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Lemongrass Lime Sugar Cube Scrub

This post contains affiliate links. 

I have two faults that almost anyone would agree with.

Number one: Being unwaveringly frugal. . .  or as my mother would say CHEAP. But is that really a fault? To me, it’s not. I just like making sure that I get the best deal possible. 

And number two: As my grandmother would say, never leaving well enough alone. I can’t help it, I like improving things. I like adding my own twist to recipes or updating old tried and true ones. And I don’t discriminate. I have no problem updating my own recipes at all. Everything can always be improved upon. 
For example, the recipe I posted a couple of years ago for Sugar Cube Scrubs

My old recipe was simple and basic:

1 part melt and pour soap

1 part liquid oil (example: olive, apricot kernel, avocado, grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, etc oils)

3 parts granulated sugar

I’ve learned a little bit about scrub making in the past 2 years, and I wanted something packed with even more moisturizing ingredients. Enter the new recipe. . . .

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With mango butter (you could easily substitute shea or cocoa butters) for its wonderful ability to both moisturize and protect skin and safflower oil for its easy absorption, this is my new go-to recipe for making sugar cubes. 

Ingredients:

2.95 ounces melt and pour soap

1.1 oz olive oil

.4 oz safflower oil

2 vitamin E capsules**

.35 oz mango butter

7.5 oz granulated sugar

Colorant (about an 1/8 teaspoon of hydrated chromium oxide green powder mixed with just enough natural glycerin to make sure that all of the powder is incorporated)

Lime essential oil 1/4 tsp

Lemongrass essential oil 1/8 tsp

*The first 5 ingredients are measured by weight. 

**Just the cut or puncture the end of each capsule with scissors and squeeze out its contents to use.

Equipment I Use:
Microwave safe bowl

Whisk

Disposable Cup

Measuring Spoons

Digital Scale

Spoon

Silicon Mold similar to this one.

I start off by getting the colorant ready and mixing it with just a bit of vegetable glycerin until the powder is completely incorporated and there are no clumps. Most of the colorants that I use are natural or semi-natural, and most come from one of my favorite suppliers, TKBTrading.com. They have a huge selection of quality colorants. 

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Start off by weighing out the mango butter and melt and pour soap into a microwave safe bowl.

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Microwave in 30 second increments, making sure to check it after each time and to never leave it unattended until melted. 

Add in the liquid oils and whisk until completely incorporated. Add the essential oils and the colorant and whisk.

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Now, add in the granulated sugar and stir until it’s all completely incorporated. It will probably be fairly thick, so place back in the microwave and heat in 30 second increments until the mixture is thinner and a much more easily pourable consistency.

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 Remove from the microwave and whisk again to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Then spoon or pour into your mold. 

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 Wait about an hour or until the cubes are completely hardened before unmolding. 

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The best thing about making sugar cube scrubs is that if they don’t turn out exactly how you’d like, simply pop them in a microwave safe bowl and remelt them. 

To use: In the shower, smash a cube (you can use a whole cube or break one into pieces) in your hand. Rub all over dry or rough skin (they’re also great for heels that need a little exfoliating) avoiding any sensitive areas. Rinse off. 

Or put them in a pretty box with mini cupcake liners, add a ribbon, and ta-da! Perfect for a Mother’s Day gift. 

Don’t want to make your own? The Lemongrass Lime Sugar Cube Scrub is listed in the Etsy shop right now, along with Neapolitan, Lavender Mint, and Lemon Meringue Pie. Click here to visit the Scrub section of the shop. 
Lemongrass Lime Sugar Cube Scrub
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2.95 ounces melt and pour soap
  • 1.1 oz olive oil
  • .4 oz safflower oil
  • 2 vitamin E capsules
  • .35 oz mango butter
  • 7.5 oz granulated sugar
  • Colorant (about an ⅛ teaspoon of hydrated chromium oxide green powder mixed with just enough natural glycerin to make sure that all of the powder is incorporated)
  • Lime essential oil ¼ tsp
  • Lemongrass essential oil ⅛ tsp
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, weigh out the melt and pour soap and the mango butter. Heat in the microwave in 30 second increments, checking after each time and not leaving unattended, until melted.
  2. Whisk in the liquid oils. Then, add the colorant and essential oils, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the sugar and combine.
  4. If the mixture is too thick, heat in the microwave in 30 second increments, checking after each time and not leaving it unattended.
  5. When the mixture is a thinner and pourable consistency, remove from the microwave (being careful in case the bowl is hot). Whisk again to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  6. Spoon or pour into the mold.
  7. Wait for about an hour before unmolding.
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Shampoo Bars 101

There is one very frightening thing in my life. Something that has been consistently the greatest, most out of control, and detested bane in my life. My cross to bear, if you will.

You may be wondering what could possibly inspire such negativity? One word. Hair.

You read that right. And I’m not alone. There are plenty of us out there who have more bad hair days than good. And I have been a firm member of the Bad Hair Club for years. Let me set the scene for you a little bit.

My hair is super thick. Emphasis on the super. I could literally donate some to three other people and it would still be too thick . You wouldn’t happen to want some, would you?

Add to that, it’s wavy, naturally frizzy, and damaged. The damage is all my fault, a result of too much experimentation and too often.

My mother went back to school when I was growing up, taking up cosmetology and due to some fairly relaxed instructors who didn’t mind well-behaved children, I tagged along to most of her classes. Somehow during all of that, I turned into a living mannequin head that had more haircuts, fingerwaves, pin curls, wash and sets (picture little old lady hair), facials, and manicures that I could ever count. It was a ton of fun, and I have so many fond memories from back then. The downside? It inspired a devil-may-care attitude towards hair experimentation. And when those pesky teen years hit a few years later, the game was on.

If it can be done to hair, it’s probably been done to mine. Permed, highlighted, bleached, curled, crimped, chemically straightened, coloring removal,and thinned. It’s been every length from mid-ear to mid-back. And every color from platinum (Which may have looked good on Marilyn, but not me.), jet black, auburn, every shade of brown, pink, carrot orange, green, and burgundy. Those last four? Thanks to some bad dye jobs, I swear. All in the same week, too. Two words. . . . Hat. Week.

All of that left me with hair that on occasion resembled a cross between Bozo the Clown’s and Carrot Top’s. And with a routine that consisted of regular keratin treatments, hot oil, anti-frizz serum, hairspray, and a lot of time spent with a flat iron.

Until I found a secret weapon. Shampoo bars.

It’s been over a year since I started using them, and my hair has never looked better. It’s less frizzy, shinier, and has grown unbelievably fast. Shocker of shockers, I’ve even received the first ever compliments on it. You could have bowled me over the first time it happened.

 

Before Shampoo Bar

After Selfie

You can’t tell me that’s not 100% better. Am I right?

And my routine? On a day to day basis, nothing other than a thorough brushing and a DIY coconut oil mask every few weeks. On special occasions, a few minutes in hot rollers and I’m done.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post: Shampoo Bars 101.

What exactly are shampoo bars?
They’re exactly what they sound like, shampoo in a bar form with most of the ingredients in them chosen specifically for the benefits they’ll impart to hair. Also, unlike liquid shampoos, most shampoo bars are sodium laurel sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate free.

What are the benefits?
Most people (including yours truly) experience less frizzy, shinier, and faster growing hair. Other benefits can include less dandruff and more volume. Plus, most bars are made to be completely natural and even better, you might be able to go a day or two longer between washes.

What are the cons?
Shampoo bars don’t lather up quite as much as regular shampoo, especially if you have hard water. And some people report slightly drier hair, commonly on the ends. Lastly, when switching to a shampoo bar, there may be a transitional period during which your hair is adjusting to the lack of chemicals that are in regular shampoo. During this time it might become frizzier, dryer, easier to tangle, or oilier. Or a combination of all of the above. This transitional period can last from a few days to a few weeks. For me, it lasted two weeks.

How long do the bars last?
Months. I made the switch in August 2013, and I’ve since gone through two bars and only started on the third tonight. By the way, they make great travel soaps, and if bentonite clay is one of the ingredients (like with our Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars), they can also be used as a shaving soap (bentonite clay allows razor blades to glide smoothly across skin).

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo with text

Can you use regular conditioner afterwards?
You totally can. I don’t. I use an apple cider vinegar rinse (recipe at the bottom) to help restore my scalp’s pH level and close the cuticles.

What about other products?
You can continue to use those, too. But I’ve found that I don’t really need them anymore.

How do you use them?
1) Wet hair thoroughly.
2) Either rub the bar directly on your head to create lather or rub it between your hands and apply the lather to your head.
3) Rinse very well, allowing the water and suds to flow through the length of your hair.
4) Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse. You can either rinse it out after a couple of minutes or leave it in.

ACV Rinse
The following is a recipe for a 1:1 ratio of rinse (1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to every 1 cup of water). I mainly use a 2:1 ratio (2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of water).

Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water. If you have shorter or thinner hair, you can try halving the recipe.

*You can also try steeping the rinse in a pot on top of the stove with certain herbs for 15 – 30 minutes. My favorites are fresh rosemary and calendula petals. Rosemary encourages hair growth and adds shine, while calendula conditions, soothes sensitive scalps, adds shine and warm highlights.

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Other herbs you can try are chamomile (great for adding highlights to lighter colored hair), nettle (excellent for dandruff), lemon balm (acts as a mild astringent, so perfect for oily hair), rose petals (perfect for brightening red hair), etc.

And the last question you might have. . . .

Where can I purchase your Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars?

From our Etsy shop, here.

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Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Last year, I discovered something that I couldn’t imagine living without. Something that has become my secret weapon in the fight against that evilest of all evil. . . Bad Hair Days.

What is this thing that I’m raving about? Shampoo bars. Oh yes, they’ve become my end-all, be-all for having nicer looking hair than I’ve ever had.

So, since its been awhile since I last shared a soap making recipe with you, I thought I’d share the one for our Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars.

The addition of bentonite clay in this recipe makes this soap an excellent travel bar that can be used for hair, shaving, and all over.

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo with text

Ingredients

All measurements are by weight, not volume. 

9 oz castor oil
1 oz jojoba oil
2.6 oz avocado oil
11 oz olive oil
1 oz lavender essential oil
1 oz rosemary essential oil
17.7 oz coconut oil
16.7 oz palm oil
1 oz shea butter
5 vitamin E capsules
21.24 oz coconut milk, frozen til slightly slushy
8.5 oz sodium hydroxide (food grade lye)

*For the clays, you generally mix 1 teaspoon of clay with 1 tablespoon of distilled water. So, for the recipe above, you would need 3 tablespoons of water in all. I mix the sea and bentonite clays separately, then divide the soap mixture into three parts. Sea clay is added to one part, bentonite clay to the other, and the third remains a pure, white color. Then, they’re all swirled together for a very pretty design. 

** One of the best and least expensive suppliers (and the main I use) of soap making oils and lye is Essential Depot. Before checking out, be sure to visit their Facebook page and check for current promo codes to receive extra discounts.


Safety: If you’re new to cold process soap making, please stop! Make sure you know all of the ins and outs of working with lye. It is a caustic chemical that can and will burn your skin. Always wear gloves and goggles while making soap and dealing with lye, and always work in a well ventilated area. Never leave lye or raw soap unattended. Never use aluminum utensils or containers as lye reacts with it to create toxic fumes. Always use stainless steel or heat safe glass or plastic. There are lots of websites, Youtube videos, and books that can help you to learn the basics of cold process soap making.
1) Slowly and carefully add the lye to the slushy coconut milk (when making soap, you always add the lye to the water – or in this case, coconut milk). Stirring gently until the lye has completely melted. Set aside to cool.
2) Measure out the solid oils and butter (palm and coconut oil and shea butter). Melt those in a pot on top of the stove until they’re just melted and have turned to liquid. While the solid oils were melting, out the liquid oils (olive, castor, jojoba, avocado, and vitamin E oils. . .  tip: Use scissors to cut each vitamin E capsule, then squeeze the oil out disposing of the capsules). Once the solid oils have melted, remove them from the eye and set aside to cool. Add the liquid oils to them. At this point, I also go ahead and add the lavender and rosemary essential oils.
3) While the oils and lye solution are cooling, measure out the clays (I use disposable plastic cups to mix my colorants, clays, and other additives in). Combine the clays with the water (see the beginning of the Vine video below) and set aside.

4) Once the lye and oils have cooled to about 130F degrees or less, add the lye solution to the oils (always add the lye solution to your oils). Using a stick blender, mix until the soap reaches a thin trace.
5) At this point, I divide my soap into three batches in heat safe plastic containers. One batch will have the sea clay added to it, the other bentonite clay, and the other will have nothing extra added. Then, swirl the colors together and pour into your prepared mold (I use a 5lb wooden mold lined with a silicon liner from Brambleberry).
6) After 3-4 days, unmold and cut into bars. Allow 4-6 weeks curing time before using.
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September In Photos.

Looking through the photos I took in September, I realized I didn’t take that many.

A little advice, which is totally related to the above statement. . . . if you’re allergic to, oh, let’s say peanut dust (I know, it’s such a weird allergy, right?), possibly the worst place you could ever live is south Alabama. During fall.

In other words, peanut picking time. There aren’t enough antihistamines in the whole world to make September and October my favorite time of year.

Except I do love fall decorations. And fall food. And pumpkins. And college football. And, yeah, even fresh boiled peanuts.

And my birthday is in October. So, maybe I do like this time of year a little bit even if I do look like a sneezing, red eyed, sniffling hot mess.

But that’s for another day. Another post. Let’s get back to the topic at hand. . . .
September In Photographs

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you’ve most likely heard plenty about farm poodle, Bryony. And believe me, there is plenty more I could tell you about Bry (my absolutely, without a doubt spoiled to the brim dog).

Like, for instance, that I picked up 19 dog toys off the floor the other day Count ’em 19! I seriously need to teach her to put them back on her own 😉 But enough about my spoiled dog.

You may not know that I also have two Weimaraners: Remy and Hunter. My gray ghost dogs.

Hunter is my old guy, and turned eight years old in September.

And while, he was much more, uh, precocious than even Bry in his younger days. Yeah, precocious. . . . that makes it totally sound funny and cute, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t. At the time. It is, now. We’re talking Chew City. Nothing was off limits to my precocious little guy.

But Hunny’s mellowed out over the years into a very polite, quiet gentleman, and mostly spends his spare time practicing his favorite hobbies:

Napping.

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Resting.

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And catching some Zzzzzs.

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Followed by, “Who can nap with you taking pictures of them, Ma?”

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Mose also had a birthday last month. Three years ago our very spoiled donkey (who’s always ready for a selfie and acts more like a cross between a goat and a really big dog most days) entered this world early one morning.

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The boy goats, meanwhile, are in rut. Big time! Which, if you’re not familiar with goats, just means that they’re acting like a bunch of hormonal, obnoxious, extremely smelly, lip curling teenagers that are concerned with one thing and one thing only. Girls. More specifically girl goats.

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This is the time of year that I try not to touch the boys or honestly, even get too near them if I don’t have to. And only if I have old clothes on. And I’m not going anywhere special in the next day or two. The short and sweet of it. . . . they stink. And whoever said farming is glamorous?

In other goaty news, soap has been on the agenda lately. Lots of soap. . . .

Soap collage
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Oatmeal & Tupelo Honey, Lick Me All Over, Shades of Grey, and Lavender & Rosemary Shampoo Bar.

Check out the ombre action going on with Shades of Grey. How cool is that?

All four of the above soaps, along with a couple more, will be listed in our Etsy shop this week.

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Overwhelmed

Just a reminder that this blog is moving (http://thecountrychickblog.com).

Starting tomorrow (most likely. . . or maybe the next day) all posts on here will (hopefully, if it works right) redirect to the new url and site. Feel free to go ahead and take a look at the new blog – which is still being tweaked a little.

Regarding the title of this post. . .  that is exactly how I’m feeling at the moment. Just a tad overwhelmed at all of the different options WordPress offers. But I’ll figure it out. Eventually.

And no. I’m not bald. Not yet, at least.

And what else have I been up to lately? Soaping. Lots of soaping. Which is not overwhelming. More like therapeutic, actually, and a much needed break from all the techno, css-ing, html-ing of blog building.

I had sort of fallen a little behind on restocking some of our most popular soaps, but never fear, they’re back! I will be relisting them over the next month.

I also made a couple of new seasonal additions. Such as Fallen Leaves (pictured above), complete with a thin pencil line of gold mica and a little soap leaf on top.