Rosemary Lavender ACV Rinse

Rosemary Lavender AVC Rinse

I have to make a confession: I’m a product junkie. I LOVE to get and test new hair and skin products. So much, in fact, that reason is what started me making my own beauty products – to keep some chemicals out of my system and some money in my pocket.

That being said, in the course of a regular week my hair usually gets slathered with whatever product on my radar at that time. Oils, creams, leave-ins, moisturizers – they’re all invited to the party. All this partying can lead to some serious product buildup, however. This is where apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinses come in. ACV rinses are great for removing product build up and they are especially great for your hair after a deep conditioner or protein treatment.

One of my favorite ACV rinses is my rosemary lavender rinse. I love the smell and the color created by the mixture of herbs and ACV. I also really like the way it looks. In order to get better photos, I made this rinse using a clear plastic bottle, but you can use multiple types of bottles. Clear or translucent bottles work best, however, so you can visually check the readiness of the rinse.

close up

Rosemary Lavender ACV Rinse
Rosemary helps prevent thinning hair and hair loss. It slows premature graying and can gradually darken existing gray hair (or any hair!). Rosemary is also beneficial for dry, flaky scalps, and dandruff. Lavender stimulates hair growth and degreases hair. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar will help balance the pH of your hair and remove buildup. An ACV rinse can also help to close your hair cuticles, enhance shine, and to (temporarily) reduce the porosity in the hair.

Note: Rosemary darkens the hair over time

2 sprigs Rosemary
2 tbsp dried lavender
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
25 oz distilled water
Applicator bottle

Put rosemary, lavender, and ACV inside of applicator bottle. Boil distilled water then pour into applicator bottle (make sure bottle is heat-resistant and will not melt). Allow to seep until water is cool (1-2 hours) – one sure way to be sure that the rinse is ready is to watch the lavender. The dried lavender will float, at first. After an hour or so the flowers will start to sink to the bottom of the container and the liquid will start to turn a beautiful pale purple. Once about 50% of the lavender flowers sink, the rinse is ready for use. Pour over hair as a rinse. Rinse out after 3-5 minutes.

floating Lavender

Pamper Me Wednesday!

Everyone deserves to be pampered. Going to the spa, while wonderful, can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. Personally, I love to give myself a little at-home treat once a week.

Pamper Me Wednesdays is a new segment dedicated to looking beautiful and being relaxed! Every Wednesday I will try to post a new home spa activity for you to try.

This week we are going to give ourselves a relaxing and skin softening soak, a revitalizing facial, and a dark eye circle remedy. This is a great combination to do when getting ready for that special date or an indulging beauty treatment the night before a big day.

This post contains 3 different relaxing spa recipes, which are listed below. Most of the ingredients should be available in your kitchen cupboard (or pantry). There is an Oatmeal Lavender Bath, a Banana Facial, and a Potato Dark Eye Remedy.

Once you have all of your ingredients gathered and prepared, set the mood. Light a scented candle, and start the bath. I apply my facial before climbing into the tub. It’s easier to keep a clean washcloth and bowl of cool water in arm’s reach. While in the bath, I sink down and rest my head on a bath pillow, then apply my eye cloths. Soak, relax, and listen to calming music until it’s time to remove the potato eye pads and the facial mask. Here’s where the washcloth and water come in handy.

From here, I usually spend an extra 30 minutes or so soaking. Instead of music, I sometimes play ocean, running water, or other nature sounds. This goes well with a good book. Keeping a dry towel nearby eliminates getting water or oil onto your reading.

Items used to create a relaxing setting, such as the scented candle, are optional, and can be tweaked depending on the individual.

Here’s what you need:
Scented Candle (optional)
Soft music or ocean sounds (optional)
Book (optional)
Bathrobe
Slippers
Bath Pillow (or rolled up towel)
Wash cloth
2 Small bowls
Towel
Food Processor
Pantyhose
Oatmeal (rolled oats, NOT instant)
Olive oil infused with lavender essential oil
Powdered Milk
Banana (overripe)
Honey
Lemon juice (fresh or purchased)
Vitamin E Oil
Cheesecloth or cotton balls
½ small potato, chilled (any kind except sweet potato)

Banana Facial
Bananas soften the skin, due to the vitamin A and potassium they contain. They help soften, heal cracked, dry skin, and combat environmental damage. Honey, with natural antibacterial properties, is also high in potassium and clarifies the skin while helping to retain moisture. Together, these two ingredients help plump the skin which visually decreases sagging. Vitamin E oil helps fight free radicals while repairing environmental damage. If you don’t have any, an avocado works just as well. Lemon juice is great for eliminating blackheads and its natural acidic lighteners diminish the appearance of blemishes.

lemon juice, honey, vitamin E oil, and banana

1 tbsp Honey
1 Banana
½ tsp Lemon juice
5 drops Vitamin E Oil or 1 tbsp avocado
Wash cloth

Peel banana and mash thoroughly. Mix banana with honey, lemon juice, and vitamin E oil (or avocado). Spread mixture evenly on face (avoiding the eyes) and leave for about 25 minutes. Gently remove the mask and wash your face with a wash cloth and follow with your favorite moisturizer.

Banana Facial

Potato Dark Eye Circle Remedy
Potatoes and their juice work wonders on eye circles and puffiness due to an enzyme named catecholase. This natural anti-inflammatory lightens skin in a natural, non-damaging manner. Cooling the potato makes it more refreshing for the skin, similar to chilled cucumber slices. Room temperature will not affect the results.

catecholase showing on knife

½ Potato, chilled
2 pcs cheesecloth, cut into squares/cotton balls
Food processor/Grater

Take chilled potato and process it in the food processor. Once the potato is processed, scoop two small amounts in to the cheesecloth squares – enough to cover both eyes. Apply processed potato to eyes and leave for anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes.

scoop of processed potato in cheesecloth

potato eye pads

If you don’t have a food processor and cheesecloth, you can grate the potato and the soak up the potato juice with cotton balls. Apply the potato juice directly to the under eye area and let it dry. Leave on for about 30 minutes then wash off.

Oatmeal Lavender Milk Bath
Oatmeal is a gentle but effective natural skin cleanser. It is also good for bath soaks, facial and body scrubs, and masks. Oatmeal helps relieve dry skin, heal minor skin irritations and itchiness, and aids in restoring skin’s natural moisture balance. Oatmeal absorbs and removes dirt and impurities from the skin while gently exfoliating. Milk contains vitamins A & D which helps to soften the skin. The lactic acid in milk has beta hydroxy acids that soothes while exfoliating your skin. Lavender calms and soothes. Honey is high in potassium and helps clarify the skin while retaining moisture.

1/2 cup oatmeal

ground oatmeal & stocking

1-2 cups dried milk
5 tbsp honey
¼ cup lavender infused olive oil (or unscented olive oil)
¼ cup oatmeal, ground (rolled oats, not instant)
Scissors
Pantyhose
Bathrobe
Bath Pillow
Slippers
Scented candle
Towel
Music (optional)

oatmeal filled stocking with removable knot

Take a pair of pantyhose and cut off the feet, leaving the foot at least 6-8 inches long. Grind the oatmeal in a food processor. Once ground, scoop the oatmeal into the stocking foot and tie with a knot, then drop into the bath. If you want to reuse the socking (my preference), tie a removable knot instead. Use the filled stocking as a loofah during your bath. Pour dried milk, honey, and oil into bath. Soak in the tub for up to one hour. Be careful! The tub will be oily.

Olive Oil skin care recipes

Here are four more natural skin care recipes that I have collected that feature olive oil as the star. All of these items can be created using 5 simple ingrediants that you can locate in your kitchen: olive oil, honey, lemon juice, sugar, and lavender essential oil.

Quick Olive Oil Recipes


Moisturizing Lavender Bath Soak

¼ cup olive oil
5-8 drops of lavender essential oil

Fill bathtub with warm water. Place olive oil and lavender in bath and soak. The lavender will help you relax before bed.

Lemon Sugar Scrub

1/2 cup sugar (or salt, if preferred)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to hands or feet above the tub or sink. Scrub thoroughly for 2-3 minutes. When done scrubbing, rinse briefly with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Moisturizing and Skin Tightening Facial Mask

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey

Mix egg yolk, olive oil, and honey. Beat mixture until well blended. Apply to face and leave for 15 minutes or until dry. Remove with warm water, then rinse face with cool water.

Olive Oil Cuticle Soak

Small bowl
3 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp lemon juice

Mix oil and lemon juice. Warm olive oil mixture in bowl, careful not to make it too hot to touch. Let nails (especially cuticle) soak in mixture for 5-10 minutes. This should soften cuticles. I like to do this treatment prior to using the Lemon Sugar Scrub or prior to making a regular body scrub so that I don’t waste the ingredients.

Lavender Essential Oil Profile

Essential Oils Profile Series
This is the first segment of my Essential Oils Profile Series. I plan to profile all of the essential oils (eventually!), starting with the ones I use the most.

Lavender essential oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils. There used to be two different names for the purest form of lavender essential oil: Lavandula officinalis and Lavandula angustifolia. Lavandula simply means “lavender,” the name is derived from the Latin word ‘lavare’ meaning “to wash,” referring to the use of infusions of the plant. The Romans also used it in their bath routine, and it is said to have been introduced by the Romans into England, where it soon became a favorite (thus ‘English Lavender’). The name “officinalis” means “official” or “true” and is the common name used to designate the medicinal form of lavender. It has since been changed to “angustifolia” which is Latin for “narrow leaf.”

Plant description:
Lavender is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean where it grows in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States. Lavender is a heavily branched short shrub that grows to a height of roughly 60 centimeters (about 24 inches). Its broad rootstock bears woody branches with upright, rod-like, leafy, green shoots. A silvery down covers the gray-green narrow leaves, which are oblong and tapered, attached directly at the base, and curled spirally.
The oil in lavender’s small, blue-violet flowers gives the herb its fragrant scent. The flowers are arranged in spirals of 6 – 10 blossoms, forming interrupted spikes above the foliage.

Essential Oil:
Lavender essential oil is made by steam distillation using only the flowers of the lavender plant.

Scent:
Lavender essential oil has a sweet, floral scent.

Color and Scent Notes:
A clear oil, Lavender is generally considered a middle note oil, but can be used as a top note depending on what other essential oils you combine it with.

Chemical Content:
Linalyl acetate (30-60%), linaloal, geranial, caryophyllene, lavandulylacetate, cineol, nerol, cumarin, and fat aldehydes.

Properties:
Lavender essential oil has soothing, calming, and restorative properties. The essential oil is antiseptic, cooling and mild. Lavender Essential Oil is often referred to as the universal oil, because there is such a multitude of uses for this oil, such as cuts, bruises, burns, headaches, and insomnia. Lavender can be used neat (undiluted) and combines well with almost all other oils for a wide variety of benefits.

Physical Benefits:
• Tones and revitalizes skin
• Anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects assist with bronchitis and asthma
• Anti- Inflammatory effects helps throat infections and whooping cough
• Stimulates hair growth and degreases hair
• Helps the digestive system deal with colic, nausea, vomiting and flatulence
• Soothes sunburn and helps heat stroke
• Helps lower blood pressure by relieving stress
• Helps to soothe colds, laryngitis
• Helps to reduce halitosis
• Relieves pain when used for rheumatism, arthritis, lumbago and muscular aches and pains, especially sport related
• Useful for all types of skin problems such as acne, abscesses, oily skin, boils, burns, sunburn, wounds, lice, insect bites, psoriasis, and stings
• Acts as an insect repellent and soothes the stings from insects


Mental Benefits:
• Has a soothing and calming effect on the nerves
• Helps to balance mood swings
• Helps to suppress PMS symptoms
• Relieves tension
• Helps to relieve depression
• Calms panic and hysteria
• Helps relieve nervous exhaustion in general
• Effective for headaches, migraines
• Helps to relieve insomnia by causing drowsiness

Precautions:
• Can be a powerful allergen. Nausea, vomiting, headache, and chills have also been reported in some people after inhaling or absorbing lavender through the skin.
• Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid taking Lavender internally, as it may stimulate uterine contractions. In vitro, lavender oil is cytotoxic. It increases photosensitivity as well. Lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro at a concentration of 0.25%.
• In 2007 a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which indicated that studies in human cell lines indicated that lavender oil had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. They concluded that repeated topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils probably caused prepubertal gynaecomastia (the development of abnormally large mammary glands in males resulting in breast enlargement) in some boys.
• Extreme over-dosage may cause drowsiness. Rare side effects have included constipation, skin rash, headache or nausea.
• CNS Depressants — There are no known scientific reports of interactions between lavender and conventional medications. However, because lavender promotes relaxation, it may make the effects of central nervous depressants stronger. These drugs include narcotics such as morphine or oxycodone (OxyContin) for pain, and sedative and anti-anxiety agents such as lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax). Ask your doctor before using lavender with these and other sedatives.

Consumption:
Pediatric
Oral use in children is not recommended.
• May be used topically in diluted concentrations to treat skin infections and injuries, such as minor cuts and scrapes. Never use lavender on an open wound; seek immediate medical attention.
• A small study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 concluded that lavender and tea oils in some shampoos, soaps, and lotions may cause gynecomastia, breast development in a male, in boys. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor about using lavender for a child.
• May be used as aromatherapy for children. Use 2 – 4 drops in 2 – 3 cups of boiling water. Inhale vapors for headache, depression, or insomnia.

Adult
The following are recommended adult doses for lavender:
• Internal use: Tea: 1 – 2 tsp whole herb per cup of hot water. Steep for 10 – 15 minutes and drink, 1 – 3 times a day.
• Tincture (1:4): 20 – 40 drops, 3 times a day
• Inhalation: 2 – 4 drops in 2 – 3 cups of boiling water. Inhale vapors for headache, depression, or insomnia.
• Topical external application: lavender oil is one of the few oils that can be safely applied undiluted. For ease of application, add 1 – 4 drops per tablespoon of base oil (such as almond or olive oil). Lavender oil is toxic if taken orally. Only use the oil externally or by inhalation. Also, avoid contact with eyes or mucous membranes such as the lips and nostril.

Some General Uses:
• Rub Lavender oil on the feet for a calming effect on the body.
• Rub a drop of Lavender oil on your palms and smooth on your pillow to help you sleep.
• Put a drop of Lavender oil on a bee sting or insect bite to stop itching and reduce swelling.
• Put 2-3 drops of Lavender oil on a minor burn to decrease pain.
• Mix several drops of Lavender oil with V-6 Vegetable Mixing Oil and use topically on eczema and dermatitis.
• To alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness, place a drop of Lavender oil on the end of the tongue or around the naval or behind the ears.
• To stop a nosebleed, put a drop of Lavender oil on a tissue and wrap it around a small chip of ice. Push the tissue covered ice chip up under the middle of the top lip to the base of the nose and hold as long as comfortable or until the bleeding stops (do not freeze the lip or gum).
• Rub a drop of Lavender oil over the bridge of the nose to unblock tear ducts.
• Rub Lavender oil on dry or chapped skin
• Rub a drop of Lavender oil on chapped or sunburned lips.
• To reduce or minimize the formation of scar tissue, massage Lavender oil on and around the affected area
• Rub 2 – 4 drops of Lavender oil over the armpit area to act as a deodorant.
• Rub a drop of Lavender oil between your palms and inhale deeply to help alleviate the symptoms of hay fever.
• Rub several drops of Lavender oil into the scalp to help eliminate dandruff.
• Place a few drops of Lavender oil on a cotton ball and place in your linen closet to scent the linens and repel moths and insects.
• Place a drop of Lavender oil in your water fountain to scent the air, kill bacteria and prolong the time between cleanings.
• Place a few drops of Lavender oil on a wet cloth and throw into the dryer, which will deodorize and freshen your laundry.
• Put a drop of Lavender oil on a cold sore.
• Diffuse Lavender oil to alleviate the symptoms of allergies.
• Spritz several drops of Lavender oil mixed with distilled water on a sunburn to decrease pain.
• Drop Lavender oil on a cut to clean the wound and kill bacteria.
• Apply 2-3 drops of Lavender oil to a rash to stop the itching and heal the skin.

Simple Recipes

Skin
Skin Astringent Recipe
2 bags of green tea
1 tablespoon rosemary
16 oz boiling water
1/2 cup witch hazel
5 drops lavender essential oil
juice from a half of lemon

Place rosemary into a strainer or muslin bag and place it into a glass container. and the tea bags and pour the water into it. Let it stand until it’s completely cool. Then add the witch hazel, lemon juice and lavender oil. Store in the fridge. It may separate so shake before use.

Hair:
Concentrated Lavender Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
CAUTION: This rinse needs to be diluted in water prior to use in hair

2 cups of cider vinegar
1 cup lavender
1 large (greater than 4 cups) airtight glass jar

Place 1 cup of lavender in a large glass jar and cover with 2 cups of vinegar. Steep this mixture in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator or in a dark, cool place for two weeks. After steeping, strain vinegar from herbs through cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a fresh, clean bottle or glass jar. This mixture can be refrigerated up to 6 months.
Tip: If you don’t want to wait the two weeks, speed up infusion by heating the vinegar before pouring over herbs. Allow to sit for at least 3 days before straining.

When ready to use: dilute 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of the herbal vinegar in 1 cup of water. Rinse through wet hair after shampooing. Rinse it out with fresh water or, for extra conditioning benefits, just leave it in and towel dry hair. The vinegar scent will disappear as your hair dries.

Food: (requires culinary dried lavender)

Lavender Lemonade
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 large lavender tea bag
2 ½ cups water
1 cup lemon juice
Ice cubes

Preparation:
In small sauce pan, add
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar

Heat until sugar dissolves. Add lavender tea bag and let cool to room temperature. Remove tea bag. In a 2 quart pitcher, add remaining water, lemon juice and lavender sugar infusion. Add more sugar or lemon to taste. Serve chilled over ice and garnish with lavender sprig.

Quicker method: Use one can of frozen lemonade concentrate and pour content into pitcher. In a sauce pan measure 3 1/2 cans of water, bring to boil and add large lavender tea bag. Turn off heat and let steep until room temperature. Remove tea bag and add infusion to pitcher with lemonade concentrate. Stir and serve over ice. If you leave the tea bag in overnight, the tea will turn a very light pinkish color and will have a stronger flavor which I prefer.

Medicinal:

Lavender Mouthwash
100ml of water
two drops of pure lavender essential oil

Shake the bottle well. Take a teaspoon of the mixed liquid and swill around the mouth and spit out. However, take care not to drink fluids immediately after this or bacteria killing lavender could get diluted.

Where to Buy:
You can buy products made with lavender at most local stores. The best places to try would be your local health food markets, however. This would include places like Yes! Organic Market and Whole Foods. These places should also sell dried lavender flower buds in bulk as well. Bulk lavender is also available directly from local lavender growers. Once place I love is The Lavender Path. They sell lavender in bulk by the pound. One pound is only $20.
The Lavender Path
Yes! Organic Market
Whole Foods Market
Amazon.com

Notes:
Wikipedia: Lavender and Lavandula Angustifolia
Suite 101: Lavender Essential Oil Profile: Properties, Characteristics and Uses of Lavender EO in Aromatherapy
University of Maryland Medical Encyclopedia
Esoteric Oils

Photo Credits:
Freefoto.com
Bumblebee Blog