“Do you make everything yourself?!”
I get that question a lot. I think most people are just fascinated by the idea of homemade versions of store-bought items.
I was amazed myself when I made my first batch of deodorant.
The minute I finished that deodorant, I felt this existential sense of pride — like I had really done something with purpose. What I had been buying for almost 2 decades could suddenly be whipped up in my kitchen using inexpensive, all-natural ingredients. Talk about a big milestone in this crunchy journey of mine.
And of course, you just haven't been part of the modern natural health movement until you've either made your own shampoo or gone “no ‘poo” (which didn't work so well for me).
Pros Of Making Your Own Natural Personal Care Products
If you're looking to save quite a bit of money, homemade personal care products fit the bill!
Many of homemade products are made with some of the same staple ingredients: coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils, and beeswax. Even if you upgrade to more specific, specialized ingredients like bentonite clay or shea butter, but you'll still save over organic or “all-natural” store versions.
The only way you might not save some cash is if you're already using very cheap, unnatural personal care products bought from big box stores.
(For example, your savings won't be as significant if you're already using the cheapest, off-the-shelf shampoo and conditioner instead of very expensive, salon products or even more expensive shelf products. The “organic” versions of these products are often more expensive. Some aren't, but you really do pay for the word “organic” on the label.)
Another advantage to making everything yourself? You have complete control over the ingredients. If you have sensitive skin or chemical sensitivities, you can avoid even mildly irritating ingredients in the more natural products.
If you don't mind spending a little time experimenting with different recipes, you can craft the perfect non-toxic, risk-free homemade products for yourself and your family.
That's what I did, and let me tell you — there were a LOT of flops. Which leads me to the cons…
Cons Of Making Your Own Natural Personal Care Products
On the flip side, it's a pain to run out of deodorant and put off making more until it's date night. There you are, mixing baking soda and coconut oil in your high heels so you don't stink to high heaven whilst your husband twirls you around the dance floor. (Of course, that's never happened to me…)
So, yes, sometimes it seems much easier to stop at the drugstore on your way and just grab a tube of deodorant.
Also, it takes time to get used to the taste, feel, and varied results of these homemade products. When I tried homemade toothpaste for the first time, I seriously worked hard to control my gag reflex.
And how about the transition to homemade shampoo? It was the pits. Like, literally, my hair was a grease pit.
Then, I had to figure out that the olive oil in my homemade lotion went rancid after just a few weeks.
Like I said, there were a lot of flops in the beginning.
Make Vs. Buy
I make some personal care products, and I buy others. Everybody's going to be different. Maybe you make everything. That's awesome! Please know that I'm cheering you on, while secretly wondering how your olive oil lotion doesn't smell like feet after a week. 😉
I'm always looking for new homemade recipes or product recommendations.
And since I don't make everything at home anymore, I'm extremely picky about the natural-ness of my store-bought products. I read labels like it's my job. I'm very prone to checking a product's EWG's Skin Deep Database rating on my phone while standing in the aisle of the store.
After using homemade versions and very natural store-bought versions, I have definite favorites.
Natural Personal Care Products: What I Make
These are my favorite homemade personal care products.
There are a million and one recipes for homemade body scrub out there, but my favorite is to mix white sugar with softened coconut oil until it gets to the consistency I like, then add a few drops of lemon, lavender, or orange essential oil. Easy, effective, and cheap!
These bars (Wardee's) are my favorite, and they last a really long time. They are very moisturizing and the softness lasts and lasts. I don't use them daily, but they're perfect when combating times of intense dry skin. I store my lotion bars in the freezer, and discovered last summer that a cold tallow bar rubbed on a sunburn was ah-mazing! Pssst…I've also used them on my lips as chapstick.
My Kids' Tooth Powder
Yes, my kids use something different than The Hubs and I. Why? They use much more toothpaste than we do. They seem to be in the stage where their frontal lobes are still learning that they don't need a quarter-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day. This tooth powder is full of minerals for their developing teeth. Here is another great option.
This is a fairly new thing for us, but so far it seems to be a success. These wipes are re-usable, but please don't be grossed out. It's not much different than cloth diapering!
Combining my favorite essential oils in a carrier oil and putting them in a roll-on tube is how I rock homemade perfume. The scent doesn't last all day, but I do smell nice when I go somewhere. Friends usually sniff the air and comment, “Something smells good.” 🙂
Also, here is Wardee's essential oil perfume recipe.
I wash my face with 3 parts raw honey to 1 part liquid castile soap, and a few drops of essential oils. My skin is bright, clean, and fresh. Plus, it doesn't have to deal with sensitivity to sulfates, unnatural fragrances, and other junk in most store-bought facial washes. If I run out, it takes about a minute to make more — less time than running to the store!
Well, actually, it's not really shaving cream. We shave with coconut oil! This super frugal shaving “cream” keeps my legs as smooth as a baby's bottom and moisturizes at the same time. Since I always have some in the kitchen, we never run out!
Natural Personal Care Products: What I Buy
These are my favorite store-bought personal care products.
The key for successfully using these products? Rinse the shampoo out really, really well, and use the conditioner every 3 to 4 washes. EWG Rating: 1
If you're in need of a cleansing shampoo, I think 100% Pure's Burdock and Neem shampoo does a great job. If I still feel like my scalp is a bit greasy, I'll go at it with that.
Wardee wanted me to add this one. She loves Blood of the Dragon hair gel from Morrocco Method. It keeps the frizz down, yet isn't heavy at all (who likes stiff curls?). A little bit goes a long way!
I also love 100 Percent Pure's Coconut Nourishing Body Cream. I don't need any perfume after applying this, and the smell is just heavenly, not to mention the deep, deep moisture it gives my skin.
Toothpaste For The Hubs And Me
Sure, I could probably make this pretty easily, but why? It's already done for me, already in a squeezable tube, and reasonably priced.
I can't say enough good things about 100 Percent Pure makeup products. All their makeup is made with food-based ingredients, so they're essentially edible! This company is dedicated to being cruelty-free. I've used their products exclusively for over 2 years, and never been disappointed!
They also have a great selection of lotions, skin care products, and nail polishes. I tried several variations of homemade mascara and foundation powder and was very disappointed with the results, but if those work for you, that's great! EWG Rating: 1
I used to think that I had to make all of our personal care products if I was to be a true believer in natural health and real food.
As you can see, I've let go of that notion. I'm not such an overachiever any more. I still love experimenting with homemade and store-bought personal care products, and I'm happy to have found what works for us!
To answer those people who ask “Do you make everything yourself?”, the answer now is “No, I don't.” 😉
What are your favorite personal care products to make? To buy?
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