James’ dad is a green-tea lover, so when he was visiting a few weeks ago, I thought he might like to try my special hibiscus-ginger-turmeric-mint-matcha-black-pepper concoction. Emily had been up at the cabin for six weeks by this point and would drink pots of it with me every day (and she’s a bit of a picky eater), so I didn’t think it tasted that bad (particularly to someone used to drinking green tea).
How wrong I was.
The poor man made a valiant effort at drinking my witch’s brew, but finally said, “I’m sorry…I just can’t do it.” HA! I guess it’s an acquired taste.
Anyway, I’ve recently been reading quite a bit about the topical benefits of all of the ingredients of my tea, and all of this reading coincided with an inability to find a good (but not-too-expensive) eye cream in the vicinity of our little island.
On top of that, my recent attempts at ordering cosmetics online have not been very successful.
A few weeks ago, I ordered some cosmetics from Sephora. After receiving a confirmation e-mail, I waited for my package to arrive. Each day for well over a week, I went online to see if my order had shipped…to no avail.
I finally contacted Sephora to find out why my confirmed order had not yet shipped. A couple of days later, I received a reply: apparently a discrepancy between my shipping address (the cabin) and my billing address (our NW address) existed. I asked why they hadn’t contacted me immediately, so I could clear up the discrepancy–indeed, I’d even received an e-mail confirming my order!
The Sephora customer service representative was unable to explain, so I decided to try a different online merchant with a greater commitment to customer service.
Next, I tried ordering from The Bay. Now, if you’ve ever tried ordering anything online from The Bay, you know that its website is not very intuitive and it’s also frustratingly glitchy, but I was eventually able to order everything I was after. The order was sent in two shipments, the first of which took only about a week to arrive (the other is still outstanding).
However, when the first package arrived, it contained five MAC lipsticks, all in a rather bizarre shade called “Chili.”
I did not order five MAC lipsticks in a shade called “Chili.”
Indeed, I did not order ANY MAC lipsticks…or any lipstick at ALL for that matter.
Best of all? The package did not contain ANY of the products I ordered!
When I called The Bay to explain the mistake, the customer service representative suggested that I send back the lipsticks, and, in the meantime, order AND PAY FOR the products I had already ordered and paid for, but had yet to receive.
However, when I pointed out how illogical this solution was since the mistake was theirs (and since I had already paid for products I had not yet received), the rep spoke to a supervisor and agreed to send the correct products to me. In the meantime, I’ve sent back the MAC lipsticks, but I still await the arrival of my products.
Why can’t all online retailers have customer service as good as Amazon’s?
Anyway, this perfect storm of bad customer service and my current research into the topical benefits of the various ingredients of my special tea inspired me to attempt a DIY super lush eye cream. The other thing is that our wood stove is now burning pretty much round the clock, so my skin feels as dry as a desert.
Anyway, here goes!
Super Lush Eye Cream
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 tsp matcha green tea
- 1-inch chunk turmeric root (cut into chunks)
- 1 TBS ginger root (cut into chunks)
Heat the above ingredients in a saucepan on very low heat until the hibiscus flowers are soft.
Meanwhile, add the following to a small glass measuring cup:
- 6 capsules vitamin E oil, punctured and squeezed out
- 1 tsp castor oil
Next, decant the coconut oil mixture into the measuring cup by straining the mixture with a fine mesh strainer.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly and then pour into small containers.
Immediately place in freezer so that the mixture solidifies consistently.
You can remove the cream after about an hour in the freezer. It will stay solid at room temperature, but soften quickly in your hands.
The cream isn’t white (as most eye creams are) because the green matcha, orange turmeric, and red hibiscus are all strongly coloured and combine to make a kind of light greenish colour, but (surprisingly) this colour won’t transfer to your skin! The last picture is a chunk of my white inner arm with the cream heavily slathered on it, so you can see that the colour doesn’t transfer!
Now for the DIY dry shampoo! This recipe is great because it doesn’t make your hair look grey (as so many white-coloured commercial dry shampoos do! It’s very slightly adapted from the recipe on this site and is actually more of a wet/dry shampoo.
DIY Dry(ish) Shampoo
Mix in an old condiment bottle (a mustard bottle works well!):
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 3 TBS cornstarch
- 1 TBS cocoa powder
- 5 drops Tea Tree oil
Apply the nozzle directly to your scalp and strategically squirt a little at a time to your scalp. Massage it around your scalp a bit, and then flip your head over and blow dry the roots. Once it’s dry, brush well. The whole process takes about three minutes and it comes out looking clean (and not grey…well not greyer than it already is!!). I’d like to say that you’ll smell like chocolate, but the tea tree oil pretty much overpowers any smell of cocoa!
Finally, after the (relative!) success of my DIY eye cream, I thought I’d have another whack at creating a healing lotion bar. If you recall, the last time I attempted a healing lotion bar, it wasn’t exactly a success.
This time, however, I changed the proportions (to make the bars a bit softer) and I also strained out the bits. Also, the last healing lotion bar stained everything, but this one doesn’t (because I’ve changed the proportions and strained out the chunks).
Hibiscus-Green-Tea-Ginger-Turmeric Healing Lotion Bars
- 6 ounces coconut oil
- 3 ounces cacao butter
- 1.5 ounce beeswax
- 1/4 cup hibiscus flowers
- 1-inch chunk of turmeric root, roughly chopped
- 2 TBS ginger root, roughly chopped
- 1 TBS matcha green tea
Melt the ingredients above in a large Pyrex measuring cup sitting in a saucepan of water on very low heat (or on top of the wood stove, which is what I did!). The idea is to let it warm for several hours, so the hibiscus flowers, etc., remain in the oil mixture for a long time before they are strained out. The beeswax will take a long time to melt.
After a couple of hours, strain into another Pyrex measuring cup that contains:
- 2 TBS castor oil
- 12 capsules vitamin E, punctured and drained
- 20 drops Tea Tree oil
Mix thoroughly and decant into bar molds. Place in the freezer for an hour or two so the bars solidify uniformly.
UPDATE: Well, after my conversation with the customer service representative from The Bay, I was very happy to receive my Clinique moisturizer only three days later, so I suppose I’ll have to take back my remarks about bad customer service!