The Minimalist Experience

Following our chat with Julia, we figured it was important to get our hands dirty. Nicky and I were both very inexperienced with regards to minimalism so Julia decided to warm us up to the lifestyle by showing us how to make a DIY Coffee Scrub. If you want to know how to make your own scrub at home and our thoughts on the finished product, keep reading.

Ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil (in liquid form)
  • Remains of brewed ground coffee (instant coffee is not recommended due to its artificial ingredients)
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  • Essential oils (optional)

Method:

  • Brew yourself a good cup of coffee and enjoy.
  • Pick out the remains of the coffee from the filter and scoop onto a plate
  • Melt coconut oil over Bain-Marie. You could probably skip this step during the summer.
  • Scoop your ground coffee into a bowl and add coconut oil progressively. Mix the mixture between spoonfuls.
  • Your mixture is ready once you’ve created a paste-like consistency. If your mixture is too liquidy, add in some more ground coffee.
  • You may choose to stop here. Alternatively, you may decide to add some brown sugar to the mixture to make the scrub coarser. Or else, you may choose to add in some essential oils to the mix should you wish to add a fragrance and additional assets to the scrub.
  • Once you’re happy with your scrub, pick a handful and apply it to your desired area in a rotating motion.
  • Wash the scrub off and pat the area dry.
  • Stroke the scrubbed area for the rest of the day to remind yourself how soft your skin is.

Disclaimer:

  • Avoid the eye region as the skin is finer in the area.
  • Don’t be afraid to wash the scrub off in the drain, the ingredients of the scrub are water-soluble and won’t clog your pipes.

Nicky

I was a bit hesitant when the idea emerged to try and make a product out of natural materials, like someone taking on a minimalist lifestyle. Mainly because I didn’t know how complicated and achievable it would be for a newbie like me to create something and not screw it up. I’m grateful that Julia thought about this beforehand and chose something easy that we would be able to create without messing up.

The main thing that impressed me was the fact that it was literally a matter of putting two ingredients together and balancing them until you get the right consistency. And yet, the end result was still something useful and effective. Using leftover ground coffee was a great idea, because you’re taking something that you would usually throw away and reusing it for something else. And although many people use instant coffee, Julia told me that you could easily substitute the coffee grounds for another course material, for example, brown sugar. It’s just a matter of mixing something coarse with a liquid to form a scrub like the one we made.

Admittedly, I’m not an avid coffee drinker, but I was interested in the benefits of making this coffee scrub. When she mentioned that it actually does give you the energy boost that coffee usually gives you, I immediately became interested. I must say that when I tried licking my hand with the scrub on it, it didn’t taste great. Then again, just because something is edible, it doesn’t always mean that it should be consumed. The most amazing part came after washing our hands – I couldn’t believe how soft they felt!! It felt like I finally understood what is meant by the phrase ‘as smooth as a baby’s butt’. The only scrub that I use in my ‘beauty routine’ is a face-wash for my acne once a week. I’ve never used any hand scrubs, but I think after this experience, I’m definitely a fan!

Overall, I think that this experience helped debunk a lot of my misconceptions about what it means to be minimalist. I had always thought that it would be something unattainable and would take a lot of work to achieve. But in reality, it’s all about making small changes to your routine and lifestyle. Julia reminded me of something important from our geography lessons: the 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And with that, she added that everyone thinks it’s ok to generate waste as long as we recycle, but recycling is actually the last step on the list. We’re not always aware of how difficult and costly it is to actually recycle products. So rather than just recycling, we should first try and reduce the amount of waste we produce, and secondly, try and see how we can reuse and upcycle some of the waste we generate.

All in all, it’s all about being aware of the products we consume on a daily basis, and sometimes seeing if there is a healthier and better alternative to the products we use. It just takes that extra effort to look for options and try to find other ways of living that better ourselves and the world we live in.

Lindsey

Upon meeting Julia, I saw her take out a tub of Lush and rub a waxy lotion into her palms. I was secretly very jealous she had managed to get her hands on Lush products seeing as we don’t have a designated store in Malta. Turns out, the lotion was made by Julia herself and her friend had passed down the tubs for her to reuse. Julia encouraged us all to try the moisturizer – it was pure gold! My hands had never smelled better or shined brighter. Julia took us over the process of making it and that’s when our spirits dropped. She mentioned cocoa butter, shea butter, lavender oil and numerous other ingredients I cannot recall. Once she became aware of our level of intimidation, she assured us there were far easier recipes we could start off with.

In order to warm us up to the idea, she decided to introduce us to her Coffee Scrub recipe. “It requires 2 simple ingredients” she reassured us – to which we thought “then it must be as ineffective as Vaporub on a razor burn”. But alas, if there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s this; growing up watching Gilmore Girls taught me to appreciate a good cup of coffee. In fact, before we started any of the process off, Julia poured me a good dose of caffeine – and right then, I was sold!

First things first, the smell was to die for! Once Julia layered the grounded coffee on a plate, the house was filled with happiness and warmth – it smelled like Christmas morning in there. Jokes aside, I found it quite fascinating that something like brewed coffee could be reused rather than thrown straight into the bin. Once we mixed the coffee in with the coconut oil, it was interesting to see the paste come together. I’m a big fan of cooking so I felt right in my element. While Nicky opted to add sugar to his mix to create a coarser texture, Julia suggested I put some essential oils in mine, to restore my sensitive skin. We decided to put orange and cinnamon oil together into the mix – at that point, it was a bit hard to control myself – the paste smelled like the makings of a batch of Cinnabons. In fact, I didn’t manage to hold back and tasted it. It tasted nothing like a Cinnabon… Still, as I worked on the scrub, it grew on me. At that point I realized, why would I want to spend tens of euros on a Lush lotion when I could make one to suit the needs of my skin specifically?

On the whole, the mixture was relatively easy to make and rubbing it over my skin for a couple of minutes made for a marvellous result. I couldn’t help stroking my face against my hands all day – it felt like a baby’s embrace! My hands were perfumed for the rest of the day too. Its quaint smell was distinct enough to trigger some compliments but not strong enough to cause a migraine.

With wedding season approaching us, all I could think about was what a fun activity this experience would make for a hen’s party – the handmade scrubs would serve as excellent souvenirs for the guests. In fact, we cheekily left Julia’s with a tub of the miracle worker in our bags. Thank you, Julia!

Make sure to check back on Monday for the RAW video documenting Nicky and Lindsey’s experience (ft. Julia’s coffee scrub!).

Diagonal