Starting to think about Valentine's Day.  I know there are many people who feel this is a manufactured holiday designed by card companies to force the consumer into more shopping but being the sentimental type, I can't help but fall for the opportunity celebrate the people around me and express how much I care for them!  A bright light in an otherwise dark and cold winter month!  As a kid, I remember the excitement of exchanging cards at school.  We would each make little "mailboxes" in which to deliver them and them come home with a bag full of greetings and small candies. I was equally excited to share this custom with my kids. I only have one kid that still does valentines and I'm savoring every moment!  

Did you know that practicing gratitude can make you happier?  There has been plenty of research showing that ongoing practice of gratitude can improve mood, immune function, sleep, and even make you more compassionate.  Personally,  I can tell you that gratitude helps me zero in on the positive, appreciate people, and live in the present so I welcome the opportunity to show a little Valentine's gratitude!  

This year I decided to make a body wash since I have been on a home-made beauty product jag lately.  After researching different recipes and ingredients, I came up with a really nice rose scented body wash that I think will be great to give out on Valentine's day!  The oils that you use could be swapped out if you want to customize the scent to your liking. For instance, if you want something a little less feminine, a nice orange oil would be great! Feel free to use what appeals to you!  I have been using mine for about a week now (and forcing all my family members to try it, too!) and so far, two thumbs up! It has a creamy consistency (as so aptly described by my mom).  It has a very mild lather and does not bubble up as vigorously as a commercial body wash but it leaves your skin feeling so moisturized!  My sister said she used it in the bath for her son and his skin was so soft she did not have to have slather on moisturizer after the bath, making it much easier to slide into PJs.  I used some on an eczema patch under my son's arm and it was gone the next day!  I used all natural ingredients that appear to be excellent for the skin (but bear in mind, I'm no herbalist!)  I found this blog post to be helpful in my research.  I liked adding a bit of citric acid to prevent mold (Although honestly we used it so fast, it probably was not necessary.  In addition, some of the essential oils have antiseptic properties.)  I also used the advice from this post to use xantham gum as a thickener. Great tips!  So, I introduce to you; HOME MADE ROSE OIL BODY WASH!

Now I'll take you step by step through the process:

Gather up your ingredients and measuring implements. 

1. Unscented Castille Soap: a mild soap containing only natural, vegetable, based ingredients.  I chose the liquid form but you could also get the bar soap.  If you get the bar soap, you need to grate it and boil it in water so it is more work but a lot more cost effective.

2. Vegetable Glycerin: Vegetable based compound that is an excellent skin moisturizer.

3. Vitamin E Oil: A great nutrient for than skin and an anti-oxidant.  Look for the kind with Tocopherol on the label which is the kind approved for use on the skin.

4. Citric Acid: This is optional.  I used a little for it's antibacterial properties

5. Castor oil: This is both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.  Make sure to get the purest version.

6. Pure Shea or Cocoa Butter: Both nourishing and moisturizing for the skin.

7. Xantham Gum: An emulsifier that will help bind the ingredients so that there are no lumps or separation of the oils.

8. Essential Oil of You Choice: I chose rose oil for Valentines and because I love the scent.  It has so many potential heath benefits such as antidepressant, antiseptic, and antiviral.  I think I will try the orange as well (for the boys!)

8. Jojoba Oil: Filled with vitamins and minerals and is wonderful as a moisturizer for hair and skin.

One note of caution: If you have sensitive skin and or allergies you may want to consider testing a small amount on you skin first to make sure there is no irritation or reaction.

First add 3/4 cup of the Castille Soap.

Next add 3 T of Jojoba Oil.

Now add 1 Teaspoon of Vitamin E Oil.

Now add 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Glycerin.

1/2 Teaspoon of Citric Acid.

1 Teaspoon of Xantham Gum. At this point, I gently whisked all the ingredients together.

Next, I melted 1 tablespoon of Shea Butter (I used the microwave but you can use a double boiler as well, if you prefer that method). I also used cocoa butter in another batch and it was wonderful, as well. Same texture and consistency as the Shea Butter.

I slowly whisked in the melted Shea Butter.

 The mixture, at this point, is still very watery but it thickens quickly so pour it into your containers right away, as it will become more difficult to pour when it becomes thick. Once the mixture cools and thickens a bit, add your essential oil.  (I originally added the oil before pouring it into the containers but I found that the heat from the hot shea/cocoa butter was evaporating the oil and therefore, the scent!) 

 Using my funnel to pour the wash while it is still runny into the container.

Using my funnel to pour the wash while it is still runny into the container.

I got my containers from the grocery store in the travel section.  They have a pop cap so you can just squeeze it out into your hand and not introduce dirt or bacteria into your soap.  You could also use an old pump soap dispenser, as well.

Valentine's colors!  So far I have been testing these soaps for over a week.  They have not separated (I had seen many recipes where the ingredients separated and it needed shaking every so often.).  It has no noticeable lumps, and it is a nice creamy consistency.  I like using mine with a sponge but it lathers in your hand nicely, as well.  What I like best about it is how soft my skin feels after using it. I would guestimate it made about 9 oz worth so if you are planning to make them for a lot of people, you may want to consider multiplying the recipe or getting smaller sample-sized containers. I added, as a little Valentine treat for you, a free printable gift tag. I made it black and white so that you could color it if you wish.  These look so great printed out on cardstock craft paper.  Add some colorful ribbon or twine and you've got a great little gift to show your Valentine gratitude!

 Click  here  to get your free printable PDF

Click here to get your free printable PDF

Hope you have lot of fun creating!

Warmly and Sentimentally yours,