Every day, television and magazine ads tell us that beautiful skin and hair are available only through the use of expensive brand-name products. But the fact is that you can attain a radiant, healthy appearance by using products made inexpensively at home. That’s what Natural Beauty Basics is all about. First, author Dorie Byers guides you to the equipment and ingredients you’ll need to make your own products. She then presents easy-to-follow recipes for over 150 hand creams, body powders, shampoos, soaps, and more—products that are effective, all-natural, and allergen-free.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the best possible care for your hair, skin, and nails. Whether you enjoy making your own beauty products at home, you are in search of products that are allergen- and chemical-free, or you simply love to pamper yourself, your first stop should be Natural Beauty Basics.
Dorie Byers is a registered nurse, master gardener, and herb enthusiast. A graduate of Indiana State University, she has spent many years growing herbs and researching their uses. Ms. Byers wrote Natural Beauty Basics because she saw the need for a guide to homemade natural body care products that are effective, economical, and allergen-free, and that
Introduction or preface
There are many body care products available commercially but when you go to the store to make your choices, it turns into a real challenge. Reading the labels adds to the puzzle. It seems that we need a college degree in chemistry just to understand the ingredients. We don’t actually know what we are putting on our skin and hair and absorbing into our bodies.
Did you ever price cosmetics in a department store? In general, the prices of these commercial products really amaze me. A small tube of high quality hand cream can cost from $3 to $12 – even at a drug or discount store! Specialized products for the hair and body can cost more than that. If products are purchased at a cosmetics counter in a major department store the price will likely be much higher. Read the label on any product that you are thinking of purchasing. The ingredients listed first on any label signify that they comprise the greatest percentage of the total composition of the product. Commonly you will find that the first ingredients listed on body care products are water, mineral oil, alcohol, or witch hazel. None of these ingredients by themselves are expensive. Also, some of these ingredients are not necessarily helpful in certain situations. Alcohol and witch hazel can be too drying for some skin types, while mineral oil has large molecules and can clog the skin’s pores. None of these ingredients alone are expensive, but when the manufacturer figures in the cost of packaging, advertising, other additives, and their overhead, the price increases significantly.
Now go to a natural foods store and read the labels on body care prod-ucts. The ingredients listed on the labels are more understandable in most cases, but the price remains high. A jar of herbal deodorant cream is $14.95! A tube of face mask costs $11, and the ingredients are clay and an herbal infusion. For the price of the tube of face mask, a container of clay and a package of dried herbs could be purchased to make face masks enough to easily last six months, and still have money left over. If the herb I chose to use for the infusion was one that grows in my garden, then the total price would decrease even more.
Making your own natural cosmetics is not only economical, but can be beneficial to your skin. The best part about making your own cosmetics is that, with a bit of research and using ingredients available, you can cus-tom-make your products to suit your own skin’s needs. You can substitute one natural ingredient for another to meet your individual requirements and preferences. The results can be as satisfactory as those achieved from commercial products. There are no artificial ingredients, so the mystery of what is being put on your skin and absorbed into your body is absent.
It can be a very satisfying activity to make your own body care products. Most recipes are as simple a making cookies from scratch. I feel a sense of contentment when seeing little jars and pots of creams and powders that I make sitting on the bathroom shelf. It makes me feel good to have control over another step toward a healthier life. I know exactly what is in each container, that the products are freshly made, and what it cost to make each one. I also know what it doesn’t have—chemicals with unpro-nounceable names and a high price tag. When allergies and sensitivities to chemical additives are a problem, the recipes in this book provide a healthy alternative. Those who still want to use cosmetics can make their own products with satisfying results and no risk of contact with ingredients that cause negative reactions to them.
Homemade body care products provide a humane alternative to com-mercial ones, alleviating the concerns of vegetarians and animal lovers among my readers. None of the ingredients contain animal by-products, nor have any of the recipes been tested on animals.
Making your own cosmetics is versatile. Products can be individualized for yourself, your family, and friends regardless of gender or age. Custom made gift giving is easy if you know the skin type of any given individual. If you don’t have that information, make a general skin care product such as body oil, powder, or soap. It will be a welcome gift that will be used with pleasure.
It is fun experimenting with all of the ingredients available to you. Be creative and use the different sections of this book as your reference guides to make a recipe of your very own.