Action of the Month: Make Your Own Spa Products -- Focus on Feet!

Summer is far from over, and with all the skin exposure and remaining vacation days, you may still be looking for products that make your skin, the largest organ of the body, glow and help you feel

invigorated. Why not learn to make a few DIY products at home that are affordable, toxin-free, and sustainable? Living in California means extended time in the sun, and when you hike, swim, or do anything active outdoors, your skin may make contact with sun, sand, chlorine, poison oak, pesticides, and plain old sweat, among other things. Your feet, in particular, bear the brunt of the elements, which can result in calluses, blisters, scaly skin, or worse. Join President of Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center Denise Koroslev as she focuses on foot health in the August 17 workshop, “Kitchen Cosmetics: A Treat For Your Feet,” and teaches participants to make a foot scrub, soaking salts, and foot cream. Take a couple hours with a girlfriend or your mom and tend to your toes before sandal season comes to an end. To register, go here HERE.

There are many reasons for making your own beauty products. Simple, natural ingredients are so much healthier for your body, inside and out, and you can often whip something up from items already in your kitchen. You can decide exactly what and how much of an ingredient to put in a cosmetic recipe when you make it yourself. Having control over homemade products means you can customize your own scrubs, shampoos, and rinses to accommodate specific concerns such as dry skin, oily hair, or an allergy.

Making your own toiletries enables you to reduce your exposure to toxic ingredients and hormone disruptors like parabens and phthalates, synthetic preservatives found in many commercial lotions, shampoos, deodorants, and cosmetics. Essential oils like peppermint and lavender are naturally antibacterial, and their aromatherapy benefits provide stimulating and calming effects. Tea tree oil even has anti-lice and anti-fungal properties. 

Food-based products like organic coconut oil and olive oil are safe and effective moisturizers. Cider vinegar has been used for ages on hair, keeping oily tresses at bay and rinsing out product build-up. Salt and sugar make natural exfoliants to slough off dead skin and are a sustainable alternative to the tiny plastic micro beads often found in mainstream scrubs, which kill marine life and disrupt the food chain. (See previous article in this forum, “Banning the Bead,” HERE.)

If you look at the ingredients listed on your shampoo, shower gel, and other toiletry products, you will undoubtedly see a litany of words you can’t pronounce let alone define. What do these chemicals do to your body? How do they affect nursing babies and children going through puberty? What is their lasting impact to our environment?

Another dirty secret cosmetic companies don’t want you to know about is animal testing. Thousands of toiletries on the market are needlessly tested on animals, even when the ingredients have been tested time and again and shown to be “safe” on humans. Not only may the long-term danger (e.g. endocrine disruption) not be obvious on animals tested in the lab but the biological differences among species may not even be applicable to humans. In any case, for some, the ethics of testing defenseless animals without their consent is reason enough to stay away from manufacturers that test. By observing the Leaping Bunny Logo (shown at right)

on product labels, you can consciously buy from cruelty-free companies, or you can make your own toiletries at home, using raw ingredients that fulfill your own personal standard for accommodating a particular allergy or  desire to be organic, cruelty-free, vegetarian, or vegan.

There are so many reasons to make your own toiletries -- take your pick! Making your own kitchen cosmetics is cheaper, healthier, better for the environment, and customizable. Here’s a quick and easy scrub you can probably make in your kitchen right now, without a trip to the store. Mix together 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. olive oil (or safflower, almond, or avocado oil), and 1Tbsp. honey. Stir in ½ cup of sugar and (optional) a couple drops of essential oil (such as lavender). Place in clean Mason jar or other container and keep in the fridge.

For many more tips and a fun few hours solely (pun intended) for your feet, come to one of the last workshops in the Sustainable Living series on August 17 at Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center, 10am – 12pm. See you there!

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