Homemade Products…

Beautiful Cornflowers, growing wild:

Courtesy The GuardianUK

(Photograph, courtesy The Guardian.co.UK)

So, I make my own homemade personal and home products. I do it for me AND the environment. My roomie too (see cutiepie in posts below ;^)), who is uber-sensitive and has very delicate skin :).
All my ingredients, including most of the containers are from Mountain Rose Herbs — my highest recommendation for anything they offer! Very high-quality, pure products.

I tend to make these on the fly, much like my cooking. I rarely write them down as recipes, but will try to. It’s just so fun to create on the spot; and never make the exact same thing twice :^). AND, most things like this require tweaking…so even when I follow someone’s recipe, inevitably — whether it’s the weather, product variation, or preference — something will need altering!

Here are a few things I’ve been up to lately. I’ll post more on this topic, with instruction and recipes (eventually!).

Dried Cornflowers:

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I needed a good eye bath (weather’s acting up something terrible) to replace conventional ones like Visine, etc. Did a bit of research and learned that cornflowers are an ancient use for eye bathing. So, I thought I’d give my eyes a dip in the blue waters of corn :).

Here are the cornflowers infusing in purified water:
cornflower_infusion

As you can see, it’s in a VOSS water bottle! For sanitation reasons, of course, every instrument which comes into contact with any solution one is making must be sanitized; so I decided on starting with a sealed, purified, good-quality water in a glass container. Sort of saves me the anxiety of it all! All of this is much like canning. I simply strained this very well and, voila! Cornflower water ๐Ÿ™‚
By the way, VOSS water is excellent! Unfortunately, very expensive.

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The cornflower water had a very light, pleasant, floral fragrance. I use it for a body spray, after-bath as well! I diluted it with water and washed my eyes with it using a glass eyewash cup –worked! It was very refreshing, non-stinging (good thing I diluted; the cornflower water was strong as it was), and eyes felt clean.

I searched for an appropriate preservative, as, I imagine, this will “rot” rather quickly, especially since it’s not something I’ll be using daily. However, what is really appropriate for the eyes?! I decided, since this was a home-remedy, I’d go the freezing route (as IF I have the freezer space!) and just use as needed. I froze in ice cubes, sealed well, and that’s workin’ for me :).

I’ve also used chamomile flowers for an eyewash, and it’s also very nice and gentle (have some cubes in my freezer too); and I can also drink it as a nice evening tea ๐Ÿ˜€

—————

Next up…

These are just some other potions I came up with: One on the left is the cornflower water (I think), and the one on the right is a sage deodorant spray I made (came out excellent).

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LOVAGE:
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Lovage is fabulous in deodorants. It has a nice fresh-green fragrance. It’s a light aroma, reminiscent of parsley, though I read it’s closer to celery, which it also smells like. It works very well as a deodorant all by itself, and is non-fragrant for the most part. Paired with witch hazel it’s even better! It dissipates, and the small amount used for the underarms isn’t enough to be fragrant. I will work on an even better one soon!

I made the lovage water myself (Eek! I cannot recall if it was an infusion or a decoction…) It came out great. The extra I had, I added a couple drops of grapefruit seed extract to act as a preservative; It worked great and I didn’t have to fridge it. It’s been a couple months now, and it’s doing great in my bathroom. I put it in a spray bottle as well and simply spray my underarms with it on some days as a deodorant. It basically neutralizes any odors rather than masking them. Very nice if you don’t want the funk of perfume+ odor :O

It’s also a fabulous general body spray!

It is most often used as a food ingredient, however; and I read that it is the primary ingredient in the Maggi and Knorr products!(junk!) It makes a good soup broth or ingredient for vegetable broth and purported to be a good salt substitute or ingredient of same.

Next, is a concentrate I made for a mouthwash. I added it to the larger glass bottle with some water and a bit of aloe…came out excellent. I didn’t write down the recipe, but I do know I used whole anise seeds (which I left in); essential oils of clove, cinnamon, neem, myrrh, peppermint…and more I can’t recall!

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Here are some vegan lip balms I made as well: This first one is an orange vanilla-mint lip balm which came out really nice.

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And this is a vanilla-coriander lip balm:

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I was very excited to finally get around to trying Soap Nuts!! Good enough for the Aztecs; good enough for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I purchased these

LULLWATER
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brand soapnuts. I was pleasantly surprised that these little — technically fruits — nuts worked!

Clothes came out sooooo soft. I love-love-love that there is nothing added; it is simply fruit! Pick from a tree and that’s it! How much more natural can it get?! Here are some answers to questions often asked about soapnuts, courtesy Maggie’s Soapnuts.

I have learned that soapnuts can be used as a multi-purpose soap! I was SO happy to learn this! I have always wanted a truly — truly — pure, and natural soap to use, one which does not use the lye processing; however, it is impossible to find any soap like that. A few years ago, I was looking into making my own soap bars — or any type of form for personal soap — and read that it was “impossible” to make soap without the lye process. I always wondered, “Then how did they wash clothes back in the day?! I mean, I know beating against rocks and rinsing in water was common, but how else? Anyway, after learning one ancient Roman method involved using urine as a cleaner and “bleach” to clean clothes (Ack!) and another using rendered animal fat (:(), I decided I’d skip the ancient ways and resign myself to the more “natural” of soaps available nowadays (even with their ridiculously hefty price tags).

I did discover, however, that MountainRoseHerbs had a fabulous castile soap (better than Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, in my opinion, though I’m not against Bronner’s and would use it if I couldn’t get the MRH). VERY clean, no fragrance, and a fabulous-fabulous cleaner — I don’t think I have ever been cleaner! It also is, surprisingly NON-drying. Love that. So, I’ve been using it for all my products calling for soap, such as my own pump handsoaps for the kitchen and bathroom. I just add essential oils. I don’t think I’ll be giving up totally the MRH’s castille; it’s too good!

ANY_way, back to the soapnuts! SO-so many-many uses! And they now come in various forms for convenience. Fantastic for people with allergies as well!

I read some reviews and comments and most said it did just as good a job at least. Many said it did better than regular detergents, while a few said not as well. There were several comments about extra-dirty clothes requiring something extra, but, that’s pretty much with a conventional detergent too. I use vinegar in the rinse to remove especially tough odors and as a fabric softener (leaves no smell at all) amd it’s cheap! (And vinegar is fantastic for any cleaning job, really.)

For tougher stains, a non-bleach, oxygen-type product works well. Some borax is a good general laundry boost (though, *I think* I’ve recently read that even it is not so environmentally friendly as supposed; unfortunately, I can’t find the source where I read it! I could be wrong on that, so don’t quote me on it…)
If I want a soft fragrance, I can add a few drops of essential oil to the wash.

I will be updating on my experiences with it. I have so far made a liquid handsoap! Came out okay, but I overdid the essential oils.

I hope to work it to get a nice dishwashing soap; already, it can be used in automatic dishwashers! I wash dishes the old fashioned way, however :^) More on my dishwash-soap experiments to come…

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The soapnuts come with three little sacks (I had one going in the washer at the time I took this pic, so only two are shown here). Simply add 3-5 whole soapnuts to the little sacks and throw into the machine with a load. It gets even better: You can do 3 loads with those nuts! The instructions say that they must be used the same day, though, because, being that these are plants, they will decay and rot. However, I found that, after one load, I simply laid them to dry and they did not rot; and, in fact, I was able to use them a week later :). If it’s humid, I’ll probably dehydrate them or even stick them into my potted plants, as they are natural insect repellents and keep little buggers from eating your goodies! You can also make a spray of it and mist your plants to keep them pester-free. How fabulous is all this?!!

And speaking of soaps, I saved several pieces of various bar soaps, which had been used to small nubs; melted then combined them; added glycerine and aloe and came out with a fabulous whipped (as it like whipped cream!) soap! I did this all on the fly; I had no idea how it would turn out. As it was, I put in too much glycerine. I will work on it and get the measurements right and post it. It was still fantastic! I added some essential oils for fragrance and therapeutics. My skin was soooo soft (from the glycerine) that I didn’t need any body lotion!

I was going to take a picture of the whipped soap, but ended up using it too soon so the picture wouldn’t look to great — next time :D. And I will update on that later as well.

_Strix
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21 Comments

  1. July 1, 2008 at 8:00 am

    […] many products about to post! So far, only the Aquasana has bore the brunt of my wrath ;D; and the Soap Nuts, a thumbs up. But I’ll start again with this: I bought a new juicer — I don’t […]

  2. December 27, 2008 at 11:26 am

    […] 2 tb sp (25 ml) cornflower water (you can make this!) […]

  3. Joanna W said,

    March 18, 2009 at 5:32 am

    Am finding it difficult to obtain small amounts of Cornflower Water, does anyone know how to make your own please? x

    • poxacuatl said,

      March 18, 2009 at 8:51 am

      Hi, Joanna! Well, I don’t have a distiller; so my cornflower water is just, well, cornflower water :). I steep the flowers in hot water, basically, just like tea. The ratio of flowers to water is up to you.

      I’ve actually been wanting to do a home-distillation; but just haven’t gotten around to it. There is equipment, but very expensive, one can purchase to distill at home. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever need that! But, anyway, the same sanitary rules apply for making these floral waters: Everything which comes into contact with the water used and the cornflowers must be sterilized. So, I boil some water in a large pot and carefully sanitize the utensils, funnels, spoons, etc. And, of course the receptacle where the cornflower water will be stored.

      Without a preservative used, this type of floral water will go bad; so, depending on what I’m using it for and how much I’m making, I will freeze them in an ice cube tray (sanitize that too) or whatever you want to freeze it in and store that way. This way, I don’t have to deal with it taking space in my fridge or having to make it fresh each time I need it.
      You can use a preservative, if you wish.

      I am especially careful with my cornflower water because I use it as an eye wash.

      It is difficult to find, I agree. It would be great to have it available in the U.S. From what I understand, it is widely available in France.

      Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Joanna W said,

    March 24, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Poxacuatl, thanks for that, sorry for the delay have been away at my parents. I wanted to make my own eye make up remover you see, as I suffer from Blepharitis (eyelid conjunctivitis) found a fab recipe, but not the water ๐Ÿ™‚ I need to make 200ml, so what do you think the ratio would be ? Math isn’t a strong point of mine lol ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to anyone for their help x

    • poxacuatl said,

      March 24, 2009 at 10:08 am

      Joanna, I don’t know what ratio of water to flowers you’d need, but here is a recipe for cornflower infusion for use as an eye bath.
      Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚ You can always go to the library or bookstore and you’ll find lots of books on making your own products, and they probably have info on cornflowers and lots of recipes.
      If looking for milliliters, that would be just under 1 Cup. 200ml = 6.8 ounces.

  5. Joanna W said,

    March 24, 2009 at 11:33 am

    poxacuatl thanks again, thats a great site, and looks like a fab book, may have to invest. Thanks again.

    P.S Glad to have found this site, ty x

  6. sharon said,

    September 24, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I’ve used eyebright tea as an eyewash as well and it instantly relieves itchiness and refreshes tired eyes.

    Thanks for the word on cornflower.

    • poxacuatl said,

      September 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

      Hi. Thats great! I’ve had to use it more often than I used to, since this summer atmosphere has been downright foul at times! I also adore using natural remedies ;^)

      Thanks for stopping by, sharon!

  7. Joanna W said,

    September 25, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I managed to find some Cornflower Water, am I allowed to say the name ? Penny Price Aromatherapy, UK, sorry if this isn’t allowed.

    The make up remover is lovely, and also takes off waterproof mascara ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. February 6, 2012 at 1:59 am

    […] I also use cornflower water on a daily basis. It has a pleasant floral fragrance and it can threat the dark rings bellow the eyes, while smoothing the skin around them. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to buy it in Ireland but it’s widely available online and it can also be made at home – see tutorial here. […]

  9. Olla said,

    June 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    So do you have a recipe for your vegan lip balm?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Strix said,

      June 15, 2012 at 6:12 am

      I thought I put one up somewhere…Hmmm…Well, I have the lip whip recipe and the “Vaseline” sub, for sure. I’ll have to re-check and put up a balm soon if necessary. Thanks for writing!

  10. Allison said,

    March 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    What is the ratio of cornflowers to water to make the cornflower water?

    • Strix said,

      March 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Hi, Allison. Here is a recipe for cornflower water.

      • Allison said,

        March 31, 2014 at 8:39 pm

        Thanks so much, Strix! Just read that the recipe calls for fresh petals. Is the ratio different if you use dried?

        • Strix said,

          April 1, 2014 at 9:06 am

          You’re welcome! I would use 1 tsp dried for 1 TB fresh. That’s just sort of a standard substitute ratio. But, “officially” I wouldn’t know for sure.

          • Allison said,

            April 1, 2014 at 11:03 am

            Will do. Thanks so much! Your info. has been really helpful… ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Allison said,

    April 11, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Strix,

    Thanks so much for the cornflower water recipe. Made it the other day & tried the refrigerated water on my eyes on soaked cotton pads this morning. Works like a charm for puffiness! All natural & sooooo much less expensive than the ready-made product that I had found. The main ingredient in that is cornflower water so that is the magic bullet… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Strix said,

      April 21, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Awesome, Allison! Feels so soothing, doesn’t it? I have some in a spray pump bottle that I keep in the fridge and I spray my face so it gets in my eyes that way too. Did yours smell nice? Mine has a nice light floral scent. Probably more noticeable at room temp, though.
      Glad it works for you too! :^)


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