Fresh herbs and oils on wooden bench

The personal care products aisle at the store is super confusing for most green-minded shoppers. Making your own personal care products is a great way to sidestep this issue. It is surprisingly simple and delightfully fun.

Many of the products on the shelves labeled “organic” or “natural” are filled with synthetic ingredients, some of which are harmful. Reading the ingredient list can lead to further confusion. What was the name of that one really weird additive to avoid? If I had just taken a few more years of chemistry, this label might make sense.

You can experiment with DIY recipes to create customized blends that give your skin just the right glow or have a perfectly relaxing blend of your favorite essential oils. Many recipes tend to have similar ingredients, so you can make a wide variety of products with just a handful of items. It’s also a great way to save money and reduce packaging waste. Save your old bottles and jars to reuse them with your new personal care product creations.

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Staple Ingredients

Jojoba oil: This oil comes from the nut of a plant that thrives in the deserts of North America. This delightful oil is moisturizing, contains Vitamin E, and has antibacterial properties. One of its best qualities is that it doesn’t clog pores and is effective for both oily and dry skin.

Essential oils: Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants and possess different properties. Lavender is known for being calming, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating skin cells, while frankincense helps reduce scars, boost skin tone, and soothe wrinkles. Geranium oil helps relieve anxiety, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is an excellent tick repellent. If you don’t have all these oils around the house, you can start with one or two.

Liquid Castile soap: This nontoxic soap originates from the Castile region of Spain and was originally made with olive oil. It is extremely versatile and can be used as dish soap, shampoo, detergent, body wash, and hand soap.

Olive oil: This stuff is healthy to eat and to use topically for most skin types to rejuvenate, moisturize, and nourish the skin. Just add a couple drops to a recycled cotton piece or cotton ball to remove eye makeup or use it as a massage oil. For use as a full-body moisturizer, apply a few drops to a damp cloth and apply this way to avoid an oily feeling. A study with mice shows olive oil has an especially beneficial impact when applied after sun exposure.

Rosehip oil: With regenerative and healing properties, this oil is known to help remove scars, prevent acne, and smooth wrinkles. Rosehip oil is a wonderful addition to facial serums and moisturizers.

Witch hazel: This herbal extract is made from the leaves, bark, and twigs of the witch hazel shrub. It is known for reducing inflammation and skin irritation and shrinking pores. Look for an alcohol-free formula when used topically.

Olive Oil Exfoliator and Moisturizer

Exfoliating your skin is a great way to remove dead cells, prevent acne, and revitalize your face. This recipe is so easy to make and you likely have the ingredients in your cupboard already. The sugar provides natural grains that help buff away dead cells while the olive oil moisturizes and nourishes.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar


Mix the two ingredients together in a small jar. Place a small amount of the mixture on your face and use a circular motion to apply it for 30 to 60 seconds. Then, rinse your face in lukewarm water.

Makeup Remover

This is a really convenient product to have ready in the cabinet. A great no-waste way to apply this recipe is by cutting up an old, clean cotton T-shirt into small scraps to make reusable wipes. Place your no-waste wipes into a glass jar with the prepared mixture.



Whisk together the ingredients until well blended. Then, place recycled cotton pieces or else cotton rounds in a jar and pour in the mixture. Close the jar tightly between uses.

Refreshing Spray

This delightful spray is great for deodorizing shoes, linens, coats, and as an air freshener. This is a great opportunity to explore a couple of your favorite essential oils together or start with just lavender. If you want to use this spray to naturally repel ticks, add geranium essential oil and spray on shoes, clothes, and skin before going outdoors.



Mix the ingredients together and put in a repurposed spray bottle.

Rejuvenating Facial Moisturizer

This is a great way to smooth out wrinkles and skin blemishes. Because everyone’s complexion is unique, experiment with altering the formula to find one that your pores adore.



Blend well and apply a few drops of this mixture in the evening.

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

This post was originally published on March 5, 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.