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Natural deodorant

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 20 mins
Yields: 1 tube (85 ml)

Having tried all sorts of natural deodorants, including crystal deodorants (remember those), and being quite fussy when it comes to deodorants, I decided to create my own.

This solid deodorant is completely natural, including the environmental friendly cardboard tube it comes in, which you can order from Go Native. It contains no aluminium or other synthetic ingredients. Likewise, it contains no baking soda, which can be irritating to some skins (like mine) and other harsh ingredients. Instead, I focussed on using only natural ingredients that are effective, yet mild on the skin.

To absorb sweat, I used a combination of tapioca starch and bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is a highly absorbent natural clay (see this article about the properties of clays), and it will keep you feeling dry and clean.

Shea butter helps with the glide, but it is also moisturising and easily absorbed into the skin. This helps leave the absorbing clay and starch on the surface of the skin to do its work, without creating a messy paste.

Avocado is also well absorbed into the skin, but it also contains beneficial nutrients and vitamins, to help keep your skin healthy and nourished.

Beeswax is what makes this deodorant solid and at these proportions will deliver just the right amount of deodorant to your skin. Not too much and not to little!

And lastly I used a special blend of essential oils to keep you feeling fresh:

  • Lemon myrtle: like tea tree, it is anti-bacterial, killing off those smelly bacteria, but unlike tea tree, it has a pleasant fresh lemon scent!
  • Rosemary: has also antiseptic properties, helping to keep your skin healthy
  • Lime: is refreshing but is also deodorising and cleansing
  • Spearmint: not only refreshingly cool, but it will also help soothe skin. Great for sensitive, irritating skins (especially from shaving!)

All the ingredients, including the essential oils, are available from Pure Nature.

ONE: Weigh out your avocado oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a small pot. I use my pot straight on the stove, but if you prefer you can use a double boiler or bain marie method. Heat on the lowest setting on your stove until all the beeswax and shea butter has melted.

TWO: Stir in the tapioca starch and bentonite clay and mix briskly using a whisk.

THREE: Add the essential oils, and mix.

FOUR: Pour the mixture into the tube. If the mixture has started to set, just pop it back on the stove for a moment until it becomes fluid again.

Once you’ve filled the tube, let it set and cool down completely before putting the lid on. This will prevent condensation forming on the inside of the lid.

Natural solid deodorant

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 30 g beeswax
  • 20 g shea butter
  • 30 g avocado oil
  • 20 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g bentonite clay
  • 25 drops lemon myrtle essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 15 drops lime essential oil
  • 5 drops spearmint essential oil

Directions

  • Melt the beeswax, shea butter and avocado oil in a small pot on the lowest setting on your stove.
  • Using a whisk, mix in the tapioca starch and bentonite clay.
  • Add the essential oils.
  • If the mixture has started to set, gently heat it on the stove again until fluid.
  • Pour the mixture into the tube. Let it cool down completely before putting the lid on.
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Natural nappy balm (vegan)

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 100 ml

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As all parents know, babies often get red and irritated skin around the nappy area. This is usually caused by either a reaction to urea or by yeast, due to the moist environment. As a mother myself, and wanting to use only natural and safe ingredients on my child, I formulated this nappy balm containing calendula, chamomile and manuka, which acts as both a barrier cream to prevent, and a healing balm to help soothe and calm irritated skin and rashes. I’ve been using this balm for nearly 15 years now, first as a nappy balm, and now I still make it as a soothing skin balm for sensitised or irritated skin.

Candelilla and carnauba wax
Candelilla wax (left) and carnauba wax (right).

Because most balms use bees wax, and are thus not suitable for vegans, I have decided to make this a vegan-friendly nappy balm. There just aren’t enough such balms out there! The waxes I’m using to substitute for the bees wax are candelilla and carnauba, two plant based waxes. Candelilla wax is derived from the leaves of the Candelilla shrub native to Northern Mexico, and the carnauba wax comes from the leaves of a palm native to Brazil. The combination of the two makes for a smooth and gentle balm, with just the right firmness.

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ONE: Weigh out the candelilla wax, carnauba wax, olive oil and castor oil into a small pot. Place it on the lowest setting on the stove, and wait until the wax has completely melted. This will take about 10 minutes or so. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up! Because, candelilla wax can be a bit grainy, I keep the stove setting on low so that the temperature is raised slowly and gradually, and due to the carnauba wax having a higher melting point, the candelilla wax will be kept above its melting point for a while to ensure a smooth end product. It is a bit like tempering chocolate, for those who cook and bake!

Olive oil is added to the balm, because it’s packed with antioxidants and has a balanced fatty acid composition, which will help restore and nourish the skin, especially since babies bottoms are usually wrapped up in a nappy and the skin doesn’t get to breathe. The combination of oils, butter and waxes is what will create the barrier between the delicate baby skin and the wetness of the nappy.

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TWO: Once the waxes have completely melted, take the pot off the stove and turn off the stove. The pot will stay warm long enough to keep the mixture liquid and prevent it from cooling down too quickly. Weigh out and stir in the shea butter until it too has completely melted. I’ve added shea butter, because it is a moisturising and conditioning butter with skin-soothing and calming properties due to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols.

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THREE: Lastly, add the calendula infused sunflower oil and give it another stir. Calendula, or pot marigold, is well-known for its skin healing properties. The calendula  flowers have been infused in sunflower oil, which is another beneficial skin oil with vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

FOUR: Make sure the oil/wax mixture is completely liquid and clear. If it has become cloudy and no amount of stirring is making it clear again, place it back on the stove again and stir. The cloudiness means it has cooled down to the point where the oil/wax mixture is solidifying. Keep stirring the mixture until is clear. You want the mixture to heat up just enough to become liquid, but not get too hot again.

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Add 5 drops each of chamomile and manuka essential oils. Because this is a balm for babies’ skin, I’m using a very low concentration, only 10 drops (0.5 ml) of essential oils to 100 ml of balm. Chamomile has both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is considered to be a hypoallergenic, meaning it can calm and reduce skin irritants. Manuka is well known in New Zealand as a powerful skin healer for its antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties. Together, they will help prevent and reduce nappy rashes and infections.

Alternatively, if you don’t have manuka essential oil, you can also use tea tree essential oil, which has similar properties.

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FIVE: Give the mixture a good final stir before carefully pouring it into the pot. Let the balm set and cool down completely before placing the lid on, to prevent any condensation (= breeding ground for bacteria and fungi) forming on the lid. I usually leave it to set overnight.

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Natural nappy balm (vegan)

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 30 g olive oil
  • 10 g shea butter
  • 5 g castor oil
  • 15 g calendula infused oil
  • 2 ml wheatgerm oil
  • 5 g candelilla wax
  • 7 g carnauba wax
  • 5 drops chamomile essential oil
  • 5 drops manuka essential oil (alternatively tea tree essential oil)
  • 100 ml pot

Directions

  1. Weigh out the candelilla wax, carnauba wax, olive oil, castor oil in a small pot, and heat it on the lowest setting on the stove.
  2. Once the waxes have completely melted, and the oil/wax mixture is clear, take the pot off the stove and stir in the shea butter until it too has melted.
  3. Add the castor oil and calendula infused sunflower oil, and stir everything until the liquid is clear again.
  4. Add the essential oils and give it another good stir.
  5. Carefully pour the liquid balm into the pot and let it set and cool down completely before putting the lid on.

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Soothing aftershave balm

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 1 pot (150g)

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Post-shave irritation is never a good thing, which is why a good aftershave balm is a must. This all-natural balm has the skin-healing and soothing benefits of the infused calendula oil, the anti-inflammatory properties of sandalwood essential oil and the cooling effect of peppermint essential oil, and the added coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser and conditioner, leaving your skin soft and calm.

You can either make your own calendula infused oil using this tutorial, or you can purchase it from Pure Nature. All the other ingredients, including the pretty aluminium pot are also available from Pure Nature.

Making a balm is fairly straight forward. You can either combine all the ingredients, except for the essential oils, in a Pyrex jug and heat it in the microwave until the beeswax has melted, or you can heat it gently on a low setting on the stove.

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Once the all the ingredients have melted, let it sit and cool down a little, before adding the essential oil. If you add the essential oils too early, the heat will evaporate the volatile essential oils and reduce the effectiveness of the benefits. However, don’t let it cool down so that the liquid begins to harden, if it does, you will need to melt it again.

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When you have added the essential oils, stir well to disperse the oils well into the mixture, and then pour it into your container. Leave the container open until the balm has completely cooled down and solidified before putting the lid on. This is to prevent condensation from forming on the lid.

This balm will make a great gift in combination with the shaving soap found here!

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Soothing aftershave balm

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 80 ml calendula infused oil
  • 40 g coconut oil
  • 30 g beeswax
  • 1 ml sandalwood essential oil
  • 0.5 ml peppermint essential oil
  • 150 ml aluminium pot

Directions

  1. Combine the calendula infused oil, coconut oil and beeswax in a heatproof Pyrex jug and melt in the microwave until fully liquid. (Alternatively, use a pot and heat on low setting on stove).
  2. Leave to cool down a little, and then add the essential oils.
  3. Pour into pot and let cool down and harden completely before putting the lid on.

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Insect repellent balm (vegan)

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 containers (50 ml each)

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Are the mozzies and sandflies getting to you too? It seems this year is worse than usual. It must be all that rain. There’s nothing worse than sitting outside enjoying a glass of chardonnay in the evening and then having to escape inside because of the sandflies! I’m a magnet for sandflies and I hate using DEET insect repellent. So I decided to do some research and formulated my own natural insect repellent. The secret of this balm is that it will not only keep the mozzies away, but the calendula infused sunflower oil also aids the healing and relieve of insect bites and the added shea butter and jojoba oil will nourish and protect your skin.

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Scientific studies have shown the effectiveness of lemon eucalyptus oil as an insect repellent. And although it may not be as effective as a formulation containing DEET, a field trial in Queensland, Australia, demonstrated that lemon eucalyptus oil did provide more than 95% protection over 3 hours.

The special insect repelling blend I use contains lemon eucalyptus, rose geranium, lemongrass, and lavender essential oils. Especially lemon eucalyptus has shown to be very effective against New Zealand mozzies and sandflies. I use a 2% dilution, which is the highest amount of essential oils in a product that is still safe to use without sensitising your skin. The balm also requires calendula infused sunflower oil, and the instructions for making your own infused oil can be found here. Alternatively, you can buy calendula infused oil from Pure Nature.

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ONE: Combine all the oils, butter and wax in a small pot. If you don’t have candelilla wax, you can substitute for carnauba wax, another vegan option, or beeswax, but you will need increase the amount to 30 g if using beeswax. Place the pot on the stove and heat until melted. You will need to find a setting on your stove that will heat the pot sufficiently to melt the wax, but doesn’t bring it to boil! On my stove, I use the medium setting.

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TWO: Take the pot from the stove. If you find it is too hot, leave it for a little while to cool down. Ideally, you want the liquid to be 50 degrees Celsius or less before adding essential oils, however, most waxes have a higher melting point, so you’ll have to eyeball it when it’s cool enough, yet still fully liquid. Add the essential oils and stir to disperse the essential oils throughout the balm mixture.

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THREE: Carefully pour the mixture into your containers and leave to harden and cool down for a couple of hours or overnight. Don’t place the lids on until the balm has completely cooled down to prevent condensation forming on the inside of the lids.

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Insect Repellent Balm (VEGAN)

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 40 ml calendula infused sunflower oil
  • 20 ml jojoba oil
  • 20 g shea butter
  • 20 g candelilla wax
  • 10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 10 drops rose geranium essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 balm containers (50 ml)

Directions

  1. Combine the all the oils, butter and wax in a small pot and heat on stove on medium setting until everything has melted.
  2. Take the pot of the stove, and if necessary, let it cool down a little. The mixture should still be liquid but not too hot. Add the essential oils and stir well.
  3. Carefully pour the mixture in the containers and leave to harden and cool down for a couple of hours or overnight. Don’t place the lids on until the balm has completely cooled down to prevent condensation forming on the inside of the lids.

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Basic balm tutorial

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 pots (50 mls each)

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Orange balm

Balms are very versatile and can be made for many uses, depending on what ingredients are added. By using conditioning, moisturising oils and butters, you can make a balm for
softening rough skins on your hands and feet. Using infused oils or adding essential oils will also affect the properties of the balm. Lavender soothes the mind and the body. Calendula is a well-known skin healer. Tea tree, manuka, thyme are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Use arnica infused oils in muscle balms. And lemongrass and eucalyptus in an insect repellent balm.

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A good place to start formulating balms is by using equal parts of wax, oil, and butter. This will give you a good, solid balm. If you want a softer and more spreadable consistency, add more oil or reduce the amount of wax and butters you are using. A salve will have a ratio upwards of 4 parts of oil to one part of wax. The balm of this recipe uses slightly less butter and wax, but will still leave you with a fairly solid balm.

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In a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex) and add your  vegetable oil, such as olive oil or sunflower oil, and your beeswax (or candelilla wax for a vegan balm). Heat it on high in your microwave for 2 minutes or until the beeswax is fully melted.

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Add your vegetable butter, for example cocoa butter or shea butter, and stir until the butter has completely melted. If you find the mixture is starting to harden, pop it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds or so until it is liquid again.

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Next, add your essential oils and give it another good stir. I’m using orange essential oil here, which is why it is a bright colour 😉

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Finally, carefully pour the balm into the pots and leave them overnight to harden and cool down. Don’t put the lids on, otherwise you will find it will have formed condensation on the inside of the lids, which is a unwanted environment for mould growth.

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Basic Balm

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 50 ml vegetable oil (such as olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.)
  • 25 g butter (such as shea butter or cocoa butter)
  • 25 g beeswax (or 15 g candelilla wax plus 10 g extra oil for a vegan option)
  • 2 pots (50ml)
  • 4 ml essential oils

Directions

  1. In a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex), combine the oil and wax. Place it in the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes initially and then in 1 minute increments until the beeswax has completely melted. Be careful when removing the jug from the microwave, as the mixture will be very hot!
  2. Add the butter and stir until melted. If the butter doesn’t melt completely or if the mixture is starting to harden, pop it back in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. When the mixture is completely liquid, add your essential oils and stir to completely mix in.
  4. Pour the mixture into your pots. Allow to fully cool and harden overnight before putting the lids on.

Where you can get your ingredients from