Salon des métiers d'art, a huge annual arts and crafts fair at Place Bonaventure, and I was telling friends Lucie and Carine about the shower gel I made. Lucie had taken my post about the toxins in commercial cosmetics to heart, even going so far as to print the David Suzuki Foundation's wallet-size dirty dozen list and carry it around with her. As we started reading labels on cosmetics at the Dans un Jardin display, Lucie expressed an interest in trying some of my shower gel. (Mr. Burns...excellent!)
Lucie is the best person for giving feedback, and I know that she will give it to me straight without any social filters to make her comments more palatable, which is what I prefer. I cringe at the thought of having friends peek out from behind the curtains as I walk up their front step. "Oh, here she comes...Listen..T-tell her that the gel was wonderful," says one. "You mean that stuff we threw out?" asks the other. Anyway...
Without getting too technical, I want to explain the five essential classes of ingredients needed in a skin care cleaning product:
1) Emollients: They protect the skin from dryness and act as a healing agent.
2) Humectants: They keep your skin moist and draw in moisture from the air.
3) Emulsifiers: They hold all the products together that don't usually mix. Sometimes instead of using an emulsifier, you're simply instructed to shake the product before using.
4) Surfactants: These are used to break down oils and separate them from dirt.
5) Preservatives: They extend the life of the product.
Source: Natural Skin Care Authority
The following is the recipe for the shower gel that I have been using for the past month. I think it's great, but I'd like another opinion. The scent is fresh, clean and lemony, but it doesn't linger after you rinse.
1/4 cup (125 ml) of castile liquid soap (Surfactant)
1/4 cup (125 ml) of aloe vera gel (Emulsifier, Emollient and Preservative) Aloe Vera also acts as a thickener.
1 teaspoon of glycerin (Humectant and Emulsifier)
1/4 cup (125 ml) of sweet almond oil (Emollient)
A few drops of lemon essential oil (Preservative and Scent)
A few drops of ylang ylang essential oil, which is a recommended mix with lemon. (Scent)
Pssst...ylang ylang is apparently an aphrodisiac. Do you think I should tell her? Read all about the properties of essential oils ylang ylang here and lemon here.
All these ingredients were purchased at the Tau health food store on St. Denis. I have used a reusable plastic beverage container with an easy to pour spout. Not glamorous, but this is just a tester. I should also mention that the quantity I made will last about six weeks, which is how long it will be good for. It obviously doesn't have the same shelf life as a commercial brand. Apparently, you can tell if your shower gel is no longer usable if there is a noticeable difference in scent.
Update: DIY Cosmetics
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Cosmetics: the Dirty Dozen
DIY: Home Spa Salt Scrub
Dirty Dozen in my Personal Care Products
Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber
Airing our Dirty Laundry
The Mile End Buzz around Beekeeping