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Green Shaving Cream
Commercial shaving creams usually consist of some sort of animal-based or hydrogenated vegetable-based fat, such as stearic acid, chemicals meant to create the right texture and pH, fragrances and dyes, and water. They may have one or two natural ingredients, such as aloe vera gel, or a vegetable-based fat source, but for the most part, they have a significant amount of toxic ingredients. In commercial creams petroleum based derivatives, propylene glycol (an ingredient in industrial antifreeze), benzaldehyde (irritating to mucous membranes), and camphor (easily absorbed through the skin, can cause dizziness and nausea when inhaled) are often used.
Learning how to make a shaving cream with natural ingredients at home is a great way to prevent these chemicals from entering the ecosystem. They are washed away into local water systems with every use, and introduced into the human body. A non-toxic, homemade shaving cream is completely safe for the earth, made only from biodegradable, natural substances. It is also great for the skin, being both nurturing and moisturizing. People with sensitive skin will really benefits from homemade, natural skin care.
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A homemade recipe consists of a few essential ingredients. Everything should be easily found at a natural market, such as a Whole Foods store.
- Four tablespoons of an essential fatty acid-rich oil. Sweet almond, jojoba, and apricot all work really well.
- Two tablespoons of a natural skin nourisher and moisturizer, such as shea butter, cocoa butter, or beeswax.
- One and one-half cup of water; use a distilled or filtered water for the purest source.
- One teaspoon of baking soda, which acts to soften and protect the skin.
- Four tablespoons of castile soap. Castile soap is vegetable oil-based, usually from olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. It can be found in liquid form, which is easier to use for this shaving cream recipe; in bar form, simply grate the soap. Dr. Bronner's is probably the most popular manufacturer of this eco-friendly, natural product.
- One-half cup of either aloe vera gel or honey, this ingredient is optional, but really beneficial for people with sensitive skin.
- Essential oils, again, they are an optional, natural aromatic. For men's shaving cream, use three drops of pine essential oil and three drops of bergamot; for women's shaving cream, use three drops each of rose essential oil, and lavender.
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How to make shaving cream? First heat the oil and skin nourisher over a double boiler at a low heat. Stir until the mixture is clear, then pour into a large bowl and let cool. In another pan, heat the water, then add the baking soda, and castile soap, stirring until completely diluted. Add the aloe vera gel or honey to this solution and stir. Pour the soap mixture into the bowl with the now room-temperature oil and skin nourisher. Add essential oils if desired. Blend everything very well with a hand mixer, or throw into the blender. For best results, blend for two minutes, stop, and then blend again for another two minutes.
Store the cream in an airtight container in a dry, cool location. This natural cream can be stored for about three months; none of the ingredients are perishable but oils such as sweet almond and apricot have a limited shelf life. This is a great opportunity to reuse old jelly jars or pickle jars. Wash well with soap and warm water to get rid of any odor residues. Not only is this homemade shaving cream wonderful for personal use, but also makes a great eco-friendly gift for someone else.
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"Twenty Most Common Chemicals in Thirty-one Fragrance Products, based on a 1991 EPA Study." (Our Little Place) http://www.ourlittleplace.com/chemicals.html
Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).
"Make Your Own Organic Shaving Cream." (GardenMandy) http://www.gardenmandy.com/make-your-own-organic-shaving-cream
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photo by: Evil Erin (CC/flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilerin/3266289133/