Disclaimer: since cold pressed coconut oil hardens under room temperature, it can create plumping use if poured excessively down the drain in colder climates.
Coconut & Coffee body scrub cubes is one of the easiest DIY project you’ll ever make – and it will make your skin feel as soft and smooth as a babies bottom! It can also temporarily help cellulite effected areas, by tightening the skin, as well as treat minor skin irritations. Besides these benefits, it’s just a great way to make a two-in-one solution for a scrub and moisturiser!
Why Coconut & Coffee?
Coconut oil is a widely used oil for health and beauty world wide, and for good reasons. In India it has used for thousands of years, as a part of the ancient science of Ayuveda, for both internal and external healing. For skin Coconut Oil is used to promote wound healing and cooling in conditions such as eczema, as well as general nourishing and moisturising. Since it is highly antibacterial and antimicrobial, it can also help ease different mild skin irritations.
Coffee grounds scrubs off dead skin cells, leaving the skin smoother and softer. It is also known to be absorbed into the skin where it dehydrates the fluid in cellulite effected areas, tightening the skin temporarily. An extra benefit is that it’s a great way to reuse your coffee grounds, from your morning coffee!
What you need
Coffee grounds (used)
Coconut oil (not fractioned since it won’t harden – either 72 degrees or 92 degrees)
Essential oils of choice (optional)
An ice cube tray
How to go about it
Spread the coffee ground in an ice tray
Heat the semi-solid coconut oil either in a double boiler or in a warm water bath
Pour coconut oil over the coffee grounds
Add two-three drops of essential oil to each
Put the tray in the freezer until solid
Once solid, put them in a jar and keep it in the fridge (unless you keep your house under room temperature – around 22 degrees Celsius)
How to use them
Take out a scrub cube before your bath or shower. You will use the scrub as the last thing, so don’t put it too close to a steaming hot shower since it might melt
Put the cube in your hand and it will soon start melting
Scrub it against the areas of your body you want to treat
Wash the grounds of with water, but no soap (since it will wash away the coconut oil
Step out of the shower/bath and dry yourself lightly with a towel, to allow the coconut oil to be absorbed into your skin
That was all for now. Would love to hear from you if you try this out – or have other tips on easy DIY projects from natural beauty.
A lot of cold process soap makers hesitate to get into the hot process method, and I definitely was one of them. Though once I got started I realised it really more difficult, it just more time (and most of the time takes very little effort). All that being said, I do on a regular basis make liquid soap the easy way: by melting solid soap in water. I especially use this soap around the house, wash my laundry and to clean my dishes! If you would like to try your hand at making liquid soap making from scratch you can start by reading How to make natural liquid soap. Otherwise, keep reading!
The Method, Issues and Solutions
The method seems pretty very simple, and I didn’t invent it, but there are two difference between how I use this method, and the way I’ve mostly found other people do it. This method that addresses two issues I’ve had when melting soap:
Issue 1: some soap turns out sticky, lumpy or uneven when its melted into water. This can partially be avoided by adding more water, but that takes away from the lather (and obviously makes it very thin)
Solution: I use pure coconut soap.Every soap, according to it’s oils, has a different diluting point (how much water needed to dilute it) and coconut soap has one of the lowest diluting points. Additionally coconut soap has one of the most abundant lathers, so even with the added water it lathers beautifully.
Issue 2: most recipes calls for grating the soap. Have you every grated soap? It takes forever!
Solution: same solution – I use coconut soap. It dissolves fast and evenly, without needing grating.
What you need
A pot – it doesn’t have to be a double boiler, just any regular cooking pot
Measure and weigh your soap and water – approximately 1 CUP of water per 100 grams of soap
Simmer it on low heat – don’t boil it, since it might burn (and burned soap smells horrible!)
Stir occasionally – until the pieces of soap has dissolved
Put aside – until it has cooled down.
Add essential oils – until it has the scent you want
Voila! Keep in a bottle. I dont make more than I need for a month, so I don’t need to add any preservatives. In case you keep it for more than a month, I would recommend you only use it for dish wash, laundry and cleaning around the house.
Note: I use this method for personal use only. If you intend to sell or in any other way distribute, I would recommend you use appropriate preservatives.
What to use it for
Coconut soap is very cleansing, and therefore makes great for washing dishes, clothes and cleaning the house. I basically only use coconut oil, and it works like a charm! As for beauty, make sure the coconut soap is properly super fatted (read the article given above), since it will otherwise be too drying on the skin. I’ve heard very mixed reviews on coconut soap as a face and body bar, but I personally love it!
This was all for now. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other tips to making liquid soap the easy way!
Disclaimer: I personally don’t use preservatives in my Body Butter, since it’s only for personal use, but I would recommend researching lotions and preservatives, so you can make your own informed decision.
The only downside of making soap at home, is that sometimes there’s just too many new (and expensive) things I want to try out – which is actually why I developed the trick I’m about to explain. In this post I will explain how you can make two or more types of soap in one go, in a way that’s simple enough for anyone with basic soap making skills to do so. If you want to see it live, you can check out my last post: Video tutorial: cold process soap making, where I make two types of soaps in one go. I will use the same soap as an example in this post.
Creating your base recipe – but mixing up the rest
I’m sure a lot of soapers can relate to having a ‘go to’ soap recipe, when it comes to the base oils (carrier oils). There might be smaller variations, but all of us have our favorites. I think this is for good reason, because when something works – why change it? But we still need the excitement of changing it up whenever we make soap, which is where the esthetic and experience of the soap comes into the picture – the shape, smell, look and feel can make two soaps seems completely different even if the base is the same. So to make two types of soap, you simply create a base recipe – but plan out different scents, additives and shapes for the two (or more soaps) you want to make. Here is an example of a two soaps in one:
Base recipe – 1000 grams:
250 grams coconut oil
200 grams olive oil
150 grams mango butter
200 grams canola oil
100 grams castor oil
100 grams sesame oil
Lye – 141.77 grams
Coconut milk – 425.30 grams
The two batches (separated after trace):
Batch 1 – around 800 grams:
This batch will be poured in a loaf mold in a simple swirl with the following ingredients:
50 ml cedar wood oil
25 ml lemon grass oil
Aronia berry powder
Batch 2 – around 200 grams:
This batch will be poured in small muffin molds, unscented with the following one ingredient for color:
How to go about it
I’ve divided this part in three steps: Planning, Preparation & Timing. Here we go.
Once you’ve chosen your base recipe, plan out how the two soaps will be different, in a way you are sure you’ll be able to manage. For example if it’s the first time you try this out, start by only changing one element – such as shape or scent. If you’re more experienced you can plan out changing more elements, and even plan to make two different swirls in your two batches. Though whatever you plan, it’s important that it is completely clear before you make your soap. I usually spend some time visualizing my soap, and then write it down on a piece of paper with all the different components and details of each of the batches.
Since you will be working with more components than normal, it’s important to prepare as much as you can before you start. Examples of ways to prepare are:
Set out as many bowls as you will be dividing the batter into (for two simple batches, prepare two bowls, for two batches with swirls prepare four bowls etc.)
Add the additives in the bowls at the preparation stage. If it’s powders, you can mix a little oil in it to make sure they don’t clump when the batter is added. You can either add the essential oil directly in the bowl at preparation, or put it next to to the bowl in a smaller container, so its ready to be added.
If you want to pour the soup in different molds, place them so you’ve got plenty of space to work. The batter might be hardening fast, and you wont have time to move things around when you are in the middle of the process.
Anyone that has made soap before, knows it’s all about timing, and even more so when you are trying to make two different soaps in one go. The only thing I really do, is to separate the soap batter into the different bowls, a little before it really thickens (trace) and then use a hand whisk for the last thickening. In this way you gain some time to mix in the different additives before they become too thick. A useful pointer is the following: if one mold is a cavity mold, pour that one first. It’s really hard to scoop into a cavity mold (without spending too much time smoothing it out). On the other hand, if you plan a swirl in one of the soaps, pour that first – once it’s too solid, you wont be able to make certain swirls.
Now, that was all for now. Remember, practice makes perfect. I’ve only done this a few times, but I get better every time. And it really keep things interesting when you got the regular process down.
There is a lot of misinformation out there on what it takes to keep your hands clean (and soft) – at least if you ask me. I’m not a professional in neither biology or any other science, so if I ever find sufficient (trustworthy) evidence to prove the contrary I will be the first to admit I was wrong. Though until then, I will insist that the very best thing to wash your hands with is plain old fashioned handmade soap! Actually I intentionally try to avoid any stronger stuff, such as commercial antibacterial soaps like Dettol. If you want to explore this topic further you can start by reading: Dangers of Antibacterial Soap (Dettol) and Commercial vs. Handmade soaps. This post though will focus on my own alternative to products like antibacterial soaps, including the recipe I use, so that you can make your own. If you have never made soap before you can read about the process here: How to make natural soap.
The soap I prefer to wash my hands with (and the star of this post) is pure coconut soap. First of all, using 100% coconut oil makes a rock solid bar of soap, which can withstand the moist environment in many bathrooms. Additionally coconut oil is a strong cleanser, perfect for hand washing. A very common misconception about coconut soap is that it dries out the skin, but there’s a very basic trick to solve this: super fat! Super fat is a soapers term describing leaving some of the oil in the soap, , without being saponified (made into soap). This adds extra moisture to the soap. A normal batch of soap will have a super fat of between 5% and 7%, since more might make the soap too soft, but since coconut oil makes a rock solid bar of soap it can have a super fat up to 30%.
The second secret to great hand soap is essential oils. Essential oils doesn’t only add scent to a soap, but also different properties, depending on the essential oil you use. Tea tree, cinnamon and sweet orange essential oil, amongst others have antibacterial properties, making them great ingridients for hand soap. In this soap I’ve added lemongrass and sweet essential oil – which also smells divine.
My mold is 900 grams, so this is the recipe I’ve used:
900 grams of coconut oil
342 grams of Water
140 grams sodium hydroxide
40 ml Lemon grass essential oil (optional)
50 ml Sweet orange essential oil (optional)
1 spoon Aloe vera gel (optional) – added in the lye
Super fat is at 15%
The last three ingredients are optional and can be exchanged or completely left out. I prefer to keep the essential oils at 10 ml per 100 grams of base oils (carrier oils), but many use less than that. If you want to make less or more than this recipe, simply run it through your preferred soap calculator,
I have a closet full oils at home, and truth be told, I regularly have to buy more of them. I think one of the first things I discovered when I came to India, was that almost all women used oil in their hair – which was not something I had never seen before – but non the less something we didn’t do much in Denmark. Since most women I see here have shiny, beautiful, long, lustrous hair I figured it was worth a try, and I’ve never regretted trying it out! With time I found a number of other uses for oil, and I’d like to share a few of them with you in this post.
1. Oil pulling
Oil pulling has been practiced in a number of indigenous cultures, including in India, for centuries. Oil pulling is the practice of keeping oil in your mouth for 15-20 min., allowing the oil to ‘pull’ out toxins from the gums and thereby leaving them and your body healthier. I was never one to get too much into the science of such methods, but in general go with my gut feeling on whether it sounds credible or not. I have a lot of faith in practices that have survived generations, but make sure to keep a balance according to the seriousness of the situation. Meaning I uses natural methods to prevent illness, but never take the chance if I get seriously ill.
What oil pulling can have an effect on is:
Whitening the teeth
Preventing bad breath
Reducing tooth decay and improving health of gums
Detoxifying the body and reducing inflammation
Relieving headaches and hangovers
Clearing troubled skin such as acne and eczema
Improving hormonal balance
How to ‘oil pull’
Choose an oil – I use whatever is handy, and taste all right. I have used coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and olive oil. Coconut oil, with it’s antibacterial properties and pleasant taste, is a clear favorite.
Take a spoon full of oil, and put it in your mouth. Preferably on an empty stomach. Try to fit it into a routine, such as when you are preparing breakfast. You might feel uncomfortable at first keeping the oil in your mouth, but give it some minutes to see if it settles in. You can take small amounts the first couple of times to get used to it.
Keep it in your mouth, swirling it around occasionally, for 10 to 15 min.
Spit the oil out in the sink. Don’t swallow it.
Brush your teeth like you normally would.
Voila, easy peasy! It’s good to make it a routine over a longer period of time. I believe nothing will fix anything if only done once or twice. Give it a try over a couple of weeks, and see for yourself if you feel any differences.
2. The oil cleansing method
Unlike ‘oil pulling’, this method might give you more visible results faster. This is a method to clean your skin, using only oil, warm water and a wash cloth. Over the last years I’ve had a lot of issues with blemishes and irritated skin, and this method has really helped calm my skin when it was particularly inflamed. I’ve used a number of different oils, and haven’t seen a major difference in result, so I usually just use what I have at hand. Some possible choices are: almond oil, flax seed oil, olive oil and coconut oil.
How to use the oil cleansing method
Apply oil on your face in a generous amount
Either let the hot tap run until the water is really hot or keep a pot of hot water aside before starting
Soak your wash cloth in the hot water. It’s a little tricky to get the water hot enough to steam, but not so hot you burn your fingers, but practice makes perfect
Place the steaming wash cloth over your face
Repeat once or twice
The steam in combination with the oil, cleans out the pores, and leaves your skin moist at the same time. I usually don’t need to use a moisturizer after I use this method, since some of the oil is left on the skin.
3. Face & Body oil
There was a time when I used to make body butters to use on my skin, and I still occasionally do so, but I generally just use oil straight on my skin now. If you want to try making body butter, you can read how to here: Whipped Body Butter (with 2 to 4 ingredients). Well, there isn’t much of a trick in using oil on your skin, except for the fact that you can. I think many, including my former self, have a feeling that oil will make your skin oily and maybe even cause it to break out. Though in my experience, once your skin gets used to it, the oils soaks in within a minute and leaves the skin soft and moist. I try to use oils that are more light in texture such as sweet almond oil, flax seed oil and avocado oil, especially on sweaty summer days. In winters I sometimes use heavier oils, such as neem oil and a bit of castor oil, which are both much thicker in texture. To choose an oil that suits your skin, you can research the different properties of oils you have at hand, or just experiment. Personally I use oil after my morning shower and after cleaning my face in the evening.
4. Natural hair conditioner
A few years back I started questioning whether commercial products, was really as healthy as most of them claimed to be. Once I started reading up on the labels, and decoding the many ingredients that goes into for example shampoo or conditioner, I concluded that most of the same was if not unhealthy then at least unnecessary. I figured that had to be a simpler and more natural way to clean my body. When it came to conditioner, I turned to a traditionally practice of India, namely the one of ‘oiling’ hair. Oiling hair is as simple as it sounds, to apply oil to the scalp and hair before washing it, to make it soft and manageable. For me it has worked like a charm, and is also a very enjoyable tradition I share with some of my indian friends. To read more on how to oil you hair you can read: How to oil your hair (natural conditioner).
When I started out making my own products, toothpaste was of course one of the products I got around to making. At first I was a bit doubtful on whether natural ingredients would be able to clean my teeth as well as a commercial toothpaste, but three years later and still no cavities, I’m not in doubt anymore. The first natural toothpaste I made was oil based, but I have later gone over to using tooth powder – which you can read about here: Trashy Toothbrushes. Though I wanted to include the oil based version in this post, in case some might prefer it over the tooth powder.
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp baking soda
10-20 drops of peppermint or spearmint essential oil (optional)
How to make it:
Depending on where you are, and the temperature there, your coconut oil might be fluid or solid. If needed, put the coconut oil in a water bath to melt it
Put the two tsp coconut oil in the container you want to store your toothpaste
Mix baking soda in and stir
Drop the essential oils in, and taste to determine how much you want to add
How to use it:
If the paste is too solid, you can keep under hot water for 30 sec, and if it’s too fluid you can put in the freezer for a little while. Mostly I don’t fuss, and have just used it as it was
Dip your toothbrush to add a little and brush as you normally would
That was it for now. Hope it gave you some inspiration! This is just a fraction of how many different uses oil has, with tons of info online just waiting to be discovered.
I always loved making things myself. I am a passionate soaper, which means I end up writing a lot about it, but I have a lot of additional experience with making other Natural products because I make all my own products. So I thought I would put together a list of easy DIY Natural products that can be made with 2 to 4 ingredients, for own personal use or to gift in the upcoming Indian holiday season. Lets face it, nothing beats homemade gifts. So here we go.
Lip Balms for super soft lips
Lip balms are some of the easiest products you can make. Again, I’m super lazy when it comes to personal care, so I’ve narrowed it down to the most basic thing I can use on my lips – butter! I just take some Mango butter and use it as lip balm. Though as a gift it’s nice to fancy it up a bit. There’s only one thing you need to keep in mind when making your lip balms:
Some essential oils are phototoxic, which means that they react to exposure to sunlight, in a way that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Phototoxic essential oils are mostly citrus scents such as Lime, Orange, Mandarin, Bergamot and Lemon. So don’t use these in the Lip balms. Actually they should never be added in product used when going outside during the day. Otherwise you can switch up any part of the recipe – Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Sal butter and Mowrah butter can be substituted for the butters, and any Carrier oil or essential oil depending on availability and preference.
Mango Lavender Lip (Vegan):
This makes a softer, more butter like lip balm. Almost like a lip butter. I prefer this because it’s easier to apply in a round container. For a lip balm tube it won’t work because it’s not hard enough. This is also an option for vegans that don’t want any animal products in their products.
50% Mango butter
50% Sweet Almond oil
Lavender essential oil
Kokum Coconut Care:
I personally love peppermint in my lip balms. It gives a tingling sensation when you apply it and just smells like a dream. This works well in both a container and a lip balm tube. Beeswax protects the skin and tend to make the lip balm feel fresh on the lips a little longer. This might get a little hard in winters, so its possible to add a little extra oil if you like it softer.
50% Coconut oil
Peppermint or Spearmint essential oil
How to make it
Measure out your ingredients on a scale according to the size of your containers
Gather oils/butters/beeswax in a double boiler and melt
Add essential oils (I would add a few drops per 30 grams)
Pour into your containers and let it harden
Face packs for beautiful skin
Face packs or Face masks (depending on where in the world you are) is another thing that is super easy and still feels really really luxurious. I prefer to keep my Face packs pretty simple, and always use clay as my base. Besides being fantastic for the skin, clay also gives the mask a very smooth feel and makes it easy to apply. Depending on your preferences you can use any clay – I’ve chosen Bentonite Clay and Karolin Clay.
Activated charcoal & karolin clay
Activated Charcoal is a fantastic skin cleaner, because it absorbs impurities without drying the skin. Karolin clay is a great clay for more sensitive skin, because its a very gentle cleaner that moisturises. This mask is perfect for dry, sensitive and troubled skin.
75% Karolin Clay
25% Activated Charcoal
Turmeric & Bentonite Clay
This mask is not for sensitive skin. If you want to make it more mild, you can switch Bentonite for Karolin Clay. Though Bentonite Clay is super cleansing, and perfect for skin that needs some extra detoxifying. When coming in contact with liquid the clay gets the ability to absorb toxins and impurities. Turmeric is an ancient Ayuvedic ingredient in Indian skin care, that is used to give a beautiful natural glow and is said to be help lighten dark spots. If you’re very light skinned, it might give a yellow glow for some time after its used. You can removed it by applying oil on your skin, and remove it with a warm washcloth.
85% Bentonite Clay
Note: you can add any favourite ingredient to the mix such as for example Red Sandalwood or fruit powders
How to make it:
Measure out your ingredients on a scale according to the size of your containers
Gather, mix and voila!
The mixes can be used mixed with water, honey or rosewater. If you’re gifting it you can make a small instruction to go with it.
Hair pack for lustrous hair
I’ve not used hair packs much, but when a friend showed me a hair pack she wanted (and I saw the price of it) I told her I could make it for her. After using it once, she declared every dying love to it and made me promise to order the ingredients for it right away. So for so much love I thought that should make the list. Now hair packs can be combined in any combinations of the ingredients I list, so feel free to get creative. Actually you can even stuff all of them in one hair pack!
Hair cleanser and softener (south Indian style)
Soap nut is traditionally used to clean hair in India, and can actually be a substitute for shampoo. If you want to read more on natural shampoo you can read Chāmpo चाँपो / Shampoo. Arappu is made from a leaf and is mostly used in southern India to clean and soften hair. It’s a natural conditioner, so it will leave your hair super soft.
25 % Reetha (soap nut) powder
75 % Arappu powder
Optional adds: Amla for shine
Hair cleanser and shine
Shikakai like soap nut is also a natural cleaner, and help strengthen the hair roots. Amla nourishes the hair all around, and gives beautiful shine.
Optional adds: Arappu for extra soft hair
Hairfall hair pack
Neem and Fenugreek are superior when it comes to help treat hair fall, while Amla and Moringa nourishes and stimulates hair growth. Even if you’re not struggling with hair fall it’s still a super hair pack that will give overall healthy hair and scalp.
Optional adds: Reetha or Shikakai for Cleanse
How to make it:
Measure out your ingredients on a scale according to the size of your containers
Gather, mix and voila!
The mixes can be used mixed with water or yogurt to be applied on hair. If you’re gifting it you can make a small instruction to go with it.
Another easy idea for a personalised gift is to make body butter. If you want to give it a try you can read Whipped Body Butter (with 2 to 4 ingredients). If you’re more adventurous you can go for learning how to make soap here – How to make natural soap. Though I warn you, soap making is highly addictive. One day you find yourself counting the days since you made your last batch of soap. Sigh, 2 weeks. I hope this was useful! Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for more easy DIY.