In Natural Beauty from the Garden, Janice Cox reveals over 200 brand-new recipes for home beauty treatments that make use of common flowers, plants, herbs, grasses and trees. With simple step-by-step instructions, readers can throw together their own natural products for skin care, hair care and stress relief for their own use or as great gift ideas. The following excerpt is from Chapter 9, "Bath Products."
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The other day I had one of those nonstop, super-busy days. I'm sure you know the kind in which every project and family member needs your attention and there just doesn't seem to be enough time for a moment to yourself. Usually on a day like this, I go out in the garden and do some weeding, just to clearmy mind and give myself a moment of peace. But in this particular instance, I didn't even have time for that. So, at the end of the day, when I did have a moment to myself, I took some of my own advice: I took a bath! Not the basic get in, get clean, and get out type of bath, but an indulgent, luxurious, spa-style bath. I lit candles, made a cup of my favorite herbal tea, filled the tub with warm water and dropped in a fragrant lavender bath bomb. I slipped into the fragrant waters and read a good book. After a good soak, my crazy day and all its stress went right down the drain with the bathwater. I emerged renewed, calm, and ready for a good night's sleep. A bath, something so simple to do, is overlooked as the stress-relieving rejuvenator that it is. I recently read that successful people love taking baths. Many of them take what are called "power baths" (soaking quickly for 10-15 minutes in warm water filled with energizing scents). These quick baths are better than a cup of coffee to start the day.
People have used water for centuries to heal, cleanse, and relax the body. Hydrotherapy is an ancient health practice. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, praised the use of water and its benefits. Famous women and figures of legend such as Venus, Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots, and Cleopatra all attributed their great beauty to bathing rituals. Roman men solved problems and discussed current affairs in their communal baths. Is it any surprise that legendary idea man Ben Franklin is responsible for importing the first formal bathtub to America from France? It was made of copper and had a small furnace under it for heating the water. This was historic, as it enabled bathing to become private, not in the kitchen, where the water was traditionally heated.
I remember my grandmother having these fizzing bath tablets that I loved to use when I would visit her house. Well, it turns out what she was using is now what we all have come to use and love as a "Bath Bomb," only smaller in size. Today, you can find bath bombs in all shapes and sizes, and some can be quite expensive. They are super simple to make yourself at home and fun to share.
Citric acid is the key ingredient that produces the bubbly effect. When the bombs are dropped in a tub of water, the baking soda and citric acid combine, creating a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide, i.e. fizzing bubbles! Citric acid powder is used in canning and bread making. You may find it in some food specialty shops and in some grocery stores. Consider these conscious companies when shopping for herbal ingredients. These ingredients can also be ordered online. Read more about sustainably sourced essential oils here.
Bath bombs nourish the skin and leave it feeling silky, supple, and deliciously scented. Try the recipe for Garden Bath Bombs below. Choose your scents using this aromatherapy guide. Fill a basket with new towels, candles, a good book, and some homemade bath bombs for a special gift this holiday season.
Garden Bath Bombs
Yield: 16 ounces, about 6 bombs
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup citric acid powder
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- Optional: dried herbs and/or essential oils
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. If you want a color, you can add it to the dry ingredients and stir slowly. You may also add a tablespoon of dried herbs.
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may add some essential oils to the melted oil for scent.
- Slowly add to the dry ingredients and mix well; you will have a mixture that looks like wet sand. I use my hands, but a small spoon or fork works.
- Pack the mixture tightly in a mold — I use a plastic ball mold that comes apart in two halves, but you can use anything: muffin tins, silicon molds, and cookie cutters. I unmold after about 10 minutes and place my bombs on a cotton dish cloth on a tray and let them dry overnight. You could also leave them in the molds overnight.
- To use: Drop one bath bomb in a tub full of warm water and enjoy!
- Grease molds with coconut oil
- Do not use any water and make sure all your equipment is dry
- You can spray the mixture with alcohol or witch hazel if it starts to dry out or add a bit more oil
Bath Bomb Variations
You can change the scent and color of your bombs by adding different herbs, spices, and essential oils to the basic mixture. Here are a few to try:
- Total Relaxation: 1 teaspoon each of dried lavender flowers, marjoram leaves, and chamomile daisies.
- For Men Only: 1 teaspoon dried orange peel, 1 teaspoon dried bay leaves, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice.
- Pure Joy: 1 teaspoon dried mint, 1 teaspoon dried lavender, 2-3 drops sweet orange essential oil, 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
- Romance: 2 teaspoons dried rose petals, 1 small piece of vanilla bean, 2-3 drops ylang-ylang oil
Excerpted from Natural Beauty from the Garden, by Janice Cox, 2nd edition. Copyright © 2018 by Ogden Publications Inc. Buy this book from our store: Natural Beauty from the Garden.
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