Today we happily welcome Magdalen as our guest poster. She’s talking all about how she makes her own beauty products!
DIY Natural Beauty
Using beauty products with all or mostly natural ingredients is a great way to be environmentally friendly and improve your hair and skin. Unfortunately, most natural beauty products are so expensive that the cost can completely outweigh the benefits. Here are some tips and recipes I’ve come up with to help you get the most out of your budget while giving your body the care it deserves.
This is the area of cosmetics I think it is most important to keep natural, because everything you leave on your skin gets absorbed into your body, and lotions are designed especially to do this. You can know for certain that any nasty chemical you might have in your body lotions goes right into your system. Over the past couple of years I have made the transition to using only natural lotions, and here are some of the ways I do it.
Hand and Foot Cream: I make a simple lotion to use on my hands and feet by melting 1 ½ tablespoons beeswax granules, 2 tablespoons cocoa butter or coconut oil, and 3 tablespoons of light oil such as almond or grapeseed in a microwave or double boiler. This yields a very thick lotion, which is my preference. If you want a thinner one, increase the light oil until you get your preferred consistency.
Body Lotion: For my general body lotion, I keep a small bottle of almond or grapeseed oil in my bathroom. Oil-based cosmetics penetrate your skin much more deeply than water-based ones. They are also more hydrating, as many commercial lotions contain skin-drying alcohol. Have oily skin? Don’t worry. Research has shown that “good” oil in moisturizers and cleansers can combat the “bad” oil that causes pimples.
Daytime Lotion: Having a good face lotion to use during the day is one of the most important components of your skincare. The delicate skin on your face and neck needs special protection from harming UV rays as well as the elements. This is one of the few products that I think is unwise to skimp on and that professional products really take an edge over homemade ones. If you only ever buy one expensive beauty product, it should be a face lotion! Go for one with SPF 15 or higher and mostly or all natural ingredients.
Night Lotion: For night time I use the same oil that I use for a body lotion. I find that one super-duper professional lotion is all I need to keep my skin in good condition.
I make a simple lip balm by melting 2 teaspoons of beeswax with 3 teaspoons of coconut oil in a double boiler or microwave. This yields a balm a lot thicker than commercial varieties, which suits my needs very well. If you have difficulties rubbing it in, add a couple of teaspoons more coconut oil. You can also try adding some natural red dye.
I am not very picky about the natural content of my shampoo and conditioner, as they are rinsed out of your hair and have little chance to absorb into your body. The only thing I would suggest that you pay attention to is whether your products contain any artificial coloring, which is known to be particularly harmful.
I sometimes make deep conditioning packs for my hair if it seems to be in bad condition. Things you can use include a banana mashed with a tablespoon of honey, ground oatmeal mixed to a paste with water, and a whole mashed avocado. Leave in your hair for 10-20 minutes, then shampoo. You may need to wash a second time to ensure that your hair is completely clean afterwards.
I have two cleansers in my rotation right now: a gentle cleanser and an exfoliating scrub. The cleanser is made from equal amounts ground rolled oats (use a coffee or spice grinder) and kaolin clay, sometimes with a teaspoon of dried herbs or flowers added. To use, mix about a teaspoon with water to make a smooth paste and apply to wet skin. I make the scrub by mixing a cup of sugar with 1/3 cup honey and half a tablespoon of oil.
I also make face masks by mixing a few tablespoons of yogurt with a teaspoon of honey, or mashing the flesh of a few figs. Apply to clean skin and leave for 10 minutes.
For blemishes I apply the essential oil of tea tree for its drying and antiseptic properties.
I have tried to make these recipes as ordinary as possible, but I know that I haven’t used all common household ingredients. We get a lot of our supplies, as well as bottles and jars, from Pinetree Gardens. Another place where you can get some of these products at a slight discount is Vitacost (http://www.vitacost.com).
If you want to add scent to your homemade beauty products, I would suggest that you invest in some bottles of essential oil. Essential oils are highly distilled plant essences which can be used to add scent to your creation as well as a host of other things. Add a few drops to body oils, scrubs, and lotions after you have finished heating them. They can be found at Vitacost as well as AuraCacia and Nature’s Alchemy.
I get a lot of my ideas for new products from Janice Cox’s book Natural Beauty for All Seasons, which is currently out of print.
If you have any problems or questions with the recipes I’ve given here or would like to know more, shoot me an email at magdalenruth AT gmail.com.
My name is Magdalen Dobson and I’m sixteen years old, Episcopalian, homeschooled, and a health foods enthusiast living in Mississippi with my family. Join me at my blog, From Heart To Table, where I write about my recipes, healthy living, and daily life.