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How and Why to Do an Armpit Detox

How and Why to Do an Armpit Detox

Um, what? Did you just say armpit detox?

So one minute, we’re talking about something totally normal like journaling or making soup, and the next minute you want me to do what to my pits?

If you’ve never tried natural deodorant, an armpit detox might be a foreign topic to you.

If you’ve tried natural deodorant for more than a week or two, you know exactly what I mean by transition period, and you may be really glad you found this post.

via GIPHY

What, did you think this natural personal care thing was all lavender and patchouli?

When we switch from commercial deodorants and especially antiperspirants to natural deodorant, we experience a rather smelly transition period. For those who are not expecting it, the transition period marks the time when they decide the natural deodorant option was a fail, and they may return to their good old standby commercial deodorant. It starts around day two or three and lasts a few weeks, then things even out and natural deodorant can keep us fresh all day after that.

But who wants to stink for one or two weeks?

There are a few, non-scientific proposed explanations for why this happens. One idea is that antiperspirants prevent sweating, a normal body function. After a few days off, the antiperspirant residues dislodge and let all of the backed up funk come out of the pores. Another possibility is that since your pores spent all these years being blocked from sweating, they produce excessive sweat until natural regulation mechanisms slow the process to a normal sweat production. I’ve also read that the skin’s microbiome has been disrupted by commercial products for so long, that it takes a few weeks to build a healthy ecosystem again. In the process, the undesirable pathogens die off, leaving toxins behind that cause odor.

What do I think is happening? I can’t say for sure, but what I do know is the process is unpleasant for those experiencing it and those close to us.

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Fortunately, you don’t have to go through all that. I found an armpit detox method that helped me go right from commercial deodorant to the stuff I mix up in my kitchen, without losing any friends.

Let’s mix some up and get to it!

Have you ever tried natural deodorant? By the end of the day, you probably decided that it wasn't for you. This easy detox takes care of the smelly transition days between conventional deodorant and natural deodorant. #detox #deodorant #naturalpersonalcare #diydeodorant

Armpit Detox Recipe and Method

2 tbsp bentonite clay     Get it here*
raw organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
1 drop lavender, tea tree or geranium essential oil (optional)

Put your bentonite clay in a cup or bowl. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, mix in a little apple cider vinegar at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of pudding. Add no more than one drop of essential oil.

Apply a thin layer to underarms. Allow to dry, and wait for up to 20 minutes. Rinse or remove with a wet washcloth.

Try your natural deodorant the next day. If the odor persists, repeat the armpit detox for as many days as needed. Most people report that once the odor is out, it’s out, only to return after illness or other detox circumstance.

Now are we ready to try natural deodorant again?

The Best Natural Deodorant Recipe (and I’ve tried all the DIY deodorant)

The Best Natural Deodorant Recipe (and I’ve tried all the DIY deodorant)

Show of hands, but don’t raise ’em to high if we’re in the early stages of this experiment. How many of us tried either a store-bought natural deodorant or a natural deodorant recipe as a first step in the healthier living transition?

And let me guess, after day two, we were feeling as free as her?

via GIPHY

The first few natural deodorant recipes I tried left me smelling like a high school wrestling room by mid-afternoon. The absolute worst one I tried was a DIY natural deodorant that had bentonite clay in the recipe. Generally, bentonite clay is good stuff but not a great deodorant ingredient. It seemed to draw all the funk to the surface, putting all the nasty nose notes on display.

Tune in to the next post to learn about a better armpit use for bentonite clay! You’re itching to know, aren’t you?

After my many fails, I asked my essential oil enthusiast friend Kendra what she uses. She too said she tried several natural deodorant recipes with not-so-fresh results, and finally found this one that works.

As a bonus, you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now, so you can mix some up whenever you feel like it!

After many many natural deodorant fails, I found one that actually does the job. You probably have the ingredients already, so go grab the recipe now! #diy #naturaldeodorant #essentialoils #selfcare #personalcare #nontoxic #detox #naturalliving #healthyalternative

Because your personal hygiene is more a favor to me than it is to you, I’m sharing the recipe. You know, for my own personal benefit.

Just kidding, it’s for you.

An asterisk (*) denotes an affiliate link. That means I will receive a small commission from a purchase made through a link on this site, at no additional cost to you. Opinions here are mine and purchasing decisions are yours to make!

Natural Deodorant Recipe

4 T coconut oil
4 T cornstarch
1 T Baking Soda
12 drops essential oils (see below)

Mom’s essential oil deodorant blend

5 drops tea tree*
5 drops lavender* or clary sage*
2 drops geranium*

Dad’s essential oil deodorant blend

5 drops tea tree
5 drops vetiver*
5 drops orange*

I keep this in a glass jelly jar in the bathroom. I started out applying with a craft popsicle stick but I eventually ditched it. Plain old fingies get the job done.

If you’re a first-time natural deodorant user, you may have heard about one- or two-week transition period that happens as your pits unload all of the junk that has been lodged in your pores by antiperspirant use. Well, I have something that worked for me-I had no transition period and I didn’t experience any of the irritation that some people report with baking soda deodorants. You’ll have to pop back on Thursday to see what that is.

Did I just declare an unofficial armpit week here?

How I Make My DIY Vitamin C Serum

How I Make My DIY Vitamin C Serum

I’m new at this skincare thing. Not long ago, I was a warm-washcloth-in-the-morning-and-go person, but now I have a legitimate cleanser, moisturizer and my trusty DIY vitamin C serum in my bathroom cabinet, like a good thirty-something should.

The glorious thirties! No tiny humans in my abdomen, no diapers to change, no baby weight (woohoo!), no more pregnant-nursing-reset-repeat hormone surges controlling my hair follicles, bra size of the minute, or the landscape of my face.

Ladies, we have arrived. Wait, what are those dark spots, and yes, I was smiling but now I’m not and that crease is still there and you aren’t going to go away, Mister Crease, are you?

We have arrived, all right. We’ve arrived at the point where a quick splash of water no longer counts as a skincare routine. We need a real one, before Mister Crease becomes Mister Canyon.

All content on this site is for informational and/or discussion purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content in this site neither contains nor acts as a substitute for medical advice. All health matters should be discussed with a qualified physician.

Most of us have a favorite cleanser and moisturizer by now, but what about the in-between steps? You could opt for toner, exfoliant, mask, eye cream, peel…but I don’t want to get too crazy with it. Mister Crease and I only have a few minutes in the mornings to duke it out.

Gah, missed the perfect opportunity to say face-off. Oh well, next time there will be puns.

When I get overwhelmed with things, I quit. So I wanted to add just one step – one that would give me the most bang for my buck as far as effort goes. After researching all the lotions and potions I decided to go with a Vitamin C serum.

Do you have an antioxidant serum in your skincare routine? Here's a DIY Vitamin C Serum recipe made with only 3 ingredients. Click through to grab the recipe, and to read up on skin and vitamin c! #vitaminc #skincare #skincareroutine #beauty #diy #diybeauty

Why did I pick vitamin C serum?

First off, vitamin C is essential to building collagen, and collagen is what keeps skin tight and plump. It works to lighten those dark spots, it brightens and livens your complexion, it penetrates the skin and binds free radicals before they can cause trouble, it is anti-inflammatory, it heals damage, it helps with those visible signs of aging (Source).

What was I saying about bang for your buck? Vitamin C is some high-performance miracle potion, IMO.

My first instinct was to log into Amazon and find some. But here’s the deal…

I don’t buy it

It’s not that you can’t buy it. Actually, it’s easy to find vitamin C serum. Companies are more than happy to take your money for it. But the vitamin C degrades quickly – I’m talking several half lives burnt up in the shipping truck. Knowing this, why would you pay cosmetic counter prices for something that has lost a lot of its oomph by the time it gets to you? And costs pennies to make? And takes about three minutes to throw together?

Some companies keep their vitamin C fresh with preservatives, but you know how I feel about those by now.

So, I make it instead

But first, a few caveats…

After researching a few recipes, I found the simplest one that seems to do the trick for me, so I’m sharing it with you. That said, please do your own research. The more diehard DIY cosmetics enthusiasts will tell you my recipe is incomplete, that it needs a preservative, an antioxidant, a buffer, a solvent…but this recipe works for my needs and I had no reactions. Your mileage may vary!

I know how this works on my skin, not yours. Everyone’s chemistry is different, and my crystal ball is in the shop so I can’t predict how your skin will react to vitamin C or this recipe! As with any new skincare product, it’s always a good idea to patch test before slathering it all over.

An asterisk (*) next to a link lets you know that it’s an affiliate link. That means I earn a small commission on purchases made through this link. Opinions are mine, prices are the same for you, and purchasing decisions are yours, as always!

 

Finally, the Vitamin C Serum Recipe

This recipe is for an approximate 20% concentration. At first I started at 5% and worked my way up to 20% over months of use. If you have young skin, mature skin, or skin issues, anything you try on your skin should be approved by a qualified dermatologist first.

Up to 2 tsp fine-ground, LAA ascorbic acid  Get it here*
If you’re a vitamin C serum newbie, start with 1/2tsp, then work your way up to 2 tsp (20% concentration) over a few weeks of use
7 tsp warm distilled water (I’ve been using filtered tap water with similar results)
1 tsp vegetable glycerin  Get it here*
2oz dark glass dropper bottle Get it here*
plastic or stainless steel spoon for mixing

vitamin-c-serum-recipe

Dissolve ascorbic acid in water by stirring with a plastic or stainless steel spoon. This can take a while, so be patient while you stir, stir, stir. Once you can no longer see granules, mix in the glycerin.

Since we’re not measuring by weight and our LAA powder granules aren’t standardized, strength can vary. We need to test pH so we don’t accidentally make an acid peel and burn our faces off. Dunk a pH test strip (get them here* or at the pharmacy). Your result should be no lower than 3, ideally 3.5. If it dips too low, you can mix in a little baking soda at a time until you get it up to 3.5.

If the LAA is stubborn and not mixing well, you can add one drop of high-proof vodka to help it dissolve.

Once you’re all mixed up and your pH is in range, you can pour it into your dropper bottle. How easy was that?

Remember, DIY vitamin C serum is unstable! I store mine in a dark glass container and I keep it chilled in the fridge. I mix up a a batch every other week.

How to Use Vitamin C serum

After cleansing or exfoliating, apply a drop or two of serum to each section of the face and neck, and spread it evenly with your fingers. Avoid the eye area – it will burn if it gets in your eyes. Leave it on undisturbed for at least 20 minutes. After the 20-minute mark, use your normal sunscreens and moisturizers as you usually do.

I noticed a difference after just a week. Have you tried Vitamin C serum?

 

DIY Bug Spray with Research-backed Tick Ingredients

DIY Bug Spray with Research-backed Tick Ingredients

We wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another round or two of snow up here on our mountain, but I’m already gathering supplies for my summer to-make list. I have my water-resistant sunblock recipe ready to go (glad you asked…yes I’ll share the recipe soon!), my favorite SPF lip balm melt and mix is ready to roll, and I made it a point to update my DIY bug spray to include ingredients that ticks absolutely hate.

Prevalence of tick-borne illness including Lyme is increasing with no sign of slowing down. If you’re interested, you can compare maps from 2001 to 2015 (maps here) – it’s a little alarming when you’re smack in the middle of a blue zone.

A few years ago, my then four-year-old son came down with a high fever and extreme fatigue in the middle of summer. He rarely caught colds, and after a day or so we noticed a peculiar red circle rash pattern forming all over his body. We took him to the doctor, who thought the notion of Lyme was ridiculous and he begrudgingly ordered the tests I requested. Results came in confirming Lyme, and fortunately we caught it early enough to clear it completely with antibiotics.

We’re among the lucky ones. Not everyone gets the rash or fever – a large portion of infected individuals show no symptoms at all. That means if they didn’t notice a poppyseed-sized nymph embedded on their scalp, they will not realize they’ve been infected until it is too late to clear the infection.

All content on this site is for informational and/or discussion purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content in this site neither contains nor acts as a substitute for medical advice. All health matters should be discussed with a qualified physician.

Lesson learned – we need better prevention. Since the tick bite, we started our unofficial protocol when we come in from hiking trails and wooded parks.

  • keep a comb in the car and do thorough tick checks on the kids, ourselves, and each other after spending time in wooded or brushy areas
  • thoroughly check any gear we took along
  • look for ticks on clothing
  • keep the dog’s hair short in the summer so we can check her for hitchhikers

Where’s the bug spray in our prevention list? Well, I refused to use bug spray on any of us because of the main active ingredient, DEET. It has been somewhat publicized that there can be adverse effects in children, but I’m also finding information about its effects on adults that I’d rather not deal with. Manic psychosis? Seizures that power through anti-convulsants? Cardiovascular effects? Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and skip it, thanks.

Once I started exploring plant properties, I learned that there are essential oils out there that bugs simply do not like. For a while there, my DIY bug spray was made of half witch hazel and half water mixed with citronella essential oil to keep the mosquitoes away. We smelled like tiki torches but hey, no bites!

Now, I’m finding that ticks have very specific distastes. In addition to repellant promise, I’ve found that some essential oils such as tea tree, geranium and eucalyptus can even be lethal to ticks (tea tree study, geranium and eucalyptus study).

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Armed with new information and a small arsenal of essential oils, I decided to reformulate my basic citronella DIY bug spray with targeted ingredients. The lineup…

Lemon eucalyptus
Studies such as this one have shown it has strong tick repellant properties, comparable to DEET.

Lavender & Geranium
The same study showed weaker but still somewhat repellant properties of lavender and geranium. I opted to include them because it makes the formula smell so much better (bye bye, eau de tiki torch) and both offer a little extra protection.

Tea tree
Tea tree essential oil has been shown to actually kill ticks

Citronella
Because I still don’t like mosquitoes

Don’t you love scrolling and scrolling through a never-ending soliloquy when all you want is the recipe already? Here you go.

DIY Bug Spray Recipe

1/4c water
1/4c witch hazel
10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil     Get it here*
5 drops geranium essential oil     Get it here*
5 drops lavender essential oil     Get it here*
10 drops citronella essential oil     Get it here*
10 drops tea tree essential oil     Get it here*

Combine all ingredients in a dark glass spray bottle*. That’s it! Since the essential oils tend to float on top, give it a good shake every time you apply.

While I wish I could claim this spray will make us all invincible against ticks, lions, light sabers, et cetera, I cannot. We still go through our tick check, after hanging out in areas with trees and brush.

Ready to play outside?

Beginner’s Herbal Remedy Books – My Library and How I Use Them

Beginner’s Herbal Remedy Books – My Library and How I Use Them

Maybe you pinned some herbal remedy that seems easy enough to try. Or you tried a syrup or tea that your friend made, and you’re hooked. Either way, you find yourself where all of us herbies once were at the beginning – wanting to know more, but not sure where to start. There are plenty of herbal remedy books to choose from, but at first, it’s not easy to spot the trustworthy sources.

I started taking a correspondence course by Rosemary Gladstar, which was a great way to find my bearings. No need to sign up for a class though, especially if you’re just wanting to dip a toe in to see what you think. There are materials out there so you can play.

There are fantastic resources online, but when I’m in my kitchen I tend to prefer a paper book, open in front of me. These are the ones I reference over and over again, and I’ve included how I use each one.

There is some overlap between them. For example, all will have information on preparation methods, and all will have at least a few recipes. I’m highlighting the best features of each one.

Methods of Herbal Preparation: The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook by James Green

This book is packed with information in a style that jives with my brain – charts, lists, etc. I love the way it’s organized. This is the one I reach for when I’m not sure which preparation to use with a specific herb (because there’s a chart for that!) or if I’m trying a preparation method for the first time.

Herbal Remedies by Body System (and a great place to start!): Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

After just a few months of experimenting with herbal remedies, I’m not yet great at mentally recalling which herb relaxes my tension headaches or which one soothes my scratchy voice after I got too excited at the soccer field. Since David Hoffman’s book is organized by body system, I reach it when I have a specific issue I want to address.

Hoffman’s book also has a nice overview of preparation methods, as well as a pretty fantastic listing of herbs and their benefits. Holistic Herbal serves as a starting point so you can get to know the plants as you try them.

Alphabetized herbal reference: The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars’ reference is like a reverse Hoffman search – instead of searching by ailment or action, you search by herb. With so much detail on each plant, it’s become my go-to resource for getting to know the ins and outs of the herbs I use most.

Additionally, I love love love the index of Alternative English Common Names. Say someone asks you about melissa. A quick look-up reveals that melissa is also known as lemon balm, and yay! You already know all about lemon balm because it’s taking over half of your backyard so you may as well use it. If you’re me.

One more thing then we’ll move on. (Can you tell I love this reference?) The Desktop Guide also has a Glossary of Physiological Effects, which helps you link specific plants to their action. When an herb description says it’s a parturient, would you know that it assists in labor and delivery? Because I didn’t know that, until I opened it up to the Ps and found a medical action I didn’t know so I could make this point. Useful, yes?

An old one: Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss

Back to Eden was my $1 used bookstore score, and I challenge you to find a cheap one too because it’s been in circulation for 77 years!

I refer to this classic reference when I find conflicting information in my newer sources. Since a lot of herbology is based in tradition and experience, there’s a bit of variation between how herbalists use certain plants (it’s not profitable to for the big funding agencies to sponsor herb research, but we’re seeing more studies lately). The level of agreement between sources is high, but there are some small details that vary depending on your reference. Kloss’ book adds weight to one side or the other when I need more information.

As a bonus, Kloss has a famous liniment that’s supposed to be fantastic for topical infections. I can’t verify, because I just mixed mine and it needs to macerate for another week, and even then we’ll have to wait for some skin issues to test it. But, it contains some pretty powerful ingredients and those who have used it attest to it’s effectiveness. The recipe is in there!

For recipes: Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar

As I said, I’m in Rosemary Gladstar’s correspondence course, so I’m waving my Team Rosemary flag. Biases aside, I do believe her information is among the very best out there. Her writing speaks to everyone from the novice to the expert and everyone in between. Her recipes are simple, powerful and fun to make. If I had to choose only one, I’d choose Rosemary’s book because it’s for everyone. No exceptions – everyone.

For digging deep into a health concern: Rosemary Gladstar’s entire library

 
     

I know, I know, Team Rosemary flag again! She has more detailed references if you want to learn more about dealing with specific issues. Though I wouldn’t start with these books, they would be a logical next step after you’ve done some basic experimenting. I listed only a few, but she has an extensive library that’s worth a look.

I’m anxiously waiting a shipment so I can make some digestive bitters and honey throat candy.

So, is that enough to get your feet wet? Any more gems I need to add to my library? I have a trip to the used bookstore coming up soon and I’d love some suggestions!

Base Salve Recipe – and 5 Essential Oil Blends to Try With It

Base Salve Recipe – and 5 Essential Oil Blends to Try With It

Salve isn’t something that’s in the mainstream bathroom closet anymore, is it? We have lotion and lip balm, but that’s about all.

Before I started exploring herbs and essential oils, I didn’t exactly know what salve was. My best guess was that it was a moisturizer for your skin, hard like lip balm and sold in oversized lip balm tins.

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At the time, I didn’t know how versatile salve was. It’s the only thing that softens my alligator knuckles during these mountain winters, and I can mix up essential oil blends to make healing and happy-smelling magic in a tin.

I have a basic recipe that can be used by itself or with whatever skin-friendly oils you have on hand.

Okay, let’s melt.

Base Salve Recipe

 

What you need… 
1 pint mason jar
medium saucepan
2oz salve tins (optional)
stainless steel butter knife
Ingredients 
3 tbsp beeswax, grated or pastilles
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c coconut oil
5 drops vitamin E oil
essential oils of your choice (look below for my favorite salve blends)

Pour about 2 in. water into a saucepan, and place a mason jar in the center. Turn the heat on to medium. Add the beeswax and coconut oil. Once softened, add the olive oil. Keep an eye on it, and occasionally stir with a stainless steel butter knife.

Once everything is incorporated and looking uniform, remove from the heat. Take the knife you used to mix and put it in the fridge for three minutes. Check the texture of your salve and make adjustments according to your preferences. If it’s too soft, add a little beeswax. If it’s too hard, add some olive oil. Repeat the knife test until it’s perfecty-perfect.

salve recipe

Now, you have a couple of options. You could let your salve base cool and keep it on hand as-is to use as a carrier oil with your favorite essential oils, ready when the whim strikes.

Or, before it solidifies, you can split your salves into 2oz tins and make yourself a little variety of salves, all essential oiled up and ready to use.

I like to split them into tins and use a toothpick to stir essential oils into each individual tin. Each blend below makes a 2oz tin. Of course, the blends are adjustable to your preferences! I tend to like about 40-50 drops per tin, keeping in mind that some oils are stronger than others.

These are of my favorites to drop into a 2 oz tin of salve base, but this stuff is versatile. Use what you like.

Muscle Tingle

20 drops wintergreen
20 drops peppermint
5 drops clove or ginger

Lullabye

20 drops lavender
20 drops chamomile

Oucharoo

20 drops lavender
20 drops tea tree (sometimes labeled by its botanical name, melaleuca)
5 drops geranium

Workin’ Hands

20 drops rosemary
20 drops cedarwood
5 drops lemon

Cracks & Scales

15 drops myrrh
15 drops lemongrass
10 drops chamomile

We’ll get to advanced salve preparation soon – infusing oils, adjusting to make room for shea butter and such, but for now let’s stick with the ease of dropping in our favorite essential oils.

Planning to whip some up? Send me a pic of your creation!

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