Be Your Own Drugstore Recipes for Homemade Skincare

January 20, 2012

I’m always excited when I can share safe, clean and effective personal care tips. You would be surprised at how un-natural many products marked “natural” really are. Even soaps, lotions and makeup marked organic are not always pure. Unless the label says 100% organic, it’s good to do a web search and check the ingredients in your products.

Be Your Own Drugstore Recipes for Homemade Skincare

Or, rather than going through all that, you can easily make your own truly natural skin care products. Your trips to the drugstore will be fewer, your body will thank you and you will be helping to cut down on the waste and pollution involved with all those plastic bottles and suspect ingredients.

Coconut oil (unrefined virgin only)

Coconut oil is super nourishing for the skin. Apply it instead of moisturizer when skin is still damp after a shower or bath. Use it sparingly and give it a few minutes to absorb. If you feel greasy you are using too much.

Coconut oil is super nourishing for the skin. Apply it instead of moisturizer when skin is still damp after a shower or bath. Use it sparingly and give it a few minutes to absorb. If you feel greasy you are using too much. I live in NYC and only use coconut oil during the summer months because it has cooling properties. Substitute with sweet almond oil or sesame oil when the weather is cold.

Use it year-round in a warm climate or if you tend to have a lot of heat in your body all the time. Coconut oil also works great for shaving legs. I can’t vouch for men, but would love to know if it works for them too!

Easy deodorant

I LOVE this one. All you need is cornstarch and tea tree or lavender essential oil (I alternate). You can use straight cornstarch, a mixture of 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 cornstarch or a cornstarch-based baby powder. (A nice brand is Burt’s Bees which is fairly pure except for the fragrance which they don’t identify.)

Shake some powder into your hand and add one drop of tea tree or lavender oil and rub under your arms. Both oils are anti-bacterial, so they will act as a deodorant. Traditional aluminum-based deodorants are thought to be dangerous because they may be absorbed right into your skin and lymph glands (especially after shaving) and could cause health problems. Try this natural recipe to stay safe and dry.

No shampoo

Shampoo strips hair of natural oils, often leading the scalp to compensate by overproducing oil or becoming super dry. You can stop this crazy cycle by “shampooing” with baking soda. Honest. Once I started this method, I got more compliments on my hair than ever before. I use the baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse method.

Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with one cup warm water in a jar and shake to mix. Pour this over wet hair in the shower and massage in thoroughly, then rinse. If you have very long or oily hair, you may need to double or triple the amount.

Some people like to follow this with a vinegar rinse. Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 1 cup warm water and work through hair, then rinse out. The vinegar isn’t necessary all the time, but can help if you have any product build-up.

You only need to do this process once or twice a week max. In between, I just rinse my hair in the shower. FYI: It usually takes a good week or two for your hair and scalp to adjust to this method. Don’t fret if things get a little weird at first, your body just needs to balance out. It’s a good time for ponytail holders and headbands.

Eye makeup remover

Ghee (clarified butter). Usually found in the Indian food section of the supermarket or health food store, ghee requires no refrigeration. Just gently rub on eyelids and lashes and remove with a cotton pad. Ghee is highly nourishing around the eyes and if you suffer from dry eyes at night, just dab a little extra around the rims of the eyes before bedtime.

Face Wash

This is a recipe I learned from Ayurvedic practitioner, Pratima Raichur, author of Absolute Beauty: Mix equal parts powdered goat or cow’s milk and ground almond meal. If you need a little exfoliant, throw in a pinch of sea salt or sugar. To ease inflammation, mix in just a little bit of powdered turmeric. Mix in some crushed dried lavender if desired for a sweet scent.

To use, dampen your face with water and rub a spoonful of the powder over your skin, then rinse.
I make enough to fill a small jar, which usually lasts for a week or two. Be aware of the expiration date on the milk.

And last, but not least, after a long stressful day:

Baking soda and sea salt bath

Energy healers recommend this combination for a “clearing bath.” To put it simply, soaking in this mixture makes you feel calm and balanced. Pour two cups each of sea salt (any kind) and baking soda into a warm, not hot, bath and soak for 20 minutes.

So these are some of my favorite tricks for healthy and natural skin care. Do you have any others that you would like to share?

Much love,


P.S. If you just really want to buy clean products instead of make your own, here are some of my favorites. Almost good enough to eat and they smell divine!

  1. Barbara,
    Thanks — this is so necessary! I don’t use makeup or commercial deodorant (just some tea tree oil), but I didn’t know about the baking soda shampoo, so thank you. I have been washing my hair with less and less shampoo, sensing it’s not doing anything but drying my hair out, when I’m already vata and the cold wind and indoor heat do that too. This is like going back to the 1970s when we all made our own granola and yogurt, and some of us stayed with those healthy no-tech habits. I appreciate you! Keep spreading the word that it doesn’t take much money to be healthy, and beautiful.

  2. Thanks, Nancy! You are living proof that less is more! You have a beautiful glow that shines from inside and out. You would never know how vata you are by looking at your skin. 🙂

  3. Barbara,
    I wanted to go on record as saying that I washed my hair with baking soda, and give some feedback that may be helpful to others. First, I really scrubbed, I think because I was used to the suds generated by normal shampoo. (I do know manufacturers add some chemicals to shampoo to make them sudsy, which is only for sensory appeal, nothing to do with making hair cleaner or healthier, so I’ll have to retrain myself.) My hair was very soft right away, no flyaway ends which were probably excessive dryness from all the oils being stripped out by harsh detergent shampoo. It wasn’t “squeaky-clean” which I am again assuming I don’t really want, just have been mis-educated to think is desirable. Now in the 3rd day, I’m feeling the need to wash my hair again, but it is not weighed down or “sticky” — I had not used any conditioner (which I have always thought was meant to put back some of the oils shampoos stripped out), or even vinegar as a rinse, just the baking soda. So my scalp may need to be re-educated too, not to over-produce oil since it won’t get assaulted with harsh shampoo a few times a week now. One last thing — after I got out of the shower from (non-)washing my hair with baking soda, I felt so refreshed and optimistic, like I had taken a clearing bath! This is a wonderful unexpected benefit, worth as much as the more healthy hair — my attitude is healthier too. Thank you!
    Curly happy tresses,

  4. Thanks so much for the input, Nancy. It does take some getting used to – especially for people with long hair. It feels very different than when you wash with shampoo and conditioner. Like I said, it often takes a week or two for your hair to completely adjust to the switch. I always rinse my hair in-between washing days and give my scalp a good massage. Even just the rinse makes it feel cleaner. 🙂

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