Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
I don’t know where your feet reside on this great big beautiful blue marble of ours, but in the great state of Pennsylvania Winter has definitely arrived! Baby it’s COLD outside! I mean COLD! Now, I know there are some of you who enjoy these icy, brisk temperatures – and I have the number of a very good therapist I can give you to talk to about that – but, I was not made for this climate. I’m pretty sure the stork made a slight geographical error when looking for where I was to be placed (my family probably agrees with this!). I’m pretty sure my correct drop zone was supposed to be somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands! I have been trying for some time now to convince Mr. T to correct this error by relocating me there now, but to no avail!
There are multiple reasons I am convinced the cold temps are not made for me – not withstanding that I simply don’t like them – but, one of the biggest reasons is that the cold wreaks havoc on my skin! This can happen to all of us, regardless of our age, but for those of us looking over the hill at 40 or 50 or more, we know that the moisture and softness that was once naturally part of our skin has started to change. When I was younger, I had very oily skin and hair. Suddenly – and I mean SUDDENLY, almost overnight – in my 40’s – the skin on my legs and my arms went from oily to dry. No in between, it just went straight from oil field to downright scaly. Then in the last two years, my extremely oily hair lost its oil! I now have normal, fast chasing dry/brittle hair! Thank you menopause! (Did you hear the sarcasm dripping out of my voice there?!)
Now I am the last person on God’s green earth who feels qualified to give beauty advice. This is why I do not have a “beauty blog”. However, I do believe in passing information along when I find products that work for me! Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not shy about giving my opinion, good or bad, about a product or service. I’m sure you’ll find my name on many, many review boards – much to some of their chagrin! But, because I also believe in working within the means God has given each of us, I want to pass along to you things that I believe are reasonable/affordable for most of us. If I show you something you’re really interested in, but it’s so far out of your financial means that you’re like “wow, what’s the point of that?!” that’s just frustrating for you. So, I’ll try, as much as possible, never to do that to you.
As I said, over the last couple of years, I’ve struggled with very dry skin on my arms and legs and in the winter it got significantly worse. So, I went in search of something to help the problem. I tried several regular lotions, but nothing really worked. I’m a huge fan of the idea of homemade beauty products, but so often they don’t really work or the ingredients are hard to find and so expensive you might as well just buy a pre-made product. But, when I ran across a few recipes along this same vein, I was really intrigued. The ingredients were simple and available and the reviews were very good. With a little tweaking and reworking of some ingredients, I came up with a body scrub that has become a “can’t do without” in my beauty regime!
Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sea salt
1/4 cup Ground Coffee
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Combine brown sugar, sea salt, and coffee together in medium container. Mix and blend well with fork until all three dry ingredients are integrated with one another.
Pour olive oil or coconut oil into the mixture.
Use a fork to blend thoroughly. Should end up looking like potting soil with a paste-like consistency.
Cover with air-tight lid and store in your bathroom. (Do not allow water to get into your container. I keep in the bathroom, but away from the bathtub/shower itself. These are food type items. Water and moisture build up inside can cause it to become rancid.)
Use while bathing or showering. Scoop out a generous amount and rub over body for a minute to two minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
You can see here that I’ve used an old container from a previously purchased jar of body scrub. (I turned the label so as not to see the name brand. Don’t want to get in trouble with anyone!) I did that because it was just the perfect size for doubling the recipe AND it’s not glass! This is actually very important. Since you’re using this in the bathroom, you do not want to use a glass jar. You’re going to be wet and the oil is going to be slippery. You don’t want to take a chance on dropping it and having broken glass in your tub or shower! If you don’t have an old container on hand, a Tupperware container would work great, also. I did a close up of the label, as well, so you can see the amount the container held to give you an idea of size. Just for a tip – I always double the amount and I always use the coconut oil vs. the virgin olive oil. Either will work, but I really prefer the consistency of the coconut oil, as well as the known beauty and healing properties of coconut oil. For best use, in warm months, keep the jar near an air conditioner or in the refrigerator or the coconut oil will get melt-y and runny.
Unfortunately, I can’t SHOW you how soft and smooth this has made my skin, you have to take my word for it. But, back in August, after my youngest grandson, Max, was first-born, I was babysitting his 4 yr. old big brother, Caden. During the day Caden had by chance run his hand up and down my arm. He looked up at me and said, “Gigi, you’re so soft. You feel as soft as baby Max!” Ok, out of the mouths of babes! When your 50 yr. old skin is compared to that of a newborn baby, THAT is quite a testimonial!
Using this scrub has come with an unforeseen bonus, as well… Anybody else ever have those ugly red bumps all over the top of your arms? I called it chicken skin! It felt rough and it looked terrible! Since I have started using this scrub the red bumps on the top of my arms have almost completely disappeared and the skin there is just as soft as the rest of my arms and legs!
Warning! I will give you a warning with this scrub – it is messy! It’s coffee. You are going to have coffee grounds all over your tub or shower! Make sure you rinse out your tub thoroughly! We have a removable shower head in our shower/tub. As soon as I finish my bath and drain the water, I then take the shower head, turn the water on full hot and spray down the sides and the tub, pulling up the mat since the coffee can get stuck underneath. If you don’t do this and you have a light-colored mat, it will stain.
While I’m warning you about rinsing your tub, make sure you rinse yourself well, also. Those little grains of salt, sugar and coffee can get into all kinds of “nooks and crannies”. In fact, you’ve all heard me talk about my sweet little fur baby Tucker! He is a very affectionate puppy, well-known for not being able to hold his “licker” – he loves to give kisses! One day after a bath I was lying on the couch and Tucker proceeded to cover me with kisses, not unusual, but then his kisses started to get more fervent than usual! I tried to tell him to stop, but he just wouldn’t listen! He was like a dog on a mission! Next thing I know, he’s attacking my bellybutton with puppy kisses! Well, enough was enough and I pulled him off! Looking down to examine said bellybutton (I have a very pronounced “inny”) I discovered that I had not rinsed sufficiently and Tucker was trying to lick out a little puppy treat for himself of coffee, sugar and salt! Yuck!
Though I love my coffee scrub, I have recently begun to follow this up at bedtime with a homemade body cream. Like the body scrub it is coconut oil based, and like the coffee scrub I have fallen in love with it! I am presently using it just at bedtime, but there is really no reason you can’t use it more often if you feel it’s necessary.
Lavender Coconut Body Cream
I cup unrefined organic coconut oil (in solid form)
1 tsp vitamin E (you can use broken apart capsules if you can’t find it in liquid form)
15 drops lavender essential oil — (15 to 20)
Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl
Beat with a hand blender until it is light and airy (it takes about 2 to 3 minutes)
Place it in a glass container with a lid and enjoy!
I’ve copied this recipe just as it appeared on the website where I found it. (snailpacetransformations.com) I do have a few comments. I’ve done this with plain coconut as well as with the unrefined organic – I have found absolutely no difference in the effectiveness of the cream. So, I’ll leave that up to your call. If you feel strongly about things like that – go for it – if not – that’s ok, too.
The lavender oil is optional. She does state that on the site. You can add any oil you care for, or you can skip the oil all together. I happened to have some lavender oil in the house so I went ahead and added it and I’m really glad I did. Not only does it smell wonderful, but since I use it at bedtime, lavender has a lovely calming, relaxing effect that is perfect for your nighttime beauty ritual.
The glass container is, of course, optional. You can use any container. I happened to have a nice glass jar that fit it perfectly, so that is what I used. You can use whatever you have that seals airtight.
Please note that coconut oil does change consistency with temperature, so if you just leave it out in the warmer months it is going to get runny. It’s not bad. It’s still usable. That’s just the nature of coconut oil. You just have to rub it in a little more. I have found that if you just sit the jar on or very near your air conditioner it will hold the more solid shape. Or, of course, you could put it in the fridge. Also, because of coconut oil’s nature, once it touches the heat of your hands, it becomes liquid-y fairly quickly, so be sure and rub it in well so as not to get oily marks on your clothing or sheets.
For me, these two products have been game changers for my skin – no more cracking, no more itching, no more chicken skin – and all I had to do was grab things that I already had in my cabinet to begin with! I love that!
Until Next Time!