Saturday, February 2, 2013

Homemade Valentines Gift for a Guy

I'm working on Jeremy's Lovanzuanukah present.  (The upcoming week long holiday festival of love in which we will celebrate Jeremy and my 11th anniversary of knowing each other, 9th marriage anniversary, St. Valentine's Day, and (last-but-not-least) national half-price chocolate day!)

I'm making him homemade aftershave, and since there's still time to make it before most people will be celebrating the more traditional lovers' holiday of St. Valentine, I thought I'd share what I'm doing. 

Homemade Gentleman's Olde Spice Aftershave Recipe:

Materials needed:
3/4 cup witch hazel
2 tsp glycerine
1 large pinch alum (found in the spices or canning section of the grocery store)
1 small cinnamon stick
10 allspice berries
10 cloves

1 half-pint jar
coffee filter
small dark glass bottle

Add witch hazel, glycerine, and alum to half-pint jar.  Witch hazel is an astringent.  It helps close the pores after a hot shave, it also has 16% alcohol which disinfects any cuts. The glycerine is a byproduct of soapmaking it's a natural moisturizer and skin protectant to soothe the skin after shaving.  Alum is a blood coagulant used to help stop the bleeding of any cuts (in it's bulk mineral form it is the newfangled deodorant crystals I keep hearing people talk about).  All these ingredients are rated 0 or 1 (a green) from the EWG (follow the links above) meaning, super safe for cosmetic use. 

You can add a teaspoon or two of rum to the recipe as well to add to the scent and the alcohol disinfecting properties.  We don't drink so I don't have any in the home.  I'm not opposed to buying it for this project, but I chose to use what I already had on hand imagining $25 bottles of rum that would break my budget ($0) on this project!  

Finally add the spices.  Break up the cinnamon into small pieces, and crush the allspice berries and cloves just a bit to release their fragrances. 

Pit a lit on the jar and put it in a dark cupboard. 

Store it for 10 days, giving it a shake every day.  You should see it take on color from the spices--it is also taking on the fragrances. 

After 10 days strain through a coffee filter and funnel into a dark glass jar (brown or blue).  This bottle is from vanilla extract.  When It was empty I saved it because I knew it would be useful for this kind of project.  The dark glass helps the aftershave retain it's scent for longer. 

My aftershave isn't complete yet.  I created this recipe from some different ones I found, and I'm not really sure how strong it will end up.  If it's too strong of a scent I will just add some more witch hazel.  However I have heard that many people when using the original old spice could only smell it for a little while and then it went away--not really like wearing cologne. 

I had fun making labels for it as well (even though I did it without my in-house graphic designers' help this time!

Let me know if you try the recipe--you can also use any assortment of essential oils in place of the fresh spices--there are so many possibilities. 

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