11 Must-Have Ingredients for DIY Products

body wash ingredientsMaking your own natural beauty products is more affordable than buying the retail equivalents, since many homemade recipes call for the same ingredients. Add these 11 essential items to your shopping list, and you will be stocked up and ready to start making your own eco-friendly products. You will spend approximately R700-R800 initially, but you will have enough ingredients to make everything you need for a few months.


1. Coconut oilcrede-organic-odourless-coconut-500ml-etched-Medium

Recipes to try: simple moisturiser, body butter, anti-aging night cream, soap bar, makeup remover, hair conditioner, body wash, lip balm, tinted lip balm and toothpaste (recipe coming soon).

TIP: Buy virgin, unrefined coconut oil.

Approximate cost: R100 for one litre.



2. Raw honeyraw honey

Recipes to try: face wash, body wash, shampoo, hair conditioner, cough syrup, acne spot treatment (recipes coming soon).

TIP: Buy raw, unrefined and unheated honey that’s straight out of the bee hive. Raw honey is usually a thick & cloudy paste, not a clear syrup texture. Although some raw honey brands do have a clear syrup texture. Just make sure that it clearly says “raw” honey on the label, and even better – unheated and unprocessed.

Approximate cost: R55 for 500g.

(Brands that I use: Little Bee, Key 4 Health, Badgers Gold Mountain and Simply Bee).


3. Essential oilsLavender

Recipes to try: toning body butter, anti-aging night cream, hand cream, skin toner, body spray, antiperspirant deodorant (roll-on), body scrub, mouth wash, shampoo, simple moisturizer, face wash.

TIP: Read my shopping guide for advice on the best brands to buy, and read how to use essential oils safely if you are pregnant, nursing or new to using essential oils.

Approximate cost: Range from R20-R150 for 11ml depending on oil & quality.



4. Castile liquidCastile-Liquid-Soap-Medium

Recipes to try: shampoo, body wash, foaming face wash (recipe coming soon).

TIP: If you make your own natural bar of soap (here’s the recipe), you can make natural liquid soap by adding water. Read the full instructions to make liquid soap here.

Approximate cost: R55 for one litre.



5. Bees wax

Recipes that use this: lip balm, tinted lip balm, hand cream, toning body butter, anti-aging night cream, simple moisturizer.



6. Vitamin E oil

Recipes to try: hand cream, face wash, body wash, simple moisturizer, anti-aging night cream, toning body butter.

TIP: Vitamin E is not only great for skin, but it’s also a natural preservative which will help extend the shelf life of your products. You can find Brunel Vitamin E oil at Dischem – it’s the most affordable but it is diluted with liquid paraffin. Alternatively, I recommend buying vitamin E oil capsules (in the vitamin & supplement aisle of any pharmacy) and pop the capsules to use in your products.

Approximate cost: R40 for 50ml.


7. Shea butterUnrefined-Shea-Butter-250g-Medium

Recipes to try: anti-aging night cream, body butter, lip balm, tinted lip balm, hair conditioner.

TIP: Buy raw, unrefined shea butter. It’s not white and creamy, but rather solid like coconut oil and has a more natural off-white colour.

Approximate cost: R155 for 250ml.



8. Aloe vera gelAloe vera gel

Recipes to try: hand cream, cream blush, clear mascara, after sun and bug bite treatment (recipes coming soon).

TIP: Make sure there are no added ingredients (vitamin e is okay), because many other products say “aloe vera gel” on the label, but contain other additives that aren’t natural. Read the ingredients before buying. I buy Bettaway aloe vera gel from Dischem or Wellness Warehouse. When they’re out of stock, then I buy the second best natural option – Natraloe gel, which is mostly aloe vera gel with a few other natural additives like rosemary essential oil and jojoba oil etc.

Approximate cost: R85 for 75ml.



9. Apple cider vinegarApple-Cider-Vinegar-Cloudy-Large

Recipes to try: whitening mouth wash, toner/ astringent, face wipes, hair cleansing rinse (recipe coming soon).

TIP: Buy raw, unrefined and possibly organic ACV. If this is too expensive, then make your own raw ACV at home (here’s how).

Approximate cost: R50 for 240ml.



10. Bicarbonate of soda

Recipes to try: antiperspirant deodorant, multipurpose cleaner, toothpaste, hair cleansing rinse, calamine lotion (recipes coming soon).

TIP: You can find bicarbonate of soda at most grocery stores.

Approximate cost: R20 for 500g at the grocery store.



11. Bentonite clayBentonite-Clay

Recipes to try: antiperspirant deodorant, powder blush, eye shadow, deep cleansing face mask, calamine lotion (recipes coming soon).

Approximate cost: R40 for 200g.



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4 thoughts on “11 Must-Have Ingredients for DIY Products

  1. Anni Boje says:

    Oh how super is this! Thank you, thank you, thank you! So happy to see a fellow South African following the natural route 😁

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Anni. Thank you so very much for your positive and encouraging comment. It really made me smile 🙂 I, likewise, am happy to have another fellow South African discover my blog! I hope you find some of my recipes useful. Take care.

  2. Ismail Diallo says:

    how long does your 500ml of coconut oil last you,because i have been trying other oils and am thinking of going back to coconut oil since i haven’t used it in a while,could you please tell me would appreciate it and thanks.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Ismail, thank you for your question. Coconut oil is a great choice, because it can be used for so many things and it has an incredibly long shelf life of up to two years if stored correctly. I normally buy coconut oil by the litre (it works out cheaper in bulk), and since I use it for everything from soap to cooking, I tend to buy a litre every month or two. So it depends on what you are using it for – if you are only using it as a body lotion, 500ml could last you months! I hope that helps answer your question?

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