Category Archives: Natural DIY

DIY all-natural herbal mouthwash for healthy teeth & gums

DIY all-natural herbal mouthwash

Ah, there’s nothing that compares to that fresh and clean feeling of mouthwash!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been stuck on a bus with busted AC all day next to an old Italian man with garlic seeping out of every pore (been there), swish a little mouthwash you’ll feel like a whole new you in an instant!

But most store-bought mouthwashes are filled some pretty dangerous nasties.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients of one of the most popular mouthwashes out there:

Active Ingredients:

Thymol (0.064%) [ORGAN SYSTEM TOXICITY], Eucalyptol (0.092%), Methyl Salicylate (0.060%) [DEVELOPMENTAL/REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY], Menthol (0.042%)

Inactive Ingredients:

Water, Alcohol (21.6%) [ORAL CANCER], Sorbitol Solution, Flavoring, Poloxamer 407, Benzoic Acid [ORGAN SYSTEM TOXICITY], Sodium Saccharin, Sodium Benzoate [ORGAN SYSTEM TOXICITY], FD&C Blue 1 [ORGAN SYSTEM TOXICITY; has actually been banned for use in other countries]

Let’s take a deeper look at the alcohol. Not quite sure why this is considered an “inactive ingredient” since there is so darn much of it in there and certainly for its germ-fighting properties.

There is now sufficient evidence to accept the proposition that developing oral cancer is increased or contributed to by the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes… It is the opinion of the authors that, in light of the evidence currently available of the association of alcohol-containing mouthwashes with the development of oral cancer, it would be inadvisable for oral healthcare professionals to recommend the long-term use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes. —McCullough and Farah, Australian Dental Journal

Time for a safer alternative, huh?

This DIY all-natural herbal mouthwash not only gives you that fresh and clean feeling you want from a mouthwash, its ingredients also have the minerals and antibacterial properties your teeth and gums need.

What you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon Real Salt or pink Himalayan sea salt (rich in minerals; inhibits bacteria growth; helps heal cuts and reduce gum inflammation)
  • 1 teaspoon calcium magnesium powder (helps remineralize teeth)
  • 2 drops spearmint essential oil*
  • 2 drops cinnamon essential oil*
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil*
  • 2 drops clove essential oil*
  • 2 drops myrrh essential oil* (myrrh is not an herb, it’s a resin, but I’m including it in here!)

*After doing the research, I consider these essential oils to be the top five essential oils for healthy teeth and gums (though I’m sure there are certainly more!). When putting essential oils in my mouth, I want to be confident in their purity, which is why I recommend these essential oils.

Directions:

Add all of your ingredients to a glass bottle (I used an old ACV bottle!), shake it on up, and ta-da! You now have your very own DIY all-natural herbal mouthwash for healthy teeth & gums!

I use this mouthwash twice a day, morning and night after brushing with my DIY all-natural whitening + remineralizing toothpaste. While the salt and EOs inhibit bacteria growth, to play it safe I make a new batch weekly.

DIY all-natural whitening + remineralizing toothpaste

DIY all-natural whitening and remineralizing toothpaste

I want to immediately address the elephant in the room before we go any further…

YES, this toothpaste is brown. And NO, it is not the loveliest looking.

But hey, we all know not to judge a book by its cover! And those perfectly white toothpastes that you are comparing it to may look pretty, but they’re chock-full-o’-nasties. This DIY toothpaste on the other hand contains ingredients that help both naturally whiten and remineralize teeth while not contributing to your body burden. What more could we really ask for?

Let’s take a deeper look at the ingredients:

Coconut oil

Coconut oil acts as the base for the toothpaste, keeping everything together. More importantly, the lauric acid in coconut oil is a natural antibacterial.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil also acts as the base for the toothpaste, helping to soften the paste since coconut oil can get pretty hard. This was important to me since I wanted to be able to squeeze my toothpaste rather than keep it in a jar. (If you don’t care about squeezability, you can simply replace the sesame oil with more coconut oil). Sesame oil is traditionally used for oil pulling (a practice I will cover more soon!) and also has antibacterial properties.

Bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is a staple in my house. This “healing clay” binds to and draws out impurities, helping to not only detox the mouth but also whiten teeth by removing stains. Bentonite clay is also high in calcium, magnesium, and silica which help remineralize teeth.

Calcium magnesium powder

Calcium and magnesium are critical for bone and teeth health. Calcium is obvious here, and magnesium is critical for calcium to be properly absorbed. This calcium magnesium powder contains the optimal balance of both.

Baking soda

Baking soda is alkaline, helps clean teeth and remove stains, and wards off bacteria.

Essential oils

After doing the research, I consider peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, clove, and myrrh essential oils to be the top five essential oils for healthy teeth and gums (though I’m sure there are certainly more!). When putting essential oils in my mouth, I want to be confident in their purity, which is why I recommend these essential oils.

Trace minerals

Trace minerals help restore and remineralize tooth enamel.

I know this seems like a TON of ingredients and you may want to jump off the page right now.

And it is certainly one of my most involved DIYs. But most of us already have coconut oil, sesame oil, and baking soda in our kitchens. Most also likely have at least peppermint EO, which can be used alone in the recipe if you’d like. If you don’t have bentonite clay, I suggest you get some ASAP since it’s so multipurpose and amazing (check out how I use it every day, week, and month). Trace minerals and calcium magnesium powder are both fantastic supplements so a great investment as well.

So on to the directions!

The following makes roughly a 4 oz batch of toothpaste:

In a double boiler, melt the 4 tbs of coconut oil. Or… if you are like me and don’t have a double broiler, you can simply stick a jar in a pot filled with shallow water, set the burner on medium-low, and put the coconut oil in the jar for it to melt (be sure not to get water in the jar). After the coconut oil is melted, remove the jar from the pot, wipe the water off the bottom, and set it on the counter. Next, add all of the other ingredients using a plastic or wooden spoon since a metal spoon will negate the effects of the bentonite clay. Stir everything together. The consistency will be runny but uniform, but it will harden into a thicker paste once it cools. So pop the jar into the fridge to set, stirring every five minutes to keep everything uniform. After about 15 minutes, you should see it start to thicken. At this point, I transferred it into one of these squeezable silicone tubes.

And there you have it! Your very own all-natural whitening & remineralizing toothpaste.

When you use it for the first time…

The consistency and taste are certainly not what you are used to. I use more of this toothpaste than I would with a “normal” store-bought paste since it does not foam, probably about double. The coconut oil will melt rather quickly in your mouth since it has a melting point of 76º turning the paste into a thick liquid. Also it is definitely salty! I don’t mind, but you can add liquid stevia or xylitol if it does bother you (or if you are trying to get your kids to use it!).

P.S.

Like my toothbrush? It’s bamboo! As you know, I HATE plastic. And we sure do use a lot of toothbrushes, which (along with their plastic packaging) just end up in landfills. These toothbrushes have bamboo handles and the packaging is completely biodegradable. In other words, they’re awesome.

DIY all-natural face oil for acne-prone & oily skin

DIY all natural face oil blend for acne-prone oily skin

Some things are just real head-scratchers.

How John Travolta could so badly butcher Idina Menzel’s name. How Leo has never won an Oscar. How putting oil on your face can actually make your skin less oily and less break-out prone.

It took me years of frustration and poisoning my body with chemical-laden skincare products before I finally experienced this last one firsthand. I always thought that oil in skincare products was to be avoided at all costs. So putting straight oil on my face? Oh heck no.

But then I got desperate. And I did it. And it worked. And now I’m hooked!

This face oil blend is my go-to.

I use it every morning and have seen significant results since starting to use it. Not only are my breakouts virtually non-existent (I’m now one of those lucky ladies who gets to freak out when she gets one little zit before her period and it feels AWESOME) but it has also helped minimize my oil production.

So without further ado, the DIY all-natural face oil for acne-prone & oily skin:

What you need:

  • Jojoba oil is a light oil that is easily absorbed. It mimics the skin’s sebum, tricking it to produce less oil. 
  • Tamanu oil has strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties, making it ideal for acne sufferers. It also helps regenerate skin cells, helping to heal broken skin and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
  • Lavender essential oil has powerful antibacterial properties and also helps calm inflamed skin.
  • Frankincense essential oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin, making it ideal for acne-prone skin. It is also a natural toner, decreasing the appearance of pores and evening skin-tone.
  • A 2 oz. glass bottle with glass dropper

Directions:

Fill the bottle ¾ of the way full with the jojoba oil. Fill the remaining ¼ with tamanu oil. Add 9 drops of lavender EO and nine drops of frankincense EO (this is a 3% dilution). Put the cap on and give it a little shake!

I only use about 4-5 drops: one on my forehead, one on each of my cheeks (which I rub over to my nose), and one on my chin/upperlip area. If my skin is particularly dry I’ll use a couple extra drops.

Interested in other carrier and essential oil options?

Check out:

Do you have a skin oil blend you enjoy using?

Please share with us below!

DIY all natural face oil blend for acne-prone oily skin 2

The top 10 essential oils for skincare

the top 10 essential oils for skincare

Essential oils are like Netflix original series. I. JUST. CAN’T. STOP.

And why would I want to? They’re just too good!

Got a headache? There’s an essential oil for that. Have a hard time sleeping? There’s an essential oil for that. Have a skin problem? There’s a TON of essential oils for that!

Essential oils have wonderful benefits for the skin.

I’ve already blabbed on and on to you all about my obsession with face oils and how they have helped me attain and maintain a clear, (as-close-to-)flawless(-as-I’ve-come-since-infancy) complexion. Well consider this part 2.

The following ten essential oils help remedy a number of skin conditions (well, if you’re buying good quality EOs, that is) — from acne to aging, dryness to oiliness. And when combined with the right carrier oils (be sure to see the important essential oil guidelines at the end of the post), you will see absolutely amazing results.

Carrot seed essential oil

Carrot seed essential oil has a rejuvenating effect on the skin. It not only works to help smooth skin, but assists with cell regeneration. For this reason, it can help to fade scars and improve the tone of aging skin.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin, making it ideal for acne-prone skin. It is also a natural toner, decreasing the appearance of pores and evening skin-tone. It is cytophylactic, which means that it helps protect existing cells and encourage new cell growth. For this reason, it helps reduce wrinkles, tighten skin, and reduce the appearance of scars. It also helps soothe chapped, dry skin.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium essential oil helps regulate oil production and reduces acne breakouts. It also helps improve skin elasticity and tighten skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It also promotes blood circulation to the areas where it is applied, helping to heal bruises, broken capillaries, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, ringworm, and other skin conditions. This baby does it all!

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil helps lighten the appearance of age spots and scars. It is helps regenerate skin cells so is great for mature skin, sun spots, and scarring. Another great oil for all skin types and needs.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is a wonderful natural astringent and antibacterial agent. As such, it is extremely beneficial to those with oily and acne-prone complexions. It also helps tone the skin and reduce the appearance of pores.

Remember: not all essential oils are created equally!

There is no standard for EOs and so sometimes people are duped into buying oils that are actually mostly filler and can even contain some pretty nasty ingredients. This is why I am a proud Young Living wholesale member and recommend membership to everyone who wants to buy the purest, safest EOs. Learn more about Young Living and the perks of membership on my essential oils page.

essential oils for skincare

Myrrh Essential Oil

Myrrh essential oil greatly benefits aging skin. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help improve skin tone, firmness, and skin elasticity, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Myrrh can also help heal sun damage, chapped skin, rashes, and eczema.

Neroli Essential Oil

Neroli essential oil is great for oily, sensitive, and mature skin. It helps to smooth fine lines and tone sagging skin. This rejuvenating oil contains a natural chemical called citral, which helps regenerate cells. For this reason, it is said to be very good at preventing and healing stretch marks, as well. Its antiseptic properties also balance oil production and shrink the appearance of pores without drying skin.

Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil is particularly great for aging skin. It promotes new cell growth and smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Because it also has antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, it can also benefit skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is one of the more well-known essential oils for acne-prone skin. It’s antibacterial properties help ward off acne-causing bacteria. It also helps to regulate oil production, which can decrease the severity and incidence of breakouts.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang ylang essential oil is one of my favorite essential oils because of its rich, floral fragrance. It is helps to control oil production and minimize breakouts. It also helps regenerate skin cells, smoothing fine lines and improving skin elasticity. Another great essential oil for every skin type.

best essential oils for skincare

Some important essential oil guidelines to remember:

Essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil to a maximum of 5% (see these 5 face oils for naturally clear, flawless skin). Be sure to do a patch test to make sure your skin does not have an adverse reaction to the oils. The inner forearm is a great place to do a test since the skin is delicate, similar to facial skin.

Additionally, essential oils should generally be avoided by pregnant women, infants, and young children.

I’d love your feedback!

I am having amazing results with essential oils and carrier oils — my skin in clearer and brighter than it has ever been, and my acne scars and sun spots are slowly but surely fading.

Do you already incorporate essential oils in your skincare routine? Which ones? If not and you decide to try one or two (or more!), please give us an update on how they are working for you!

5 face oils for naturally clear, flawless skin

5 face oils for naturally clean flawless skin I have a teeny-tiny little obsession…

With oil. That I put on my face.

That’s right, I put oil on my face.

Now there was a time that I would have shuddered at the very idea. I went out of my way to scan every skincare product I purchased for “oil-free” before giving it the green light, thinking that any oil would instantly clog pores upon contact and turn me into one big walking blackhead. And when it came to dealing with breakouts, I saw oil as my ultimate enemy. I mean, I even wiped my face with rubbing alcohol at one point (*cringes*).

Ironically, it was in an act of acne-induced desperation that I finally gave oil a chance, and I’ve never looked back. Ever since accepting the fact that it is truly a remarkable, wonderful all-natural moisturizer that keeps skin clear and healthy, I’ve become obsessed with oil. So over the past however-many months, I’ve grown a little collection of face oils. Because the one oil that did work for me on my first shot (cha-ching!) was not enough. Oh no, I needed to try THEM ALL!

Well, a lot of them at least.

Needless to say, when I’m into something, I’m all in.

And because when I feel passionately about something I like to tell others about it (hence the purpose of this here blog), I’ve put together this list of the 5 oils that have helped me attain and maintain a clear, (as-close-to-)flawless(-as-I’ve-come-since-infancy) complexion.

You may be wondering if coconut oil is on the list, and the answer is: no. The stuff is a staple in my house and I use it as a body moisturizer, but it makes my face break out. While it does work for some, it has a relatively high comedogenic rating which means it is very likely to clog pores.

So which oils made the list?

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil was my first love. When I first started using it, all day I would look forward to bedtime so I could apply it again, knowing that I’d wake up the next morning with clearer skin (it’s a little sad but very true, and if you’ve ever been desperate for clear skin then you feel me).

Jojoba oil is a light oil that is easily absorbed. It mimics the skin’s sebum, tricking it to produce less oil. While it does not feel that your skin has oil on it, I do not like wearing it alone during the day since it does give my face a slight sheen. That being said, I do mix it with the following dry oil and apply during the day…

Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is my newest obsession. I confess that I decided to try rosehip oil after learning that Rose Byrne — a.k.a. hilariously awful and beautiful Helen from Bidesmaid — Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Miranda Kerr all use this oil. You have to admit, these ladies have some lovely skin.

Rosehip oil is a dry oil that penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin where it regenerates cells, increasing collagen production. It is rich in vitamin C, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, all of which are known to help heal scar tissue. It is also high in retinoic acid, which studies show reduces the appearance of wrinkles and brightens skin.

Rosehip oil is without a doubt an integral part of my skincare routine, but do find it too drying to wear alone. Also, from my research it seems as though there can be a large discrepancy in the quality of certain rosehip oils, and the prices do certainly range quite a bit. It seems that it is worth spending more an a higher quality oil, such as the one I have been linking to here. This brand is the specific oil I have and have been using and with great results.

Castor oil

I tried using castor oil long before this face-oil-love-fest you’re witnessing right now, but didn’t stick with it. It is a very thick oil, and I didn’t like the fact that it felt like I had… well, oil on my face. That and it actually dried my skin out. This is because I was doing it all wrong; I was using just the castor oil. Less is definitely more when it comes to this oil: when a small amount of castor oil is mixed with another, thinner oil (such a jojoba — clearly my go-to!) the result is wonderful.

Castor oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it ideal for breakout-prone skin. It is high in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins, and minerals. In addition to helping reduce acne-causing bacteria and inflammation associated with breakouts, it can help heal discoloration and scars from acne.

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil has a 0 comedogenic rating meaning it does not clog pores. I’ll say that again: this oil does not clog pores. The other oils on this list have a comedogenic rating of 1-2 out of 5, meaning that they may clog pores (but they won’t necessarily clog pores — it really depends on the person, and 1-2 is a low rating).

Hemp seed oil helps to reduce the size of pores by helping to eliminate blackheads and acne. It also protects the skin from free radicals and improves elasticity. Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, it is often recommended for the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. It is made up of 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs) and is said to contain the ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFAs, which allows it to penetrate the layers of the skin.

Hemp seed oil is a very dry oil, and works best for me when mixed with a thick oil like castor oil or jojoba oil. The only thing I dislike about hemp seed oil is that it needs to be refrigerated after opening. And while I have a habit of applying masks in my kitchen in the reflection of the microwave that I very rarely use after steaming my pores open above a pot of water on the stove… there’s something about having to put your moisturizer on in the kitchen that makes me groan. That, and the fact that it’s cold when you apply it.

Tamanu oil

Like rosehip oil, tamanu oil helps regenerate skin tissue. For this reason, it is helps heal broken skin, and repair sun and acne damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties, making it ideal for acne sufferers. The thing that sets tamanu oil apart from the rest is a certain lipid called calophyllolide, which is not found in other oils and is a very strong anti-inflammatory.

Oh, the options are endless!

These face oils can be used on their own or mixed with each other in a blend that best suits your skin needs. These top 10 essential oils for skincare also make a great addition to your skin oil blend. Check them out and have LOTS OF FUN.

I dare you to not become obsessed…

5 face oils for clear flawless skin 2

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