By now I hope you know that I am no superwoman. I’ve learned that living a natural lifestyle is not about trying to make everything from scratch; it’s about learning to find what is sustainable and important to my family. It may be different than what is sustainable for your family but that’s quite alright and I hope you can come to the same resolution, too.
Two days ago I wrote about why I don’t make my own cleaning products from scratch and today I want to share with you the 6 personal and beauty care products that I find is worth making from scratch.
1. Hand Soap
By far, one of the easiest ways I have reduced toxins in my home is by making my own soap. Most store-bought soaps are antibacterial and research has shown this is less effective than simple soap and water. Plus, if you’re using store-bought hand soaps they may be derived from GMO-corn, contain artificial fragrances, and colors.
I have tried making a liquid peppermint soap but my favorite (and easiest) is making my own foam hand soap. With this soap bottle, all you do is fill to the line with castile soap, fill the rest with water, and add essential oils if you want. I use unscented castile soap because I put my kid safe Germ Destroyer synergy in it. You can also put invigorating essential oils like peppermint, bergamot, and grapefruit or you can choose relaxing oils like lavender, patchouli, or one of your other favorite scents. Really the possibilities are endless and if you’re on the frugal side, you absolutely don’t need to add any essential oils!
If you’re looking for a better alternative to hand sanitizer for the on-the-go solutions, I suggest getting the small travel spray bottle from Branch Basics. I keep one in my purse and one in my car to wash our hands if needed. The best part is, you don’t have to rinse with water and the ingredients are ones you can completely trust.
2. Healing Ointment and Balm
Boo-boos come with the territory of having kids and as a mother of a rambunctious 4 year old, having something that will cleanse and heal his boo-boos is really important to me. Before my natural minded ways, I opted for topical antibacterial ointments with weird to pronounce ingredients. Now that I question more things, it doesn’t make sense to put toxins onto a wound or scrape because it’s almost an immediate passageway into the body. Considering our body is our largest organ and it absorbs 60% of things put on it, it’s a necessity to have something non-toxic and trustworthy.
The reason I make my own healing ointment and balms is because they are too easy not to. I have a homemade healing ointment with a consistency similar to Neosporin and I also have a healing balm that I put in chapstick tubes as an easy and convenient on-the-go solution.
3. Toner for Acne-Prone Skin
All through high school I never experienced any kind of acne; maybe the occasional pimple but that was it. It was only until a couple years ago that acne started to take over my face and I had no idea what to do. I think a lot of it has been hormonal as I’ve gone through one pregnancy and an unexplained dairy intolerance for 2 years, but I’m trying to work it back to normal.
Most acne “solutions” are basically a toxin soup of crazy ingredients which tend to make the problem worse, so I opted for something a simple: a witch hazel rub after I washed my face with Branch Basics soap and water. Witch hazel has an acquired smell to it, so I decided to add a few other simple ingredients to make it a bit more palatable to my nose (here’s my recipe for a DIY Toner for Acne-Prone Skin). Plus, the added ingredients help normalize the oil on your skin and over time may help reduce acne.
I have never been the one to douse myself with perfume even before my pre-naturally minded days. I did have one perfume that I used on occasion but that was the extent of it. When I learned of all the potential chemicals in beauty products, I ditched the perfume and went fragrance-free for quite some time. Doing this, made me more sensitive to fake smells and now they give me a headache. It’s probably with good reason because the word “fragrance” can actually be up to 12,500 different ingredients! Who knows what kind of concoction is in them.
When I learned of essential oils and how they can offer the same feel without the headache, I did a bit of experimenting with some of my favorite smells. I’m not a floral person and prefer the citrus and woodsy smells so I came up with an uplifting blend of Bergamot and Sandalwood — oh I love it (you can find the recipe here which also includes tips on how to make your own blends).
Even though making your own perfume takes a bit more trial and error, it’s definitely something easy you can make yourself and worth it for the amount of artificial smells (and headaches) you will decrease in your life.
Bonus: you get the added therapeutic benefits of the oils you use so it’s a win-win.
5. Body Butter for My Growing Belly
The word body butter is extremely intimidating but I was amazed at how easy it was to make and my specific recipe for growing pregnant bellies only require three simple ingredients. The only problem I had with making it was to remember to take it out of the refrigerator before it got too hard to whip (no problem though, just re-melt and remember to set the timer on your phone!).
There are over 84,000 chemicals registered for use with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (source) and not all of them have been tested for safety but all of them have been allowed in our personal care and beauty products. Lotions tend to be one of the biggest offenders so making a simple body butter is really worth making — especially when it’s simple to make.
6. Clay Paste for Bug Bites
In 2011 I went to a funeral and came home with like 46 mosquito bites on my legs. I was in pain and super itchy, so I tried the normal over-the-counter cream to help reduce my discomfort. To my surprise, the cream made my legs much worse and made me break out into a rash. It took a long time for the rash to go away and now if you look closely at my legs, you can still see the red in my hair follicles. I vowed to NEVER use a store-bought over-the-counter ointment ever again and I was damn sure that I wouldn’t use it on Andrew.
When we moved back to Florida from California in 2013, Andrew was exposed to mosquitoes for the first time in his life. The result was extreme swelling, pain, and discomfort. Being helpless and watching my young toddler in pain was one of the worst things I had to experience as mother but I knew that I wouldn’t chance putting an over-the-counter cream and him experiencing the same rash reaction that happened to me. I tried all the natural remedies; banana peel, ACV, baking soda paste, oatmeal paste… nothing worked. For the next several months, I lived in fear of leaving my home for the chance of Andrew getting bit by a mosquito (even with bug spray on!). Then, one day, a miracle happened and I was introduced to lavender essential oil. You can read more about that story here.
Since then, I’ve become almost an expert at mosquito bites and have found that sometimes I need something a little extra to help kickstart the healing process of the bites which lead me to the creation of my clay paste. Using only four ingredients, the clay paste helps draw out the toxins, soothes the bite from itching and pain, and brings down the inflammation. I know it works because anytime Andrew’s bites are bothering him, he asks me for the brown stuff (aka clay paste).
I’m a true believer and will never have to purchase any type of store-bought (even if it’s organic and all natural) bug bite cream ever again. Here’s the recipe for the clay paste.
I also whiten my teeth with one simple ingredient: activated charcoal. However, it’s such a simple recipe that I’m not sure I could have featured it in this post but if you want to know how I whiten my teeth with activated charcoal, click here.
You Want to Know How to Make More Beauty and Personal Care Recipes From Scratch?
The reality is that most store-bought beauty products and personal care products contain a sleuth of chemicals that have been linked to all kinds of health issues:
- BHA and BHT
- Coal-tar dyes
- DEA, MEA and TEA
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- Fragrance (all 12,500 mystery ingredients)
- Sodium laureth (or lauryl) sulfate
My friend Heather from Mommypotamus created an EXCELLENT e-book to use as you transition from chemical-laden store-bought beauty and personal care products to safer, truly natural alternatives.
It’s one of my longest affiliate partners and with good reason, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes is worth it’s weight in gold because:
- The recipes are simple and cost effective (she’s a mama of 3 with a full-time business so time is precious to her and she formulated her recipes to where they don’t take a lot of time)
- The recipes are truly chemical-free
- There are loads of recipes to help you with every area of your personal and beauty care routine
- There are even homemade baby products you can make
It’s a great tool to have in case you feel like experimenting with making your own products and because there are so many, you can pick and choose which ones are most important to you.