DIY Holiday Gift: Mint-Chocolate Beauty Box
Categories: Excerpt Health & Healing
Last year, one of the coolest gifts I received was a beauty box my cousin put together. It was a sweet and simple idea, with a high yield of fun, because it just kept giving! Inside there was lip balm, gloss, nail polish, lotion—you name it.
I wanted to put something similar together this year for the ladies in my life, but there are dozens of women in my family so I have to watch my budget when it comes to gifting. Buying and making gifts in bulk is the name of the game.
To start the beauty box, I picked out three beauty products in The Herbal Handbook for Home and Health: Chocolate Bomb Lip Therapy, Mint Chocolate Face Pack, and Choca-Coco Body Scrub. Each of these items will last several months, so I was able to make them early, and check a bunch of people off of my list.
Next, I researched my ingredients. I am a novice when it comes to herbalism, and have long been wanting to experiment with these recipes but hadn’t really set aside the time to familiarize myself with the materials. As it turns out, most of the items on the list were easy to find in my local grocery store. If you’re new to this too, and you don’t live in Berkeley—where we have strange and magical grocery stores that sell essential oils and herbs in bulk—you can research local herb stores or buy online. It was much easier than I thought it would be.
There were a couple of things I couldn’t find at the grocery store, and I didn’t have time to order online, so I did a little research and learned that I live right down the street from an herb store, Lhasa Karnak. Again, I realize this store sounds very Bay Area-specific. So out of curiosity I searched for herb stores in a handful of major cities across the U.S., and I got similar results. They’re out there waiting to be found! If you have the time, I recommend looking up your local herb store and buying materials there. Not only will you be supporting a local business, you’ll be able to chat up experts on your projects and learn a few things!
Finally, the fun in the kitchen began! All told, the process took me about half a day. This includes hunting down and sourcing all of the materials, cooking everything, and boxing it up. Definitely time well spent, as now I can cross ten people off my list!
Chocolate Bomb Lip Therapy
Click image for full-sized recipe.
This was so easy to make, and I have so much left over beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, and chocolate, I could easily make several more batches. Or I could just eat the extra chocolate. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Lip balm jars can be purchased online, or found in the travel section of your neighborhood drugstore. The recipe says it will fill sixteen, but that depends on what size jar you have. I had jars of a couple different sizes, and I ended up filling ten of them.
Mint Chocolate Face Pack
The ingredients in this recipe were a slightly trickier to find, but once I told the folks at Lhasa Karnak what I was looking for and what I intended to do with it, finding a solution was a piece of cake. I substituted French green clay for the white kaolin clay. Kaolin clay is lighter and more versatile (and harder to find!), but French green clay has really great oil absorbing qualities that you’d hope for in a mask.
I recommend popping the peppermint into a spice grinder (or coffee grinder!) and smoothing it out before mixing it in with the other ingredients—it will make the drain in your bathroom sink much happier.
Also, thanks to the coconut oil base, this mask will harden up after spending some time in the jar. You may want to recommend that your giftee gently warm up the mask by putting the jar in some warm water before using it.
Choca-Coco Body Scrub
Last was the sugar scrub. Again, most of these items came from the grocery store. I buy coconut oil in bulk because it lasts for a long time, and I use it pretty much daily. Did you know you can use coconut oil as a make up remover? Delicious.
I did have to buy coconut sugar and whole cane sugar. These are both a little different than your average sugars, but the good news is they can be used in pretty much all the same ways. Both are darker and have larger grains than refined sugar, which makes them great for body scrubs. I’ll be baking some of my holiday gifts this year, so I did some research on how to incorporate each of these sugars into my recipes. I found this article on coconut sugar very helpful, and this recipe for triple ginger cookies with whole sugar looks very enticing.
To make this a proper mint-chocolate beauty box, I deviated from this recipe a tiny bit, and added a few drops of peppermint oil (left over from the lip balm) at the very end.
Finally, I boxed everything up with a candy cane and a piece of chocolate, just to make the whole thing a tasty and indulgent experience.