two babies in bubble bath

Many of the personal care products for children found in stores contain harmful and even toxic ingredients. Soon-to-be parents often start getting concerned about the personal care products they use on their children, but it can also be hard to decipher which are actually safe and natural alternatives. Often, product labels are quite misleading, leaving parents confused.

Making your own personal care products for children can be a fun and rewarding experience. If your children are preschoolers or older, you can involve them in the process. Very young children can help with mixing and selecting essential oils. Older children can probably make these products themselves as most are quite simple.

Before You Start

Keep in mind that babies especially can have sensitive skin and may find strong scents overwhelming. As a result, many baby products are unscented. Also, some essential oils can aggravate sensitive skin and especially the eyes so use them sparingly. In many cases, essential oils are diluted with carrier oils, such as olive or coconut oil. When using essential oils for the first time with a young child, use just a bit to make sure they don’t irritate the skin.

Children can also give really helpful feedback about products regarding what they like and what can be improved. One of the benefits of DIY formulas is that they can be customized based on your likes and dislikes. Also, use your best judgment in selecting the best DIY personal care product recipes to try. Some just might not be a good fit for your child. For example, a bubble bath recipe with oil in it might make the tub slippery and could present a safety issue.

If you aren’t a parent yourself but are inspired, consider making personal care products as gifts for the children in your life. Better yet, if you have children that you are close to, invite them over to mix up your favorite batches together. You can decorate labels, tie ribbons on the bottles, and make a whole project out of this.

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Staple Ingredients

Essential oils are derived from plants and often have healing or medicinal properties. They can be used in a variety of ways including topically, in a diffuser, or in some cases they can be ingested internally (when using food-grade oils).

  • Peppermint essential oil: This versatile oil is good for digestive issues, common colds, and headaches.
  • Tea tree essential oil: With its antifungal, antibiotic, and antiviral properties, tea tree oil is useful in treating a variety of ailments.
  • Geranium essential oil: This oil has many uses and benefits. It is antimicrobial, may protect against diabetes, and is an effective tick repellent.
  • Lavender essential oil: If you want a little extra help relaxing the kiddos at night or releasing stress, lavender is a great option. You can even add it to the rinse cycle in the washing machine, put a dab of it on your child’s pillow at night, or add it to your favorite DIY personal care product recipes.

Kids’ Bubble Bath

Bubble bath is so fun for little ones! Baths are also a good way to relax them at night, especially if you use calming essential oils such as lavender or lemon balm.

Whereas many bubble bath products market themselves as “pure” or “natural,” some bubble baths are anything but. In fact, formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, are suspected carcinogens, yet are found in many bubble baths on the market. Also, there are no regulatory standards for how much can be in a product.

Although it can be nice to put personal care products into glass bottles, beware of doing this with young children. A broken glass bottle in the bathroom can be concerning, so you may want to use a plastic bottle instead.



Mix all the ingredients together and place them in a bottle. Use 1 tablespoon of the mixture per bath. Lavender or geranium essential oils are great options to reduce stress or promote tranquility before bedtime.

Super Tick Repellent Spray

In much of the country, it is important to steer clear of ticks and safeguard the kiddos. These pesty creatures can transmit tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease and babesiosis.  Unfortunately, synthetic products like DEET have their drawbacks. It is wonderful to encourage children to play in natural areas but it is important to prevent tick-borne illnesses.

Wear light-colored clothing when hiking in the forest or grassland. This makes it easier to spot ticks easily while outdoors. If you live in an area with a lot of ticks, take extra precautions. Remove your clothes when entering the home and put them in the laundry area. Then check the skin and hair for ticks.


  • 1 1/4 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon neem oil
  • 40 drops of geranium essential oil
  • 15 drops of peppermint oil
  • 20 drops of tea tree oil
  • 20 drops of citronella essential oil


Add all the ingredients to a 2-ounce spray bottle and shake.

Diaper Rash Cream

Is your little one prone to diaper rashes? Many are caused by bacterial or yeast (fungal) infections. With its many healing properties, tea tree oil is an excellent remedy. Remember to not use undiluted tea tree oil on the skin as it can cause irritation.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil


Mix tea tree and coconut oils together. Apply a thin coating after diaper changes or baths.

Simple Detangler Spray

Is combing your little one’s hair a difficult experience? Does your young child not like using conditioner when bathing? Using a natural detangler can be a great way to ease the discomfort. Use this detangler spray like a leave-in conditioner to make it easier to brush and condition the hair. If you add essential oils, be especially careful to avoid the eyes when spraying.


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons conditioner
  • Water
  • A few drops of essential oil (optional)


Take a 12-ounce spray bottle and add the conditioner. Fill up the rest of the bottle with hot water which will help the conditioner to dissolve. If you want, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like lavender.

Want more DIY personal care? Read DIY Women’s Personal Care Products and DIY Men’s Personal Care Products.

This post was originally published on March 30, 2020.

By Sarah Lozanova

Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.