Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guest Blogger - Carolyn Kennedy

Hi! Sarah was gracious to let me share MY beauty post on HER great blog. :) Sarah and I go waaay back- all the way to 6th grade! We were music library fairies together in choir most memorably. I won't embarrass her by taking about the Spring Choir Recital where she dressed like Jasmine from Aladdin. She's always been the fashionista of the crowd. :p (Note from Sarah - I was not alone in that!!!  Mrs. Hendrix TOLD some of us to and then neglected to tell us not to!!!)
My name is Carolyn Sherman Kennedy. I am proudly a GRITS!! I am married to a wonderful (yankee) husband named Chris for 4 years in April after a equally wonderful whirlwind courship. I found a passion in blogging- it all started to keep a journal of our first garden and our everyday life, including the ups and downs of my wide interests. I am a stay-at-home wife who has a passion for all things homemade. I love to make my own cleaners, sew for fun, read anything I can get my hands on, love British comedies and mystery shows, and cook nourishing food. We have changed our diet to include natural, whole foods, with very little refined sugars or processed foods. If your interested, the bible on the subject in my opinion is Nourishing Traditions  by Sally Fallon.  
Along with changing our eating  (I lost 7 lbs in two weeks!!) I am introducing homemade natural body products into my regime full-time. There are lots of health reasons, but the main reason is I enjoy making them, they tend to be more frugal (read= cheap!!), and I find them very effective. If you or family have sensitive skin, all this have worked for my uber sensitive and dry skin.

Plantain Tincture
Back in the summer I made a pint of plantain tincture. Aaand, since them is sat in the back of the pantry.  I read in "No Greater Joy" that a daily application of the tincture will help clear up acne and keep your skin clear. Since it is mostly apple cider vinegar, it SMELLS like that for 5-10 minutes. Some people use vodka to make tinctures, but I would rather smell like vinegar than vodka! I find any alcohol too harse for my skin. I have been using it for about a week now. I have a small area of break out on my chin and it is healing up nicely. I have no new bumps, the ones under the skin are quiet small now. My face is so smooth in the morning!! It also looks brighter, fresher.  WHO knew that the solution my my bad skin was in my backyard!

Read on up plaintain if you're like me and never heard it it. It's honestly the BEST thing I've ever used for bug bites. You can use this tincture above by lightly soaking a cotton ball and holding it to the bite with a bandaid. I made plantain salve from fresh plantain, aloe vera leaf, coconut oil (in place of petroleum jelly in recipe), and lavender essential oil. The salve is great for replacing Neosporin for all sorts of scraps, stings, bites, and skin conditions. Most people have lots of plantain growing in their lawns, if you don't treat for weeds. You can find a photo of the plant on the links above- get looking before it's cold! I always have my hubby tell me before he cuts the lawn so I can scurry around and pick the plantain. :)

Goats Milk and Oatmeal Face Scrub- from Beauty Secrets of the Bible, told to me by Stroud Crowd.
This product is made from equal parts powdered goats milk, available at Eath Fare or Amazon, and oatmeal. Roughly grind the oats in food processor or strong blender and combine with the powdered milk. Store in a tightly sealed jar.  Use just as you would any other scrub. Finally a scrub my sensitive skin can handle!

Honey Face Toner- again from Stroud Crown out of Beauty Secrets of the Bible
When you get out to shower, wrap your hair up to dry for a few minutes. Using a small dish of honey- I bought some small cosmetic jars at Wal-Mart- dip a damp finger into the honey. Go easy now! Gently rub/coat your damp face with the honey- if you're sticky, you're using too much. Just dot on your face and massage around with a warm, damp hand. Now, finish drying off and by that time your face should be dry- and not sticky! (if you've not used too much!)

Olive Oil Moisturizer
This one is easy- use olive oil!! Ok, ok- just stay with me, trust me!! I have been plauged by horrible dy skin for years. Even the prescription lotions didn't really help fix the problem. The first time I tried this I followed up the honey, when dry, with organic olive oil. I figured that if it was an oily mess I could wash my face, whereas if I tried it on my body I'd have to re-shower.

I again dipped my finger in a small dish of oil and dotted on my face before massaging it around.  Like the honey, a little goes a looong way. I finished up by using my normal rx lotion on my body. I went off and enjoyed a tv movie, but I kept feeling my face to see how it was doing. :) It didn't get oily and my skin was so soft! By then-as always- my sensitive skin was itchy and burning after the lotion had soaked in/ worn off. Here is the funny part :) I went to the kitchen for my olive oil Misto and sprayed down my arms- aaah much better! I was converted. And, no, I didn't smell like olive oil.

If you have naturally oily skin, try moisturizing. Really! When your face gets proper moisture, it will see it doesn't need to produce oil to coat your face. Natural face oil is much "oilier" than a bit of moisturizer. (Note from Sarah - very true on this!  In all my skin physiology classes, this was emphasized repeatedly.  Even oily skin needs moisture for the exact reason Carolyn just stated.)

I got a empty lotion bottle at Eath Fare with a pump. It's filled with my olive oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil.  I also have a squeeze bottle for "heavy use"- I massage some on my feet 'til they are very well oiled and pop cotton socks on ,kick back, and relax for a while. I treat Chris to foot massages with the oil also. *If you're using essential oils in YOUR oil, use care as essential oils can cause skin reactions if improperly diluted. NEVER use essential oils directly on skin!!

Earth Fare has another oil I enjoy, Sweet Almond Oil. It is light and very midly scented. It's a good alternative if you just can't bring yourself to use the olive oil. Oh, and by the way it makes a nice "sensual massage" oil. ;) it's even edible- although you're not suppose to pour it over your supper!

I got this recipe from Naturally Knocked Up. Either buy a commercial empty deodorant/cosmetic tube or empty out and wash a traditonal deodorant tube. (Roll up all deodorant, pull out, feel for "pusher" at the bottom of the deodant and pry out, wash out both parts, stick pusher back in tube and turn your bottom dail the opposite way.)

Mix 1/4 cup each aluminum free baking soda (Arm & Hammer is said to be aluminum free) and 100 % corn starch. In a warm water bath, melt 5-6 tablespoons coconut oil in a glass jar. Mix with soda and starch 'till smooth. Add 5-10 drops of essential oils like tea tree oil or lavender- both anti-septic/anti-microbial. Let concoction sit for 10-15 minutes until is starts to cool. Pour into the empty tube. This recipe filled my empty tube of Secret to the tippy top. I popped it into the fridge so it would harden faster.

*My tube isn't advancing the deodorant, but I think that's just me. I'm going to look into something else. Occasionally it gets a litte damp on top- may be helped if I'd cap mine- but, if yours does too, just blot with a tissue. 

Body Scrub
Using brown sugar, mix in olive or sweet almond oil until its "spreadable". Massage gently onto skin - avoiding delicate areas - and rinse off or follow with a soak in the tub. Be very cautious using this as the oil can, and will, make you slippery! I was very careful to step out of the tub, but about bought it on the bathroom floor! I'd advise a bath mat outside the tub/shower too. :p Luckily, I was saved by falling onto the toilet - ha.

You can also use coarse salt instead of the sugar, but I worry about anything that drys skin simply because my skin is sooo sensitive.  Again, fragrancing with essential oils is nice. Buuut, if you used the sugar, oil, and something like lemon or vanilla extract - you get what I call lickable body scrub. It's good clean fun. ;)

Hair Treatments
I have heard there is a "no-poo" movement about. Apparently, groups of women (and I guess men??) are saying shampoo is unnecessary. They say give your hair a week or two to "be converted" and your hair will be come less and less oily. I've always know that excess shampooing actually adds to oiliness because your hair is deperately trying to produce enough oil to protect your hair. Am I going to do this? Probably not.

Baking Soda
This is the 'shampoo' the "no-poo" people tout. It works quiet well and I use it often. If you get your hair done for an event and come home with stiff hair- take a handfull of baking soda into the shower with you. It cuts all the gels and sprays nicely. If you're extra coated, two doses will cut everything!!  The first time I heard this, and tried this, was my junior prom. If you have been to someplace with cigarette smoke or campfire/ bbq smoke, the soda will cut that. I have read online however that it can be hard on colored hair since it is coarse on the hair shafts. In the 90's they even had a baking soda based shampoo that was awesome and I was sad to see go.

Our wedding rehersal was at Dreamland's BBQ. First, I LOVE bbq ribs and Chris certainly enjoys bbq too. We wanted to share it with our families. Most of MY family are native Alabamians, but live up North and Chris's family- well- they are all yankees. :) We thought everybody would enjoy a good dose of suuthern vittles. The banana puddin' sealed the deal. :) Besides, we didn't want a stuffy (expensive) formal dinner. Lastly, Dreamlands was the ONLY restraunt on our short list who would set aside a table on the evening for a given time.  C'mone! I was bringing at LEAST 20 people!!

Back on track... Dreamlands has an open bbq smoke pit, and we were seated right next to it- which was cool for the newbies. It was windy that night affecting the chimney ability to wick smoke up and out properly. Result? We smelled strongly like we'd rolled around in a campfire. Not what you want to smell like on your wedding! So, contrary to my hair dressers instructions not so shampoo the eve or morn before, I HAD to wash that out of my hair! And I used baking soda. :)

Apple Cider Vinegar
I grew up with this tip from my Mom. Every few weeks we'd fill a big cup up with AC vinegar, cut it with some water (optional), and take it to the shower with us. After we shampood and rinsed, you pour the vinegar into your hair and work it in well.  If it's pretty strong it will tingle on your scalp- some find it nice, others don't.  Leave it in for a minute or so and rinse out. Your hair is now squeaky clean!!

This is like that Neutrogena Clean Shampoo they sell. It says if you use it occasionally it makes your favorite shampoo work even better. So does vinegar. You can use white vinegar also, but apple cider makes natural redheads hair extra nice. :)

Most commercial hair products, no matter what they say, do leave residue in your hair and scalp. All that crud leads to flat, dull hair. If the smell of the vinegar really bothers you- it will wear off when your hair is dry you can shampoo your hair with just a small, small bit of shampoo. My mom hated I did that growing up, she'd say "You just got it clean!!"

Fish Oils
I saved the "weirdest" item for last. We take cod liver oil in our home! Ugh, huh? It is SO nourishing to your entire system-inside and out. It's the best fish oil/omega-3's you can get and it's loaded with lots of available A & D.  If you want to get started, Wal-Mart has some that is creamy orange flavored. You can get capsules, but they are not as nourishing as the straight oil. Honestly, it's not that bad!! Take it after a meal if you get "fish burps". Remember- fish is brain food! :)

I hope you find a product you come to love- in your own kitchen!
Thanks Sarah!!

Thanks so much to Carolyn for guest spotting on my blog!!!  I love these tips and I can't wait to try some of them!!!  Thanks to each of you for reading with me.  Now go out and be gorgeous (and natural)!!!


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