What? No more late-night runs to the drugstore? Where do we sign up? That's what we said after talking with Janice Cox, author of "Natural Beauty at Home," who explained why many people would rather make their own beauty products: "Cost savings, convenience and control," she said. "You can make for pennies what you're spending dollars on at the store ... late at night or early in the morning, and you know exactly what's in it."
With that in mind, we present our favorite beauty recipes so you can cleanse, moisturize and exfoliate your skin the easy way. (And for those of you who just aren't DIY-types at heart, we feel your pain; check out the natural store bought alternatives after each recipe.)
P.S.: If you're prone to allergic reactions, be careful and discontinue use should you have any unusual reactions.
Aloe Vera Facial Cleanser Best for: dry skin types Benefits: cleanses and moisturizes 30ml (1 fl. oz.) aloe vera gel 50ml (1/5 cup) olive oil 30ml (1 fl. oz.) rosewater 4 drops rose essential oil 2 drops grapefruit seed extract Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor and decant into a small bottle. Ideally, keep in the fridge. Shake before use, as the ingredients may separate. Massage into your face and remove with either a muslin cloth or water. Store-bought alternative: Lush Ultra Bland Cleanser, $29.95 Source: "The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book," $12.98, by Jo Fairley Chamomile and Oatmeal Facial Scrub Best for: normal to oily skin types Benefits: calms skin, exfoliates for deep cleansing 1/4 cup chamomile tea (brewed and cooled to room temp) 1/4 cup oatmeal (lightly ground) 2 tbsp honey 2 drops of almond oil Combine the ingredients. Rub over face and neck gently but still with enough pressure to exfoliate the skin. For deep cleansing, leave the scrub on to create a mask, or simply wash off with warm water and pat dry. Moisturize if desired. Store-bought alternative: June Jacobs Pore Refining Oatmeal Scrub, $44 Source: Nature's Bath & Beauty Rich Avocado Facial Best for: dry skin types Benefit: adds intense moisture 1 tbsp ripe avocado, mashed 1 tsp honey 3 drops cider vinegar A little sesame oil Mix the first three ingredients and add enough sesame oil to create a spreadable consistency. Smear on with clean hands, leave on for five to 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water and pat skin dry. If desired, finish off with a light application of rosewater (spritz it on and gently pat it in or apply it with a cotton pad) to tone, then apply moisturizer. Store-bought alternative: Juara Avocado Banana Moisture Mask, $37 Source: "The Green Beauty Bible," $43, by Sarah Stacey and Josephine Fairley Honey Lip Scrub Best for: dry, flaky lips Benefit: smoothes lips 1 tsp of olive oil 1 tsp of honey 2 tsp of white granulated sugar A dash of lemon juice Mix these ingredients together to make a sugary paste. Then use your finger or a toothbrush to gently sweep the mixture back and forth on your lips. Store-bought alternative: Garden Botanika Bee Polished Exfoliating Lip Scrub, $18 Source: bellasugar.com Pineapple Sage Facial Mask Best for: all skin types Benefits: calms and hydrates skin, removes dead cells 1/2 cup boiling water 1 tbsp fresh pineapple sage leaves (or any type of sage) 3 tbsp oatmeal 2 tbsp honey 1 egg white Pour the water over the sage leaves and allow to cool completely. Strain and add the sage liquid to the oatmeal, honey, and egg white. Mix until smooth and creamy. Spread the mixture on clean skin and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat your skin dry. Store-bought alternative: Alba Hawaiian Papaya Enzyme Facial Mask, $11.95 Source: Janice Cox, author of "Natural Beauty from the Garden," $20 Hand and Foot Sugar Scrub Best for: all skin types Benefits: smoothes rough skin 2 tbsp light olive oil (not extra-virgin, which can get sticky) or grapeseed oil 2 tbsp granulated sugar Rub this emollient mixture into hands and feet, focusing on any hardened, calloused areas. Rinse under warm running water and pat dry. Voila! Fabulously silky-smooth skin. Store-bought alternative: Grassroots Best in Glow Body Smoothing Sugar Scrub, $16 Source: Liz Earle, founder of Naturally Active Skincare Liz Earle Lavender Bath Best for: sensitive skin types Benefits: calms and hydrates skin 1 cup dried lavender flowers 2 cups oatmeal 1/2 cup baking soda Place the ingredients inside a food processor or blender. Grind to a smooth, fine powder. The powder should have the consistency of whole-grain flour. Pour into a clean, airtight container or resealable plastic bag. To use, pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub for a soothing end-of–the-day treat. (Makes 31/2 cups, enough for seven baths.) Store-bought alternative: Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath, $7.39 Source: Janice Cox, author of "Natural Beauty from the Garden," $20 Skin Firming Clay Mask Best for: all skin types Benefits: refines pores, calms and protects skin 1 tbsp filtered water, prepared green tea (for anti-aging benefits) or milk (for sensitive/dry skin) 2 tbsp fine clay powder (Pick the right one for your skin type at FromNatureWithLove.com .) Add water, green tea, or milk to a small bowl. Gradually add fine clay powder to the liquid, stirring to prevent clumps, until you get a smooth paste. (If it's too thick, add a few more drops of liquid. Too thin? Add a little more clay.) Using your fingers or a clean, one-inch paintbrush, apply a thick layer of the paste to clean, dry skin, avoiding the eyes and lips. Relax and be still for 10 to 12 minutes while the mask dries (so the clay doesn't crack and fall off). Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Follow with a natural toner and a light moisturizer to soften and nourish skin throughout the day. Store-bought alternative: Aveda Deep Cleansing Herbal Clay Masque, $19 Source: wholeliving.com Cucumber-Honey Toner Best for: combo skin types Benefit: reduces puffiness, hydrates skin 1 medium cucumber 2 tsp honey Peel and cut up cucumber, then puree the pieces in a blender. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set the sieve over a glass bowl or measuring cup. Pour the cucumber puree through the sieve and let it stand for 15 minutes for the juices to drip into the bowl. Pour the clear juice into a clean bottle and add honey. To use, shake the bottle and saturate a cotton pad with the lotion. Sweep over face, neck and chest morning and night, and let it air dry (about 3 to 4 minutes). Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes about 1/2 cup. Store-bought alternative: Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner, $15 Source: National Honey Board Green Tea Toner Best for: all skin types Benefits: decreases puffiness, tightens pores 4 tsp loose green tea leaf (Tip: Cut open 2 tea bags if you don't have loose leaves) 1 cup boiling mineral water Boil the water and steep tea bags for at least 10 minutes to make concentrated tea. Wait for the tea to cool, then pour it into a small spritzer bottle and refrigerate. Spray toner directly on clean, just-washed skin and pat it in (or apply it with a clean cotton ball). Follow with moisturizer. (Tip: To soothe acne on normal to oily skin types, add 1/2 cup of witch hazel and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.) Store-bought alternative: Aubrey Organics Green Tea and Gingko Facial Toner, $9.28 Source: Sharnell's Skincare & Beauty . Research other tea types and benefits here. Tropical Eye Cream Best for: dry skin types Benefits: soothes and conditions skin 2 tbsp grated cocoa butter (check local health food stores or buy online. Try FromNatureWithLove.com .) 3 tbsp coconut oil Mix ingredients together in an ovenproof container. Heat gently in microwave or in a water bath. Pour the melted mixture into a small clean container and allow it to cool completely. To use, apply nightly under your eyes. Makes 3 oz. Store-bought alternative: Alchimie Forever Superpulse, $69 Source: "Natural Beauty at Home," $20, by Janice Cox All-Purpose Olive Oil Moisturizer Best for: all skin types Benefit: adds all-over moisture 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/2 cup distilled water 1 tbsp vitamin E oil 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp avocado oil 1/2 tsp wheat germ oil 1 tsp liquid lecithin 1 tbsp grated beeswax Dissolve baking soda in the water in a glass measuring cup and set aside. Mix together oils, lecithin and beeswax in another glass measuring cup. Place the oil mixture in a glass cup in a pan of water (about one to two inches of water), making a water bath. Heat the oil mixture in the water bath over medium heat until the beeswax is melted, about eight to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When wax is melted, bring the soda-water mixture almost to boiling. (Alternative to stove-top cooking: Put the glass cup with the mixture in the microwave on high for one minute.) Remove the oil mixture from the water bath. Slowly add the oil mixture to the water solution, stirring briskly. (You can also use a blender.) Pour the lotion in a clean jar with a lid. Wait for the lotion to cool completely (it will thicken), then massage all over body or use as a face moisturizer or eye cream. Store-bought alternative: Kiss My Face Olive & Aloe Moisturizer, $10.99 Source: "Natural Beauty at Home," $20, by Janice Cox Are Natural Products Better? 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