4 Beauty Recipes for DIY Christmas Gifts
I’ll let you all in on a little secret, I love Christmas!
My only regret is that the season never lasts very long. My Aunt Val, whom I am very close with, has a saying: “You know those four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas? There’s really only one week!” And every year it seems more and more true. I set out making DIY Christmas gifts I know people will love from the herbs that I grow, only to run out of time year after year. So I had to come up with some natural ideas that don’t take long to cure or sit, things that would be ready right away to give as gifts.
Candy Cane Bath Crystals
These peppermint-vanilla bath crystals are wonderful to use when soaking in a tub, but they also make a luxurious foot soak when dissolved in a basin of warm water.
(makes one pint jar of bath crystals)
- pint jar with a lid
- 2 mixing bowls
- bath crystal mixture
- red food coloring
- vanilla and peppermint essential oils (find 100% pure essential oils here)
- liquid vegetable glycerin (find organic vegetable glycerin here)
- Place one cup of crystals in each of your bowls. Glass is best since it does not absorb scents. In one bowl, add a few drops of red food coloring, about 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, and five drops of glycerin. Mix this together very well until the color is evenly distributed. Set this bowl aside.
- In your second bowl, mix about 15 drops of vanilla essential oil and five drops of glycerin.
- When both are mixed, take your jar and prop it up in front of you at an angle. (This will allow the crystal mixtures to be added at an angle so that when the jar is placed upright, it will look like a striped candy cane.) I use an old towel and a box to make a cradle for it. Spoon about ¼ cup of one color in the bottom, making sure to keep the jar tipped. Then spoon ¼ cup of the other color into the jar. Keep alternating until you get to the top.
- Fill jar all the way to the top and place the lid on. Feel free to add a little more if it looks like it has settled a bit. Add a nice ribbon and instructions on a tag. The instructions are simple, “Add a handful to warm water for a relaxing soak.”
Frankincense and Myrrh Body Oil
Now that you have your friends and family soaking away, they’ll need to keep that moisture in their skin. A body oil works very well in keeping the skin from drying out. Frankincense and myrrh are two oils used since ancient times that will be perfect for a holiday body oil.
- a dark bottle, 8 ounces works well (find them here)
- carrier oil such as grapeseed, jojoba, or sweet almond (find organic carrier oils here)
- frankincense and myrrh essential oils (find 100% pure essential oils here)
Add 40 drops of each essential oil to your 8 ounce bottle. Fill the rest of the way with your carrier oil, leaving enough room at the top to shake ingredients. Cap bottle and shake gently to combine ingredients. (If using 4 ounce bottles, only use 20 drops of each essential oil.) Label with instructions on how to use. Something like, “Rub small amounts at a time into the skin, avoiding sensitive areas.”
Bayberry Bath Bombs
Bath bombs are fun and often help to get kids into the bath. These are fun for adults too! The fresh, clean scent of bayberry gives a warm, comforting feeling, though ANY scent could be used.
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup citric acid (find it here)
- a few drops green food coloring
- natural mica glitter, optional (find it here)
- a spray bottle of water
- 10-15 drops bayberry essential oil (find 100% pure essential oils here)
- A meatball former (find it here) or a bath bomb mold (find them here)
- Mix all of the dry ingredients in a glass bowl. Add a few drops of green food coloring. It will tend to clump, so mix it, let it sit a few minutes and the mix again. If you don’t see much color yet, don’t worry, it will come out in time.
- Add the bayberry essential oil. Get it mixed in and then add more if you like.
- Then spray a small amount of water on your mixture and work it in. Don’t spray too much at a time or you’ll have a mess! Just spray once or twice and work it like pie crust. When it looks like pie crust before you add the water, you can form it into balls. (See our other article on making bath bombs for a picture of what it will look like when it’s ready.) I’ve found that the tool that makes meatballs is about perfect.
- Place the balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and allow to dry for a few hours. When completely dry, place in a jar and label. Toss one into the bath to soothe and soften the skin.
Cinnamon Orange Hand Soap
I love to make soap, but with the time crunch during the holidays, sometimes I have to cheat. One of my favorite quick things to do is use a pre-made glycerin soap base. There are bases out there that are all-natural, although they are harder to find. I love to scent this soap with cinnamon and orange, which reminds me of the pomanders we made as kids at Christmas.
For each bar you’ll need:
- 5 ounces of glycerin soap base, clear or white (find clear here or white here)
- orange and cinnamon leaf essential oils (find these 100% pure essential oils here)
- a square or round mold that will hold about 4 ounces (like this)
- Cut the soap base into one inch cubes and place in a pint jar.
- To melt the base, place pint jar in a pan of hot water over the stove, like a makeshift double boiler. You can also use a microwave, but it often boils over and scorches. If using a microwave, be sure to heat using short bursts at a time (about 30 seconds).
- When the soap base is all melted, add your essential oils. For one bar, five drops of each essential oil should be enough, but let your nose be your guide. Add a bit more or less as you choose.
- You can add a few drops of color, such as orange or brown, if you like, but I leave mine natural. Pour into the mold and allow it to rest on a level surface for an hour or so.
- Be sure it has cooled completely before you try to remove it from the mold. (I have been fooled by soap that was cool on the outside but still liquid on the inside. What a mess!) When completely cooled, pull the sides of the mold away from the soap and pop it out from the bottom. You can trim it if you wish, but it’s usually not necessary.
- Wrap it in wax paper or other impervious material to keep the air from getting to it. I have found compostable cling wrap online that is made from plant starches and it works very well. Label and give to someone you love!
How about you?
Do you make natural gifts for Christmas? What are your favorites?