DIY Beauty Products



Last week our post was about making our own cleaning supplies. This week I want to look at beauty products. As with the cleaners, you can either make your own or you can buy organic or green products.  Why the concern?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, FDA, states on their website: The FD&C Act defines cosmetics by their intended use, as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” (FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)). If the product is used therapeutically then it comes under the same regulations as supplements. 

FDA-regulated does not mean FDA-approved. FDA does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market, although we do approve color additives used in them (except coal tar hair dyes). Most hair dyes now use petroleum. Prolonged use of coal tar, used in beauty products, has been linked to bladder cancer.

However, under the law, cosmetics must not be “adulterated” or “misbranded.” For example, they must be safe for consumers when used according to directions on the label, or in the customary or expected way, and they must be properly labeled. Companies and individuals who market cosmetics have a legal responsibility for the safety and labeling of their products. The FDA does not review these products, they rely on the integrity of the company. FDA can take action against a cosmetic on the market if we have reliable information showing that it is adulterated or misbranded. FDA takes action within our legal authority, based on public health priorities and available resources.” As with supplements, they will take action if consumers have complained to the FDA about a product. If there is an outbreak of side affects the Department of Public Health will take action & report it to the FDA.

It is left to the consumer to decide what is safe & what is not. Once again this shows how we need to be our own healthcare advocates.

The best website for information regarding your products is… Ta-da!!… Skin Deep  🙂 You can check the safety of your favorite beauty product by typing in the brand or name of the product in the search box. The site has 64,482 products in its data base. For example: Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap, Peppermint get’s a 1 on all but one ingredient, hemp oil, which gets a 2. The best score possible is a 1. I also use Dr. Bronner’s tooth paste. Dr. Bronner’s Anise All-One Toothpaste scores a solid 1 on all but 2 ingredients: citric acid & glycerin which score a 2. 

Another way to use this site is to look at the top banner & click on the type of product you are interested in: Sun, Makeup, Skin, Hair & then click on the product in the drop down menu. If you clicked on Makeup/Concealer, then a list will come up of all the products that are ‘EWG Verified’ & it’s score. If you decide you want to look at it in more detail then click on the one you are interested in to get a list of ingredients & their scores. Here is an example.

 Rejuva Minerals Concealer, Golden Sand is the first one on the list.  EWG scientists reviewed Rejuva Minerals Concealer, Golden Sand for safety according to the methodology outlined in our Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. We assess the ingredients listed on the labels of personal care products based on data in toxicity and regulatory databases, government and health agency assessments and the open scientific literature. EWG’s rating for Rejuva Minerals Concealer, Golden Sand is 1. It then rates it & lists the ingredients. On the left of this page you can choose additional information you may be interested in: 

Data last updated: January 2016

Use this page when you have concerns about a product or are just curious. My recommendation is to read the information about the product you want to use & then make a decision based on your needs & the information. Maybe a 3 or even a 4 score on your product would be adequate for you. Informed decisions are the best decisions.

EWG: Guide to Sun Screens has it’s own page. The new 2017 guide will be available in the Spring. The page not only has information about the best sunscreens, it also has tips to avoid using them at all. 

At the bottom of the page is a place to download the sunscreen app for your phone. They have both Android & Apple. 

I don’t use makeup but I do use a face cream, shampoo, hair rinse, toothpaste & a hair cream. Some I buy & some I make. You have probably noticed that my favorite brand for beauty products is Dr. Bronner’s. I started using this brand in the 60’s & continue to this day. 

We use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap in the liquid form & the bar as a body wash. My husband uses the bar for his shampoo. We also use Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste, and face cream. I make our hair rinse & a hair cream for my husband. Here are my recipes.

My Hair Rinse This rinse makes my long hair soft & easy to brush out. We haven’t noticed our grey hair getting darker though. 🙂 I sometimes add lemon balm &/or chamomile.

Bring 4 cups of water to boil: pour over the following fresh or dried herbs.

  • Rosemary…10-15 sprigs ~Rosemary stimulates hair growth & will darken grey hair. 
  • Garden Sage…10-12 leaves ~Sage is used for hair loss, makes your hair shiny & will darken grey hair. 
  • Thyme…10-12 sprigs ~Thyme is great for dandruff & hair loss.

All three provide nutrients for your hair. Steep for 30 minutes; strain & allow to cool. Pour onto hair, just enough to rub it into hair & scalp. Leave it on your hair, do not rinse out. Towel dry. 

Homemade Hair Cream Recipe: A little bit of this cream goes a long way, so start with a very small amount when first using it. Dip clean fingers into cream, rub a small amount into your hands, and apply to hair that is only slightly damp or completely dry. (I have not had good results when using it on wet or very damp hair.) Don’t let this recipe intimidate you. It is actually very simple to make. It lasts a long time too. Once you have the ingredients on hand, you can make it whenever needed. You only need about an 1/8th of a teaspoon to rub into your hair. If your hair feels greasy, you used too much.

Ingredients: makes about 2 ounces or ¼ cup of cream

  • 2 Tablespoons shea butter 
  • ½ Tablespoon coconut oil 
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon jojoba oil 
  • ¾ teaspoon sweet almond oil Buy this oil in the grocery area & it will be less expensive. I also use it when making medicinal salves.
  • ½ Tablespoon pure aloe vera gel Read the label to get 100% pure aloe vera. I buy it in the bulk section of an herb store.
  • ⅛ teaspoon Vitamin E oil Squeeze it out of your capsules if you have them.
  • 15-20 drops of essential oils – Use 6 drops rosemary, 5 drops chamomile, 5 drops bergamot. I used pine essential oil instead of bergamot. You could also use Lavendar.  


  1. Combine shea butter and coconut oil in a glass measuring cup or half-pint mason jar. Melt in microwave for a few seconds, or use a makeshift double boiler (fill small saucepan with about 1-2 inches of water and set glass container inside, heating on low just until melted).
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to mix. Transfer to a small, shallow tin with a lid. I use a 2 ounce glass container. Buy two so you can make more before you run out.
  3. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight until mixture is cooled and set up. Remove from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before using.
  4. Store at room temperature (for a nice, creamy consistency) and use within a month. Refrigerate any amount you can’t use within that time.

Homemade Hair Rinse from Mother Earth Living: This is like the rinse my mother used on our hair. This is a good one to use once a month to clean the shampoo & conditioner residue from your hair.

• 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 cup boiling water

1. Combine mint and vinegar in a medium bowl, then pour boiling water over the mixture. Allow it to cool completely; strain out leaves. 

2. To use: Pour entire mixture over your scalp after shampooing and massage well. Let sit a few minutes, then rinse with tepid water. Makes 12 ounces.

Hair Rinse Variations

■ Power Boost: Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to your mixture to remove residues left behind from styling products.

■ Go Blond: Replace mint leaves with 1/2 cup chamomile tea for subtle blond highlights.

■ Darker Tresses: For darker highlights, replace mint leaves with equal amounts fresh or dried sage leaves. Over time, this rinse can even darken gray hairs.

8 Herbal Hair Rinse Recipes from Mother Earth Living“Natural hair rinses are as simple to create as making your favorite cup of tea.  In fact, several of the ingredients, such as dried herbs and flowers, can be found in the tea aisle of your local grocery store. You can also use fresh or dried herbs from your garden for year-round healthy tresses. Here are some simple hair rinse recipes for you to create at home—enjoy! “

I am not including a homemade shampoo in this post because I haven’t found one that actually works. I do like the castile soap by Dr. Bronner’s, but it makes my long hair sticky. I prefer to buy my shampoo. If you make your own & love it, please let me know so we can share the recipe 🙂

This site is one of my favorites for homemade beauty products: Miss Wish: 60 Beauty Products You Should Make Yourself and Stop Buying  It even has a Coffee Mud Mask!

Coffee Mud Mask Recipe: 
4 tbsps. bentonite clay Click here for information re: Bentonite Clay 
2 tbsps. coffee grounds
2- 5 tbsps. apple cider vinegar (can be substituted for water)
Recipe Directions: In a small bowl add clay, coffee grounds and mix until incorporated, add 1-2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar to mixture and mix, if the mixture is too thick add more vinegar until it thins out. Smear over face in a circular motion and let it set for 5-10 minutes or until the mask hardens. Rinse mud from face and add a light layer of lotion to face, to prevent drying.

Here is another example from this site.

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil You find this with Olive, Avocado, & Almond oils in the grocery section. It is not an essential oil.
  • 2 chamomile tea bags
  • Add the cup of oats to a food processor. Grind until the oats are broken up into dust (or very small pieces).
  • Transfer oats to a bowl and add coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and the contents of the two tea bags. Stir well until mixed. (If your coconut oil is too solid to measure, run the jar under some hot water or heat up in the microwave to make it easier.) Put the coconut oil into a small heat proof bowl & set in a pan of hot water to soften it.
  • To use the scrub, apply at the very end of your shower. You’ll want to get out right after so that you don’t rinse away all of the moisturizing oils.
  • Stir your scrub before using. Scoop out a small handful and rub all over clean skin. Rinse with warm water, using a washcloth if you prefer. Careful in the tub- it will likely get slippery!
  • Apply a lotion or body oil once you’ve towel-dried for maximum moisture.

Live Simply is full of easy DIY beauty products. I especially like this page on her site: MY MUST-HAVE INGREDIENTS FOR NATURAL BODY-CARE If you’re familiar with Live Simply, then you’re probably aware of the fact that I keep my body-care ingredients fairly simple. I also try to reuse ingredients in multiple ways when possible. It’s oftentimes hard to see the full story when you’re just reading a recipe or two. It’s hard to see how a few basic ingredients overlap to create multiple products. That’s why I’ve compiled today’s ingredient list: to offer an all-in-one-place round-up of the ingredients that I use in multiple body-care recipes here on Live Simply

Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite source to buy organic herbs. There are some that I can’t grow here & some that are obscure. This is a reliable company.

Look under Resources below for other sites that have DIY beauty products.

Here are but a few simple choices for skin care. 

  • Aloe Vera Gel: Make sure you check the label to get 100% Aloe Vera. This simple plant can be used for skin problems, sunburn, radiation burns, & it will make your complexion clear while reducing inflammation. Rub it on your face nightly.
  • Calendula cream/gel: This humble flower, the marigold, has healing properties for wounds, sunburns, radiation burns & insect bites. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties it will smooth & soften your skin. Calendula can be used safely on open wounds.
  • Avocado: Avocado has been a popular facial treatment for a long time. Evidence shows that eating it gives you a healthy, clear, complexion! Tastier way to use them.
  • Shea Butter: Shea butter is a natural moisturizer. It is a better choice than coco butter because it doesn’t clog the pores. This makes it a good choice for acne. Shea is also used to treat psoriasis & eczema.
  • Coconut Oil: Use a tiny amount for a lip balm, skin softener, as a moisturizer, and for those cracked feet during the summer. 

For those of you interested in dental products that you can make at home:

Learning Herbs: Holistic Dental Health and Homemade Mouthwash   This site has helpful hints on holistic preventative care for your teeth as well as a homemade mouthwash. 

Natural Dental Care for Healthy Teeth “Keep chemicals off our pearly whites with these natural dental care tips. Take a look at their tips for dental care. Here are some of their recipes.

Mint Toothpaste Recipe

2 tablespoons baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops peppermint essential oil

1. Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
—Laurel Vukovic  

Natural Tooth Whitener

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon 3% hydrogen peroxide

1. Mix ingredients together.
2. Dip toothbrush in mixture and brush for 3 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Follow with toothpaste.
—Laurel Vukovic

Note: Some people’s gums may be sensitive to hydrogen peroxide. Attempt to keep solution off gums as much as possible.

Natural Mouthwash Recipe

3⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 cup vodka
2 droppersful calendula tincture
2 droppersful goldenseal tincture
1 dropperful myrrh tincture
1 to 2 drops peppermint essential oil

1. Combine all ingredients and shake well.
2. Dilute 3 tablespoons of the rinse in 1⁄2 ounce water, and use as a mouthwash.
—Rosemary Gladstar

I have had emails in the past concerned about endocrine disruptors in nail polish. The most comprehensive information that I have found is on the EWG website 🙂 Nailed It’s not surprising that many nail polishes contain potentially toxic chemicals. Now a study conducted by researchers at Duke University and EWG finds that at least one of those chemicals could be ending up in your body.

Triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, a suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical, is commonly used to make plastics and as a fire retardant in foam furniture. And if you wear nail polish, it could be in your body too. This site lists the brands that have TPHP in their nail polish. Click here for EWG’s full report.

This is a good start in building up your homemade beauty products. Enjoy the process! Until next week…Mary 🙂