Though here in Massachusetts we’ve had one of the mildest winters I can remember, this dry, cold weather is still doing a number on my skin! My skin is dry, chapped, all over uneven, and not smooth. Sounds sexy, eh? Though I lotion, it still doesn’t help for more than a couple hours. So I decided to make a scrub that will help to rid my top layer of dry skin and allow for hydration and smooth skin!
Sweet Mint Sugar Scrub
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. vegan granulated sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5-8 drops mint essential oil
In a container with a tight fitting lid, add all the ingredients and stir well with a spoon or popsicle stick until the sugar is moist. Store in a dry area for as long as it lasts! Enjoy!!
Use a quarter size for your hands; massage gently, being sure to get every part of your hands and wrists. Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and hydrate well with an all-natural chemical-free lotion or oil. I love using coconut oil as a moisturizer.
** Note: This sugar scrub is rough and therefore should not be used on the sensitive facial skin!! For a face scrub use sea salt mixed with oil (if your skin can handle oil) or water. Thanks Em!! (:
Don’t mind my weird looking hands here please…
Essential oils are a great addition to anyones routine. Found naturally in nature in shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes, roots, and seeds, these oils not only smell great, but they heal as well. Naturally defending themselves against insects, environmental conditions, and disease, they are also key in the plants growth, life, evolution, and adaptation to surroundings. Sometimes referred to as nature’s living energy, essential oils’ benefits are vast ranging from migraine healing to mosquito repellent. I personally use essential oils to protect my dog, Betty, from tics by placing some of the oils on her collar before we head out in to the woods. I also have a homemade bug repellent for buggy summer nights that I spritz on my clothes and around the vicinity.
Today, essential oils are used for aromatherapy, massage therapy, emotional health, personal care, nutritional supplements, household solutions, and much more! Here’s some of my favorites and their uses.
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Peppermint Essential Oil: who should not use this essential oil: pregnant women (it is an emmenagogue = stimulates menstruation); persons with heart conditions; young children with sensitive skin; never on infants; always perform a skin sensitivity test and if redness or other skin irritation appears after 10 minutes or more, use with caution if at all
Use peppermint oil for:
- Triggering the body’s limbic functions to “wake up” your mind, stimulate mental agility, and improve your focus, while also moderating depression and the feeling of apathy; the limbic system regulates emotion, behavior, and long-term memory and is closely connected with the olfactory structures in your nose
- Helps with recovery from mental states of shock, mental distress, or nervous stress, like from traumatic events: add to bath
- Helps with dizziness or feeling faint, headaches, and migraines: inhale the vapors and rub diluted oil on your temples
- Cools down irritated and itchy skin: dilute oil with olive or coconut oil and rub it directly onto irritated, itchy, inflamed skin for relief from dermatitis, acne, ringworm, scabies, and pruritus, sunburn; may also add to bath for relief from skin irritations
- Soothe muscle aches and pains: acts as a muscle relaxer and pain killer with no undesirable side effects: use in bath (preferably with epsom salts) or apply diluted oil directly onto aching feet, arthritic joints, and/or strained muscles
- Eases cramps due to women’s menstrual period while also stabilizing irregular periods by stimulating menstruation in cases of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
- Helpful with respiratory disorders because of peppermints high menthol content; used as an expectorant and decongestant; heals dry coughs, sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even tuberculosis and cholera are improved when peppermint oil aroma is inhaled; use steam inhalation by adding a couple drops to 6-8 cups of water, boil and inhale the steam; or run through an oil diffuser or vaporizer; my also diffuse with “carrier” oil and rub on chest, neck (lymph glands), back, and bottoms of feet
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Lavender Essential Oil: Diffuse or inhale directly for aromatherapy, add 4-5 drops into your bath water, combine a few drops with an oil of your choice (like coconut oil) and use as moisturizer/massage oil, or simply add 1-2 drops to your pillow for a peaceful nights sleep.
Use lavender for:
- Calming the nerves, releasing tension and stress, lessening the feelings of anxiety and/or depression, and curing insomnia; great for adults of babies
- Healing migraines and headaches (gently rub on your temples)
- Relaxes muscles and relieves pain and swelling due to injury, overuse, or joint problems because of lavenders anti-inflammatory qualities
- Soothes colds, coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and even tonsillitis: diffuse oil, add to a vaporizer, or apply to the neck, chest, and back
- Antiseptic and anti-fungal: treats acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other skin disorders; apply straight without diluting (be sure to TEST FOR SENSITIVITY FIRST) or add to a “carrier” like coconut or olive oil; for eczema: add oil to chamomile tea and apply directly to the affected area; for burns, sunburn, and wounds: lavender promotes quick regeneration of skin cells and scar tissue- use a damp cotton ball or cloth soaked in water mixed with a couple drops of essential oil
- May lower high blood pressure, sooth menstrual cramping, and boost immunity and resistance to diseases
- Stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile therefore it is useful with the treatment of indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, visiting, and diarrhea: make lavender oil tea
- Use as insect control: mosquitos, moths and bedbugs dislike the smell of lavender; use this oil instead of poison in and around pantries and closets, when preserving wool clothing, on beds and bed linens, and on your clothes
Mixes well with: Almost all oils, and particularly well with allspice, anise, basil, bergamot, citronella, chamomile, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, hyssop, jasmine, juniper, lemon, lime, tangerine, patchouli, peppermint, pine, rose, rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, and thyme.
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Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Do not apply directly to skin; diffuse, dilute (with “carrier oils such as coconut, olive, almond, grapseed, etc.), or vaporize- steam inhalation should be avoided by those with heart or central nervous system conditions. Not safe for infants, children, pregnant or nursing women; for external use only!
Phew… now that that out of the way…
Use eucalyptus for:
- Relief of congestion due to colds, coughs, flu, asthma, and sinusitis; reduces inflammation of the mucus membrane: sprinkle a few drops onto a damp cloth and hold it over your nose
- Disinfect a “sick” room to keep germs from spreading by diluting a drop or two in a spray bottle of water- spritz liberally
- Help cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds- tend them with a drop of eucalyptus oil mixed with olive oil (inhibits infection); staph infections, boils, and cold sores also respond well to this procedure
- Anti-inflammatory effects help with muscle aches and joint pain: mix several drops with “carrier” oil and massage the affected are; add a few drops to a warm bath (also lifts your spirits)
- Reduces dandruff: add a few drops to your chemical-free, gentle shampoo
- Helps with relief from allergies due to dust/dust mite/respiratory allergies (watery eyes, skin problems, runny noses, unstoppable sneezing, and other miseries): add a generous amount of eucalyptus oil along with all-natural detergent to your washing machine load filled with bedding sheets, mattress pads, and/or blankets; agitate briefly, stop the machine, and let soak for about 30 minutes, then finish the cycle; wipe down the bare mattress after spraying with diluted oil; you can also spray down your pillow and let air dry in the sun
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