Friday, April 29, 2011

Homemade Body Products: Easy and Cheap

I make and sell handmade soap, lotions, lip balm, and other such wonders. However, I know there are a lot of folks out there who would rather make their own. That's part of the reason I write books--to teach people how to make their own body products, and save money and be more independent.

There are some products, though, that are just so easy to make at home, I don't even bother making them to sell. This is for various reasons, usually involving packaging and preservatives I don't want to hassle with.

In the spirit of giving (after gassing up my car the other day, and wondering how on Earth I even manage to do that some weeks), I present some recipes and ideas for your own body products. You already have some of this stuff at home, so the cost is minimal.

1. Scrubs

I do make and sell scrubs, but if you don't care about scent, you can make these yourself, easily. Combine sugar and oils until the consistency is how you like. The end. I recommend olive oil and refined sugar. Scrub up before soaping off, and enjoy. I make this with rougher, raw sugar, to sell, and add fancy essential oils--my customers love it. Any scrub is great on the feet--used daily, your heels will be soft and smooth and sandal-ready. Unlike mine, because I usually can't be bothered. I'm the soap makers daughter going smooth-less.

2. Face Exfoliants

Use a washcloth! I wash my face with soap and a washcloth every day, and it really helps to smooth out my skin. You can make a facial cleansing oil from castor oil (buy it at Walgreen's) and olive oil, combined. Put your washcloth in super-hot water in the basin, while you massage the oil into your skin. Wring out the cloth, and then steam your face with it. Wipe off your face, dunk the cloth, wring it out again, and wipe off the oil one more time. Your face should feel clean and super-soft.

Another exfoliant is baking soda. Be careful with this one, as some folks might find it a bit too abrasive. Mix it with olive oil, and gently rub it on your face. Use soap and a washcloth to clean it off.

If you have hormonal acne, like I do, you might try an aspirin facial. Keep a cheap bottle of uncoated aspirin around ($4 at Walgreen's), and put 3 tablets in your palm. With your other hand, flick water on the tablets to get them to dissolve. Scrub your face or only affected areas with that stuff, then wash off with soap and water. The salicylic acid in the aspirin is what is in all the expensive acne stuff. Now you know. Also, I am not a doctor of any kind.

3. Facial Treatments

Again, start with olive oil. Put it on your face and rub it in. The end. Costco now sells grapeseed oil, too. This stuff is just as cheap as olive oil, and it just as good (if not better). Soap makers all know this, and you should too: just slap some oil on your skin and be done with it. It will soak in.

If you want an actual facial treatment, and have and extra half an avocado (Who leaves an avocado uneaten? I mean, really), mash it up and smear it on your face and let it sit. Then wash it off. For something soothing, you can grind oatmeal up in a clean coffee grinder until it is powdered. Combine that with some honey and a little water, to make a facial paste, and proceed as usual for facials. Oat powder is great in the bathtub, as well, to soothe itchy skin.

4. Hair Treatment

Can you guess what I'm going to say? No? Readers, really. Slap that olive oil in your hair, comb it through, put it up in a cloth, and go gardening. For hours. Then shampoo all that out, and style as usual.

Enjoy frugality! Celebrate anti-corporate action! Go green! And when you want to learn how to make soap, I'm here for you.

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