treat yourself

 

i firmly believe in pampering or treating yourself regularly, no matter your schedule or lifestyle. for some, this could mean grabbing that treat you deserve, or mixing up that face mask you’ve been dying to try. it’s about taking a small time-out from everything to focus on YOU and give yourself some time. after all, you work hard to be that great, don’t ya? i knew it!

treatyourself

from small things to more time-consuming things, i always find little ways to indulge myself… and let’s be honest – keep myself even-keeled after hectic days or weeks. it can be as simple as drinking tea and catching up on my favorite blogs while my face mask has time to soak in, or it can be as long as scrubbing, then oiling, then washing my feet. anything i can fit into my schedule that makes me feel better, i try to do.

here are my favorite ways to treat and pamper myself. i hope you share yours, too! <3

dandelion root tea w/ coconut milk

i like to take some time to read natural beauty blogs and/or real food blogs while i drink what i think is a very comforting tea. usually Runt (my fluffy gray nebelung) likes to lay on my lap, too, which makes it even better!

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steep the dandelion root tea (i love traditional medicinals) for a few minutes in very hot water, add some unsweetened coconut milk, and get ready for some warm comfort in a cup!

simple face masks

even if i don’t have all the time in the world to mix up crazy good face masks, i always like to make simple ones.

my favorite currently is a spoonful of plain kefir, a few drops of almond or argan or emu oil, and a few sprinkles of Real salt. very quick to make and it makes my skin very soft! i usually leave this on for 15 minutes and rinse it off with cool water and a washcloth.

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another quick mask i love is a spoonful of plain aloe vera gel and a 1/4 spoonful of apple cider vinegar. i leave it on for up to 15 minutes and rinse it off with cool water and a washcloth. this one helps with dry skin and hormonal breakouts.

and honestly, even plain aloe is a great mask for both your face and hair. dump in on your scalp and face at the same time, and take 15 minutes to sit and do nothing other than relax before you rinse off. it’s so great!

simple scalp masks

i guarantee you that if i have at least 30 minutes to an hour free, i’m doing a scalp mask.

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these can be as simple as just plain aloe vera gel, or i’ll add in other things. my favorite right now is 5 parts aloe, 1 part raw honey, and 1/3 part apple cider vinegar. it’s simple, yet packs a great moisturizing punch. try adding in 1 part plain kefir for extra protein and softness, or a few drops of your favorite oil (i love argan oil) for extra moisture and shine.

stretching

i’m probably on the weird spectrum here, but i LOVE stretching. it just feels so great and i feel so relaxed afterwards! having a desk job really gives me shoulder tension, so it’s a necessity that i work that out daily. i’ve let the tightness go until i got back spasms once… Not fun.

take some time to stretch it out and clear your mind!

body scrub

nothing is pampering quite like a yummy body scrub to exfoliate and moisturize all your skin! my very simple go-to scrub is 2 parts Real salt to 1 part coconut oil. you can of course add essential oils to make it smell however you’d like. lime, anyone?!

dampen your skin with a warm washcloth (or do this before you exit the shower), scrub all over, and gently rinse off. some oil will be left over to moisturize, and your body will be baby-butt soft. you deserve it!

foot care

okay, i’ll really take the weird award on this one, but i love oiling my feet. yes, i hate feet, but i hate dry and/or uncared for feet even more.

if i have a solid half an hour to 45 minutes, i’ll dampen my feet, use my body scrub on them, rinse them off in warm water, and then oil them up with almond oil and 1 mL of magnesium oil. i then put thick socks on and jump in bed. the magnesium helps me sleep soundly, and then i get to wake up to soft and pampered feet! win!

wine.

because wine.

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how do you treat and/or pamper yourself? doesn’t matter how indulgent or how simple it is, leave us some ideas :)

love you all! now go get some self-lovin’ on!

hippie stamp Sig

 

 

moisturizing face masks

with the cold weather upon (most) of us, dry skin can be a problem, even if we don’t battle it year-round. the air is naturally drier, as is our hair, scalp, and skin.

keeping your face clean is a must, but we don’t want to dry it out even more as we wash it. the OCM (oil cleansing method) is a great way to keep our skin clean and moisturized, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and can be time consuming for a regular routine.

face masks are a great way to pamper yourself and  your skin, all while keeping it clean and toxin-free.

these masks are for dry skin (of course you can use them year-round!) and are completely DIY… my favorite! you can do these masks 2 to 3 times a week, as they will not clog pores and are geared towards sensitive skin (yes, even acne-prone skin).

moisturizing face masks - DIY & non-toxic

mositurizingingredients

there are certain ingredients that i love for moisturizing my skin. these can ALL be mixed and matched for a special masks tailored to suit your skin needs. if you want to play around with mixes, start in very small batches (to not waste ingredients) and see what works best. i’ll add my favorite mixes below!

the ideal amount for a single use mask will be 2 to 3 tablespoons of mix (whichever ingredients you decide to use). keep this in mind when you’re using multiple moisturizing ingredients. you always want them to equal up to 3 tablespoons; not 2 to 3 each!

MOISTURIZING BASE INGREDIENTS – 

these base ingredients will make up the bulk (or all of) your moisturizing face masks. you can use 1 or all of the ingredients. play around with ratios and have fun!

  • pure aloe vera (whole leaf gel, or cut straight from the plant)
  • raw honey (raw honey is more of a solid and doesn’t appear to be syrupy at all)
  • plain, full-fat yogurt (no sugars, flavors, etc)
  • cucumber (need to blend)
  • strawberries (mashed)
  • grapes (mashed)

MOISTURIZING OILS – 

these oils are suitable for all skin types. although not necessary, adding around 5 to 7 drops (max) of these oils will give your skin an extra punch of moisture:

  • emu oil
  • sweet almond oil
  • argan oil
  • jojoba oil

CLEANSERS (ADD-INS) – 

these cleansing ingredients aren’t necessary, but you may add them if you want more than moisture:

  • activated charcoal - this ingredient will purify your skin and help clear up blemishes (great for acne-prone skin!). add 1/2 capsule to every 2 tablespoons worth of moisturizers you use.
  • bentonite clay – this clay draws toxins from your skin and tightens pores. in moisturizing masks, the clay needs to be a very small part of the overall mix, to not cause dryness. for every 2 tablespoons of moisturizers you use, add in 1/2 teaspoon of the benny clay.
  • MSM powder – msm powder will exfoliate your skin without drying it out. it’s great for blemishes, scars, and acne. for every 2 tablespoons of moisturizers you use, add in 1 teaspoon of the powder.

SCENTS (ADD-INS) – 

again, these aren’t necessary, but who doesn’t like smelling nice things?

  • add any essential oils you love into your moisturizing face mask mix. as a basis for how much to mix in, a drop or two (depending on the strength of the EO) will do wonders for every 2 to 3 tablespoons of face mask mix you have. although not an essential oil, i love adding rose water to my masks.

favorite mixes

HEAVY DUTY MOISTURE AND BLEMISH-HEALING MASK:

in a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon pure aloe, 1/4 tablespoon raw honey, 1/2 tablespoon yogurt, 1/2 capsule activated charcoal, 3 drops of sweet almond oil, and a light drizzle of rose water. once thoroughly mixed, rub in gentle circular motions onto a clean face. let sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse with cool water and a soft washcloth. this mask is great for all skin types that need a heavy dose of moisture for whatever reason, but it is especially great for purifying your skin, as well as healing and lightening blemishes.

SIMPLE MOISTURE (doubles as scalp mask)

in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons pure aloe and 3 drops emu (or argan) oil. once thoroughly mixed, rub in gentle circular motions onto a clean face. let sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse with cool water and a soft washcloth.
this mix also doubles as a great scalp moisturizer! the amount of emu/argan oil in the mix shouldn’t leave your hair greasy. if you’re worried it could, start with only a drop for every 2 tablespoons of aloe you use. apply to your scalp when your hair is dry, leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water.

 

what are your favorite ways to moisturize dry facial skin? what are some mixes you want to try?

leave your tips and favorites below!

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this post is about periods.

 

no, the title is not misleading.

i figured it’d serve as a nice warning for those that would prefer to not discuss it, OR that know me in person and wouldn’t want to read anything like this. either way… :)

stop reading now if you can’t handle reading about periods or vaginas.

menstrual cups - give them a try!!

 

readers who’ve stayed… i do this for you…

 

this post is dedicated to our monthly visitor and the ‘healthier’/more eco-friendly alternatives we have available to pads and tampons.

if you haven’t heard of a safer, more natural, or more eco-friendly alternative to menstruation products, i’m glad we can have this chat.

your vagina is delicate. truly. it has its own pH, its own balance of flora, and its own schedule. but why aren’t traditional tampons and pads a good option? well, there are a slew of toxic chemicals in those products, that we then keep near/in our vaginas, for extended periods of time.  our vaginal mucous membranes are highly sensitive to changes in pH and are highly absorbent of anything that is put inside of it. even if you use pads, keep in mind that the vaginal area is highly vascular and highly permeable. besides tampons causing dryness, discomfort, and small tears in certain cases, the manufacturing process of menstruation products (tampons and pads) and materials used traditionally aren’t the types of things you’d want.

plasticizing chemicals like BPA and BPS disrupt embryonic development and are linked to heart disease and cancer. phthalates which give paper tampon applicators that smooth feel and finish — are known to dysregulate gene expression, and DEHP may lead to multiple organ damage. besides crude oil plastics, conventional sanitary pads can also contain a myriad of other potentially hazardous ingredients, such as odor neutralizers and fragrances. synthetics and plastic also restrict the free flow of air and can trap heat and dampness, potentially promoting the growth of yeast and bacteria in your vaginal area. this can lead to abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organ, abnormal cell growth throughout the body, immune system suppression, and hormonal and endocrine system disruption. (source)

doesn’t sound very vagina-friendly, right?

enter our alternative – the menstruation CUP!

note - i know there are many versions of this out there (with differing models, colors, etc.), so i will stick to the brand i purchased. it was NOT provided to me. i did my own digging into which brand i would like to try, and purchased it.  there are bound to be loads of you females out there who use cups or have tried them, so PLEASE leave your experiences, your preferences, any tips, etc. below in the comments section.


what is The Cup?

these babies are a reusable alternative to tampons and pads, and are usually made of silicone. unlike tampons and pads, it forms a seal with vaginal walls to collect (rather than absorb) menstrual flow.

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how is it used?

it’s inserted up into the vagina, and situated (ways of doing so vary from woman to woman) to seal against leaks and to avoid discomfort. it’s then left to collect menstrual flow. when it’s time to empty the cup, you can dump the contents into the toilet, rinse your cup, re-insert and go. your cup will of course need to be cleaned and disinfected between periods, and stored properly.

how long does it last?

you can keep a cup in for 8 to 10 hours. AND it holds way more liquid than pads and tampons so you can sleep in them and wear them without a bathroom trip during work hours.

how often do you have to purchase this?      because it’s pricey!

most brands advise annually, which i assume is more due to caution than anything. your cup can last years as long as you take care of it properly and keep it clean.

what you should think about when purchasing one:

  • shape – do you need one that is slimmer or wider? there are variances in shape you should check out.
  • size – have you had a child or not had sex? there are different reasons why you’d need a different size cup.
  • stiffness – do you need a softer cup or a stiffer one?
  • how it’s made – are dyes used? is latex in the cup? etc.
  • price – does your wallet approve?
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why i purchased a cup from lunette:

i poured over blogs and vlogs for experiences with different brands. i took into account shapes, sizes, pros/cons, and price. i narrowed it down to lunette because of the list of pros vs cons, the un-colored silicone, and the price (which i found was cheapest on amazon).

my experiences:

generally speaking, i love my cup! there have been some times where i’ve been really frustrated with it, but i honestly prefer it to tampons now.  inserting it can be tricky. i learned how to insert it when i wasn’t on my period, so i think that made things a lot easier. it never came out or was painful or uncomfortable, but i did have a HUGE problem with leaks. i was doing the punch fold (fold in half and then in half again, and insert) and learned it wasn’t opening all the way. i’ve since learned how to properly get it on up there and everything’s all good.

another issue i had was taking it back out, especially after sleeping with it. it moves up a little too far and it’s hard to get ahold of to break the suction. and if you don’t break the suction… well… let’s just say it hurts in a very unique way.

breaking the suction of the cup was something i felt was the messiest thing to do, but it’s not the end of the world.

i really enjoy the fact that i don’t have to mess with anything during the work day. and going to the bathroom hasn’t ever been an issue. if i need to empty it and i’m away from somewhere i can clean it, i wipe it thoroughly. it’s not ideal, but for those few and far between times it’s been okay.

overall – no discomfort, complete convenience, happy vagina.


SO YOU HAVE A CUP….

and it hurts… or leaks… watch this girl’s video. it was SO helpful to me! i was having leakage problems and this gal solved it for me after watching once!

keep in mind you can always try a different shape or size or softness. just because 1 type didn’t work doesn’t mean that none of them will :)

WANT A CUP?

research which ones would be best for your needs. there are lots of blogs and even vlogs out there that review various brands and types within the same brand. get to know as much as you can to make an educated purchase.

here are some major brand names to start your research:


DONT WANT A CUP BUT WANT AN ALTERNATIVE?

awesome! here are some other alternatives you can look into:

  • sea sponge (link for information only)
  • organic cotton tampons and pads (not bleached; like these here)

HAVE A CUP ALREADY? TRIED ONE?

leave your experiences, preferences, tips, etc. below!!

anything i missed? lemme know!

see you guys later to talk about cramps!

hippie stamp Sig

co-washing

with the cold weather upon a lot of us, keeping our hair, scalps, and skin moisturized is important! switching your hair routine might be your answer if you’re experiencing dry scalp, dry hair, or just if you just have curly hair that needs extra moisture.

co-washing is a method i highly recommend, and have directed many people towards, but for some reason it’s never been featured on AE. well crunchies, if you haven’t heard of co-washing yet, here’s rough guide for the method!

co-washing - what is it and should you do it too?

what is co-washing?

co-washing is washing your hair with conditioner (conditioner-only washing), whether it be homemade or store-bought. we’ve always been taught to only apply conditioner to the length of our hair, so as to not make our roots oily, but we were also taught not to put oil on our face and that’s a lie, too (see: OCM). by washing your hair with conditioner, you’re still washing your hair, but stripping only excess oil away, leaving behind super moisturized hair from root to tip.

who can/should use the co-washing method?

co-washing can really be used  by anyone with any hair type. you should assume a transition period if you are switching over from traditional shampoo-ing, as well as if you have over-oily hair. you can expect little to no transition period at all if you have normal to dry hair. more specifically speaking, you should try co-washing before no-poo-ing if you have:

  • curly hair
  • dry hair
  • frizzy hair
  • dry scalp
  • damaged hair (especially severely damaged hair)
  • color-treated or processed hair (perms, keratin treatments, etc)
  • sensitive scalp
  • dandruff-prone scalp

what can you use to co-wash?

  • homemade conditioner – can be made out of any/all of the following (and of course other ingredients):
    • pure aloe vera
    • raw honey
    • plain yogurt
    • coconut milk
    • gelatin
    • etc.
    • coconut oil/shea butter/argan oil/grapeseed oil/etc. can be added to your mixes in SUPER small amounts mixed with other things so the oil doesn’t stick and make your hair greasy.
  • store-bought “safe” conditioner – examples:
    • shea moisture’s conditioners
    • dr bronner’s conditioning rinse

if you’re buying a store-bought conditioner, you may find that you don’t need to use it at full strength. you can put a little dollop into a squirt bottle or one of those hand soap pumps, fill the rest up with filtered water, and use that. no sense in powering through a product and wasting money if you don’t have to!

besides avoiding the typical ‘big offenders’ of toxic hair chemicals added to products, just ensure that whichever conditioner  you find doesn’t contain any ingredients that end in -xane, -zane, -cone, or -conol. these are silicones that will coat your hair and not allow moisture to further penetrate your hair shaft without another (harsher) cleanser that will lift it back off.

how do you co-wash?

(this is going to be a very simplified version of the co-wash method. depending on your hair type, your routine should be tweaked. i’ll list some great co-wash resources below!)

co-washing is like washing your hair in the traditional sense. once wetting your hair in the shower, gently squeeze excess water out of your hair. apply your conditioner either through the length of your hair in addition to your roots (for curly/dry/damaged/frizzy hair), or just the roots (dandruff-prone/dry scalp/’normal’ to oily hair). gently rub your scalp with the pads of your fingers, as you would with a ‘shampoo.’ rinse well. voila!

you might find you only need to wash your roots every wash day, and apply it on your ends half the time (or you might find you need full coverage conditioning every time). “listen” to your hair and go with it. it might take a few tries, but you certainly won’t be drying your hair out, so don’t worry!

AND –  you don’t need to co-wash exclusively! you can certainly do this in addition to your current routine just to add a little moisture back into your scalp and hair!

want to start co-washing?

if you’re already low-poo, no-poo, make your own shampoo, etc. you will NOT need to re-clarify or do anything special to switch over. whenever your next wash day is, make it your first co-wash :) easy peasy!

if you use traditional shampoo (think: dove, pantene, etc.) you will need to clarify your hair, ridding it of silicones and waxes, before beginning. you should also expect a transition period, where you will experience greasier-than-normal hair. this period can last anywhere from 1 week to a couple months. this discrepancy in time is caused by hair type and how often you wash your hair (the more often you wash, the longer your transition period will be until your scalp learns to produce less oil over time). to learn how to clarify, please see this post. the whole post won’t apply, but steps on clarifying are there.

what is your favorite co-wash mix or product? what type of hair do you have and what is your routine? OR

will you be switching to co-washing now?? :)

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starting points for the co-wash method research:

combat frizz, fly-aways, and static

the weather is starting to get cooler! we know what that can mean… worse cases of our little friend enemy, static, is just around the corner. my poor little boy knows this better than i do…

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look at dat mane!

what causes frizz and static?

STATIC – the main culprit is a lack of moisture (of your hair and/or the environment; this includes low humidity also). other things certainly contribute, like friction between your hair and your brush bristles (i’m lookin at you, boar brush), and cold air (cold air doesn’t hold as much moisture), dragging your shoes on the carpet (which would be 2 insulators touching each other), your little brother rubbing a balloon on your head, etc.

FRIZZ – various things can cause frizz. it could be a lack of moisture, too much moisture if you have curly hair (too much moisture, ie: high humidity, causes the hair cuticles swell), hair ‘roughage’ throughout the day/night (friction; rough hair styles, etc.), a diet lacking propoer nutrition, and general damage to hair (over styling, over exposure to chlorine/sun, etc.). oh, and genetics. womp.

combat static and frizz naturally

overall tips to combat these hair issues:

  • use silk pillowcases – they wont’ “pull” at your hair when you’re rolling around in your sleep, leading to less breakage and less frizz.
  • keep your hair moisturized – dry hair is more susceptible to frizz, fly-aways, and static. use a natural leave in conditioner and keep up on your deep-conditioning (if you need to). coconut oil masks are a complete winner in my book (and you can use them if you’re no-poo, too!)
  • invest in a humidifier – it’ll put moisture back into the hair, benefiting your hair and skin.
  • don’t use hair products that contain alcohol – these can be drying to your hair and scalp, eventually leading to damage if left dry.

TIPS - FRIZZ

  • wash your hair less. this allows it to retain its natural sebum, and reduces the risk of drying hair out from too much washing.
  • if humidity is your issue, try using coconut oil or argan oil to lightly coat your hair. this will keep too much moisture from getting in and making your hair cuticles swell and look frizzy. just use a little bit, though!
  • use a boar bristle brush to move sebum down the length of your hair. this is the best frizz fighter and conditioner for your locks. avoid plastic and nylon brushes, as they add to the static electricity. (*note – many people notice a boar brush actually increases static. this tip is for smoothing out frizz :) )
  • find a routine that works for you that involves eggs, honey, yogurt, or vinegar. these can be used separately or combined as “shampoos/conditioners” or hair masks. these ingredients will help keep your hair moisturized and healthy, and won’t strip your natural sebum.
  • use a homemade hair gel for some gentle and natural hold.
  • rinse your hair in cold water at the end of your shower. this will help close up the hair cuticles and smooth them out.
  • steer clear of using a regular ol towel to dry your hair. this is unnecessary friction and roughage. instead, opt for a 100% t-shirt, or plop your hair into a microfiber hair wrap (and don’t rub your hair with them or anything).
  • let your hair air dry.
  • keep your hair healthy from the inside-out. follow a diet rich in the nutrients your body needs and stay hydrated. your hair will stay ‘hydrated’ and healthy, too!

TIPS – STATIC

  • as with frizz, wash your hair less. this allows it to retain its natural sebum, and reduces the risk of drying hair out from too much washing.
  • use leave-in conditioners when necessary. if you opt for coconut oil or argan oil, remember to use a very TINY amount. you don’t want to overdo it and look greasy.
  • same as dealing with frizz, find a routine that works for you that involves eggs, honey, yogurt, or vinegar. these can be used separately or combined as “shampoos/conditioners” or hair masks. these ingredients will help keep your hair moisturized and healthy, and won’t strip your natural sebum.
  • trim off split ends.
  • rub your hands over your hair throughout the day, keeping away from your scalp.
  • shower using warm water, instead of hot water. it’ll combat the dryness induced by using hot water. heat is heat, whether you’re using hot water or a curling iron on your hair.
  • try using a wooden brush or your fingers to get tangles out (instead of a boar bristle brush). steer clear of nylon and plastic brushes, as they add to static electricity.

of course there are more tricks of the trade out there, all for different hair types. what are your go-to remedies?

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diy dish soap

as per your crunchy requests, i’m here to share how i make my dish soap. it seems weird that we haven’t talked about this before, huh? i’d LOVE to hear what you use, too, so please leave your recipes in the comments!

diy dish soap

we’re gonna go over 3 ways i make my dish soap (which of course aren’t the “end all”, but are very simple ways to switch over to more natural soap).

using liquid soap

this method is really, super fast, but is more expensive than creating dish soap from a bar.

what you need:

– 1 1/2 cups distilled water
– 1/3 cup liquid castile soap (unscented or with essential oils)

how to:

1. pour both into the container you’re going to hold the soap in.
2. shake and use. done!

 

using a solid soap bar to make liquid soap

this method takes the most time, but yields greater quantities and is cheaper.

what you need:

– 5 cups distilled water
– 1/4 bar of grated castile soap (unscented or with essential oils)

how to:

1. bring your water to a boil
2. add in your soap flakes and EOs
3. stir until the soap is completely melted
4. let cool and pour into container. use accordingly!

 

using a solid soap bar 

this method takes the least amount of effort. it’s a no-brainer! :)

what you need:

– castile soap bar
– soap sleeve/soap mitt

how to:

1. put the soap bar inside the soap sleeve.
2. wet, lather, use. voila!

 

tips:

  • i like to use tea tree oil soap for some extra antibacterial action. don’t be afraid to play around with different oils. only add 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon total, however. grapefruit or eucalyptus essential oils are also great for added antibac power. orange, lemon, and lime are great for cutting through the goopy, greasy things.
  • you can use pre-scented soaps (like citrus, tea tree oil, etc) instead of mixing in your own EOs.
  • do Not add vinegar to this soap mix. it will unsaponify the oils in the castile soap. this will make it cloudy, gunky, and prone to leaving lots of film on your dishes.
  • used distilled water only. the slightest hard water can cause the soap mixtures to become cloudy and sort of “slimy.” it’s the worst! ask me how i know…
  • if you have hard water spots or deposits from the soap, a quick dip in a vinegar rinse and a wipe-down with a microfiber cloth will do the trick! mix 1 part vinegar to roughly 8 parts water for the rinse. voila!
  • thinking about adding washing soda to this? maybe think again… just pay attention to the amounts you’re using. washing soda is alkaline in nature and can burn the skin on your hands (or at the very least, dry them out). adding 1/2 tbs max to these above recipes will be diluted enough to not hurt you, but will be enough to help cut through the grime.

let us know what you think about these easy recipes! also, leave YOUR recipes below!

hippie stamp Sig