Hand Sanitizer DIY
Don't get scared, get DIY'ing. Here's a simple recipe for a hand sanitizer that meets the CDC requirements, plus some alternative options!
Effective DIY Hand Sanitizer—Safety First
If you're going to DIY, you should keep some of the following guidelines in mind:
First of all, the CDC recommends a 60% alcohol dilution, with a minimum of 30% alcohol.
Second, use rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol, which is different from the alcohol you drink (aka "ethanol").
Third, the rubbing alcohol that's sold in stores is already diluted to a level that will be printed on the label (often it's 70%, 91%, or 95%). So, keep in mind that you'll have to adjust for that dilution to get your final product to 60% alcohol.
Essential Oils as Sanitizers
At S.W. Basics, we are excited about the research showing that essential oils (and lots of other natural ingredients) can be effective at killing some bacteria and viruses. We even wrote a book about it. That's why we added essential oils to this formula to supplement the sanitizing power of the alcohol, and we recommend them in your DIYs and around your house in general. We used clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil, but feel free to try any from this list:
-tea tree oil
And make your essential oil blend no more than .5-1% total of your formulations. Here's the blend we used in our hand spray at the maximum dilution for a 2 ounce bottle.
33% eucalyptus (or roughly 4 drops) + 50% clove (roughly 6 drops) + 16% tea tree (roughly 2 drops) = 12 drops or 1% dilution for a 2 ounce bottle
Easy Hand Sanitizer
63% rubbing alcohol (95% dilution), or
66% rubbing alcohol (91% dilution), or
86% rubbing alcohol (70% dilution)
13, 39, or 36% lavender hydrosol depending on your rubbing alcohol dilution
.5%-1% essential oil blend, recipe above
1. Convert measurements based on size of bottle. (Note: 1 tablespoon = . 5 fluid ounce.)
2. Measure and pour in the alcohol (if you don't have equipment to measure the exact right amount, feel free just to round up on the alcohol; you can always use less lavender hydrosol)
3. Measure and pour in the lavender hydrosol
4. Dropper essential oils blend, 6 drops is .5% of a 2 ounce bottle, and 12 drops is 1%.
5. Shake well.
Shake well and spritz, leave time to dry. This product does not replace hand washing, it is an additional supplement to everything you're already doing right.
Stay strong and stay healthy, S-Dubbers!
Working From Home...With Children
When my husband, Will, told me he was going to be working from home for at least the next two weeks, I was like LOL welcome to the chaos, babe! I’ve been working from home with our 10 month old, Liam, ever since returning from maternity leave and I think it’s kinda great Will is getting a glimpse into that now. It’s messy, it’s crazy, it’s overwhelming, it’s all-consuming, it’s freaking hard – and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Working from Home might be The New Normal
Now that many of us are quarantined with kids and trying to work from home, it’s comforting to me that my struggles weren’t imaginary or invalid. So many people are expressing the same hardships that I’ve felt for the past 7 months. And so many people are offering their tips and support. During a time of physical isolation, I actually feel way more connected. We’re all navigating through new, scary circumstances, just trying to do our best to keep life “normal”.
But like many moms, I’ve been trying to figure out what “normal” is ever since Liam was born. Balancing work and life is hard when there’s no physical separation between the two. I constantly feel like I’m failing at something. It’s honestly impossible to accomplish everything I want to do each day. In my short time as a new parent, I’ve had to learn that I can’t do it all and that doesn’t make me a failure. It hasn’t been easy to accept but my mental health totally depends on it. I for sure haven’t mastered working from home with the babe yet but I’ve found a few things to be really helpful.
Make a “To Do” List Everyday
It’s totally fine that not every single item on the list will get done but writing down the things I hope to accomplish each day clears my head. Having a kid at home makes my brain go in 100 different directions. The to do list allows me to prioritize things, pick one thing at a time, and truly focus on that thing. Even though the whole list is rarely checked off, checking off even some of the list is satisfying. It’s a reminder that I did get things done and I can be proud of that.
Write Down Your Goals
I’m not great at doing this consistently but, hey, I’m trying! If I take a few minutes Monday morning to write down my big goals for the week, I’m a lot more likely to stay focused on them. These are the big picture things that help me set my intention for the week. I like to have a personal one and a work related one.
Make a Schedule
This is the hardest one for me. Liam’s 10 months old so his routine still changes a lot. But I know – roughly – when he’s going to wake up, when he’s going to fall asleep, when he naps (ha not really), and when he eats. I usually look at my to do list and I schedule my highest priority task for Liam’s morning nap time.
The schedule I plan gets thrown off a little most days, so I remind myself to stay flexible. I can’t control everything with a 10 month old and that’s okay.
This is one thing that I don’t bend on. I take my dog, Banks, out to the dog park or on a short hike with Liam every day and it honestly saves me. It clears my head, it makes me happy, it’s one of the very few times during the day that I unplug. Whenever I feel like I’m completely overwhelmed and close to a meltdown, I get out. Stepping away from everything might seem like the worst idea when you have a billion things to do but it makes me more productive in the long run. Plus, it’s one of the few ways to still safely get out of your home during quarantine. If getting outside isn’t an option, do something that allows you to unplug and get away from your desk – or kitchen table or whatever your desk has become post coronavirus.
Ask for Help
I hate asking for help. I hate putting things on other people and I hate feeling like I can’t do it all. I’m working on it. But seriously, ask for help. If there’s not an opportunity to ask someone else for help, help yourself in whatever way you can. Take a break. Step away. Order delivery instead of making dinner. Let your kid have that extra screen time so you can breathe.
Most importantly, I’m trying to learn how to slow things down, accept that things have changed, and that doing my best is enough. Give into this work from home/quarantine situation. The anxiety and fear is no joke right now – so take care of yourself, hug your kids a little longer, play a little harder, and slow it down.
Kelly (and Liam)
I Failed Miserably at Doing a Dopamine Fast, and You Should Too.
What Is a Dopamine Fast
A “dopamine fast” is a fancy way that Silicon Valley + the Times are trying to brand the idea of taking a break from everything that makes your brain release dopamine (which essentially makes you happy) in order to break your addiction to said dopamine. In other words, we’re actually just all grumpy because we’re too happy, and we need to take breaks from being happy to remember that we’re happy. Love it. Sooooo super privileged but aren’t all self-help things? I am also in the privileged position of having burnout, so I decided to do this creepy sounding fast asap.
(And we are all in the unprivileged position of being stuck indoors, which means it's the perfect time to teach yourself how to be naturally happier!)
How to Do A Dopamine Fast
A dopamine fast is typically described as no eating, no screens, no music, no exercise, no touch or sex, no work, no eye contact, and no talking more than is absolutely necessary. But the idea is that you’re cutting out as much of what stimulates you as possible; in a full dopamine fast you would be floating in space or something.
Here is what I did (lol “did” is an overstatement already). I let my phone die around 4 pm Saturday, the day before the fast. This immediately set in motion the mild panic attack that would stay with me the remainder of the weekend. I listened to so much music and got so high as if both would be never again available to me. I worked on my computer until it died and then the panic attack got more intense. I plugged the computer back in and started binge watching Surviving R. Kelly to ensure not one minute of restful sleep.
Then came Sunday, the day of the fast (lol again to the idea of a whole “day” of this). I woke up and meditated without a timer, which made me competitive with myself to get the timing right but then also paranoid I wasn’t getting the timing right. Surprisingly I survived this, but don’t be fooled—it wasn’t easy. I went out and got a coffee because I thought I was dying, and this is totally breaking the rules. No eye contact and lots of awkward laughter. We got back to the house and I built a fire for what felt like 17 hours but turned out to be less than an hour. I stared into the fire for another 12 hours (30 minutes). I plugged my phone in because Elana needed some photos taken but kept it on airplane mode with no wifi okay?! Jk I saw my sister texted me and I immediately facetimed her to panic about my fast, which I was already excelling at and it wasn’t even noon yet!
Okay but then I shut my phone for real and spent the next few hours rotating between staring at the fire, walking around, writing notes in a journal (all work or to-do related), getting high, and eating. Elana and I also walked through a beautiful art park THANK GOD. But I smoked so so much you guys. Way more than normal. That’s how hard I was trying to cope with just doing nothing, while doing plenty!! And I had to eat because enough torture okay?
By 8 pm I was back to Surviving R. Kelly, aka more rule-breaking.
Why You Should Do a Dopamine Fast
Wow. I nailed it right? I would give myself like a 45%, a fat F. Still worth it? SO WORTH IT. Cannot even tell you. Cannot wait to do it again. I felt so much peace by the end of the day. I felt so excited to try it again soon, hopefully with more success. And on Monday--the absolute worst day of the week why does it even exist—I was incredibly productive and incredibly grateful for everything.
Do you know how amazing music is?? And your phone? And computers? Omg.
DO IT. You will do such a better job than I did, and it will be so worth it. Try to keep these tips in mind, I think they helped me!
Tips for your detox
-I was lucky to be staying in a really sweet pad for the weekend and it really helped. Make sure you make your space feel peaceful and comfortable, if you’re anything like me you will be desperate for both the entire time.
-Hide your screens. Seriously. I eventually had to give my phone to Elana and tell her not to let me have it. Let them die and have someone take your charger. Whatever it takes just get them far away from you.
-If you’re already a pro at controlling your screen time, find whatever else you reach for the most and take it away. Like weed or booze or food. You know what it is.
-Do the best you can. As you saw, I probably only covered half of what a real detox entails. I don’t understand these Silicon Valley robot humans but today I appreciate them too!
I know it's a hard time to do anything extra. But I bet if you shut your phone or computer for a few hours you’d like everything more. And that’s what we’re really after amirite?
Whatever it takes to stay happy right now,
Oily Salt Scrub for Chapped, Dehydrated Skin
Are you currently lying on the couch watching Parks and Recreation and stuffing your face with cookies rn? Me too. Except, as usual, I am also itching my legs. Luckily I know just what to do, and the solution involves ingredients that are already in my pantry, and probably in yours too!
How Natural Scrubs Help Itchy Skin
Adding a D.I.Y. scrub to your shower routine is a no-fuss way to alleviate irritation and dehydration in your skin (which causes more irritation). Salt removes dead skin cells, mitigates itchiness, and kills any bacteria that may build up on the skin and cause irritation, while olive oil gives your skin all the moisture that’s been zapped in the cold.
Opt for a mix of salts if you have them, but if not any salt in your cabinet will work. And if you don't have olive oil don't sweat it. Grab whatever cooking oil you have, or you can even mix in your favorite lotion! This recipe will make almost a full 8 ounces, so store it in some small jars to keep it fresh.
Recipe: Oily Salt Scrub
- 3 oz organic olive oil
- 3 oz natural sea salt
- 1 oz course crystal sea salt (any brand will work)
- 20-30 drops Any blend of essential oil you have, we like lavender oil, tangerine, bergamot, geranium, cypress, frankincense, and chamomile
- Pulp/juice from one fruit: If you don't have essential oils, try fruit like lemon, orange, mango, papaya--they can be fresh or frozen!
- OR: Add coconut milk if it's available to you.
- Pour both types of salt together in a large salad bowl, and stir.
- Add olive oil, then fruit and essential oil blend, and stir well.
- Divide the bowl into your jars. You can safely leave one at a time in the shower for about four days. The extra jars make great gifts, or you store them in the fridge.
- If you’re using the coconut milk: Before you get into the shower, mix 2 tbs from the jar of coconut milk and 2 tbs of our scrub together in a bowl, and use all at once.
After using this scrub, your skin will be oily (this is on purpose) - you can towel dry, or, if you like to be slippery clean after, you can wash the oil away with soap, your skin will still reap the benefits of the scrub, so do whichever you prefer!
For more tips and tricks on how to make a scrub, check out our Easy DIY Mother’s Day Scrub from this past May.
Happy scrubbing, S-Dubbers!
What I Learned from Being (Mostly) Alone for a Month
Being alone can be so scary--I did it for a whole month. Here are some things that helped me stay motivated and pass the time.
This past November, I traveled from California to upstate New York for an artist residency. I was scheduled to live in the woods in a big house alone for an entire month. It was terrifying. For the past couple of years, I had found myself deeply afraid of being by myself. I turned to my friends or my boyfriend to ensure that my evenings were filled with something. I always made plans to avoid being alone, though many evenings I was irritable and exhausted and should have stayed in. I even thought I might be dating someone to ward off loneliness. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. I want to be able sit with myself. I want to be able to love myself enough to be alone. The time alone was honestly a way to test myself.
Now we're all about to be tested over our ability to spend time alone. These tips are especially with people who are single and alone in their homes, my guess is if you're in a house full of family you'll be looking for tips on how to get some time to yourself--which you should do!
Before being alone: set rules
Before the residency started, I promised myself a few things: I wouldn’t use social media while working (so as not to distract myself in the middle of a thought), I would not drink unless I had a visitor, and I would wait one hour before calling someone if I felt lonely. The first night was definitely a challenge. The darkness of the woods was overwhelming, and I wasn’t yet accustomed to the house and its noises and quirks. However, when I woke up the next morning to the beauty that is fall in the Hudson Valley, the stress eased. I only felt excited and determined.
Over the next week, I could feel all my anxiety about my relationship, friendships, career, money, and the future slip away. The following week, I felt completely at peace. It wasn’t a struggle to be alone. I loved it.
If you are about to spend some time alone, set some guidelines for yourself. Look at it as a challenge for ways to improve your life. Where can you challenge yourself to take a break? What's something you can work on because you have more time? Can you set chunks of time where you really embrace being alone? Can you reward yourself somehow when you do?
Then, be patient. It gets easier over time.
Tips for Being Alone
Here are some things I did to keep myself company:
- Set goals. First of all, I had a goal. I was there to make art, so I was motivated to wake up each day.
- Cook. When I wasn’t working, I cooked, which I find relaxing and fun and a productive way to take a break.
- Listen. The radio, music or a podcast played at all times. These stories and voices kept me company.
- Watch and read all the things. I watched stupid shows while I ate dinner, but I watched quality movies or read a book before bed.
- Sleep! I went to bed early.
- Find new habits. On my month alone, I drove several miles each morning to my favorite bakery and splurged on pastries, which I never do in Los Angeles. If you can't do something like that right now, try a walk, or a long coffee-making ritual. What's something that's completely outside of your normal routine? What can you slow down that you normally rush through?
- Make a schedule. This helps to fill your time. Because I had things to do, I felt healthier than I’ve been in a while. I didn’t look at my body the entire time. I had the same schedule every day. I never got bored. I told my friends I didn’t want to hear about drama back in Los Angeles. We didn’t text every day. I checked in and was present on social media, but I didn’t feel addicted to it. Instagram seemed boring and irrelevant for the most part. I didn’t miss anyone.
Time Alone is a Gift
Usually it’s impossible for people with families or regular jobs to take a month out of their normal life, and while at the moment it's mostly not welcome, we can also think of the challenge as a gift. We are all capable of making changes, figuring out how we feel our best, and adapting to our environment (this is both a good and bad quality). I’m back in Los Angeles now, and it’s stressful. I don’t feel at peace anymore. Real life is full of unexpected events that are annoying and distracting. I haven’t completely changed my life here in LA, but the shifts I made have stuck with me. I keep a more consistent schedule. I keep my podcasts on at home when I’m alone. Most importantly though, because of my experience, I know I can be alone, and I like to be alone. This feeling is empowering, and it can’t be taken away.
Why Apple Cider Vinegar is the Best Natural Toner on Earth
The benefits of apple cider vinegar toner are astounding and if you'd like to learn more, you've come to the right place! Read on to learn more and get a DIY recipe featuring one of our favorite ingredients.
What Is a Toner
When choosing a natural toner, you want to pick ingredients that are naturally astringent without being overly drying. The goal of a toner is improving your skin tone and calming skin irritations. But most toners on the market use alcohol as their base, which is incredibly drying and literally the opposite of what you want--especially if you need a toner for dry skin.
You particularly want ingredients that preserve the skin’s delicate pH balance to help control oil production naturally. This function is key if you need a toner for oily skin.
Why Apple Cider Vinegar?
For centuries, people have been using apple cider vinegar for skin care precisely for these reasons.
It is the ultimate natural hydrating toner, and it’s alcohol free—plus it helps even skin tone and calm the complexion with its natural pH balancing properties.
Properly diluted, ACV is the best toner for dry skin, the best toner for oily skin, AND the best toner for combination skin!
S.W. Basics Toner harnesses all the toning, moisturizing, and pH-balancing benefits of an ACV toner, and then gives them an extra boost with natural witch hazel and the best essential oils for fighting acne.
But it’s also easy to make a D.I.Y. Apple Cider Vinegar Toner Rinse in your kitchen.
RECIPE: Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
- 4 teaspoons of water
- 1 teaspoon of organic ACV
- **5-10 drops optional essential oils: sandalwood, lavender, clary sage, and chamomile**
- Add water and apple cider vinegar together until combined.
- If you'd like to add essential oils, stir them in and shake one more time.
- Apply to clean skin with a cotton ball or a cotton pad.
Of course, using apple cider vinegar for face care has one downside: the smell. But don’t worry. You can cut the scent of ACV by adding a few drops of essential oil to your D.I.Y ACV rinse. Our favorites are oils with warm, floral scents such as sandalwood, lavender, clary sage, and chamomile (plus, all of these essential oils have the added benefit of giving additional acne fighting properties if you’re using your apple cider vinegar toner for pimples).
And if you're not into the D.I.Y. thing you can find S.W. Basics Toner right here. For even more D.I.Y. skin care recipes and essential oil tips, check out our books Skin Cleanse and Just the Essentials.
Black Friday is a giant deal for us every single year. It’s a pretty big deal for most businesses, but for small businesses like ours, there are years where a solid Black Friday has saved us from extinction. No joke.
But this year, I really wanted to do something special. It’s a little frustrating to have an opportunity to be a part of people’s holidays but to have to do it in a way that is just about commerce. I wanted a way to make more of a positive impact for the people who even shop our products for themselves and as gifts in the first place (thank you)!!
This was my sort of complicated idea, be patient as I explain!
Starting today through December 3 at midnight EST, if you shop on any of the sites below and spend $50, you will receive $10 to all of the sites to use on Black Friday. (Or whenever you want before the end of the year.) So let’s say today you decide to stock up on some makeup or some toothpaste, you’ll get $10 for makeup, toothpaste and all of the other things. Make sense? Cool I’ll keep explaining anyways.
S.W. Basics (us!)
100% natural! 5 ingredients or less! Cleanser! Toner! Rosewater spray!
Nontoxic! Cruelty-free! Lipstick, mascara, eye liner oh my!!
Plant-based! Sustainable! Dish soap/laundry detergent/home goods with refills!
Organic! Non-toxic! Bath wash, baby oil, belly oil, nipple butter, diaper balm, and so much more!
Natural! Essential-oil based! Oral care including tooth powders, breath mints, and essential oil blends!
Just shop any of our sites before December 3 at midnight ET (so that’s the night of the 2nd don’t get confused!) and you’ll receive $10 gifts codes to the rest of the sites to your email.
The email will come from the site you shopped from, so make sure to search for it in your inbox, but also if you have any issues you can reach out to any of us to help out.
The S.W. Basics team typically works all day on Thanksgiving getting ready, and I’m sure many of the other teams on this list do too. We are all obsessed with busting our butts and getting natural products out to people. All each of us wants is for as many people as possible to be using safe, effective products that actually make you feel good (including in how they’re marketed). We know that cost can be a barrier to trying us out, so hopefully this is like a helpful head start. And rest assured that when you shop with any of our brands, you are getting a product that was thoughtfully crafted to last longer, be worth the money, and heal you. Plus, all of us are on Slack freaking out about your purchases. So thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Black Friday and Happy Almost 2020,
Homemade DIY body scrubs are the most underrated gifts of all time. They take two seconds, they’re cheap af, they’re super pretty, and they are the MOST luxurious Mother’s Day present around.
EASY DIY MOTHER’S DAY SCRUB
Homemade body scrubs are the most underrated gifts of all time. They take two seconds, they’re cheap af, they’re super pretty, and they are the MOST luxurious. You’ll feel super crafty and the mama + other caregiving ladies in your life will feel so pampered. (I like to make several at a time and give them out to all of the women I love as often as possible.)
Here are the BASICS.
HOW TO MAKE A DIY SCRUB
- Start with your jar/jars. Use it to measure your sugar. If you’re filling 4 jars that are 4 ounces each, for example, you’ll want to scoop sugar with the jar and into a big bowl four times.
- Go crazy with the mix-ins. Some easy faves: coconut oil, olive oil, honey, coffee grounds, sea salt, shredded coconut, essential oils, tea, and my personal favorite: any old but delicious body scrub you have sadly dying in your bathroom that just needs some love and fresh new friends.
- Work your scrub ingredients together like you’re making dough. Or granola. Or… sugar scrub. It’s up to you how you want the consistency. Use less wet ingredients to make it light and fluffy, and more if you want it super oily and moisturizing (great for gifting to someone with more mature skin).
- For the essential oils, go 5-10 drops at a time, stir well, and sniff!
- Scoop into jars et voila. You can get fancy and add tags with your ingredients and instructions, or you can indulge your giftee in the following conversation about fresh homemade self-care:
DIY SCRUB TIPS
- Keep the product as dry as possible, water will make it mold. The best way to do this is to scoop some out into a small bowl and take that into the shower with you.
- Keeping it in the fridge will make it last forever (not really but a much longer time), but you may need to let it sit at room temperature before using. Cold scrub is especially lovely for beach mamas and mamas with over-heated itchy skin!
- It can be really fun to DIY a DIY. So for each wash, mama can pull out a few scoops of the scrub and customize however she wants with fresh mix-ins like yogurt, aloe, avocado, clay, salt, ground oats. These are one-time use ingredients so it’s best to stir them into a batch that you’re using right away.
- Get ready to be greasy. Your tub/shower too. Scrubs are the best at night, followed by wrapping up in as many comfy things as possible that can hang with a little bit of oil, like several towels or a robe. Or a robe made of towel omg. Otherwise, just towel off any excess!
- Yes the oil can go in your lady parts (maybe not the scrub though) and yes it is like lube and yes it is super sexy. Enjoy. (Please note: it may also break condoms. You can name your baby after SW though.)
- Scrubs can also be used on the face (be gentle) and you can scoop it straight into the bath tub or scrub your body then sit in a hot bath mmm.
DIY SCRUB RECIPE
Here’s a super easy starter recipe that makes two pint jars:
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 20-30 drops essential oil like lavender or peppermint
- Stir well, sniff well, and test on your arm to see if you like the consistency. Adjust and scoop into jars!
Now go love on all of the women in your life that love on you!