Simple Recipes for Making Your Own Balms, Scrubs, and Bath Salts
Your skin is your largest organ, and it’s a highly porous gateway to your bloodstream. If you think about it, why would you put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat?
So many skincare products these days include lists of ingredients that are dauntingly long and unpronounceable and can be toxic or even poisonous if ingested. Part of the reason for this is that the shelf life of commercial products has to be extended by preservatives and stabilizers so they will last longer in the warehouse, on the truck, and in the store.
Skincare products that you make at home are intended to be used in the short term, or refrigerated. The plus side of their short shelf life? They contain more nutrients and fresh yummy goodness. And they can smell nothing short of amazing.
Depending on what’s in a season where you live, making your own balms, scrubs, and bath salts is also a great way to take advantage of nature’s seasonal bounty. Into a base of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or sesame oil, mix fresh rosemary, lavender, rose petals, ground avocado pit, orange rind… even coffee beans!
Nothing in a season where you are right now? Dried herbs and spices are great in a pinch. Spring for high-quality vanilla bean, cardamom pod, or peppercorns, and-if you have a spice grinder (a coffee grinder will do)- grind them right before making your concoction, for extra pungency.
Here are a few easy recipes to get your creativity flowing…
Rose Geranium Coconut Balm
- fresh rose geraniam
- extra virgin coconut oil
Rose geranium is a lovely plant that’s edible, pretty, and extremely aromatic. Late Spring/early Summer is the best time of year to find fresh rose geranium at your local farmer’s market.
It only takes a tiny bit of the leaves to impart a lot of flavor to your balm, so rinse off a wee pinch, and then put the rest in a small vase to freshen up your loo or bring some Spring to any corner of your house.
Throw it in a blender with some coconut oil… the good old cooking variety will do. Coconut oil has boundless topical health benefits and is a known elixir for skin conditions from simple dryness to psoriasis.
Here’s a little tip: chop up the rose geranium first, then blend in the oil at a very low speed, only briefly. Too long and too fast will alter the chemistry of the oil in less than desirable ways.
Pour it into a recycled jar, and voila! You have yourself some fresh, practically edible hand balm that acts as a fantastic natural moisturizer.
Of course, you can substitute the rose geranium with just about anything from your kitchen that smells good to you.
Peppermint Bath Salts
- natural, coarse-grained sea salt
- peppermint tea
- peppermint oil (optional)
This one is so simple, it barely requires a recipe. In a mixing bowl, combine a handful of salt (unprocessed, coarse-grained salt from a health store, not Mortons, which has had most of its nutrients stripped in the processing) and a handful of organic peppermint tea.
If you have it on hand, a splash of peppermint essential oil is a great addition to add extra aromatherapy and to help the salt stick together and melt slower in the bath.
Peppermint has cooling, invigorating properties and is wonderful for soothing stomachaches and other internal pains. However, you can substitute virtually any herbal tea for the peppermint. Chamomile is calming. Eucalyptus is great for opening up the respiratory system. If it smells good to you, chances are it will have some therapeutic quality in the bath.
Avocado Salt Scrub
- leftover avocado pits
- natural, coarse-grained sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil
- vanilla oil (optional)
If you’re in the habit of eating a lot of avocadoes, this is a great way to use the pits that usually just get tossed. Avocado pits are a fantastic moisturizing exfoliate, and when blended with salt, the health benefits to your skin are exponential.
Avocado pits should be left to dry on a windowsill or in another sunny area of your kitchen. Once you’ve accumulated two or three, throw them in the blender with a cup of olive oil, and grind to a coarse pulp.
Transfer the raw mixture to a bowl, and fold in an equal amount of sea salt. Vanilla oil adds a lovely aroma to the mix, but the subtle flavor of the avocado can be nice on its own.
These are just a few ideas for creating your own skincare items. Take care to use them quickly (or keep them refrigerated), since they are not pasteurized and will, eventually, turn rancid.
If you’re interested in aromatherapy and the traditional applications of various oils and herbs, check out AromaWeb for a comprehensive list.
Most of all, experiment and have fun with skincare!