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. 

ingredients we need to stop using in skincare (endangered / at-risk)

happy sunday loves! today we’re going to take a look into a handful of ingredients derived from flora that are at-risk or endangered, but still being used in skincare products.

i encourage you to dig deeper into each one, and kindly ask brands to rethink their formulations to exclude endangered flora. 

** please note this is more directed at mass-producers. that being said, we can all take the time to learn the nuances and ways to be more sustainable. this is not an authoritative list ❤

this is just meant to be a starting point for awareness and is definitely not an exhaustive list.

let’s get into it.

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any you would like to see added to this list? please share!

*palo santo – note it has been removed from the endangered list, but it’s not without complication. rare species of palo santo could still be at risk from unethical sourcing, and the use of this wood is ripe with cultural appropriation! 

XO, ALEXRAYE

herbal-infused whipped body butter (no heat)

hello loves! welcome back.

today we’re whipping up (i’m hilarious) another super easy diy – herbal whipped body butter!

it’s silky, it’s anhydrous (read: no preservatives), not so greasy, and easily customizable. we love that on this blog.

this recipe yields two 8 ounce batches of whipped body butter, with 4 ounce of infused oil left over to use as you please. please buy cosmetic containers accordingly.

as always, no links provided are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way. they are only provided to help you with trusted ingredient sourcing. 

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picture from pinterest/diyideacenter ; formula mine

please note this is not for intended for use on the face. it can clog pores, so be wary. 

this recipe is so buttery smooth, thanks to mango butter. if you’ve never felt this butter on its own before, you’re in for a real treat. it’s SO SILKY. because of this, you cannot substitute the mango butter in this recipe. you can, however, swap your carrier oils and/or herbs. just keep the total % ratios and it should come out very similar to the original. 

because mango butter is so silky, you actually don’t need to mess with heating it up. score!

before you order or bring out your ingredients — this will require an herbal solar infusion lasting 6 weeks.

the carrier oil i suggest for this formula is marulait’s pricey, and nearly any carrier of your choice will do. just be mindful of its oxidative stability. for example, argan oil and hempseed oil would unfortunately be poor choices for herbal infusions, whereas jojoba oil would be a good one. marula oil is very high in oleic acid* (~76%), deeply moisturizing, super fast-absorbing, and is one of the only oils that remains stable when exposed to light for extended periods of time. that will come in handy when we infuse our herbs in sunlight.

for our skin-supporting herbs, we’ll be blending in calendula and helichrysum, as both are incredibly soothing and skin-supporting, and anti-inflammatory. 

i’ve also chosen these 2 herbs not only because of their skin-supporting qualities, but because their constituents are fat-soluble. solubility is incredibly important in herbalism. if someone working with plants does not understand solubility, the end product could be ineffective. for example, an oil infused with horsetail will never help your skin and hair, because silica needs to be extracted in vinegar. as another example, marshmallow root is fantastic, but since the constituents you want for skin and hair are mucilaginous, it can only be extracted into hydrous bases. does that make sense? i wrote more on it before here.

let’s get into it. 

UTENSILS

  • mixing bowl
  • electric hand-held mixer
  • 8 oz mason jar (“jelly jar”) w/ lid
  • large-mouthed glass jar w/ lid (or multiple to give as gifts, just adding up to 16 ounces total)
  • 6 weeks time

INGREDIENTS

HOW TO

  1. in your 8 ounce glass jelly jar, put your dried herbs inside and pour the carrier oil over top. gently swirl/shake to get air bubbles up and out. 
  2. seal jar tightly and store in a warm, dry, sunny area. let sit for 6 weeks, but gently swirl/shake daily. 
  3. after the 6 weeks are up, strain oil/herb mix. keep the infused oil in jelly jar, sans herbs. 
  4. in a mixing bowl, add 12 ounces mango butter and 4 ounces of your infused carrier oil. 
  5. whip for 5 minutes. check the consistency. then keep whipping 3 minutes at a time until you get the consistency you want. 
  6. transfer to sterilized cosmetic jars (wide-mouth is best). 

store in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. 

best used on damp skin. 

please leave your customizations for this formula below.

have fun and enjoy!

XO, ALEXRAYE

 

 

diy body scrub (no salt, no sugar)

welcome back! today we’re mixing up a super simple, gently exfoliating body scrub that doesn’t involve sugar or salt.

as always, no links provided are affiliates nor do i benefit in any way. they exist only to help guide you on sourcing from trusted brands.

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INGREDIENTS

  • raspberry seed powder
  • your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, almond, olive, etc.)
  • optional – up to 1% essential oils, or clay, or butter, or ground oats, or flower petals, etc. get creative!

HOW TO

  • in a clean, dry bowl, add 4 ounces or 1/2 cup of the finely ground walnut shell powder
  • add 2 to 4 ounces or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite carrier oil and stir (will vary based on your desired consistency)
  • add any optional ingredients, tweaking the recipe to get the perfect consistency

use on damp skin and rinse thoroughly. follow up with your favorite body oil or body moisturizer. store in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight.

what will you add to your body scrub? what carrier oil will you use?

share your formulas below or with me on ig @_alexandraraye

XO, ALEXRAYE

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

cucumber gel serum

welcome back! today’s formula is super simple. it’s a lightweight, hydrating treat, perfect for hot weather.

cucumber gel serum!

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this recipe is fully customizable, as usual, so get creative!

note the links provided are not affiliates and i do not benefit in any way. they’re provided only to help you find good quality ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

  • cucumber hydrosol
    • deeply hydrating, calming, and conditioning
    • fresh and earthy smelling
    • gentle enough for all skin types
  • xanthan gum
    • gelling agent; used in miniscule quantities
    • found in your local grocery baking aisle
  • aspen bark powdered extract
    • water-soluble preservative
    • skin-conditioning
    • high in salicin
  • optional – a lightweight carrier oil
    • suggested: prickly pear seed oil or amaranth seed oil, both great for all-things-“eye”
    • note: xanthan gum can hold about 1% oil without needing an emulsifier, but it can separate over time
  • optional – water-soluble colorant

FORMULA

HOW TO

  1. in your bottle of cucumber hydrosol, sprinkle in your aspen bark powder and shake well.
  2. in the same bottle, gently and evenly sprinkle the xanthan gum across the top of the hydrosol. let sit for a few hours until the gum is fully swelled/hydrated. you can shake it after a few hours to make sure, but not before (or else you will get clumps called “fish eyes”)
  3. add up to 1% of your oil. shake well.

apply to clean skin before any creams or oils. store in a cool, dry area, away from sunlight. toss if the smell or color turns.

BONUS: you can easily turn this into a hyaluronic acid serum, since it’s mostly hydrosol. if you opt for that, omit the xanthan gum.

enjoy!

XO, ALEXRAYE

my favorite ingredient sources

hi loves! i hope you’re doing well. this is a quick post to help share some online, trustworthy, ingredient sourcing for at-home DIYs.

there are no affiliate links, no codes, no referrals, nothing. the companies don’t know i’m doing this. i don’t gain anything – just sharing the love!

please share your favorite sources in the comments below.

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dried herbs

oils & butters

hydrosols

preservatives

emulsifiers

essential oils

containers

 

 

diy formulation educational series: luxury face oil

hello friends! i’m back again with another DIY face oil formula, taking inspiration from a $225 / 0.67 fl ounce night serum. picking apart ingredient lists is a fun hobby for me, however weird that sounds.

it has really great ingredients, but can be DIY’ed because – 1. it’s completely anhydrous; and 2. doesn’t need to extract from whole plant materials.

please note the upfront costs are high (still lower than the price of the finished 0.67 fl oz product), but will yield multiple batches.

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here are the original ingredients:

Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear) Seed oil*, Supercritical Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) fruit oil extract*, Sclerocarya birrea (Marula) seed oil*, Supercritical Borago Officialis (Borage) Seed oil extract*, Adansonia digitate (Baobab) seed oil*, Caulophyllum Inophyllum (Foraha) oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) nut oil*, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin) Seed oil*, Camelina sativa (Camelina) oil*, Nigella sativa (Black Cumin) oil*, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Supercritical Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Berries extract*, Supercritical Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) seed extract*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride and Pheonix Dactylifera (Date) Seed Extract, Supercritical Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) extract*, essential oils of: Boswellia Carterii*, Helychrisum italicum*, Daucus carota*, Commiphora myrrha*, Pelargonium x asperum*, Cananga odorata*, Jasminum grandiflorum L. extract*, Elettaria cardamomum L*, Rosa centifolia extract*

aren’t the ingredients great? my personal favorite oil for skincare is prickly pear seed oil. it’s pretty pricey but oh-so-worth-it. it’s nice to see it at the top of the list!

formulation notes:

ingredients have to legally be listed by % contribution in descending order. knowing that, when creating a diy dupe we want to look for the “1% line.”

one “1% line” we sort of could use is the ubiquinone, aka co-q10. this is a bright orange powder and is typically used at 0.3-3%…  a bigger range than is helpful to us.

however, next in the formula is sea buckthorn berry oil. we know that SBO can be used up to 1% topically without staining, so normally we could cut it there. since co-q10 is also bright orange, let’s call the SBO at 0.5%. if you’re still following, anything above that is >0.5% contribution, and anything below is less.

black cumin seed oil is very near and dear to my heart, but it is quite a strong smelling little guy… very medicinal. i will assume, due to the strong scent, it’s also lower on the lower side of the formula % contribution.

do you see where instead of the individual ingredients being separated by a comma they’re instead connected with an “and”? that means it’s a pre-blended product. hint: it’s “caprylic/capric triglyceride and pheonix dactylifera (date) seed extract.” in this case, the product is known as d’orientine s. it’s typically used at 1-2.5% concentration, but i think it’s used less here, given that SBO is listed ahead of it.

and lastly, the rosemary extract used here is an antioxidant (not a preservative), and is typically used at up to 0.5%.

for the rest of the oils: prickly pear seed oil is super pricey, so let’s assume it’s no more than 20%. that being said, the blend of the main carrier oils could be anything from an equal split to being mostly prickly pear seed oil. this is where your personal preference and skin type would come into play. regardless, tamanu oil can be a little thick and greasy, so let’s assume it’s not a huge part to the overall formula, even though it’s listed towards the top.

formulation adjustments: 

let’s make the EOs optional, due to high upfront costs, as well as a safety precaution. if you’re an aromatherapist – first of all, you’re cool; second of all, blend EOs to your heart’s content. either way, if you choose to add these EOs, please do not use more than a total contribution of 1%.

the original formula is NOT suitable for blemish-prone skin, but this DIY will be as close to the original as i can get. if you want something for blemish-prone skin, try  this post for the best and worst facial oils and this post for an overview on different oils and their comedogenic ratings. 

diy formula:

NONE of the links provided benefit me in any way. they’re here to save you time and energy searching for them.

total cost: $141.55

total possible 1 fl ounce batches*: 2.5

*if using 15 mL prickly pear seed oil as your constraining factor… if you repurchase that, you will have many more batches from the other oils
**minimum amount saved… assuming only 2 purchased bottles, not 3 to fully cover the 2.5 oz of dupe you can make

 

what do you think? do you think this would be a luxurious gifting idea?

XO, ALEXRAYE