Frugal/Simplify – homemade beauty products

Since last summer I have decluttered my beauty regime down to the three main elements:

  • Homemade shampoo and conditioner
  • Homemade deodorant.
  • Homemade face wash (aka oil cleansing)

The advantages to this are that the products are a lot cheaper than what you buy in the shops, they contain fewer artificial ingredients and they also have less environmental impact. I find that the homemade products work as well or better for me than shop-bought products, but then I have always been someone for whom the claims on beauty products have never come true. For example, when I used Frizz-ease, my hair still ended up frizzy. Therefore, for me it makes a lot more sense to make my own products, but if you get good results from shop-bought products then you might disagree.

The key ingredients for my products can be bought on eBay or Amazon (probably lots of other places as well, but this is where I buy them). My mainstay is the humble bicarbonate of soda, which I feel like I could no longer live without. I just got a 3kg delivery yesterday, which should last months, although I am using it in more and more things all the time.

Shampoo and conditioner

This Crunchy Betty post was my inspiration to start down the natural beauty path. It doesn’t get much easier than washing your hair with a diluted tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda, and rinsing it with two diluted tablespoons of white vinegar. I bought 10 litres of white vinegar off eBay for £10.95 eight months ago, and have used less than a quarter of this, meaning I’ll pay around £4/year for conditioner. Since using bicarbonate of soda instead of shampoo, I have found that my hair gets greasy a bit less quickly (I now wash every three days instead of every other day) and it is a bit less frizzy and fly-away than before.

Homemade deodorant

I followed another Crunchy Betty post to start making my own deodorant. After melting coconut oil in a jar in the microwave, I add the dry ingredients and mix them well. I use arrowroot instead of cornflour, and add a few drops of orange essential oil. For most of the year, the coconut oil is solid, so rather than keeping the mix in a jar, I pour it into an old round tub which used to contain body scrub. Once the mix has set, I have to scrape a bit out to use each day, so a tub I can get my hand into is a lot easier than a jar. I also put some into an old lipbalm case, so I have a small amount to take with me if I’m travelling. I tried Crunchy Betty’s suggestion of putting the mix into an old roll-on deodorant case, but in high summer the oil melted and went everywhere! When I first made the mix I used cornflour, and for the first couple of weeks my underarms were quite red and sore, but after that I had no problems. Although as this is a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, i still sweat, any odour is practically eliminated. I find that the deodorant can sometimes get white marks on my clothes, but fewer and more easily removed than a shop-bought deodorant. I also sometimes get oily marks on the underarms of my clothes, but I don’t get the other hard-to-wash-out stains which can remain after using shop-bought deodorant.

Homemade face wash

Yet again, Crunchy Betty came to my rescue. I had already heard about oil cleansing a few years ago, and was sporadically using jojoba oil as a moisturiser, but this post helped me to firm up my regime. I have an oily T-zone and dry cheeks, so I am still trying to find my perfect oil mix. At the moment I’m coming to the end of a mix of jojoba oil and castor oil, and after that I’ll try a mix of sweet almond oil and castor oil, with more accurate measuring of proportions to get a more uniform effect. My skin is now a little less oily than when I was using a soapy cleanser, and the dry areas feel quite soft. I put the oil on my face when I get in the bath or shower, leave it on for a bit to soak in, and then use the already-heated water to soak my flannel and clean off the oil. The drawback with this is that it’s not very convenient when you’re travelling, particularly if you’re just going somewhere overnight, as you’ll end up with a wet flannel to carry around the next day. The sweet almond oil cost £7.39 from eBay for 1 litre (bought in January so I have no idea how long it will last but I estimate a couple of years) and the castor oil cost £7.77 from eBay for 1 litre (again, I estimate a couple of years), meaning I would spend around £7.50 per year on facial wash and moisturiser.

Have you tried making your own beauty products? If so, did you get good results?


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