The amount of questionable ingredients that end up in the most common drugstore products is staggering. According to estimates made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about 65,000 of the 70,000 chemicals that are used commercially in the U.S. are potentially hazardous to our health. Although we have the ability to detoxify environmental toxins, our bodies were never equipped to deal with so many chemicals at once.
There are other reasons to avoid the commercial soaps and harsh detergents available in stores, starting with the fact that the use of these products is relatively new. Overuse of chemical cleaning products can actually deplete one of your body’s natural first defenses, the peripheral immune system barrier. While you often hear about the harmful bacteria that can cause illness, the skin also has naturally beneficial bacteria that are killed when anti-bacterial soaps are used. The absence of these good bacteria can also raise the pH of your skin, which naturally rests at about 5.
One way to avoid absorbing undesirable chemicals in your health and beauty products is to discover the simplicity and satisfaction that comes with making them yourself at home. Not only can you save money while learning a practical skill, but you’ll have control over exactly what goes into the products you and your family use.
4 Natural Beauty Ingredients To Keep In Your Cupboard
Here are a few simple ingredients that are useful when you’re putting together your own skin care products:
1. Coconut Oil: The rule you’ll often hear about beauty products is, if you put something on your skin make sure it’s something you’d eat because your body is going to be absorbing it. While it’s a staple in the kitchen for many people, it makes an amazing moisturizer because it has the exact same acidity as human skin. Another thing that makes coconut such a phenomenal oil is its antibacterial properties which can be helpful for a variety of skin ailments, and its ability to absorb quite quickly without making your skin feel greasy.
2. Zeolite Clay: This clay is an essential purifying tool to rid your skin of unwanted toxins. They are also incredibly versatile, as they make a great face mask, detox bath, toothpaste or internal detox aid. If you’re taking them internally make sure the brand specifies they’re food grade.
3. Cosmetic Oils: There are many great options for skin care oils, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, oils can actually make great moisturizer versus a lotion or heavy cream. Oil can absorb right away and help strengthen the ability of your skin to act as a protective barrier against bacteria. It’s great to try out a few until you find one that will make a great facial and all-purpose moisturizer for your skin type and needs.
- Argan Oil is popular in Morocco and is an excellent facial oil, hair conditioner, and as an aftershave for sensitive skin.
- Seabuckthorn Seed Oil is a rich source of Omega 3, 6, 9 essential fatty acids along with Vitamins K and E. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is great for either preventative skin care or for regenerating dry, wounded or irritated skin.
- Calendula oil is enriched with flowers of Calendula which help stimulate collagen production, making it another excellent option for wounds, scars or irritated skin. Calendula also has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and immune stimulating properties which makes it a versatile addition to any holistic beauty kit.
- Jojoba Oil is often used as a facial oil due to its quick absorption and neutral scent. It’s quite popular as a carrier oil for herbal infusions and essential oils, and can also be used as an alternative to eye makeup remover.
4. Essential Oils: These extracts of the volatile oils in various herbs and flowers are incredibly useful for making cosmetics. Not only do they add lovely, natural fragrance to your recipes but they also have a huge array of therapeutic benefits from purifying your skin and healing blemishes to reducing stress. Some of the most useful to start out with are lavender, peppermint, lemon, orange and tea tree.
DIY: 3 All Natural Homemade Skin Care Recipes
I’ve included a few of my favorite homemade recipes here, and I’d love to hear about your at home beauty solutions in the comments below!
Honey Beeswax Lip Balm
- 1 tablespoon beeswax, grated or chopped
- 3 tablespoons organic cacao butter, chopped
- 3 tablespoons raw organic honey
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed hemp oil
Step 1: Melt your beeswax, cacao butter and coconut oil on low heat in a double boiler while stirring frequently.
Step 2: If you’re using honey, add it next along with the hemp oil and your additional ingredients of choice. Once the honey is mostly dissolved, turn off the heat and stir well until it reaches a smooth consistency. Transfer to your containers immediately before the mixture cools. Let your lip balm set for about an hour before using. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight and use within about six months.
The basic version of this lip balm has a mild, sweet flavor and aroma. Once you’ve done it a few times you may want to play around with different essential oils and flavors to make something a little more special!
Here’s a few ideas to get you started …
- Mint Chocolate – 4 drops peppermint essential oil and 1/2 teaspoon raw cacao
- Vanilla Bean – Sprinkle of vanilla bean powder and 4 drops vanilla essential oil
- Citrus – 2 drops each lemon and orange essential oil
Note: This recipe uses honey for its moisturizing and preservative properties, but if you prefer a strictly vegan option just increase the amount of coconut oil and hemp oil by about 1 tablespoon each and substitute beeswax for carnauba wax.
Lavender Tea Tree Deodorant
- Baking soda (aluminum-free), 2-3 tablespoons
- Organic coconut oil, 4-5 tablespoons
- Arrowroot powder, 2 tablespoons
- A few shavings of beeswax
- 4 drops each of lavender & tea tree essential oils
Step 1: Melt your coconut oil and beeswax over low heat in a double boiler until liquid. You can add more beeswax if you want to pour the mixture into a mold.
Step 2: Remove from heat and stir in baking soda, arrowroot powder and 1-2 essential oils of your choice. I usually use tea tree because of its antibacterial properties along with lavender for a fresh scent.
Step 3: Stir well and pour into a small glass container before the mixture cools off. Make sure you label each batch with the date, and store somewhere out of direct sunlight.
The ability of coconut oil to melt at body temperature makes this deodorant very easy to use, even though it appears solid. You can also adjust the amount of baking soda and tea tree to your liking if you have more sensitive skin, or want to make a stronger formula. Part of the fun of this recipe is to play around and find the perfect version for yourself.
Clay Detox Face Mask
- 2 tablespoons zeolite clay
- A few pinches of cinnamon, to stimulate circulation
- A few drops of tea tree oil, if you want to clear up blemishes
Mix ingredients in a small jar and add water a few drops at a time until you reach a thick consistency that holds together. If you accidentally add too much water, put in an additional tablespoon of clay until mixture thickens. Spread generously on your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and wait for the clay to dry (it will turn into a lighter colour and begin to flake off). Rinse with warm water, and moisturize with coconut, argan or jojoba oil.