Why DIY? I’ve found DIY options cheaper and handier than spending money on small quantities of pre-prepared products. Also by preparing it myself I can better control the proportions of what I want my product to contain and by understanding the ingredients I can create the product to function exactly how I want it to.
There are some items that pop up a lot within this DIY section, so I decided to give some background on them. These are ingredients that are always handy to have around when starting your DIY journey.
- Essential oils – Essential oils are not oils in a strict sense, but are called this because of their poor solubility in water. They’re prepared by fragrance extraction techniques (such as distillation, pressing, or maceration). Essential oils are highly fragrant so they’re usually used to add aroma to products, and basically smell like the plant/source they’re extracted from. Many essential oils also have pharmaceutical/healing effects, making them popular ingredients in aromatherapy and alternative medicine.
Some common essential oils include lavender, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil. I’d also love to experiment with aromas such as citronella oil, lemongrass and frankincense (just because). Essential oils are available in some pharmacies and medical supply stores, and also in many health stores. The oils are really powerful as well, so a little goes a long way, so you’ll hardly ever need more than a small bottle at a time.
- Coconut oil – Anyone that knows me know I swear by coconut oil for everything: food, hair care, skin care, I call it my magic oil. And it’s for good reason. Coconut oil has literally a gazillion health benefits. It’s extracted from the “meat” of mature coconuts, and it’s a highly saturated fat, which, ok I’ll admit, makes it pretty bad for you to eat too much of it. But never fear! Coconut oil has tons of other health benefits such as antimicrobial properties (so it kills germs that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and helps in fighting harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes and Helicobacter pylori). It can even act as an insect repellant (YES!), and it’s an effective moisturizer in treating a variety of skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, etc. Coconut oil also aids in healthy growth of hair and makes it silky and shiny, and is also highly effective in reducing protein loss (basically unattractive thinning out of your hair).
Coconut oil also contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and is very useful for weight loss because its short and medium-chain fatty acids help in taking off excessive weight. Research suggests that coconut oil helps to reduce abdominal obesity in women and helps to improve the digestive system. I could really go on with the health benefits but in the interest of the post I’ll stop here. Check out the links at the end of the post if you want to read more on these health benefits.
The best part? It’s so easy to find. Coconut oil is available in supermarkets, pharmacies, health stores, or you can even make it yourself (see DIY: Coconut Oil)
- Olive Oil – another one of my “magic oils” that I believe was a gift straight from the gods to us mere mortals. Olive oil is derived from (yep you guessed it) olives! The olive oil I refer to throughout this blog is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which basically means the oil has a free fatty acid content of not more than 0.8 g per 100 g (0.8%). Olive oil has activity against type 2 diabetes, strokes, osteoporosis, depression, skin cancer and helps keep your heart healthy. Also it’s a terrific natural oil for hair and skin care.