DIY gifts: Body scrubs
Gifts that clutter are bad, but I'm a firm believer that nice bath gifts are always appreciated. And, in the harsh winter, most people are thrilled to get something that can get rid of all that dry skin.
Best of all, these recipes tend to be cheap & easy.
The biggest costs for these will probably be the essential oils (if you choose to make them scented) and containers. I think you could just scrounge around at home for some containers (Crystal Light containers are a good size, for example) and simply go for a slightly eccentric flair. Who cares what the products come in, if they're good?
But, if you prefer the standard route, most craft stores (any place that sells candle- or soap-making supplies will probably have your essential oils and plenty of containers) will have cost-conscious containers.
It's been about 3 years since I bought mine, but I believe I got about 20 jars for about $10.
Okay, onto the recipes:
You will need an exfoliant:
- Sugar (white or brown, most recipe-makers prefer brown)
- Salt (Epsom, kosher or Dead Sea, which will be at aforementioned-craft store)
- Oatmeal (colloidal is best, be sure it's finely ground or that you have a good grinder)
- Coffee (tightens skin among other things, again be sure it's ground finely)
If you don't want to grind the oats yourself, Wal-Mart has a good generic version of Aveeno's Oatmeal baths.
You will need an oil:
- Any vegetable
In a pinch, you can use mineral (baby) oil. But it's not as good for your skin, since it doesn't sink in like the others. It may also clog pores.
The best ones to use are oils with omega-3 fatty acids, since this provides extra protection for your skin. (These are the elements that provide natural barriers against dirt and keep your skin moisturized. You can also get these by taking supplements like flaxseed oil or any fish oil.)
You may want to add scents:
This is basic aromatherapy. Add a few drops to the whole batch for a nice, not-overpowering scent. Lavender is calming and soothing. Vanilla just smells good. Grapefruit and other citrus are invigorating. Mint is stimulating for the mind.
You can use the ingredients above to experiment a bit. (No explosions, I promise.) Overall, the mixture should be closer to a paste than soup. And you may have to stir the stuff each time you use it.
Check out these sites for exact recipes, or to get a general ingredient ratios.
Also, be sure to check out this easy- and fab-sounding Foaming Vanilla Bath.
Scrub for those with eczema/psoriasis/sensitive skin:
Tim's eczema causes him to get patches of dry, flaky skin that just won't go away. I bought some exfoliating sponges and gently worked on his skin that way. He said it helped reduce the itching a lot.
Still, I worry about scratching too hard and inflaming the eczema. So I think I'm going to try this recipe, made with eczema and other skin conditions in mind.
Tip: Once you've put the scrubs in containers, you can add a bit of elegance with tags or labels. List directions, ingredients or simply "to" and "from" in calligraphy -- or a calligraphy-like font.