Make itFeb/Mar 2014 Issue

Valentine’s Day Gifts

Try out this homemade indulgence for you and your special someone.

© truembie/Shutterstock

For Valentine’s Day, give the gift of natural skin care and loving touch. Think indulgence and relaxation. Create your own affordable, all-natural beauty products to pamper your sweetheart and yourself. Label each jar with an ingredient list and instructions on how to use it. Put together a basket filled with a few handmade items and tie it with a decorative ribbon. Then tuck in a love note, along with a promise to enjoy the items together.

There are three simple rules of gifting: Give what your recipient would love to receive, personalize your present and be creative. These do-it-yourself recipes meet all three criteria.


Rich Body Butter

MAKES 4 OUNCES

Treat your sweetheart to a moisturizing massage. A rich body balm keeps the skin soft and supple while it relaxes muscles. This homemade body butter is full of nurturing natural oils to hydrate during dry winter months. If you or your sweetie is sensitive to any of these, substitute any light oil. To use, massage into the skin.

¼ cup grated cocoa butter
2 tablespoons light sesame oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax

1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe glass container or a small saucepan.

2. Heat mixture gently in the microwave or on the stovetop until it just begins to melt.

3. Remove from heat and stir until ingredients are melted and blended well.

4. Pour mixture into a clean, decorative container and let cool completely.


Smoothing Sugar Scrub

MAKES 8 OUNCES

Body scrubs are an essential part of a nurturing skin care regime as they help remove surface impurities and deeply cleanse the skin. Simple to create, this scrub is perfect for gift giving because

it can be made ahead and has a long shelf life. You can make it unscented or add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
1 cup granulated sugar or raw sugar
¼ cup almond oil or olive oil
½ teaspoon vitamin E oil
3-4 drops scented essential oil, optional

1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.

2. Spoon the scrub into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. To use, stand in the shower or bathtub and massage a tablespoon or two of scrub over your body to gently exfoliate and moisturize the skin. Rinse well.

TIP Be careful as the oil in this scrub can make your tub or shower slippery.


Bath Salts

MAKES 12 OUNCES

Let your Valentine relax in a warm, fragrant bath. You can create dozens of different bath salts in no time at all. All you need is a combination of natural salts, such as Epsom salt, sea salt and kosher salt. Color your salts and add a bit of natural aroma to them with essential oils and dried herbs or flowers.

1 cup Epsom salt
½ cup kosher salt or sea salt
½ cup baking soda
1 tablespoon dried herbs or flower petals, optional
3-4 drops natural food coloring, optional
3-4 drops scented essential oils, optional

1. In a large bowl, stir all ingredients together until well mixed.

2. Pour the salts into small jars with tight-fitting lids.

3. To use, pour about ½ cup of bath salts under warm running water as you fill the tub. Relax in the bath at least 20 minutes.


 

Energizing After-Bath Splash

MAKES 8 OUNCES

Hailing from the Australian outback, tea tree oil is naturally antiseptic and energizing. It can be found at some pharmacies and most natural food stores. Tea tree oil makes an invigorating body spray that can be used after working out and showering.

½ cup filtered water
½ cup witch hazel
1 teaspoon tea tree oil

1. Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean spray container with a tight-fitting lid.

2. To use, spray onto clean skin after exercise or whenever you need a quick skin freshener.


 

Herbal Foot Soak

MAKES 2 OUNCES

Keeping your feet healthy and feeling good benefits your whole body, easing strain, relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow. Pamper your partner with a homemade herbal footbath—and a foot massage.

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons dried juniper berries 5 whole clove buds

1. Mix together all ingredients and pour into a small jar. Alternatively, place ingredients inside a large muslin tea bag.

2. Fill a small footbath or tub with boiling water. Drop in dried herbs and spices. Let mixture steep 15 to 20 minutes until water cools to a warm, comfortable temperature. Soak your feet in the fragrant water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Janice Cox is author of Natural Beauty at Home.

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