Works for Me Wednesday: Shortening’s not just for Cooking

Spectrum ShorteningSpectrum Naturals makes a vegetable shortening from organic palm oil. It’s a healthy alternative to traditional shortening and makes the flakiest, yummiest pie crusts. Its resume is impressive: no hydrogenated oils, trans-fat free, 100 percent certified organic expeller-pressed palm fruit oil, which is in a naturally solid state at room temperature.

I have a 24 ounce tub of this shortening that I use daily, and no, I haven’t been making any pies lately. The label forgot to mention how great this is for the SKIN! Since I’m a freak about parabens, PABAs, laureths and other synthetics in my lotions, I have a hugely difficult time finding a lotion or cream I can use with good conscience. (See this list of chemicals to avoid in your cosmetics and soaps). I’m cursed with dry skin, and my kids all suffer from eczema, especially right now, in the high desert in winter, so a product like this is a necessity.

I’d already tried rubbing olive oil on my skin with good results, so I naturally tried the Spectrum Shortening, which I had in my cupboard. If it’s good enough to eat, surely it’s just fine for your skin. And only one ingredient, which name I can easily pronounce and understand: palm oil. And, truly, it works just as well as any lotion or cream I’ve tried for dry skin. I like that it’s naturally in a solid state – it has a creamy texture that’s not too messy like an oil. You don’t need to refrigerate it, just keep it at room temperature in the pantry.

If you will be using the Spectrum Shortening for cooking, I’d recommend having a separate tub just for the skin. My kids help themselves to the shortening tub and just love getting their sticky little fingers in there and rubbing it on their own skin. So you can imagine I’m not very willing to cook with it after that!

The Works for Me Wednesday Master List is Here. Oops, I just realized today is Backwards day, in which you ask a question, not give a solution – oh, well, please just go rub some shortening on yourself, and ask, is this working?

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9 Responses to Works for Me Wednesday: Shortening’s not just for Cooking

  1. mrs darling says:

    Hmmm I shoudld try this. I dont think I ever even heard of it.

    Your last sentence made me spit coffee at the screen! LOL

  2. When my brother was a young boy he has super dry skin and the doctor told my mom to use shortening on him and it worked. I have met a lot of cooks who use it on there hands when cooking to help with dry skin and they don’t want lotion in there food.

    Cute last paragraph! Ha!

  3. Jen says:

    Mrs. Darling, I thought of you, actually, when I wrote this, thinking about our conversation at your house about the butter & honey some people were rubbing on their skin – I think from “The Secret Life of Bees”? Hey, I’m very pleased to have made you spit coffee on the screen, and I wish I could come right over and clean it up for you!

    Kathleen Marie, great idea for cooks! This stuff is saving my hands this winter, as I can’t really afford the expensive “organic” creams that I would otherwise purchase.

  4. Beth_C says:

    Where can I get this shortening? Do they sell it at Wal-Mart? I think I would like to give it a try!

  5. Jen says:

    Beth, I’ve never seen it at Walmart. But most major grocery stores carry it – in the baking or oils sections. The grocery store I shop most often in my town is Fred Meyer, and it’s sold in the Organic/Natural Foods section. I did notice that you can buy it on Amazon.com of all things!!

  6. Christie says:

    I’d be interested in knowing what brands you use for other soaps, household cleaners and cosmetics.

  7. Jane says:

    I have never used shortening on myself- will keep it in mind. The females in my family use Arbonne, which is a swiss skin care line- very nice- no added junk. It is more expensive than the drugstore, and definitely costs more than shortening. If you are looking to buy a skin care line- I would recommend it. I don’t buy it all the time as it is expensive, but it does last a long time as well. I use the baby oil on my son’s legs as he gets really bad excema through the winter.

  8. I’m actually thinking about using this shortening for cooking/baking. Janette and I have avoided using shortening, substituting in non-burnable margarine, etc. for ever, and I’d love to get the baking benefits of shortening w/o as much of All the Bad For You Stuff.

    So thanks for the tip…. Janette also has recurring problems with dry skin that none of the lotions handle. Maybe I can convince her to do some baking & work on her skin based on your blog ;-)

  9. Jen says:

    Christie, for soaps, I use a variety of items, whatever I can find local & on sale – but these include Avalon Organics for soap & shampoo, Seventh Generation for dish soap, BioKleen for laundry detergent & dishwasher detergent. For cosmetics, I use whatever I can find locally in the Burt’s Bees line – usually just lip products – they make a great chapstick, but also a nice tinted lip gloss which I use instead of lipstick. And Burt’s Bees has a wide variety of lotions – but I’ve been sticking with the Spectrum Shortening lately! My budget you know. Also, I’ve used Ecco Bella for foundation & powder. It’s expensive and can be harder to find..Jane, above, mentioned Arbonne, and I’ve used their products in the past and that’s another great company.

    OH, and for general household cleaning, I go through gallons of vinegar and pounds of baking soda!! I mix those with a variety of essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender, and peppermint oils. And you know, sometimes, you’ll find me using lysol or chlorox when nothing else will do, but I really try to avoid those.

    Jane, I have a friend who sold Arbonne for many years, and I’ve tried several of their products. Agreed, it’s a skin care line I’d recommend – but definitely spendy.

    Rob, haha, I’m really glad I can offer a reason to cook and moisturize at the same time! Janette will like this Shortening for baking, honest. It doesn’t burn as long as you’re not over 450 degrees, and who would be! And none of the Bad For You Stuff. In moderation, of course. :-)

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