diy belly butter

hi loves! with this post i’m sharing a belly butter that was inspired by a peachy-colored “all-over” balm i made for my friend.

this is for all our pregnant peeps out there that want to keep their skin moisturized. it also helps with itching and scarring, which i hear happens when your stomach skin stretches to grow a human. seriously, growing a whole human being inside of you? badass.

this is anhydrous, so it doesn’t need a preservative system. it’s pretty easy to make, too! it should take about a half hour from start to finish. 

it’s a great gift idea!

>>> makes 6 ounces. // store tightly sealed and away from sunlight. // toss after 1 year. // apply to dampened skin for best results.

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RECIPE: 1 ounce oil & 5 ounces butter

  • 5 oz unrefined shea butter
  • 1/4 ounce tamanu
  • 1/4 ounce rosehip co2
  • 1/2 ounce marula oil
  • 5 mL calendula co2

need help sourcing ingredients? i have a post HERE to help (no affiliate links, etc).

HOW TO

  1. in a double boiler, melt your shea butter until completely liquid. this should only take a few minutes.
  2. remove from heat once melted. let cool for 1-2 mins.
  3. add calendula co2 and mix well. this ingredient is the consistency of ear wax. make sure it melts and mixes evenly!
  4. add rosehip co2, tamanu oil, and marula oil. mix well.
  5. carefully pour into a balm container with a tight fitting lid*.
  6. let cool at room temperature overnight OR for best results, blast chill for 20 minutes in the freezer and remove.

ENJOY!

XO, ALEXRAYE

*- you can use two 3 oz jars, 3 two oz jars.. depends on what you have / what you find. i recommend to use wide-mouth cosmetic jars, so it’s easy to scoop product out. 

free educational resources on herbalism

hi loves. here are some links to free resources to learn more about the world of herbalism. they are categorized by how you would want to learn – watch, read, or listen. please leave more in the comments to be added!

XO, ALEXRAYE

read first: Herbal Medicine Fundamentals from the American Herbalists Guild

WATCH

READ

articles

  • Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa – blog
  • Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism – site
  • Herbal Actions – pdf

courses

books

LISTEN

i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog – PT 2

 

welcome back! 🙂 

here we are again, almost exactly 1 year later (ha…), reviewing my blog stats and getting to read what people searched to wind up on this site.

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black walnut hair dye 

this was by far the most searched term that drove organic views to this site in the last year. yes, i have dyed my hair with black walnuts, and yes, it actually works. here’s the original post from 7 years ago (wow). 

norwex cloths

among the phrases in this search term were things like “home cleaning” and “private parts”…. when i first used norwex cloths in 2013, it was because a rep provided them to me to review. i ended loving them so much that i purchased a pack with my own money. those washcloths are still in my bathroom to this day, lovingly being used and in great shape. highly recommend! 

dragon’s blood

dragon what? what blood? good ol croton lechleri sap is fantastic for skin-support. i first wrote about it here, but it’s now found in countless green beauty products. and guys – it can be used undiluted on skin as a liquid bandaid. super cool!

msm face mask

methylsulfonylmethane (msm) is a sulfur compound that is great both externally and internally. if you want to learn more and try it in an exfoliating mask, try this post. if you want to combine it with anti-inflammatory powerhouse turmeric, try this post. and if you want something moisturizing and skin-softening, try this post. happy mixing!

hydrojelly face mask 

hydro-gel face masks have become my favorite, since i live in a high-altitude, dry, polluted city. think: 100% Pure but make it DIY. they’re easy to customize and easy to make, making them a fun diy tailored for your skin needs. the coolest part is they come right off with no scrubbing and no mess. i usually make/use these every other week. here’s a post

water-only washing 

while i personally can’t follow this method anymore, because i live in a high-altitude, dry, and polluted city, i think it’s a fantastic option for those that can. it’s exactly what it sounds like, and no, you won’t end up stinking. my hair ended up shinier and softer than ever, and could actually hold a curl. here’s a post on w.o.w. for hair and one for body

(product name) dupe

i do have a formulation educational series on this blog, which took inspiration from actual green beauty products on the market. while no companies or product names are used, it’s a nice series on learning to read ingredient labels and understand how that translates into a formula. it’s also a nice starting point for those wanting to get into diys, but don’t know where to start. here’s the full series. there’s lot of good info in those posts, if i do say so myself!

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anything else you’re curious about? maybe we’ll have part 3 in another year 😉

XO, ALEXRAYE

bipoc-owned herbal shops

hi loves!

representation matters. representation in herbalism matters.

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here is a small list of bipoc-owned herbal shops that i’ve combined from ones my herbalism school has put together and from who i follow on ig. some are owned by my fellow students – super cool!

no links provided are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way, shape, or form.

please leave your favorites in the comments, including your own shop. i’ll keep this updated.

XO, ALEXRAYE

 

ingredients:

herbal products:

herbal-based skin & hair care:

4 things on my blog i no longer agree with

… and no, non-vegan items are not included 😉

i’ve decided to publish this because, hey, no one is perfect. if we’re not learning from our mistakes, we’re doing something wrong. we should always strive for improvement.

let’s get straight into it.

  • baking soda hair wash
    • the pH of baking soda is much too harsh (too alkaline) and can cause damage to both hair and scalp over a sustained time period. i no longer advise this version of the no-poo method, but am still a fan of water-only washing and low-poos. calia is a nice shampoo & conditioner brand that’s affordable and has great ingredients.
  • diy sunscreen
    • please do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin. to have that tested and confirmed requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. if you need suggestions – i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face. please leave others below in the comments!
    • i’m a supporter of responsible sun exposure. i think it’s crucial to health. that doesn’t mean i’m a supporter of reckless sun exposure. for example, i know i will be outside an average of 30 minutes total every day, and not midday. knowing that, i do not apply sunscreen to my body. however, if i know i will be on a midday hike, i will slather it on.
  • diy lotion w/ no preservatives
    • say it with me – anything containing aqueous ingredients, or anhydrous coming into contact with water, NEEDS a preservative. i get on my soapbox about it here.
    • two things to know: 1. preservatives are not evil. 2. antioxidants are not preservatives. rosemary eo and/or extract and vitamin e are antioxidants and can be used in anhydrous formulations, but they are not preservatives.
  • mixing EOs and herbs haphazardously 
    • as wonderful and easy as it sounds, you can’t just blend random essential oils and/or herbs together. everything has different constituents with varied herbal and drug interactions, in addition to varied contraindications. yes, plant extracts can and will absolutely interfere with prescribed medications. please always talk with both your doctor and your local certified herbalist.
    • other than endangering yourself, loved ones, and even pets (no EOs with pets!), at the very least, you could be – 1. wasting plant material from not understanding constituent solubility properly (ex: trying to drink nettle tea for silica… won’t happen, babycakes. check out my post on this here); 2. wasting plant material from using herbs and essential oils with opposing ‘actions’ in the body (blending chamomile and green tea).

 

is there anything you no longer practice or agree with in the ‘crunchy’ or ‘green’ world? let’s hear it!

XO, ALEXRAYE

relaxing body balm

hi crunchies!

tonight let’s go over a super simple but effective DIY for a silky, relaxing, nighttime body balm.

this recipe only includes 3 ingredients and does not require heat. and guys – IT SMELLS SO GOOD. it’s a complex yet light floral scent, but does not linger long on the skin.

swoon-worthy. you need this waiting for you on your bedside table.

as this is anhydrous, feel free to store it at room temperature in an air-tight container. use 30 minutes to right before your bed time (on feet and body), and let the wonderful aroma help you unwind from the day.  i also love this because you wake up with silky smooth skin and feet!

please note the links provided are for your benefit only. they are not affiliate links nor do i benefit in any way – the companies are unaware of this post 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 ounces monoi de tahiti oil
    • this is coconut oil with macerated gardenias, so do not apply to face
    • the source linked is the only one i can find that properly macerates the gardenias. please let me know if you find another!
  • 2 mL cape chamomile (or german chamomile)
    • prized and touted as the rare and ultimate relaxant EO, as reflected in the steeper price
    • not related to german chamomile; not a suitable substitute, but you could try lavender EO
  • 4 dropper fulls of this magnesium oil
    • magnesium can help promote deeper sleep and muscle relaxation. however, check out a post i did here on the science of it.

HOW TO:

  • blend monoi de tahiti oil, chamomile EO, and magnesium until well incorporated in a small bowl
  • transfer to UV-blocking, airtight container
  • store at room temperature
  • use before bed

sweetdreams. xo, alexraye

Monoi Butter | Organic Monoi de Tahiti Body Butter - Nature in Bottle

advice on starting your “green” life: reboot

the landscape has changed so much over the last 5 years, and you can buy pretty much any “green” beauty product you want nearly anywhere. when i started this blog in 2012, that definitely was not case; hence why i DIY’ed everything.

now, the “green” beauty world is FULL of options. it’s really easy to get overwhelmed! i remember when i first started and how i felt like an electronic hoarder of ingredient safety information and peer-reviewed research. i soaked up everything i could.

but now, with so many different opinions on “natural” alternatives, where do you begin? how do you begin?

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be an educated consumer

there are SO many “green” options out there that you’ll need to sift through countless offerings to find what works for you. research the available options, research ingredients, research companies, research product reviews, etc. don’t ever stop learning! being an educated consumer is my top priority in anything i share with you all.
when in doubt, reach out!

take baby steps (or don’t)

just because you’re switching over doesn’t mean you have to throw everything away and start completely from scratch (although you most certainly can). don’t overwhelm yourself! if you get too overwhelmed, it’ll be ‘easier’ to become more unmotivated to stick with the transition. you’re putting yourself through a lifestyle change. give it time! try to have patience. start with the basics. save money by not buying everything all at once.  give yourself time to learn as much as you can about each category of options before you switch.
my suggestion? start by switching out your shampoo/conditioner, then toothpaste, then deodorant. if you wear makeup, that’s an easy switch nowadays! i’d leave skincare last, as it’s the most intricate and expensive.

find a “green” community

you’re making a complete lifestyle change and there are like-minded people out there doing the same. we all have frustrations, we all have those “aha!” moments when things work beautifully, and we all have questions! don’t ever ever ever hesitate to reach out. this whole “green” community is full of people that have “been there, done that” and it’s a tremendous source of wisdom. learn from others and help others! i think supporting each other in this journey is so important! what other group of strangers will talk openly about their armpits with you just to save you from stinking?

this includes finding bloggers and instagram accounts to stay “in the know” and keep connected to the community.

stay open-minded

you’ll more than likely come across concepts and uses for things you’ve never heard of before. for example, water-only washing and brushing your teeth with charcoal. you just gotta keep an open mind and keep in mind that just because one thing doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that nothing will work for you. for example on hair care, some people love co-washing, some love clay, and some love 100% pure’s line. it just takes time and patience.

don’t be afraid to DIY

don’t be afraid to mix things up or experiment. i really think that’s the fun side of venturing into “green” self-care. it’s like you get to play mad scientist. you’ll know exactly what’s in your products. you’ll be able to tailor everything to meet your specific needs (and those of loved ones). and lastly, you’ll probably save money.
my suggestion: oil cleansers, facial serums, and hair oils are great starter DIYs, that also ensure you learn the fatty acid composition of different oils and how they interact with your skin. knowing this will allow you to filter out products that won’t work for you, solely based on reading an ingredient label. it’s really empowering! this blog is also full of DIY ideas. poke around!

be proud

be proud of yourself. seriously. you’re putting yourself through a complete lifestyle change and you’re going against the socially acceptable norm. how many people do you think have the drive to completely change the only ways they’ve ever known how to care for their bodies after 20/30/40/50 years? YOU, my friend… YOU. so pat yourself on the back, and pamper yourself with a coconut oil scrub foot massage and a papaya face mask. you deserve it.

sending love,

XO, ALEXRAYE

i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog

happy saturday, crunchies.

i thought this would be a fun one! the highlight of reviewing my blog stats is getting to read what people searched to wind up on my blog.

so let’s answer some of the most popular ones, shall we?

no long intro – let’s get into it.

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  • does the honey and cinnamon cleanse work?
    • short answer: studies indicate you can lose 0.5% to 1% body fat over the course of 30 days… OR you could just take a daily brisk walk.
    • longer answer: i posted about it here 6 years ago, when i still had access to my graduate research library.
  • how to get flawless skin
    • hmm “flawless”… i’m not sure i’ve ever encountered anyone with flawless skin. just accept and love yourself for what you are and have.
    • also important – try to eat a plant-based, whole foods diet with plenty of good fats, drink enough water, ensure you’re getting good quality sleep, find ways to reduce your stress, and keep your skincare routine simple (yet effective).
  • how do i get coconut oil out of my hair?
    • ooo girl, we’ve all been there. i’d advise you use a “green” conditioner a couple of times. i really like calia’s line of conditioners! if a coconut oil mask won’t come out of your hair after that, shampoo… and going forward, opt for small amounts of “dry” carrier oils on wet to damp hair, instead of a full blown hair and scalp mask.  i really like amaranth seed oil.
    • hello, 2014. yikes.

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  • does shea butter have spf? 
    • do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin, and to have that tested requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face.
  • how to scritch and preen
    • i first wrote and made a video about this in, i think, 2013, before it blew up on the internet. the quality is terrible, but my sweet baby cat who passed away is in it, so i left it up. anyway, this process is tedious, but it does make your hair super soft and healthy. check it out here.
    • please laugh with me at this –

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  • oil cleansing method before and after
    • aw, this one kind of got me in feels, because i wrote the original OCM post when my blog first starting blowing up.
    • look at grad school me – ocmprepost.jpeg
  • red raspberry seed oil sunscreen
    • no. i mean, does published research indicate red raspberry seed oil has SPF properties? well, sure, yes. but i’m embarrassed and disappointed in myself that years ago i posted DIYs about this. any company advertising sun protection from red raspberry seed oil legally needs to have passed the required, and very expensive, SPF testing. ask if they have. i’ve seen a few brands sell face oil blends illegally claiming SPF protection. it’s important to be an educated consumer and support ethical brands.
    • real life example of an illegal product information claim: “Although Glow Illuminizing Oil does not carry an SPF rating, we’ve packed it with organic SPF oils that naturally protect your skin from uv rays and also prevent damage, heal and regenerate skin cells.
  • list of carrier oils
    • i have an updated OCM post here that covers my favorite carrier oils that are all truly non-comedogenic and low in oleic acid (so people with acne-prone skin can safely use)
    • includes, but is not limited to: hemp seed oil, amaranth seed oil, prickly pear seed oil
  • is baking soda bad for your hair?
    • short answer: yes – it’s a pH problem. i encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions for your self-care 🙂
    • yes, i know… i posted 6 or 7 years ago about how i was only washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar, and all i can do now is say “i’m sorry” and offer better DIYs and other options available for purchase. everyone has done things that make them cringe.
  • can i use witch hazel as deodorant?
    • yes! i have some DIYs here.

sending you love.

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