Congratulations! It’s a hernia!

I realized a few months ago that the chunk at the top of my belly seemed to be independent of my belly. For years I’ve made self-deprecating jokes about my “kitty litter belly,” shaped like a litter box, but maybe just a belly full of kitties.

The chunk grew a bit. I ignored it a long bit. Until I realized I was trivializing when I shouldn’t, and perhaps my cavalier disregard for this growth might even be disrespectful of friends who had dealt with the discovery of dangerous bodily growths.

When I finally mentioned it to people in my life, the response was mostly alarm and that tilted-head, raised-brow look.

OK!! I’ll go to the doctor.

And I did. The diagnosis took mere minutes.

A gigantic umbilical hernia!

Happy the Hernia

He didn’t actually say gigantic or use an exclamation point, but it is big, and . . . (exclamation point please) I am so happy!!!! It’s a hernia!! I’ll name it Happy. I don’t have a square belly! I don’t have a tumor! I have a Happy Hernia!

I didn’t think it would be any more serious than a lump of fat, but, what do I know? Sometimes the odd things that appear on our bodies are not only serious, they are life-snuffing. I’ve been on that journey with more than one friend.

This is not one of those journeys.

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my health. My knees are wrecked, my back is a little crooked, and I have regular bouts of IBS. But, my heart rate is low, my blood pressure is impressive, I don’t take a single medication, and that lump on my belly is just a hernia!

I’m also grateful for my friends and family. They’re the ones who will make sure I sit still long enough to heal after the hernia extraction. If you’re the praying type, pray for them. Sitting still is not listed among the skill sets on my résumé.

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.

DIY Skin Care Part 3: Oily Personals

Enhance, customize, and personalize your DIY skin care recipes.

One of the most daunting aspects of diving into the DIY skin care movement is the unfamiliarity of the ingredients. When I cook, I have general notions of how using onions and peppers or adding herbs and sauces will impact my dish. Starting out, I was clueless when it came to why one essential or carrier oil might be preferable over another. As I splashed (flailed!) around in a virtual ocean of recipes and possibilities, my shopping list began to resemble the inventory list of a medieval apothecary.

My goal for this tri-part post is to simplify the jumping off point for others.

  • Oily Pantry (Click here for Part 1, a list of oils and unguents to keep on hand.)
  • Oily Starters (Click here to explore Part 2: four basic skin-care processes to help you get your toes wet oily.)
  • Oily Personals (Part 3, which follows below, is a set of charts with information to help you customize your DIY skin-care venture.)

The Oily Personals are quick references or cheat sheets that will help you make purchase and blending decisions. The information was collected from close to 100 resources. When information was contradictory and I could not resolve the contradiction, I excluded it. This post includes fourteen charts focused on specific conditions, problems, or areas. This will be expanded later with two additional charts of that list the properties of essential and carrier oils that are popular for DIY skin care.

Oily Tips:

  • Use cold-pressed, unrefined, organic oils.
  • Lavender and tea tree oils can be applied neat (undiluted and directly to skin). But most other essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil. A 1% or 2% ratio (essential to carrier oil or total emulsion) is a good rule of thumb.
    • 1% = 6 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. carrier oil
    • 2% = 12 drops of essential oil to 1 oz. carrier oil
  • Most essential oils have about a 2 year shelf life, but the shelf life of a carrier oil can be as brief as 3 months. Do not use rancid oils. Quinessence Aromatheray and Viva Woman offer information on why oils go rancid and tips on how to prevent that from happening.
    • Store oils in a cool place. They can be stored in a refrigerator, but a cool, dark pantry or cabinet is sufficient. Keep in mind some carrier oils become cloudy when refrigerated.
    • Keep bottles tightly closed.
  • Always test oils on “tough” skin before applying them liberally elsewhere, especially if you have nut or other allergies.
  • Avoid these citrus oils if you’re sensitive to the sun or will be exposed to it for a long period of time: bergamot,  grapefruit, lemon (cold pressed), lime (cold pressed), bitter orange (cold pressed).

Oily Personals Cheat Sheet List

These charts are provided for informational purposes only, not in lieu of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

To jump to a cheat sheet, click on the title.

  1. Improving Skin Appearance
  2. Treating Skin Conditions
  3. Treating Aging/Damaged Skin
  4. Treating Acneic Skin
  5. Treating Fungal Problems
  6. Treating Injuries, Infections, Growths
  7. Treating Diseases and Infestations
  8. Treating Disorders and Inflammation
  9. Treating Muscle, Joint, Nerve Problems
  10. Treating Blood-Related Problems
  11. Treating and Protecting Against Exposure and Bugs
  12. Treating Feet
  13. Treating Mouth Problems
  14. Treating Hair

1. Improving Skin Appearance

Improve Elasticity

Regenerate Tissue

Rejuvenate Skin

Smooth Skin / Fine Lines

Tighten Skin

Tone Skin

Essential Oils
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Rose
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Argan
  • Hazelnut
  • Hemp Seed
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
Carrier Oils
  • Hazelnut
  • Jojoba
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Clary Sage
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Safflower
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Rose
  • Patchouli
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Argan
  • Camellia
  • Jojoba
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Clary Sage
  • Frankincense
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
Carrier Oils
  • Grape Seed
  • Hazelnut
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Carrot Seed
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lemon
  • Neroli
  • Rose
Carrier Oils
  • Evening Primrose
  • Grape Seed
  • Hazelnut

Back to List

2. Treating Skin Conditions

For normal skin, oils that nourish and regenerate are advisable, for example frankincense, geranium, chamomile, lavender, neroli, and rose essential oils with carrier oils such as sweet almond, hemp seed, and jojoba. The chart lists oils for other skin types and conditions.

Dry

Oily

Dull

Mature

Sensitive

Thin

Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Carrot Seed
  • Coconut
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hazelnut
  • Hemp Seed
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter
  • Sunflower
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Niaouli
  • Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Ylang Ylang 
Carrier Oils  
  • Camellia
  • Coconut
  • Grape Seed
  • Hemp Seed
  • Jojoba
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Geranium
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Niaouli
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Camellia
  • Jojoba
  • Sunflower
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
Carrier Oils
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut
  • Hemp Seed
  • Rose Hip
  • Sunflower
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Argan
  • Coconut
  • Evening
  • Primrose
  • Grape Seed
  • Neem Seed
  • Sunflower
Essential Oils
  • Lavender
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Camellia

Back to List

3. Treating Aging/Damaged Skin

Age Spots / Discoloration

Cellulite

Sun Spots / Damage

Scars

Stretch Marks

Wrinkles

Essential Oils
  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cocoa Butter
Essential Oils
  • Geranium
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lemon
  • Patchouli
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Coconut
  • Hazelnut
Essential Oils
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Grape Seed
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Jojoba
  • Rose Hip
  • Safflower
  • Shea Butter
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Beeswax
  • Coconut
  • Jojoba
  • Shea Butter
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Clary Sage
  • Frankincense
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
Carrier Oils
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Jojoba
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter

Back to List

4. Treating Acneic Skin

Acne

Blemishes

Enlarged Pores

Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Niaouli
  • Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Argan
  • Beeswax
  • Camellia
  • Carrot Seed
  • Coconut
  • Jojoba
  • Neem Seed
  • Rose Hip
  • Safflower
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Myrrh
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Safflower
  • Shea Butter

 

Essential Oils
  • Clary Sage
  • Lemon
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
Carrier Oils
  • Hemp Seed

 

Back to List

5. Treating Fungal Problems

Athlete’s Foot

Candida (Yeast)

Jock Itch

Ringworm

Essential Oils
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Geranium
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Neem Seed

Back to List

6. Treating Injuries, Infections, Growths

Blisters, Boils, Burns

Cellulitis

Cuts, Wounds

Skin Infection

Sores, Abscess

Warts

Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Niaouli
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Avocado
  • Shea Butter
  • Tamanu

 

 

Essential Oils
  • Geranium
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Coconut
  • Oregano
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Niaouli
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Beeswax
  • Grape Seed
  • Hazelnut
  • Hemp Seed
  • Shea Butter
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Coconut

 

Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Tamanu

 

 

Essential Oils
  • Clove Bud
  • Frankincense
  • Lemon
  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme

Back to List

7. Treating Diseases and Infestations

Chicken pox

Dermatitis

Eczema

Measles

Scabies

Insect / Spider Bites

Essential Oils
  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oil
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Beeswax
  • Jojoba
  • Shea Butter

 

 

Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Beeswax
  • Camellia
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Evening Primrose
  • Jojoba
  • Neem Seed
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Niaouli
  • Tea Tree

 

 

Essential Oils
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
Carrier Oil
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Niaouli
  • Oregano
  • Thyme

 

Back to List

8. Treating Disorders and Inflammations

Hives / Inflammation

Itchy Skin

Rosacea

Psoriasis

Heat Rash

Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Castor
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Jojoba
  • EV Olive
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Avocado
  • Beeswax
  • Carrot Seed
  • Neem Seed
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Oregano
  • Rosewood
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Evening Primrose
  • Jojoba
  • Rose Hip
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Camellia
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Jojoba
  • Neem Seed
  • Rose Hip
  • Shea Butter
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Evening Primrose
  • Neem
  • Shea Butter
  • Sunflower

Back to List

9. Treating Muscle, Joint, Nerve Pain

Aches, Muscle Pain

Neuralgia

Sprains, Strains

Arthritis

Gout

Rheumatism

Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Clary Sage
  • Niaouli
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Clove Bud
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • EV Olive
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Clove Bud
  • Eucalyptus
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Evening Primrose
  • Tamanu
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Juniper Berry
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Clove Bud
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary

Back to List

10. Treating Blood-Related Problems

Broken Capillaries

Bruises

Chilblains

Nosebleed

Varicose Veins

Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Cypress
  • Geranium
  • Lemon
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hazelnut
  • Rose Hip

 

Essential Oils
  • Cypress
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hazelnut
  • EV Olive
  • Rose Hip
  • Sunflower
  • Tamanu

 

 

Essential Oils
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hazelnut
  • Rose Hip

 

Essential Oils
  • Cypress
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
Essential Oils
  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Neroli
  • Oregano
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Evening Primrose
  • Hazelnut
  • Rose Hip

Back to List

11. Treating and Protecting Against Exposure and Bugs

Chapped Skin

Sunburn

Sunscreen

Windburn

Head Lice/Mites

Insect Repellent

Essential Oils
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • EV Olive
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Neem Seed
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Carrot Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Coconut
  • Grape Seed
  • Jojoba
  • Neem Seed
  • EV Olive
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
Carrier Oils
  • Coconut
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
Carrier Oil
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Basil (Sweet)
  • Cedarwood
  • Clove Bud
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Neem Seed

Back to List

12. Treating Feet

Athlete’s Foot

Corns

Sweaty Feet

Essential Oils
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Tea Tree
Essential Oils
  • Lemon
  • Tea Tree
Essential Oils
  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium

Back to List

13. Treating Mouth Problems

Bad Breath

Canker (Cold) Sores

Gum Disease

Mouth Infection

Sore Throat

Toothache

Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Myrrh
  • Peppermint
  • Tea tree
Carrier Oils
  • Coconut Oil
Essential Oils
  • Bergamot
  • Clove Bud
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
Essential Oils
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Coconut Oil
Essential Oils
  • Clove Bud
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Tea Tree
Carrier Oils
  • Coconut Oil
Essential Oils
  • Clove Bud
  • Eucalyptus
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lemon
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Coconut
  • Jojoba
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Clove Bud
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint

Back to List

14. Treating Hair

Oily

Normal

Dry/Damaged

Dandruff

Fine

Thinning

Essential Oils
  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Patchouli
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Avocado
  • Grapeseed
  • Jojoba
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
Carrier Oils
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Jojoba
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Coconut
  • Grape Seed
  • Hazelnut
  • Hemp Seed
  • Jojoba
  • EV Olive
  • Evening Primrose
  • Shea Butter
Essential Oils
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Oregano
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Aloe Vera
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Avocado
  • Jojoba
  • Neem Seed
Essential Oils
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Avocado
  • Grape Seed
  • Jojoba
  • Sesame
Essential Oils
  • Basil
  • Carrot
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Ylang Ylang
Carrier Oils
  • Sweet Almond
  • Avocado
  • Camellia
  • Coconut
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Jojoba
  • EV Olive

Back to List

Copyright © Pennie Nichols, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

DIY Skin Care Part 2: Oily Starters

4 DIY skin care recipes to get you started

I started dabbling in DIY  household recipes as well as DIY skin care two and a half years ago. Although information, advice, and recipes are abundantly available on the Internet, navigating them can be treacherous.

Oily Starters is the second of three posts to ease others simplify into the DIY skin care revolution. Also check out Oily Pantry (a list of staple oils, butters, and waxes for DIY skin care) and Oily Personals (oil information to help you choose the best ones for you).

If navigating the plethora of information wasn’t sufficiently daunting for me, the recipes were. Even when I cook or bake, I can’t bring myself to faithfully follow a single recipe. I review three, four, sometimes more, recipes, and then go to the kitchen to synthesize or “process.”

Cooking by process in lieu of recipe allows me to use of what I have in my pantry and make substitutions. It also gives me the freedom to tweak whatever I’m preparing based on my mood or hankering. Extracting the process from skin-care recipes, however, took me longer than usual because the ingredients were not as familiar as garlic and tomato paste.

The first process I adopted was for dry, itchy skin, and it has become my most popular post: Dry Itchy Skin? Try This First.

The four processes provided here are a synthesis of recipes and information from some of my favorite DIY sites. Whether you need a jump start to launch your DIY adventure or a little affirmation or redirection for the journey you’re on, I hope these Oily Starters along with the Oily Pantry and the Oily Personals help you develop your own, personalized creams, lotions, and washes.

1. Basic Cream: Whipped Face/Body Cream

Getting the right consistency and texture for lotions, creams, and body bars is a challenge. I followed some recipes faithfully and ended up with lotions that separated. Sometimes the bars were more like creams, and the creams more like bars. Finally I found posts about a process that works for me:

melt → mix → chill → whip

The first recipe I found and tried was from Trash is for Tossers. Now I use a similar process for most of my lotions and creams.

 You’ll need

  1. Double boiler (or a heat resistant bowl that fits tightly atop one of your pots)
  2. Mixer
  3. Base and Additional Ingredients that are right for you
  4. Tub or jar to store it

 Base Ingredients

  • 1 part Coconut Oil 
  • 1 part Carrier Oil (select depending on use and needs)
  • 1 part Shea or Cocoa Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Beeswax granules or flakes for each cup of the oil/butter trio

Additional (optional) Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Vitamin E Oil for each cup of Base
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable Glycerin for each cup of Base
  • 5-10 drops Essential Oils per cup of Base

Instructions

  1. In your double boiler, mix and melt the Base Ingredients, along with Vitamin E Oil and Glycerin (if you’re using them). Don’t overheat the mixture, but make sure the Beeswax is melted.
  2. Remove from heat, cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Allow the mixture to harden.
  3. After the mixture hardens, take it out and break up the surface a bit.
  4. Add the Essential Oils you’ve chosen.
  5. Whip until you get a creamy, fluffy texture.
  6. Store in a sterilized container (I use re-purposed food tubs with lids that close well).

Notes

  • makeshift double boilerIf you don’t have a double boiler, place a heat resistant bowl over a pot (make sure it doesn’t the bottom).
  • I modify this basic recipe to make Face Cream, Body Cream, Foot Cream, and Lotion Bars.
  • Using different oils, I tweak the recipe to target specific problems or outcomes: thin skin for my mom, mosquito/insect repellent because I live in Louisiana, anti-fungal for feet, anti-aging for my mid-life face.

2. Eye Cream

Although the Basic Cream process can be tweaked to make eye cream, I generally prefer a simpler eye treatment.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vitamin E Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Primrose Oil
  • 3-5 drops Essential Oils (one or a combination of Lavender, Frankincense,  Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Chamomile, Cypress)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl or cup.
  • Whip.
  • Store in a sterilized container.

Notes

  • While this recipe is attractive due to its simplicity, keep in mind that coconut oil melts if the ambient temperature reaches about 76oF. If you prefer creamy vs. liquid eye treatment, store it in a cool cabinet or the refrigerator during warmer months.
  • This eye cream can also be used as eye makeup remover.
  • Tiny jelly or baby food jars and contact eye lens cases are great for storing eye cream.

3. Face Wash Oil

I still remember the scent of my grandmother’s cold cream. As a child I had wondered why she would use creams to clean her face. Shouldn’t she use soap? But cream- and oil-based cleaners are actually very effective, even for skin with acne problems.

Ingredients

  • 1 part Carrier Oil (e.g., Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba, Avocado)
  • 1 part Castor Oil (Wellness Mama also uses Hazelnut Oil)
  • a few drops of Essential Oil (e.g., Lavender)

Instructions

  • Mix in a sterilized jar or bottle.
  • Before each use:
    • Shake.
    • Pour about 1 tbsp. into hand.
    • Apply, massaging into your face.
    • Remove with a wet warm or hot washcloth.

Notes

  • Several DIY bloggers/sites offer oil-based face wash recipes, but I think Wellness Mama does the best job explaining the practice.
  • I use one part EV Olive and one part Castor Oils (my skin is normal).
  • For dry skin, use less Castor oil and more of the carrier oil.
  • For oily skin, the inverse: more carrier oil and less Castor oil.
  • Don’t mix more than about 1 to 2 cups total. Carrier oils have a shorter shelf life than essential oils.

4. Foaming Face Wash

This recipe comes from one of my favorite DIY sites, Body Unburdened.

Ingredients

  • 1 c Water (preferably filtered)
  • ¼ c Liquid Castile Soap
  • 5 tsp. Carrier Oil (Jojoba, Safflower, Sunflower)
  • 2 tbsp. raw Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Tea Tree Oil
  • 15 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Instructions: 

  • Pour the ingredients in your container.
  • Shake.
  • You’re done!
  • To use:
    • Pour about 1 tblsp. into palm.
    • Massage into face.
    • Rinse.

Notes

  • I initially made this for my children because it targets acne. Eventually, I made some for myself because I love the way it makes my skin feel.
  • I alternate washing my face with this and the Face Wash Oil.
  • I often substitute out the Jojoba oil for Avocado or Grape Seed Oil.
  • Sometimes I use Lavender Essential Oil with or instead of the Lemon Essential Oil.
  • Body Unburdened uses a pump for the foamy wash. I usually pour mine into a sterilized plastic dish-soap bottle, which doesn’t shatter in the shower.

Part 1: Oily Pantry

Part 3: Oily Personals

Copyright © Pennie Nichols, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

DIY Skin Care Part 1: Oily Pantry

Arm yourself for the DIY skin care revolution.

Introduction

Japanese Facial Massage at Ten Thousand Waves. Heaven. As I became aware that my therapist was finishing, I braced myself for her spiel: what my skin needed, the routine I should follow, the products I should use.

“Your skin looks great. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,” she said as she wiped her products from her hands.

A bit baffled, I blurted. “Coconut oil!”

“Well, keep up the coconut oil!”

Middle-aged, pudgy, and far from fit, I take the compliments that come my way. This one was particularly pleasing. Coconut oil, however, wasn’t the whole story, not even the only story. For the last two and a half years, I have been dabbling in DIY ventures. At first I focused on laundry detergents, dish soaps, furniture oils, and other household products, but I eventually took a crack at DIY skin care.

I’m no expert and I credit other, mostly younger, women, who have explored, researched, and shared information and recipes for DIY cleaning and DIY skin care. Thanks to them, you can Google just about any condition or problem and find a DIY recipe for it. Most are good, some are great. A few, frankly, are hogwash.

Navigating the good versus bad recipes, however, wasn’t my biggest challenge. After a little exploring, I was drowning in new information and I compiled a $300 list of oils to buy. Not only had I never heard of some of the oils on my list, I also wasn’t sure why one oil versus another was necessary, except that it was in the recipe. I tumbled down the DIY rabbit hole.

This tri-part post is my effort to help others avoid slipping down that rabbit hole and arm themselves for their own DIY skin care revolutions.

  • Oily Pantry: Presented below, Part 1 is a list of oils and unguents to keep on hand, with notes about equipment and safety.
  • Oily StartersClick here to explore Part 2: four basic skin-care processes to help you get your toes wet oily.
  • Oily Personals. Click here for Part 3: charts with information to help you customize your DIY skin-care venture.

Oily Pantry

The staples of my oily pantry.

The staples of my oily pantry.

The list of products you should have on hand will vary based on your skin needs and personal preferences. You may be pleased to find out you already have some these in your kitchen pantry.

  • The Staples are your starter kit or must haves for DIY skin care.
  • The Complements are good to have.

They appear in alphabetical order, not in order of importance, because the hierarchy will vary depending on your needs. If you explore the Oily Personals, you may decide that some of my Complements are your Staples, and vice versa. Regardless, this list will allow you to try the Oily Starters.

Staples

  • Beeswax flakes or granules
  • Carrier Oils
    • Castor Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • 1-3 additional oils: Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Avocado, Sunflower, Grape Seed, Extra Virgin Olive)
  • Liquid Castile Soap
  • Essential Oils
    • Geranium
    • Lavender
    • Lemon
    • Tea Tree
  • Raw Honey
  • Shea Butter
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Complements

  • More Carrier Oils
    • Argon Oil
    • Camellia Oil
    • Primrose Oil
    • Rosehip Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • More Essential Oils
    • Basil (Sweet)
    • Bergamot
    • Carrot Seed
    • Cedarwood
    • Chamomile
    • Clary Sage
    • Clove Bud
    • Eucalyptus
    • Frankincense
    • Juniper Berry
    • Myrrh
    • Neroli (Orange Blossom)
    • Niaouli
    • Oregano
    • Patchouli
    • Peppermint
    • Rose
    • Rosemary
    • Sandalwood
    • Thyme
    • Ylang Ylang

Online sources for buying oils are abundant, but my go-to source has been Bulk Apothecary. Their site provides useful descriptions, and I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of the products I receive. You can also Google just about any condition preceded by “Essential Oil for” and find information. Take care when exploring because not all online offerings are equal. These are three of sites I visit that provide some of the most thoughtful, useful information about essential and carrier oils, as well as DIY ideas and health/beauty advice.

Oily Safety and Equipment 

Shelf Life

  • Most essential oils have two-year shelf life, so stocking up on these is fine. However, you should avoid overstocking your pantry with carrier oils, as their shelf life is more limited.
  • Although some DIY concoctions will last much longer, you should only make amounts that you can use within six months. Including oils that extend shelf life (lemon essential oil and vitamin E oil, for example) is helpful. You can also refrigerate your lotions and creams, but this is not always convenient.
  • Store in a cool, dark cabinet.
  • Keep lids tight.

Sterilization

As with canning foods, cleaning and sterilizing your equipment and containers is important.

  • Run containers through the sterilization cycle of your dishwasher.
  • Microwave containers in a baby bottle sterilizer.
  • Place containers on a canning rack in a pot of water and bring to boil. Boil 10 minutes.

Equipment

oily-pantry-equipment

I use a make-shift double boiler: Pyrex mixing bowl and sauce pot. Remember to use plastic or metal spatulas, never wooden, to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria into your lotions and creams.

Although having dedicated equipment is not absolutely necessary, it is advisable. Oils and scents can be hard to remove. You will need some or all of the following to whip you your DIY concoctions.

  • sauce pan
  • double boiler or make-shift double boiler (sauce pan and heat-proof mixing bowl)
  • plastic or metal spatulas: Do NOT use wooden spatulas.
  • whisk
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixer
  • containers and lids: I use re-purposed glass and plastic jars, food tubs, and bottles. Baby bottles are a great size for storing face and eye creams.

Part 2: Oily Starters

Part 3: Oily Personals

Copyright © Pennie Nichols, 2016. All Rights Reserved.