Homemade Personal Care Products

You can avoid the high cost of commercial preparations by using homemade personal care products.


| January/February 1981



067 homemade personal care products

Mineral oil, baking soda, corn starch, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide are just some of the common household products you can turn into personal care products.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Is your bathroom cabinet crammed with bottles, tubes, and jars? Do you have any doubts about the safety of some of the ingredients in your personal care products? Are you upset about the increasing cost of such so-called "necessities"? If so, you can probably find a number of safe and inexpensive alternatives right in your household cupboards! The "basic" preparations may not be as attractively (and expensively) packaged as are your present toiletries, but they've been demonstrating their usefulness for years and years.

A Versatile Staple

You may be surprised to know, for example, that common cornstarch is a good substitute for talcum or bath powder, and is especially valuable to folks whose skins are sometimes irritated by the perfumes in commercial products. (In fact, a paste made of cornstarch and mineral oil is often used as a soothing mixture for dry skin.) You might also consider trying cornstarch the next time you need a colorless face powder to take the shine off your nose. (Pat on a thin layer, though, or you'll end up looking like a ghost!)

And on those hectic days when your schedule demands that you have a quick, dry shampoo, just sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch in your hair, distribute it evenly, let it soak up the dirt and oil for a few minutes, and then (vigorously!) brush the white powder out of your clean locks.

Antiseptics and Astringents

It's commonly known that hydrogen peroxide is a fine first aid antiseptic for the treatment of minor cuts and abrasions. Yet few people realize that this product—which can cost five times less than equivalent commercial preparations—can also fill in as a mouthwash and gargle. Simply mix a teaspoonful in a glass of water ... or see the antiseptic's label for directions.

Rubbing alcohol is also a useful product. Indeed, many store-bought astringents (also called toners, tonics, or fresheners) are no more than half-and-half mixtures of alcohol and water. It's much less costly, of course, to prepare your own ... and if you have dry skin, it's an easy matter to increase the proportion of water and thus lessen the solution's drying effect.

Many aftershave lotions are based on astringent formulas, too, so try an alcohol-water blend in place of your usual "bracer." And if you prefer a scented astringent, just add one teaspoon of extract (vanilla, peppermint, almond, lemon, or what have you) to a pint of rubbing alcohol before diluting the liquid with water.





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