If you can read and execute a recipe from a cookbook, then you can make your own natural beauty products. If you can’t read and execute a recipe from a cookbook, then there is no time like the present to learn! Making your own natural beauty products is rewarding in many ways:
1) You are not putting synthetic and potentially toxic chemicals on your skin.
2) You can make bespoke (fancy word for custom tailored) products where you control what ingredients goes into them.
3) You are not a slave to the big beauty business with their fancy labels, broken promises, and airbrushed models
So, how to get started? First decide what kind of product you want to make. I would generally advise you start with a facial oil which you can use as a night moisturizer because they are simple and very effective for your first foray into making your own products. Combine 20 ml of base or carrier oil and 4 or 5 drops of essential oil. For dry or mature skin I would recommend jojoba, wheatgerm, or sweat almond oil as carrier oils, and rose, frankincense, neroli, roman chamomile, or sandlewood for essential oils. You can mix any combination of the carrier oils together to make 20 ml and likewise any combination of essential oils to get 4 or 5 drops. Keep in mind that essential oils can come out of the bottles quickly so be very careful to stick with the prescribed amount. In order to get a nice fragrance, start with just one drop of your favorite essential oil, smell it, add another drop, smell that, and proceed one drop at a time so you can see what is mixing well together.
For normal skin, jojoba and grapeseed oil are good carrier oils (and btw I’m really jealous if you actually have “normal” skin). Skin types are really on a continuum with dry and oily at opposite ends with most of us slotted somewhere in between, although rarely smack in the middle where you have perfect balance of sebum production for what your skin needs to stay hydrated. This is what is known as normal skin. However if you are close to normal skin but just a little dry or a little shiny in the t-zones then you can mix your oils so that some are for normal skin and some are for dry or oily, whatever your tendency is towards. Good essential oils for normal skin are roman chamomile, lavender, patchouli, rose, sandlewood, and geranium. Geranium is actually the holy grail of essential oils for the face because it is very balancing. So whether your face is oily, dry, mature, or any mix of the three, geranium will help to balance sebum production. In aromatherapy geranium is also an oil used for balancing your emotions, so if you suffer from anxiety (and who today can really say that they don’t ever have any anxiety?!) geranium is a great oil to have massaged into your muscles, put in the bath, or vaporized in the room.
Lavender comes in a close second to geranium for skincare, although generally speaking lavender is the overall holy grail of essential oils. However lavender is less balancing compared with geranium but more antiseptic so good for normal and oily skin as well as sensitive skin and acne. A lot of people I know who have acne also have sensitive skin so this one is great for you guys. The sad irony is that a lot of acne treatments you buy in the pharmacy are loaded with chemicals that might treat the acne but then they do a number on the nice healthy skin surrounding the acne. I know that it can seem counter intuitive to apply oil to either oily or acne prone skin, but just for clarity, natural beauty oils will not clog your pores. They are made from biological oils with no chemical crap added. Therefore your skin will suck them up like a dry plant does with water. Good carrier oils for oily skin are sunflower, grapeseed, primerose, and neem. Good essential oils for oily skin are geranium, lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, clary sage, lemon, frankincense and juniper. Tea tree oil has been renowned for oily skin ever since the Body Shop range started in the early 90s. However, I really don’t like the way it smells so I’ve recommended the above oils. I know people who use tea tree directly on their spots or blemishes which is a real aromatherapy no-no. However, they say it works for them. When I’ve tried it I find that it burns off the top layer of my skin so then I’m just flakey around the spot but if you only apply it once per spot then you should be fine. Caution – you should never apply essential oils directly to the skin unless instructed by a professional.
For your next natural beauty project I will take you through how to make a balm or butter. It’s basically what we just learned but adding beeswax and/or butters and applying heat. Stay tunned!