In addition to being frugal, another hobby of ours is being as toxin- and chemical-free as possible. We eat almost exclusively organic food, we use non-toxic laundry soap and dishwasher soap, we use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, we use lavender oil, orange oil, vinegar, water, and baking soda to clean, we installed a reverse osmosis water filter in our kitchen and a carbon filter on our shower head. But we were still using ordinary hand soap (although we never buy antibacterial soap), shampoo, and conditioner. Last week, I got a great book out of the library. It’s called Home Enlightenment, by Annie B. Bond. It’s a treasure trove of great ideas for a chemical-free existence. She gives great ideas for making body scrubs and lotions.
I bought vegetable glycerin, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and organic cane sugar at the health food store. They were all much less expensive than I was expecting. I was used to seeing $20 jars of shea butter body cream at fancy stores, so I thought the base ingredient would be pricey – but it wasn’t at all. The most expensive thing I got was a $7 jar (20 oz) of coconut oil. I made lotion this morning – and it smells like a chocolate-coconut cookie (two of my favorite flavors!). I made a double boiler by putting a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water, and put a few tablespoons of cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil into the bowl. Once they melted (they’re all solid at room temp), I mixed them all together, and let them cool. I put the mixture into a little container I had, and for about $3 worth of ingredients, I have about 12 ounces of all natural, wonderful smelling body lotion – all made with stuff that you can eat. No mystery ingredients.
I also made a great sugar scrub. I mixed equal amounts of sugar and vegetable glycerin, then I added in a bunch of aloe vera gel from our aloe plant. I just cut off a spike from the plant, peeled off the outside layer, and scraped the inside into my bowl. I mixed everything together to break up the pieces of aloe, and dumped the mixture into a jar. I can’t wait to take a shower… You know the places in malls where they sell expensive lotions and body scrubs, and they’re always offering samples? And they let you wash you hands with their sugar scrub (which can be yours for only $20 for a $12 oz jar) and afterwards you wander around the mall loving how soft your hands feel? Well, that’s how our hands felt after we used this stuff today. The combination of sugar (dirt cheap), glycerin (pretty cheap) and aloe vera gel (free if you have your own plant, which is cheap to get and will thrive even if you neglect it) works wonders on dry hands. You gotta try this.