Tag Archives: gift ideas

Easy Whipped Shaving Soap

In one of my previous blog posts I shared how easy it is to make liquid hand soap out of a cold processed natural soap bar. Today’s recipe is just as easy and even takes less time.

DIY Shaving Soap from a bar of cold processed natural soap |2wome2cats|

You can buy special shaving soaps (or make your own cold processed one) but if you have lots of soap bars like I do and can’t use them up as fast as you’d like, this might be the perfect solution. Also a good way to pimp up a soap bar that you maybe didn’t like that much before. There is no need for alcohol or aggressive surfactants or paraffinic oils. If you take a look at the back of many commercial shaving creams you’ll see that they often include things you really don’t want on your skin. Natural cold processed soap bars are made from oils and are saponificated with NaOH and often are highly superfatted to prevent dry skin.

DIY Shaving Soap from a bar of cold processed natural soap |2wome2cats|

For this shaving soap I used a bar that I didn’t like that much on its own and added some coconut oil and pure aloe vera gel (for extra moisture) to the process. I you don’t have aloe vera gel or don’t want to use it you can just add an equal amount of water to the mixture.

Ingredients

50 g cold processed soap
100 ml water
50 ml pure aloe vera gel
1 tbsp coconut oil
a few drops essential oil (optional)

Grind the soap bar or chuck it in a food processor. The soap should be really fine, otherwise it won’t melt easily. Heat the water with the soap and oil in a medium sized saucepan on low heat until the soap has completely melted. You really need to stir a lot because of the small amount of water. Mine turned into a thick paste really quickly and the soap was dissolved almost immediately. Be careful not to let it burn! It might form little lumps at the bottom which may seem like unmelted soap. If you touch them, you’ll see that those lumps are actually more like a paste and it means the soap flakes have dissolved already. Stir in the aloe vera and keep it a little bit longer on the stove until everything is incorporated properly. Take it off the heat and set aside to let it cool down.

Unlike the liquid hand soap I have made, the shaving cream doesn’t need to gel up for a few days. I gave it a stir every few hours and it had set completely after a day. If you don’t stir it so frequently it might take a little bit longer. When the soap has set, whip it up by hand or with a mixer and add some essential oil if your soap wasn’t scented. It will be really smooth, creamy and easy to apply. Best is to keep it in a small tin in the bathroom.

Stef

DIY Shaving Soap from a bar of cold processed natural soap |2wome2cats|

DIY Shaving Soap from a bar of cold processed natural soap |2wome2cats|

Vegan Caramel Sauce

I have been fantasizing about making a Toffee Nut Latte for a while and have been experimenting with creating a vegan whipped cream so I wouldn’t have to buy a ready made one from the store. Unfortunately that didn’t work out as well as planned, so I gave the caramel sauce a try which turned out perfectly!

Vegan Caramel Sauce | 2women2cats |

This caramel sauce is made with coconut oil instead of vegan margarine which lots of recipes seem to use. I also didn’t use any nut butter for it but added some almond milk. If you can’t eat nuts (coconut is not a nut botanically) you can switch to soy milk or a different nut-free milk.

The colour of the sauce and its dark and deep flavour is a result of the coconut sugar I used. If you don’t like the taste of coconut sugar (it’s quite different from plain sugar) you can substitute it with brown cane sugar. The caramel can be used in coffee, hot chocolates or on desserts and ice cream and it will last in the fridge for several weeks (or even longer). If you don’t eat it with a spoon directly from the jar that is!

Vegan Caramel Sauce | 2women2cats |

Ingredients

60 g coconut oil, melted
100 g coconut sugar
100 ml almond (or other) milk
sea salt
ground vanilla

Combine the milk with the sugar in a saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar is dissolved. Add a litte bit of vanilla and salt and whisk in the coconut oil. Let everything simmer on low heat while stirring constantly until the caramel sauce starts to thicken up. When it has reached its desired texture take it off the heat and let it cool down. It will thicken up more once it has cooled. Pour it in a jar and store in the fridge. If you manage not to use it up immediately, it might seperate after a few days, so give it a stir before serving. Enjoy!

Stef

Vegan Caramel Sauce | 2women2cats |

Vegan Caramel Sauce | 2women2cats |

Easy Dead Sea Salt Scrub

During the wintertime Tiia always has had problems with atopic skin, especially on her hands. Depending on the weather it can be quite tolerable or awful in a few days change. Also she noticed that it gets worse if she has to use hand disinfectant and commercial liquid soap at work (plus stress and lack of sleep is a big factor). A while ago she had bought a quite pricey Dead Sea salt scrub which helped her quite well but didn’t have the best ingredients. Dead Sea salt is full of minerals and great for eczema in cosmetics and baths but of course you don’t have to suffer from atopic skin to enjoy it.

2women2cats: Diy Dead Sea Salt Scrub

I wouldn’t recommend using a scrub if your skin is already damaged so much that it has open wounds. For Tiia the scrub has prevented the skin to get that to that stage and she didn’t find the peeling effect too harsh on her skin. I bought a whole kilo of unprocessed Dead Sea salt at the eco market for around 10€. Way cheaper than the store bought ready made scrubs! You’ll mostly find the pure salt labeled as bath salt since it’s not edible. A kilo is a lot so I’d recommend also using it for the bathtub, if you have one, or for a relaxing foot or hand bath.

2women2cats: Diy Dead Sea Salt Scrub

Ingredients

Pure Dead Sea salt
Cold pressed oil of your choice – in this case I used sesame and macadamia

The salt is quite coarse (probably differs depending on the brand) so you need to break it down in a food processor first. You don’t want the peeling to be too harsh, so make sure the salt is quite small. I didn’t add any amounts because the recipe is really simple and you can start out making only a small batch to test it or a big jar.

2women2cats: Diy Dead Sea Salt Scrub

The only other thing you need to add to the scrub is oil. Whereas store bought peelings often use the cheapest processed oils, I would recommend using cold pressed oils only. Best would be if you already have experience in which oil your skin likes and which not. Sesame is a really great and mild oil that I also use for my face, while macadamia is a bit heavier and therefore I only added a small amount of.

Mix the salt with one or two oils of your choice in a bowl. Make sure everything is covered properly and there is a small layer of oil on top of the mixture. Then transfer into a jar or tin and your scrub is ready to use! You can keep it for a long time since there aren’t any perishable ingredients in it. Selfmade scrubs are also a great gift!

Stef

2women2cats: Diy Dead Sea Salt Scrub

2women2cats: Diy Dead Sea Salt Scrub

Homemade Chai Syrup

If you still need a Christmas gift and don’t have much time on your hands this will be perfect. Done in less than half an hour and so good you might want to consider keeping it. I recommend making a bigger amount, so you don’t have to be sad to give it all away but instead can keep some for yourself.

2women2cats: Chai Tea Spice Syrup

There is no black tea in the recipe, so for some chai just brew some tea, warm some milk and add as much syrup as you like. You can also flavour your coffee with it.

For the recipe I used a mix between farin sugar and cane sugar. Farin sugar is a brown sugar to which sugar cane molasses or dark syrup has been added and it is really sticky. You can use any kind of sugar you like. I chose farin sugar because it has a dark malty taste to it.

2women2cats: Chai Tea Spice Syrup

Ingredients

350 ml water
300 g sugar
2 tsp cloves
1-2 pieces star anise
7 cardamom pods
2 pieces cinnamon bark
8 berries allspice

2women2cats: Chai Tea Spice Syrup

Bring the water with the sugar to boil on medium heat. When everything is dissolved, add the spices and let it boil slightly for around 20 minutes. Pour everything through a strainer, or in case you used ground spices, through a cheesecloth and fill into bottles. The syrup should last in the fridge for a long time. Enjoy!

Stef

 

DIY Liquid Hand Soap

If you have read my last posts you know that I am into natural soaps and homemade cosmetics at the moment. I have to confess that I ordered another natural soap made with lots of sea salt and evening primrose oil against blemishes. Although its salt content is high, the bar is really soft and the smell is great. My face seems to like it a lot and I think it is due to the lack of olive oil.

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap

But back to the topic of this post. Now, the problem is, that I have acquired quite a few soap bars by now and they don’t get used up that quickly. Also I should mention that there might be more natural soaps on my Christmas wish list but lets not talk about that. As our liquid hand soap reached its end, I wondered if it would be possible to make liquid hand soap out of one of the bars. I did some research on the Internet and found quite a few tutorials for liquid hand soap. Most of them either used normal soap (the kind I don’t want to use anymore) or some special liquid castile soap. So I thought I just give it a try with one of my natural soaps to see how it goes. The whole process took a few days (don’t worry, most of the time you don’t have to do anything) but in the end I had a nice creamy soap. It might be more expensive than buying a normal liquid one but there won’t be any alcohol or additives in it since the natural soaps are saponificated with oils and NaOH.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Aleppo soap

For the recipe I used my big Aleppo bar with olive and laurel oil. Let’s get to work! You can easily double the amount if you want to.

Ingredients

60 g natural soap
600 ml water
1 tbsp coconut oil
essential oils (optional)

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap

Grate the soap into small flakes and put it into a big pot with coconut oil and water. If you have soap rests you can also chop them up and put them in. Heat everything on the stove on medium heat and wait until all the soap had dissolved. This will take a while so you might want to grab a chair and read while stirring once in a while. You’ll need some patience but the soap will melt at some point. The small flakes might even melt instantly but bigger pieces will need a bit longer. I am not sure if it matters if the mixture boils or not but I kept it below boiling point just in case.

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap

Once everything has melted take the pot from the heat, put a lid on and wait. Wait a long time. You can check it after 24 hours but I had to leave mine for 3/4 days (I lost count) before the whole thing gelled up completely. Stir the mixture once every day. At the beginning it will look like soap water. When I checked it after a day I thought actually thought this was a fail but I left it in the pot just to be sure. After the first disappointing look, it started to look different every time I checked. The bottom looked a bit slimy while the top was still soap water. After a few days it looked like jelly and that’s when you can continue with the next step.

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap
Don’t worry, it will look more pleasant in the end.

Pour the jelly in a mixing bowl or in a food processor and add some drops of your favourite essential oil if you like. Don’t use too much! It also depends if the bar you used was already scented or not. Mix it with a hand mixer or the food processor until everything is creamy.

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap

Liquid soap done! You can now pour it in your soap dispenser. I had too much for mine so I poured the rest in a glass bottle. After half a day mine started to separate into three layers in the dispenser and bottle. First I thought I had done a mistake with the recipe or it just didn’t work with natural soap after all. I poured the soap from the bottle back in the food processor (the bottom was really liquid and the top like jelly again), mixed it up once more and poured it back into the bottle. It didn’t separate again after that, so I decided to give the soap dispenser only a good shake to mix it up again and that seemed to do the trick already. No need for the food processor after all. So I don’t know if I hadn’t mixed it up properly the first time or why it had separated again but after that the soft creamy foam gelled up completely and has stayed like that since. So in case your soap might do the same (although I think it might have to do with the Aleppo bar I used), don’t give up and pour it away! You will just have to shake it up another time.

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap

2women2cats: DIY Liquid Hand Soap

The liquid soap that I made was supposed to be for washing hands but actually you can also use it as a shower gel or even shampoo, depending on what kind of soap you used for the recipe. The Aleppo bar I had can be used on the body,  face or as a shampoo bar, so there aren’t any limitations to the liquid one either.

I think next time I will try to do a similar recipe with less water. I should get a thicker “whipped” soap that could be  used as a shaving soap.

Stef