D.I.Y. Anti-Aging and Brightening Face Mask

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So, I’m turning 40 in 2 months! I’m super excited, because it puts me into the masters division for racing, but what I’m not so excited about is that I’m starting to look my age!  The fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, etc. sneak up on you like a little skin ninja!  On a super good day, I can still look like I’m in my mid 30’s, but on a bad day, it looks like I magically aged a decade or so overnight, and am 50 something!

About 5-6 months ago, I started looking at different all natural facial skin treatments on Pinterest.  Most of the ones I found are for those in their 20’s, aimed more at acne than at anti-aging or hyperpigmentation.  However, I started to research some different ingredients, and trying different concoctions, and I came up with one that is great for someone that is looking for something effective, all-natural, and good for people with maturing skin.

To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to post this, because I was a little nervous about putting pictures of my face in all it’s naked glory when I’ve just woken up in the morning on here, but I love this mask so much that I knew I had to share!  I use this mask once or twice a week, and it never fails to make my face feel all soft and bright.  I also love it, because it is ALL NATURAL ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about any of the nasty chemicals that are in store-bought face masks, or chemical peels/masks that you get at the spa. Plus, um, it’s SO much cheaper!

There is a good chance that you already have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen, which is another plus.  There’s just four simple ingredients, and all of them have great health benefits for the skin!

Avocado: High in Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and omega-9 fatty acids, which makes the avocado provide the following skin benefits:

  • Anti-aging: reduces sun damage, smooths fine lines and wrinkles,
  • Protects against environmental damage
  • Improves skin tone and appearance
  • Boosts collagen

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has too many good things in it to list, but here are several of the skin benefits it can provide:

  • Delivers moisture to dry skin
  • Reduces undereye bags
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Antibacterial properties that aid in reducing and preventing acne
  • Cleanses skin and pores
  • Great for eczema and other skin conditions
  • Natural SPF of about 4

Nutmeg: Nutmeg has long been used as a medicinal herb when it comes to the skin.  Some of the benefits it provides are as follows:

  • Helps to reduce/eliminate the appearance of scars from blemishes
  • Reduces inflammation and irritation of the skin
  • promotes hydration of the skin
  • smooths appearance of the skin
  • brightens and evens skin tone

Turmeric: Contains curcumin, curcuma, powerful antioxidant and antibacterial properties giving it the following skin benefits:

  • Lightens and brightens skin tone
  • Treats acne
  • Soothes skin inflammation
  • Reduces redness
  • Helps prevent and reduce scarring from acne

Like I said, I came up with this mask by trial and error.  What prompted it was that I was using a sun screen that was really thick, so I decided to mix a small amount of coconut oil with it so it would spread on better, and I started to notice an improvement in my skin.  After that, I decided to make a coconut oil based mask, and the other ingredients are the ones that I’ve found to be the best for my needs.  It is my favorite for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, providing moisture, and brightening and evening my skin tone.

Okay, so here’s the part I was hesitant about – my before, during, and after photos of this mask:

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These are completely makeup free and un-retouched, not to mention they are from when I’ve just woken up in the morning, so you can see all my imperfections…but hey, we’re all perfectly imperfect, right? 🙂  Anyway, let’s get up close and personal, so you can really see that the mask does make a difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as brighten the complexion.

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You can see a slight reduction in my lines and wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes and mouth, and the brightening effect is obvious.  Of course, it’s not a miracle worker where it just takes everything away completely in one application. However, I’ve been using this about 2 times per week over the past 4 months or so, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference that is just as good, if not better, as the results I get from store-bought masks (and WITHOUT the chemicals – this is SO important to me), so I give it my stamp of approval!

ANTI-AGING AND SKIN BRIGHTENING FACE MASK

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 organic ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. organic, unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. organic nutmeg
  • pinch of organic turmeric (don’t overdo this ingredient, otherwise, you may end up with a yellow face for a day…I learned this the hard way 🙂 )

Directions:

In a small bowl, use a fork to mash the avocado.  Mash in the coconut oil, and mix in the nutmeg and turmeric. Apply to face, and leave on for 15 minutes.  Rinse with warm water, and pat dry.

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Give it a try!  You’ve got nothing to lose, but the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots!  Enjoy! 🙂

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Super Easy DIY Silver Polishing

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Pinterest win!!!  I’ve been on a minimalist kick lately, so am trying to get rid of some things.  As I was going through my jewelry to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, I came across some of my silver jewelry (including my favorite bracelet) that I would totally wear, but they were a bit tarnished, because it had been awhile since I last used them.

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I decided that I wanted to keep these pieces, but I would need to get some silver polish…then the light bulb in my head went off, and I thought – PINTEREST!  Sure enough, there were tons of DIY silver polish tricks and recipes.  They all were a little bit different, but it was the same main idea. I decided to try a little bit of each of them to come up with my own process.

I don’t mean to brag, but this little concoction/procedure turned out FANTASTIC!  I’m pretty sure Harvard will be calling soon in hopes that I will accept an honorary P.h.D. in Chemistry, but I probably won’t accept.  Hey, I’m just a humble gal trying to salvage some of her favorite jewelry pieces!

The great news is that all that you need to clean silver is probably in your kitchen cupboard, and oh my gosh, guys – this stuff WORKS!  I was skeptical because it seemed so simple, but by golly, it worked!

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It’s completely safe and non-toxic, and the way that I did it keeps the mess to a minimum (I read a lot of posts on Pinterest that complained of the mess of adding baking soda to boiling water – don’t worry!  The way I did this will keep that from happening).

It doesn’t just work for jewelry either!  You can use it for silverware, silver figurines, etc…plain and simple, it works!  Seriously, guys – you need to try this stuff!  You will feel like a mad scientist in your kitchen as you watch the tarnish magically disappear, and you will be left with beautifully shiny and brilliant silver!

DIY SILVER POLISH

Materials Needed:

  • A large bowl (big enough to fit whatever you are cleaning)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda per 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tsp. salt per 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • boiling water (enough to cover whatever you are cleaning)

Directions:

1.) Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  While the water is heating up, line your bowl with aluminum foil.

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2.) Place the baking soda and sea salt in the bottom of the lined bowl. Slowly add the vinegar and watch it bubble and fizz – this is where you will feel like a brilliant chemist.  Once the water is boiling, add enough of it to the bowl so that whatever you are cleaning will be completely covered.  Once again, embrace your inner chemist and watch as the baking soda and salt that hasn’t yet dissolved in the vinegar magically dissolves completely.

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3.) Gently drop your silver into the bowl.  You will see the tarnish just melt away – it’s really quite neat!  Let the silver soak for about 10 minutes.

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4.) Carefully use a spoon to take the silver out of the bowl, and use a rag to dry off and remove any spots that haven’t come off yet.

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5.) If it is not yet as pretty as you would desire, you can repeat the procedure to get it even cleaner, but my guess is you won’t have to!  I’m still shocked at how well this worked and how easy it was!

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AMAZING!  IT WORKS!!!  Enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Pain Relieving Gel – Safe and Non-Toxic

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Last week, I woke up and realized that I am getting old!  Somehow, I managed to sleep wrong (is that even a thing?), and I woke with a major kink on the right side of my neck/trap muscle.  OUCH!  I tried stretching it, heating it with a grain bag, massaging it, etc. but it just wouldn’t give!

Because I had a busy day in front of me, I knew I needed something that could dull the pain while this thing calmed down.  I don’t do pain relievers such as ibuprofen unless it is a dire emergency, so I tried to think of something to use that would help throughout the day.  Icy hot/Ben Gay came to mind, but I wasn’t sure about the ingredients in them.  Thankfully, I knew about the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website.

The EWG website’s skin deep cosmetic guide is a great tool to figure out if any beauty product or ingredient is safe.  The following pin gives some useful facts and links to the website.

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I hopped on my computer and within a couple of minutes, I discovered that those Icy Hot/Ben Gay products aren’t too great…I’ve seen worse, but I knew I could do better.  I looked at the main ingredients, and saw menthol and camphor as a common ingredient.  Both of these have an excellent safety rating on the site so I figured why not make my own pain relieving cream/gel with these as my main ingredients?

Guess what?  It worked!!!  Both in that the recipe turned out great – it’s safe and non-toxic, and it helped to relieve my pain throughout the day as long as I reapplied as needed.  I am also happy to report that the kink finally let up a few days later, and I’m doing much better now.  I’m so glad that I now have this cream/gel recipe on hand for any future incidents that may arise!  It is perfect for runners as it will soothe away any soreness after a great workout!  Heck, it’s perfect for anyone that gets minor aches and pains here and there!

HOMEMADE SAFE AND NATURAL PAIN RELIEVING GEL

Ingredients (I made a small batch since I knew I would only need a little bit.  This recipe makes about 2 ounces of gel, but you can easily double or even triple the recipe to make more):

Directions:

1.) In a small sauce pan, completely melt the coconut oil and beeswax pellets over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add the camphor oil, eucalyptus oil, and menthol crystals.  Stir till completely dissolved. Pour into a glass container.

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2.) Allow to sit until it solidifies (About an hour or so).

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Rub into those painful areas an get ready for some sweet (and safe) relief! Enjoy! 🙂

DIY Non Toxic Sunscreen and Bug Repellent Cubes

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So, the other day, I was getting ready to go for a hike.  I applied my homemade sunscreen and my homemade bug spray.

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As I was doing so, I got to thinking that it would be great if I could just do this in one step, because well, I’m lazy.  During my hike, I came up with the idea of making these sunscreen and bug repellent cubes, and I love them!  They’re so easy to make, and even easier to apply.  You simply rub it on your skin and massage in.  Wa-la!  You’re protected from both burning and bug bites!

The essential oils in these cubes are the same oils I use in my homemade natural bug spray.  They work great to keep the creepy crawlies away, and they are non-toxic as opposed to many of the chemicals in traditional bug sprays.

I’m not certain on the SPF of these.  It depends on how much Zinc Oxide powder you use in the recipe, but the ingredients of coconut oil, zinc oxide powder, and carrot seed oil all have SPF properties.  If I were to guess, I would say these bars are anywhere from 15SPF – 50SPF…yeah, that really narrows it down.

What I can tell you for sure is the following:

1.) It works!  I applied it before going for a 7 mile hike in the hot San Antonio sun today, and I stayed burn free and bug free the whole way!

2.) It’s natural and non-toxic!  All of the ingredients are not harmful like the chemicals in most store bought sunscreens and bug repellents.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sold!  I love this stuff, and I bet you will too if you give it a try!

Quick note before we get started – cleanup after making this can be a bit cumbersome, because the oil and shea butter can be hard to get rid of (great for the actual cube, because it won’t just sweat off right away, but not so great for cleaning it off of pans, etc.).  My suggestion is using a paper towel to wipe everything down right after you get your mold filled.  Then use hot water with soap to wash completely.  Basically, clean it before it dries…except the mold that the bars need to harden in, of course. 🙂

HOMEMADE SUNSCREEN AND BUG REPELLENT CUBES

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup beeswax pellets
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide powder
  • about 5 drops of each of the following essential oils: lavender, rose geranium, white thyme, carrot seed oil, and citronella

Directions:

1.) In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax pellets over medium heat until completely melted.

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2.) Remove from heat and add the zinc oxide powder and the essential oils.  Stir until the powder is completely dissolved.

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3.) Carefully spoon the mixture into a silicone mold.  My silicone mold is of 1 inch cubes, but  you could use any shape.  This recipe made 12 – 1 inch cubes.

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4.) Allow to harden completely.  You can put it in the fridge to speed things up, but it will harden pretty quickly regardless.  Once hardened, push the bottom of each mold to remove each cube.

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5.) Store in a cool place in a glass jar.  To apply, just rub onto skin and then massage in.

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Yeah, double protection in just one step!  Enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Non-Toxic Bug Spray

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Summer is in full swing, and that means that bugs are biting!!!  There’s only so much we can do to prevent bug bites – wear long sleeves and pants, bug spray, etc.  However, one problem with many bug sprays out there is the ingredients!  The worst of the offenders is DEET.  This ingredients is known as a skin, lung, and eye irritant, and on top of that, when used often, it can cause neurological damage, and in very rare cases, even death!  Yikes!  So, personally, I want to stay away from that ingredient.

A couple of other ingredients that the CDC say are the most effective in repelling bugs are Picaridin and IR3535.  The IR3535 can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, but other than that, it is reported as safe.  Well, I think I would prefer an alternative, because I like to enjoy my time outside, not to spend it dealing with irritations!  Isn’t that what the bugs are?

I couldn’t find much information on Picaridin.  For the most part, it sounds like this ingredient is your best bet if you are looking for a store bought bug spray that “seems” to be the safest regarding toxicity.  However, from what I’ve read, there haven’t been many studies to determine it’s safety or side effects as it’s a fairly new ingredient, and I’m always leery of new ingredients.

So, with these three ingredients reported to be the best, where does that leave us? As I said, I really am not fond of any of them.  Well, I’ve got good news – ESSENTIAL OILS!!!  There are tons of essential oils that are great for repelling bugs.

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This pin just names a few!  I looked into each of the oils to figure out which is the best of the best.  I landed on rose geranium, lavender, citronella, and white thyme.  The rose geranium is supposed to be the best repellent for ticks.  Lavender is supposed to be excellent for repelling mosquitos.  White thyme is great for repelling chiggers.  Lastly, citronella is great for repelling mosquitos, flies, chiggers, ticks, and other bugs!

I’ve also read that lemongrass is supposed to be excellent at repelling all types of insects, however, I also read that beekeepers use lemongrass oil to attract swarms of bees.  Though I’m sure that it’s used in a specific manner to do this, different than it would be used in this repellent, the thought of a big swarm of bees chasing me was enough for me to leave it out.  The nice thing is that you can always add it if you wanted to.  This recipe works great from my experience, but if you want to use different essential oils – feel free!

Another quick note – I used witch hazel and distilled water as a base.  The witch hazel allows the water and essential oils to mix together – without it, they won’t mix!  However, if you don’t have witch hazel, you could also use vodka.  In my opinion, the advantage to using witch hazel is that it’s great for the skin – a lot of people use it as a toner.  Vodka, on the other hand, isn’t exactly known for being beneficial to the skin.  However, if you don’t have witch hazel on hand and you do have vodka, it will work just as well!

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all of the notes out of the way, let’s get to the recipe!

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC BUG SPRAY

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10 drops each of your chosen essential oils.  I used 10 drops of lavender, 10 drops of citronella, 15 drops of rose geranium, and 10 drops of white thyme

Directions

Place all of the ingredients into a spray bottle, and shake well to combine.  Label the bottle if desired.  Note: a dark bottle is best – I had this clear bottle on hand, so made it in this, but dark is better when dealing with essential oils.

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Now you can enjoy the outdoors, bug free, without having to worry about those iffy ingredients in store bought bug spray! Spray all over, avoiding the eye/face area.  Reapply as necessary (every hour or two) Enjoy! 🙂

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DIY Dermaplaning for Super Smooth Skin

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So, today, I’m going to tell all you ladies how to shave your face…What?!?  Yeah, you heard me right!  I’ve been shaving my face for 10+ years, and I absolutely love it!

Recently, I’ve had a lot of different friends ask me about natural ways to exfoliate their face, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, improve their complexion, get rid of dead dry skin, and get rid of peach fuzz.  Guess what?  There is an any easy process that can help with all of these skin dilemmas, and it’s SHAVING YOUR FACE!

Technically, this is called derma planing, but when it comes down to it, you’re shaving your face.  In doing this, you remove dead/dry skin, pull out impurities and remove peach fuzz revealing a glowing, super smooth complexion.  The best part?  It’s so natural!  There’s nothing being injected, being applied, or being removed (other than dead skin), so it’s completely safe, non-toxic, and it WORKS!

To do derma planing, you want to have a dry face and use short downward strokes over your whole face.  I do it once a week right before I apply a facial mask, but once every other week would suffice.  It’s really easy to do, and only takes about 5 minutes once you get used to it.  Who wouldn’t be willing to spend 5 minutes every other week for a smoother and brighter complexion?

I’ve created a video of me derma planing my face for all of you to watch so you know how it’s done.  Oh, and one more thing before we get to the video.  Some of you may be wondering if doing this will cause hair to grow back thicker or darker, and the answer is definitely no!  That is a myth, and I have no idea where it originated from, but I’ve been shaving my face for 10+ years, and my bit of peach fuzz is still my bit of peach fuzz.  It hasn’t turned into a manly beard or anything! 🙂

Alright, to the video we go!

I’m telling you, give this a try!  You will thank me, and you have nothing to lose (other than dead skin)!!!  Enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Non-Toxic Antiseptic Ointment – Works as Well as Neosporin!

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I am so excited to share this with you!  This is my own personal recipe that I use for an Antiseptic Ointment.  We have two fluff babies with their claws intact, and that results in some accidental scratches here and there.

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This ointment is perfect for little scratches like that!  It’s also good  for minor cuts, burns, and blisters.  It could also be used for warts and fungal skin conditions.

I love this stuff, because it works just as well, if not better, than Neosporin, and it doesn’t have any of the iffy ingredients that Neosporin does.  The EWG website rates Neosporin First Aid Antibiotic Cream with a 5.  That’s too high in my book.  Some of the health concerns listed from the ingredients in the cream are organ system toxicity, endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular level changes, skin irritation, and reproductive toxicity.  All of that was reason enough for me to come up with my own recipe for an antiseptic ointment.

Not only is this ointment non-toxic and effective in treating minor cuts and scrapes by preventing infection, but it is also really good for your skin, so it protects the skin as it heals and aids in the body’s process of restoring the skin as it heals.  Every single one of the ingredients in this ointment has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties.  The coconut oil, aloe vera oil, and grapeseed oil all have moisturizing and repairing properties that benefit the skin.  Even more, the coconut oil and aloe vera oil are soothing and can help to take the sting out of those little scratches.

I am going to get straight to the recipe for all of you that are anxious to hear it, but after the recipe I am going to display some pins that show the benefits of the ingredients in this ointment.  If you’re interested, read on after the recipe!

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC ANTISEPTIC OINTMENT

Ingredients (Makes about 2 oz.)

  • 2 Tbsp. Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. beeswax pellets (you can get these on Amazon here)
  • 1 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Oil
  • 15 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • 10-15 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 10-15 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 10-15 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 2 oz. glass jar or container (I got mine on Amazon here)

Directions

1.) In a small sauce pan, melt your coconut oil and beeswax pellets over medium heat, stirring constantly, until completely melted.

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2.) Remove from heat and add your grapeseed oil, aloe vera oil, essential oils, and grapefruit seed extract.  Stir to combine.  Poor into your glass container.

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3.) Allow the ointment to thicken by placing it in the refridgerator for an hour or so.  Once thickened, place the lid on the jar.

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You’re good to go!  You will find that this does take on an ointment consistency and not a lotion consistency.  I scooped some on my finger so you can see.  It really has the same consistency as Neosporin.

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So that’s the recipe!  Anytime you have a minor cut or scrape, wash it thoroughly and then slather some of this ointment on it and you will be healed up in no time!

Now, as promised, if you’re interested, the following pins show some benefits of the ingredients in this ointment.

COCONUT OIL (There’s SO many with this one, but you can easily see the infection fighting properties as well as the skin benefits in the long list shown)

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GRAPESEED OIL

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ALOE VERA OIL

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LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL

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TEA TREE ESSENTIAL OIL

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EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL

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GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT

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As you can see, all of the ingredients are excellent for preventing infection and for taking care of your skin as your boo boo heals!  Enjoy! 🙂