Milk…It Does The Body Good!
You’ve had an absolutely horrid day. Somehow your red pants got thrown in with your white wash, your 2 year old decided it would be fun to cover himself in baking flour, and your toilet has overflowed yet once again. Time for a break!
Taking time out to relax is an essential part of being a Vintage Housekeeper. After all, how can you indulge in the “joie de vivre” if you are exhausted all of the time? You simply cannot! So today I will be sharing the lovely joys of making and customizing milk baths that will leave you feeling pampered and with skin as soft as a baby’s bum…
Did you know that milk can be very softening to the skin, and is a great and natural way to give yourself a little TLC in the bath or shower? You don’t need to spend a bundle on buying fancy milk baths at the store.
You are a clever Vintage Housekeeper and can make your own luxurious concoctions at home!
A milk bath, as it is typically known and sold on the market, is made up of mostly milk powder, additives, and fragrance either natural or synthetic. They are a lovely treat for soaking in the tub with, while softening your skin. There are different kinds of milk powders out on the market. The most common in the U.S. (and the UK.) is non-fat milk powder. Others include: Whole milk powder, Buttermilk powder, Goats milk powder, and Coconut Milk powder. I personally have only used non-fat milk powder, whole milk powder, or buttermilk powder. Although non-fat milk powder is the easiest to obtain at the supermarket for a good price, the fatter the milk powder, the better for the skin! For example: On a scale from 1-3 (3 being the most softening), non-fat milk powder is a 1, whole milk powder is a 2, and Buttermilk powder is a 3. Goat’s milk powder is a bit different, but is softening for the skin as well. It is also more expensive than the cow’s milk powders. Coconut milk powder is somewhat of a “specialty” that I have been hearing more about lately. I am not personally familiar with it, however it sounds like it would be a great addition to a milk bath, especially if it imparts the scent of coconut.
Other than milk powder, you can also add a few different ingredients to give the milk bath some variety as well as making it beneficial to the skin. Here are some ideas.
Honey Powder: This is Honey that is spray dried to make it into a powder. Honey is a good cleanser and smoothing to the skin among other things. Using this powder will add the slight scent of honey to your formulation. (The scent is very slight, however.) Use honey powder sparingly, if you wish.
Rolled Oats: Rolled oats are known to be very soothing to the skin, and it is often recommended that an “oatmeal bath” be given to people when they suffer from skin irritations such as chicken pox. Rolled oats are not only soothing, but can also be softening to the skin. Rolled oats have a light and lovely sweet scent to them. If you choose to use rolled oats in your formulation, package your special milk bath in something that will filter the oats so that they won’t clog your drain. Bags made of muslin and tied with a ribbon are lovely for this purpose.
Cornstarch or Tapioca Starch: Lovely, Lovely, Lovely! Using one of these in your formulation will leave your skin feeling silky soft. I have personally only used Cornstarch in Milk Baths, but hear that Tapioca Starch leaves you feeling a bit more silky.
Herbs & Botanicals: You can also add dried herbs such as chamomile, rose petals, lavender buds, calendula petals, or dried mint leaves to your formulation. They impart a nice natural scent to your creations, and can possibly impart beneficial properties to the skin.
Borax Powder (Not to be confused with Boric Acid Powder!): This product is typically used to soften hard water and in natural cleaning formulations. Using a small amount of Borax in a Milk Bath formulation would make the water a bit softer and gentler on your skin.
Essential Oils: These are wonderful gifts from plants and flowers. They not only provide us with natural fragrances, but can also impart a healing and aromatheraputic effect to our formulations. For example, lavender essential oil is very calming, while peppermint essential oil is very invigorating.
Simple and Lovely Milk
½ cup non-fat milk powder
¼ cup buttermilk Powder
¼ cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons dried, lavender petals
5 drops lavender essential oil
Makes 1 cup Milk Bath Powder
What to do:
·Put the lavender buds in a small mixing bowl (preferably glass, it looks so pretty as you make it!), and add the 5 drops of essential oil.
·Mix together. Cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes. (This is done so that the essential oil has something to “stick” to so that it can last. The lavender petals are acting as a fixative to hold the essential oil, and also impart a calming scent of their own.)
·Add the cornstarch to the small mixing bowl and mix.
·Add the 2 milk powders and mix.
·If need be, use your bare or gloved hands to crush any lumps in the milk bath before pouring into jars.
·Pour into a clean Jars or wide mouth bottle and label. Voila! Ready to use!
·Use about ½ cup to soak in per bath.
Where to Buy
·You can easily buy non-fat dry milk at your local grocery store.
·Specialty milk powders can be ordered on the web. One place you may like to try is http://www.soapdish.com They carry several different types of specialty milk powders and even honey powder!
·Rolled Oats can be purchased at your regular grocer or natural food store.
·Borax can be purchased at your grocery store in the laundry section.
·Herbs and botanicals can be found in your garden or natural food store in the tea section, along with the muslin tea bags as well. These items can also be found on the internet at http://www.mountainroseherbs.com
·Essential Oils can be found in the natural food stores in the beauty section, or on the internet. My favorite place to buy them is at http://www.essentialoiluniversity.com
· Look around your home for nice jars or pretty envelopes to package your milk baths in. There are very many different ways to package your custom creations: Jars, Glassine or Vellum envelopes, Pretty Tins, Muslin Bags, Wide Mouth Bottles, and Cellophane Bags are just a few ideas. Here are two places on the net that I like to shop for containers at:
·Make some pretty homemade labels on your computer or by hand. You can also order labels for yourself or for gift giving at this absolutely scrumptious website http://www.myweddinglabels.com
Milk baths are easy to make and just scrumptious to use. Feel free to modify my recipe above to suite your own convenience and taste. For simplicity’s sake, you could always just use a cup of fresh milk in the tub along with a few fresh flower petals from your garden. That would be just lovely too! So put on your prettiest little apron, and have fun making these luxurious little bath treats. Have some ready made and on hand for when you need to take some time out and relax in a nice warm bath. Enjoy!
-Susana Lucero a.k.a. Vintage Flower…