Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kitchen Cosmetics: Do it Yourself Body Care with a Cider Vinegar and Locally Grown Herbs


This blog post is a part of the Kitchen Cosmetics Blog party hosted by Sagescript.

Apple Cider Vinegar, a common ingredient in the kitchen, has an amazing variety of little know uses, many of which are for cleaning and deodorizing. Vinegar has low acidity and therefore helps to eliminate bacteria which create bad odors. Apple Cider Vinegar also makes a great non-toxic base for herbal deodorant, facial toner, conditioning hair rinse or after sun splash.

Aromatic Herbs from the Florida Garden to use for your Herbal Vinegar Base:
Grated Orange or Lemon peel
Rosemary
Lemongrass
Lemon-Rose Geranium
True Rose Geranium
Lemon Verbena
Patchouli
Mints
Holy Basil

No fresh herbs? Dried Herbs that are easy to find include
Lavender
White Sage
Rose Petals
Chamomile

Method for Making a Stock Herbal Vinegar Solution:
You can used dried herbs or collect fresh herbs from your garden. When collecting fresh herbs, you should only pick green unblemished material. Do not collect brown leaves or leaves from diseased plants. The best time of day to collect is late morning when the dew has evaporated from the plant. Add fresh or dry aromatic herbs chopped coarsely then add to a clean glass jar. Pack it as full as possible while still leaving room for vinegar to cover the herbs completely. This is difficult to judge at first, but as you make more and more infusions you will get better at this step. Cover the herbs completely with vinegar and cap with a non metallic lid. If you only have a metallic lid for the jar, then you can put a plastic baggy over the top of the jar and then put the lid on or use a rubber band to secure it. Label the jar with the ingredients, the type of vinegar and the date. You should check the jar in the next day or two to see if you need to add any extra liquid. Let the herbs sit in the vinegar for about six weeks. After six weeks you can strain out the liquid and store it in a glass jar with a non-metallic lid.

Ways to use your Herbal Vinegar for Body Care:
Herbal Vinegar Deodorant
Commercial deodorants may contain harmful pore-clogging materials and aluminum. Baking soda containing deodorant powders are natural and locally available, but have given me rash. I have found them better suited for foot powders. Some people also may be sensitive to Vinegar on their skin, so it is a good idea to test it or monitor to see if you react to it. My skin is very sensitive, but I have found that herbal Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar are the best options for deodorant and are also very effective. I use the herbal vinegar straight in a spray bottle. You will need a clean funnel and a coffee filter if you are planning to put your deodorant liquid into a spray container to remove small particles that can clog the pump. Once you run out of deodorant, you can simply refill your spray bottle with more infused vinegar.

Hair Detangler
On wet hair I use a couple of sprays of straight herbal vinegar to help untangle knotted hair after shampooing. This is a great method for kids who have knots in their hair. The trick is just to use a small amount and hold it about 12 inches from the head so it doesn't go on too strong.

Conditioning Hair Rinse
Vinegar diluted in water or herbal tea makes a great hair rinse for smoothing wavy frizzy hair or removing build up from shampoos and conditioners. For long hair add 2 Tablespoons of Herbal Vinegar to pure water or herbal tea. This is a leave in hair rinse.

Toner
Facial toner is a must have in Florida most of the year with the hot humid weather. Mix 1 part herbal vinegar with 2 parts pure water or herbal tea to make a refreshing rinse. For those with sensitive skin, you may wish to start with a 1 part vinegar 4 parts water solution and increase the vinegar concentration as you feel it is appropriate for your skin.

After Sun Splash
Vinegar help take the sting out of a sun burn. You can dilute it with water like a toner and apply it with a cotton ball to over exposed sun areas if you have been out in the sun a bit too long. Alternatively you may with to use the straight herbal vinegar spray.

Bug Bites
Add a little bit of vinegar neat to a mosquito or other bug bite to help take the sting and itch out.

Bath Additive
Add a cup of herbal vinegar to your hot bath. The mild acidity of the vinegar helps restore the body's protective acid mantle. The acid mantle is a film on the surface of the skin that helps make a barrier to bacteria and viruses.




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