DIY Recipes for Natural Skincare So You Can Pamper Yourself In A Truly
Healthy, Safe, and Non-Toxic Way!
By Lara Adler
Holistic Health Coach
©Lara Adler 2012
When I talk about DIY beauty care products, two questions seem to present
First: “There are 14 gazillion (rough estimate) personal care products available on the
market right now... why on earth would I want to make my own?”
Second: “Will making my own potions turn me into a witch or otherwise strange hippy?”
Answering the first question is easy. Yes there are literally hundreds and hundreds of
choices when it comes to personal care products - entire isles dedicated to
shampoos and conditioners, body washes, lotions, self-tanners... wrinkle creams,
acne creams, exfoliating scrubs and so on. But if you want to avoid toxic chemicals
like phthalates, parabens, and sodium laurel sulfates, to name a few, you don’t really
have much choice after all. Doesn’t matter of your face cream costs $4 from the drug
store, or $40 from the department store - it’s likely still chock full of hormone
disrupting chemicals that can mess with your metabolism, thyroid, and development.
Not cool.
Suddenly making your own sounds like a better option, because it puts you in control
of what ingredients go onto your skin!
Answering the second question is a little harder. Technically, you won’t turn into a
which or otherwise strange hippy (unless you are already one - no offense meant!),
but it is possible that your friends and family will raise an eyebrow or two at your new
hobby. But you can easily win them over, by giving them skin and body healthy
samples of the potions you whip up! It’s not about being a hippy, it’s about being selfsufficient, being an action taker, being informed, and being pretty damn cool if you
ask me!
So check out the recipes below to get started on making some simple DIY
preparations at home to pamper yourself while avoiding so many of those super
nasty toxins that have no business in your body!
Once you’ve comfortable with these, you can graduate on to more complicated and
involved concoctions if you’d like - or seek out a local DIY crafter in your
neighborhood who does this kind of hippy witchery for a living! (just kidding of
course. I love hippies and witches!)
©Lara Adler 2012
What To Avoid:
There are a lot of synthetic, unhealthy, and unsafe ingredients in the personal care
products we use every single day - making sure we reduce or eliminate the worst
offenders can have a huge impact on our exposure levels, and our health!
The top three offenders that show up in most personal care products are Phthalates,
Parabens, and Sulfates.
Phthalates often appear in our cosmetics and personal care products by way of
fragrance, or parfume. Phthalates are a class of chemical that play different roles in
different products, but are primarily used to hold scent to the skin and/or hair. The
word ‘phthalates’ may never actually appear on the label, but instead will be one of
the ingredients that make up “fragrance” or “parfum/perfume”. Phthalates are a
synthetic estrogen, linked to hormone disruption, infertility, and even weight gain.
Buying products that are scented only with natural essential oils is a safer choice.
Parabens are used as an preserving agent used to prevent the growth of bacteria
and microbes, and are more common in products that are more liquid - like shampoo
and lotion. Parabens are linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, reproductive toxicity,
neurotoxicity and skin irritation, and have been shown to increase the rates at which
cancer cells grow in the body. Look for words like methylparaben, ethylparabens, or
anything else ending in -paraben.
Sulfates are surfactant agents - they are what make your shampoo later, and your
bubble bath bubble and they help cary dirt and oils away. Sulfates - appearing on
labels as Sodium Laurel Sulfate or SLS, and Sodium Laureth Sulfate or SLES, these
chemicals are known skin irritants and SLES in particular is often contaminated with a
chemical called 1,4 dioxane which is a probable human carcinogen. This chemical
will never be listed on the label because it’s a by-product, not an ingredient, but
recent studies have shown that it’s present in many personal care products, even
those meant for babies! Better to limit exposure to sulfates all together!
©Lara Adler 2012
Simple DIY Recipes For Body Care!
Shampoo: Regular store bought shampoo contains all kinds of nasty ingredients like
phthalates, parabens, and sodium laureth sulfate... all things that do no belong in, on,
or around our bodies! Experiment with some of the recipes below - they may seem
strange, but they’ve been used for hundreds of years and have a pretty solid
following. Everyone’s hair is a little different - some is naturally more dry, while
others more oily. Not all of these recipes will work for your hair type, but experiment
to find one that does. Note that conventional shampoos often leave residues on your
hair that may take a few days to wash away - If you find that your hair is a bit stringy
on the first or second day of these more natural treatments, know that’s likely
because of those residues. If after 3 or 4 days your hair isn’t feeling clean and fresh,
then it just may not be the ideal formula for your hair.
“NO-POO” Shampoo
DIY Baking Soda Shampoo (aka: “no-poo”)
Take 1 Tablespoon of baking soda and dilute it in a large
cup of water. Pour this over your hair. It won’t bubble or
foam, but it will get rid of dirty, oily build up with
stripping your hair !
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of ACV and dilute it in a large cup of
water. Pour over your hair, and rinse with water.
I promise you won’t smell like a salad!
Conditioner: Conditioners are designed to add back in the oils that your regular
shampoo stripped out. If you’re using the baking soda/acv combo, you may find you
don’t need additional conditioning... if you do, try one of these:
©Lara Adler 2012
Edible Conditioners
Avocado Mask*
Super rich in the types of oils your hair loves, this is a
simple home treatment. Mash up 1/2 an avocado really
well and smear it all over your head, making sure you
rub it in to your scalp. Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse
it out.
Coconut Milk*
Open a can of coconut milk (or make your own) pour it
over your hair, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse
* There’s a little trial and error here. Everyone’s hair and skin is different. You may
find these treatments are too strong, and leave your hair too oily. Adjust the amount
if needed. Don’t be bummed out if not all of these work for you!
Skin Exfoliators Most skin exfoliators are really harsh on the skin, and toxic
ingredients aside, can actually cause more harm than good. When we use harsh
chemicals exfoliators or even really scratchy natural ones, we are essentially
scraping off the dead skin cells on our body. While this sounds like a good idea,
we’re actually causing tiny microscopic cuts and tears in our skin which spreads
bacteria and causes inflammation. Yuck. Generally a good wash cloth with your
castile soap is best, but if you want to get fancy every once in a while, try one of
You can also go product-less and dry brush your skin to keep it soft and smooth, as
well as helping to keep your lymph fluid flowing - essential for good health. Find a
stiff natural bristle body brush at your local natural market. Use on dry skin prior to
taking a shower, starting from the feet and working your way up in short strokes.
Brush in the direction of your heart - inwards toward the center of your body. Dry
brushing is best done daily, and can help to keep your skin clear and bright.
©Lara Adler 2012
Salt Scrub Exfoliator
Salt Scrub
1/2 cup fine sea salt (do not get coarse or flake sea salt
1 cups almond oil, or melted coconut oil
5-7 drops of essential oil of choice (optional, but a nice
Place all the ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine.
Pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid. In the shower, with
damp skin, gently rub the salt scrub all over your body
starting with your feet and working your way up. Rinse
off and towel dry.
If you’re way into the DIY lifestyle and make your own nut milks at home, then this is
the perfect thing to do with all that left over pulp!
Nut Pulp Scrub
Simply squeeze as much moisture out of the pulp as
possible, and use the pulp to exfoliate your body. Rinse
off and towel dry. If you have a lot a pulp, make sure you
refrigerate it, as it will quickly go rancid, and that doesn’t
smell nice!
Brazil nut scrub is especially nice because the high oil
content leaves your skin silky and buttery!
Make sure you apply this in the shower before turning
the water on and don’t use too much or it will clog up
your drain!
©Lara Adler 2012
Face Treatments Ditch the really expensive, chemically laden stuff from the drug
store or department store. You can get amazing results using stuff you probably
already have on hand. Try these on for size!
Honey Face Wash
1 tablespoon raw, unfiltered honey
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
Mix these together in your hand and gently
apply to damp skin in small circles. Rinse and
pat dry.
Yogurt and Honey are great ingredients to use on your skin! Yogurt has natural, gentle
acids that refine pores and exfoliate skin. Honey is a humectant, which means it helps
retain water, and is also has antimicrobial qualities. Like everything, quality matters aim for a rich, organic goats milk yogurt, or greek style yogurt, and organic honey.
Calming Mask
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon aloe very gel or juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 drop chamomile oil (optional, but really nice!)
Mix everything well in a small bowl. Apply to
your face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse
and pat dry.
©Lara Adler 2012
Strawberries are naturally high in salicylic acid, one of the main active ingredients in
many over the counter acne creams. While not strong enough for severe acne, mild
breakouts can be treated with a simple mashed (organic) strawberry mask.
Strawberry Acne Mask
2 organic strawberries, mashed
Smear all over your face. Don’t answer the door or
take pictures or yourself as people will be scared of
you! This mask isn’t pretty, but it smells yummy and
if you happen to drop some strawberry in your
mouth, it’s all good!
The following recipes are a little more involved, but will yield some really fantastic,
hoard worthy and gift worthy results! You’ll need to go on a special shopping trip
and use the stove and blender, but that just lends more of a witchy feel to it anyway!
Have fun!
Rosemary Gladstar’s Body Lotion - Rosemary Gladstar is a highly revered
herbalist and author who has a number of books on DIY beauty care. Most of her
work definitely falls into the dedicated hippy category, i.e., they’re not for everyone,
but I mean that with absolute love and respect!
You’ll probably have to hunt down a few of these ingredients, but if your local health
food store doesn’t sell them, you can always order online.
©Lara Adler 2012
Rosemary Gladstar’s
Body Lotion
2/3 cup rosewater or orange flower water)
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
1 – 2 drops essential oil of choice
Vitamins A and E as desired
3/4 cup apricot, almond or grape seed oil
1/3 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter
1/2 – 1 oz grated beeswax
1. Combine distilled or filtered water, aloe vera gel, essential oil and
vitamins in a glass measuring cup. Set aside.
2. In a double boiler over low heat, combine remaining ingredients. Heat
just enough to melt.
3. Pour oils into a blender and let cool to room temperature. The mixture
should become thick, creamy, semisolid and cream colored. This cooling
process can be hastened in the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it so it
doesn’t get too hard.
4. When cooled, turn blender on the highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle
pour the water mixture into the center vortex.
5. When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the
blender and watch the cream. When the blender coughs and chokes, and
the cream looks thick and white like butter cream frosting, turn off the
blender. The cream will thicken as it sets. Pour into into cream or lotion
jars. Store in a cool place.
©Lara Adler 2012
Deodorant: Deodorants are filled with lots of cruddy ingredients that can seep into
your body, and stain your clothes. You don’t need to smell like “cool linen” or
“everlasting sunshine” throughout the day. With this deodorant you can choose to
leave it unscented, or add a few drops of essential oils to suit your fancy!
Because everyone’s body chemistry is different, and some people are naturally more
stinky than others, don’t be dismayed if this deodorant doesn’t cut it for you. There’s a
natural one out there for you!
Homemade Deodorant
3 tablespoons shea butter
3 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cocoa butter
2 vitamin E gel caps (or about 8 drops)
a few drops of essential oil (optional – for fragrance)
In a glass bowl set over a small pot of simmering water place the shea
butter and cocoa butter. Heat until just melted and then remove from the
heat. Add the vit E and any essential oils and stir to combine. Mix
together the baking soda and corn starch and add to the melted butters.
Mix thoroughly and pour into a small jar to set. That’s it!
It will take a few hours, depending on the temperature of your room, for this to set
fully. To use it, scoop out a small amount of the paste (I use about half a pea sized
amount) and apply it to your underarms. The heat of your skin will melt the butters,
and make application smooth and easy. It absorbs into your skin pretty quickly so
you don’t have to worry about having oily underarms ruining your clothes!
©Lara Adler 2012