Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter

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Natural All Purpose Balm Recipe

Most balms are petroleum jelly based, which is a toxin and shouldn’t be ingested.  However, how many of you lick your lips after applying it?  The other issue with petroleum jelly is that it is well known to dry out skin and not actually soften it. It creates an impenetrable layer on the skin, meaning the pores of the skin cannot breath as they should.  The jelly makes your lips and skin feel soft, but soon enough you’ll find you need to use more and more of it.  And then you need to keep using it again and again to make your lips feel soft.  If you are at this stage, it’s likely that the jelly has already done it’s job and caught you up in the balm – jelly circle.

So how do you avoid this?  Easy! Make you own non-petroleum jelly/non-toxic balms! Or if that seems like too much work, you can also buy natural non petroleum versions from health food stores (and Amazon), but where’s the fun in that? =)

I love the recipe below because once you know how to make it, you can add various different combinations of oils to create balms for just about everything.

I have added some of the combinations I know that work, at the bottom of this blog post.

I particularly like the one for colds, as it’s a great and much healthier alternative to vapour rub.  My Mum tells me the cold sore one is the best cold sore remedy she has ever tried and helps to clear a cold sore up within days rather than a week (and sometimes it prevents them from breaking out at all).


One balm jar or tin

Stage one:

14g of beeswax

40g olive oil

18g jojoba oil

21g calendula oil

6g shea butter

Stage Two:

12 drops of vitamin E oil

20 drops of essential oils of your choice


  1. Sterilise the jars
  2. Weigh out all the ingredients
  3. Using a saucepan on a double boiler, heat all the stage one ingredients to melting point.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk the mixture until it cools but is still runny.
  5. Add stage two ingredients and mix well.
  6. Pour into jars and cover.
  7. Apply lids when cool.


Once you know how to make the basic balm you can add any of the following essential oils to make a balm for a certain purpose:

Deep Heat – lavender, ginger, eucalyptus & clove

Insect Bite Balm – lavender and chamomile

For Lips – lemon balm and tea-tree

Cold sores – melissa, lavender and camomile

Vapour rub for cold and cough symptoms – clove, eucalyptus, peppermint & camomile


Here’s some other balm recipes you might enjoy:

Indestructibles, Easy Homemade Coconut Balm, click here.

Annie’s Remedies, Homemade Herbal Balms and Salves, click here.

Wellness Mama, Homemade Natural Lip Chap, click here.

Brit + Co, 13 Deliciously Simple DIY Lip Balms, click here.


Natural Homemade Laundry Liquid

I love this recipe for natural homemade laundry liquid  – it’s so easy, quick and you don’t need tons of ingredients!

You’ll end up with around 2.2 litres of laundry liquid when following this recipe or you can double or even triple the ingredients to make more like I did.



50g (1.8 oz) of a bar of soap (the bits from the end of a bar(s) are perfect), grated

2 litres (3.5 pints) of water

100g (3.5 oz) borax substitute (it is actually called this and you can pick this up in most supermarkets)

100g (3.5 oz) soda crystals (you can pick this up in most supermarkets)

100ml (3.5 fl oz) of white vinegar

30/40 drops of essential oils (antibacterial oils like lavender and tea-tree work well, as do any of the citrus oils).



1. Pour half the water (1 litre) into a saucepan and bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer.

2. Add the grated soap and allow to dissolve (stirring occasionally).IMG_20140330_181059

3. Add the borax substitute and soda crystals  and stir again until dissolved.

4.  Take off the heat and add the remaining litre of water, then the vinegar and stir well.

5. Add your selection of essential oils.

6. Pour the mixture into any old glass or plastic bottles using a funnel.  Make sure to leave an inch or so at the top of the bottle so you can shake it before each use (as it will separate when standing for a while).

7. Allow to cool and then pop the lid on.


This laundry liquid can be used inside the drum or in the drawer and you will need approximately 50ml per wash. 

This roughly works out (depending on essential oils used) to around 6 – 10p per wash. 



Homemade Natural Cleaning Products

Making your own cleaning products is not only extremely easy but also a lot cheaper than shop bought environmentally-friendly products.

The four main things I use to clean my house are:

1. Tea-Tree Oil – I use this neat, directly onto mould spores or make a bathroom spray to use in problem areas to prevent it.

Directions:  For each 100 ml of filtered water I add a total of 15 drops of a mixture of tea-tree, lavender and cedar wood essential oils, (all with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties).  Add this to a spray bottle and shake well before each use (as the oils settle on the top of the water otherwsie).

2. Vinegar Antibacterial Spray – I use this for cleaning my kitchen, windows, floors and pretty much everything else expect wood and near any rubber seals around baths and sinks.

Directions:  Use an old kitchen cleaner spray bottle (well washed, of course).  Fill 1/3 of it with white vinegar and 2/3 with filtered water.  Then add up to 25 drops of a mixture of any of the following: tea-tree, lavender, cedar wood, pine, lemon or orange essential oils.  Lastly pour the juice of half a lemon into the bottle.  Shake well before each use.

This recipe smells strong when you’re using it but the smell soon disappears once dried.

You can also use the skin/left overs of any citrus fruit by adding them to the mixture for a week or two first and then removing, using as normal .

3. Natural Bleach –  You can use this in your washing machine (add two cups the the load) or as a soak for turning your greys white again =)  You can also use this in a spray bottle for bleaching your kitchen and bathroom.

Directions:  Use an old kitchen cleaner spray bottle (well washed, of course).  Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with filtered water.  Then fill the bottle almost to the top with hydrogen peroxide and lastly add the juice of a whole lemon.  Shake well before each use.

4. Bicarb – For stubborn stains and oily items I give them a scrub with bicarb and this usually does the trick!  This can also be added to washing machines and dishwashers for a helping hand.

I also use bicarb as a carpet deodoriaer, it works wonders with eliminating those doggie smells!  I simply fill up an old shake n vac bottle (or a talc bottle would work just as well) with bicarb (leaving about 2 inches space at the top).  Then add 25/30 drops of a mixture of essential oils and give it a really good shake.  Sprinkle carpets and rugs and leave for a few hours or overnight and then vacuum it up.

Happy healthy, cheap, non toxic cleaning everyone! =)


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DIY Natural Palm Oil Free Liquid Soap Recipe

This is my favourite DIY natural liquid soap recipe.  Like all my other natural product recipes, it’s palm oil free. If you’re wondering why this is then please take a look at this article – I wrote it some time back, and it should answer all of your questions: Palm oil, the good, the bad and the downright ugly

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Double boiler (a saucepan full of water with another smaller saucepan or glass bowl inside it)

Measuring scales

pH strips

Stick/hand blender

Wooden or stainless steal long handled spoon


Protection Equipment: eye protection, apron and gloves (wear these all the time when using potassium hydroxide/lye)

Bucket or saucepan

Airtight storage container (for excess soap for diluting at a later date)


200 g (8 oz) coconut oil

200 g (8 oz) sunflower oil

100 g (4 oz) olive oil

180 g (7 oz) filtered water

108 g (4 oz) potassium hydroxide/lye (always wear protective gear when handling/using this)

10 g (1/3 oz) potassium carbonate

10 g (1/3 oz) of grapeseed oil or vitamin E oil (these act as a preservative)

2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of a selection of essential oils (I always use tea-tree and lavender oil as they are antibacterial and then usually add another oil, something like chamomile, ylang ylang or a citrus oil).


1. Weigh all the oils (except the essential oils) and put them into a saucepan.

2. Measure out the water needed and add this to the bucket (or another saucepan).

3. Fill the double boiler with water and bring the water to heat.

4. Put on all your protective gear.  Weigh the potassium hydroxide/lye and potassium carbonate and add to the saucepan/bucket that is not on the heat.

5. Melt the oils in the double boiler and remove from the heat when completely melted.  Add the potassium DSC_0625hydroxide/carbonate/water mixture to the melted oil mixture and stir with a long handled spoon.

6. Stir mixture with stick/hand blender until it comes to trace (this is when the stick blender makes patterns in the thicker mixture as it moves through it).

7. Place the mixture back into the double boiler and cover the saucepan with a lid. Stir this mixture every 15 mins. The mixture may look like it’s separating or curdling, but this is fine. Make sure to keep topping up the water as it will evaporate.

8. After 3 hours the mixture is ready to test for a safe pH level (which should be no less than a pH of 7).

9. Now your product is ready to dilute. Weigh 83 g (3 oz) of soap paste and dilute with 166 ml (6 oz) of boiling filtered water and dissolve well. If this does not happen then add back to heat until it does. Then when cooler again add your grapeseed oil/vitamin E oil and essential oils and pour into a 250 ml (8 fl oz) soap dispenser using your funnel.  If you have more than one dispenser to fill then simply double this part of the recipe.

10. Put the remaining soap paste into an airtight container until you wish to refill your soap dispenser(s) again and then repeat the last step (No.9).


Now enjoy your soap!

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Eco Soy Teacup Candle Recipe

As you may know, most normal candles are made of paraffin.   They also contain concoctions of chemicals to dye and scent the candles.  These ingredients are not only harmful to the environment, but also to our health.  So here is a simple, easy, and cheap way to make your own eco soy tea-cup candles instead.


You will need:

Measuring scales

Double boiler (glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water)

Teacups (I buy mine from charity shops)



400 grams of eco soy wax container wax (to make two large or 3 standard sized tea-cups)

½ teaspoon of benzoin (fixative)

Eco wicks (wicks that are made with soy wax)

Long pencils (enough for one per cup)

70 drops of a choice of essential oils


1. Melt your wax in the double boiler. 20131118_135026

2. Once wax has cooled down enough to be able to touch the side of the jar/bowl you melted the wax in (but not enough to start hardening) add essential oils and benzoin.

3. Dip the metal base of the wick into the wax and then press into place in the middle of the teacup and hold until it’s stuck.

4. Wrap excess wick around pencil and lay pencil over the top of the teacup.

5. Pour in melted wax and allow to set fully (at least 4 hours, but longer in a hot environment).



Enjoy your candles!

You can purchase wax and wicks from any of the following: (check with individual suppliers for eco-friendliness)

Make sure to check with any other suppliers that there wax is GMO free as a lot of soy products out there aren’t.


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DIY Natural & Palm Oil Free Soap Recipe

This is my favourite DIY natural soap recipe.  Like all my other natural product recipes, it’s palm oil free.  If you’re wondering why this is then please take a look at this article – I wrote it some time back, and it should answer all of your questions: Palm oil, the good, the bad and the downright ugly


Here’s what you need:

Two large saucepans (or one saucepan and one bucket)

Rubber gloves, eye protection and a thick apron

A stick/hand blender

A couple of wooden spoons (or stainless steel are fine, as long as they are long handled)

Measuring scales

Soap or baking moulds

A sharp knife

*Note: Do not use any items that touch the lye, for anything else other than soap making. 


500 g (20 oz) coconut oil

150 g (6 oz) shea butter (I love this butter!)

350 g (14 oz) olive oil

330 g (13 oz) filtered water

154 g (6 oz) sodium hydroxide (lye) – Never touch this without protective gear on! 

3 medium figs (or at Christmas I’ve used cranberries and cinnamon essential oil)

15 ml (1 tbs) honey

5 ml (1 tsp) grape-seed oil or vitamin E oil

15 ml (3 tsp) of a selection of essential oils (I like ylang ylang, frankincense and jasmine – but this is completely up to you).


1. Weigh out all the oils to add to one of your large saucepans (or your bucket). The grape-seed oil/vitamin E Oil and essential oils should not be included at this stage.

2. Add olive oil and coconut oil as they are but as you add the shea butter cut it up into small pieces (so it melts easier when the lye is added later on). 1394142_10151681717506956_926786555_n

3. Put on all your protective gear (apron, gloves and eye protection).

4. Measure out your water and add to the saucepan you’re not using yet.

5. Then measure out your sodium hydroxide (lye) and add to the water.  Make sure you do this in a very well ventilated area!

6. Stir the water and lLye mixture with a wooden spoon until the lye has completely dissolved.

7. Cut the stem off the figs and cut into quarters and liquidise with your stick blender.

8. Add the figs and the honey to the lye and water mixture and stir until dissolved.


9. Add the lye, water, honey and fig mixture to your oil mixture in the other saucepan and stir with your wooden long handled spoon until all the oils have melted completely.

10. Once there are no lumps of oil left begin to mix the mixture with your stick blender until it comes to trace (this means the stick blender leaves patterns in the mixture when moved around in it).


11. Add the grape-seed/vitamin E oil and your choice of essential oils at this stage and stir through mixture.

12. Put your moulds (for making up to 1.5 kg (3 lb) of product) onto a tray (so they are easily moved to a safe place later to cure).

13. Pour the mixture into moulds and move to a safe place.  Remember at this stage you should still be careful not to touch the mixture yourself as the pH level of the soap mixture will be highly acidic.


14. Allow the soap mixture to set for at least 48 hours (in some cases a day or two longer), until set but still a little soft.

15. Wearing gloves take the soap mixture out of the moulds.  If you used a large soap mould then cut your soap up into individual portions at this stage.

16. Now leave the soaps for a further 6 weeks to cure. Do not use them before this time without performing a pH test on them to check they are now safe to use.


Now Enjoy! 

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10 Minute Natural & Non-Toxic Hair Conditioner

I wanted to share with you the easiest, cheapest and loveliest DIY natural and non-toxic hair conditioner recipe I believe there is!

All you need are the following ingredients and 10 minutes of your time!



1. An old hair conditioner or squeezable sauce bottle (well washed)

2. 1.5 tsp of guar gum (you can by this online from places like Amazon and a little really does go a long way)

3. A selection of essential oils (totalling around 20 drops)

4. 1 cup or 0.25 litres of filtered water

5. 3/4 tsp of melted coconut oil


1. Choose the essential oils you would like to add to your conditioner. I opted for 5 drops of tea-tree oil, 5 drops of lime oil and 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil.  This makes a lovely fresh, invigorating and anti-bacterial conditioner.


2. Weigh out and add all the above ingredients into a blender, mixer or in my case I used my smoothie maker as there’s less to wash up afterwards! Make sure to add the water first before the other ingredients so that they don’t have a chance to settle to the bottom.


3. Blend until there are no lumps (this takes less than one minute)


4. Transfer to your chosen bottle


There you have it!


Fast, cheap, lovely scented and you get to reuse old bottles as well!

I make my dogs’ shampoo in a similar way but add essential oils such as lavender, tea-tree, citronella and a bit of apple cider vinegar (instead of so much water) to keep those pesky fleas and ticks at bay!