Category Archives: Skin Care

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm (All-Natural and Toxin Free!) + 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Store-Bought Lip Balm

Learn how to make soothing and nourishing homemade beeswax lip balm (Burt’s Bees copycat) that’s made with natural and toxin free ingredients!

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm

A good lip balm is one of those must-have items for me. I have dry skin and have always had trouble with chapped lips along with it. I think I might have a lip balm in every room of my house, as well as in my car. Trust me, it’s necessary.

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm Recipe

I’ve been making my own homemade beeswax lip balm for about 3 years now and I love it so much. Not only does it smell amazing (peppermint, always), but it’s actually so nourishing and effective. I used to use Burt’s Bees lip balm all the time, but I actually prefer my version better and it also makes a great gift as well!

With a soothing combination of shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oils (or whatever scent you like), this homemade beeswax lip balm is so easy, costs pennies, and takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm

5 Harmful Ingredients in Conventional Lip Balm

I actually started making my own homemade beeswax lip balm after learning about some shady ingredients in drug store versions that are known to cause a host of health issues. It’s especially important to be aware of these ingredients because we are putting these products on our lips and we can easily consume them!

These are some common ones to watch out for and avoid:

  1. Parabens (also known as other ingredients that end in -paraben like methylparaben and butylparaben): Used as a preservative, parabens are widely recognized as endocrine disruptors. They are known to increase the risk of breast cancer and other reproductive issues.
  2. Petroleum jelly: Yes, the main ingredient in Vaseline! Petroleum jelly is a highly refined oil made from fossil fuel. Not only does it block our pores, it also contains carcinogens and chemicals known to cause estrogen dominance.
  3. Synthetic colors and dyes: These are especially common in tinted lip balms. Synthetic colors are composed of heavy metals that cause allergies and irritation, and if accumulated for a long time, are even known to cause cancer!
  4. Chemical sunscreens (also labeled as avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and octocrylene): All of these chemicals help the sunscreen be absorbed in our skin fast, especially when our skin is exposed to sunlight. They are estrogen mimickers and are associated with endometriosis in women and lower sperm count in men. If you want a lip balm with SPF in it, look for ones with non-nano zinc oxide instead.
  5. Fragrance or flavor: Companies are not legally required to disclose what chemicals make up “fragrance” or “flavor” on ingredients labels. Those words can mean absolutely any chemical, whether or not it has been tested for safety. Usually, it is a synthetic concoction that includes phthalates and synthetic musks, which are known hormone disruptors.

Don’t Want to Make Your Own?

There have been times that I’ve been busy or lazy and ran out of my homemade beeswax lip balm. In those cases, I ended up buying safer option that are free of the above toxins. Here are my favorite brands that smell amazing without chemical fragrances and work really well:

  • Beautycounter’s Lip Conditioners: Beautycounter is probably my favorite skin care company that has banned over 1500 ingredients that are known or suspected to be harmful in their products, when the US has only banned 30. Their lip conditioners come in peppermint or calendula and these products are so soothing and hydrating with clean ingredients! If you are looking for something that’s tinted or has a light color, I highly recommend their sheer lipsticks which are also made with coconut oil and are extremely moisturizing.
  • Primally Pure Lip Balm: Primally Pure has amazing, natural lip balm made of all the soothing oils like coconut, beef tallow, and beeswax. They come in 5 different flavors, scented with organic essential oils, and the peppermint is my favorite. You can get 10% off your first purchase with them with code: JEAN10.
  • Perfect Supplements Lip Nutrients: These come in 2 flavors, lemongrass and tangerine, and I prefer tangerine. These contain all organic ingredients that nourish you lips you coconut oil and beeswax, along with jojoba oil, essential oils, and vitamin E. You can get 10% off with my code: GREATGRANDMA10

Perfect as Gifts!

If you are wondering what to get for someone special in your life, or if you are looking for stocking stuffers for the holidays, I highly recommend these homemade beeswax lip balm, because there’s nothing better than homemade gifts. I’ve gifted them myself before and all the recipients have told me that they love them. My mom actually insists I make her 20-30 of them every year so she can use them throughout the year. Good thing they are so easy to make!

Because these do not contain any water or moisture and only healthy oils, they actually last indefinitely so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling or going bad!

Print

Homemade Beeswax Lip Balm (All-Natural and Toxin Free!)

Learn how to make soothing and nourishing homemade beeswax lip balm (Burt's Bees copycat) that's made with natural and toxin free ingredients!
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 18 lip balm tubes
Author Jean Choi

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a double boiler, or a heat-safe bowl nestled on top of a pot of simmering water over medium low heat, combine beeswax pastilles, shea butter, and coconut oil.
  • Heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture is completely melted.
  • Remove from heat and stir in peppermint essential oils. 
  • Pour the mixture into a glass cup or a measuring cup with a spout.
  • Carefully pour into the empty lip balm tubes and fill them up to the top.
  • Let them cool for 30 minutes before putting on the cap. 

Notes

*If you don't like the peppermint flavor, you can use other essential oils like grapefruit or lavender. Avoid them altogether if you prefer unscented!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals + Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Check out some amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals you don’t want to miss out on, and the ultimate 2018 healthy holiday gift guide, where you can find something for anyone special in your life!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are HERE, and I’m so excited to share some discounts and promos with you guys. I love a good deal just as anyone else, so I do a lot of holiday shopping and just regular shopping for myself during this time.

Hope you take advantage of these awesome deals, and check back often since I’ll keep updating these deals until Cyber Monday!

Black Friday Deals

Food/Cooking

  1. $5 off on Korean Paleo cookbook with code: NOVBOOK18. My book will be released on December 11th, and now is the perfect time to preorder it! Make sure to save your order confirmation since I’ll be having preorder gifts real soon.
  2. FREE bacon for life with your ButcherBox subscription.  Butcherbox delivers 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, free range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door, and shipping is always free. Each month, ButcherBox curates a one-of-a-kind selection of the tastiest meats, humanely raised and free of antibiotics and hormones. Go check out all the delicious selections.
  3. My favorite bone broth company, Bare Bones, is having a “buy more, save more” deal until 11/30. Their broth varieties are super high quality (organic, grass fed, and pasture raised) and I use them in cooking often. Here’s their current deal: Buy 2 pouches for 15% off, buy 5 pouches for 20% off, 9 pouches for 25% off, and 12+ pouches for 30% off. Stock up on these now and freeze them until you are ready to use them!
  4. BIG SAVINGS on the Instant PotIf you’ve been waiting to get your hands on this amazing electronic pressure cooker, now is the time! This 6-qt smart Instant Pot with WiFi is only $89.95 (down from $149.95) which is a $60 saving just for today. Not only is it a pressure cooker, it’s also a steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and you can even make cakes and casseroles in them. I use mine pretty much everyday, and I have a bunch of  Instant Pot recipes on this blog as well!
  5. Get 14% off + FREE SHIPPING on 8 cartons of high-quality, organic Pique TeaPique tea is one of my favorite tea companies (I’m obsessed with their matcha and here’s why), because their tea crystals are organic, packed with antioxidants (12x than other teas), and also triple screened for toxins, pesticides, and molds. Their limited edition holiday bundle of teas contain 8 flavor cartons and a glass cup, and it makes a perfect gift for the tea lover!

Health/Nutrition

  1. 35% off ALL Perfect Brand products + 10% off with my code: GREATGRANDMA10 (45% total!). This is an amazing deal and opportunity to stock up on some the highest quality supplements out there! Some of my favorite supplements from them include their grass-fed gelatin for making yummy gummy snacks, their grass-fed collagen to put a scoop in my matcha every morning for better skin, hair, and nails, and their desiccated liver capsules for a bit of nutrient boost and liver detox. Don’t forget to use my code GREATGRANDMA10 for that extra 10% discount on top of the 35%!
  2. 25% off ALL Everlywell at-home health tests with code: CYBEREverlywell is a company that makes various health tests that you can take in the comfort of your own home. I took their food sensitivity test before and wrote a blog post about it, and I recently also took their women’s health test which I will share my experience about as well soon. These tests aren’t always affordable for everyone so now is a great time to take advantage of them!

Safer Skincare

  1. 15% off your entire Beautycounter order + FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50! My favorite safer skincare company is having a sale until Cyber Monday (11/26) and this is super rare for them. Make sure to stock up on makeup, skin care, something for kids and babies, and some gorgeous holiday sets that you can give out as gifts! They have some of best products that seriously changed my skin for the better.
  2. Primally Pureone of my favorite safer skincare companies is having an insane BUY ONE, GET ONE deal on 3 of their kits! These make great gifts, and I’ll be stocking up on them as well: 
    • Starter Kit – the most popular products in one kit, including a deodorant of your choice and the Everything Spray!
    • Spa Kit – the perfect kit for a spa treatment, with a dry brush, body oil, sea soak, and flower bath
    • Baby Kit – all natural baby products that are safe and gentle for sensitive skin
  3. 45% off on grass fed collagen. I already mentioned this above, but Perfect Supplements’ grass fed collagen has done wonders for my skin, hair, and nails. My hair and nails have never been so strong and grown so fast. You just dissolve a scoop in to your morning coffee or matcha, and you can’t even taste it at all! Make sure to use my code GREATGRANDMA10 for a total of 45% discount, and check out their travel packets as well!

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2018

My healthy holiday gift guide is here! As I do every year, I tried to include almost everyone on your list and within various budgets, and these are some of the items that I truly love. I hope you’ll get some fun ideas from this holiday gift guide!

  1. FOR THE ADVENTUROUS COOK – Korean Paleo ($21.99): Shameless self plug here! My cookbook, Korean Paleo, is coming out on December 11th, and it makes a perfect gift for Korean food lovers enjoy bold flavors. It has 80 recipes that are mix of traditional, modern, and fusion Korean recipes, and make sure to save your order confirmation email because I’ll be having an awesome preorder gift as well.
  2. FOR THE FOODIE – Spoon and Chopstick Sets ($20.99): Great for gifting alone or with my Korean Paleo cookbook! Everyone needs a spoon and chopstick set at home, especially for Asian takeout, or even better, cooking Asian food at home. This set is stylish and fun, and makes a great gift.
  3. FOR THE SKIN CARE FANATIC – Beautycounter’s Instant Awakening Trio ($89): This holiday set is my favorite and has everything you need to look awake and refreshed. It comes with the Overnight Resurfacing Peel (my favorite and you can read more about it here), as well as Instant Glow Illuminating Cream and Eye Revive Cooling Masks (so cooling and great for depuffing).
  4. FOR THE ATHLETE OR THOSE ALWAYS ON THE GO – Healthy Human Water Bottle ($12.99-$34.99) & Stainless Steel Straws ($14.99): Healthy Human products are the best. Their bottles and tumblers are stainless steel, vacuum insulated, and are free of phthalates and BPA. And I love their their stainless steel reusable straws that come in a pouch so you can carry them to your favorite coffeeshop! You can actually get 10% off anything in their Amazon store with my code: GRANDMA10.
  5. FOR THE HOST/HOSTESS – Meat & Cheese Board ($59.99): Don’t show up empty handed to a holiday party. This cheese board is the perfect size for a gathering and also has shelves with a cutlery set! Better yet, bring some cheese, meats, crackers, and fruits with this board for a complete gift.
  6. FOR THE TEA LOVER – Pique Tea Matcha ($58): After trying out various matcha brands, Pique Tea Sun Goddess Matcha is one of my favorites. They are extremely high quality, taste amazing, and are quadruple toxin screened for: heavy metals, fluoride, pesticides, toxic molds, and radioactive isotopes. If the recipient loves other teas as well, you can get them the limited edition holiday tea set that comes with a glass cup!
  7. FOR THE ZEN PAL – Essential Oils Diffuser ($21.99): I love essential oil diffusers that double as a humidifier, especially in this dry California climate. This one is affordable, stylish, and has ambient lighting in 7 different colors. Diffuse some lavender oil in it at night for a better night’s sleep!
  8. FOR THE COLLEGE STUDENT – Immersion Blender ($69.95): The immersion blender is one of my favorite kitchen tools and I use it everyday to make my matcha latte. I also use it to blend soups, make smoothies, dressing, and mayonnaise. College students will love it for their quick meals, and the cleanup is always a breeze!
  9. FOR THE MAKEUP LOVER – Beautycounter’s First Light Highlighter Palette ($49): It’s tricky to get people makeup since you never know what color or shade is right for them. Luckily, this highlighter palette is for all skin tones and it comes in 3 different shades! If you are like me and you love looking dewy and glowing even if you didn’t get enough sleep last night, then this highlighter palette will help you do just that and it’s one of the products I use everyday.
  10. FOR THE COFFEE SNOB – Chemex Coffee Maker ($36.95-$45.12): As someone who has tried all the different ways to to brew coffee, Chemex is my absolute favorite way and makes the best tasting coffee as well! It’s made with nonporous glass that won’t absorb odors or chemicals residues and watching the coffee drip in it is so therapeutic. If you want to complete this gift, make sure to purchase the filters as well.
  11. FOR THE BUSY COOK – Instant Pot ($99.95-$159.95): I’ve included this in last year’s holiday gift guide but I’m going to include it again, because it’s my absolute favorite kitchen tool! It does everything that the slow cooker can do in the fraction of the time, and also functions as a rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sterilizer, and you can even make cakes in it! Make sure to check out all my Instant Pot recipes to see all the things you can make with it and get some ideas.
  12. FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS – GreenPan Set ($58.75): After cast iron skillets, GreenPan products are my favorite stovetop cookware that’s free of harmful chemicals or heavy metals, even if you accidentally overheat it or scratch the surface. They are ceramic and non stick, and they are lighter in weight than cast iron skillets so they are easy to use as well.
  13. FOR THE CANDLE LOVER – Homemade Beeswax Candles: There are so many harmful toxins and chemicals in store bought candles and I like to avoid them at all cost. Instead, making beeswax candles at home is easy, fun, and they actually purify the air! You can even customize the scent by using your favorite essential oils and they make such a great, healthy gift.
  14. FOR MEN WHO LOVE TO TRAVEL – Beautycounter’s Counterman Gift Set ($45): I always find it difficult to find gifts for men, but thankfully this kit contains safe products for him without harmful ingredients, along with a dopp kit to put them in. There’s a daily exfoliating cleanser, smoothing shaving cream, cooling aftershave tonic, and an oil free face lotion and they truly smell so good, I want to use them myself. This set sold out last year so don’t wait to get it!
  15. FOR THE PLANT LOVER – Plants ($2-$50) – As a plant lover myself, I always welcome more plants as gifts as they purify the air and instantly brighten up a space. The price varies widely depending on the variety but for easy growing and flexible lighting, I recommend: pothos, succulents, money tree, snake plants, cacti, and aloe. If you want to splurge and get some beautiful and leafy kinds, my favorite are fig leaf tree and monstera. You can always search for mom-and-pop nurseries around you to look for deals or even look on eBay, instead of paying more at places like Home Depot!

That’s all, guys! Leave a comment below if you have any questions. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ll be updating the Black Friday deals as they change throughout the week, so check back often. I hope you enjoy the deals and the holiday gift guide, and have a wonderful holiday season!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

How to Detox Your Skin with Oil Cleansing

Learn the benefits of what oil cleansing can do for your skin (like acne, blackheads, oily skin, and dry skin), as well as step-by-step instructions and the best safe and effective oils you can use for it!

Oil Cleansing

Oil cleansing is one of my favorite non-toxic skin cleansing methods that have done wonders for my skin. Instead of using regular cleansing soap, I usually oil cleanse at night and it works so much better than a regular cleanser to remove makeup, clean my skin, and help it look fresh and smooth afterwards. I was skeptical and unsure about it when I first tried it out, but now it has become a regular routine after seeing how well it actually DOES work!

What is Oil Cleansing?

Oil cleansing is a method where you use oils to clean your skin instead of soap and water. It works well for ALL skin types and even with acne-prone skin! Some people are afraid to use oil on their skin, especially if their skin is oily, but with the right type of oil, you’ll find that it can be a safe and gentle method that detoxes your skin and cleans even better than soap.

Our skin’s physical barrier can weaken with an increased imbalance in pH with stress, diet, oxidative stress, and even conventional cleanser and moisturizers that may contain toxic or harmful ingredients. Oil cleansing can help your skin improve strength while rebalancing its pH and its natural oils.

How Does Oil Cleansing Work?

Similar to the concept of like dissolving like, massaging your skin with oil loosens up the oil on your skin, as well as the impurities stuck in your pores and whatever makeup you have on. You massage in a circular motion for a minute or 2, then use a wet warm cloth to steam your face.

Steaming with a clean cotton or muslin cloth is an important step, because this process allows your pores to open up so any dirt, impurities, and bacteria can be drawn out and rise to the surface of your skin. You then wipe your face with the cloth until your skin is clean and smooth.

When done with the right oils and method, oil cleansing can improve issues like dryness, blackheads and whiteheads, acne, and even oily skin!

Oil Cleansing

Expect a Detox Period

Keep in mind that your skin may experience a detox reaction for the first several days or up to 2 weeks of oil cleansing, and you may experience some breakouts or whiteheads. This happens because the dirt and impurities in your pores are finally able to loosen up and release, but this shouldn’t last last longer than 2 weeks. I promise, it’ll all be worth it when you see how great your skin looks afterwards.

When I first started oil cleansing, I went through a detox period in the first week when I broke out on my chin a lot. However, this went away after the adjustment period, and my skin is healthier than it’s ever been.

My skin is on the dry side, but after I started oil cleansing, the moisture level has increased and I rarely get acne anymore which I used to get quite frequently. I only wash my face once a day with the oil cleansing method and it’s enough to keep my skin healthy and radiant. I also love that I don’t have to use a makeup remover anymore, because oil cleansing removes it all effectively.

Best Products for Oil Cleansing

It’s incredibly important to use the right products and oils for oil cleansing. If not, it may actually worsen your skin. When you open up your pores through oil cleansing, not only do things come out of your pores, but the products and oils you use seep into them as well. Because of this, make sure to only use clean products with safe and toxin free ingredients.

Oil Cleansing

Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm

My favorite oil cleansing product hands down is Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm. Not only does it have clean and safe ingredients that are extremely effective, it also contains vitamin C to improve and brighten your complexion, as well as raspberry and cranberry seed oils to moisturize and nourish. It is by far the best product I’ve used and I even use it as a moisturizer at times because it’s so hydrating!

The Cleansing Balm also comes with a 100% muslin cloth so you don’t have to purchase it separately, and you can even use the balm as an overnight treatment and wash it off in the morning. It always feels so luxurious when I use it.

Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil

Another great product that is a bit more budget friendly is Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil. They also have separate oils for dry skin or oily/acne-prone skin. These oils smell amazing, work great, and scientifically formulated to keep your skin balanced without drying it out. The ingredients are also natural without any harmful chemicals, but effective as well.

You do have to purchase a cloth separate with this one and the homemade oil I’m about to talk about next, and I highly recommend these 100% organic cotton facial cloths.

Homemade Oil

I used to make my own oil for oil cleansing, and it can be a bit tricky to find the right ratio that works well for your skin type. However, if you decide to go this route, there are several oils that are great for oil cleansing, and you may want to experiment with which ones work best for you.

Some options are: coconut, castor, almond, sunflower, jojoba, avocado, and oilve oil. Castor oil is deeply cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and great as a base oil to start out with, but it can also be drying for your skin so it works well for combination to oily skin.

If your skin is on the dry side (like me), you may want to mix it with other oils like avocado or olive oil and find the right ratio, or just use another oil altogether. When I did make my own oils, I used to use 70% avocado and 30% castor oil, but switched to 100% olive oil during the drier winter months.

When you first start out, I suggest the ratio of 50% castor oil and 50% olive or avocado oil, then you can adjust it from there. Whatever oils you choose, make sure to use high quality, organic oils because it really does make a difference in the effectiveness of oil cleansing.

Again, if you aren’t seeing great results with homemade oil since it can be a bit tricky to get right, I highly recommend trying out one of the 2 products I recommend above!

Oil Cleansing Step-By-Step

WATCH A QUICK VIDEO OF HOW I USE THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD

And subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos and other fun tutorials!

If you want to learn the proper method for oil cleansing so you end up with smooth and radiant skin, follow this step-by-step tutorial:

Oil Cleansing
Print

Step-By-Step Oil Cleansing Tutorial

If you want to learn the proper method for oil cleansing so you end up with smooth and radiant skin, follow this step-by-step tutorial.
Author Jean Choi

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Start out with a dry face. You don't need to remove makeup beforehand as oil cleansing will do that in the process.
  • Take 1/2-1 tsp of your oil of choice (or an almond-sized amount for the Cleansing Balm) and massage on to your face for at least 1 minute. Concentrate on your problem areas.
  • Soak the washcloth under running water that is warm to hot (not too hot - you'll be using it on your face), then wring it out.
  • Place the washcloth on your face to let it steam and open up your pores, so it can draw out impurities.
  • Gently wipe away the oils, makeup, and dirt.
  • Rinse your washcloth and hang it to dry for the next time. I use the Charcoal Bar to clean the cloth every time and it works really well!
  • There's no need to moisturize after oil cleansing, but you may choose to do so if you feel like your skin needs it. I have dry skin so I always finish with the Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream, which is so hydrating and nourishing.

Notes

*If this ratio is too drying, lower the ratio of castor oil. If it's too moisturizing, increase the ratio of castor oil. I recommend using olive or avocado oil as the 2nd oil when first starting out.

Want Even More Radiant Skin?

You can use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel after oil cleansing for even better results that’ll help your skin tone even out, remove blemishes, and achieve that radiant glow. You can read all about my experience with in this blog post, along with my before-and-after photos from using it for a month!

If you want to learn more about safe and toxin free skin care and prodcuts, make sure to join my Safer Skincare Facebook group, for deals, discounts, video tutorials, and more education around why I choose safer skincare. I also send out free samples occasionally so COME JOIN IN ON THE FUN!

Lastly, I’m also sending a free gift to my Safer Skincare mailing list subscribers the first time they shop Beatycounter with me so make sure to sign up. I send out occasional emails about updates and news worth sharing, so don’t miss out! SIGN UP FOR THE SAFER SKINCARE NEWSLETTER.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
 
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.