Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nourishing Alternatives to Lotion, Including Recipes for Whipped Body Butter and Hard Lotion

This post is the third in a series on healthy skincare for the whole family. For more about healthy skincare, check out the Pregnancy and Parenting Index.

Since we avoid conventional lotion, my family uses nourishing alternatives to moisturize our skin.  My favorites are coconut oil, body butter, and hard lotion.

Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for your skin.  It contains lauric acid, which is antimicrobial and antiviral, so it is also great for acne-prone skin.  Coconut oil also has a great, light scent. I like to use unrefined coconut oil as a moisturizer all over my body, including my face.

When I first tried using coconut oil as a moisturizer, I wasn't very happy with the results.  I ended up feeling oily and looking shiny, yet still having dry skin.  I finally figured out that the trick to using coconut oil as a moisturizer is to apply it while your skin is still wet from a shower or bath. I know this sounds strange, but the coconut oil is absorbed much more readily this way.  I keep a container of coconut oil in the shower so I can apply it right away WITHOUT towel-drying first (I do like to shake a bit of the water off first), and then allow my skin to just air dry. To use coconut oil as a face moisturizer, I use only the residual oil on my hands after moisturizing my body; this results in a nice, light moisture on my face without being overly oily. 

Homemade Alternatives to Lotion
Since I only shower every other day (which is a great way to reduce the need for lotion), I use homemade body butter and hard lotion if I need any moisturizer on days when I haven't showered.

Recipe: Homemade Whipped Body Butter
Whipped body butter is a wonderful moisturizer that applies very easily and leaves your skin very soft. It is easy to make body butter at home. It does take a little while to whip up but if you have a stand-mixer you can just walk away and check back periodically. One thing to note: if this gets warmed up and melts after you've made it, it will not re-solidify into body butter as it will lose the whipped consistency.

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz shea butter I buy this in bulk at my natural foods co-op)
  • 2 oz unrefined coconut oil 
  • 1 Tb arrowroot powder
  • Optional: 10 drops jasmine essential oil plus 5 drops lavender essential oil (or use any oils you like)
Method:
  1. Gently melt the shea butter and coconut oil over very low heat.
  2. Stir in the arrowroot powder.
  3. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand-mixer. Use the whisk attachment to whip the mixture until it gets lighter in color and fluffy. This can take quite awhile; if you are in a rush, you can cool the outside of the bowl with ice or an icepack to speed things up.
  4. Scoop the body butter into a lidded container and store at room temperature.

Recipe: Homemade Hard Lotion and Lip Balm
Hard lotion is a great all-over body moisturizer, and it is also wonderful to use on any very dry areas such as your feet and hands. I like to keep a bar by the kitchen sink since my hands get dry from so much time spent in the kitchen. The same recipe can also be used to make lip balm. This recipe comes from MadeOn Lotion and if you prefer, you can buy hard lotion instead of making it yourself.

Ingredients:

  • One part unrefined coconut oil
  • One part shea butter (I buy this in bulk at my natural foods co-op)
  • One part beeswax (if you have any local honey producers, you can probably get the best price by buying this directly from the beekeepers)
  • Optional: small amount of essential oil such as peppermint, lavender, or jasmine 
  • NOTE: you can make the lotion harder by adding more beeswax or softer by adding more coconut oil. 
 Method:
  1. Using small crock pot (set on Warm) or double boiler over low heat, melt the beeswax
  2. Add the shea butter and allow to melt. 
  3. Add the coconut oil and allow to melt.  
  4. Stir well to combine. If desired, add essential oils and stir a bit more.
  5. Pour the melted ingredients into small plastic containers, lip balm tubes, or even a mini-muffin tin.  
  6. Work quickly to clean up the pot and spoons while they are still warm.  I find the best plan is to wipe them with a clean cloth or paper towel immediately.  If you leave them to cool, the beeswax will be very hard to clean off!
  7. Allow the melted lotion to harden at room temperature and then remove from the containers.  I like to make enough to last for many months, so I just store the extra in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.
  8. To apply the lotion, warm the lotion bar by rubbing it in your hands and then spread over your skin.
This post is part of Traditional Tuesdays, Seasonal Celebration, Handmade Christmas Gift Carnival, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!

    71 comments:

    1. WOW i´ll sure be trying these!! My little boy has got sensitive skin, so I think these will be great.
      I just simply love your blog!!
      Kimmy

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    2. Thank you! I'll be trying the hard lotion soon!

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    3. Hi, I love the sound of these recipes. Can you please tell me how long the shelf life would be on these if you know? Many thanks. Narel

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    4. The last batch of body butter I made lasted me about 6 months, and it seemed just like new by then end. The hard lotion should last at least six months too (I make a large batch and keep the extras in the fridge, then pull them out as I run out).

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    5. I've always wanted to try and make my own but never had the courage to try. This sounds really easy though!

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    6. Hi Sarah, I have wanted to try whipped body butter and lotion bars, and these recipes make it seem simple and do-able! Thanks. I don't have a stand mixer, though. Any idea if it can be done with a hand mixer (and how long that might take) or with another device like a food processor, immersion blender, vitamix, etc? I've been enjoying coconut oil on my face for a little while now, and I use it on the rest of my body as well, particularly my legs. However, I have had that issue with it not absorbing well and still having dry/itchy lower legs. I'll try to start applying it a bit sooner as you suggested. But I was also wondering whether the whipped butter or lotion bars might be a better option; have you found them or the coconut oil to be more moisturizing and easily absorbed for dry/itchy skin?

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    7. Hi Tara,
      You don't need the stand mixer for the hard lotion, so that should be easy. As for the body butter, you could easily use a mixer instead. If you do it that way, I'd recommend that you put the bowl over an ice bath so it will cool quicker. Otherwise you may be cursing me after 15-20 minutes of mixing and still having more to go!

      I used to have the same problem with dry legs (and still do sometimes). Applying the coconut oil while I'm still wet has made a big difference. I also really like to use both the body butter and hard lotion on my legs. My preference is the coconut oil; if I make sure to apply it liberally while I'm still wet, then my legs absorb it very well and I don't typically even need to add any moisturizer the following day either.

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    8. Sarah, glad to read this post today. I am preparing food for a wedding reception happening this Sunday, and I'm collecting the beef fat from the brisket (cooking 5 slabs totaling about 60 pounds, so should get about 10-12 pounds of beef fat) for soap making. Did I read something you had written about using a crock pot for rendering tallow? I was looking for it but couldn't find it, and I may not be remembering that right. Any suggestions for an easy way to do it?

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    9. Hey Lori,
      I think the bit about rendering tallow was just a blurb on FB. It works fine to use the crockpot, but you need to make sure to chop up the beef into small pieces first. Stir periodically to get the solid stuff down into the liquid. Mmmm, brisket! Do you cater now, or just for a friend this time?

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    10. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I'm a former engineer turned homeschool mom, too.

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    11. Hi Sarah! Great post and I love seeing the recipes. I have a coconut allergy. Any ideas for substitutions for coconut oil? Love your blog! Thank you!

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    12. Hi Jill,
      You could try olive oil or almond oil instead of the coconut oil (although I've never tried them). Please let me know how it turns out!

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    13. Oh this is so timely! I was just thinking that I wanted to make some homemade hard lotion for Christmas presents (trying to get a head start on ideas...) and this is perfect! I'm really excited about the whipped body butter, too - I use coconut oil or shea butter for lotion, but sometimes I miss having something that's easier to apply. Question - would cocoa butter work in place of shea butter in either of these recipes? I have some on hand that I need to use. Thanks!!

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    14. Hi Kelsey,
      I've never used cocoa butter, but I it would work just fine! I like giving the hard lotion as a xmas present too!

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    15. Hi Sarah,

      No catering, just an offer to cook for a young couple in our assembly who are getting married this weekend and were really trying to save their pennies for a house downpayment. There are plenty of ladies in our assembly who can cook, and you know me, the project coordinator - we'll be eating like kings come Sunday!

      I've got about 2.5 gallons of fat that I may try to render using a dry method I read about online. Very slow heat to release the tallow and then straining out the orts and meat pieces. I'll let you know how it turns out. But I've got a batch of bar soap I've been wanting to make, which I'm going to use for homemade laundry soap that I can sell through my co-op.

      Love the blog. I've been away from my own for a while because of wedding preparations (I'm also sewing for the bride's parents) as well as an almost three week trip to Israel that started mid-August. But after this weekend I'll be back at it. I'll send you my link when I do the tallow, which I'm hoping to get David to film for me.

      Take care!
      Lori

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    16. Hi Sarah, I checked out the shea butter at my natural foods store today. Not many options...really just one brand which came in 2 different sizes. It had a pretty strong smell. However, I also noticed the mango butter beside it, and though it had a bit of a smell, it wasn't as strong, and it was about $4 or $5 cheaper (and these were just the "small" jars). I wondered if you know if mango butter might work? I think for sure it should work in the lotion bars, but I'm not sure if it would be suitable for whipping. Any idea?

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    17. I love using coconut oil as a moisturizer! I also use it in my hair as a anti-frizz for my curls.
      Thanks for sharing the recipes for the body butter and lip balm--I'm excited to try them!

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    18. Hi Tara,
      Yes, the shea butter I use does have a fairly strong smell, but I don't think the smell of the finished product is too much.

      I'd guess any semi-hard butter/oil would work in the whipped recipe. If you try it, let me know how it works for you.

      Lori@Laurel of Leaves - Yes, a dab of coconut oil will take the frizz out! I also sometimes use a very small amount of body butter.

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    19. Hey Lori (Mrs Johnson),
      Knowing you, I'm sure the wedding meal will be a great success. I'm still remembering a chocolate cake you used to make. The dry tallow rendering sounds promising; let me know how it turns out!

      I hope the weekend goes off without a hitch!
      Sarah

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    20. A friend made me a lotion bar that I keep by my sink for my hands.

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    21. Hi Sarah,
      Just wanted to let you know that I featured your article at my new feature called Sunday Snippets:

      http://realfoodforager.com/2011/09/sunday-snippets-september-18-2011/

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    22. Thanks, Sarah. I think the chocolate cake you are remembering is in my Williams Sonoma Chocolate cookbook. Thanks for reminding me. It's yummy!

      As for the wedding, today's forecast (it's an outdoor wedding) is for the high 60's, chance of rain, a bit windy. We're probably going to have to tape the tablecloths to the tables ;-( but at least we'll have some good chow!

      I'll let you know about the tallow, which I should get to this week. Next week, it's canning homemade applesauce!

      Lori

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    23. Okay, I just wanted to say that I just made the whipped body butter with cocoa butter that I needed to use up - I quadrupled the recipe so it took FOREVER to whip up, but it finally did and I love it so much!! It's so pretty and goes on so smoothly and doesn't leave you feeling oily... My friend who is visiting helped me make it and we were both wowed by it. I will be giving this to lots of people as gifts! I smell very chocolatey so the only trouble is keeping the dog away from my skin.. :) But he does the same when I just use coconut oil too, so what can you do!

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    24. That is great, Kelsey! Thanks for letting me know. Both the hard lotion and body butter do make great gifts. I always make a big batch before Christmas.

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    25. For Kelsey,

      I use sesame seed oil right after toweling off and my skin loves it (I'm fair skinned if that makes a difference?). Plus sesame seed oil is also known to have some sunscreen effects!

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    26. Oh sorry, I ment Jill! With the coconut allergy!

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    27. I read that arrowroot has oxalate which can contribute to the "leaky gut" issue. It was also stated as a food to be avoided in the GAPS book. Since we are just starting out I want to try to follow it to a "T" as much as possible. Is there a replacement for it? As I would prefer the whipped body butter.

      Thanks!

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    28. Hi Kei-Kei,
      Yes, arrowroot is a food to be avoided while on GAPS. BUT, this is not a food, so I don't think it applies to body lotions and butters. Even if your body did absorb some of the arrowroot through your skin, I don't think it would make it into your gut to contribute to leaky gut. Is this making sense?

      Sarah

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    29. Yes ma'am. Thank you for getting back to me so soon :-)

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    30. Hi, I love making my own products, but now I am thinking of selling them. I placed an order and made a dumb mistake. I order only 1 pound of cocoa butter and shea butter duh I need more if I want to jar it. I don't want to over by but how should I buy, by the gallon? I would like to see how the selling goes 1st. How should buy?

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    31. Sorry, but I'm not sure. I've never sold my homemade products, but I do give them as gifts. Even so, I only need to buy a 2-pound box of shea butter once a year or so.

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    32. ok thank you very much. About how much would 1 lb of shea butter make to make body butter?

      Michelle

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    33. I would guess one pound of shea butter would make about 5-6 cups of body butter. Beware if you are selling the body butter: if it melts, it will no longer be body butter (as you will lose all of the air that was whipped into it).

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    34. Thank you so very much for linking up to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways:) I'm so happy to "meet" you! I am totally loving your blog and your posts! I really hope you make Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways a part of your Wednesdays! And keep the great posts comin'
      Very sincerely,
      Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

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    35. I love these recipes. I'm bookmarking them so I can definitely try them out. I'm thinking they would make great Christmas gifts.

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    36. I love hard lotion for babies - it's easy to throw in the bag, doesn't feel cold when you apply it and it's just so simple!

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    37. Andrea, I'm so glad to have found your site, too! I'll be sure to link up again next week.

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    38. Sarah! WooHoo! Your post is going to be featured this week on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways!!!

      You were one of the top 3 clicked on links. Btw…The linky for this week will be live tonight 10:00pm EST. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week:)

      Congratulations,
      Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
      http://www.frugallysustainable.com

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    39. Hello ! I wanted to make the Whipped Body Butter. I bought refined Coconut Oil by mistake. Would there be a problem using refined instead of unrefined ?
      Thanks in advance

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    40. Hi Marianne,
      You can use the refined coconut oil. It just won't have that wonderful smell.

      Sarah

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    41. Great recipes. I'm not familiar with arrowroot powder...what is it's purpose in the recipe?

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    42. Hi Emily,
      Arrowroot is a food, often used in place of cornstarch for real foods cooking. It helps to stabilize the body butter.

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    43. I'd like to know how you measure your oils. I think the ounces are by weight, but I'm not sure. If you measure by weight, do you use a small scale? I look forward to trying these when I can get some shea butter. Thanks!

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    44. Hi Dottie,
      Yes, these are measured by weight. I use a small countertop scale.

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    45. Funny... just the other day I was wondering if my lotion bar (which I made a couple of years ago, but forgot I had one left) would also make good lip balm. Now I know! Thank you! :) I made these for gifts and my recipients were VERY pleased.

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    46. Hi ,

      I've been making body butter for some time yet never "whipped" , I've used arrowroot but never in a body butter ...is the purpose to keep it whipped?

      Thanks!

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    47. I think that the arrowroot keeps the ingredients mixed well. If you try it without the arrowroot, let me know how it turns out!

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    48. Thanks so much for this recipe! Just made the whipped body butter & my hands have never been so soft. Best of all, its amazing on my African son's skin & he loves it (perfect because he can be pretty picky when it comes to lotion).

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    49. I tried making the body butter and had it mixing in my Bosch mixer for almost 2 hours and it still wasn't a thick consistency! Can anyone help me? Thank you!

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      Replies
      1. Did you try chilling it over an ice bath while it mixes? That speeds it up for me. If it is especially warm in your house, it could take WAY long to set up...

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    50. Has anyone taken the hard lotion on vacation to a hot climate and had it melt all over? I have family in Arizona and would love to make some for them but I think it may melt in all the heat there. Would it be better just to put in in containers, just in case of melting?

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      1. I live in southern NM, and it is definitely hot enough to melt the hard lotion in a car with the windows up. The normal outside temp is enough to make it get really soft and mushy. So yeah, you might want to put it in a container. I have a small one that I keep in the car that serves as chapstick and lotion when we are out and about. It only took one long day of the car in the sun for it to melt in the container.

        You could also try making it with more beeswax, and that make it have a higher melting tenperature.

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    51. If I add more oils do I need more arrowroot?

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    52. Hi, these recipes look amazing. I was just wondering if you can make the whipped moisturiser in a food processor instead?

      Many thanks

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      Replies
      1. I've never tried it in a food processor. If you try it, let me know if it works!

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    53. could you substitute cornstarch for the arrowroot pwd?

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      Replies
      1. I've never tried it, but I bet it would work fine.

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    54. I make homemade body butter with unrefined shea and coconut oil all the time, but never add arrowroot...just the two oils. I cool the mixture in the fridge until solid, then whip with my stand mixer. I make 16 oz at a time. It maintains a stable consistency at room temp...it has been warm here in Central Texas, too. Just thought I would let you know, for those of you not having/wanting to use arrowroot. :)

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    55. Soy wax works well in these - plus, it's vegan and environmentally friendly, and washes away with just hot, soapy water. Plus, it gives bees a rest :)

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      1. I myself don't think soy is environmentally friendly given that it is typically grown as a mono crop and there are issues with being able to maintain non-GMO soy. I also don't think soy is healthy, given the fact that it acts like estrogen in the body.

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    56. I recently found Vintage Traditions which is a grass-fed beef tallow based balm. They say tallow was the primary form of skin conditioner used for centuries. I would think it would work perfectly in your lotion bars or even in smaller amounts in a cream/whipped butter. Since I happen to have grass-fed tallow from Wellness Meats (I bought the 5 gal bucket!) I decided to use Vintage Traditions instructions to make my own today. 8-9 parts tallow, 1 part virgin olive oil and essential oils. So far I have to say, lovely! Just an idea to add to your recipe options.

      Also, thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes, ideas and informational articles. It is refreshing to find new food ideas. We have 3 boys and our oldest (9 y/o) began displaying tic symptoms about a year ago. His blood work also shows something viral/auto immune going on so we've decided to embark on the GAPS journey. Currently we are on week 3 of Full GAPS. A few months ago we did Intro with him for about 4 weeks and started to see a marked improvement in his tics but one cheat at a social function set us way back and we had to stop because of other things out of our control. Now we are back at it but still too much going on to do Intro again for awhile yet. Do you think Full GAPS alone, with lots of fermented veggies and bone broth daily, would heal, just slower? Thanks for any thoughts or advice. You are so diligent about answering your blog followers, thank you and kudos to you! I'm sure you have helped so many people through your blog.

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      1. Hi Erin,
        Oh, I bet the tallow-based lotion is amazing!

        I'm not quite sure if Full GAPS would work as well. It can definitely make some big improvements, but I did find that doing intro really kicked healing into high gear. If it helps, I wrote some tips for intro here:
        http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com/2012/08/gaps-intro-diet-experiences-and-tips.html

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    57. This stuff fries my face skin when I'm outside. The rest of my body loves it, though. What am I doing wrong?

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      Replies
      1. I'm not sure! I don't use the body butter or hard lotion on my face; I prefer a much lighter moisturizer for my face, so I use coconut oil instead...

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    58. I'll stick to washing my face at night applying my homemade body butter then. I'll only dust off my face in the morning ;)

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    59. Does your face ever burn when you're out in the sun? With the coconut oil?

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      Replies
      1. Yes, my face can burn no matter what is on it, since we live in the very sunny desert with a very high UV index (since we are at several thousand feet in altitude). One thing I have found in the past is that I tend to get sunburned less if I am taking cod liver oil regularly, for whatever reason. In the bright of the day, I manage the sunburn risk by staying in the shade and wearing hats.

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    60. I'll be more careful in the future and I'll get myself some cod liver oil as well. I've been meaning to...

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