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Tips and Handy Info

I thought I’d add a page to my site where I can add any tips and helpful information that I learn about pampering, body care, and such.  When I talk with customers (and really anyone that shows interest) I tend to get excited and try to share everything I know that could help that person.  I’ll work on adding all of the information that I have shared to this page for easy reference and maybe it’ll help me not overwhelm others so much by trying to impart everything in the brief time I have with them.  *smile* If you know of any that you’d like to recommend, please add a comment to the page or send me a note.  I love to hear what works for others and to learn new things!  I also created a few sub pages with more handy information, so please don’t forget to check those out.

 

No matter what lotion you use if you’re treating dry skin I have a few great tips to really up the moisturizing factor.  It’s best to apply lotion after a shower or bath, since your skin will absorb more, but first, try to be mindful of how you dry off.  Try to pat your skin instead of buffing or rubbing the water off.  It seems obvious, but in this fast paced world it’s easy to unwittingly getting into a habit of drying off as fast as possible, so you can move on with your day.  Patting dry is a great first step to helping with dry skin, though.  Next, apply your lotion.  If you are treating the usual dry zones such as your feet, hands, or elbows, then it’s important to absorb as much of the lotion as possible.  This next step is best when done before bed or when you have time to lounge around – you need to give it time and it tends to limit comfortable movement…After you apply the lotion if possible cover the area loosely with saran wrap or a clean bread bag (I’ve found them for sale in several stores, but the cheapest I found is a box of 10 at Walmart and they are literally called bread bags, available in the zipper bag and trash bag section).  The wrap/bag will help to keep a spa atmosphere in that area, so your skin ends up absorbing more of the lotion (it even works with massage oil, but I have a hard time keeping the wrap on with oils, so I won’t promote it).  If you’re treating your feet, put a pair of socks over the wrap; gloves for hands, etc.  It keeps the edges from coming loose as easily and I felt a lot more comfortable with the covering honestly.  IMPORTANT: If you are doing this on your feet make sure to walk very carefully and limit the amount of walking.  The moisture and the plastic makes it difficult to walk and more likely to slip, so please try to walk as little as possible.  I strongly urge that this is done when you’re going to bed, just to minimize the risk.  Anyway, let the wrap stay on as long as you feel comfortable, up to about 4 hours.  The amount of time varies per person and their body, so you’ll have to try it out and see what works for you.  I handle it on my feet for a lot longer than I can on my hands, for example.  This technique should really help your skin and you’ll usually see results a lot faster.  One of my customers is a cattle rancher and he uses the technique after applying one of my Goat’s Milk V2 lotions, and he said his hands are softer than he’d seen them for several years.  The combination will hopefully work just as well for you, too.

 

For soft and pretty lips you can easily make a quick exfoliating blend with ingredients in your pantry.  In a small bowl add about a teaspoon of brown sugar and about half a teaspoon of plain old clover honey.  Mix the two into a thick paste, adding more sugar if it’s too thin and more honey if it’s too thick.  Gently rub the mixture over your lips in small circles.  After a few passes rinse your lips and be amazed.  The brown sugar will very gently exfoliate the dry skin on your lips, helping to reveal the beautiful fresh skin below, and honey is an amazing ingredient for your skin.  The scrub can be a little messy and I have a tendency to drop bits of it, making a mess out of my shirt, so I now do this when I’m in the shower, so I can just rinse it all off without worrying about making a mess.  There is conflicting information out there about if it’s safe to keep the mixture around or not, so I don’t risk it, which is why I make such a small batch.  I found that once a week works well for me, but you could do this every other day if you wanted and if your skin handles it well, just as long as you’re very gentle.

 

A great way to ensure that you apply products gently, especially on the face, is to use your ring finger to apply things instead of your first or middle fingers.  It seems so weird and is very awkward until you get used to it, but that’s exactly why you have the tendency to rub a lot lighter and have less risk of damaging your skin.  It’s a simple little change, but boy does it work!  I now do this with anything I need to rub in near my eyes or lips, and even when applying antibiotic ointments to cuts.

 

* Believed Benefits of Natural Ingredients *

Note: The benefits described here are not all inclusive and not all people will experience the effects described. I do not recommend that you replace medications with products or natural ingredients or that any of these ingredients should replace traditional first aid treatments. Please consult your physician before considering to do so and see if they feel it might be a good option for you to try if you’re wanting to treat a specific ailment, especially skin issues or wounds.

Chamomile Flowers: The herb is thought to be very relaxing and is safe for children. It is believed to help with stress, depression, insomnia, sore muscles, and reduce anxiety. It also looks great in herb mixtures!

Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil: This EO is thought to be a natural stimulant and I only add in super small doses to custom blends because it isn’t the soft potpourri scent that most think of. It can seem more like a dry and astringent scent profile sometimes.

Coffee: This makes an amazing smelling scrub. It is thought that caffeine actually helps prevent skin damage and stimulate the body to help get rid of cellulite.

Dark Cocoa Powder: This kitchen staple is rich in antioxidants which may help your skin too! It’s a natural skin softener and is thought to smooth out wrinkles by preventing free radicals from damaging the elastin.

Dead Sea Salts: Dead Sea Salts are known for their texture and beneficial minerals. They are believed to have calming properties, increase circulation (so it helps with pain and mobility), slow skin aging, and to be relaxing. I personally love their texture and commonly use a blend of different size salt crystals.

Dendritic Salt: Although this is not a natural salt, it is often added to other salts because it absorbs and maintains fragrances. This helps a little Essential Oil go a lot further and minimize the chance of reactions due to using high quantities of oils.

Emulsifying Wax: This gives a really creamy and protective feel to lotions. When added to lotion the lotion feels like it stays on like a glove instead of soaking immediately in. It actually binds oil and water together, resulting in that creamy feeling. Due to the increased moisturizing effect I have gone strictly to lotions that include emulsifying wax and are labeled as V2, since it was the second version of lotions that I had tried among several, but went back to the best.

Epsom Salt: ​Epsom Salt is used for a lot of home remedies, but I use it for the possible anti-inflammatory properties and because it’s so relaxing. It’s thought that stress depletes the magnesium in your body and since Epsom Salt is absorbed through the skin, and is actually a combination of magnesium and sulfates (not actually “salt”), it might be an ideal way to replenish those levels. It naturally helps to heal cuts and minor wounds too (not that I’m recommending you replace your first aid products). When used in a warm bath they are thought to help heal boils, lessen pain (although I really think that’s because you relax and it reduces inflammation, but I’m not a scientist), and it sure helps my cat scratches heal up faster. *smile* In my book it’s the second best natural “wonder drug”, close on the heals to honey.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil: This oil is safe for children and people with sensitive skin. It has the same properties as the leaves, but in oil form it may also help you remain alert. There is a debate between the essential oil versus the leaves being the best at possibly helping with congestion, especially when used in a bath format, since it isn’t fresh, but I don’t foresee the debate ending anytime soon. It’s always a great excuse to try a bit of both to see what might help you. 🙂

Eucalyptus leaves: This herb is thought to clear up lung congestion, improve circulation, and help with infections, while also acting as an antibacterial. Most believe that it mildly helps ease pain.  Many herbalists recommend hanging a bundle of Eucalyptus Leaves in your shower, outside of the water stream itself (you’re just wanting to use the steam from the shower), and they believe that the steam will release the aromatic benefits of clearing congestion and sharpening the mind.

Evening Primrose: ​Thought to be an anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties. It’s thought to help with joints and even pain syndromes like Fibromyalgia. I’m not saying it stops the pain or anything of that nature, but as someone living with Fibromyalgia, I’m always game to try something that might help a bit and it seems to soothe my skin without any of the seriously annoying reactions that Fibro can cause. If Epsom Salt can work so well, I think anything has a chance.

Fir Needle Essential Oil: Fir Needle is thought to help with muscle aches, congestion, and arthritis, with some argument over the other benefits that it may provide. Science wouldn’t be science without some arguing, I think. It is a bitter, woodsy scent.

Glycerin: Often used as a soap base due to the moisturizing properties and is often used as an additive.

Granulated Sugar: A natural exfoliant that doesn’t dry your skin out like salt scrubs and is gentler on your skin than some of the traditional exfoliants. There aren’t any nifty emotional benefits being debated, but it dissolves well in the shower, so it won’t make a mess or clog your drain’s hair filter. When added to a glycerin soap and bath whip, then whipped, it has such a neat texture, which is why the sugar scrubs are my favorite.

Ground Apricot: Finely ground apricot is great in facial and body scrubs because it exfoliates so well. It can generally be too harsh for sensitive skin, but “normal” skin types may see improvement with wrinkles and skin tone. The apricot that I use is so finely ground that it is a lot safer to use than the traditional, even with sensitive skin.

Honey: You might be surprised to find out that your pantry has a secret miracle worker! Honey is believed to be an awesome antibacterial, which helps fight acne. A dab of honey can do wonders for your lips, too! Researchers have found that honey has antioxidants that help fight free radicals, and they believe that honey even helps skin cells renew and formulate stronger collagen. It can help with boils and even some skin irritations.

Juniper Berries Essential Oil: It is believed to help with pain, inflammation, GI issues, and is non-sensitizing.

Juniper Flowers: Juniper is believed to help with circulation, treat viral infections, and reduce anxiety.

Lavender: This flower is well known for having relaxing properties, usually very well tolerated even by people with sensitivities, and is thought to be good for your skin. The scent can vary a bit, especially essential oil versus fragrance oil. What people commonly associate as lavender’s scent is actually the synthetic version, because it often doesn’t smell the way people expect. The essential oil is super strong and should be used very lightly. As the essential oil and flowers are the natural scent, most people tend to be polarized; you usually either love it or hate it.  *Due to a sensitivity to this ingredient I am unable to work with it unfortunately, but am able to work with it in the Sleepy Time Essential Oil blend I use in the Monster’s Away Spray, so if you’re interested in a lavender EO product, I’m happy to try to make a product using it.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon is thought to be a great antibacterial, antifungal, and antibacterial. That said, it is believed to be an effective mood booster, help with focusing, and assist in relaxation/ reducing tension. It smells exactly like you expect and smells like a bright dessert when mixed with Buttercream FO (the Lemon FO does as well and is a cheaper option, of course, so unless I’m aiming for extra benefits then regular products will utilize the FO).

Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint is known in the Aromatherapy field for providing many mental benefits. It is a stimulant so Aromatherapists believe it helps with energy, may improve your thinking and help you be more alert, decrease headache and mood swings, and may help with your sex life due to improving circulation. It has menthol, so it may help ease congestion and headaches. This oil is refreshing, so it is thought to help ease symptoms of depression and stress, as well as nausea. It is a cooling oil and believed to help with fever, itching and dry skin, as well as pain.

Peppermint Leaves: Thought to have most of the same benefits as the EO, I usually use the leaves in bath teas and the Monsters Away Sachet (coming soon).  They can be a little messy in other applications, so I tend to keep the leaves in dry applications.  Just like Eucalyptus you can hang the leaves in your shower outside of the water stream to utilize their believed aromatic benefits.

Sinus EO Blend: This is a mixture of EOs that utilizes notes of camphor, eucalyptus, menthol, and rosemary. The scent is very similar to common vapor rub. It is thought to clear congestion, make one more alert, and decrease headaches.

Sleep Time Essential Oil blend: This is a blend that is reminiscent of baby creams with Lavender. I typically add Buttercream FO to it, since vanilla is thought to be the most comforting scent to humans, and I figure that comforting vanilla can only boost the great features of the EO blend. This is a very soothing scent and the blend includes lavender, which is thought to combat insomnia, while also possibly helping with relaxation and comfort. I use this blend in my Monster’s Away Spray.

Spearmint: I use this in flower form in bath teas. I find that the oil can be a little strong, so I prefer to use the flower. Aromatherapists believe that it helps with energy, heals chapped skin, and relieves tension as well as headaches.

Sweet Almond Oil: SAO is a great moisturizer, doesn’t clog pores, and soothes irritated, itchy skin. It is often preferred by massage therapists because it is so easy to spread across the skin and leaves the skin silky for an extended period (up to 9 hours!). A nice side effect is that it carries fragrance well, so it gives you an extra boost of fragrance time. It is super soothing when used on the legs after shaving, ladies. No more itchy and dry patches from the dreaded razor. Caution is advised with some clothing since all oils have the potential of staining, so please test if you want to cover up. I use it as a great excuse to wear a skirt or shorts. 🙂

Wintergreen Essential Oil: Aromatherapists consider wintergreen to be a stimulant and may help with muscle/pain ailments. It is the bright mint that people usually associate with the holiday mint scent.

 

Bubble Wash: Bubble Wash can be used as a shower gel or for bubble baths. It has a medium bubble volume and spreads well. I am working on a lather booster to add to really amp up the bubble factor for bubble baths.

Goat Milk and Honey lotion base: This lotion base, often labeled as GM Lotion, also has shea butter. The base is high in triglycerides, vitamins, and protein, which moisturizes and nourishes your skin. Honey is a natural antioxidant and anti inflammatory while shea butter is a great moisturizer. This lotion is the best moisturizer for dry skin that I have made after trying a variety of bases and formulas. I add a form of emulsifying wax to it which really increases the moisturizing benefits. If you have chapped hands I recommend spreading some GM V2 lotion on them at night, after showering, and then putting saran wrap (use the cheap large bread bags if you can find them since they’re not as clingy) around your hands. On top of that I recommend sliding some clean socks over whatever form of wrap that you use. Leave this combination on as long as you can, all night is preferable, and then remove. This procedure will usually increase the absorption of the moisture and often reduces those painful symptoms in half the time it normally would take. The same method is used for rough and dry feet, but DO NOT walk much or run around when you use on your feet since it’ll be really slick inside, and you may fall. Please limit your activity as appropriate during the treatment so that you can pamper yourself without any mishaps. If you have any questions about these methods then please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m happy to help!

Foaming bath whip base: This leaves a soft and moisturized feel to the skin while being paraben free (paraben is a chemical preservative which is very controversial due to possible health complications that are under investigation; paraben is commonly used in lotions). It has a neat texture and gives you that pampering experience instead of using a standard shower gel or soap.  To prevent excessive drying I use this in my scrubs.

Milk Baths: Enjoy the same bath as Cleopatra and Elizabeth I. It is believed that milk baths are so beneficial because they dissolve dead skin cell proteins which improves the look and feel of the skin. You can find packets of powdered milk in the grocery store which you add to your bath if you don’t want a scented bath. The powdered milk has an expiration date that must be observed, but otherwise it is very safe and relaxing. It has a dry and crumbly texture, and then breaks down in the water, although you may have a bit that settles to the bottom of the tub without dissolving. It is totally safe to rinse it down the drain.

Muscle and Cold Relief Fizzes: An effervescent tab that releases the possibly beneficial essential oils into your bath water through a skin safe chemical reaction (a baking soda reaction). This blend helps to ease congestion and aches. People, especially children, may find a smile from the small fizzing volcano that helps cheer them up and distract them from the bummer symptoms. The tabs have a crumbly texture and as you handle the formed discs you may note a powdering begin. I recommend to handle them as little as possible before using in the bathwater, but that’s just me, because the bubbling is better the more compact the disc is.

Pumice: Pumice is a volcanic material that is really useful at removing tough dirt and exfoliating. It has a slightly gritty feeling and casts a grey tint in soap as well as bath whip.

 

Aromatherapy: All fragrances, even those without essential oils, can be beneficial to you. It may not have an ingredient to create your body to respond, but some scents trigger responses, such as fragrances from your childhood that make you feel happy and soothed, or a musky scent simulating attraction. The smell of vanilla is said to be the most comforting scent in existence in any form.

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