Our writer shares her favorite DIY body care recipes, made with ingredients you already know and love.
I don’t need to buy boring grocery store treats for my kids to take to school on their birthdays. Instead, I make my own delicately hand-frosted cookies that I tag and package ever-so-carefully. And dammit, I stay up until 2 a.m. doing it, determined to finally take home that Mother-of-the-Year award.
I love to satisfy my obsessive need to give crafty, personalized gifts. The time I decided to give homemade body care products to teachers and school staff members was one of those “unicorn” moments. I still think fondly of it – my two children and I made the gifts together, and they were relatively quick and very easy to do. Not only that, but my children didn’t lose focus and wander off, leaving me alone, bitter and nose-deep in craft glue.
To add even more joy, these products are good for you and good for the earth. You deserve to feel as good as I felt after making these products. You deserve to feel as good as I still feel when I use these products every day. Make these as gifts, or make them as a kid’s party activity – or a parent party activity (with parent drinks, of course). The ingredients are things you probably have on hand or can easily find at a health food store.
1. Lotion Bars
These bars are solid at room temperature but melt when rubbed onto your skin, leaving it feeling super soft and nourished. I love a lotion bar because, as a solid, there’s no need to find a jar or bottle to store it in. As a gift, these wrap up so nicely in unbleached parchment paper with a pretty fabric bow. Use muffin tins or cut bars from a square pan.
The versatility of this recipe is amazing, so you change it up to your liking. Make it more or less solid by adjusting the amount of beeswax, or try adding your favorite essential oil or two. Pick whatever you’d like to use as a mold. Muffin tins or a baking pan work well, or try fun-shaped silicone ice cube trays.
- muffin tin/ baking pan/silicone mold
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup shea butter, cocoa butter, or mango butter (or a combination of all or some)
- 1 cup beeswax
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (optional)
Tip: If you can’t find beeswax chips, and have to get a solid bar, you’ll need to grate it. Grating the beeswax is the most laborious part of this. If you’re doing this project with kids, do this ahead of time. Pick up a cheap cheese grater for this instead of using the good one from your kitchen. While you’re at it, grab a glass bowl or mason jar too. You’ll spare yourself the huge hassle of trying to save your kitchen bowl later and the bowl can be your designated homemade product bowl.
- Combine all ingredients, except the oils, in your glass bowl and place over a pot of boiling water, or a mason jar in a pot of water.
- Stir constantly until smooth. Remove it from the heat.
- Add in your Vitamin E and/or essential oils if using and stir gently to combine.
- Pour the mixture into whatever mold you’re using. Muffin tins or a baking pan work well, or try fun-shaped silicone ice cube trays. Let the lotion bars cool completely to harden before trying to remove them from the molds. If using a baking pan, remove the whole slab first and then use a sharp knife to cut the bars to the size you want.
If you don’t love the consistency of your lotion bars, dump them all back in your glass bowl or mason jar, re-melt, and adjust as needed. Mine were too soft the first time I made them so I added more beeswax.
This recipe makes about 12 bars using a muffin tins or and 8×8 baking pan.
2. Sugar Body Scrub
There’s something about this exfoliant sugar scrub that makes me feel super fancy and decadent. I’m pretty sure everyone is looking at me after I use it, wondering if my skin is as soft and silky as it looks. Really, even if that’s not the case, it’s a nice confident feeling.
Use about a tablespoon of this in the shower. After you wash, scrub it all over then rinse it off. Pat dry (don’t rub) with a towel. This takes less just a few minutes to make and does not involve the stove top so it’s a great activity to do with kids.
Again, switch this up how you like. You can play around with the type(s) and quantity of sugar, oil, and oils.
- air tight glass jar
- 1 cup sugar (Anything goes, really, but I like to use organic. White, brown, regular or coarse grind. You can find a wide variety at bulk food stores.)
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup oil (olive, sweet almond, coconut, castor all work great)
- optional – a few drops of essential oil(s)
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an air-tight glass jar. If it’s a gift, top it off with a bow!
3. Lip Balm
I am a bit obsessive about lip balm and absolutely must be wearing it 24 hours a day. This stuff works so well, has honest and natural ingredients, and you can make a whole lot of it for a lot less than what it would cost to buy this much lip balminess at the store.
- small tubs or lip balm tubes (you can find these at health food stores)
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- about 20 drops of essential oil (try peppermint or orange)
Combine the shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax in a glass mason jar or glass bowl and melt as outlined for the lotion bars above. Once it’s all melted, stir well and turn off the heat. Add the essential oil and stir. Fill up your tubs or tubes (you might need a funnel) and let them cool to harden.
4. Beach Spray for hair
This product indulges my inner stock photo wannabe, wind tousled hair that smells like sun and salt water. Never mind that I live by a cold lake in Toronto. The store shelves were filled with fancy versions of this last summer but this version is the tiniest fraction of the cost. You’ll need a plastic spray bottle
- A plastic spray bottle
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of hair gel or leave-in hair conditioner
- 1 tablespoon of melted unrefined/organic coconut oil (for moisture, as the salt is a bit drying)
Combine all ingredients in your spray bottle and shake it up. Spritz on dry hair, tousle, and look like you just woke up this way, you gorgeous beast.