Au Naturel,  The Green Life

All Natural Homemade Personal Care Recipes

When I first went natural with my hair wayyyyy back in 1993, I dabbled a little in natural products for my hair.  I didn’t get too far – there wasn’t much information & what my family used growing up was far from natural.  I didn’t even find Dr. Bronner’s until I started my 1st set of locs around Y2K.

Fast forward 18 years and I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought commercial shampoo, cleansers, moisturizers… any of those things.  I can tell you the last time I bought commercial soap – because soap making was the final frontier for me.  And because we still have LOADS of it still hanging out around the house.

A big part of me starting to make my own cleaning & personal care products was that our youngest son had skin issues when he was a baby.  I had to buy specific soaps & lotions that I really didn’t like & no one else in the house used. So I decided to try something different.

I started using Kirk’s castile soap & coconut oil in place of the Cetaphil soap & lotion that our pediatrician recommended.  When we went for our next visit & she mentioned the condition of his skin improving, I told her about the switch.

She surprised me – she said those are really good for his skin, better than the other options.  She said she doesn’t recommend it because most parents want something easy.  Cetaphil is easy – to find, to buy, to use.

That was then & this is now.  Now there’s no going back for us.  Now we make practically everything we need.

It’s a big step in this sustainable lifestyle journey & I decided that it’s only fair to share my resources, recipes, & products for {almost} all the personal care items you need.  And I’ve finally gotten them all documented for you (& me) to reference.

All Natural Homemade Personal Care Recipes

 

*Note: Always do a skin test or a trial run before trying anything new.  And please don’t use anything that may contain items you are allegic to.  I have no allergies so I can’t speak to how things might affect you skin or overall health.  I use coconut oil in almost everything but if you are allegic, I would recommend shea or cocoa butter in it’s place.

 


All Natural Homemade Personal Care by Section:

Cleansers

Scrubs & Masks

Toners

Moisturizers & Lotions

 


All Natural Cleansers For Face, Body, & Hair:

All purpose – I have used each of these for my face, body, & hair.

African Black Soap – This is great to cleanse & clarify acne prone skin.  Clarifying shampoo without being too drying.

Castile soap – Natural clarifying soap.  You will definitely need to moisturize well if you use castile soap because it really cleans – like nothing-left-behind-squeaky clean.

Semi-homemade moisturizing body wash – the cleaning power of castile soap with the added moisture of honey & oil.  You won’t need lotion after showering with this.  My (4b/4c low porosity) hair feels amazingly soft when I wash with this.

Homemade soap – choose your oils based on your skin care needs. Check out the benefits of the various oils below.

 


 

For Your Beautiful Face

A few years ago I went to see a dermatologist because I couldn’t figure out why I was breaking out & I refused to believe that I had adult acne.  I was also really interested in natural ways to keep me & my family’s skin healthy.

During that visit she told me “Don’t concern yourself with all the options out there.  It doesn’t matter how you cleanse, just do it well and don’t dry your skin out.  Even oily skin needs moisture.”

I tried the oil cleansing method while in between follow up visits with her & haven’t looked back since.  I am the only person in my family that does this though.  My guys use the cleansers I mentioned earlier.

Oil Cleansing Method(OCM) – This is my daily go to.  It’s good for all skin types even oily skin, believe it or not.  The basic idea is that oils displace oil.  So when you use the OCM you are getting rid of extra oil on your skin that could be clogging pores, then “lifting” the dirt & bacteria out of those pores.  It also has the added advantage of light exfoliation since you use a hot washcloth to remove the oil.

For my OCM, I use equal parts castor oil (cleansing) & avocado oil (moisturizing, anti-aging).  Sometimes I will mix in sunflower, grapeseed, or EVOO especially during the summer when I can go a little lighter on the moisturizing.

All Natural Scrubs & Masks:

I think scrubs are really important.  There’s lots of junk in the air and between that, diet, aging, & other factors, skin can start to look really dull.  Scrubs get rid of dead skin cells & helps the regeneration process.  Depending on the ingredients, it can brighten things up & help get rid of scarring.

Brown Sugar Brightener
– this is my favorite because it’s an exfoliating scrub & a mask.  I rub it it in as a scrub, then let it sit while I do other things.  Doesn’t really matter how long, it definitely can’t hurt anything.  BUT it does stain from the turmeric.  So be ready to rinse A LOT.

  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1t turmeric
  • 1t grapeseed oil
  • 1T honey

Gently rub all over face & neck.  I like to let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Rinse off like normal, then use a warm wet washcloth to wipe your face until there is no yellow tint left from the turmeric.

BTW, this is really good for “strawberry legs” too.

Baking Soda Scrub

  • 1T honey
  • 1T baking soda

Gently rub on & rinse off like you would with any other exfoliator.

Sugar Cookie Scrub

Named after my sugar cookie recipe. 🙂

  • 1T sugar
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1T oil (coconut, EVOO, or grapeseed are good choices)
  • honey – just enough to make a paste

Gently rub on & rinse off like you would with any other exfoliator.

Bentonite Clay

It’s supposed to pull out all the toxins.  I’ve tried it on my face & hair & I like it.  I actually like it a lot.  You just mix in enough water to make a paste and rub it all over your face (or all through your hair – NOT great for locs though).  Then rinse & pat dry.

BUT… it’s a little pricey & it’s not something that I would normally have around the house.

Honey Mask

The easiest of all.  I just rub a quarter sized amount between my fingers to warm it up, rub it all over my face & let it sit there while I do other things.  Rinse & dry.

All Natural Toners:

I personally don’t think it’s always necessary to use a toner, especially if you have dry skin like me.  But it can help out some problems like oily skin, enlarged pores, & uneven tone.  Choose an all natural toner based on your skin care needs:

Rose water

Calming, hydrating & helps reduce inflammation.  Helps with acne problems.  Plus it smells AMAZING & makes you feel like a queen!

Lemon juice

Antibacterial (so much that I use it to clean with too), skin brightening. DO NOT use this if you are going to be out in the sun.  Save it for overnight & make sure to rinse in the morning.  You’ll also need a good moisturizer because it can be drying.

Witch Hazel

This 1 is old school – you’ve probably seen your mom or grandma using it at some point. It reduces swelling, inflammation & oiliness, helps repair broken skin, fights bacteria (bye bye acne), antioxidant.  It also usually has some % of alcohol in it, so check the ingredients & be aware.

Aloe vera

Moisturizing & soothing.  Of we all know that it has healing power so use it to repair any broken skin and help treat acne & blemishes.  Did you know it’s also great for aging skin?  My skin loves it – my hair not as much.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This 1 is also good for acne & blemishes (are we seeing a trend here?). And it’s also good for aging skin. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, & antiviral.

 


For Your Face & Body

A lot of the lotion recipes I’m sharing can be used on your hair too.  Just be aware of the ingredients & make how your hair reacts to each of them on their own.

Sometimes when 1 thing is mixed with other things, it can work out.  Perfect example… my hair literally hates aloe vera gel – I mean it becomes a wild child monster when I try to use it.  But mixed with beeswax, oil & glycerin makes it feel super soft & moisturized.

I would NOT suggest using them on locs – the beeswax could cause buildup that you can’t get rid of.

All Natural Moisturizers:

Coconut oil – Use it all over, including your hair (test it first to make sure your hair likes it – it doesn’t agree with some naturalista’s curls).  Good daily moisturizer that works for all skin types.  It absorbs pretty fast & there’s no greasy feeling afterwards.  Also a great makeup remover.

**Don’t use coconut oil if you allergies.  Always do a test first or ask your doctor.

Night serum – for your face – 1T EVOO + 1T Avocado oil + 2 vitamin E capsules.  You could easily choose to use any of these oils alone – I have done that myself – but I prefer the mixture so that I get the benefits of them all. Check out the benefits of the various oils below.

Vitamin E, cocoa butter – These are both great for clearing up blemishes & scars on any part of the body while being super moisturizing at the same time.  It will take time to fully clear up severe blemishes (a few weeks or more), but if doing it naturally isn’t enough, know that using them is also preventative.

 

Lotion:

So the thing about lotion is… you don’t really need it.  You could just use oil or any combination of oils depending on what you skin needs.

Problem is most people don’t like to pour or scoop out oil to slather all over.  We just want a nice convenient pump or squeeze bottle & we want it to go on easy, not greasy, and last all day.  Does that about sum it up?

My family is the same way.  I have no problem using oils & butters as is, but my guys want a pump or squeeze bottle.  No problem.

Originally I started experimenting & just trying things.  I didn’t want to buy a lot of specialized ingredients like preservatives & hydrosols & such.  Some things worked, but (a lot of stinky, smelly, gross) mistakes were made. And my family was getting antsy – DH even snuck out & bought a travel sized lotion.  I found it in the console in the car!

Challenge ON!  After a little lot of research, I found all the information I needed to help me make any kind of lotion we could ever need.  Without having to “recreate the wheel”.

This article from humblebee & me breaks down beeswax to oil ratios to get a specific consistency.  I could have tried this myself – but why?  She did the work already & I’m glad I found it!

And then there’s this – a ratio cheat sheet for different types of lotion (i.e. bars, creams, blams, etc.).

Now that I have all that information to help me, here’s some super easy all natural DIY homemade lotion recipes that we are using (& loving) now.

*Note: All of the following recipes are for small test batches – I tried to keep the measurements easy.  This is how we figured out who likes what & not have too much extra to waste.  I suggest you do the same.

Basic DIY Lotion Recipe

This is the easiest to make & the 1 I almost always have – it’s just melt to combine & let it cool.  You don’t need any special equipment or anything extra.

Ingredients:

1T beeswax (1 part beeswax)
3T coconut oil (3 parts coconut oil)
3T liquid oil (i.e. avocado, grapeseed, olive, etc) (3 parts liquid oil)
5-10 drops of essential oil (optional)

You’ll also need:

Double boiler
Glass bowl or mason jar
Storage container
Spoon to stir (I use wooden popsicle/craft sticks)

The process:

  • Combine the ingredients in a glass bowl or mason jar & sit it in a small pot of simmering water (a mock double boiler).
  • Stir the ingredients until they are completely melted.
  • Remove the bowl or jar from the pot & let it cool to room temperature.  I like to stir it a few times while it’s cooling down.
  • If you’re adding essential oils, stir them in after the lotion cools down.  Otherwise, they will just “cook off”.
  • If you used a mason jar to melt everything, you can add a pump top.  It’s just as good in a squeeze top bottle or a canister style container.
Extra Moisturizing DIY Cream Lotion Recipe

I really like this one because I have dry skin. The humectant is great if you live in a humid region, but can dry you out even more in dry climates or dry indoor air.  So be careful with that.

*Note: This is not a test batch. Because it has to be blended it’s easier to make a bigger batch.  If you end up not liking it, you can use it for a foot cream or hand cream – especially good after a long day in the garden, crafting, or DIY projects.

Ingredients:

½ cup shea butter
1 ½ tsp beeswax pastilles
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp vegetable glycerin
5-10 drops of essential oil (optional)

You’ll also need:

Double boiler
Emulsion (stick) mixer or blender
Glass bowl or mason jar
Storage container
Spoon to stir (I use wooden popsicle/craft sticks)

The process:

  • Combine the shea butter, beeswax, & coconut oil in a glass bowl or mason jar & sit it in a small pot of simmering water (a mock double boiler).
  • Stir until they are completely melted.
  • Remove the bowl or jar from the pot & let it cool to room temperature.
  • Add the glycerin & stir to combine.  Then use the mixer or blender to bring it to a creamy consistency.
  • If you’re adding essential oils, stir them in after the lotion cools down.  Otherwise, they will just “cook off”.
  • Transfer to a squeeze top bottle or a shallow canister style container (to be scooped out).
Lightweight Extra Moisturizing DIY Lotion Recipe

This is the lotion that our littlest likes. He has dry skin too but he doesn’t like any “oilyness”.  It’s lighter that the previous 2 but still very moisturizing.

Ingredients:

1 T beeswax pastilles
1 T vegetable glycerin
3 T coconut oil
5 T  grapeseed oil

You’ll also need:

Double boiler
Glass bowl or mason jar
Storage container

The process:

  • Combine the beeswax & coconut oil in a glass bowl or mason jar & sit it in a small pot of simmering water (a mock double boiler).
  • Stir until they are completely melted.
  • Remove the bowl or jar from the pot & let it cool enough to handle but not to room temperature yet.
  • Add the glycerin & grapeseed oil & stir to combine.  Now let the mixture cool to room temperature, stir it a few times while it’s cooling down.
  • If you used a mason jar to melt everything, you can add a pump top.  It’s just as good in a squeeze top bottle.
Superlite Moisturizing DIY Lotion Recipe

This is my husband’s favorite – he has oily skin & like that this lotion just melts right in pretty much immediately.  It has lots of “slip” & there’s no “after-feel” beyond just super soft smooth skin.

It also looks & feels the most like a commercial lotion but without any chemicals or preservatives.  It will last a good long while because there’s no liquid in it & each of the ingredients have a long shelf life.

1T beeswax
1T glycerin
½ T coconut oil
1T liquid oil (i.e. avocado, grapeseed, olive, etc)
4T aloe vera gel

You’ll also need:

Double boiler
Glass bowl or mason jar
Storage container

The process:

  • Combine the beeswax & coconut oil in a glass bowl or mason jar & sit it in a small pot of simmering water (a mock double boiler).
  • Stir until they are completely melted.
  • Add the grapeseed oil & aloe, stir to combine.  It will start to thicken from the aloe & turn the white or yellowish (depending what kind of beeswax you use).  Add the glycerin last.
  • Remove the bowl or jar from the pot & let it cool to room temperature.  Stir it a few times while it’s cooling down so the aloe won’t separate.
  • It may look a little “chunky” from the aloe vera gel, but stirring with get rid of that.  Or you could use a stick blender to smooth things out.  I don’t really bother with it too much.
  • If you used a mason jar to melt everything, you can add a pump top.  It’s just as good in a squeeze top bottle but it will take a little time & a funnel to get it into the bottle.

*Tip:  If you transfer the lotion to a squeeze bottle, do it before it cools down completely.  That way it will pour easier & then you can shake the bottle instead of stirring.  My husband prefers a squeeze bottle & this is the method I use.

Lip Balm

According to humblebee & me, it should be 1 part beeswax & 3 parts oil.  And the ratio cheat sheet recommends at least an 80:20% ratio of oil to wax (part solid, part liquid).  Neither of those were hard enough to withstand the Houston heat & humidity.

I basically used 1 part beeswax, 2 parts oil.  I used ½ solid oil (shea butter or coconut oil) & ½ liquid oil

½ t beeswax
½ t shea butter
½ t avocado oil

You’ll also need:

Double boiler
Glass bowl
Small tins or lip balm tubes

The process:

  • Combine the beeswax & coconut oil in a glass bowl & sit it in a small pot of simmering water (a mock double boiler).
  • Stir until they are completely melted.
  • Remove the bowl or jar from the pot & let it cool enough to handle but not to room temperature yet.
  • Add the liquid oil stir to combine.  DO NOT let this cool to room temp.  It will get too hard to pour into the tins or tubes.
  • Transfer the mixture to tins or tubes, DO NOT CAP, & let it cool completely.
  • Now you can put the top on & use it like normal.

A few lotion making tips:

Take it from me, I've learned most of these the hard - or easy, depending on how you see it - way.
    1. Ingredients are meant to be played with & tweaked.  At 1st I tried so hard to stick to ratios & recipes I found on other sites.  They never worked out “perfectly” for everyone.  I might like 1, but my guys hated it & vice versa.  So other than the ratios of hard to soft & beeswax to oil, I had to play around with how much of each item to use to get the consistency we all want.
    2. Along the lines of #1, make small batches to start. That way you can test it on your (clean) skin, see if you like it, tweak it if needed, then make more.  Just make you you write down what you tweak so you can recreate it on a large scale.
    3. Beeswax is beeswax. It’s always going to be white or some form of yellow – from light to gold to almost brown.  Which you use is a matter of preference because it will only affect the color of your lotion. I buy & use both.
    4. Transferring thick lotion & balms can be time consuming.  I mentioned this above so don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I use a funnel to transfer them before they completely cool & thicken.  On the off chance that I don’t, I still use a funnel but to force it down the funnel into the bottle by tapping the bottle on a hard surface – the counter
    5. Lip balm is easier to transfer to tins but tins aren’t as convenient as tubes.  If by chance the balm get too cool, just reheat it a little then transfer to the tube as soon as you can handle it.  Or use the same method as #4 but using a craft stick instead of a funnel.
      1. turn the dial of the tube all the way to the top position & start adding the balm
      2. each time you add a little, turn the dial down & tap the tube on the counter.  You’ll see it make more space at the top.
      3. keep doing this until the dial is all the way back to the bottom & the tube is full.
      4. use the craft stick to level off/flatten the top.  Leave it alone to continue to harden.  Sounds like a lot of work but it’s such a small amount that it doesn’t take much time or effort BUT I wouldn’t suggest if you’re making multiples.
    6. Aloe vera gel from the store vs from the garden.  I’ve used both – the only difference I’ve noticed is how you get to the gel & the shelf life.
      • In my opinion it doesn’t take any longer to harvest the gel from a plant – after you cut the aloe, just slice it open & squeeze or scrape out the gel – than to get it out of the bottle (with all the tapping to get it to come out of the top).
      • The shelf life is much shorter with raw aloe – store bought aloe almost always has some form(s) of preservative(s).  When I use it for lotion, I make smaller batches, put it in the fridge, add vitamin E oil, and/or mix with store bought.
    7. Always add essential oils last – same when making soap.  If you’re adding essential oils, stir them in after the lotion cools down.  Otherwise, they will just “cook off”.  I personally leave them out so everyone can use the same lotions & because we like perfumes & body sprays around here.

  • Last but not least, a note on oils…

    The oils you use in any of these recipes will depend on what your skin needs. 

    Here is a short list based on some oils that I use regularly:

    [custom_table]

     Avocado Oil ($$) medium liquidHigh in vitamins A, E, and B, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging
    Castor Oil ($) heavy/thick liquidCleansing, promotes hair growth. Humectant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory
    Cocoa Butter ($) creamy/solidExtremely moisturizing, skin soothing, antioxidant
    Coconut Oil – 76° ($$) creamy/solid (liquefies at 76°)Lightweight, non-greasy, fast absorbing, antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial
    Grapeseed Oil ($) light liquidLightweight, non-greasy, fast absorbing, antifungal, antioxidant, antibacterial.

    High in omega6 & 9 fatty acids, vitamin E. Great for itchy, dry skin & acne prone skin.

    Hemp Oil ($$$) light liquidVery hydrating, anti-aging, balancing, fast absorbing
    Olive Oil ($) medium liquidMoisturizing, fast absorbing
    Shea Butter ($$) creamy/sometimes solidVery moisturizing, healing
    Sweet Almond Oil ($) light liquidGood for dry & itchy skin, fast absorbing
    Sunflower Oil ($) light liquidGood for dry skin, anti-aging.  High in omega-9 fatty acid.
    Vitamin E Oil 400IU (I use the oil from vitamin capsules) ($$) medium-heavy liquidHealing, antibacterial, antioxidant.
    [/custom_table]

    Have a look at this site for a very comprehensive list of vegetable oils, carrier oils, & butters and their uses/benefits – this is where I started.  The ones I listed are just a few that I really love & that are used in the recipes up above.

     


     

    You may have noticed something missing… Yup… deodorant has not made the DIY cut yet.  There’s lots of information about it, but I just haven’t found anything that works for our family yet.  Some suggestions have been:

    • Baking soda – Grandmother says it will keep you dry & odor free.  Mentioned making a paste of it.  I tried a few things.  Fail.
    • Alcohol (grain or 91%) – I tried it.  It’s fine if I’m not doing anything at all & the weather is perfectly cool & dry.  When that happens in Houston, TX I’ll be sure to let y’all know!
      • Even though our pediatrician recommended this for our youngest, we still have him use deodorant.  He’s getting older & plays sports so it’s not feasible for him to keep a bottle of alcohol on him to “freshen up” throughout the day.

    For now, we’re sticking with Tom’s natural deodorants.

    So there you have it.  All the soaps, lotions, creams (everything except deodorant) that I make at home with ingredients I almost always have on hand.  If you have a suggestion for a DIY that works, leave it in the comments – I’d love to try it out!

    Until then…

     

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    2 Comments

    • Stephanie

      Thanks, I am excited to find out more about your personal care products. Yay for more natural and effective moisturizing. I laughed about your deodorant experiences. Glad to make your acquaintance ?

      • N'Ckyola

        Hi Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by, glad to have you! Yes, this natural journey can be quite funny sometimes. Imagine the fun we had trying to find lotion that everyone likes! Maybe one day soon we’ll get there with the deodorant. 😉

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