Natural (Homemade) Substitutes for Conventional Beauty Products

Natural Substitutes for Convetional Beauty Products

Outer beauty is at least partially a reflection of inner health and a healthy, well-nourished body will shine with great skin, silky hair and bright eyes. It seems ironic then, that most “beauty” products contain chemicals that are so dangerous to the skin. Take for instance, Apricot Scrub by St. Ives, my former beauty product of choice. I checked it out on The Cosmetics Database and found that it ranks 9 out of 10 for containing hazardous chemicals… and it is marketed as being natural!!!

Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to conventional beauty products that work great. A healthy diet and good exercise plan also go a long way! These natural alternatives are also less expensive in most cases, and work so well, I’m never going back.

Natural Substitutes for Deodorant and Antiperspirant

Antiperspirant and deodorant products are some of the worst offenders when it comes to beauty products. There have been recent reports of links between these products and much higher rates of breast cancer, and doctors report that those who get breast cancer are most likely to get a tumor in the area closest to the armpit. Antiperspirants, by sealing in moisture, are the worst. Besides putting aluminum in your body, they prevent perspiration, which is the body’s natural way to eliminate toxins.

Natural Alternatives: Baking soda by itself is actually an incredibly effective natural deodorant, though it can be messy if you are wearing a dark color. Mixing baking soda with equal part coconut oil is a cleaner option and since coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, it is great at preventing odor. You can also buy natural alternatives, but look out for any containing aluminum of any kind, and check yours in the cosmetic database before buying. Check out my deodorant made with essential oils and my deodorant bars.

Natural Substitutes for Lotion

Lotion is another top offender for beauty products. The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and many chemicals can be absorbed by the skin and stored in fat tissue. This is especially a concern for pregnant women, as these chemicals can be passed to a baby though the placenta.

Natural Substitutes: The best natural lotion I have found so far is just pure organic Coconut Oil. It is able to penetrate the skin and the medium chain fatty acids help with wrinkles, dry skin, and other skin problems and since it is naturally antibacterial, it won’t cause breakouts. There are also countless ways to combine coconut oil with other oils, butters, essential oils and herbs to create solutions for your specific skin. See my lotion and lotion bars!

Natural Substitutes for Toothpaste

Almost all conventional toothpastes contain fluoride, which have been linked to thyroid disease and cancer. Most also have sugar, which seems counter-intuitive for a product designed to prevent cavities. Fortunately, companies are catching on to consumers being more aware of this, and are finally presenting fluoride free natural options. At our house, we opt for a natural alternative that is easy to make and inexpensive (and keeps us from getting cavities)

Natural Alternatives: Mix baking soda and peppermint liquid castille soap to make a thick paste. Squeeze or scoop onto toothbrush and brush as normal. This has a slightly salty minty taste and also a natural whitening effect. Some people use pure baking soda, which works great, but is a little bitter/salty for me. Take a look at our natural recipe and our natural squeezable toothpaste!

Natural Substitutes for Facial Toner

Though toners don’t contain as high of levels as other beauty products (typically), I wanted to include this one because there is a natural option that outperforms conventional products by far and makes people look a lot younger.

Natural Substitute: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother rubbed on freshly clean face (dilute with water! A teaspoon per half cup of water is a good ratio…). The vinegar scent fades as soon as it dries, and a few drops of essential oil in a few ounces of apple cider vinegar really helps the smell. Apple cider vinegar tightens, brightens and freshens the skin and percents dry skin and breakouts. It is also great to have on hand for heartburn, yeast overgrowth and other common complaints.

Natural Substitutes for Mascara Remover

I must admit, I was always leery of mascara remover, because it seemed dangerous to put something like that close to my eyes. Sorry to say, this kept me from using anything to remove my eye makeup for years. I would sleep with it, and use dry tissues to wipe off the racoon eyes the next morning. I do NOT recommend this! It gave me early wrinkles (fixed by apple cider vinegar and coconut oil) and lighter pigment around my eyes. I finally found a good solution, and my skin has never felt healthier:

Natural Alternatives: Olive oil and/or coconut oil are great at removing mascara and eye makeup, even waterproof. As an added benefit, they moisturize the eyes and help remove or prevent wrinkles.

Natural Substitutes for Hair Spray

Another product that makes the top ten list of dangerous products, hair sprays (especially aerosol) put chemicals into the air and consequently into your lungs and skin. Most contain substances that have been linked to cancer or disease and they can, after time, cause chemical sensitivities. Willing to try some natural options?

Natural Substitutes: Many people swear by juicing a lemon and mixing with a couple cups of water in a spray bottle. It works, but has to be stored in the fridge. I prefer mixing a cup of boiling water with 1-4 teaspoons of sugar (depending on the level of hold you want). Stir and let sugar dissolve completely and pour into a fine mister bottle. This will hold hair and make it shine. For difficult hair, let first application dry and apply another application.

For the natural beach waves look, make the above recipe with salt instead. This will give a flexible hold without being dull at all. Supposedly, top stylists are turning to sea salt products lately too.

Natural Substitutes for Teeth Whiteners

Most teeth whiteners contain high levels of peroxide and other chemicals. While these aren’t a necessary beauty product, white teeth make you look younger and healthier. The best treatment is a healthy diet, but some natural options can help speed up the teeth whitening process.

Natural Substitutions: Save the money on expensive commercial whitening and avoid the dangerous chemicals by using pure baking soda on a toothbrush. Brush lightly in small circles for five minutes before regular brushing once to twice a week. Alternatively, rub fresh strawberries on the gums or mix mashed strawberries and baking soda and wear in mouth tray for 30 minutes once a week. I was shocked to find that both of these actually work and make your teeth feel great (no chemical aftertaste or lingering sensitivity).

To sum all that up: you basically need coconut oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. These three products do wonders as natural beauty products and are also used in natural cooking and cleaning recipes. They truly are so healthy you could (and should) eat them.

Got any better ones? please tell me about them below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Great tip about teeth whitening.
    Who would a thunk it!

    Warmest regards,
    Denise W

    • for brushing my teeth?..i have been using baking soda combined with apple-cider vinegar!…it works great!

  2. Great tips! I hadn’t heard some of these before.

    I wash my hair with vinegar. I also use honey as a facial cleanser; it’s naturally antibacterial, and it makes my skin soft and glowing!

  3. What a great article!!!
    I was using olive oil for long time to remove mascara, so I know it works great.
    And I really like recipe for toothpaste – will mix it and see how it goes.

    • Thanks for the comment! For toothpaste, I’ve found that adding some natural stevia can help make the taste a little less salty if it bothers you. A post on toothpaste recipes to come soon!

      • Is there any substitutes of coconut oil? Because I haven’t found coconut oil in my country yet…

  4. Excellent article! I’m so excited to have found this your website! My new project is replacing all my chemically based cleaners and beauty products with natural ones. I learned to use olive oil as baby lotion from my Austrian midwife, then a few months ago I switched to Coconut Oil and love it! I haven’t had much luck with Shampoo and Conditioner- most of the conditions are greasy or oily…any ideas?

    • I’m still working on mastering the conditioner situation myself. I know of a lot of people who went “no poo” and just shampoo/condition with baking soda and vinegar, but I haven’t been able to make the switch though. I tried, at one point, but had a premature baby and was recovering from surgery, so the timing wasn’t ideal and I eventually gave up. there are some decent natural options, but like you said, many make your hair greasy. On days when I don’t have time to wash my hair (unfortunately happens more than I like to admit with little ones!) I use arrowroot powder as a dry shampoo to keep hair from looking oily.
      Hope this helps some!

      • I did try the No Poo method, and I’m very surprised that its not bad! My hair was not greasy at all, which was supposed to take two weeks to balance out but it was immediate! I’ve tried it about 3 times and am very impressed- my hair has nice body, and isn’t weighed down, stripped of natural oils, or stringy and straw-like, which was what I was afraid of. I’ll keep playing around with recipes if I find more, but I am very surprised at how much I like this!

        • I need to just get brave and try it again I think! thanks for the motivation.

        • Sounds good but man, doesn’t the vinegar smell follow you all week?

          • The vinegar smell goes away as soon as it dries! Dilute 1/4 with water. I add essential oil, too.

  5. Just wondering why you use Apple Cider Vinegar? Does it have some properties that are more beneficial or less harmful than regular white vinegar?

    • It has a lot more b-vitamins from what I understand, and a different acid profile. White vinegar is great for cleaning, but is a little more harsh on the skin.

  6. Great article! I’ll definitely be trying these out. I’m a little confused about number 4. What do you mean by ” Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother rubbed…”?

    • Some types of apple cider vinegar say “with the Mother” on them. This
      means it has a higher concentration of nutrients and beneficial

  7. Thanks for the beauty info. I was wondering if you have any ideas for nail polish alternatives? Trying to eliminate chemicals from my beauty products.

  8. Just tried some coconut oil for moisturizer–works great!

  9. Oh try the no poo method! It is amazing! I’ve been doing it for over a year now and my course hair is softer and shinier than ever! Doing a final rinse with honey water always makes it better too. I’ve been using witch hazel as a facial toner but am excited to try ACV now. I also use olive oil or jojoba oil as a moisturizer which works for be because, over a long period of time, coconut oil dries my skin( I know, weird). Thanks for all the great tips! Your site is expanding my mind! 🙂

    • It’s not weird. I’ve talked to a lot of people who get dried out with coconut oil. My hands HATE it in the winter, but it helps in the warmer months.

  10. Any ideas for an all natural shampoo?

  11. I was wondering if there was a particular type of coconut oil you’d recommend for body care vs. for eating?

    • Any kind is really fine for skin, but extra virgin and unrefined is best for eating.

  12. LOVE the homemade deodorant recipe you posted.  I am blown away by how effective it is and want to find natural replacements for other products.  I have oily skin and have always had a hard time managing/controlling it.  What would make for a good facial cleanser and/or toner?  Do you think coconut oil would be too much as a moisturizer if I already have oily skin?  Thank you! 🙂

    • As weird as this sounds, olive oil. You can Google the process and read numerous success stories. I have bad skin (acne, combination), but this is awesome and my face always feels great. I wear a lot of makeup so I wash my face with natural soap first.

      Use warm/hot water to wet your face (I wash the majority of my makeup off here, with natural soap) and open your pores. Pour some olive oil in the palm of your hand (I have a dropper bottle by my sink, filled with olive oil) and massage into face in circular motions. This will take off the rest of your makeup as well. Use a CLEAN washcloth, soak in hot water and ring out. Place warmed washcloth on face. You’re supposed to leave it on until it cools, but I’m not patient. I press it on my face with my hands until it’s lost most heat (30 seconds). I wipe off the oil and excess makeup, then I repeat the process, starting from wetting your face, using the other side of the washcloth.

      Olive oil is said to reset the PH of your face, often fixing the problems of oily or dry skin and help with acne. It hasn’t gotten rid of all my acne like some success stories, but it has DEFINITELY made it so much better! And I don’t have oily or dry skin anymore. It is my favorite thing to use, I recommend it to everyone!

      I also use an ACV toner, but I did half ACV and half water (apparently you shouldn’t do this because it is too strong, but I’ve always had a good tolerance to face products), I have noticed that it has lightened my skin quite a bit. I’m looking into witch hazel as a replacement.


  13. Turmeric is great for teeth whining, as well as pulling with coconut oil.

  14. I wanted to try the apple cider toner but I don’t know what ” With the mother” Means. Thanks in advance for some help!

    • It should say it on the bottle. It basically just means that it still contains the beneficial bacteria that is so good for your skin. Braggs is a good brand.

    • I started my toner with just acv and water but it stung my eyes and my skin was super dry. After some experimenting I now use witch hazel, acv, tea tree oil, vitamin e oil, and water. Mix it all in a bottle and shake before use. My skin is so pretty and soft and almost acne free. Just use your moisturizer after. I’m going to start experimenting for eye make remover next. That’s what I was looking for here. Thanks.

      • How much of each?

  15. Is Castille soap edible? It is in the toothpaste recipe, and I am concerned.

    • I wouldn’t use it in food, but it is not harmful in the mouth, and is much safer than the ingredients in many toothpastes. You can omit the castille soap if you’d prefer. It will affect the texture slightly but the toothpaste will still work great.

  16. what do you think about (native) olive oil as a coconot oil substitute?

    • In beauty products it is fine, it just shouldn’t be subbed when cooking at high temperatures.

  17. Great article! I used to use ACV as toner a few years ago,but now I’m using combination of equal parts of rose water and witch hazel + a few drops of geranium essential oil. Not only it smells good, it also reduces my acne and tightens my pores. Furthermore, it doesn’t dries out my skin and leave it feeling supple. I use this toner after my epsom salt + honey facial wash ( good to withdrawn impurities out of your skin) and followed by my pure organic argan oil. Give it a try, it works wonders.

    • I’m sorry to sound so ignorant, but what does ACV stand for?

      • You’re not ignorant : ) acv is short for apple cider vinegar!

  18. Try PitStik today! I make a natural deodorant made with Coconut Oil, Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Beeswax & Melaleuca Oil. Proudly handmade in Colorado Springs, USA!!
    PitStik – Changing the way you stik your pit and It WORKS!!!

  19. What about those “crystal salt rocks” they sell for deoderant now? They are aluminum free and claim to be you have any info on those?

    • they are not aluminium free. they are called ‘alum’ and i use em all the time. works perfect!

  20. what about goats milk lotion and soap bars got any recipies

  21. I’ve also heard that lemon juice mixed with water can work as a shampoo, it can also be used as a mouthwash and to improve discoloration in the elbows and knees. Thanks for all the tips, these were great!

  22. Thank you for the article! I had a book a long time ago that had a recipe for making hair gel by boiling flax seeds in water, until a gel forms. I use it all the time. It seems to strengthen my hair as well. Just remember to keep it refrigerated, because it can spoil after a week or so without being refrigerated.

  23. Thank you so much !! I’ve been looking for natural cosmetic substitutes for ages, and I’ve been experimenting various things that sometimes succeeded, but quite often failed… I’m really realising more and more how much we polute our bodies, thinking we are doing good to them! I want to know even more about natural stuff !

  24. I’ve heard of people using honey instead of body soap… What do you think of that?

  25. Some people mentioned the “no ‘poo” method. I have curly hair and read a book called _Curly Girl_ by Lorraine Massey, who also advocates for not using shampoo. I haven’t used any shampoo for months now; I just use conditioner to clean my hair. An apple cider vinegar rinse works well to make the hair soft, too. The vinegar smell goes away once your hair dries.

  26. I’m having great luck with soaking my mouth in activated charcoal (5min) and then brush with homemade toothpaste for whitening. Also, I use green clay powder for a between washing soak up of oil in the hair around my face…it’s not as noticeable in my dark hair as starch based powders.

  27. I’m a little late when it comes to reading this, but I thought I should point something out. If you use the strawberries on your teeth too much, the natural acid from the fruit can weaken your tooth enamel. While it’s much safer than teeth whiteners found on the market, use strawberries sparingly; maybe once a month, to be safe.

  28. Hi Katie! I love your blog & enjoy trying new recipes. I was wondering if you had ever tried using witch hazel instead of water when making lotion? I love your lotion recipe that doesn’t use water but wanted to try to make something a little creamier just to compare. I’ve read that using water shortens shelf-life & was wondering how witch hazel would work. Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks!

      • Great! Thank you!

  29. There
    are some organic shampoo that mix with a little chemical to help the hair loss
    disease; i dont
    think organic only can cure your hair problem. The acceptable level of chemical
    in some special organic shampoo can really help your disease. I think you
    should go to medical store to find out those line of product, remember
    beneficial chemical with organic natural ingredients.

  30. Good info! I’ve been using coconut oil for the past 2 years. And sometimes alternate the coconut and almond seed oil … just cause it smells oh so good 🙂 Question: would you have any recommendation as what to use instead of an eye cream? Would plain coconut oil be enough? Thanks ahead!

    • I’ve done coconut oil mixed with vit E oil before, then just switched to straight vit E. I’m 31 and don’ really have lines but my 61 year old mum can see improvement with fine lines around her eyes. Or I’ve read carrot oil is supposed to be good to mix in.

  31. hi, i’m wondering what kind of coconut oil should i use? should it be VCO (virgin coconut oil)? also, do i need to use apple cider vinegar? or can i use other vinegar (like cane vinegar)? 😀 thanks

    • I remember Katie replying to a post somewhere on the kind of coconut oil..for consuming, go for non refined coconut oil and for topical application any kind would work. I am not so sure about the vinegar though, sorry .

  32. I have combination skin. Oily around crease of nose and on top of nose and chin but dry everywhere else. I also have Roseasea=service redness on cheeks and nose. I rarely have a breakout. Perfect skin as a teenager but red as an adult. I absolutely love the Lady Soma Renewal Serum. I have been using Lady Soma for 3 weeks and my skin looks younger and healthier.

    Its not greasy at all!!! Its wonderful for wrinkles and moisture protection.

  33. I was wondering about the deodorant substitute, I tend to sweat a lot in my underarms, would it still work/ will I still sweat excessively? The only reason I hesitate in your solution is that I do not want a nasty surprise of stains if I find this only blocks odor. Everything else, however, is wonderful and I will try without hesitation! Thank you very much for the article!

  34. I use Witch Hazel and Chamomile as a natural oil controlling toner that’s calming to the skin.

  35. Amazing post. I loved the mascara removing tip. Used it yesterday and it totally worked 😀 Thanks Wellness Mama. Btw, how did you get rid of under eye wrinkles using coconut oil and AVC. I am 24 and have a really thin skin around eyes with fine lines and dark circles. It makes me look tired all the time. I would be really reallyyyyy grateful if you could kindly suggest me something for that. Thanks. Much Love. <3

  36. OMG!!! I can’t tell you enough how happy I am to have found your app!!!
    My husband and I just moved to South Korea a little over a month ago, let me tell you my skin took a turn for the worst and not to mention my hair too. My sister had told me she started using coconut and olive oil on her hair and worked great, so I did a little research and found you! So, today I did the hair mask and also started using coconut oil lightly on my face and body. My next project is going to be your deodorant and toothpaste recipes. I’ll keep y’all posted on how it works out. Thanks so much!!! Olly

  37. For teeth whitening…I just recently started oil pulling. It’s a bonus too! Not only is it beneficial for your oral health but it is GREAT for whitening your teeth! It has made my teeth naturally white vs a bleached look. It’s generally recommended to be done in the morning. This morning I oil pulled and brushed my teeth with a wet toothbrush after and I felt like I just got out of the dentist’s chair. I think it can help with bad breath too. Last night I had red onions ( I think they tend to be a little stronger). When I went to bed my boyfriend covered his head with the blanket and said I can still smell onion under here! LOL Today, you’d have no clue I ate onions. At least I don’t think so….I don’t smell anything on my breath and I don’t taste it has to do something!

    • What is Oil Pulling ???

  38. When working in the heat sweat would roll down my back and from my underarms. People worked a distance from me because of the odor. Store purchased deodorants worked when used a few times a day, but bad stains on my shirts. Ran across ‘Nutribiotic’ brand on eBay — unscented with grapefruit seed extract, witchhazel, and aloe vera ingredients. (Aluminum & Paraben free). Not homemade but like it better than anything else. Water can flood from my underarms, no smell, and no stains. I don’t work for Nutribiotic, but something that works so well and apparently without the usual bad chemicals involved needs acknowledgment.

  39. I love your blog! It’s just amazing and you are very inspiring person, Wellness Mama! I’ve tried home made toothpaste, love it! Will try lotion bars soon. Thank you 🙂 I wish I knew about your website years ago. Two question: please let me know what do you mean by writing that you got rid of your wrinkles by using coconut oil and apple cider vinegar?
    For cleaning purposes does it matter if my vinegar is 5% or 10%? Kind regards

  40. put active carbon on the teeth, let it on for half an hour
    your teeth get very white

  41. I am very allergic to coconut is the a alternative that can be used

  42. Does the apple cider vinegar toner need to be stored in the refrigerator? What do you think about adding green tea to the toner?

  43. Hello,
    I am curious how you dealt with the wrinkles around your eyes and what kind of eye cream you use? All of a sudden I have notice eye wrinkles and loose skin in the neck area and eye lid. Thanks!

  44. Hi there, I’m new to DIY products and am wondering if you know of any natural preservatives that will extend the shelf life and also how long they generally last. I would like to make enough for giving as gifts to friends and family, but not be embarrassed by giving something that has gone rancid. Thank you so much.

  45. Hi! This post is great, thanks for all the tips!
    I see a lot of readers are wondering the same question as I am, how did you use coconut oil and apple cider vinegar for wrinkles around your eyes?

  46. A natural substitute for makeup remover, and I am sure it also works on mascara, is macadamia oil.
    it works wonderfully on tough foundation, even on matte powder, so I bet it will remove easily mascara.
    all you need is a cotton pad, few drops of macadamia oil and bit of water (cold, lukewarm, even hot if you fancy it).
    it s a gentle way to remove the makeup off your face, and it s a good moisturiser too. kill 2 birds with one stone.
    I know I have stopped getting makeup remover from the store, I only use my oil.
    it does so many things too, I use it on my hair, on my face, on my body and sometimes even as deodorant.
    it s a great oil.

  47. Is PitRok and other such things a safe option? I’ve been told that it’s an aluminium crystal but a safe one – is this true?

  48. I love your website and make a lot of your DIY projects. Do you have any recommendations on “healthy” makeup?

  49. Katie, I love your blog and recipes! I read that castor oil can thicken eyelashes and eyebrows. It is so thick, so I wondered if it could be used as eye makeup remover?

  50. Hi, sorry I read “cider vinegar and coconut oil” help to remove wrinkles? how? I mean what is the measure of each ingredient.
    Thanks, my mother-in-law has been asking me for a natural option for aging but I really don’t know (really new in this

  51. While I can appreciate making items at home and think some of the ideas are good, deodorant hasn’t actually been shown to greatly increase breast cancer, and fluoride in toothpaste is really only going to be harmful if you eat toothpaste. Please don’t spread health misconceptions to convince people to try making your products. The ideas are good and would stand on their own.