my journey to homemade solutions

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For a LONG time, I’ve been the person that said, “I want to use more natural products. I want to save money and make my own stuff (when it’s easy!).” But I’ll be honest – I’m lazy and just never got around to it. Well, the time has come, friends! I recently bought homemade body butter and lip balm from a friend, and that was the nudge I needed.

Since then, I’ve ordered my first set of doTERRA oils (I was using essential oils before, but they were the cheap ones from the grocery store); stocked up on washing soda, Borax, coconut oil, and shea butter; and made a trip to the store for bottles and jars! I’ve already made laundry soap and oil rollers for arthritis and calming (for us and the dogs!). I’ve also just made a new bottle of calming spray for my dog, and I’ve ordered the necessary ingredients to make baby wash for my son. When our dishwasher soap, hand soap, and other household cleaners run out, I’ll be making those too!

I’m excited for the benefits of all-natural solutions, and I’m excited for the cost savings. And truth be told, because I’m a total nerd, I’m also a little excited about getting all of my stuff organized and labeled! I’ll be posting my recipes and stories as I go, so check back often.

easy homemade skin care

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I have struggled with acne my entire life, and I’m now well into my 30s. As a teenager, I visited the dermatologist monthly, and he had me on every product you can possibly imagine–including Accutane. I realize most of you don’t know what that is, but here’s what I can tell you about Accutane: doctors only prescribe it after they’ve tried EVERYTHING else with no success. Alas, it worked while I was taking it, but as soon as I stopped, the acne came right back. It’s also so awful for your body that you can only be on it for a few months at a time and no more than three total times in your lifetime! Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed and finally decided to just deal with the acne.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and I finally found relief! I now make my own skin care line–including a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. It’s far less expensive than store-bought products, and it actually works! It’s easy to make, too! Be sure to only use certified pure therapeutic grade oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils.

For the toner and moisturizer, you’ll need 10-mL roller bottles. Not sure where to get them? Click here. I make my cleanser in a foaming pump bottle. Click here for the recipe.

Toner

  • Add 15-25 drops *essential oils of choice to the roller bottle (I use 10 lemon, 10 melaleuca, and 5 lavender)
  • Fill the bottle approximately 1/3 full with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”)
  • Fill the bottle the rest of the way with filtered water
  • Cap and shake (and shake before each use)

Moisturizer

  • Add 15-25 drops *essential oils of choice to the roller bottle (I use the same oils and amounts as in the toner)
  • Fill the bottle with *carrier oil of choice
  • Cap and shake

*Your chosen essential oils and carrier oils will vary depending on your personal skin care needs. If you’re not sure which oils to use, check out this post for great recommendations. Different oils can have amazing benefits for dry skin, scarring, wrinkles, and more!!

Use Them

Ideally, you should wash your face twice per day. Always cleanse first, being careful not to scrub your face too vigorously. Facial skin is quite thin and sensitive and can be easily irritated by too much friction. Pat your face dry, or allow it to air dry. Roll toner on problem areas. You may not need it on your entire face! Rub in gently with your fingertips. Allow toner to dry, and then apply moisturizer to your entire face in the same manner.

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homemade dry shampoo

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I have oily hair–and I mean, really oily! I can wash my hair right before bed, and it will be oily in the morning. Needless to say, I wash it daily. But some days, I just don’t have time. I had tried several store-bought dry shampoos; none of them worked. Most of them left a weird film on my hair and actually made it look greasier. I had all but given up until I got into DIY’ing. I did some research online for recipes and tried a few. After a few tweaks to the recipe on the doTERRA DIY blog, I found one I loved!

For best results, be sure to use only certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils. Links to the other ingredients on Amazon are also provided.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c *arrowroot flour and/or cocoa powder (see note below)
  • 6-8 drops ^essential oils of choice (I use 2 each of lavender, lemon, melaleuca, and peppermint)

Make It:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor.
  2. Pulse until combined.
  3. Transfer to a glass jar for storage.

To use, simply apply the dry shampoo to the roots of your hair using a makeup brush. Work it through to the tips as needed with your fingers.

*For light hair, use 1/4 c arrowroot flour. For medium hair, use 2 tbsp arrowroot flour and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. For dark hair, use 1/4 c cocoa powder. I have what can best be described as dirty blonde hair. I made it with all arrowroot flour and found it to be just a bit light (it makes my hair look a little white when first applied). It’s not a big deal because it fades after a bit, but I’ll mix the two for my next batch.

^Since I have oily hair, I use lavender, lemon, melaleuca, and peppermint essential oils. Not sure which oils to use for your hair type? Check out this post.

diy pup paw balm

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Does your dog have dry, cracked pads? Does he need some protection from the heat of the sidewalk or asphalt or cold of the snow and ice? He needs paw balm! Simply apply a thin layer for relief or before heading out into the elements. Because it’s all-natural, it can be re-applied often!

And, bonus…I add essential oils to mine! Since the pads are an awesome application area for essential oils, this balm offers a great dual purpose. Choose essential oils that are beneficial for your dog and his needs. If you choose to add essential oils, be sure to use only certified pure therapeutic grade oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils.

The recipe below will fill two 6-oz tins, so adjust accordingly. Not sure where to get the tins? Click here. I use a digital kitchen scale to measure the ingredients, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Approximations are provided as well. Links to Amazon are also provided for the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz (approx. 2 tbsp) olive oil or sweet almond oil
  • 1 oz (approx. 2 tbsp) coconut oil
  • 1/2 oz (approx. 1 tbsp) shea butter
  • 2 tsp beeswax
  • 20-40 drops *essential oils of choice (optional)

Make It:

  1. Using a digital scale, measure oils, butter, and beeswax in a glass container. I like to use the Pyrex spouted, handled measuring cups.
  2. Melt oils, butter, and beeswax in the microwave or double boiler.
  3. Add essential oils if using, and whisk.
  4. Pour into tin, and allow to cool before capping.

*Essential oils have many benefits for dogs. I use this balm on my oldest dog, who has arthritis. His arthritis causes minor muscle tremors and weakness in his back legs. As a result, his back feet tend to slide a bit on hard floors. This balm not only provides a little traction for his pads, but it’s also a great way to get essential oils in his bloodstream to help (at least partially) alleviate the effects of arthritis. I use 25 drops lavender and 10 drops frankincense. Want to know more about essential oils for dogs? Click here.

grain, fruit, & veggie blends for baby

So you’ve done single-ingredient purees and fruit & veggie purees for your little one, and now you’re ready to move on to more complex foods! After fruits and veggies only, I like to incorporate grains next. Things like pasta, quinoa, and rice are all great options! We like to stick with whole-grain pastas and brown rice, but you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about white pasta and rice! Whatever you normally eat in your house is perfectly ok for your tiny human! At this point, you can also start expanding beyond two ingredients at a time. As I’ve said before, simply try to pick ingredients that you think complement each other.

Depending on the age of your little one (and, of course, the advice of your pediatrician), you can probably also start leaving the peels on your fruits and stop steaming them before pureeing. Additionally, many babies are doing a good job of mashing at this stage, so completely pureeing may no longer be necessary. A few small chunks in the purees will help your little one learn to chew!

You’ll still want to steam the veggies until tender and of course cook the grains per the instructions. Reserve any cooking liquid to use when pureeing. I also found broth to be a great liquid to add if needed! I use a Ninja to puree. Fill the Ninja cup with the solid foods, then fill with liquid to cover the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of solids, depending on the desired consistency.

Pureeing or processing at this stage was definitely a learning curve for me! I wanted some chunks, so completely pureeing didn’t work in the Ninja. But, I also still wanted some puree to help our little guy transition. The pulse function worked for this a bit, but I actually ended up pureeing about 2/3 to 3/4 of the food and using the food processor for the rest. Then I mixed them together. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary by any means, but it’s a great way to get both chunks and puree together.

Once you have it at the desired consistency, transfer it into containers for freezing. I liked to freeze the food in Gerber bunch-a-bowls. I freeze them without lids by placing the bowls on a cookie sheet and setting the cookie sheet in the freezer. When they’re frozen solid, simply pop them out of the containers and into freezer bags. Be sure to label your bags with the contents and date. If stored in a non-frost-free freezer, use within 3 months. If stored in a frost-free freezer, use within 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before feeding. I simply put them back in the same Bunch-a-Bowls containers, put the lid on, and let them sit in the fridge overnight for the next day’s feedings.

Some of my little guy’s favorite grain, fruit, & veggie blends:

  • Mac and cheese with carrots (I used milk for the needed liquid with this one)
  • Quinoa, carrots, and berries (any kind)
  • Pasta, broccoli, and pears
  • Quinoa, apples, and green beans
  • Brown rice, peas, and apples

Read more:

first fruit & veggie blends for baby

As your little one grows and has tried a number of single-ingredient purees, you can start introducing blends. To make the new foods easy to digest, start with two-ingredient purees that include just fruits and veggies before going to more complex blends. Try to choose foods you think will complement each other. As a general rule, though, you can’t really go wrong!

At this stage, I still recommend peeling and cooking the fruits before blending since their little stomachs and young digestive systems are still developing. Peel and remove cores and seeds, and cut into chunks. Steam 7-10 minutes until soft but not mushy. Steam all veggies until tender. Reserve cooking liquid. I puree in my Ninja, so I fill the cup with fruits and veggies then add enough liquid to cover the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 (depending on the desired consistency).

Transfer the puree into containers for freezing. Since your baby is probably eating more in one sitting, now, I pour the purees into Gerber bunch-a-bowls. I freeze them without lids by placing the bowls on a cookie sheet and setting the cookie sheet in the freezer. When they’re frozen solid, simply pop them out of the containers and into freezer bags. Be sure to label your bags with the contents and date. If stored in a non-frost-free freezer, use within 3 months. If stored in a frost-free freezer, use within 1 month.

Some of my little guy’s favorite fruit & veggie blends:

  • Berries (any kind) and green beans
  • Apples and sweet potatoes or pumpkin
  • Apples and berries
  • Berries and carrots
  • Bananas (bananas don’t need to be steamed) and apples
  • Pears and spinach (spinach doesn’t need to be steamed)
  • Pears and broccoli
  • Apples and broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes and sweet corn
  • Pears and peas
  • Peaches or nectarines and carrots

Read more:

homemade, all-natural foaming hand soap

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When I started DIY’ing pretty much everything in the house, hand soap was a no-brainer! Since everything we put on our skin (including soap, of course) gets into our bloodstream in just 30 seconds and circulates through the entire body in just 30 minutes, I knew I wanted an all-natural soap. They’re even saying now that soaps labeled antibacterial are actually bad for us!

For true benefits of essential oils, always use certified pure therapeutic grade oils. The cheaper oils available at grocery and box stores contain additives, chemicals, and dilution oils (EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY BE LABELED 100% PURE). I use and recommend doTERRA oils. The essential oils used in this recipe are both disinfecting and antibacterial, and Dr. Bronner’s unscented liquid castile soap is gentle enough for babies! You’ll need an 8-oz foaming pump bottle. Not sure where to get one? Click here!

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Add castile soap, fractionated coconut oil, and essential oils to bottle.
  2. Fill with filtered water.
  3. Shake.

*The fractionated coconut oil is optional but adds a nice moisturizer to the soap. If you use it, you may find it separates from the water in the bottle after it sits. If so, simply swirl the bottle before use.

all-natural backpack essentials

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With the school year fast-approaching, parents are busy getting the kids’ backpacks ready. Send your kids to school with all-natural essential oil essentials! I use and recommend doTERRA essential oils; they’re certified pure therapeutic grade. My favorite backpack essentials include Skin Soothe, an immune booster roller bottle, hand sanitizer spray, and a focus roller bottle. *All dilutions used in the recipes are appropriate for kids age 6-11. Links are provided to purchase other ingredients on Amazon.

Skin Soothe

Skin Soothe is an awesome soothing blend for all things skin related including bug bites, rashes, dry skin, scrapes, and even acne! I like to make it in a 1-oz glass spray bottle. If using on the face, spray into your hands first, and then apply to the face. To make it, add 12-15 drops each of melaleuca, lavender, and frankincense to your spray bottle. Fill the bottle halfway with fractionated conconut oil. Fill the remainder with pure aloe juice. Shake before each use.

Immune Booster Roller Bottle

Feel a cold coming on? Give your immune system a boost with this simple roller bottle. Roll it along the spine on the back of the neck as needed. I make this one in a 10-mL roller bottle. To make it, add 7-10 drops each of frankincense and doTERRA proprietary blend On Guard to the roller bottle. Fill with fractionated coconut oil, and shake.

Hand Sanitizer Spray

Skip the alcohol-based hand sanitizer for this one, and it won’t even dry out your hands! Simply spray into your hands, and rub together. I make this one in a 1-oz spray bottle. Add 10-15 drops On Guard and 3/4 tsp pure aloe gel to the bottle. Fill with filtered water, and shake. Shake before each use.

Focus Roller Bottle

Staying focused can be tough at school! The oils in this blend are great for easing anxiety and providing focus and concentration. Make it in a 10-mL roller bottle. Roll along the spine on the back of the neck as needed. Add 4-5 drops each of frankincense, lime, ylang ylang, and Roman chamomile to a roller bottle, and fill with fractionated coconut oil.