Friday, March 9, 2012

MOPS Craft- Orange Creamsicle Body Scrub

As mentioned in my "About Me" section, I am the creative activities (craft) coordinator at my local MOPS group. If you haven't heard of MOPS, you are missing out on one of the greatest things in the world, at least my group is! In short, it's a Christian-based moms group that's held twice a month. We meet together, hear a speaker share on a topic, eat brunch, chat- never long enough!- and do an awesome craft... well, I think they're awesome because I created them! In January, one of our meeting topics was depression. That's never a "fun" topic, but it's important to talk about. Not only are there people that suffer from clinical depression or mood disorders, but post-partum depression is something that affects many new moms, and the feeling of guilt can keep many moms from speaking up to get the help they need. Furthermore, you may not suffer from depression, but so many people do that, likely, you know someone who does. We had a counselor from CAFA come to speak with us about the topic, and she shared some great insight to the various ways depression presents itself.

For the craft portion of our meeting, we decided to do something that was relaxing and good for our mental/physical health. So, I came up with the idea of body scrubs. I browsed a million different sites through Pinterest and Google and compared recipes. There were chocolate ones and coffee ones and sugar ones and salt ones. It was hard to narrow it down! I finally settled on one coffee scrub, one vanilla brown sugar scrub, and one citrus brown sugar scrub. It would've been easy, supply-wise, to do all 3 since so many ingredients over-lapped. However, when I priced out each scrub, the first two were significantly more expensive than the 3rd, especially when multiplied by 20! So, the citrus scrub it was, specifically an Orange Creamsicle Brown Sugar Scrub that sounded absolutely delicious!!!

I got the recipe from this site. It was a wild goose chase to find everything, although there were only 5 easy ingredients:

⅔ Cup of Brown Sugar
⅓ Cup of Olive Oil
10 Drops of Vitamin E
5 Drops of Orange Essential Oil
5 Drops of Organic Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Honey, optional for dry skin (I didn't use this)

However, since I'm on a tight budget, it was important to find each thing for as cheap as possible. So, a few times I went to a store only to find that the sugar or oil was more expensive there than somewhere else. I suppose after driving around town so many times, $0.40 extra shouldn't have mattered! The orange essential oil and vitamin e oil were also hard to find. While WalMart has vitamin e oil, they were out of stock. And I was told Fred Meyer also had it, but I searched long and hard through the aisles and came up empty-handed. Both can be found easily at most health food stores. I was trying to get as much at one store as possible, though, and while Springfield/Eugene is filled with health food stores, I'm not used to going to them and therefore hesitant to go. In the end, I went to 8 stores to find those 5 ingredients! AGH! I was about to rip my hair out by the end. I got the brown sugar, olive oil, and vanilla extract from WalMart, the vitamin e oil and mason jars from Bi-Mart, and the orange essential oil at Wynant's.

I mixed up a sample the night before our meeting and found it easy to make. It fit perfectly into 4oz canning jars. I did think the olive oil was a little overwhelming, though, and should've used less than the recipe called for. Because of this, I used 10 drops of orange oil and 10 drops of vanilla. I still thought it needed more to cover up the olive oil, but I wanted it to be do-able for the MOPS group and couldn't go crazy with too much. Other moms did better at the meeting, using less olive oil and their scents turned out great!

I then made up a label for the jars. I designed them using Microsoft Word and mounted them on orange paper. Both were punched out with paper punches I own- some of my favorite craft supplies. (As a side note, this is exactly how I make cupcake toppers as well. I just mount them on sucker sticks or toothpicks instead of gluing them to the jar.) These were attached to the lid with hot glue.

And I finished off my jar by tying orange ribbon around the jar and including a clear plastic spoon for stirring and scooping.

It was easy to put together once I figured out how many bags/bottles I needed for the amount of people in the group. The moms in my group seemed to be excited about the craft too. Many people told me they couldn't wait to use them and others shared that their skin felt nice and smooth after use.

Here are a few more tips for making body scrubs:

  • Feel free to substitute any essential oils that you would like to use. You can also use jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or avocado oil as a base if you choose.
  • The sugar will separate a bit from the oil, but that’s normal. Don’t add more, just stir it up a little every time you use it.
  • Use cane sugar. It is softer than raw sugar.
  • Sugar contains glycolic acid, a component that keeps skin healthy. It moisturizes, conditions it, and protects it from the harmful effects of toxins. If you use a brown sugar scrub on a regular basis, it will help to improve your skin’s ability to retain its natural moisture balance.
  • Coffee helps with cellulite and varicose veins. Coffee and Caffeine are showing up all over in beauty products due to their tightening and antioxidant effects on the skin. Caffeine, works on skin in the three primary ways: as a vasoconstrictor, an antioxidant, and a diuretic. Applied topically caffeine helps to redistribute fat cells and decrease the formation of cellulite. It also acts as a vasorestrictor, tightening and shrinking blood vessels thereby helping eliminate varicose veins.
  • Coffee, in a body scrub, can make you feel more alert too, because you associate the smell with the invigorating effects of drinking coffee. (It's a learned response.)
  • If you have sensitive skin, do not add coffee grounds and use brown sugar (as it is less abbrasive)
  • If you would like a coarser scrub, try 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of coffee grounds.

And to use:

After you’ve washed up in the shower or tub, right before you step out, apply scrub on your skin and rub onto your skin in a circular motion. It buffs away dead skin cells and leaves a new soft layer of skin. Once you’ve scrubbed all over, rinse off any excess sugar. You’re left with soft, smooth and moisturized skin. Can be used daily. Caution: the oil in the sugar scrub can cause the tub or shower to become slippery. I was also asked about the shelf life of the scrub. I believe it lasts as long as the ingredients do. In my case, many of my ingredients last until at least December of this year, and some all of the way to 2014! If you know otherwise, please let me know :-)

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