Perhaps it was a perfect storm of timely marketing and boundless inspiration, but I have found a new obsession: crafting my own homemade beauty products. I’ve long been interested in eliminating nasty chemicals in the food that goes in my body, and now I’m eliminating chemicals that are used on and around my body, too.
A few months ago, I started making my own hand soap, using the oil cleansing method for my face, and I eliminated commercial toothpaste. I started making my own cleaning products. Then, as if they were reading my mind, I received a catalog from Mountain Rose Herbs that made me want to live in those pages of exotic and mystical herbs and concoctions. The catalog pointed me to their website where I longed to learn more about making pure and natural homemade beauty products. That’s where I discovered 200 Tips, Techniques & Recipes for Natural Beauty by Shannon Buck. On a recent chilly and rainy day, I began devouring this book and longing to make everything in it.
When I was a kid, my girlfriends and I gave each other mini-facials during our slumber parties with masks made from honey and egg whites. In my 30s, I got sucked into the black hole of high-priced skin care with over-hyped products hoping to stave off fine lines and wrinkles. Those days are over for me. I’m no longer willing to fight these visible signs of having lived with potentially dangerous, harsh chemicals and a bloated beauty care budget. I want natural, gentle, easy, inexpensive and FUN! I’m not much of a girly-girl, but making homemade beauty products is fun. It brings me back to those slumber party days when we raided the fridge and pantry to find things to make ourselves pretty.
200 Tips, Techniques & Recipes for Natural Beauty begins with a primer for evaluating and selecting the ingredients you’ll need from butters and carrier oils to clays and salts. Then, there’s a comprehensive reference chart describing the properties and benefits of most available essential oils. This was particularly helpful for me since I am starting to dabble in essential oils.
Next, there are sections dedicated to hair care, facial care including cleansers, toners, moisturizers and eye treatments, body care, and perfumes and aromatherapy. I have read this book cover to cover, but I love that you don’t actually have to. Shannon Buck makes it possible to craft simple homemade beauty products right away by looking for the “Try It” tips that make use of ingredients like apple cider vinegar or coconut oil that you probably already have in your pantry.
Because even the world of natural beauty products can get overwhelming, Buck breaks recipes down into “Best of” categories so you’ll know just where to start depending on your hair and skin type. Some of these products sound so luxurious I want to spend all winter in my kitchen making them. Whipped Shea Butter & Jasmine Clay Cleanser? Peppermint cocoa lip balm? My own fizzy bath bombs? YES, PLEASE! Besides the recipes, there are suggestions for custom-crafting your own formulations with easy-to-follow charts that give choices for ingredients.
There’s even information and tips on the best way to package and dress up your creations for gift-giving! I now have a holiday gift idea for Mom. Imagine presenting these beautiful, wholesome and fresh creations to everyone on your gift list – even the men in your life can use a custom lip balm or shampoo.
One caution: this obsession can be pricey. While shopping the Mountain Rose Herbs website, I had to pare down my shopping cart to include ingredients to make products that I already use like body creams, lip balm, and facial cleansers and moisturizers. I don’t actually use toners, hair conditioners, or eye treatments, so even though they sound lovely, I’m skipping them for now. Once I have the bulk ingredients in my pantry for my basic skin care routine, I believe the investment will be worthwhile.
200 Tips, Techniques & Recipes for Natural Beauty by Shannon Buck is the best first step for learning how and being inspired to create your own homemade beauty products. It’s easy to understand and thorough enough to get you started. Now I just need another chilly, rainy weekend to spend in my kitchen in the name of natural beauty!
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