When we introduced our new son into the world, our DIY focus shifted a little. It was now all about baby and perfecting natural recipes to help keep toxins out of his life.
One of my first projects when our baby was small was a natural homemade baby powder. His tiny little delicate rolls were difficult to keep dry with so many diaper changes during the day. I had so much fun concocting the perfect gentle, soothing baby powder that could be used on him, and it smelled so wonderful I ended up adding it to my own post-shower routine!
Whether you need baby powder for a new little one at home, or for yourself during the sticky, sweaty summer months, we’ve got a great toxic-free recipe with lots of variations so you can make it your own.
Why Make Homemade Baby Powder?
Most commercial baby powders are talcum powder, which contains talc. There has been lots of research conducted on the link between cancers and talc, and recently researchers are warning against the use of products containing talc.
While the verdict is still out on all the risks talc may carry, research seems to suggest that talc may increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women. (source) Even the slightest suggestion of something this serious is all I need to start looking for better alternatives.
Besides the health risks talcum powder may pose, a DIY baby powder is one of the easiest projects I’ve ever done.
Ingredients for DIY Body Powders
Because baby skin is ultra-sensitive, I wanted ingredients that were not only gentle, but also soothing for tender or irritated skin. My recipe is for a talc-free and cornstarch-free baby powder. (I choose to avoid cornstarch because it’s most often made with GMO corn and I wouldn’t want to be wiping that on my baby’s body.)
White Kaolin Clay (aka White Cosmetic Clay) – This clay is one of the most versatile, and makes a great base for a body powder. It is naturally absorbent, and according to Mountain Rose Herbs, “…is the mildest of all clays and is suitable for people with sensitive skin.” I would only want to use the mildest clay on my baby’s skin.
Arrowroot Powder (aka Arrowroot Starch or Flour) – Arrowroot is a great natural alternative to cornstarch in DIY powders. This white powder is extracted from the root of the arrowroot plant. It has a very similar texture and absorbency properties, yet is never made from GMO crops like cornstarch is.
Essential Oils – I like chamomile (Roman or German) and lavender essential oil for this DIY Baby Powder. They are two of the only essential oils considered safe for use with babies and also have wonderful anti-inflammatory and soothing properties when used on skin. Note: Essential oil use is not recommended for babies under 3 months of age because their skin is not yet mature, therefore making it more sensitive to essential oils.
Dried Herbs – Dried herbs are also a fabulous addition, and may be a better option for very young babies. They can be ground into a powder in a coffee/spice grinder, and can be used in lieu of, or in addition to, essential oils. Some herbs are great for deodorizing, while others are nice for their skin-soothing benefits. Note: Be sure to thoroughly sift your dried herbs after grinding to catch any pieces that were not finely ground into a powder or it could be rough and irritating to baby’s skin.
DIY Chamomile & Lavender Baby Powder
(makes about ¼ cup – recipe can be doubled or tripled for larger amounts)
- 2 tablespoons white kaolin clay (find it here)
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (find it here)
- 3 drops chamomile (Roman or German) essential oil (find 100% pure Roman chamomile EO here or German chamomile here)
- 3 drops lavender essential oil (find 100% pure lavender EO here)
- In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir carefully.
- Drip essential oils on top and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Transfer to a powder shaker bottle like this or this, or a re-purposed spice bottle with shaker top.
Always shake a small amount into your hand before applying to baby. Shaking directly onto baby’s skin could cause baby to inhale the powder, which will be irritating to his/her sensitive system.
This recipe is not intended for babies under 3 months of age. (See recommendations above for very young babies.) Do not use on broken skin.
Variations and Other Additions
If you are making this body powder for an adult, you have a much larger range of ingredients you can use without worrying about irritation.
Dried calendula flowers – Calendula is a popular herb for skin care, known for its healing properties. Grind 1 tablespoon dried calendula flowers in a spice/coffee grinder, and sift out any large pieces before adding to your body powder. (Find organic dried calendula flowers here.)
Dried lavender flowers – Lavender is also a skin-soothing herb, and will also leave your powder smelling sweet. Grind 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers in a spice/coffee grinder, sifting out large pieces before adding to body powder. (Find organic dried lavender flowers here.)
Other essential oils – If using this DIY body powder on adults, feel free to experiment with other essential oils that are appropriate for skin, like geranium, tea tree, lemongrass, sandalwood, or patchouli. You can also use more essential oils than what is called for in the above recipe. For adults, feel free to increase the oils to about 10-15 drops. As always, be sure you do not have a sensitivity to one of these oils before using. (Find 100% pure essential oils here.)
Time to get making your own baby powder! Let’s hear it for dry bottoms!