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Sometimes I play apothecary, and make all sorts of potions from various oils that I’ve collected.  Then I use these oils for the next few months for my beauty regimen.  The internet has fueled my research and guided my decision-making on the ingredients, but except for the deodorant, I have mostly just made up the exact proportions, and even then, “exact” is an overstatement.  I include the following information for your consideration, for my own reference, and not to be followed by anyone in a precise way.  If I have been learning the past several years that measuring is not so essential in cooking, it is certainly less important still in beauty products such as these.  Give it a guess.  Mess around with things.  Substitute.  Omit.  Supplement.  Have fun.  Learn.

 

Recipes:

 

Deodorant (makes ¾ to 1 cup)

Mix in 1-quart bowl, using a fork:

5 T. coconut oil

1 T. castor oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops lemon oil

3 drops tea tree oil

4 T. corn starch

4 T. baking soda

 

When thoroughly mixed, transfer to a container (at least 1 c.) with a lid.  OK to store at room temperature.

 

To use, apply about ¼ t. to each arm pit before dressing in the morning.  Thoroughly rub in, wiping any excess with a clean, dry rag.

 

Notes from experience:

This recipe works better than Toms, which I just tried for the first time, dismayed at its impotence.  It does not work as long as Dry Idea, which is my go-to store brand especially during high-sweat situations.  Of course, this recipe is primarily a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, though it is somewhat effectual at absorbing wetness.

 

It may be useful to note that if this cream gets much above 75 degrees, the coconut oil will melt.  It is still useful, but you may have to stir before using.  Also, if it melts and then re-hardens, it can sometimes separate.  There was one time that the coconut oil I had was apparently already thinner than usual, and I had to add extra corn starch to give it the right consistency.  This may have added to the separation problem and made it a bit irritating to my skin.

 

 

Facial Cleanser/Shaving Oil (makes about ¾ cup)

Mix:

¼ safflower oil

¼ c. grape seed oil

2 T. melted coconut oil

1 T. castor oil

1 t. sesame oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops lemon oil

5 drops tea tree Oil

 

To use as cleanser, dip fingers in solution and rub on face in circular motions.  Steam face by covering with a hot wet washcloth.  Rinse washcloth and wipe face with warm water until face does not feel oily or greasy.

 

This can also be used as a makeup remover if you are careful around your eyes.  Dip a tissue or cotton ball only a tiny bit into the oil, then rub gently across the makeup.  Finish by wiping clean with a wet washcloth.

 

For shaving, apply a couple of teaspoons per leg.  Do not rinse.  Shave, frequently rinsing/wiping razor.  Should provide a very close shave.  Rinse.  No need to wipe off.  Oils should not leave skin very greasy once rubbed in.

 

Notes from experience:

The essential oils in this mixture give a slight relaxing/tingling scent.  Before, I used peppermint, but that is unnecessary.  Struggling with acne most of my life, I like this treatment for softening my skin and reducing oiliness, but it is not the only thing I use on my face.  I also use a salicylic acid cleanser once a day, then witch hazel as an astringent, followed by a zinc oxide ointment (skin protectant and sunscreen).  In the evenings or when I shower, I use the facial oil, and do not add anything else to my face afterwards.

 

Hair Conditioner (makes about 1 cup)

Mix:

6 T. olive oil

2 T. safflower oil

2 T. melted coconut oil

1 T. castor oil

1 t. sesame oil

10 drops rosemary oil

10 drops lemon oil

(optional: mix ¼ c. yogurt with 1-2 T. oil just before using)

 

To use, pour a couple of teaspoons at a time into the palm of your hand.  Pull through wet hair, using fingers to comb it through.  Pay extra attention to the ends of the hair, and avoid the scalp (applying to the scalp could cause it to be too oily, or make you over-rinse the rest of your hair).  When there are basically no more tangles, shape hair into a bun if long enough, and leave to soak in while you finish the rest of your shower.  After 10 minutes, release the bun and give your hair a quick rinse in cool water: literally, put head under water, then take it out again.  You may need to practice this routine a few times to get the right amount of oil on your hair and the right amount of rinsing, potentially adjusting for humidity in the weather.

 

About the ingredients:

First, my understanding is that many essential oils can be dangerous if used incorrectly, especially if pregnant or nursing.  I have not had problems with these recipes, but nor have I been pregnant or nursing.  If you have reason for concern, consult a professional (like a doctor or midwife).

 

Second, I am not obsessed about these things.  I usually buy the cheapest I can find, like the bottle of castor oil I found at a garage sale this weekend.  I do not subscribe to a certain brand, nor do I look for an especially high quality of any of these things.  As I understand it, the dangers of my method are that 1) some not-so-great chemicals may have been used in the processing; and 2) my concoctions may be weaker than those made with the highest quality oils (especially the essential oils).  I consider all of my recipes to be good enough  so far to make me happy.  Saving money is worth the risk, to my mind.

 

Coconut oil is popular, and can easily be found at the grocery store.  It is supposed to be antibacterial.  It can be relatively inexpensive.  The high melting point gives it the advantage of being solid at most room temperatures.  The oil is supposed to help hair growth.  I have tried using it on my skin and hair by itself, and found it far too greasy.  I’ve read that it is a sunscreen.

 

Baking soda is deodorizing.  It is also alkaline.  It may cause itching and drying of the skin if the proportions are too high.  I buy a big box in the cleaning section of Walmart to use for non-food recipes.

 

Corn starch is cool.  It has interesting physical properties when mixed with a liquid.  It is absorbent.  If you’re worried about the safety of this ingredient, search for a brand that is non-GMO.

 

Castor oil encourages circulation.  It is considered antibacterial.  It is also useful for encouraging hair growth.  Some people use it for cleansing, especially of the liver, but also of the lymph nodes.  I do not like the smell, and most sources discourage using it without other oils, so I keep it as a minor ingredient.  You’d more likely find this ingredient at a health food/natural store than at a regular grocery store or Walmart.

 

Tea tree oil smells like medicine.  I basically can’t stand it.  So I use it sparingly in things that will have other smells.  It is supposed to be pretty good for skin infections.  I think this is because it is antibacterial.  So people use it for acne, cuts, and burns.  This is one oil that tends to be sold by everyone that sells oils, including grocery stores sometimes; I think I’d look in the pharmacy area.

 

Rosemary oil is good for circulation and smells good.  I think it is also said to be antibacterial.

 

And lemon oil smells good, clean, having a sort of fresh scent that cuts through other ones.  It is soothing and astringent.  If I didn’t have this oil, I might use lemongrass oil.  You can use regular lemon juice, but then you’d have to refrigerate your product, which hardens the oils and makes everything take longer.

 

Safflower oil has Vitamin E, which I have long understood to be good for skin, and which my regular conditioner advertises as a special ingredient.  It is rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids.  These things are good for fighting acne, reducing blackheads, and strengthening hair follicles.  It is a blood thinner and helps with circulation.  I found mine on clearance at the grocery store.

 

Grapeseed oil absorbs easily into skin, and is both astringent and antioxidant, so it helps treat things like wrinkles.  It is anti-inflammatory and helps skin retain moisture.  The linoleic acid is the likely cause of its acne-fighting properties.  It is a source of Vitamin E, which helps skin recover from scars.  It is also supposed to strengthen hair.  This oil is also found at grocery stores.  I noticed that Trader Joes has a decent price.

 

Sesame oil has a nutty scent, and it is a light, absorbent oil.  I had some extra, so I put a tiny bit in.  The dark color can transfer to hair, but there is not a significant amount in my recipe, so it probably won’t make a difference that way.  Zinc in this oil is good for the skin and immune system.  And the copper in it helps the body’s blood production and blood flow.  I am not sure where I got my sesame oil, if it was in the Asian section of my grocery store or if I went to an Asian market to pick it up.  Either way, it is probably way cheaper at the Asian market.

 

Olive oil is my hair’s favorite.  If it didn’t leave my hair smelling like salad dressing, I’d use just it.  It has anti-oxidants, Vitamin E, and is anti-inflammatory.  However, this oil tends to clog my pores, so I do not use it on my skin much.

 

Some other popular oils are jojoba, argan, and almond.  All of these are more expensive, which is the only reason I haven’t used them.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been several months since the Russian aggression against Georgia.  Though the media has entirely abandoned this story, some of us continue to think about and discuss the implications of the situation, which as far as I know remains fairly tense and problematic. 

 

A friend argued that in invading Georgia, Russia is only doing the same thing the US has done any number of times for oppressed countries.  The rebels of South Ossetia are like the 13 colonies of America at the Revolutionary War. 

 

My argument, (certainly not made so persuasively in person and on the spot) is as follows:

 

         Russia chose this summer to invade Georgia, though South Ossetia has had its share of rebels since the Soviet Union fell.  This summer was a time when world attention was on other things.  The invasion happened just before the start of the Olympic Games.  Economic times were hard and more pressing to most of the world than foreign affairs.  America was and continues to be engaged in a close and important election, while its sitting government has proved impotent. 

 

         Only after Georgia sought to join the NATO alliance did Russia act against them.  Russia is less interested in revolutionaries than it is in bullying smaller nations out of alliances with the democratic West.  Russia is engaged in a new Cold War with the West, though the West seems unaware of this development.  Russia is testing the strength of the NATO nations’ friendship with Georgia, much as Hitler did by stepping into Austria, the Sudetanland, and Czechoslavakia before the free world decided with Poland that enough was enough and Europe was in danger. 

 

         Russia has economic/oil interests in disabling Georgia or in annexing the small country.  Georgia has the only oil pipeline to northeastern European countries that is outside of Russian control.  Russia wishes to control those NE countries, many of which were formerly part of the Soviet Empire.  Controlling the supply of such an essential resource essentially holds hostage any dependent nations. 

 

         Russia is busy forming an alliance with Iran and the Islamic states.  Georgia is in the way. 

 

         The revolutionaries in South Ossetia are Islamic troublemakers, not interested in freedom.  If they wanted to be free, they would want to be independent, not to join Russia.  Like Iran supplying insurgents in Iraq with weapons and training, so has Russia been backing these rebels for over a decade. 

 

         The claim has been made that because the South Ossetians and the Georgians are of different ethnicity, they cannot get along sufficiently to live under the same government.  America has done this for its history as a nation.  Russia does this, and South Ossetia is seeking to be annexed into Russia, which has much more ethnic diversity than Georgia.  Local South Ossetians and Georgians get along just fine when there is no battle line drawn between them.  (See the American Civil War)

 

         Russia did not only invade South Ossetia; their troops pushed all the way to just outside the Georgian capital.  If helping the South Ossetians throw off an oppressive regime was their only interest, Russia should only have occupied South Ossetia.   Russia has been dishonest in its invasion of Georgia.  Russia promised to withdraw its military troops, but has not.  It simply renamed the occupying forces as “peacekeepers.” 

 

         South Ossetia says that Georgia’s rule was oppressive.  There are three possible explanations for this:  1) Georgia is abusing its power and depriving South Ossetians of their rights based on ethnicity.  If that is the case, the best first move is a demonstration of these “atrocities” to the world.  America did this with its Declaration of Independence.  2) Georgia is engaged in a military conflict begun by the rebels themselves.  A sovereign nation has the right and responsibility to quell insubordination within its borders.  3) South Ossetians are lying in order to justify their rebellion. 

 

         Georgia is a small country still wobbling towards maturity as a democratic republic.  In the interest of discouraging the return of Communism or totalitarianism, the US is justified in making alliances with this nation.  It was proposed as part of a potential NATO treaty that Georgia allow the US to post technology military in nature on their land and directed at the aggressively posturing Russian nation.  Many young nations with democratic ideals look to the US (successful in these very pursuits) for help and example in establishing their governments. 

 

         If the US or any other nation has a defense treaty with Georgia, it must be honored less the validity of any treaty made by said nations be weakened and doubted.  A treaty is like a contract, each nation receiving a needed good or service.  One party cannot withdraw on its agreement. 

 

         The free world must take a strong stand against Russia lest they, growing confident, invade more countries in Europe and Asia. 

 

         If the US has unjustly invaded other countries, this is no argument for Russia to do the same.  However, in many cases the US has invaded countries in order to honor treaties it has with threatened nations.  In other cases, the US has engaged in preemptive or retributive strikes against countries whose military/weapon technology has threatened us directly. 

 

         Whether the US should militarily support Georgia is dependent on at least two things:  Have we made any official promise to Georgia to do so?  and Are we nationally threatened by this move Russia is making? 

 

In conclusion, I believe that Russia’s motives are suspect in a large way, its methods are inappropriately aggressive, and its response to world denouncements chillingly indifferent or dishonest.   

 

Georgia is a little former Soviet ‘republic’ with ethnic tensions, economic precariousness, and threatening neighbors.  Whether right or wrong in its treatment of the northern province, the country ought to be esteemed as a sovereign nation, not as a child-state of Russia.  As such it has the right to international relations and to addressing its own civil order. 

 

The US needs to pay more attention to world events, especially Russia.  Russia is quietly rebuilding its empire, reducing the freedoms within its boundaries.  It is also allying itself, including through the sale of weapons, with professed enemies of the United States.  Watching is not enough; the US needs to take a stand.  In this age of global technology, we must be very careful lest those who wish to destroy us get the weapons capabilities of doing so.  We are engaged in a global war on terror, declared first by the terrorists on us.  Failure to engage our enemies means defeat. 

 

We as Christians need to give careful thought to prophecy and the roles of countries such as Russia, Iran, and Iraq.  It is written in the Bible that they who bless Abraham and his heirs will be blessed.  Essential for our preservation in the world is that we side with Israel, not only in word, but in diplomacy and force.  Also important at this time is evangelism: in America, in the closing country of Russia, and in the Middle East.  I believe biblical prophecy predicts that a revival is at hand. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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