Every year I get lofty ideas about all the great holiday gifts I'm going to make. And every year, about a week before the actual day, I give up on the dream and say "next year."
This year, with the help of Organic Body Care Recipes: 150 Homemade Herbal Formulas (strangely, there are 175 recipes in the American version...) and Anarres Natural Health*, I whipped up most of my gifts in one afternoon.
I made chocolate orange body butter, and vanilla and sweet orange bath salt, lip balm and body wash. They all smell delicious, feel great and are free of the chemicals found in most of the products out there.
There are a lot of things that are unappealing about conventional bath and beauty products. With no real regulation of the industry, many cosmetic products are made with chemicals that have not been properly tested for human and environmental safety. In fact, many of these chemicals are linked to such health concerns as allergies, cancer and developmental and reproductive toxicity.
According to Breast Cancer Action Montreal (BCAM), not only is the average North American exposed to over 126 chemical components a day, but "many such chemicals can be detected in the blood stream...and even the umbilical chords of newborns." Scary stuff.
BCAM is a great resource for information about the cosmetics industry. I particularly like their Toxic Twenty and their Beast of Beauty (PDF) pieces. Want to know how your products measure up? Look them up on Skin Deep, the ingredient and safety database of cosmetics and personal care products from the Environmental Working Group.
Looking for some recipes? Try some of the 50 all natural products over at planet green!
*Have you heard about Anarres? This place is amazing and I cannot believe I didn't know about it before! Tracey, the owner, runs diy workshops, such as one on making tub truffles and lotions. What I'm especially loving about Anarres is the awesome access to everything you need to make and package your own bath and beauty products, at amazing prices.