True confession time: I tend to take the easy way out.
The yoga studio where I teach was recently offering a soap-making course, and I had no interest in taking it. It sounded fun, but who has the time? Despite my love of knitting, crochet and all things needle-related, I never jumped on the DIY bandwagon when it came to making my own beauty products.
However, all that changed when I started to read about the cosmetics industry shortly after I decided to green my wardrobe—greening my personal care routine seemed like the next logical step—and I was shocked by what I learned.
In a nutshell, there are a lot of nasty things lurking in most cosmetics that may be harmful to your health. Unfortunately, many of the so-called green alternatives are green in name only and contain many of the same nasty things in their conventional counterparts. Those that are truly green often have a pretty hefty price tag attached to them. (I found this out recently when I heard about one company whose products are truly green and safe, and the deodorant alone is $16 a bottle.)
Therefore, I have started to make a few of my own products which I am sharing here. My criteria was simple, I wanted products that were effective as well as simple and cheap to make. The last part was very important since DIY cosmetics can be expensive, especially if you get into the more advanced stuff that often call for a lot of ingredients including pricey essential oils.
Read on for the recipes.
Easy Hand/ Body Lotion
- 6 TBS of almond oil
- 2 TBS of shea butter
Heat the oil and butter in a sauce pan on the stove. Do not let the mixture boil. Once the shea butter has melted remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a small container. (An old lotion bottle that has been washed and dry is perfect. Just make sure it is completely dry.) Shake the container for a good 1-2 minutes, and allow it to sit in a cool, dry location for 1 to 2 days. Use as needed.
- Oil of choice-almond, olive, etc.
So easy to make that you don’t even need to measure. Simply place a handful of salt in bowl and add oil to make a paste. (Test it on the back of your hand. If it’s too rough, add more oil.)
I like to apply this to dry skin and then step into the shower. Some like to apply it after they’ve been in the shower for a few minutes. The choice is yours. Avoid the face or any areas of broken or tender skin.
(Note: Some body scrub recipes call for sugar. I am not a huge fan of that. First of all, sugar tends to dissolve a lot quicker than salt does. Also, if you are prone to breakouts, sugar can feed the bacteria that causes pimples.)
(Note: This is an old favorite of stand-up comedians. Joan Rivers revealed a few years ago that she sprays straight vodka under her arms before a performance. This does not stain clothing. The recipe below is a little nicer than straight vodka alone which can sting freshly-shaved underarms.)
- 4 oz of vodka (use the cheap stuff if you don’t have any in the house.)
- 1 tsp of glycerine
- essential oil of choice (optional)
Combine the vodka and glycerine in a spray bottle and mix well. Add 10-20 drops of essential oil if you wish. (I like lemon myself.) Let this sit for a day or more and then use as needed. This also makes a great body deodorizing spray in the summer or after a work-out.
Clarifying Shampoo Treatment
Combine up 3 TBS of baking soda with 2 TBS of water. (You want to make a paste and not have all the soda dissolve.) Massage through the head and scalp. Rinse off and follow by rinsing the hair in 2 TBS of vinegar in 1 cup of water. (Avoid getting this in the eyes.) Dry and style as usual.
Note: Those who are into the “no shampoo” method can use this every day or several times a week.
In closing, truly clean, green beauty products don’t have to cost the earth. While I still believe that it is best to buy some already-made personal care products like sunscreen, for instance, the above are fun and easy to make and won’t require a lot of time. Best of all, you know exactly what is in them.
What are you waiting for?
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Ed: Sara Crolick