Red Flags

Shared from Humblebee and Me:


Half the battle

If you’re like me, and you use shampoo bars, you’re familiar with acidic rinses. The most common one is apple cider vinegar and water, with or without a few drops of essential oils to offset the vinegary smell. Thankfully the smell doesn’t linger after you rinse the vinegar out, and your hair ends up shiny and soft. However, after realizing I was never going to get the hang of bath bombs, I had 5 lbs of citric acid to make use of. I decided to create a hair rinse that would add shine and softness to my hair, by brewing a tea of hair healthy herbs and adding citric acid to make my acidic rinse. I change up the essential oils periodically, but the basics for the rinse itself remains the same. 

Somehow I failed to get the marshmallow root in this picture, but it’s a critical part of the tea because of the polysaccharide chains it has in it that add strength to your hair shaft and make it detangle. Bamboo and horsetail are natural occurring sources of silica, which makes your hair slippery, and silky. In store products, silica is introduced in chemicals like dimethicone and cyclomethicone, but here we are avoiding these synthetics and getting our silica naturally. It still works great at leaving your hair silky and smooth. 

I mix up about 20 oz at a time-enough that we will be using a preservative. I like to make a month’s worth and not have to worry about it. My bamboo comes in the form of tea bags, my horsetail in capsules, and the marshmallow root comes in bulk. How you’re able to find these things may differ. 

I allow the tea to brew overnight, on the counter, then the next day when it’s at room temperature, I strain it, add preservative, essential oils, and (optional) polysorbate 80. The polysorbate suspends the essential oils in the tea so that only a gentle shake is needed before each use. If you want a solubilizer that isn’t polysorbate, you can try red turkey oil, just a 1/2 tsp. That should be enough to suspend your essential oils without being so much that it makes your hair look greasy. 

Finally, per 8 oz of tea, add 1 tsp of citric acid so you have an acidic rinse to neutralize the pH of your hair after using an alkaline shampoo bar. The combination of citric acid, which will smooth the keratin scales on your hair shaft, bamboo and horsetail, which will add slip to your hair, and marshmallow root, which will add shine, should make for a great rinse. I’ve been using this rinse for over a year and can’t recommend it enough. 

Here’s the recipe:

For the tea:

4 bamboo tea bags or 4 tsp bamboo 

8 capsules horsetail or 4 tsp whitetail

4 tsp marshmallow root

20 oz boiling water. 

Pour water over herbs and allow to come to room temperature. Steep several hours or overnight. Strain. 


2 1/2 tsp citric acid

Preservative of choice, used at manufacturer recommended rate

I prefer Liquid Germall Plus, at 0.5%

My essential oil blend lately has been: 

10 drops bergamot

10 drops michelia alba

5 drops helichrysum

1 tsp polysorbate 80

I store my rinse in a repurposed pop top bottle, because I can direct exactly where I want the rinse to go. Avoid the roots of your hair, as it will look greasy faster, it will stay clean longer if you only apply rinse to the ends of your hair and avoid your scalp. Let sit about 3 min then rinse with cool water. 

The rinse isn’t pretty, it’s definitely very much like herbal tea. 

My favorite lip balm

I think I’ve shared the base of this recipe before, but this new essential oil blend I have for it makes it so divine it bears repeating. 

A “London Fog” tea is a strong cup of Earl Grey, to which sugar, vanilla extract, and cream has been added. It’s absolutely divine. I’ve attempted to recreate the scent here by adding benzoin, with it’s strong vanilla notes, palmarosa, which is decidedly tea like, and bergatapene free bergamot (I’m using the bergatapene free version so my lips won’t sunburn, as citrus essential oils like bergamot are photo toxic-best to be safe). 

This really smells good. When I added the essential oils my husband called out from the living room, “What are you making? It smells great!” I explained it was lip balm and he thought this would make a great lotion (I actually got the idea off a website that made a London Fog lotion, so he’s probably right). He’s a dedicated fan of bergamot, though. We both are. It’s versatile and unisex, refreshing and cheery with it’s sunny citrus notes. 

The lip balm recipe itself is probably my absolute favorite because it doesn’t use coconut oil. Coconut oil is so good for so many things, but in lip balm, which goes through a lot of temperature changes (your warm pocket, hot or cold car, reasonable house, etc.) it can become grainy. This doesn’t affect the quality of the lip balm at all but it makes it unattractive. To some degree, shea butter can do it, too, but I’ve had less trouble with this shea-rich recipe that’s intensively moisturizing and luscious. I especially love this during the dry times and end up with tubes or pots stashed everywhere. Making London Fog flavor was a stroke of genius second only to when I came up with chai spice. 

Here’s the recipe: 

(Makes 4-5. You can easily double it, I always do!)

5g beeswax

5g shea butter

3g cocoa butter

5g avocado oil

3g castor oil

5 drops Vitamin E

2 blobs benzoin essential oil (benzoin is a sticky resin, so set the bottle in hot water to thin it for a few minutes before you try to pour it. It’s still blobs instead of drops)

4 drops palmarosa essential oil

4 drops bergatapene free version bergamot essential oil

Have fun! Be sure to get the bergatapene free version of bergamot or take care not to use this lip balm if you’ll be outside or risk burns on your lips outside. That would be truly horrific. Don’t risk it. Substitute something like litsea cubeba or lemongrass. 

Quick and Easy Sugar Scrub

Normally I make emulsified sugar scrubs, which contain emulsifying wax and other emulsifiers like stearic acid and cetyl alcohol to thicken the scrub and suspend the oil. It makes the oil, shea butter, and sugar turn into creamy lotion in your hands as soon as you get a little water in your hands and also rinses clean in your bathtub, taking all the oils down the drain instead of leaving an oil slick behind that’s potentially dangerous as a fall hazard. With all those benefits, why would I go back to a basic coconut oil scrub? 

Well, some people don’t have emulsifiers and don’t want to invest in them but still want to make DIY projects. And, with a few simple precautions it’s easy to safely make a fun sugar scrub. 

Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

1 cup coconut oil- room temperature soft, but not melted

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

2 tbsp Castile soap (like Dr Bronners)

30-40 drops essential oils of your choice 

Using a hand mixer, beat the coconut oil, essential oils, Castile soap, together. Start beating in the sugar until it’s like wet sand. Store in an water proof container like a Rubbermaid or Gladware container. 

To avoid having to use a preservative and to avoid contamination of the entire container, just scoop out what you will use for one shower into a plastic bowl and take that bowl into the shower with you. Never take the master container in the shower with you and dip into it with wet fingers. That can cause your container to become moldy. Do not scoop a small amount into a glass container like a glass bowl or Mason jar and take that into the shower with you. If glass breaks in the shower, it can be very dangerous. 

To use, rub together in your hands and rub over your body where you have dry skin (your legs, your hands, your elbows, etc…it’s even safe to use on your face as long as you only rub gently). Rinse with warm water and wash with soap if you feel overly oily from the coconut oil. I tried this before shaving and found that my legs were so dry they soaked up the coconut oil and only needed to be rinsed, but my face needed to be washed with face wash. It’s different for everyone. 

Because there are no emulsifiers you have to be cautious that this will make the bottom of your tub slick. Be careful! I don’t want anyone to slip and fall! 

Let me know how this recipe works for you and if you modify it! I’m interested in any changes you creatively come up with!