Making luxurious homemade body products is no different than making delicious home cooked meals. It takes a bit of experience, quality ingredients and the right tools. With a bit of love and great presentation you have it all. Like food, personal preference plays a big part. Lavender, lemongrass and bergamot is my favorite blended essential oil scent. You might prefer sandalwood and cedar. You’ll have hits and misses, the keepers for the next generation and the short-lived phase that will soon be forgotten.
Once you find a recipe that works, you’ll want to share the end product with family and friends. Bring it to holiday parties (as hostess gifts). Gift it for birthdays, perfectly presented in every way. And oh what an easy peasy lemon squeezy teacher gift! It will become a habit.
Ingredients are important. When you can, buying quality ingredients will make all the difference. If you are making a big batch, you can find some of those quality products in bulk, bringing down the cost a bit. (In the end run, your four jars of body butter will be less expensive and better for you than that one jar of over-the-counter product.)
Here is a list of the most common ingredients used in the products I make and the companies I prefer to purchase from. Most of these brands can be found at your local natural foods store, online or sometimes even in the bigger box stores. Just have fun and enjoy the process!
Much love and happiness,
Almond oil is easily absorbed, nourishing the skin with antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin A.
Brand: Aura Cacia or Now
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is antifungal and antimicrobial, helping to heal skin ailments, soothing irritations, burns and wounds.
During the summer, you can sometimes find giant leaves for sale at Whole Foods or your local natural foods store. I grow my own aloe plants and harvest the gel from their leaves. It’s an incredibly easy succulent to maintain and will reproduce abundantly. My mother plant (also my first house plant) is from my freshman year in college, more than 20 years ago. She has moved around the country with me and is very forgiving. Despite any abuse endured, over the years she has produced more offspring than I can count or give away. I highly recommend growing your own aloe plants.
Arrowroot starch comes from the arrowroot plant, a perennial herb. It’s used as a thickening agent in liquids (often sauces). It is scent free, allergy-friendly and doesn’t cloud like traditional flours. It’s a great addition to body product recipes, lessening the oiliness of some of the main ingredients for the final product.
Brand: Bob’s Red Mill
Avocado oil is high is vitamin E. Vitamin E oil is used as a preservative and anti-oxidant skin nourishment in body products. Avocado oil is easily absorbed, making it an excellent choice for moisturizing.
Brand: La Tourangelle or Now
Baking soda balances pH, cleanses and soothes the skin. It’s also a mild exfoliate that helps to remove dead skin cells.
Brand: Bob’s Red Mill
Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It is high in vitamin A, which promotes hydrating and softening of the skin, as well as stimulates cell repair.
Beeswax is made by honeybees and can be purchased from a beekeeper, at your local natural foods store or online. You can purchase it is in solid block form or in sheets, which is less expensive or as pellets (also called pastilles, pearls), which is easier to measure. Coloring of yellow or white is based on processing. You can find organic beeswax at Mary Tylor Naturals or Sky Organics
Unrefined, whole kernel extra virgin coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. It is made up of fatty acids and is an excellent moisturizer, although it can be greasy.
Brand: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
At higher room temperatures coconut oil is liquid, but in the northeast it’s usually solid at all times. Because of this difference, be cautious when using pure coconut oil in the shower, as a moisturizer or when shaving. While it may liquefy on your warm body in your steamy shower, as it cools off on its way down the drain it will once again solidify. Over time this can build up and cause real problems with your plumbing.
All Epsom salt contains the naturally occurring minerals magnesium and sulfate, which can be absorbed through the skin.
Please see my list of essential oils and what they’re used for here: Essential Oils
Brand: Aura Cacia
Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil is high is vitamin E. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antibacterial and known for its antihistamine properties. It is also high is linoleic acid, which is great for the skin. It has almost no smell, so it’s a great ingredient.
Brand: Spectrum Naturals
Jojoba oil’s vitamin E and vitamin A, plus many other minerals are easily absorbed into the skin. Its antibacterial properties nourish the skin and sooth inflammation. Its high level of fatty acids makes it a wonderful skin moisturizer.
Olive oil is high in fatty acids and a great skin moisturizer. Use it alone or in your body product recipes.
Brand: Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
“Certified* Organic, Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from 100% organically grown Greek Olives that continually provide the best quality and flavor.” – Bragg Website
Unprocessed sea salt is a natural purifier that helps promote healing within the skin, better circulation and reduced inflammation. Coarse sea salts are excellent exfoliators, however people with especially sensitive skin should be careful.
Brand: Celtic Sea Salt (Selina Naturally)
“All Celtic Sea Salt® Brand salts are authentic, unprocessed, whole salts, guaranteed to be optimally balanced in mineral content and to be free from pesticides, herbicides and harmful chemicals.” – Selina Naturally webpage.
Shea butter has natural antioxidants and fatty acids, making it a nourishing skin moisturizer on its own. Adding it to a body product recipe it gives substance and a lovely buttery-ness.
Brand: Nourish Organics or Now
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is used as a preservative and anti-oxidant skin nourishment in body products. It helps skin to retain moisture. And it speeds up cell regeneration so skin heals faster.