We’ve all heard the statistic about the skin being the body’s largest organ, but opinions about how to care for its extensive surface area range from “leave it alone” to “use all the products!” I’ve decided to throw my own two cents into the ring and share my sweet, step-by-step DIY skincare regime that happens to fall neatly in the middle of these two approaches — a handful of homemade products and practices that will help your skin look great, naturally.
Before we get started, I feel as though it’s necessary to state that I’m most definitely not a dermatologist, and if you have specific skin issues that may make it challenging to discontinue use of your current products and/or start using new ones, then it’s probably best to consult with your doctor before embarking on this adventure. For those with fairly normal skin, let’s get experimenting!
DIY Skincare to the Rescue
First things first, we need a clean slate to work with — in other words, clean skin. About five years ago, I stopped using any sort of body wash or facial cleanser and I haven’t looked back since. I don’t miss that tight feeling I used to get after washing my face or stepping out of the shower, and I’ve noticed that my skin is way less dry and itchy, too. In the shower, I use natural bar soap for armpits, feet, and around my lady business. For my face, I simply use a hot washcloth to gently steam and then scrub my face. By avoiding detergent-based soaps, cleansers, and washes that strip your skin of its wonderful natural oils, your skin doesn’t have to work overtime to replace that oil — which can, paradoxically, result in over-oily skin.
Next, we exfoliate! This is more of a weekly task — definitely not part of a daily regime — but I like to do it on a regular basis to slough off dead skin and keep skin looking and feeling soft and dewy. For my body, I usually whip up an easy DIY scrub by mixing together an exfoliant and a liquid — usually some mixture of the following:
- Exfoliants: White sugar, brown sugar, coffee grounds, salt
- Liquids: Olive oil, coconut oil, honey, water, lemon juice
- Add a few tablespoons of the exfoliant first, then slowly add the liquid until it forms a loose paste.
- Use your fingertips to gently apply to your body and scrub softly, paying particular attention to knees, elbows, and any other rough spots.
Gentle Facial Scrub
For my face, I like to use something a little finer; my go-to for years had been a mixture of baking soda and water. This face scrub is approximately 99% cheaper than anything you’ll find in a store and there’s no plastic bottle to throw out afterward, either. It’s an unbelievable way to reveal perfect, glowing skin — just don’t scrub too hard! Let the baking soda do the work.
- Add about a tablespoon of baking soda in a little bowl and add water until it forms a loose paste.
- Apply to face with fingertips, avoiding the tender skin around the eyes, and massage in small, circular motions.
Next, a toner. This is an optional step, but a good one if you tend to have oily skin. I used this initially, but over the years, my transition from mid-20s skin to early-30s skin means it now leans toward the dry side and I find that I really don’t need it. If you do, the recipe is easy-peasy.
- Mix equal parts of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) with water.
- Apply to the face with a cotton ball or, even better, a reusable cloth pad. No need to rinse, the ACV dries odorless.
Ready, Set, Moisturize
Finally, we moisturize!
For my body, I love to use unrefined coconut oil for an after-shower full-body massage. It’s a great way to keep moisture in the skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. Simply apply pea-sized amounts of coconut oil to the skin with your fingertips and massage it in until it’s completely absorbed. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but it will liquefy as soon as it hits your warm skin. I typically use around 1 to 2 tablespoons for my whole body.
Delux Body Lotion
Those in humid climates may find that this is enough, but if you’re in an arid climate like I am, whipping up this luxe DIY body lotion is fantastic for dry skin.
- 3 tablespoons grated beeswax
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sterile water (boiled and cooled is how I do mine)
- Place olive oil into a double boiler over low-medium heat and add the grated beeswax.
- When beeswax has melted into the olive oil, remove from heat.
- Place water into a blender and turn it on to medium speed.
- Then, slooooowly add the olive oil/beeswax mixture. At first, it will look like a huge clumpy mess, but adding the oil slowly allows the mixture to emulsify into a rich cream.
- Add a few drops of essential oil if you like your lotion scented, and store in a sterile glass jar.
Easy Eye Makeup Remover
And, if you’re a makeup-wearer, here’s a bonus tip. Use a few dabs of unrefined coconut oil to remove eye makeup in a snap. Just massage a tiny amount onto your eyelids and eyelashes, and use a warm, wet cloth to wipe it off. It’s an easy way to remove eye makeup while being really gentle on that sensitive skin around the eyes.
And there you have it! With a handful of simple products that you probably already have in your pantry, you can create a host of easy, natural DIY skincare recipes that will have your skin glowing in no time. No plastic, no unpronounceable chemicals, and virtually no cost.
As an added bonus, we’ve whipped up several other DIY hygiene recipes which you may also be interested in including DIY body wash, DIY dry shampoo, DIY body lotion, DIY conditioner, DIY face wash, DIY shave cream, DIY aftershave, DIY toothpaste, and DIY deodorant. Go ahead, give them a try today!
Editor’s note: Originally published on March 28, 2016, this article was updated in September 2021.