I know, I know. Making your own personal care, beauty products or cosmetics is just a little too much, even for an avid do-it-yourselfer. But it really is fun. And it’s pretty easy, too.
Here are two books that have really inspired me:
The first is Organic Body Care: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin and Vibrant Self. This 376-page book is very user friendly. The book is very well-organized. The author starts with an apothecary–all the ingredients that go into body-care products and a description of how they work. Then she explains the tools you will need. She gives very thorough instructions on how to create your beauty products. At the end there is an exhaustive list of sources to get supplies.
My only complaint is that sometimes I wish she’d use ounces instead of table- or teaspoon measurements. It’s a little hard to measure beeswax or cocoa butter
in tablespoons. But that’s really a very minor thing. I have several pages of my favorite recipes marked with sticky notes.
Other than lotions and creams (which take a little practice to learn how to emulsify the oils and water so they don’t separate) all the recipes are very quick and easy to make. With only a few exceptions, most of the ingredients can be purchased at your local grocery store, drug store or health food store.
The second book, Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes, is both broader and simpler than Organic Body Care. It’s broader because it covers more than just beauty products. It also covers home remedies for things like burns and scrapes, bad breath and dandruff as weel as lots of simple skin- and hair-care recipes. The ingredients list is pretty much things you can grow–herbs and plants (Thus the title: Grow Your Own Drugs.)
The author is British, which shows in some of the language and instructions. The book is filled with vivid pictures (unlike the first book, which only has a
few line drawings) that really inspire you and make you want to get started right away making your own. It has about 1/3 fewer pages and about 1/2 the recipes. I really learned a lot from the plant pharmacopeia in the back of the book. It’s where I discovered the good uses for Burdock (cocklebur.) A good thing because we have TONS of it growing around our yard. After 17 years of digging and weeding it I have never been able to eradicate it. Now I’m glad to have it.
So which one should you get?
Get both! There really is no overlap between the two and if you order with Amazon, the two together qualify for the free Super Saver shipping. Even if you don’t want to always be making your own personal- and beauty-care items, these are both resources to have. They will help you make better choices when you buy personal care items at the store. Both books give you a better understanding of what makes for healthy skin and body. And (for you crafty-types) you’ll get lots of good ideas for nice home-made gifts.