I’m a DIYer by nature. I grow a lot of my own food from seed and cook from scratch. My husband builds nearly all of our own furniture and we are even discussing building a straw house with our own two hands (sounds crazy, but you can look it up here). Heck, I even encapsulate my own supplements to save money.
I almost always opt to make my own of anything IF I can save money and/or make a better product than what is available commercially.Initially, I actually set out to write an article about using beneficial teas in your own home products, until my research changed my mind.
Beauty products are one of the few things I will NOT make myself (usually). Here’s why:
1) Cosmetics are chemistry.
The more I’ve studied cosmetic ingredients in depth, the more I’ve realized how important is to not only understand ingredients, but truly understand how they react together. Everything in this world has a chemical makeup and chemicals react with one another to produce a result. Cooking and baking results in chemical reactions that we can see and taste. If your bread does not rise, there was something wrong with the recipe or with the way you executed it. Even environmental factors can affect the result.
Beauty products can be similar. Unless you:
- Know exactly how your ingredients react together
- Know how much of each you need for the desired chemical reactions
- Have total control over the stability of each ingredient, and
- Understand how your skin will react and respond to all of the above,
Then you cannot guarantee beneficial results or even safety!
There is also an assortment of other variables…
- Even natural ingredients can have side effects that need to be counteracted with another ingredient to stabilize it.
- Some ingredients are only safe for your skin in certain quantities.
- Some ingredients work differently IN your body than ON your body (think food type ingredients)
There are many websites and blogs promoting unsafe formulas…
Fruits and vegetables that contain acids: Papaya, Pineapple, Oranges, Apples, lemons, limes, etc. Great to eat, not so great on your face when you grab it out of your fridge. Why? Have you ever eaten two jalapeño peppers that look exactly the same, but one is much hotter than the other? You can’t tell until it’s too late. Acids, even natural ones, can burn the skin unless formulated correctly.
Scrubs: Raw sugar, table sugar, brown sugar, steel cut oatmeal, cornmeal, natural clay kitty litter (Really? – just wow.), or just plain salt. None of these are chemically stable. They can also scratch or scrape the skin due to sharp edges causing irritation and redness. Again – these are items that not tested for the skin.
Fats: Avocado, pure shea butter, eggs, mayonnaise, and yogurt. Certain natural fats are being recommended as moisturizers you can create. Here of course the issue again is efficacy – and freshness. See below.
Charcoal toothpaste is another potentially dangerous suggestion (more explanation here)
Unless you plan on giving yourself a thorough education of the topic, DIY beauty products are probably not in your best interest.
2) Bacteria growth.
Preservatives prevent bacteria growth and in some cases, stabilize formulas. Many DIY recipes do not include any form of preservative (natural or otherwise). If that is the case, your product can spoil quickly, produce mold and bacteria, and potentially cause more breakouts and skin irritation. If you don’t use all of your product quickly, then you lose money on the ingredients used to make it.
If they do include Vitamin E or citric acid or another natural preservative, they need to be in the correct amounts for the product formula and have their side effects counteracted. (Citric acid and vitamin E can be irritating for example, unless another ingredient is used to sooth their effects).
Chances for bacteria growth, contamination, and incorrect formulation are enough to deter me from making my own.
Most like DIY beauty products for the cost savings. I get it. That’s why I’m a huge DIYer with most things in the first place. However,
- if I can’t guarantee results, I’m wasting money.
- If I can’t guarantee safety, then there’s a possibility I’ll have to spend more money fixing the issue.
- If I can’t guarantee stability and shelf life, then I’m throwing money down the drain on ingredients (and many of the good one’s aren’t cheap!)
I DON’T want to use products from companies who cut corners, use unsafe ingredients, include fillers, and can’t guarantee the safety and effectiveness of their products. I want the most natural and effective ingredients out there. Nature + Science=Results.
However, instead of making my own, I will continue to research companies and brands who specialize in safe formulations of products by cosmetic chemists with PhD’s behind their name. They didn’t earn that title easily. The desire to “make a buck” doesn’t carry you through the amount of schooling required unless you have a plethora of other motivations. Trust me.
If you still want to DIY, do your research thoroughly or stick to single ingredients. It’s easier to research how an individual ingredient will affect and benefit your skin when you don’t have to calculate its chemical reactions with others. It’s also easier to judge its shelf life. Here’s a few I currently use:
Witch hazel– As an astringent and toner for breakouts. Witch hazel contains chemicals called tannins. When applied directly to the skin, witch hazel might help reduce swelling, help repair broken skin, and fight bacteria. I order mine on Amazon.
Tea Tree Oil– Acne spot treatment. One study found 5% tea tree oil to be as effective as 5% benzyl peroxide in treating acne. Some with sensitive skin will need to dilute it. I order from Rocky Mountain Oils. Their oils are tested for purity by a third party entity and you can look up the batch number on your bottle to verify. I find them to be quality oils at cheaper prices than some other companies. http://www.rockymountainoils.com
Organic Coconut Oil– Moisturizer (Even for acne prone skin!) You can’t go anywhere on the internet or Pinterest without seeing Coconut oil used for everything. It is a safe and effective moisturizer. I order mine on Amazon.
Article by Elizabeth Mills (About)