Janice Cox

Baking Soda Beauty

Baking soda still one of the best DIY beauty ingredients !

Janice Cox

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Look inside your kitchen cupboard and chances are you will find a box of baking soda.   Baking soda as we know it comes from the mineral “Natron” which contains sodium bicarbonate, i.e. baking soda. It has been a part of our everyday lives since ancient times as the Egyptians used it as a simple cleanser and soap. Today it is a household staple with hundreds of uses from cooking to home remedies. There are few commercial products that can compare to baking soda effectiveness and versatility. It is also a simple and effective beauty aide that can be used head to toe to keep your skin and hair looking and feeling it’s best.   It is a mildly abrasive which makes it a gentle cleanser for your skin, hair and teeth. Baking soda neutralizes acid keeping your bodies natural pH level in check. It is also a powerful deodorizer, which you…

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Natural Soap Alternatives

Janice Cox

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Many of us grew up using “soap and water” to cleanse our face and body and this works for many of us — it is simple and easy!  However if your skin is taught and dry or super sensitive you may be using too strong a soap or cleanser for your skin type.   There are several natural ingredients that can be used in place of the traditional bar of soap to get your skin clean and glowing and with beautiful results.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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Oatmeal:  This common breakfast grain is probably the most popular non-soap cleanser around.  It is gentle and mild and can be used by all skin type, especially those with dry and sensitive skin.  To use, simply grind whole oats in a food processor, blender or clean coffee grinder until you have  fine powder.  Mix this with a little water to form…

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Simple Skin Scrubs

Cleansing scrubs are an important part of your healthy skin care regime.  They exfoliate or remove dead skin cells, which improves the texture of your skin and allows it to retain more moisture.  This in turn, enhances the efficiency of your creams, lotions and body butters.  Depending on your skin type, cleansing scrubs should be used two to three times a week to keep your skin clean and healthy.  Scrubs are not limited to the face; they can be used all over the body to keep skin soft and glowing.  Don’t forget classic rough skin areas such as knees, heels, and elbows.  When making scrubs to use on your face, grind the ingredients as finely as possible.  Treat your skin with care and gently scrub in a circular motions.  Here are a  couple of simple skin scrubs for you to DIY at home.

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Favorite Cleansing Grains

Whenever I ask people what their favorite cleansing scrub is, I usually get three answers; oatmeal, cornmeal, or wheat germ.  Each one of these on their own are an effective simple scrub combined they create and even more effective scrub.  Oatmeal is cleansing and softening.  Cornmeal is deep cleansing (especially helpful at removing blackheads) and wheat germ is gentle, mild and soothing to your skin.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons oatmeal

2 tablespoons cornmeal

2 teaspoons wheat germ

Mix all ingredients together and place in an air tight container.  To use: Combine a teaspoon or two with equal parts water or cleanser to create a paste.  Massage gently into your face and neck.  Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Yield: 2 ounces

Note you can also use this scrub on your body — you will just need to use more approx 1 /2 cup.

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Citrus Peel Scrub

Whenever you use citrus fruits save the colored part of their peel.  This is where all the essential oils are and when dried and finely ground they make an effective skin scrub.

Here are the steps to follow:

Remove the colored part of the peel; this can be done with a zester or sharp pairing knife.  Dry the peels thoroughly; this can be done in four different ways

Sunshine: Lay the peel on a rack to air dry near a sunny window

Microwave: Place the peels in a microwave safe ceramic bowl and microwave on low until dry (about 5 to 6 minutes).  Allow to cool completely.

Oven: Arrange the peels on a cookie sheet and place in a very low temperature oven for several hours or overnight (remember to turn the oven off when you go to bed).

Food Dehydrator: Use an electric food dehydrator and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying citrus peels.

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Now that you have your dried peels.  Coarsely grind them in a food processor or clean coffee grinder.   To use:  Mix with a bit a water to form a paste and massage into clean skin.  You can also combine your dried peels with other ingredients such as raw sugar, cornmeal or sea salt.

Note: sea salt is too harsh and abrasive for facial skin but fine for your body just avoid sensitive skin areas.

 

Let me know if you have any recipe requests or a favorite scrub recipe of your own!

Keep Glowing,

xoxo Janice

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Astringents, Toners and Skin Fresheners

Astringents, toners, and skin fresheners are important to healthy skin because they keep your complexiabon clean and your pores clear.  The cleaner the surface of your skin, the more efficient it is at absorbing and retaining moisture.  Many people like to use an astringent on their faces after cleansing.  They can also be used throughout the day, especially if you have oily skin.

One of my favorite and free skin toner and freshener is pure, ice cold water.  Splash your face with cold water after cleansing or anytime you can use a boost and your complexion will glow.  It also seems to energize your whole body and spirit.  This is the perfect toner for those with dry or sensitive skin.

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Another classic Astringent that I am sure most of you have in your bathroom right now is witch hazel.  This is a product that my grandmother taught me to use and I still do to this day.  Witch hazel is a plant whose bark ad leaves are made into this wonderful product.  You can create your own astringents using it as a base and a few drops of essential oil or you can also add it to creams and lotions.  My grandmother used it to soothe her tired eyes.  She would soak cotton pads then lie down with them over closed eyes for 10 minutes each day in the afternoon.

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Green Tea is also an excellent toner especially helpful in healing and treating troubled or acne prone skin.  This is because it contains antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which help to strengthen your skin’s natural defenses.  Simply brew up a strong cup of tea using a few bags or loose tea leaves and let cool completely.  Apply the cold tea to your face with cotton and do not rinse off.

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Let me know what are some of your favorite ways to use astringent and toners in your daily routine? Have a beautiful day!

xoxo Janice

For more Astringent, Toner and Skin Freshener recipes and treatments check out my DIY Natural Beauty Book – “Natural Beauty at Home”

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Happy 2017

First of all you are amazing!  I think this is the year when we need to give ourselves more compliments rather than a bunch of goals and  resolutions — self care is just that taking care of your self!  So Happy New Year and Happy 2017!

So let’s all whip up a facial mask – my personal favorite right now is a french green clay one with a drop of frankincense essential oil but use what you’ve got here are a few more ideas:

Sour cream with honey and vitamin E oil

Fresh berries and banana

Green tea and fresh avocado

 

Also the new year is always a good time to review my Natural Beauty Basics:

  1. Get plenty of rest
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Eat healthy foods
  4. Drink tons of water
  5. keep your skin and hair clean
  6. weekly facials and body scrubs
  7. brush your teeth and floss!!
  8. Use sunscreen
  9. Less makeup more natural beauty
  10. Smile and radiate positivity

 

Happy New Year!!

I am going really try to blog more and stress less this year if it is perfect or not — as connecting is what is important plus did I say this already YOU ARE ALL AMAZING!!!

 

xoxo Janice

 

 

Pumpkin Body Mask

This has always been the time of year for fresh pumpkins and pumpkin products but it seems like we have all gone even more pumpkin crazy lately — pumpkin is not only for pies and jack-o-later…

Source: Pumpkin Body Mask

But first, Coffee…..

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Source: But first, Coffee…..

Natural Beauty with Lavender

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I love July for a variety of reasons: Summer is here, The fourth of July and my lavender is blooming and ready for harvest!  I like to think of myself as a “Lavender Farmer”  I don’t have a huge farm but the plants in my garden provide myself and my friends with a years supply of lavender.  I use my lavender in creating bath and body products, sachets for my home and in cooking.  Lavender is perfect for scones and added to coffee and lemonade.

How I “harvest” my lavender flowers is simple –I know a lot of people tie them up into cute bunches and hang them from racks and I love this idea but I don’t always have that kind of time.  Here is what I do:

I lay a cotton tablecloth on the grass next to my plants and cut off all of the flowers after they have bloomed but before they are totally dried out.   Cut just above the green leaves and you will even get a second crop in many parts of the country.

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I then let my lavender dry in the sun — if it is windy where you are you can also do this inside.  I then sort of “Pat down” the lavender stalks and collect all of the fragrant flowers that have fallen off.  You can also save the stalks they make lovely fragrant “fire starters” when bundled up.

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Once you have your dried lavender you can use all on their own or mixed together with other ingredients.  IMG_7863

Here are a few of my favorite recipes for you to try:

Lavender Body Mist 

When you are feeling stressed this is a light fragrance you can spray around you or even on your sheets before going to bed at night to help you sleep.

Ingredients: 

1 cup witch hazel

1 tablespoon lavender flowers

2-3 drops essential oil of lavender (optional)

Directions: 

Mix all of the ingredients together and let sit overnight.  Strain out the lavender flowers and pour the liquid into a clean spray bottle or container with a tight fitting lid. To use: Spray onto your skin or air around you.

Yield: 8 ounces

 

Relaxing Lavender Bath 

A lavender bath is not only relaxing it also has skin soothing and healing properties.  Lavender is a natural antiseptic which makes it an ideal bath for calming a bad rash, sunburn or insect bites.

Ingredients: 

1 cup dried lavender flowers

2 cups oatmeal

1 /2 cup baking soda

Directions: 

Place all the ingredients inside a food processor or blender.  Grind until you have a smooth, fine powder.  The powder should have the consistency of whole grain flour.  Pour into a clean airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.

To use: pour 1 /2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub.

Yield: 28 ounces

 

Lavender Mouth Rinse 

Lavender freshens your breath and cleans and disinfect your whole mouth.  This is a mild, almost tasteless mouth rinse that has an airy, floral fragrance.  You can also use this as a skin freshener.

Ingredients: 

1 Tablespoon lavender buds

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons rosewater

Directions: 

Place the lavender buds in a glass bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Let the mixture steep until cool then strain.  Add the rosewater to the lavender water and pour into a clean container.  To use: Pour a small amount into a clean glass and rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth and gums.

Yield: 8 ounce

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For more recipes check out my book Natural Beauty at Home.

Have a beautiful day!

Janice

 

Aloe Vera Beauty

Janice Cox

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Aloe vera is a popular succulent plant that has been used in herbal medicine since ancient times to treat and soothe the skin.  It is often marketed as having rejuvenating and healing properties.  It is a popular addition to skin and hair care products because it is a lightweight, and non greasy.  It can also be used by all skin types without an allergic reaction and is even gluten-free.

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You can purchase small plants at most garden and home improvement centers and they make very nice indoor plants.  I bought one this summer at my local home depot and it grew super fast!  The simplest way to use aloe vera gel is straight from the plant.  Simply cut open a thick leaf and squeeze out some of the thick clear jelly onto your skin.  These plants grow from the inside out so pick the outer leaves closest to the soil…

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Epsom Salts and Roses

My roses are beginning to bloom !  I just sprinkled them with some epsom salts to give them  a boost of minerals.  It reminded me what a great combination these two really are.   I love to soak in epsom salts in my bath.  I also love my roses!  Roses are a natural beauty ingredient because they are naturally cleansing yet gentle for all skin types and their scent is uplifting and romantic.  I decided to combine the two into a lovely floral bath salt that is perfect for gift giving or pampering yourself and enjoying your own roses.   Make sure you use garden roses as they not only smell the best but are also free of pesticides.   You can also use your roses in making rose water, scented body scrubs and in facial masks.

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Here is how I prepare my petals for use in beauty recipes:

First I picked a bunch of roses — you can also enjoy them as an arrangement and when they start to fade, then use the petals.

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I picked off all the petals and let them air dry for a few day.  I know some people use food dehydrators or in the oven on low but it is really just as simple to let them air dry and give them a stir once a day — it usually takes a few days to dry. I use an old basket but a cardboard box or cookie sheet works well also.

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I like to chop my petals  up in the food processor this makes them easier to work with and also makes your tub easier to clean.  All the fine bits and pieces easily go down the drain. But this step is totally up to you.

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I found a huge bag of epsom salts at my local grocery and it even says on the label good for plants and your body!   These natural salts were discovered in the well water of Epsom, England and have been used for hundreds of years.  Chemically, Epsom salts are hydrated magnesium sulfate and sulfur.  Magnesium helps with seed germination and the production of chlorophyll in plants.  They also help soothe sore muscles as they are astringent and help boost your circulation.

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Here is an easy recipe for you to try at home:

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Garden Rose Bath Salts

Ingredients:

1 cup Epsom salts

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup dried rose petals

4-5 drops essential oil of rose (optional)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean container.  To use: Pour into a warm bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 10 ounces

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For gift giving I like to use a bit of vintage linen and lace tied into a bow and add a fresh rose.  You could also do a whole “Rose” theme basket — with a fresh bouquet, rose oil, rose bath salts and rose water.

 

Have a beautiful and Rosy day!

xoxo Janice