All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

When a few magical things are happening for me simultaneously, I feel like a total goddess. Don’t you just love that feeling? You are head to toe sparkly and move through your day floating on air. First thing I need to feel this way is glowing skin. I can achieve this by drinking plenty of water, breaking a sweat nearly every day and using an ultra moisturizing face cream every night. Next thing I need is flowing, shiny, effortlessly lustrous hair. I achieve this by washing my hair only twice a week, rinsing with apple cider vinegar and touching up with dry shampoo when I feel a little greasy. Finally, I feel my most goddess like when my teeth are ultra white. There are few things on earth more attractive to me than a pearly set of chompers. Aside from a nice eager pair of listening ears and a beautiful compassionate heart of course. 🙂

I have used practically every whitener on the market today to attain those pearly whites. Unfortunately, most commercial teeth whiteners contain abrasive chemicals that strip your teeth of their enamel leaving them more sensitive to hot, cold and cavities. I know a lot about cavities. I’ve suffered through roughly 15 cavities in my 30 years in this body. I finally decided that it was time for me to find a better way.

A few months ago, I began experimenting with activated charcoal for it’s teeth whitening abilities. Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities allow it to bind with surface-staining culprits like coffee, tea, wine, and plaque… hello naturally glistening smile! Eagerly, I made my own paste using coconut oil and activated charcoal; I began brushing with it every few days before my regular brushing routine in the evening. I noticed a slightly whiter smile after the very first brushing but after a few weeks, I began to notice my teeth appeared to be getting MORE yellow. I was puzzled, a little disappointed even but resolved not to write the stuff off before doing a little more research. After some investigative googling, I discovered that coconut oil can actually yellow your teeth. AHA! That meant that activated charcoal was still on the table for an effective natural whitener.

After further internet exploring I concluded that bentonite clay would be a fabulous little addition to the activated charcoal paste. Bentonite clay binds to unhealthy substances around the teeth, on the tongue and gums, and helps to remove them before they create plaque. It is also full of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to teeth and gums.

Another powerhouse for strengthening and cleaning teeth is arrowroot powder. Arrowroot powder is excellent for maintaining a balance between acid and alkaline levels as it is rich is many minerals including calcium. These minerals will help to remineralize the tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Winning!

With their powers combined, these three can conquer even the most intense surface stains and leave behind an absolutely beautiful white smile. Now, I have a pretty bad ass little whitening powder that is all natural and completely free of chemicals, preservatives or fragrances… all that yucky stuff you don’t want anywhere near your mouth. I’d love to share my recipe with you all. Hopefully you will find it as illuminating as I did. 🙂

All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp bentonite clay
  • 1 tsp activated charcoal
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil

Process

  1. Mix first three ingredients together in a glass jar or a tin… whatever you have on hand
  2. Add in peppermint essential oil and stir together
  3. Before each use, liberally wet your tooth brush, sprinkle some powder onto your brush and brush like normal
  4. After a few minutes, rinse out your mouth
  5. You can be finished here or you can brush again with your regular toothpaste if you so desire.

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My hubby has dealt with yellow teeth for… well forever. He started drinking black tea at a pretty young age, this is common in Armenian households, so his teeth bear the stains of this. Here is a photo of his teeth in the late summer of last year,

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Here is a photo of his teeth today, after brushing with my whitening powder every few days for two weeks. I personally can see a big difference!

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Enjoy dazzling the world with your beautiful white smile! Please let me know how this works for you if you try it.

XO ~ Sam

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Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

I love cookies. Who doesn’t right? If they weren’t so void of nutrition I’d likely be popping them all day. I used to be able to eat like that. In fact I used to eat so poorly that I’m surprised I didn’t have a coronary by my senior year.

In high school, I’d polish off an entire medium sized dominoes pizza for dinner and about 10-12 chips ahoy cookies for dessert. All.by.my.self. This was only after my McDonalds breakfast of 2 egg, cheese and ham McMuffins with 2 hash browns and my lunch of a double quarter pounder with cheese with a large fry and soda.

Yes… I’m serious. I ate like that nearly every day until I was 18. I was an active teen, playing water polo and swimming and I have good genes so I never gained any weight, regardless of the fact that I rarely ingested anything green or with much fiber. Although I didn’t get fat externally, my organs were obviously bearing the brunt of the abuse. I suffered from rampant infections; bladder, kidney and yeast, had intense heart palpitations, crippling headaches and I was sick 6-8 times a year. All the while I was never able to connect the dots. I had no idea that what I was putting into my body was affecting my health. Nutrition finally came to my rescue after highschool. I became a more aware individual in every facet of my life; I started reading more, expanding my consciousness and quickly concluded that I would die if I kept eating this way. I completely changed my diet for good by age 22, cutting out soda, fast food and gluten and I’ve never looked back. Now when I crave cookies, I make my own.

These little babies are bursting with healthy fats, fiber, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. They are still cookies and calorically dense so try your hardest not to eat the whole batch in one sitting. I managed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar after my first two. My little one was not fond of my restraint. She unarmed all of her big guns in trying to get cookie after cookie into her little hands. She’s a master manipulator, this one. She should really teach lessons in ‘getting what you want.’

Now that I’m a mama, I hope that I can strike a balance between guiding my daughter on her own path of healthy eating and letting her indulge once in awhile. Forbidding things seems to be the surest way to get children fixated on them.  Plus, I believe that life is about pleasure. These cookies allow my girl to satisfy her sweet tooth all while I inject her with some much needed nutrition. Everybody wins. 😊

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

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Ingredients – Makes about 12 golf ball sized cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Seeds from one cardamom pod, grinder

Process

  1. Grind cardamom seeds in spice or coffee grinder
  2. Throw all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until batter starts to stick together
  3. Press batter into little macaroon sized balls (or whatever shape tickles your fancy)
  4. Enjoy a few now with a hot cup of tea and save the rest in an air tight container for future taste bud pleasing

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XO ~ Sam

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

Health is something that I don’t often fully appreciate until it’s compromised. I guess that is one perk of not being well; when you get well again you are so grateful for your vitality that you vow to take better care of yourself from then on. With my health being less than optimal these last few months I decided I needed to get myself back on track. I took myself to a naturopathic physician to find a solution. A bunch of tests were taken and a few things were discovered. First discovery, I have borderline hypothyroidism, which I will get more into another day. Second, my cortisol levels are too high, which I am now controlling with magnolia root. Third, I tested in the high range for a few toxic metals; aluminum and lead. High levels of aluminum in the body has been linked to Alzheimer’s. High levels of lead in the body has been linked to nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain. The aluminum is from using aluminum based non stick cookware and the lead is from using store bought makeup. Crazy isn’t it? I have since thrown out all my cookware and replaced it with either stainless steal or cast iron to reduce my aluminum exposure. I started making my own makeup a few months ago but I didn’t replace everything. Now that I have these results back I am newly committed to replacing all of the toxic makeup in my makeup bag. The only makeup that I use is lipstick, concealer, mascara and very occasionally blush/bronzer for a little sparkle. I made my own organic blush from beets and hibiscus a few months ago so I’ve got that covered. Next and arguably most importantly on my list is lipstick. I wear it nearly everyday and the store bought lipsticks contain unnatural dyes filled with lead. Considering the fact that this stuff goes on your lips, it is safe to assume we ingest a bit of it every time we put it on. I’m done poisoning myself. I can give my lips the color I love without sacrificing my health to do it. I measured, melted and mixed some of my favorite natural ingredients and created a really beautiful, deep red lip color with a hint of purple. I’m simply in love and frankly I’m never buying a lipstick again.

‘Wine Tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

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Ingredients – makes about 2-3 lipsticks depending on size of container. I used .15 ml Chapstick tubes

  • 2 grams beeswax  (I use a scale here because hard beeswax is easier to measure this way)
  • 1 tsp mango butter
  • 1 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp meadow foam seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin e
  • 3/4 tsp Australian red reef clay
  • 1/4 tsp bentonite clay 
  • 6 drops essential oil (I used Ylang Ylang)

Process

  1. Melt together butters/oils in a double boiler or in a glass bowl atop a boiling tea kettle
  2. Take off heat and add in vitamin e
  3. In another bowl mix together red reef and bentonite clay 
  4. Add melted oils/butters to clays and mix until well combined 
  5. Add in essential oil and pour into tubes
  6. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes to harden
  7. Apply to lips
  8. Leave natural lipstick marks on a lucky lover

DSC_1066 The rich burgundy color evoked images of me with a wine stained mouth in the rolling green hills of France; hence the title of the lipstick. If your lip color can transport you all the way to Burgundy, you know you’ve got a winner. 😉 If you like your lip color a little less dramatic, just use a little less red reef clay. Enjoy your gorgeous red lips without sacrificing your health. XO ~ Sam

My top 5 ways to achieve a natural glow

My top 5 ways to achieve a natural glow

I feel like I can confidently say, nearly every human being wants to look their best. Whether you consider yourself a glamour girl, a granola girl or somewhere in between, each one of us wants to shine in our special way. People, women in particular, will do nearly anything to put their best face forward when showing up in the world, turning to makeup, expensive products and even resorting to cosmetic surgery. I’m personally not a proponent of going under the knife to attain beauty but I don’t judge it either. Each women’s body is their own and she is free to do whatever she wishes to it. However in the interest of looking at preserving beauty from a more natural view point, I’d like to share some easy, inexpensive alternatives to the more costly and invasive measures.

  • Alternate between warm and cold water in the shower, ending with cold. This opens and closes pores which can detoxify the body. Alternating between warm and cold makes circulation move in and out like an accordion. When the body is subjected to cold external temperatures, the flow of circulation is directed inward toward the internal organs. As the outside temperature gets warmer, the flow of circulation goes outward toward the skin. This increases the rate of detoxification and moves nutrients more readily to various parts of the body. Ending your shower with cold water closes pores and keeps dirt and oil out after cleansing. Another benefit of cold water is it makes your blood vessels constrict which reduces swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes (where skin is at its thinnest). This provides you with a young, healthy glow.
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  • Dry skin brushing- Dry skin brushing is an Ayurvedic practice that promotes a healthy lymphatic flow in the body by gently guiding lymph fluid to lymphatic drainage nodes. This process detoxifies the entire body including the skin giving you a beautiful glow immediately after brushing. It also encourages circulation by increasing blood flow to the skin which will release toxins.

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  • Drink up to a gallon of water throughout your day. I carry around a 12 oz jar and make sure to drink about 8 of those a day. Since starting this practice my skin tone has evened out and I look a bit younger as my wrinkles have filled in. Hydration is an incredible beauty tool. I think most of us are walking around at least partially dehydrated. I challenge you to drink more water and notice how your skin begins to glow. Point of note- don’t chug large amounts of water at once. This could disturb your electrolyte balance and be damaging to your health. Sip H2O slowly and consistently throughout your day and you’ll be looking more radiant in no time.

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  • Face cupping – Cupping is a therapy that draws blood to the surface of the skin to promote healing. Cupping helps the tissue develop new blood flow and causes anti inflammatory chemicals in the body. Cupping done on the face can reduce puffiness, reduce dark circles and under eye bags, firm jowls, plump up wrinkles, the list goes on. I do this therapy to myself a few times a week and have found it to be an amazing tool in combating the signs of aging. This is the brand that I use and I would highly recommend them as they are easy to use and fairly inexpensive. 

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  • Use carrot and rose hip seed oils on your face every night. These oils are not only hydrating they are also full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots, fill in fine lines, reverse sun damage and reduce scars. You can slather one or more of these oils onto your clean face right before bed or you can make this face cream and incorporate them into it. Either way, your face will glow like never before. My skin has never looked as good as it does since I started making my own face cream with these nourishing powerhouse oils.

I believe that beauty is all about radiating from the inside out. That means, eating nourishing whole foods, exercising consistently, feeding your spirit and helping/giving to others. As long as you are doing these things you will surely be glowing… but if you still need a little help, the above natural methods should do the trick. 😉

XO ~ Sam

DIY Willowbark Facescrub

DIY Willowbark Facescrub

My husband is Armenian. In his case this means beautiful luscious black hair, eyelashes that women would kill for and unfortunately for my cheeks, rough bumpy nose skin. Although he exfoliates, inevitably the roughness is back again the very next day. His exfoliant of choice is Burt’s Bees Willowbark and Apricot Scrub. I once thought that Burt’s Bees was an awesome, forward thinking company and I purchased their products regularly. I’ve since learned that although they started out using all natural ingredients in Maine 30 years ago, they have since sold their company to Clorox for 900+million and their integrity has started to waver. Mass production has diluted the quality of their products and now you may find pesky chemicals and preservatives where wholesome ingredients used to be. This is understandable for products that are expected to sit on a hot shelf for months, possibly even years. Understanding aside, I refuse to put that crap on my largest, most porous organ.

Here are the ingredients that I take issue with,

Sodium Borate- This is essentially Borax. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a chemical compound that is regarded as a ‘natural’ cleaner. It can be used for bleaching clothes, cleaning toilets… I personally use it as ant poison. Sound like something you want on your face? Didn’t think so. 

Fragrance- Fragrance, huh? Ambiguous much? I’m just assuming they aren’t using organic essential oils to make their scrub fragrant. 

Glucose Oxidase- This is a ‘natural’ preservative. It releases hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide can also create free radical damage to the skin. According to MSDS sheets, it is also an eye irritant, a skin irritant a lung irritant and “prolonged or repeated exposure may lead to irreversible damage to health.” Lovely. Why the hell is it in this face scrub Burt’s Bees? Oh yes, because you are now Clorox and aren’t afraid of nasty chemicals. 

I decided that after doing my research, my hubby would no longer be slathering his sweet face with this stuff. I went to my laboratory AKA, kitchen counter, and got to work on making something superior. This scrub smells like a lemon bar. I kinda have a problem not eating it. Although many ingredients in it are edible, Willowbark wouldn’t feel very good going down, so I stop myself… just barely. After using my creation, the hubby proclaims it works way better than his ‘Burt’s Bees’ scrub. Take that Clorox! 

Willowbark Face Scrub
Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dried Willowbark 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unmelted coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp rose hip seed oil
  • 1 tbsp carrot seed oil 
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil

Process

  1. Grind Willowbark in a clean coffee/spice grinder until a rough powder is formed 
  2. Empty ground Willowbark into a medium bowl 
  3. Mix in all other ingredients together with a spoon 
  4. Store in a airtight container for several months
  5. Use a clean spoon to dip into the jar for each application to extend shelf life
  6. Enjoy your soft smooth skin!

 

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All natural healing salve – soothes diaper rash and more!

All natural healing salve – soothes diaper rash and more!

Diaper rash sucks, plain and simple. To watch your sweet little girl endure a red, inflamed, bumpy rear end is just no fun. Sucks, sucks, sucks I tell you. I let her run around most of yesterday without a diaper on to allow her skin to air out. This led to many pee soaked towels… Nothing I can’t handle. The big poo we had to remove from the kitchen floor was my favorite part though. Hey, if she had gone in her diaper we would have had to scrape the smashed poop from all over her butt cheeks, so maybe we were given a gift this time. No one ever said being a mother was glamorous, no one.

You don’t need to have wee ones to find benefits for this balm. It can be used as a calming salve for skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, to treat minor scrapes or rashes, soften cuticles or simply to moisturize chapped skin. If you do have little ones I would say this treatment is hands down the best way to soothe diaper rash. In the 21 months that I’ve been a mama to my Marvel she has gotten maybe 4 or 5 diaper rashes. She’s one of the lucky ones, that’s for sure. When a rash has flared up in the past I have used arrowroot powder, shea butter or even an organic store bought butt paste. This method has proven more effective than all of them. I whipped this up quicker than you can say the ingredients out loud, slathered her irritated bum with it and within a few hours it was a few bumps away from being completely cleared up. I wish I would have gotten a before and after picture for you but it totally escaped me in all that bodily function cleaning mayhem.

All you do to make this is mix 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil with a 5-10 drops of tea tree and/or lavender essential oils. That’s it. For reals! Totally effective, all natural rash soother. Like I said earlier, this mixture would be wonderful for healing minor cuts, scrapes, burns, bug bites, chapped skin, the list goes on.

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Coconut oil is incredible. It contains lauric acid, which kills harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Breast milk is the only other natural source that contains such a high concentration of lauric acid. So unless your boobs are secreting this miracle liquid, get yourself some coconut oil. It’s a hippies Neosporin – but you can eat it and it smells like a tropical vacation. It rocks my proverbial socks off. If you don’t keep coconut oil in your house at all times I would strongly suggest you do. It’s awesomeness knows no bounds! I get mine from Costco. The brand they carry, Nutiva is organic and responsibly farmed. It’s the cheapest organic coconut oil I’ve found at $28.00 for 78 oz. Killer deal!

XO
Sam

All Natural Green Tea Face Cream

All Natural Green Tea Face Cream

Hello lovelies. I want to share with you, my recipe for a decadent little face cream that I’ve been using for the past few weeks. I created this out of sheer necessity. I recently ran out of my usual face moisturizer. This stuff is not cheap, it costs around 45 bucks an ounce. My husband and I have been cracking down on our budget recently and I have been reevaluating my necessary purchases. Extras like clothes and eating out have fallen low on the priority list. My face regime has stayed pretty high on my priority list as healthy skin is super important to my happiness. Call me vain, but it is much harder for me to feel powerful when my skin isn’t looking fresh and vibrant. In the interest of saving some cash while still treating my face to a high quality moisturizer, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a face cream with powerhouse ingredients. I feel that my finished product is superior to the expensive cream that I’ve been rocking for the last few years. In the two weeks that I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed an evening out of my skin tone, a fading of old pimple scars, a softening of the fine lines around my eyes and my forehead and simply an increased all over glow. The ingredients in this cream can be slightly pricey themselves but nowhere near the cost of comparable store bought creams that boast the same high quality ingredients. Bottom line, your cost will be lower overall if you create your own cream, plus you’ll have total control of what goodies you put in and what nasty preservatives you keep out. Below is a list of the ingredients I used and why they do such incredible things for your skin.

Raw Organic Shea Butter- Shea Butter is high in Vitamins A, F and K.

Vitamin A has soothing and hydrating properties which can prevent premature wrinkles.

Vitamin F acts as a skin protector and revitalizer. It soothes rough or chapped skin on contact. Vitamin F also consists of linolenic, and arachidonic acids, which are essential fatty acids.

Vitamin K helps aging and damaged skin look younger and healthier. It also improves skin elasticity and dark under-eye circles.

Shea Butter helps cell regeneration and capillary circulation. It has been known to soothe skin irritations such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dermatitis, dermatoses, acne, rash, minor scrapes and burns. Shea Butter restores elasticity of the skin and evens skin tone by lessening dark spots caused by the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Green Tea infused Almond oil- Almond oil is rich in vitamin A, B and E. These vitamins can improve your complexion, soothe irritation and inflammation and relieve dry skin. Green tea contains a cocktail of potent antioxidants called catechins, which help fight damage caused by free radicals. Green tea is also wonderful for brightening and firming the skin.

Rosehip oil- This oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin, all while reducing scars and fine lines. It’s a total badass when it comes to keeping the skin young and supple.

Carrot seed oil- Carrot seed oil is very high in antioxidants. These components can help protect your skin from environmental assaults like UV rays, pollution, and stress. Carrot seed oil’s ability to rejuvenate skin is miraculous. Scientists think this has something to do with the “carotol,” a primary component found in carrot seed oil. The oil also has moisturizing vitamin E and protective vitamin C, which work together to help encourage healing and to rejuvenate skin cells and bring new life to skin. In fact, carrot seed oil has a reputation for helping to heal eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis because of its ability to stimulate cell growth and repair damaged skin. It is also this ability that makes carrot seed oil a great anti-aging ingredient. Carrot seed oil has the ability to balance both oily and dry skin. It gives skin just enough moisture without clogging pores, making it perfect for all skin types.

Beeswax- Beeswax forms a protective barrier that helps protect the skin from environmental assaults, while also holding in moisture and reducing dryness. Unlike ingredients made from petroleum, however, beeswax doesn’t “suffocate” the skin, and won’t clog pores. Like honey, beeswax has antibacterial properties, helping keep skin clean and reducing the risks of contamination in the formula itself. Beeswax is a humectant which means it attracts water molecules. This helps to keep skin hydrated over time. Beeswax is also a good source of vitamin A which helps support cell turnover and reconstruction.

Vitamin E- Vitamin E protects the skin from environmental pollution. It contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can prevent the signs of premature aging and offers excellent wound healing properties. Vitamin E also enhances and helps with the penetration of other compounds into the skin and is itself well absorbed by human skin. On top of all of these powerful benefits to the skin, Vitamin E is also a wonderful natural preservative so putting it into your homemade skin care products will extend it’s shelf life.

Lavender essential oil- Lavender essential oil is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Just a few drops of this incredible essential oil can inhibit the bacteria that causes acne and can reduce the signs of scarring after the acne has begun to heal.

All Natural Green Tea Face Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp raw shea butter
  • 1 tbsp green tea infused almond oil
  • 1 tbsp rosehip seed oil
  • 1 tbsp carrot seed oil
  • .25 oz of dry beeswax- if you don’t have a scale, this equals out to about 1/2 tbsp of melted beeswax
  • 1 tsp vitamin e oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Process

  • Create your green tea infused oil. (I used almond oil for the many benefits listed above. You can substitute, grapeseed oil, apricot seed oil, jojoba, etc…)
  1. Place 1 1/2 cups of dried green tea leaves in a large bowl
  2. Add in 2 cups of preferred oil
  3. Place bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 3-4 cups of water. (Choose a saucepan that allows the bowl to rest on top of the saucepan without falling inside of it, as shown below.)DSC_0091
  4. Turn burner on high. Once water is boiling, immediately turn flame down low and allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.
  5. Periodically check water to make sure it hasn’t all evaporated. If needed, add more water.
  6. Strain infused oil through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth into a sealable jar and allow to cool.
  • Make your cream
  1. Add all ingredients except essential oil to double boiler or small glass bowl set on top of tea kettle.DSC_0099
  2. Turn burner on medium high and let all ingredients melt together
  3. Once melted, take off heat and let cool for a few minutes before adding essential oil
  4. Using an electric beater, whip ingredients together until light and fluffy
  5. Store in a sanitized air tight container and keep somewhere relatively cool.

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Since this cream contains no water, it should stay good for quite a long time. The vitamin e will add extra assurance in terms of preservation. Always smell homemade beauty products before use. If it smells funny, throw it out.

Enjoy your radiant glow! If you make this, please let me know how it works for you.

XO
Sam