Welcome to the wonderful world of simple beauty!
It’s a very fun place to be. However, it can seem awfully confusing at first, looking at lovely recipes, but having no idea where to start and what you really need to know.
Below are the 7 rules to making your homemade beauty and some suggestions for good places to start. I also wrote about the amazing advantages of simplifying our skincare and why I LOVE making my own skin care in this post.
In summary, it all started when I was a pre-teen, continued through my years as a beauty therapist working for some of the big cosmetic houses and culminated in quitting cosmetics altogether (except for mascara!) and only using homemade products on my skin when I declared my #beautyindependence
After that, I just wanted to tell the world how wonderful it is, which is kind of funny considering people have been making things to care for our largest organ for eons, so you can too.
The seven rules of homemade beauty
The first rule of homemade beauty is: play, experiment and try new things.
There’s not a whole lot to lose and you may just create something amazing and perfect for you. Sometimes ‘failures’ make something incredible. Have you ever heard of how the PostIt note was borne? Glue that wouldn’t stick…
The second rule of homemade beauty is: stop immediately if something makes your skin feel uncomfortable.
There are so many amazing ingredients there’s no point in persisting with something that’s not working for you. The same is if you’re allergic to an ingredient, whether dietary or topical, it’s best to avoid it. Also, it’s possible to create a sensitivity when we over-use an ingredient. If you’ve been using something for a while and your skin starts behaving differently, it might be telling you it’s time to change.
The third rule of homemade beauty is: have fun and keep refining your recipes.
Don’t be afraid to change recipes to suit you. Keep going until you have them exactly as you like them and adapt them to your skin as it changes through the seasons and years.
Just bear in mind, there is often an adjustment period, because a homemade product often doesn’t look and feel the same as a bought one. A DIY body butter or cream feels greasier than a bought hand lotion (unless we know how to use it). A commercial lotion is about 75% water to give it the light feel, but to do that it needs to be loaded with preservatives, emulisfiers and texturisers. I’ve come to equate the bought lotion to the nourishment equivalent of fast food. It goes in quickly, but doesn’t really satisfy us so we need more and more. I was a serious addict of the lotion. Anyway, if you’re curious, I talk about how to apply a homemade moisturiser in this post.
Is it soft and supple in some places, dry and tight in others or perhaps, there’s a bit of sheen, greasiness or break outs?
If you tend towards tightness and flakiness that puts you on the drier spectrum and greasiness or sheen puts you on the oilier spectrum. The truth is most of us are a combination of all of the above at various times in our lives and you can make products that adapt to those changing needs.
And all skin types feel tight if dehydration strikes – it’s not the same as having ‘dry’ skin.
Dehydration comes with changing seasons, dry climates, not drinking enough water, illness, drinking a few too many wines, sunburn and hanging out in a lot of air-conditioned or heated spaces, it all varies from person to person. As you start to pay attention, you’ll notice how your skin responds to different things.
Similarly, dry skin can also have pimples, because they can be caused by hormones, diet, build up of dead skin cells and a host of other things.
This is all part of the wonderful map that makes up who you are and I’d love for you to try and avoid labelling parts of you as good and bad. Think of it just as an opportunity to make a lovely product to suit that particular need.
The cool thing is that our skin is just trying to tell us stuff. Once, we understand the language it’s a lot easier to find out what makes our skin happy.
The fifth rule of homemade beauty is: Keep it good and clean.
Read this sterilising post for an introduction to how to clean jars and equipment, but basically the cleaner things are the longer products last, so always start with clean, dry equipment.
Storing homemade beauty products is a lot like how we store our food. For a lot of DIY beauty products, we can treat them the same as our cooking oils, salt, sugars and other dry ingredients and other things not containing water that can sit at room temperature in a sealed container for a long time, so long as we keep our fingers and water out of them.
Anything mixed with water needs to be stored in the fridge (the only exception seems to be vinegar, because it is a natural preservative) and anything involving fresh fruit and vegetables or dairy needs to be stored in the fridge and used within a couple of days. There’s more information in this storage post.
The sixth rule of homemade beauty is: it’s what’s inside that matters.
Our lives are mapped out on our faces for the world to see and so it’s important to think about our whole lives from making sure we drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet, exercise more and laugh a lot.
Perhaps you’re already a long way down the wellness path and homemade beauty is the icing on the cake, maybe you fell off the wagon (I know I have many times) or maybe you simply want to look your best and that’s as good a reason as any.
Either way, working from the inside-out or the outside-in, simplifying our beauty so that it works for us, is a big step in looking after ourselves.
It’s a massive boost in confidence to know that we can take care of ourselves and look our best with things we’ve made ourselves that cost next to nothing. The other bonus is the mounting evidence showing we absorb a lot more than we thought. Unfortunately, a lot of cosmetic companies use ingredients because they’re cheap without much thought for our health or the environment. Sadly , the plastic micro bead is just one example.
I spent some time trying to figure out the good from the ugly and found it easier (and cheaper) to make my own. If you’re feeling a similar sense of confusion, perhaps you might like to take your skincare into own hands too.
The seventh rule of homemade beauty is: make it beautiful, simple, gentle and nourishing.
If things look and smell good you’re more likely to use them and for anything to work we need to use it. Annoying as it sounds, if I clean, tone and moisturise my face everyday it looks better.
I’ve had long stretches of my life where I’ve completely ignored my skin, because I was busy doing other things and that’s okay. My skin didn’t look great during those times and that’s okay too, but it is also the reason I try to make things as simple and easy as possible.
I try to see it as a nourishing and gentle thing. I try to make things that smell and look beautiful. I pay attention to how my skin is responding and what it is saying, which keeps me curious and engaged. All of these things inspire me to use the products more often. My skincare is honestly something I enjoy doing now and my skin is all the happier for it.
But please whatever you do, don’t aspire to perfect skin. Beautiful, yes, but perfect, no. Beautiful because it’s yours and does amazing things for you. It keeps you together – imagine how awkward it’d be if we were wandering around with our internal organs flopping out and had no protection.
Perfect skin is a weird idea manufactured by people who want to sell us stuff. Seriously, I’m nearly 40 and I’m honestly the happiest with my skin that I’ve ever been. I have wrinkles, laugh lines, whatever you want to call them and pimples sometimes, but I care for my skin like it’s my best friend. I check in regularly, listen to it, care for it, help it out and say nice things to it.
It’s only one part of me, but it’s an important part, because it’s the bit I can see and interact with and for that I love it. I hope you can find it in your heart to love yours too.
Keen to start?
If you’ve never made anything, but want to get going straightaway. Here are some reader faves that will revolutionise your skin care using ingredients from your kitchen cabinet:
Something for the body?
These are the 3 most popular:
Something for the face?
These are the 3 most popular:
What have I missed? What else would you like to know?