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Posts Tagged ‘Coconut oil’

My mother gave me an old set of wooden dishes from when she and my dad were first married, and they had been looking pretty shabby and in need of polishing. For a while now, I’ve been meandering around on the internet looking for a good wood polish to keep these wooden dishes looking nice, and I stumbled across a recipe that does the trick without a whole lot of hassle. Just rub it on, leave it sit for 10-30 minutes, and wipe it off. I tweaked it a little to my own liking (I’m a tinker-er, what can I say??), but as I was using it, I found that it is great for so much more than just polishing my wooden bowls.

It also makes a great conditioner for leather shoes and gloves, a really nice balm for dry skin, and honestly, my hair has never looked better since I’ve started using this exclusively as my only hair gel/protection from split ends. As someone who does henna, it’s an absolutely wonderful post-henna balm, too. Add some thieves oil, and you’ve got a great homemade Vicks-style chest rub, or any kind of healing lotion that you can put wherever the infection is. (Thieves oil is absolutely amazing, too, but that’s another post for another time…) This stuff is an awesome everything balm.

I just don’t know what to call it, since I use it for everything. And “Everything Balm” sounds weird. What to do, what to do…..

The good news is that it’s super easy to make, especially if you’ve made my lip balm recipe before, as it’s very similar.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp finely grated beeswax
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 capsule vitamin E oil
  • Popsicle stick to stir
  • 4-oz glass Ball jar

As far as grating the beeswax goes, it’s not a good idea to use a grater that you ever plan on using for food again–beeswax is hard to get cleaned off. Trust me on that one. I have a grater I use specifically for grating soap, beeswax, and other things I don’t want on the grater I use for food. Also, make sure your wax 100% beeswax, without paraffin or anything else in it. Beeswax is a bit on the pricey side, but it is definitely worth it.

Place the grated beeswax into your small glass jar (a 4 oz Ball jar will be just the perfect size for one batch) and place it in a pan of water on the stove. Use your jar as the double boiler, but there’s no need to really boil the water below. You just need to heat everything until the beeswax all melts. It needs to be fully melted: no clumps, no bumps, just smooth liquid. When it’s completely melted, add the coconut oil and melt that fully, too. Add olive oil and vitamin E oil. Mix well. Remove from heat, and that’s it! You’ll just need to let it cool a bit before putting the lid on.

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Almost all melted…

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Finished and cooled, well-loved (and almost gone) mixture

What I like about this is that the beeswax is melted in the container you’re already going to store it in. Melted beeswax is a pain to clean out of a pan, but this is completely no-mess. Not even a single dish needs washed afterward!

Now, the only question I have is what to call it…..

What do you think? What would YOU call it?

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Recently, I tried out a recipe for homemade lip balm that came out great. I started with a recipe I found here and tweaked it just a little to my own liking. It was really easy to make, no mess, and not time-consuming at all. The hardest part (as is the case with many of my recpies) was using up my old one so I had a container to refill.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons packed grated beeswax
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey (See edits at the bottom)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, I used my homemade vanilla extract, and it worked great
  • 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil (Open up a vitamin supplement capsule of vitamin E and empty the liquid, or you can buy a jar of just the liquid vitamin E)

Grate the beeswax using the smallest holes on a cheese grater. You won’t need to grate any more than a 1-inch by 1-inch block. That would be more than plenty.

Just as a side note, it was a little difficult to clean our cheese grater afterward. I would recommend just having on hand another grater designated for non-food items. I’ve posted several recipes which require grated bars of soap and other things, so this might be a good investment.

Get a tin can from your recycling bin and pinch one side of it to make a pour spout. Put the grated beeswax in and place the can in a small saucepan of simmering water on the stove. When all the wax is melted, add in the coconut oil and olive oil and stir. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Pour the melted mixture into prepared containers, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

I only had 3 containers to refill, but I’d estimate this recipe might make about 10 wind-up containers. I bet you can order new lip balm containers online somewhere instead of saving up old ones, but I like the idea of not adding any more plastic to our landfills. If you do get new containers (or clean the old ones really well), these would make fantastic gifts. It smells wonderful and works great!

EDIT: I made another batch of this and poured it into clear containers, and it seemed the last container had an ingredient that didn’t solidify with the rest. It had sunk to the bottom and stayed a gooey liquid. It seemed like it was the honey that sunk to the bottom and didn’t mix in. I eliminated the honey in my next batch, but didn’t use clear containers, so it will be a while (until I get down to the bottom of my current chapstick container) before I can confirm whether eliminating the honey did the trick.

EDIT #2: I made this again in clear containers, and eliminating the honey did the trick. I don’t use honey anymore, just scratch it from the list of ingredients. It still smells nice because of the coconut oil, vanilla, and beeswax, and it doesn’t seem like it’s missing anything.

EDIT #3: Sister just called me with a little tip on making a tin can double boiler. If you use an emptied-out small can of olives, the can (with all the ingredients inside, she says) will float in the pan of water without needing to hold it and risk burning your fingers.

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Calicut, Kerala

Image via Wikipedia

This one hardly counts as a recipe, as it only has one ingredient. But I’m gonna put it up here anyway, because it really works. While I have plans to spruce it up and give it more of a lotion-type texture, I’ve needed something in the mean time to moisturize my terribly dry, cracked hands and face this winter.

If you’ve made my toothpaste or deodorant recipes, you already have this on hand. Simply rub some coconut oil into your skin. It seems a little, well, oily at first (it is oil after all), but it will rub in if you give it some time. And it smells absolutely divine.

Again, it’s not the best texture, nor the easiest to scrape some out of the jar to rub in, but it does work. And it gives me something to use while I experiment with how to get a better texture. If I ever get something better worked out, rest assured I’ll post it here, but for now, try out just plain coconut oil.

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Our homemade coconut oil toothpaste

This was a tricky one to transition into using for us. But I think I’ve got most of the kinks worked out to the point I can feel confident about sharing it.

I’ve heard from lots of places that you can just brush with baking soda, but I’m really the type of person who needs the feel and texture of the paste that I’ve been used to, and since I had almost all the ingredients already, I figured I’d try it out. After several months, I’m still using it and have grown to really like it. This is a modified version of a recipe I came across online somewhere but tweaked it a bit to my own liking.

You will need:

  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp. Baking soda
  • 1 packet of Stevia powder
  • 15-20 drops Peppermint essential oil (1 tsp. peppermint extract works ok, but I prefer the oil)
  • 3/4 tsp. Hydrogen peroxide
  • Water, as needed
  • A jar to store it in, and a small spoon

If you’ve made my deodorant recipe, you’ll already have the coconut oil. The next “odd” ingredient you’ll need for this one is stevia powder. Stevia is a natural sweetener like sugar, but sweeter, and it will not ferment the way sugar will. You can find a box of little packets in the baking aisle of the grocery store, by the small packets of sugar, equal, and other sweeteners.

Without adding any water, this paste comes out really crumbly. It depends on the season if you need to add water or not. If it’s summer and your home is warm enough to liquify the coconut oil (76 degrees or warmer), then you probably won’t need to add any water. But you will need to make sure to stir it before each use because the oil will separate. When the weather turned cooler, I found that the paste was too solid to use, and adding a bit of water helped a lot. It’s hard to say exactly how much water you’ll need, just add it a bit at a time until the paste reaches the consistency you want.

You’ll need a wide-mouth jar to store it in, and a little spoon to scoop it out and onto your toothbrush. I tried refilling our old toothpaste tube, but it’s just about impossible to get it in there, and even worse to squeeze it back out, especially if the weather is warm, and the oil has separated. It’s not worth it. The jar takes a little getting used to, but it is nice to know exactly what is in your toothpaste.

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If you’ve been trying all my recipes so far, you’ve made:

You’ve graduated. You’re ready. Ready for one of my favorite recipes I’ve made so far: deodorant. Not that this recipe is particularly difficult, it really isn’t. It just took me a long time to actually jump in and make it. I don’t know why in my head it seemed like such a big deal to let go of my old deodorant, but now that I have, I absolutely love this stuff.

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Corn starch
  • A jar of virgin coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • An empty wind-up deodorant container

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup corn starch. Add 2-4 Tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Mix into a paste, and stir in 10 drops tea tree oil.

The original recipe I got from I-don’t-remember-where said 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, but I find that’s just not enough to make the mixture into a paste. I suppose you could decrease the amounts of baking soda and corn starch, but I find it easier just to gradually add coconut oil a little at a time, mixing in until I get the right paste consistency that will pack back into my old deodorant container. I just made another batch of it a few days ago, and I maybe added 3 and 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil. Also, another helpful tip: I usually pop the jar of oil in the microwave until it’s liquified some. This way, it’s much easier to spoon out by the tablespoon and will mix more easily with the powdered ingredients.

The odd one out in this recipe is the coconut oil, as you’ve probably got all the others around. I had a hard time finding it, so I ordered it online. It is worth checking around though, because that will save you on shipping. The oil itself seems a bit expensive (I think mine was about $6 or so for a 12-oz jar, not including shipping) but it will last you a long time. And you’ll also use it for other recipes, so it’s good to have on hand.

Just a little info about coconut oil in case you haven’t worked with it before. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. So you should keep it in a cooler place in the summer if you don’t have AC. I’ve heard it keeps better in solid form. This also means that your deodorant might be a little bit of a softer paste in the summer than the winter, and as you put it on, might soften upon being rubbed on your skin. I think that’s a good thing since it stays solid, but then upon skin contact, goes on like lotion.

When I made the switch to this from my commercial deodorant, this was one of the hardest ones for me to stick with. I was really concerned it wouldn’t work and had to work hard to stick to my rules for switching. But as always, I grew to love this mixture, because it’s simply better than the commercial stuff. Here’s a few reasons why I love this recipe:

  • It has no terrible, harmful chemicals, and is free of aluminum
  • It smells absolutely divine (but not particularly masculine or feminine, husband and I both use it)
  • It doesn’t leave any residue on your skin that won’t wash off when you want it to
  • It doesn’t leave any residue or staining on clothes. Even my old “invisible solid” left residue and stains.

There are a few things to watch out for, though. I have not had problems with this, but others have said that baking soda can sometimes cause rash and irritation. I imagine you could reduce the amount of baking soda if this happens. I do notice this a bit if I put deodorant on right after I shave. If you’re a shaver, try shaving at night, applying lotion, and then using the deodorant in the morning. That’s what works for me.

As always, have fun saving money and eliminating nasty chemicals!

EDIT: I added about the equivalent of a capsule full of vitamin E oil to a batch I made, and it eliminated the post-shaving rash/irritation. It seems to go on just a bit more smoothly too. Just thought I’d add that if it helps someone out.

ANOTHER EDIT: In the winter, it came out so dry and crumbly because of the cooler temperatures in the house, that I added just a splash of olive oil to the mix, and that make it go on much more smoothly and not crumble apart in the winter.

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