Beautiful Cornflowers, growing wild:
(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!).
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:
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
By the way, VOSS water is excellent! Unfortunately, very expensive.
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😀
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).
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!
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.
And this is a vanilla-coriander lip balm:
I was very excited to finally get around to trying Soap Nuts!! Good enough for the Aztecs; good enough for me😉 I purchased these
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…
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😀. And I will update on that later as well.