Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homemade Non-Petroleum Jelly

So, spring is in full bloom, and we are rapidly spiraling into summer! That means lots of skinned knees and bug bites, and oh, yeah, feet that were not quite ready to be seen in sandals. Luckily, I think I have found a super solution to all of these warm weather woes that is simple, affordable, and not chock-full of chemicals. Since I had so much fun sharing some ways that I pamper myself with homemade beauty products, I felt it would be great to share some helpful tips on "surviving summer."

My first tip is to make your family some non-petroleum jelly, which I learned about here. (I was actually on the hunt for DIY tinted lip balm recipes, and found one that called for Vaseline. Yuck! I refuse to put something petroleum-based on my skin and lips these days, so I first had to locate a recipe for making my own non-petroleum jelly before I could try that. More to come on how that lip balm turned out.) This is very easy to do with only two ingredients: olive oil and beeswax.

My beeswax came from Michaels, and with a coupon, ended up costing about the same as I would have paid at the natural foods store, $10 a pound. (In retrospect, I wish that I had just bought it there. I don't think there is a difference. I was hoping to find it in pellet form instead of the big block, but no such luck, so I purchased one labeled for "candle making." Again, I don't know if this matters. I suspect that beeswax is beeswax, so my personal advice is just buy it where you find it, or try looking online if you want to save yourself the run-around.) I started out with extra virgin olive oil, and ran out just before I had enough, and had to substitute the remainder of the "light tasting" olive oil that was on hand. I don't think this makes a huge difference, but when I make my next batch, I will first make sure that I have enough extra virgin olive oil. (I love it for cleaning and moisturizing my face, so I figure it is awesome for lots of other stuff, too!) I love this stuff, so I will definitely be making more when the first batch runs out. It will be handy for winter dry skin, too, but I don't want to think about that just yet...

{2-Ingredient Homemade Non-Petroleum Jelly}
  • 1/8 cup grated beeswax (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Grate your beeswax. (I first had to chop my big one-pound block into smaller pieces, using my chopping tool left over from my chocolate business days and a cutting board.) Grating the beeswax reminded me of grating Fels Naptha to make my own laundry detergent, except that the soap is softer, so this required a bit more elbow grease. Don't worry, though, once you get through grating your beeswax, I promise that this is smooth sailing!
  2. Add grated beeswax, along with olive oil, to a small sauce pan. Melt over low heat. (The original blogger also suggested that you can use a double boiler, but I decided to make this easy on myself and just used a single pan, which worked fine.) I found that this took about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the melted contents of the pan into a container to cool. I used a clean half-pint canning jar. I am not sure how long the cooling process takes exactly; I checked after an hour, but it wasn't ready. Since it was late at night, I just went to bed and let it sit until morning, which was obviously plenty of wait-time.
  4. Add a lid once the non-petroleum jelly is cool. I have also taken some and put it into smaller containers to store in other bathrooms and/or take with us on-the-go. 
  5. Apply as needed. Here are some ways we have used this so far:
    -- lip gloss (Super shine + moisture = all you really need, minus the parabens and other nastiness!)
    -- bug bite balm (I can't swear that this actually takes the itch factor away, but we are doing well with our placebo-effect mentality. It seems to work for us, so it's at least worth a try.)
    -- boo-boo salve (If you are avoiding anything that is petroleum based: Vaseline, Aquaphor, even the store-brand Neosporin we were using contained mineral oil -- Boo! -- this is a great, safe alternative for skinned knees and other boo-boos.)
    -- cracked heel cream (I personally attest that this works better than any of the commercial products I have ever tried for dry heels and that is with or without slipping socks on over top.)
    -- cuticle cream (Have I mentioned that I often need this since I have a bad habit of biting/picking at my cuticles? Well, this does a great job of repairing the damage overnight. It's not perfect, of course, but this works nicely on hands as well as feet.) 
    -- It should work on dry skin anywhere else on the body, too. Plus, I am sure there are other uses that I have not even thought of yet. Possibly a diaper rash salve? I would do research first, though, before using with cloth diapers, but it would certainly be okay with disposables. I am guessing if I added a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint, this might would work as a homemade vapor rub, too. I wonder if this would soothe a sunburn? I may give it a try at some point, although, I hope I don't have to test this out any time soon! Feel free to share other uses that you have for non-petroleum jelly.

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