When I was sixteen, my family went on vacation to Mexico. I was excited to go – I hadn’t seen my grandparents in a few years and I loved the warmth of the area. Much of my excitement also stemmed from a book of recipes for natural beauty products. Many of the ingredients were somewhat exotic and I knew I could find them in Mexico. You can imagine my delight when I found a giant aloe plant growing in my Grandma’s turkey pen. Excited, that is, until I realized that I’d have to face the turkey to get to it. (Turkeys are mean!) Luckily, I found plants elsewhere.

Since those days, I’ve come to appreciate more simple ingredients. Although, I grow my own aloe plant (mainly because it’s one of the only plants to survive my black thumb and inability to water a plant on a regular basis).

I only use natural, homemade beauty products now and the reasons are many:


Simple

My decision to live a life of voluntary simplicity extends past the amount of dishes I own or books I possess. Simplifying every aspect of life that I can is important to me. I love that I can take two ingredients and have shampoo that works better than any I’ve ever purchased. Or that, in a pinch, coconut oil can be used to moisturize my face or heal my baby’s diaper rash. (Find high quality coconut oil here.)

Multi purpose

Much of what I own needs to do more than one thing, including my beauty products and the ingredients they’re made with. The aftershave I made for my husband does double duty as my deodorant. Actually, it does triple duty as my moisturizer as well. What? I got curious one day… Many of the ingredients I use in them are used for other things as well. Baking soda, coconut oil, shea butter, castile soap, essential oils – all are used around my home on a daily basis, in many different applications. This translates into significant cost savings as well.


Customizable

Being able to personalize something is pretty important to me. Many times, I’ll make something and get a few ideas for how to improve it on the next go-round. Maybe a different scent would be better. Or maybe I could use more of this to make it more creamy. Sometimes I decide that an ingredient wasn’t necessary or that I could improve it by adding something. I love the freedom I have to be creative.

Giftable

Homemade gifts are easy and inexpensive to make. My favorite method is making extra and then packaging it in something pretty. This is usually a glass jar or a plain brown craft bag, dressed up with a cute label. Just about any homemade beauty item can be gifted (or sold).

Less waste

Bringing less packaging into our home is an important part of lowering the amount of waste our family produces. This is yet another reason why I love to make my own beauty products. When they’re all finished, they get stored in a glass container that I have on hand. Or they go into a previously purchased container that’s been washed for reuse. No more packaging coming in, no more waste going out.

Safety

There has been a lot of alarm raised about the ingredients found in commercial beauty products. Many of them include ingredients that cause cancer, pollute the earth and that are just plain bad for us to use. This doesn’t concern me with products I make myself, because I know exactly what’s in it – often times I can eat the final product. Concerned about the products you’re using now? Check out Skin Deep, a database that lets you know exactly what’s in that jar of firming skin cream.

Creating my own natural beauty products has become second nature to me. It’s fun, inexpensive and allows me to express my creativity.

What are your reasons for creating your own natural beauty products?


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Comments

  1. Gina says

    Twice, I’m online researching something and your newsletter references the exact thing. I’m researching recipes for organic chocolate spa products. All that I’ve found seem to be for immediate use. I’m concerned about longevity. Any suggestions on how to naturally preserve, say an 8 or 16 oz bottle of lotion or scrub? I understand Vitamin E is a natural preservative. Thank u.

    • says

      Hi Gina, I’m sure Nina will also weigh in on this but citric acid is a natural preservative. We use it in both food and beauty products to promote longevity. You can buy it online or at your local homebrew supply store.

    • says

      Gina,
      Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant. I use it in my ointments to keep the oils from going rancid. The resource I found says that you can incorporate it into the lotion at 0.25-.5% of the total formula.

  2. Gina says

    Ahhh…I have a 5 lb jar of it. How much do you add for an 8 or 16 oz size bottle? Thank you. I love following and learning from you and Betsy! :)

    • says

      It depends on the pH you’re looking for in the lotion (or whatever you’re making) but a safe bet usually lies between .25% – 1% citric acid. If you find it too acidic, lower the amount used. I would start low and increase as needed when doing trial & error. (So for 8 oz. use between .02 – .08oz. citric acid.)

      • says

        Thanks for chiming in Matt! I’ve never used citric acid in my recipes before but I think I’ll give it a try.

        Funny note, once I asked Ian to refill the salt and he accidentally grabbed citric acid (we get them from the same company and they have the same bag). Our green beans tasted REALLY funny that night. :)

  3. Heather says

    I would love to see some of Nina’s recipes. Especially her skincare and shampoo recipes. Great article! I couldn’t agree more! I am truly learning a great deal and enjoying your website!

  4. Kendra says

    I havent looked into using citric acid yet…. but…

    With homemade cosmetics/lotions/etc, the term “preservative” doesnt mean what we think it does. There are preservatives and there are antioxidants. The antioxidants (vitamin E, ROE, etc) help prevent the oils and other natural ingredients from going rancid– but still have their limitations. A preservative, however, is an antibacterial/anti-fungal/anti-yeast agent that preserves the product by keeping out or killing off the stuff that would cause the product to break down or rot or become an ideal habitat for all sorts of germies that can make us sick. There are several antioxidants to choose from, but so far in my research, I have yet to come across a 100% natural “preservative” that meets this definition. There is all sorts of info out there tho, so if any one finds anything, let me know! I am by no means an expert… just learning as I go :)

    Also worth noting– thus far from what I’ve learned, oil based products (like body butters) dont require the preservative, especially if you dont dip you fingers in; oils just dont grow the gunk on their own. However, water based products (lotions, etc) and products with other natural ingredients in them definitely need a preservative if you are to give it away or sell it. Also, soap is in a category all its own, and even though you use water and/or organic matter, you dont need a preservative. I recommend the antioxidants tho!

    But, like I said, I’m still learning so I welcome any advice or correction from someone who better knows their stuff!

      • Kendra says

        you and me both! The more you read the more addicting the search for answers becomes, LOL
        Eventually ya just give in and start. You are your own best guinea pig :)

  5. says

    Those of us with intense allergies really benefit from diy products =) I am allergic to wheat (among too many other things) and it really helps to make my own products.