oil of your choice. I use about 30-40 drops because, again, I like a strong flavor.

3. Shake to mix and you are done!

I use this storage container, which I purchased for about $2.00 at the beauty supply store. The applicator tip allows me to dispense the mouthwash easily. I put a little in my mouth and rinse with it while I am showering then I brush my teeth. Be careful not to swallow it though!

1. Baking soda is an ingredient in a lot of toothpastes. Baking soda whitens and cleans your teeth. Since you are using pure baking soda, you reap the benefits of toothpastes with baking soda in them, but without the other chemicals.
2. Hydrogen peroxide is another ingredient in a lot of toothpastes. It is excellent for whitening your teeth. It also kills germs and bacteria, so it is great for fresh breath. So, again, skip the chemicals and go for pure peroxide.
3. The essential oils adds a nice, natural flavor. I just started using the spearmint during Christmas 2013. I like it and I find the flavor is stronger than the peppermint. I am going to also try using cinnamon essential oil (I will report on that after I try it).
4. Did I mention the cost? Baking soda is .40-.60 cents per box, peroxide is about $.88 for a large bottle and the essential oil is about $6.00 (for a small bottle) or $15.00 for a large bottle. However, a large bottle of essential peppermint oil lasted me about 1 year.
Some people add sweet and low to mask the taste of the baking soda. I tried this but, sweet and low has aspartame in it which is not good for you. The essential oil is healthier and provides a nicer flavor.

I get compliments all the time about how white my teeth are. So give this a try and don't forget to tell me how it works for you. Stay tuned for product #5.......

May God bless you and keep you.


January 14, 2014

Living Natural, Product 2: Astringent/Facial Toner

In my first living natural blog post, I discussed facial and skin cleanser (click here to see post titled "Living Natural...Let's Begin"). The second blog was a recipe for an awesome shea butter skin moisturizer (click here to see post titled "Shea Butter Body Moisturizer").

So drum roll please....the second natural recipe is for astringent or facial toner. I found this recipe in 2011 and I have been using it ever since. You only need 4 simple ingredients which you probably have in your pantry or bathroom.

Astringent/Facial Toner

Witch Hazel
Apple Cider Vinegar
Tee tree essential oil (available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vitamin Shoppe, or online. I purchased mine at Whole Foods)
Green tea (plain green tea, do not use any type of flavored tea)
Storage bottle
Measuring cup


You will use equal parts of the all the ingredients with the exception of the tea tree oil. I make mine in big quantities, so I use 8 ounces of each. However, you may choose to use 4 ounces of each or even 3 ounces of each. Just make sure it is equal parts.
1. Brew 1 or 2 tea bags in 8 ounces of hot water. I tend to brew mine for about 20 minutes. Allow the tea to cool.
2. While the tea is brewing and cooling, combine 8 ounces of witch hazel with 8 ounces of apple cider vinegar and shake to mix. I use the large container pictured below.

3. Add the cooled green tea.

4. Add in 20 or so drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil is strong so start off with less,  you can always add more later if you like.

5. Shake to mix and that's it!

6. After cleansing your face, give your dispenser a quick shake, squeeze enough astringent to saturate a cotton ball, then apply to your face. Make sure you apply using an upward motion. Using a downward motion, over time, can cause your skin to sag. At times if I am experiencing breakouts, I will just apply, without cleansing, to remove excess oil.


I saved an old astringent bottle (pictured on the right) to store it in, but you can use any container that you like that will dispense the product easily. I purchased a large container, like the one on the left, from the Dollar Tree. I mix and store the toner in here until I am ready to refill my smaller container. A large container, it will last me about 3-4 months, give or take. In the summer time, I tend to shower more frequently. I live in the south where it is in the 100s in the summer, so I use it more than once daily.                  

1. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants which are great for your skin. Antioxidants reduce inflammation.
2. The tea tree oil kills bacteria, so for those who struggle with breakouts, the tea tree oil will help to kill bacteria and help to reduce breakouts/acne.
3. The apple cider vinegar detoxifies the skin, heals blemishes, and can reduces/minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Witch hazel helps control blemishes and also helps to tighten skin reduce under eye bags. The witch hazel also removes any dirt, oil, or makeup that may have escaped the cleansing process.
As you use this product, you may find that you need to adjust the amounts of each ingredient, depending on your skin's specific needs.
Please let me know what you think! Stay tuned for the next product....any guesses? God bless!

January 9, 2014

Living Natural, Product 1: Shea Butter Body Moisturizer

My first blog talked about cleansing the face and body (see blog post titled "Living Natural...Let's Begin"). Now, we need to moisturize the body and keep our skin healthy. Well say bye bye to "chemical laden lotions with stuff you can't pronounce" and say hello to Shea Butter Skin Moisturizer.

Now I am going to speak as a Science Teacher for just a moment. The skin or integumentary system, is the largest organ in our body, so we must take good care of it to prevent infection and disease. Your skin the first line of defense for your body. Think about when you get a cut or scrape. You have layers of skin that prevents those germs from entering your body. Your skin cells go into action to create new skin as part of the healing process. Your skin also protects your internal organs, bones, muscles, etc. If you take good care of your skin, your skin will take good care of you. Okay, I am taking my teacher hat off....

I am in love with this moisturizer! I started using it in summer 2013. My skin is so soft and smooth. I used to have dark spots on my knees, those have disappeared. Even my knees and elbows are smooth. I used to get ugly brown bumps on my elbows, I have had no more breakouts since using this moisturizer. I recently began using this moisturizer on my face, so I will report in a month or so about how it is working. And the best part is, you know exactly what is it and you can pronounce each ingredient! So without further delay, here is the recipe.

Shea Butter Body Moisturizer


8-10 ounces Shea butter, I get mine at the beauty supply store, I get the chunky shea butter because it is easier to break apart.


Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin coconut oil
Vegetable glycerin
Apricot oil
Almond oil
Macadamia nut oil (I get mine at the beauty supply store)
Castor oil
Jojoba oil
Vitamin E oil
Large bowl to mix ingredients in
Hand mixer or immersion blender
From left to right: extra virgin olive oil (it is in the clear container because I use it in my hair as well), jojoba oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil (on top of the almond oil), castor oil and vegetable glycerine. I ran out of the macadamia nut and apricot oil, so they are not pictured here.  The coconut oil is also not pictured.                         
I purchased the  almond oil, castor oil, and vegetable glycerin from Whole Foods. I purchased the extra olive oil at Walmart. I purchased the jojoba oil and the extra virgin coconut oil at the Vitamin Shoppe. I use coconut oil in my hair care routine, so when the Vitamin Shoppe has their buy one get one half off every April and September, I stock up. 

 1. Place the shea butter in a large bowl. DO NOT HEAT THE SHEA BUTTER OR THE OILS. Heat depletes the shea butter of it's nutritional properties. Save the container that the shea butter came in to store the finished product or you can use the container of your choice.
NOTE: If your coconut oil is in a solid state, that is fine. You will be blending later anyway.
2. Add 1/8 cup of each oil. I tend to use 1/2 cup of coconut oil because it is my favorite.

3. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, mix all the ingredients together until smooth. This may take longer if you are using a hand mixer.

4. Your finished product will look something like this. It is very creamy and soft on the skin.

This is a photo of some moisturizer that I had made. I wanted to show you the consistency.

Here is another view. Please excuse my fingerprint marks!
Transfer the mixture back into the empty container that the shea butter came in. Make sure you store it with the lid on it.

After showering, apply this to damp skin to seal in the moisture. For extra moisturizing, I will lightly towel dry my skin then apply. Water is a natural moisturizer and this body moisturizer will seal in the water, which gives a little more moisture. 

All of these natural oils have numerous benefits. One thing that they all have in common is that they are excellent skin moisturizers. Almost all of them can be beneficial for those who struggle with dry skin, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.  I could do a blog post about each one! But I am going to mention the important points that I found during my research.


1. Jojoba oil is moisturizing and helps reduce skin inflammation. It also increases blood flow, which gives your skin a healthy glow. Jojoba oil is absorbed quickly into the skin. It is effective with reducing the appearance of wrinkles because it has an abundance of Vitamin E, helps to eliminate the free radicals that can cause skin aging.
2. Coconut oil has so many benefits. I will be doing a separate blog on the benefits of coconut oil. It is very moisturizing and has mild sunscreen properties. It has an SPF of about 4. Coconut oil helps relieves skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Coconut oil can be applied on scrapes and cuts to speed up the healing process. The coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and viruses, while it heals.
3. Macadamia nut oil, like jojoba oil, is very moisturizing to the skin and absorbs quickly. Macadamia nut oil contains a compound called palmitoleic acid, which is found in human skin. As one ages, the body's production of palmitoleic acid decreases. Macadamia nut oil replaces palmitoleic acid, which helps fight aging and wrinkles and an aged appearance.
4. Olive oil is closer in chemical structure to your skin's natural oil than any other natural oil. It is a great moisturizer. Olive oil also helps the skin to remain soft, firm and tone. It can help increase skin elasticity and alleviate stretch marks. The antioxidants help prevent aging. Olive oil helps enhance blood circulation. The healthy fats, vitamin E and other nutrients help to rid the skin of free radicals, thus olive oil can help repair skin damage caused by exposure to the sun.
5. Vitamin E is a skin moisturizer that can improve the texture of the skin, help reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, lighten dark spots, and help improve skin elasticity by keeping it tight and firm. Vitamin E can soothe minor sunburns. 

6. Almond oil is a rich source of Vitamins A, B, and D; all of these vitamins are excellent for maintaining healthy skin. Almond oil moisturizes the skin, helps maintain proper moisture in the skin, and helps reduce redness, itching and inflammation. It can also help renew skin cells, reverse and prevent aging. Almond oil, when used regularly, can help reduce dark under eye circles.
7. Castor oil is a skin moisturizer as well. It contains Vitamin E, minerals, and proteins, as well as anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Castor oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil can help to relieve pain associated with arthritis and can be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
8. Vegetable glycerin helps your skin to maintain it's moisture. It is also a humectant; it pulls in moisture from the air.

9. Apricot oil is very gentle and light on the skin. Therefore, it works great as a moisturizer, skin softener, and as a massage oil. Apricot oil contains Vitamin B17, which helps prevent cancer. Like most of the other natural oils, apricot oil is an anti-inflammatory, so it can aid in reducing pain caused by arthritis. Apricot oil also dehydrates your skin and contains gamma linoleic acid, which helps to firm and tone your skin. It also contains vitamins A and E which slow down the aging process.

10. Shea butter has numerous benefits. It is a moisturizer and it provides protection from the sun and wind. Shea butter can help with eczema, skin rashes, peeling skin, and stretch marks. It also helps to heal wounds and even your skin tone.

The oils are a small investment up front; however, they will last you a long time. I purchased all of mine last summer and, with the exception of the coconut oil that I use on my hair daily, the almond oil is the only one that will need to be replaced soon (and I still probably have at least 8 ounces left in the bottle now).

I've read that you can also use avocado oil, argan oil and grapeseed oil in this body moisturizer; however, I've not tried them yet. All three are very moisturizing to the skin.

You will love it this! Please let me know what you think. God bless...


January 2, 2014

Living Natural...Let's begin!!

I am very excited and really enjoying this natural journey that God has me on. It has been fun learning and using more natural products to care for my hair and skin. I feel like I am taking better care of my body. And the icing on the cake, I am saving money too! I am looking forward to sharing with you, hearing from you about how the products work for you and also learning from you.
This blog is going to address facial cleansers and body wash. Have you ever looked at the back of your body wash bottle and read the ingredients? Half of that stuff I can't even pronounce! Yet, we use these unknown chemical laden products on our skin. Well I have a natural alternative!

As I stated in my "A Look Back at 2013" blog, I was introduced to castile soap this past summer.  Castile soap is made with the following natural ingredients: water, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic hemp oil and organic jojoba oil. There is another substance called potassium hydroxide, which is used in the saponifying the oils into soap and glycerin. This substance does not remain in the final product. I use Dr. Bronners and it comes in a variety of scents. It can be purchased at Whole Foods, Sprouts, at various online stories, or at  Target. I find that Whole Foods has the best variety of scents. A 32 ounce bottle runs between $13.00-$17.00; however, it lasts for several months. A little goes a long way. 

Castile soap is all that I use to cleanse my face and body. It leaves my skin feeling clean and moisturized. The peppermint and almond scent are my favorites. The almond smells wonderful.   The lather makes a great shaving cream as well, so I no longer purchase shaving cream. I like the peppermint as  feminine wash. I use both to wash my face as well. As  said, a little goes a long way.

Above is photo of the other scents that I have (from left to right): peppermint, rose, almond, eucalyptus and baby mild (the baby mild is unscented, it is the last one on the right...the label got cut off a bit...oops!).

The eucalyptus is great to use after ballet class. The scent is calming and the eucalyptus is soothing to my sore muscles. It is also great when you have a cold, just fill a tub with hot water and add some to the water. It is very soothing, comforting and opens up your nasal passages.
The rose scent is strong and smells like fresh cut roses. I use this as a body wash but have never tried it on my face.

I use the baby mild as a facial cleanser as well. I experimented by adding some lemon essential oil to the baby mild and using that to cleanse my face. The lemon helps to absorb some of the oil as I have oily skin.

I purchased a trial size of the lavender scent, which I used for a week when I was on vacation. The smell was ok, not what I expected. But nonetheless, it is a decent fragrance.

I also purchased the tea tree scent and used it for cleaning dishes and my toilet. Tea tree is a natural bacteria killer. I liked it for cleaning the toilet, no more stains nor odor.  I felt like I needed to use a lot of it to clean my dishes, so the jury is still out on whether I like it for cleaning or not.

I also use castile soap as my hand washing soap. I fill a liquid dispenser with 1/2 water and 1/2 castile soap of my choice. Shake to mix and there is your natural hand soap.

Oh, did I mention that the peppermint castile soap can be used for brushing your teeth? Yes! Now, of course, it tastes like soap because it is soap, but your mouth will be very clean and fresh after using it.

So go buy some castile soap! Don't forget to tell me what you think. Blessings!