Tuesday, December 9, 2014

spa gifts ¦ homemade for the holidays

christmas can feel indulgent. it's a time of year when we really let go of the stresses of day to day and embrace the spirit of the season. we smile and laugh more. we share our time with friends and family more freely. we pull out and dust off those pretty clothes that are normally left lonely in the backs of our closets. we add a little sparkle to ourselves as we get caught up in the magic. gifting homemade spa items are a great way to indulge your friends and family this holiday season! this year i decided to make batches of bath salts, lip balms, homemade soap bars, and soothing foot lotions. they are super easy to make, use natural ingredients which everyone benefits from, and everyone loves them!
so let's start with bath salts. these are super easy and provide such wonderful health benefits to our bodies. epsom salts soothe body, mind and soul and can ease back pain and aching limbs, relax the nervous system, cure skin problems, ease muscle strain, heal cuts and treat colds and flu. now add in the benefits of essential oils and it's a cure all ;)
epsom salts are not really a salt but a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, so please make sure when you are purchasing your salts, you are purchasing epsom. bath salts are not the same thing and are chemically made harmful compounds.
this year i made 2 different epsom salt combinations...first up, citrus epsom salts. nothing beats the winter blahs then the happy unlifting qualities of orange, lemon, and grapfruit!
 you will need:
2 cups epsom salts
1 cup baking soda
20-30 drops essential oils; 10 orange, 10 lemon, 10 grapfruit
you can choose to add a few drops of food colouring to your batch, but i don't :)

combine the epsom and baking soda together.
add the oil in batches so as not to have the salt mixture clump, mixing well in between each addition.
see? easy!
using a a funnel pour salts into jars and you are ready to gift!
the eucalyptus blend is just as easy and will keep those colds and flus at bay! this one has the added bonus of being a milk bath as well. milk is a natural exfoliant without scrubbing so it's great through winter when skin tends to dry and crack and helps with keeping your skin moisturized
what you'll need:
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup baking soda
1 cup sea salt
2 cups epsom salt
20 drops eucalyptus essential oil

mix all the dry ingredients together, add essential oil drops in batches, mixing well between additions to ensure there is no clumping. funnel into jars and you are ready to gift.
this sounds intimidating, and i admit in the beginning i was super intimidated by the whole process...but it's simple and as long as one takes the necessary precautions, it's not so scary :)
i prefer keeping my soap simple and tend not to get caught up in a ton of oil blends. i make a pure olive oil soap, a pure coconut oil soap, and a coconut/olive oil soap.

pure olive oil soap (aka castille soap)
100 oz olive oil
12.6 oz lye
30 oz water
4 oz essential oil

respect the lye and make sure you read up on proper soap safety, and making this soap is easy. things to know...i use dishes and utensils that are only for soap making. i also make the soap in my husband's shop rather then in my kitchen and always have vinegar on hand :) i also cut my soap into bars around the 10-14 hour mark.
you can find directions on how to make soap here (this link also has the recipe i use for my olive oil/coconut oil blend soap)
this olive oil soap makes a FABULOUS shampoo bar. i no longer buy commercially made shampoos since making this soap. my hair has never been healthier and has never looked better! i use an apple cider vinegar rinse for conditioning or a natural conditioner i buy from saje.

 pure coconut oil soap
33 oz coconut oil
4.83oz lye
12.54 oz water
1 oz essential oil

use the methods above to make this recipe.

coconut and olive oil soap
24 oz olive oil
24 oz coconut oil
38 oz vegetable shortening (aka crisco)
12 oz lye
32 oz water
4 oz essential oil

use the above method above to make this soap. this soap also makes another fabulous shampoo bar

favourite essential oil blends

lemon grass & lavender: lovely soothing and refreshing blend.
rosemary, tea tree, & lavender: great blend for skin (blemishes, acne, scarring, etc and helps aid in strength and growth for hair)
peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender: i call this my garden blend, such a great blend in a soap for washing away the dirt after weeding. it's refreshing and soothing and antibacterial
lemon, peppermint, rosemary, bergamot: a wonderful energizing blend
lavender & tea tree: antiseptic and anti bacterial

the amounts of each oil you use is subjective. simply make sure you have enough of your essential oil blend to make up the ounces called for in each recipe. with the stronger scents such as lavender and eucalyptus, i start with less as they can overpower. i add more as i create if needed, i really just go by what smells good!
 and the last 2 homemade spa ideas i want to share are a peppermint lip balm and a peppermint foot lotion. i have no pictures of either of these...but they are super simple!
i love the lip balm and use it every day!

peppermint lip balm
2 tbsp grated beeswax
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp honey
5-10 drops peppermint essential oil

-heat gently in a double boiler the the beeswax, coconut oil and honey stirring occasionally to mix well.
-once melted add oil
-place pan in a cold water bath and stirring quickly until it starts to thicken, pour into container.

told you it was easy! it makes about 1/4 cup of balm and you can easily pour into small individual pots to gift or pour into a small 1/4 cup sized jar for family use :)

and for a soothing foot lotion that will help ease sore and tired feet, i used the recipe and instructions found here:
peppermint foot lotion

i hope you give some of the ideas a go, would love to hear how t goes for you and how they might be received! if you have your own recipes you want to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section!
also make sure you go check out ronda's spa gifts, she tackled sugar scrubs and bath bombs :) in a two part blog post, part 1 and part 2

happy tuesday everyone!


  1. Where do you buy your essential oils?

    1. Hi lea! I buy my essential oils from a local health store that carries aromaforce essential oils or I purchase my oils from saje :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.