How To Make Your Own Organic Beauty Products

Despite my best frugalista efforts, I haven't been able to purge the urge to splurge on beauty products. Naming no names, but there's one organic line of make-up, hair and skin products that has me thoroughly hypnotized. Not to say the stuff doesn't work, but it's very expensive, which offends my frugal nature. 

So I've turned over a new leaf and begun making my own all-natural beauty products. Since I always keep track of my expenses, it was easy to compare how much extra I paid for the salon products as opposed to homemade. Turned out those pretty green bottles and attendant advertising were cutting a bigger hole in my pocket than I realized. True to my nature, I now stuff my DIY makings into the green glass bottles -- around which I'd designed my entire bathroom -- and pocket the extra cash.

Of course, you still need the basic organic ingredients, but you can stay on the frugal path and grab hard-to-find oils with aromatherapy free shipping coupons.

Here are 12 recipes to help get you started on making your own all-natural health and beauty products.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Shampoo
I found this basic mixture in my mother's recipe box, then updated it with a quick Google search. Your hair will feel a bit dry for the first two weeks, then greatly improve and shine like mad.

1. Mix 1/2-cup baking soda and 3 cups warm water.
2. Use a small amount to wash hair as you would with shampoo.
3. Rinse with 1/2-cup apple cider vinegar.
4. Hair will fizz and pop a bit but won't create suds.
5. Rinse thoroughly and dry as normal.

2. Lemon Delight
As teenagers in the late 1960s, we used to rub lemon juice into our heads and sit in the sun. The lemon made our hair softer and shinier while also smelling great. More important to us, the sun made blondes blonder and brought out a touch of red in brunettes.

Commercial hair manufacturers saw dollar signs in this trend and so was born an industry, starting with the "Sun In" hair product. Here's how you can replicate our home-made conditioner, with a few modern refinements.

1. Combine:
    •  1/4-cup plain yogurt
    •  1 egg yolk
    •  2 pinches of lemon rinds
    •  1 teaspoon lemon juice

2. Before washing your hair, massage the mixture gently but thoroughly from the roots out. Let sit for one minute.
3. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
4. If you want a lightening affect, sit in the sun for a few minutes before shampooing.

3. Soapwort Cleansing Cream

Just as the name implies, the crushed leaves or roots of the soapwort plant have been used to make body soaps, shampoo and delicate fabric cleansers since the days of DaVinci. The thing is, it doesn't actually make bars of soap. You might call it the original Old Spice Body Wash.

You can order dried soapwort leaves and flowers through your local coop or grow your own plant. To make the cleansing cream:

1. Bring 1 cup distilled water to a boil and lower heat.
2. Simmer 1/2-cup fresh or 1/4-cup dry soapwort leaves and flowers on medium-low for 10 minutes.
3. Strain and cool.
4. For dry skin, whip in 1 egg yolk.
5. For oily skin, whip in 1 egg white.
6. Slowly blend in 1/2-cup of mashed avocado, strawberry or peach.

4. Foot Exfoliant
We tend to assume callused feet can endure more. While this may be true if you walk on coals daily, smooth feet are happier feet. Give yourself a full pedicure (toe polish isn't necessary) before your next vacation, hike or museum visit. You'll find your feet will last much longer, particularly if you rub them down afterward with an all-natural lotion containing eucalyptus oil.

This recipe may sound like you're making cookies but, as long as you don't stick your feet in the oven, your hands will come out looking and feeling like they did when you were a tweenager. Make sure you have an old towel on hand as this mixture gets pretty goopy. (This exfoliant is also good for hands.)

1. Peel an avocado and mash one-fourth into a bowl.
2. Add:
    •  1 egg white
    •  2 tablespoons oatmeal (instant or slow-cook, it doesn't matter)
    •  1 teaspoon lemon juice
3. Mix thoroughly and apply. (You may want to do your hands and feet at separate times.)
4. Let sit for 20 minutes.
5. Rinse thoroughly in warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
6. Hold your hands to the light and elegantly stroke them as they glisten.

5. Foot Bath
I'm all about bare feet in the summer, so a soothing foot bath is perfect to finish off my feet after exfoliating. Although my hairdresser treats me to a free soak during a hair coloring (just covering up the teeniest bit of grey), it's a long time between appointments. This recipe is simple and the soak stays exquisite if you occasionally add fresh warm water throughout.

1. In a rectangular dishwashing tub, combine:
    •  1 cup lemon juice (bottled or fresh)

    •  2 tablespoons olive oil
    •  1/4-cup milk 

    •  Water to cover the top of your feet
2. I like to add three to four drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil to energize my feet, but it's not necessary.
3. Soak for 15 minutes while reading a totally superfluous magazine.
4. Repeat once a week until your feet stop tearing holes in the bedsheets.

6. Eucalyptus Lotion
Why do I keep mentioning eucalyptus, despite how difficult it is to type? Because this essential oil is stimulating, cooling and penetrating. It contains strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral compounds. In a word, it's maaaaarvelous for what ails you and smells divine. Follow these directions for a lotion that will stimulate your feet. Since I live in an arid climate, I also find adding a few drops to my bath oil in winter keeps my skin super soft.

1. Sterilize a glass bottle, preferably a dark bottle to keep out light.
2. Using a small funnel, pour in:
    •  1 tablespoon almond oil
    •  1 teaspoon avocado oil
    •  1 teaspoon wheat-germ oil
    •  10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
3. Tightly fasten the lid.
4. Shake vigorously until oils are thoroughly combined.
5. Store in a cool, dark place.
6. Shake well before using.
7. Add a few drops of this mix to vitamin E lotion for a less oily feel.

7. Egg Face Masks
This one is so simple it'll leave you with egg on your face, literally. (Sorry. I couldn't resist.) Next time you're whipping up a recipe calling for egg yolks, rub the remaining whites on your face and wash off when it hardens or you've finished cooking -- whichever comes first.

8. Avocado Face Mask

Avocado face masks were hugely popular when avocado-colored household appliances were all the rage. (That's the 1970s, for you kids.)

But everything old is new again at some point, and guacamole on the face still works as a cheap and effective face mask. Just mash up enough of the green stuff to make you look like Shrek, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water. It's that easy.

9. Apple Cider Face Toner
After you've washed off the face mask it's time to close up the pours. Apple-cider vinegar will make your skin glow by restoring it's natural acidic balance. The honey purifies you skin while the glycerin soothes and moisturizes. Because of the acid in the vinegar, you'll want to wear sunscreen daily for a week after applying this toner.

1. Add chamomile tea to 1/2-cup filtered, boiling water.
2. Stir in 1 tablespoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder.
3. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin and stir well. Let cool.
4. Soak cotton ball in mixture.
5. Wipe your entire face with the toner every night.
6. Store remaining mixture in a cool, dark place.

10. Apricot Ambrosia Cream

Creams are tricky as you need an emulsifier -- the easiest to work with is beeswax -- which you must melt into an oil at low temperature. For that reason I've chosen a simple recipe to get you started. I bought a cheap, second-hand pot and use it exclusively for heating up beauty products.

1. Over a low heat, combine 1 ounce each grape seed and apricot kernel oils.

2. Melt in 2 tablespoons beeswax.
3. Remove from heat and cool for several minutes.
4. Stir in:
    •  one drop rosemary extract
    •  3 ounces aloe vera
    •  3 ounces honey chamomile tea
5. Blend with a beater on medium for one minute.
6. Cool further and beat for another two minutes.
7. Repeat until mixture reaches a perfect consistency.
8. Cover and let sit for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes with a wood spoon or rubber spatula to remove all air.
9. When lotion reaches room temperature, pour it into a sterilized, glass container.

This recipe yields six ounces or one bottle. You might want to double or triple it, since you're going to all this trouble.

11. Baby Powder
While I have no little ones at home, I love the smell and texture of baby powder. Plus, there are a lot more uses for the stuff than drying out a baby's bottom. It a summer soother for everything from armpits to feet. Sprinkle it in tennis shoes, suitcases and other stinky stuff to reduce odors and dry up wet spots. Then, of course, there are always those wet babies' bottoms.

Use a large bowl and wooden spoon to make your own organic baby powder. Or you can use the traditional mortar and pestle.

1. Mix together 1 tablespoon each of dried chamomile and lavender.
2. Grind into a fine powder.
3. Mix in 1 cup arrowroot powder.
4. Grind again.
5. Pour into a sterilized shaker container. (You can use an old baby-powder container.)

If your baby has chronic diaper rash, apply a mixture of 2 tablespoons arrowroot and 1 tablespoon zinc oxide powder.

12. 30 SPF Sunscreen

I live in Colorado, where sunscreen isn't an afterthought, it's a religion. The only problem is that the average ingredient in a commercial sunscreen has 16 syllables. It may block the sun but I just know it's changing my DNA to NDA (aka gibberish.)

This recipe won't change the ladder structure of your DNA, won't make your eyes bleed and smells delicious. Remember, however, that sunscreen can only protect you to a certain point. Apply it repeatedly, cover up and keep in mind sun is good in moderation. (Spoken like a nearly native Coloradan.) This recipe makes about 10 ounces.

1. Boil 3 ounces distilled water.
2. Remove from heat and add a pinch each of potassium sorbate and cinnamon.
3. Add an all-natural, raspberry green tea bag and let steep.
4. In a separate pan bring 3 ounces coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon red raspberry seed oil to a light simmer.
5. Add 3 tablespoons shredded beeswax until melted.
6. Remove from heat.
7. Squeeze out tea bag and stir 1/2-cup aloe vera juice or gel into the tea.
8. Slowly add 2 tablespoons zinc oxide as the tea mixture cools and continue stirring.
9. Pour tea, aloe and zinc mixture into a glass bowl and blend with mixer on low setting.
10. Slowly add oil and wax mixture and blend for 1 or 2 minutes.
11. Add 3 to 4 drops geranium essential oil.
12. Continue blending.
13. Add 5 to 10 drops vanilla essential oil.
14. Blend for the last time.
15. Place in small, sterilized containers and store in refrigerator.

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1.Facial Scrub Make a perfect facial scrub from grapes. Mash a handful of grapes. Strain them to separate the pulp from the juice. Remove the skins and mash the pulp and juice with 1 tablespoon of almond flour. 2.Facial Mask Make a facial mask with honey and bananas. Make sure the bananas are not overripe. Mash 1 banana with 3 tbs. honey. 3. Skin Softening For a skin softening bath, add 1/4 cup honey and 1 cup of milk to the water.
Posted by Chris Taus
Hi, Regarding the wash made with soapwort, how do you store it? How long does it last? Is it for your face mostly? thanks, grace
Posted by callmegrace
Thanks for the recipes. Natural and organic baby skincare make great baby giifts, but your homegrown recipes help when looking to keep costs down.
Posted by amelie
Great! I will try it for my skin.
Posted by shawnward