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Charge Up for Good Health

If you’re one of those shoppers who refers to Whole Foods as "Whole Paycheck," you’re not alone. Yes, eating organic and fresh can be expensive, but q

Make this fun and easy skin saver in just a few minutes.

My mom’s a gardener. She grows tomatoes, zucchini, peas, lettuce and green peppers. In the fall, she’ll usually pull in a couple of pumpkins. As an urbanite who can’t keep a houseplant alive, I am in awe of her botanical skills. I dig into her zucchini frittatas and homemade tomato sauce in humbled appreciation.

To honor her summer harvest -- and the hard work that brought it about -- I decided to make her a homemade organic hand balm to soothe the rough and flaky spots. I’m a big fan of balms. Light, fluffy lotions don’t cut it when your skin is truly dry.

Though I’ve been obsessing about natural beauty for years, I’ve been intimidated to make my own products until my blog inspired me to start experimenting.

I attempted this lovely recipe (adapted from Mother Earth News) and found that it took three tries to get it right (too much oil, the wrong combination of oils, finally just the right amount and variety of oils). The result: a luscious, supremely moisturizing hand balm. A little goes a long way!

Also of note: A quality cheese grater makes it much, much easier to shred hard butters and waxes.

Marisa’s Three-Times-a-Charm Hand Balm


  • 1/2 cup grated cocoa butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated beeswax
  • 10 drops essential oil (I made a lemon batch, which is refreshing in a lemon wood cleaner kind of way, and a lavender batch -- calming in a Provencal field kind of way)


1. Combine all the ingredients in an ovenproof glass container. Place the container in a pan with a 1 to 2-inch water bath.

2. Melt the oils and wax gently over low heat.

3. Pour the melted mixture into a clean tin or jar.

4. Stir the cooled mixture.

5. Use daily!

Remember, "experimenting” is the operative word here -- DIY beauty (DIY anything, really) is all about trial and error. So don’t give up if your balm isn’t balmy enough. Just try again. You'll see that it’s worth it.



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