Cosmetics and beauty products are a major source of chemical exposure for most people. An average beauty product contains dozens of harmful chemicals, many of which have not even been tested for safety in humans!
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives for every beauty product, and most work better than the chemical-laden alternatives. I have made hundreds of natural beauty and personal care recipes over the years — from shampoo and conditioner to mascara and foundation!
I know it might seem like you need a cabinet of special ingredients, but you can make so many great recipes with what’s in your kitchen plus just a few key bulk purchases!
Here’s how to get started:
How to Make Natural Home & Beauty Recipes (From Only 7 Ingredients!)
Natural ingredients cost more upfront but save us money in the long run because they are so versatile and can be used in multiple recipes. You also don’t need a lot to make a product that lasts quite a while.
I order these products once or twice a year at most and we have smooth, healthy skin all year!
- For a quick and natural facial, give yourself a honey mask. Take a warm shower, or hold your face over a bowl of steaming water to open pores. Rub warm honey on face and sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with warm water and splash with cool water to close pores. Honey also works great as a gentle face wash that can be used every day.
- Instantly clarify and remove oils from your hair by mixing 1 part white vinegar with 5 parts distilled water and pouring over hair after conditioning. Add 5-10 drops of favorite essential oil to make a fresh smell. I recommend lavender, lemon, orange, or peppermint. Depending on your hair type, you may also benefit from detoxing your hair with healing clays and using a natural shampoo.
- For an intensive hair conditioner, blend avocado and coconut milk or cream in a blender and apply to dry hair. Leave on up to 30 minutes and rinse.
- For oily hair, massage baking soda into hair, shampoo as normal and rinse. This can be drying for some people and irritating to the scalp. If you want a gentler option, also try DIY dry shampoo for dark or light hair.
Ingredients for Natural Beauty Recipes
These seven products are my natural beauty staples… (There’s a list of recipes I use them in below!) If you’re just starting out with DIY beauty products, these are great to have on hand and you can make many, many recipes with just these ingredients!
1. Coconut Oil
I order Gold Label Coconut Oil in five gallon buckets from Tropical Traditions. This is by far my favorite coconut oil and I can tell a difference in taste and quality. We save a lot by buying in bulk, and since we use it to cook, in recipes and as a skin lotion by itself, it never goes to waste! (It also comes in smaller quantities!)
We will only use Unrefined, organic coconut oil in cooking, but a cheaper expeller pressed oil could be used in skin recipes to save money (though by ordering in bulk, we still get the good stuff for cheaper than the expeller pressed in the long run!).
For those sensitive to coconut, grass fed organic beef tallow can also be used and it is great for the skin, though you will need to add essential oils to cover the mild scent. We get our tallow in five gallon buckets here.
2. Shea Butter
Our most used natural beauty ingredient after coconut oil. Organic unrefined shea butter has a naturally nutty, earthy smell (very mild) and is incredibly nourishing for the skin! I’ve heard many cases of children seeing improvement from eczema from using shea butter or a mix of it and coconut oil.
It has natural antibacterial properties and is great for preventing stretch marks, for wound healing, and as an anti-aging treatment for skin. It naturally has an SPF of about 5 and can be used as a daily sunscreen. I use shea butter in my lotion, lotion bars, deodorant, face cream, baby lotion, diaper cream and many other recipes!
3. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is another “butter” and a great addition to natural beauty recipes. It is also an ingredient in organic homemade chocolate (recipe soon!). It imparts a delicate chocolate scent, and I love it mixed with mint or citrus in lotion bars, lotion or face cream. It can be used interchangeably with Shea Butter, though I find that my favorite recipes include Shea butter, Cocoa Butter, and Coconut Oil.
Beeswax is a great natural thickening agent, and high quality versions have a gently honey sent. (Note: I’ve heard from several readers that brands ordered from other sources had a very strong and off-putting odor and I can only vouch for this brand.) I use beeswax in lotions, lotion bars, baby care recipes, lip balm, foot cream, etc. Only a little is usually needed to thicken recipes, and a pound lasts us for at least six months.
5. Liquid Carrier Oil
Recipes like smoother lotions, baby oil, salves, and after-shave balms often need to be thinner than coconut oil and the butters will allow. In these cases, I use a liquid carrier oil. Most often, I use olive oil, almond oil, or apricot kernel oil (my favorite). Apricot Kernel has the most gentle scent and almond oil is also relatively unscented. Olive oil is typically the least expensive if you don’t mind the olive scent in your recipes or if you plan to cover it up with essential oils.
6. Arrowroot Powder
I keep Arrowroot on hand for thickening sauces when cooking and it also gets added to a lot of natural recipes like deodorant, baby powder, diaper cream, dry shampoo, etc. It works much like cornstarch but isn’t GMO like many corn products. I also use it in my homemade makeup recipes. I’ve only used this brand, and others have reported that brands from elsewhere are often not as finely ground and don’t work as well in skin recipes.
7. Essential Oils
Not technically needed, but essential oils give great natural scents to DIY beauty recipes and can also be very mood lifting. I get mine here in 8 ounce or larger quantities and they last literally years. Our favorites are mint, lavender, lemon, orange, and sandalwood.
Other Helpful Ingredients
Some other helpful ingredients that can be added to the above recipes are:
- Dried herbs: especially chamomile and calendula for skin recipes
- Zinc oxide: for diaper cream and sunscreens
- Sugar: Not to eat but great for sugar scrubs!
- Baking soda: For deodorant
- Salt: For DIY hair spray or skin exfoliating
- Other essential oils
- Coconut milk: for homemade shampoo
- Liquid castile soap: for cleaning/washing and for homemade baby wipes.
Here are some of my favorite basic beauty recipes:
Make Your Own Natural Deodorant With This Simple Recipe
Homemade Shaving Soap Recipes
Luxurious Sugar Scrub Recipe
Homemade Lotion Bars
DIY Sunscreen Bars
Bug-Off Lotion Bars
Herbal Hair Color Recipes
Seven Natural Baby Care Recipes
DIY Beach Waves Hair Texture Spray
DIY Dry Shampoo for Dark or Light Hair
Natural Skin Care Recipes
Homemade Make-up Recipes
Feminine Hygiene Solutions
Natural Homemade Substitutes for Conventional Beauty Products
Seven Natural Remedies you Already Have at Home
Seven Natural Beauty Tricks From Your Kitchen
How to Make Natural Shampoo
Natural Homemade Baby Wipes-Easy to Make
Do you make your Beauty products? What recipes would you like to try? Share below!
Discussion (72 Comments)
Hi, and congratulations on your new bubba. Love your work on here, it is inspiring. I am a mum of 5 also, and had a undiagnosed breech baby for number 4, with a 3 day labour and medical intervention not much help really, as my midwife was unaware until he was about to be born.
I am trained as a beautician, but retired from that industry some years ago, feeling it was a younger persons trade, and have since been told that a lot of people prefer someone a little older anyway. I have been working as an educator, running a child care service, working 5 days a week. Love working with children, but am a bit worn out, often my day begins at 7.30am and ends at 6pm, with little time for my own family!
I have been offered a position in my friends shop, 3-4 days a week, catering for ladies clothing, accessories and lovely home wares, and we are considering doing some beauty services.
I like your natural alternatives so much, and after giving myself a full facial, cleansing, sugar exfoliation, microdermabrasion, face mask and facial moisturising, all with natural ingredients made by me, and inspired by you, I am so pleased with the results, that I am thinking of seeing if the lovely lady that owns the store, would consider me using them, instead of traditional products, she is in favour of a healthy lifestyle.
I have added my own twists to several of your basic recipes, and am over the moon with the results.
Thank you for your wonderful ideas, and resources, and all the work you to to provide us with this kind of information, and may you and your family be happy and healthy,
I absolutely love your blog! My husband and I have been transitioning to a “greener” life throughout the last few years…we have been vegetarians for years, I have rid the house of most plastics, I make my own detergents and cleaners, etc. But, your blog has given me inspiration to start making some more products! I am going to try your shampoo recipe this week….I only wash my hair every 5-7 days or so…..currently I use Dr. Bronner’s soaps for shampoo and his citrus rinse for conditioner and it’s terrible. My hair is halfway down my back and the soaps leave it dry and tangly. However, I know that even with your shampoo recipe, I will need some sort of conditioner…do you have recipe suggestions? I really don’t want something that you have to leave on for an hour or sleep with overnight….I am not a “spend my time on beauty” kind of person….I want to be able to apply it in the shower or right after and either rinse off or leave in. Does straight coconut oil work for a rinse off? Any suggestions would be helpful! Loving your blog!
A wonderful natural conditioner is vinegar. It leaves hair silky smooth. Some people are bothered by the smell, but I love it, and anyway it fades very quickly. My favourite is cider vinegar.
Do you have a recipe for Laundry Detergent?
I found a couple on a blog called “My Merry Messy Life” > has alot of other DIY Naturals as well!
Try soap nuts. I’ve been using them for years and they are a great all natural product.
Is there a difference when you say you buy “gold label coconut oil” and “organic, unrefined coconut oil?” Or are these both referring to the gold label? Also, I have heard that refined coconut oil (though not refined with chemical solvents) is better for cooking because it has a higher smoke point and no taste. What are your thoughts? I am so confused on what kind to get, and why one brand is better than the other.
From everything I’ve seen, the gold label (which is the same as organic and unrefined) is the best choice because it is not heated in processing so it has the highest level of nutrients. It has a decently high smoke point as well and is great for stir frys, cooking eggs in, etc or for anything cold. I’ve used it for high temp cooking like frying too, but I actually prefer grassfed beef tallow for this, as it has a higher smoke point and less of a tropical taste 🙂
Hi Katie! Sorry, but the gold label coconut oil from Tropical Traditions IS HEATED…and studies show that heating the oil during production allows for a higher content of antioxidants. Please verify these findings…thanks much, I love your work…:)
do you have an after shave recipe? my husband is interested in trying it and I haven’t been able to find one that I like. thanks! love your other recipes!
For my hubby I use natural aloe gel and add a few drops of essential oils… Pure Shea butter also works great
I tried using oil as a moisturiser but felt it was to much to do everyday what other things can u moisturise your face with?
Do you recommend using only organic essential oils?
For the most part, though some are from plants that are not likely to be sprayed anyway…
I love making lip balms and lotions. This list is great. For the longest time I resisted making my own because every recipe I came across had at least 6 ingredients I didn’t already own. I have all of these now, and then some, but it was nice to be able to build them slowly.
still looking for a body soap recipe.
len, pree beauty at the top and look at the list.
Great post! My site is all about DIY beauty treatments like the one you’ve written. I recently did a post listing my favorite DIY resources, and I am definitely adding this post the list. Thx for sharing!
Love it! Nourish Organic has a great raw shea butter that I use, it’s cheap and works great 🙂