Living – Homemade Body Care Products

Strangely, I often forget that this blog’s byline is Thoughts on cooking, eating and living. Probably because I am quite fixated on the cooking and eating part. I’m also not really sure anyone has ever read that byline, so people probably don’t expect to read about anything but food here.

Cooking, however, was not on the agenda last weekend, as I’ve been busy with other things. Homemade things. Maybe you’ll remember that a friend and I made candles for the first time in November last year, and each of us has made a second batch, having learned from what didn’t work so well the first time round.

In January my friend started experimenting with a cold rub recipe that she found online and adapted. I was one of the benefactors of this cold rub when I got bronchitis, and I was very pleased how well it worked and how good it smelled, especially compared to the harsh stuff you buy at the chemist’s.

My friend got hooked on essential oils and made a lemon & mint salve for dry hands. More experiments, then an orange & mint salve appeared on my desk one day that I love. So we met for a “creative day” and produced some more body care products, most recipes were from the internet, but we adapted many of them to our own respective liking.

Last weekend we met again, tried some new things and made more of the products we liked and/or wanted to adapt. We also found these make for great little gifts – as long as we put a sticker somewhere with an ingredients list, because what’s good for us doesn’t have to be good for other people who might have allergies or react differently to essential oils.

As with the candle making, I just loved creating labels. My friend was the one who sourced containers, pump bottles, spray bottles, and roll-on sticks. I think we make quite a good team, which is why we have more creative days planned.

Here are some pictures of what we created, a list of where we found the original recipes, what we liked especially, and what we adapted.

Lemon & Mint Salve and Orange & Mint Salve
The former we found on Atta Girl Says, the second is an adaptation; less peppermint, orange instead of lemon, and a softer consistency. I only use them at night – every night – because they’re oilier than hand cream, but very effective.

Hand Sanitizer Gel and Hand Sanitizer Spray
We don’t really have a source for these, we just experimented with the basics that you can find anywhere online.
The gel consists of aloe vera, tea tree oil, peppermint essential oil and orange essential oil. For our second, improved batch we used witch hazel instead of tea tree and spearmint instead of peppermint and mandarin instead of orange. I prefer the sweeter smell of spearmint to the harsher one of peppermint.

The spray is just distilled water and tea tree oil. This can also be made with witch hazel instead of tea tree.

Natural Organic Face Wash and Gentle Makeup Remover Wipes
The source for both the face wash and the makeup remover wipes is Live Simply.

The face wash was the first thing I made myself, and I love it. It leaves my skin very soft, doesn’t dry it out, and cleans the skin pretty well.
Since I discovered the makeup remover wipes, I use these first to remove makeup and then the face wash as a second step.

Lip Balm
The one you see on the left is my friend’s first experiment. I use it every night, like the smell as well as the consistency, and I find it does its job well.
The lip balm stick is another recipe from Live Simply – simple 3 ingredient lip balm to which we added lime and spearmint essential oil. I like to keep that one in my handbag.

Natural Cold Rub and Soothing Muscle Cream
The cold rub, as I mentioned above, is the very first thing my friend made; it’s her own adaption from a basic recipe found online. I found it extremely effective, and the smell is wonderful, too.

The soothing muscle cream, however, is something my friend has decided to rework as the consistency isn’t very pliable. It’s very hard to get out of the container so you never get enough of it out to use effectively. The next version should be finished soon, looking forward to that.

Orange Scrub and Lavender Scrub
Both of these are sugar based and very easily and quickly made. It’s basically a mixture of sugar, melted coconut oil and an essential oil of your choice.
The recipes are from Eleven Magnolia Lane.
Personally, I love the orange sugar scrub. My friend suggested using the lavender scrub at night just before going to bed as lavender has a calming effect. I was afraid the scent would be too strong, but it wasn’t. However, I found that my skin itched in several places afterwards, so lavender essential oil is not for me.


Things to consider when making homemade body care products:

  • Tea tree oil is an allergen, so try homemade products on a small body area first.
  • On the same note – what’s good for you might not be good for others.
  • When gifting homemade products, always make sure to supply the recipient with info on content/ingredients as they might have allergies. We put ingredient labels on the back/bottom of our products that we gave away.
  • We also made a few things – both body care and cleaning products – from online recipes that didn’t turn out well at all. Some we’ll try to adapt in our next creative sessions, but others just weren’t worth the time. So if you decide to give homemade products a go, it’s advisable to do it on a very small scale.

My friend and I are going to have another creative session this month, just before Easter to make some more things to gift, and I’m very much looking forward to that.