Making your own natural beauty products is more affordable than buying the retail equivalents, since many homemade recipes call for the same ingredients. Add these 13 must-have items to your shopping list, and you will be stocked up and ready to start making your own eco-friendly products. You will initially spend approximately R1500-R2000 as a startup cost, but you will have enough ingredients to make everything you need for months.
1. Coconut oil
RECIPES TO TRY: simple moisturiser, body butter, anti-aging night cream, soap bar, liquid soap, makeup remover, hair conditioner, body wash, lip balm, tinted lip balm and toothpaste (recipe coming soon).
TIP: Buy virgin, unrefined coconut oil. However, to make soap, rather buy the cheapest and refined option.
Approximate cost: R60-R150 for one litre depending on quality.
2. Raw honey
TIP: Buy raw, unrefined and unheated honey that’s straight out of the bee hive. Make sure that it clearly states “raw” honey on the label, and even better – unheated and unprocessed.
Approximate cost: R100 for 500g.
3. Essential oils
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. Basically every DIY recipe!
Approximate cost: Range from R20-R150 for 11ml depending on oil & quality.
4. Castile liquid
TIP: Instead of buying liquid soap, you can make it from scratch if you have coconut oil. Making liquid soap is the most cost-effective option. Read the full instructions to make liquid soap here.
Approximate cost: R80 for one litre.
5. Bees wax
Approximate cost: R100-R250 for 250g
6. Vitamin E oil
TIP: Vitamin E is not only great for skin, but it’s also a natural antioxidant 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. Escentia also sell a liquid form of vitamin E, which is ideal, but it’s more expensive than these other two options.
Approximate cost: R200-R370 for 50ml.
7. Shea butter
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. Raw shea butter also has a nutty fragrance.
Approximate cost: R100-R200 for 200g.
8. Aloe vera gel
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 Gel from Dischem or Wellness Warehouse. When they’re out of stock, then I buy the second best natural option – Natraloe gel or Totally Wild Organic Aloe Gel, which is mostly aloe vera gel with a few other natural additives like rosemary essential oil and jojoba oil etc.
Approximate cost: R100-R120 for 100ml.
9. Apple cider vinegar
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: R80-R110 for 500ml.
10. Bicarbonate of soda
TIP: You can find bicarbonate of soda at most grocery stores – you’ll usually find it in the baking aisle.
Approximate cost: R30 for 500g at the grocery store.
11. Bentonite clay
Approximate cost: R40 for 200g.
12. Emulsifying Wax (for emulsions)
RECIPES TO TRY: creams, lotions, conditioner, liquid foundation (recipes coming soon).
TIP: If you are happy with oil-based creams and conditioners then you won’t need this ingredient. This ingredient is used to combine water and oil in recipes to achieve a non-greasy product that absorbs well into the skin and hair. There are many chemical emulsifying waxes that you want to avoid. Make sure that what you buy is a natural product or is certified for use in organic products. The emulsifying waxes that I use are from the OliveM range, or Eco E-wax (which is also known as glycerol monostearate). Both are SOIL association and ECOCERT approved for use in certified organic products.
Approximate cost: R300 for 1kg. (You only use about a tablespoon to make 200ml of cream, so a little goes a long way!)
13. Preservative (for emulsions & water-based products)
RECIPES TO TRY: creams, lotions, conditioner, liquid foundation (recipes coming soon). You need a preservative in all emulsions and recipes that use water, since water invites bacteria.
TIP: If you are happy with oil-based products then you won’t need this ingredient. This ingredient ensures the safety of water-based products by preventing bacterial, fungal and viral growth. It extends the shelf life of water-based products. I personally use Geogard 221. The active ingredient in Geogard 221 is dehydroacetic acid which is diluted in benzyl alcohol. So it is not a natural ingredient, but it is one of the few preservatives that are non-toxic, SOIL association and ECOCERT approved for use in certified organic products. This is the only synthetic chemical I use in my water-based products to ensure their safety.
Approximate cost: R300 for 100ml. (You only use 1 millilitre to make 200ml of cream, so a little goes a long way!)
Are there any must-have ingredients that you think are missing from this list – what are they? Let me know in the comments below.