I grew up in a huge Irish and Italian family. Olive oil was everywhere and I didn't know it was possible to cook a meal without using it. I also didn't know it was possible to take a bath, wash my hair or moisturize my body without it. I spent many a Saturday afternoon helping my Italian Nonna make pure olive oil soap. If I had an ear ache she would take a cotton ball, dip it in olive oil and gently insert it into my ear canal. Olive oil was bought in giant cans and we always had a back-up supply. When any of us kids came home from the hospital after being born, Nonna took a silver dollar, wrapped it in gauze soaked in olive oil and placed in on our healing belly buttons. If I have time I still make olive oil soap, but I admit today, I often buy it.
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One of the advantages of making my own olive oil soap is that I know exactly the quality of the olive oil and water that go into making it. While some folks believe that it isn't necessary to use high-quality olive oil to make olive oil soap. I disagree. I want the purest and best nutrients and vitamins cleansing my skin. I mean after all, they're sinking into my body. That's one of the reasons that I use organic extra virgin olive oil. I also use the cleanest spring water in Maine, that I've had tested. However, as I said, sometimes my days aren't long enough. So I resort to buying olive oil soap from local artisans.
Whenever I travel I always check out local gift shops. Often they will have a variety of soaps made in the town. After they put up with my quizzing about who makes it and how, I usually buy a few bars. Often the soap maker is a good friend of the shop owner. It's fun for me to see how other people make their olive soap.
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On a busy day, perhaps the only quiet time I get is when I'm washing up. Even if I'm just taking a break from cleaning house, it is wonderful to wash my hands with lavender infused olive oil soap. But at night, after a busy day working and volunteering, I delight in a luxurious bath with lavender olive oil soap. Lavender is a popular aromatherapy treatment. It is used to create a sense of relaxation and reduce tension. So it's no wonder that it's a very popular night time bath ingredient. Lavender is also a muscle relaxant, so soaking in it will take away those minor aches and pains.
Like many other herbal oils, lavender also has antiseptic properties. It fights many different respiratory infections such as those that appear in the sinuses and lungs. My husband and I are rehabbing our antique farmhouse and the dust is everywhere. After a particularly grueling day of carpentry, I just soak in a steaming lavender bath. My nasal passages and eyes always feel better.
But it's okay just to like lavender because it smells so wonderful. I love the way it makes the upstairs smell. I don't use air fresheners because they can irritate peoples' lungs. There are many asthmatics in my family and I don't want to cause them to have a wheezing episode.