Homemade Beauty Products

Try these homemade beauty products for a more all natural lifestyle.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
April/May 2004
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Many commercial lotions have high amounts of alcohol, which can dry your skin and make the use of heavy creams necessary. Homemade lotions without alcohol eliminate that problem and offer a pleasant change.
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Homemade Beauty Products

Try these homemade beauty products for a more all natural lifestyle.

Paste for Your Pearlies 

4 ounces calcium carbonate (chalk)
2 ounces baking soda
Enough glycerin to make a paste
1/8 teaspoon refined (white) stevia or 1 teaspoon honey
10 drops essential oils, such as oil of wintergreen or peppermint 

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, stirring vigorously until well blended. Scoop the paste onto a toothbrush with a knife or spoon. Makes 3/4 cup.

Among commercial products, Tom's of Maine has one of the best natural formulations, with a synthetic detergent, sodium lauryl sulfate, derived from coconut, not petroleum. The Natural Dentist and Weleda brand toothpastes are made with herbs and no sodium lauryl sulfate.

Cool Cleaner for Your Curls 

10 ounces water
1 to 2 ounces liquid castile soap (the less the better)
1 teaspoon glycerin or 1/4 teaspoon mild oil, such as olive or almond oil
20 to 35 drops essential oils (optional) 

Make the herbal water infusion by putting a handful of herbs in a pint mason jar and immersing them in boiling water. Cover tightly, let set overnight; strain. Add the soap, glycerin and essential oil (if using); cover and shake to blend. Shampoo as usual. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Caution: Essential oils can harm the eyes, so be sure not to get shampoos, rinses or conditioners in your eyes, and add no more than 3 drops of essential oil per ounce of base. Among commercial shampoos, Aubrey Organics, Logona and Real Purity are good brands.

Astringent Water Fit for a Queen 

Gypsies first formulated this wonderful astringent, called "Queen of Hungary Water," for use primarily as a medicinal remedy; the recipe appears in many old herbals, using a variety of herbs. I have often made a version, originated by noted herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, for Christmas gifts, bottling it in beautifully shaped blue glass. Here is my favorite adaptation of the recipe; it omits chamomile (because so many people are allergic to ragweed, to which chamomile is related) and increases the amount of calendula. Feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your own skin type and preferences.

6 small handfuls fresh lemon balm leaves
5 small handfuls calendula flowers
4 small handfuls rose petals
3 small handfuls fresh comfrey leaves
1 small handful each rosemary, lemon peel and sage
Organic apple cider, as needed
Rose water or witch hazel, as needed 

Place the herbs in a 1-gallon glass jar. Cover the herbs with organic apple cider vinegar, leaving about 2 inches to spare in the jar. Screw the lid on tightly. Let it set for four to six weeks. Strain. Divide the mixture into smaller jars, and dilute to half its strength with rose water or witch hazel extract.

Sesame-spiked Sunblock 

Sesame oil is a natural sunscreen, and zinc oxide protects against UVA and UVB radiation. Apply this block every hour or so when you're out-of-doors, and reapply after swimming.

2 1/2 ounces sesame oil 
1 1/2 ounces coconut oil or cocoa butter
4 ounces water or strong green tea made with distilled water
1/2 ounce beeswax
2 tablespoons zinc oxide
Natural preservative (see "Dreamy, Creamy Lotion" formula)
10 to 20 drops antiseptic essential oils (optional) 

Melt the oils and beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from heat, add water and mix with an electric handheld mixer until thick and creamy. Add the zinc oxide and preservatives, followed by the essential oil (if using). Blend well. Makes 1 cup. (Reserve the double boiler and the handheld mixer especially for making these preparations.)

Dreamy, Creamy Lotion 

Many commercial lotions have high amounts of alcohol, which can dry your skin and make the use of heavy creams necessary. Homemade lotions without alcohol eliminate that problem and offer a pleasant change.

2 1/2 ounces almond, olive or peanut oil (or a combination)
 1 1/2 ounces coconut oil ounce beeswax
2 ounces aloe vera gel
2 ounces water or rose water
1 tablespoon glycerin
Natural preservative (1 teaspoon vitamin C powder, 1/4 teaspoon vitamin A powder and 1 tablespoon wheat germ oil or 1/3 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract)
10 to 25 drops fragrant essential oils, if desired)
1 teaspoon borax (optional) 

Melt the oils and beeswax over medium heat in a double boiler. Remove from the heat, pour in the aloe vera gel, water, glycerin, preservative and fragrance (if using), and stir with a mixer until thick and creamy. For a thinner lotion, slightly decrease the beeswax. (You can add 1 teaspoon borax, too.) Makes 1 cup. Whiskers-be-gone Shaving Cream

Whiskers-be-gone Shaving Cream

2 ounces almond oil
1/2 ounce beeswax
4 ounces water
2 ounces liquid Castile soap
1 ounce glycerin
1 teaspoon borax
1/3 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract
20 drops essential oils 

Combine the oil and beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat. When the beeswax is melted, remove from the heat and stir in water, soap, glycerin and borax. Blend with an electric handheld beater until creamy. Add the grapefruit seed extract and essential oils, and stir to blend. Makes 1 cup.

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