I love the sea. When I was a child I used to imagine that I am a mermaid who lives deep in the sea and whose friends are shells, corals, dolphins, and turtles like Ariel of “The Little Mermaid”. I even wrote a poem about the sea while I was in Mongpong Island last year.
My circle of friends share the same fascination with marine ecosystem. I have friends who are staunch anti-single-use-plastic advocates. I am also lucky to have met a physicist in UP who uses machine learning in mapping out our coral reefs in terms of diversity and population of species. This study helps monitor our coral reefs health and biodiversity. Pretty cool, huh?
It is my love for the sea that moved me to use less plastics at home. I’d also be one of those people who would pick-up trash along the shore that I visit and throw them in bins. My kids, thankfully, care for the sea as much as I do.
I feel bad every time I see documentaries about how bad plastic pollution has resulted to the deaths of marine species. Last year, I saw a documentary about a seal who died because a plastic circular ring had cut through his neck. I missed the part when the person who tried to save him explained how the ring could have possibly ended up around his neck. All I remember was that she was crying (so was I) while she and her colleague tried to remove the ring. This woman in the video has been going around the world documenting how bad the pollution of our seas has become because of single-use plastics. Sadly, I don’t remember her name anymore.
Like everyone else out there, I’m also a user of plastic. Plastic is so versatile that it has become an integral part of everyday living. But I also believe that you can do something about reducing or that these plastics don’t need to end up in the ocean right away, or at all. One of my favorite ways to reduce plastics is to stop buying household and skin care products that I can DIY at home because it’s cost-effective and quite fun to do. I even conduct classes where I teach how fellow mommies can make their own so they don’t have to buy from groceries anymore.
I started writing this article last year (after watching the documentary on TV) with the sole purpose of giving my readers ideas on how we can reduce plastics in the sea through DIYs of common household items that we would otherwise buy from the groceries. Before I proceed, I do use essential oils and ingredients already present in my pantry for most of my DIYs. I’m sure there are local stores in your area that do carry them. Please upcyle/recycle/reuse the packaging that they come in! What I do with my plastic bottles/gallons, I use them in my Kratky Hydroponics for growing vegetables at home.
DIY Skin Care and Vanity Products
So, let’s start with skin care and other vanity products. My nose is rather sensitive to strong scents. This is primarily my reason why I spend time to make my own perfume, skin care and common household products. The ones being sold in groceries give me headache or allergic rhinitis To show how we make perfume at home, here’s a video of my kids during our HELE lesson on perfume blending:
On our first week of homeschooling, and part of my eldest son’s HELE lesson, Nereus and Ian learned about top notes, middle notes, base notes and aroma categories as foundation to perfume blending. We then added carrier oil and vegetable glycerin for the perfume roll-on blend; and witch hazel distillate, water, and vegetable glycerin for the body spray. I have a stash for vegetable glycerin because I also use it for when I make vinegar-base fabric conditioner, more on this later.
Below is a slideshow of recipes for perfume that you can try. If you would like to attend my future class for perfume blending, do send me a message and we’ll arrange a schedule along with my Oilista Manila team.
I have super dry knees, feet, and hands from all the household chores I’ve been doing, the cool weather, and the constant application of hand sanitizer. So, I do need to apply lotion on my skin regularly. Instead of buying lotion that comes in bottles, I opted to make my own using the recipe below:
To make the lotion bars:
- Add your beeswax pellets in your double boiler. You can substitute beeswax with rice bran or candelilla wax for vegan option. Once fully melted, add the shea butter, VCO, and cocoa butter.
- Once all the butters and VCO are fully melted, turn off the heat and slowly add your favorite essential oils. For my lotion bar, I love using bergamot and lavender as these oils are great for skin. You can also add tea-quality dried flowers to infuse your lotion bar with.
- Stir until fully mixed and pour in your silicon molds and let seat for hours until solid.
- To use: simply warm the lotion bar in your palms and apply on dry skin. I like to apply the lotion bar on my skin before I hit the sack. 🙂
- For sunscreen lotion bar, you can also add some titanium oxide into your lotion while it’s melted. Mix thoroughly and let seat until solid. Use before going into the sun.
For lip balm, the process is pretty much the same with lotion bar but with less ingredients. I prefer using cocoa butter over shea butter because the former has chocolate undertone that complements my favorite essential oil blend, Stress Away by Young Living well. With lip balm, you can use any essential oils except citrus oils as these are photosensitive. You don’t want to apply citrus oils on your skin under the sun for this reason. What I love about this, I can also use the same recipe for making my own healing balm that I use for blemishes and other skin irritations; as well as calming/soothing balm for my kids. I even made our own chest rubs using the same recipe. The only difference is the essential oils I use for each. For healing balm, I use Roman chamomile, lavender, and copaiba. For chest rub, I use a combination of Raven, peppermint, and myrtle. For calming/soothing balm, I use frankincense, lavender, and cedarwood. I use the latter as my meditation balm too after doing yoga.
Bath bombs are fun! My kids enjoy dumping ones into their pail of bath water before their shower. We don’t have a tub at home but bath bombs made me wish we do! For bath bombs I like using energizing essential oils such as grapefruit, lemon, Citrus Fresh, and lime as I usually take my bath in the morning. If you’re the type who takes a bath at night, you might want to use lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, and other calming essential oils instead. 🙂
Coconut Lavender Soap
I love collecting soaps. When I do shop at malls, albeit rarely now coz of pandemic, I usually come home with soaps bought my favorite shops. I am just crazy about them. So when I attended a class on cold-process soap making last year, I realized that they can be quite easy and cheap to make.
In my recently concluded “make-and-take” class via Zoom where I taught how to use essential oils to make own skin care products, I used coconut melt-and-pour soap base instead of doing cold-process method. Melting soap base is quicker and less daunting as cold process method takes 3-4 weeks of curing and requires handling chemicals. With soap base, the mixing of lye with oils and curing part were already done, so one needs only to melt the soap base, add-in additives, let seat until solid. The soap is ready to use after that. By making your own soap, you don’t have to deal with packaging that commercial soaps come in these days.
One of the things I really do miss but can’t do at the moment is visiting a spa for a mani-pedi and foot spa. While bath salts are used for adding into bath water to soak in, I use my salts for my foot spa at home. What I do is mix Epsom salt and baking soda in 1:1 ratio and then add essential oils and tea-grade flowers. I store them in large jars so I can just spoon some and add in lukewarm water for foot spa at home sesh.
DIY Common Household Products
If you’re a mom like me, you’re probably too busy juggling work, taking care of kids, and doing domestic responsibilities to be making your own household products. I do understand you. That’s why the recipes I’m sharing below are so simple to make, they will take you less than five minutes to make them.
DIY Fabric Conditioner
You know what chemicals that are potential toxic that could be present in your fabric conditioner? Read this article from EWG, Skip the Fabric Softeners. According to the article, your usual fabric conditioners could be loaded with quaternary ammonium (QUATS), artificial color, fragrance, and preservatives. These toxic chemicals can be hormone disruptors, can cause respiratory stress, skin problems, headaches, and more.
I stopped using fabric conditioners in 2017 after finding out that it’s one of the reasons why my kids and I had allergic rhinitis. When we stopped using it on our clothes, the rhinitis stopped as well. For soft, fluffy fabric, you can just use a cup or two of vinegar in your laundry’s final rinse. Or you can try my tried-and-test recipe for fabric conditioner that I make fresh each time I do my laundry (I don’t store big batch of this as vinegar is acidic and could react with essential oils eventually):
DIY All Around Household Spray
For all-around spray, I just add a cap of Thieves all purpose cleaner in 500 ml water in a spray bottle plus, 5 drops of lemon or any citrus essential oils. I use the spray to wipe surfaces down and as linen spray. So basically with this spray, you have a surface cleaner, room freshener, linen spray, bug spray (if you add lemongrass, lavender, or citronella), in just one bottle. Just make sure that you shake the bottle first before spraying as essential oils don’t mix with water. I also spray it on plants to control fungus and to revitalize them (photo below).
I don’t buy mouthwash anymore. Most of the ones available in drugstores sting and they come in plastic bottles! Here’s my recipe for no-sting mouthwash that’s so simple to make, and you can upcycle any glass jars or bottles for this:
I can share tons of recipes that you can do at home but this article might be too long for you already. But yes, I do walk the talk. All these I do at home despite my busy schedule because my family’s health comes first and I also hate plastics going into the oceans. If you need more recipes, I actually post them regularly on my Oilista Manila Facebook page and Instagram.
If you need essential oils and would like to participate in my future classes, I invite you to join my Oilista Manila team. I share tons of recipes and science-backed information about essential oils (coz, I actually enjoy reading science articles) in my group because my momma taught me to share. To join my team, Oilista Manila, simply sign-up with Young Living through my personal invitation link below or scan the QR code. Please do take note that in order to be part of my team, you need to input my Member ID number: 12647452 as SPONSOR and ENROLLER.