Make-your-own Body Products

I started to become aware of all the dubious ingredients in body products in 2010, and decided to start avoiding anything with SLS, SLES, parabens, etc. I first moved to ‘natural’ shop-bought products for a few years, and they were certainly better, but the brands were still hit-and-miss and I wasn’t always completely satisfied with the results, so I decided to start moving away from shop-bought and start making basic products myself. That way I could research every ingredient and know exactly what was going onto my skin.

Using up all those products that I’d accumulated over the years took a lot longer than I thought it would, but almost two years later, I finally started to run out of some products, and in November 2014, one of my colleagues got me started by giving me a recipe for a home-made sugar scrub that he really liked. I made it and quite liked it, but found that, although the olive oil and raw sugar was really good for legs, arms, shoulders, back, etc, (particularly after a long day in the garden) it was far too thick and harsh for my face.

So I experimented with swapping the olive oil for coconut oil, the raw sugar for raw caster sugar (sadly not in production anymore), and instead of all the pick-me-up spices, I added a bit of lavender because I usually do my face routine before bed. That worked really well for me, so I then made a body/face/hand moisturiser with coconut oil and vitamin E that I’d seen on Little House Living – the aim being that I would produce something that I liked enough to give to my mum and mum-in-laws as Christmas presents. It was really nice, so I made them some as well :) (Update, 2016: my mum has since asked for several refills of her canister, so I must be doing something right :))

I then made a ‘heavier’ body oil, with olive oil and lavender (coconut oil solidifies below 24C so olive oil is easier, and longer lasting on your skin, in winter), and a Vicks replacement/antiseptic lip and hand cream by adding eucalyptus oil to the coconut oil+Vit E hand cream. (Ideally I would have added peppermint essential oil too, for its smell and soothing properties, but I didn’t have any, so just plain eucalyptus it was.) It too, works really well. I had originally made it as a lip moisturiser because I’ve found that Vicks is helpful for stopping the tingle of cold sores as well as soothing chapped lips, but then tried it on my hands after a session of edging when my hands were covered in a multitude of scratches and abrasions (our edges are rough block, so my knuckles are fairly grazed by the end of it). It felt great, soothed the red areas and stopped dead any infections that might have transferred from the dirt on my hands (coconut oil itself is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral). I now have 3 jars of it so that I can have one on my desk at work and carry one in my handbag as well. I like it so much that I quite often use it multiple times a day.

In Nov 2015, I FINALLY finished off the last tube of toothpaste (I used to buy tubes in bulk so there were a lot to use up), so I made my first batch of zero-waste toothpaste, courtesy of Trash is for Tossers. I’ve modified it slightly to my taste (a bit more bicarb and peppermint – the beauty of making your own: being able to tweak the recipe to your liking) and have been really pleased with it. Earlier this year (2016) I also developed a ‘sensitive’ version and have also started giving scrubs to my girlfriends for their birthdays, first a choc-peppermint scrub, then a coffee scrub, and have also been commissioned for another choc-peppermint scrub. I’ve included these recipes below too.

[Aside: a tip, from my all-natural beautician: coconut oil absorbs a lot more readily into the skin if you add water. It sounds odd. And I’d never really thought about it because I always used my face scrub in the shower (the sugar has to be washed off afterall), but having tried it on my hands, it does actually work, and it allows you to put moisturiser on your hands, and have it absorb quickly (pat dry with a towel) so you can get back to whatever you were doing before; so no more putting off moisturising because it will interrupt your activities! :P]

So here are the recipes I’ve developed so far:

Coconut Oil Face Scrub

Ingredients:

½ cup raw caster/fine sugar (as raw caster is no longer available, if you don’t already have some, try to find some other fine-grained sugar, preferably organic)

1/4 cup coconut oil (preferably organic) or however much you need to attain your preferred level of gritty paste consistency. Tip: liquid is a lot easier to mix, so make this product during warmer months if you can.

A few drops of an essential oil of your choice (optional) – I used lavender because I use it at night, but peppermint or citrus would make a nice ‘awakening’ version for morning showers.

Method:

Combine well, in the lidded jar you’ve chosen, adjusting quantities to attain a gritty but spreadable paste consistency. It will warm in your hands, so don’t worry too much if it solidifies in cooler weather (I just use a teaspoon to scoop some out).

Application:

Dampen face. Apply a small amount of the scrub to your skin. Rub gently to exfoliate and stimulate the skin. Rinse well while massaging the oil into your skin. Pat dry.

Coconut Oil Body, Face and Hand Moisturiser

Ingredients:

½ cup coconut oil (preferably organic). Again, it will be much easier to mix if you make this product during warmer months.

5mL Vitamin E – the recipe that this is based on says to use Vitamin E capsules, but I’ve since learnt that you can get a topical Vitamin E gel that is even better (its specifically made to be absorbed easily by the skin, rather than via the digestive tract), so if you can get hold of some of this, do. UPDATE: I found some at our local chemist, so the next mixes I prepare will have this instead.

Method:

Combine well and store in a lidded jar.

Application:

Apply the desired amount to the desired area of skin. Spread and massage in. Tip: moistening the skin with water before and/or after will hasten absorption of the coconut oil. Massage further. Pat dry.

Olive Oil Body Oil

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of olive oil

5mL Vitamin E (optional) – refer notes above

10+drops essential oil of your choice (optional) – olive oil has its own smell so more essential oil is needed to mask this. Add as many drops as is needed to attain your preferred strength.

Method:

Add the olive oil, Vitamin E and/or essential oil/s to a lidded jar. (A lot of essential oils have different benefits so do some research and find something that works for you). Stir well, or replace the lid and give it a good shake.

Application:

Apply the desired amount to the desired area of skin. Spread and massage in. Note: olive oil is a lot slower to absorb so apply when/where it’s not going to transfer to clothing, furniture etc (it shouldn’t stain, but being an oil, it will be a nuisance to clean off).

Coconut Oil Lip and Hand Moisturiser

Ingredients:

Small amount of the Coconut Oil Body, Face and Hand Moisturiser (see above)

Eucalyptus oil – I really like the smell of eucalyptus oil, so I made mine quite strong, adding 1 tsp to a 40mL jar of the coconut oil body moisturiser, but if you’re not as much a fan, try adding half that amount.

Peppermint Essential Oil (optional) – I didn’t have any at the time, so I made mine without, but like all essential oils, add as much as you need to attain the strength of smell that you like (usually a few drops is all it takes).

Method:

Fill ¾ of a small jar (I used an old 40mL Beerenberg jam jar) with Coconut Oil Body, Face and Hand Moisturiser. Add the eucalyptus oil (and peppermint if desired). Mix well.

Application:

Apply the desired amount to the desired area of skin. Spread and massage in. Tip: moistening the skin before and/or after will hasten absorption of the coconut oil. Massage further. Pat dry.

Choc-Peppermint Face Scrub

Ingredients:

1 cup fine raw sugar (preferably organic)

1/2 cup coconut oil (preferably organic)

1 tbsp organic cacao powder – do get cacao rather than cocoa, if you can (cacao is one of the highest sources of antioxidants and magnesium in food, helping to support energy metabolism, muscle and nerve function, and reduce tiredness and fatigue)

~30 drops of peppermint essential oil (preferably organic)

Method:

Combine well and store in a lidded jar.

Application:

Dampen face. Apply a small amount of the scrub to your skin. Rub gently to exfoliate and stimulate the skin. Rinse well while massaging the oil into your skin. Pat dry. (Warning: you will feel inclined to lick your hands but try not to eat too much of it :P)

Coffee Face Scrub

Ingredients:

1/2 cup freshly-ground espresso coffee (preferably organic and fair trade)

1/2 cup fine raw sugar (preferably organic)

1/2 cup coconut oil (preferably organic)

Method:

Combine well and store in a lidded jar.

Application:

Dampen face. Apply a small amount of the scrub to your skin. Rub gently to exfoliate and stimulate the skin. Rinse well while massaging the oil into your skin. Pat dry. (Warning: if you are pregnant or have heart issues, please note that fresh coffee is being used, so all caffeine is still present)

Toothpaste

Ingredients:

1.25 tbsp bi-carb

2 tbsp coconut oil (preferably organic)

~20 drops of peppermint essential oil (preferably organic)

Method:

Combine well and store in a lidded jar.

Application:

Apply small amount to your toothbrush. Brush and rinse as normal.

Toothpaste for ‘sensitive’ teeth

Ingredients:

2-3 tsp bi-carb –  bicarb is a mild abrasive so the amount depends on your teeth and how much scrubbing they can tolerate; adjust the amount as necessary

2 tbsp coconut oil (preferably organic)

7-15 drops of clove essential oil (preferably organic) – adding more will give a stronger desensitising/numbing affect

~10 drops of peppermint essential oil (preferably organic) (optional) – add less, or don’t add any at all, if your teeth are sensitive to the cooling affect peppermint produces

Method:

Combine well and store in a lidded jar.

Application:

Apply small amount to your toothbrush. Brush and rinse as normal.

 

I hope you enjoy these recipes, and they inspire you to have a go at making your own. Making your own is generally a lot quicker, easier and cheaper than running down to the shops when you run out of something, you will also know exactly what goes into the products you make, and where those ingredients come from, and you get to make combinations that you simply can’t get in a shop (eg the choc-peppermint or coffee scrubs above). So the next time you run out of something, why not open your pantry instead? :)

Below are a few links for other body product recipes that I’ve found but haven’t yet tested – some of them sound yummy enough to eat!

Most of my ideas have started/been inspired by the workings of Little House Living. She has A LOT of interesting info and recipes on this webpage, but here is the link for the make-your-own body products.

And here are a few more that I’ve found, but are yet to try for myself:

7 Amazing Body Products That You Can Make With The Same 5 Ingredients

21 Homemade Sugar Scrub Recipes (Great for Gifts!!)

Homemade Body Scrub (a run-down on the basics of making your own balanced mixes followed by a few recipes)

12 Soothing DIY Foot Scrubs and Soaks

Honey and Lemon Foot Bath

Homemade Peppermint Whipped Hand and Body Butter

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

20 DIY All-Natural Face Cleanser Recipes

Zero Waste Toothpaste: On YouTube!

DIY Peppermint Toothpaste

Homemade Toothpaste with Coconut Oil

Homemade hair care recipes

Make your own shampoo

Tutorial: Two-Ingredient Homemade Deodorant that Works!

All-Natural Deodorant with Tea Tree

Quick Deodorant (scroll down to the recipe after the article)

How to Make Natural Deodorant