Okey dokey, this post is long overdue for those of you who were my lovely customers when I started my skincare business.  :D

But here they are!  Recipes.  And links.  Everything you need.

Now, I want you to know that every bit of this is customizable.  You can spend hours and hours reading on the Internet about skin care recipes, and everyone who makes stuff has their own personal favorite oils.  Play around.  There are very few rules, the most important of which is to always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil (like olive oil), and don’t use citrus essential oils on exposed skin as they increase your chance of sunburn.  Also keep in mind that essential oils are very strong and can cause an allergy/sensitivity/contact dermatitis issue if you apply them directly to the skin or directly to bath water; always dilute them in a carreir oil.

I started using homemade skin care products when I got pregnant; I wanted to know exactly what was in my products, and I wanted to feel closer to nature as I approached motherhood. It was also hella cheap compared to buying ready made products, though there are far more affordable brands out there now who are making the kinds of things I made.

I am finally getting around to writing this post because I recently decided to go into a store to look at skin care for fun, and realized stores are charging a fortune for easy to make products.  The only issue is that some of the essential oils can be pricey to buy at the start, but they don’t go bad, so you can just keep them and make your own stuff forever. Or get together a group of ladies for a coffee morning, split the costs, and make them together.  Anyway, I digress, as usual.  Below is a collection of information and recipes that comprise my best understanding of skin care through everything I have read over the years; I AM NOT AN EXPERT.  
Containers and Sourcing:

Products that use oils are best kept in dark glass bottles to keep them from going rancid (the carrier oils do eventually expire).  Some of the essential oils are so strong they will eventually melt the rubber part of a dropper bottle, but I do use these when I want to be precise.  You can get them online at many places (I have been out of the US too long now to be able to recommend a physical store).  I love to buy my essential oils from this company in Canada because they always had fantastic reviews for quality, and they never let me down the three years I ran my company.  You can also get them from small natural foods stores and from Young Living and Doterra consultants to help support small businesses.  :)

Vocab Guide:

  • Carrier: Refers to Carrier Oil which is basically a base oil that will “carry” or dilute essential oils.  Most websites for oils will have a category for these to help you explore them.  
  • Essential Oil:  An oil created by distilling a plant/bark/flower/etc.  There are a few methods of distillation, chemical versus steam for example, I wouldn’t get too fussed about this, but you are welcome to take a trip down that rabbit hole if you have time on your hands.  There are differing guidelines on how the maxium EO drops per oz of carrier oil for safety, I went with 14, but that is probably pretty conservative.

Your Easiest Possible Beauty Routine:

  • Wash face with a bar of soap (or oil cleanser if your skin is dry) with a washcloth for mild exfoliation
  • Mix and apply your vitamin C serum
  • Apply facial oil while face is damp
  • Once or twice a week use a french green clay mask  

Cleaning Options

Seriously, a bar of soap is fine.  You don’t need a fancy cleanser.  Some people who don’t use make up just use a wet washcloth.  An oil cleanser is fantastic though, especially if your skin is dry.  Dry skin ages faster than oily skin. 

Oil Cleanser Recipe

Basic (2 oz):

  • Castor Oil
  • Olive Oil

My Recipe (2 oz):

  • .15 oz Castor Oil
  • 1 oz Olive Oil
  • .2 oz Avocado Oil
  • .3 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
  • 1 dropper full of an olive oil and lecithin mixture to enhance cohesion of the oils
  • 2 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
  • 4 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata Essential Oil
  • 1 drop each of Bergamot, Tea Tree, Rosemary, and Ylang Ylang Essential Oils

How to Use:

  • Wet face.
  • Apply oil cleanser to hands then smooth over face, rub it around to clean.  
  • Wet washcloth with hot water, ring out, wipe oil off your face.  I do this twice.

Vitamin C serum:

This is to add some antioxidants to your skin. Antioxidants protect your face from the free radicals created by the sun’s rays, which create the skin damage that ages skin.  So basically, they protect your skin. Easiest way to get a vitamin C serum in your life (besides buying one at the store) is to buy a container of powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and put some in a smaller container to keep handy.  I use a little travel shampoo bottle.  Put a tiny amount in your hand, wet your other hand, rub hands together until dissolved, then rub hands over your face and neck. 

Facial Oil (Serum)

The more antioxidants you can get into your facial oil, the better.  I apply sunscreen after anyway, but I do feel the oil gives some protection on its own.  I keep mine in a glass dropper bottle.  

Basic Recipe:

  • Jojoba Oil–You can just use this.  It mimics skin’s natural oil (sebum).  

Dry Skin Recipe:

  • 1 oz Jojoba Oil
  • 1 oz Avocado Oil or Olive Oil or Apricot Kernel Oil

Mega-Anti-Aging-Antioxidant-Packed Recipe (2 oz):

  • .4 oz Jojoba Oil
  • .4 oz Avocado Oil
  • .3 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
  • .3 oz Rosehip Seed Oil
  • .3 oz Pomegranate Oil
  • .1 oz Castor Oil
  • Half dropper of Argan Oil
  • 1 dropper of Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • 1 dropper of Tamanu or Niaouli Oil
  • 6 drops of Helichrysum Essential Oil
  • 6 drops of Rose Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Chamomile Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Palmarosa Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Myrrh Essential Oil
  • 2 drops of Neroli Essential Oil

The above is what I used to make for my company, but it really isn’t cost effective to make this at home for 1 person.  The carrier oils generally come in large containers, and this recipe has 5 such oils.  The will go rancid after a year or two, and a 2 oz bottle of serum usually lasts me 3-6 months, sometimes a year if I am using other products at the same time.  My advice is to pick just a few of those ingredients.  Sea Buckthorn is amazing but you can only use a little bit or it will stain your skin; it has super high levels of antioxidants.  Tamanu and Niaouli are fantastic for healing damage, but are stinky.  :)  Neroli is lovely, but people either love or hate the smell.  Go to a Whole Foods or similar store to smell essential oils before you buy.  Palmarosa is supposed to even out oil production in the skin, and Chamomile reduces redness.  All these oils have purported health benefits as well, feel free to Google them.  

How to Use:

Drop 5-10 drops of facial oil on your hands, rub together, smooth over your face and neck, preferable while skin is still damp.
Masks and Scrubs

The easiest (and most fabulous) mask is to just use french green clay.  Ten years ago I could get it in a bulk bin at Whole Foods.  You can easily get it online and maybe in other stores now.  It lasts forever and you only use a tiny bit at a time, so super-freaking-frugal.  You put a small amount of powder on your palm, like half a teaspoon.  Then very slowly drip some water in from your other hand and rub hands together to mix.  Then rub over your face, let dry as long as you feel, then rinse off.  Instant glowy skin.  

I used to add powdered oatmeal (colloidal oatmeal) if my skin was irritated or windburned, or pulverized green tea (from a tea bag) for a little extra exfoliation and antioxidant boost.  

For a scrub, I purchased apricot kernel powder online, mixed with some white kaolin clay, vitamin C, and honey to make a face scrub.  For a body scrub, you can just scrub yourself down with sugar or salt.  But that’s no fun, and pretty messy.  I made a sugar scrub by mixing honey, white kaolin clay, vitamin c, and sugar.  Much easier to use.  I preferred this to oil-based scrubs because it rinses off clean (no oily residue leftover) and kept my tub from getting extra slippery from the oil.  However, in Singapore this caused a huge ant problem so I never made it again there (update–this happened in Dubai too, so it’s in the fridge now).

Homemade Lip Balm

My recipe was freaking awesome.  I don’t make it anymore because I am lazy.  I just use Badger brand lip balm.  For the below recipe, you need to melt the ingredients in a double boiler pot, then pour (carefully!) while hot into lip balm tubes.  Use equal parts (weighted) of beeswax, jojoba oil, and avocado oil.  Be aware it is hard to wipe off your pot once dry, so immediately wipe the pot, stirring spoon, whatever, with paper towel before it hardens.

Night Cream

I am still using some of my leftover night creams, which were basically a mix of the anti-aging serum ingredients with olive butter (my fave, but you can use cocoa butter or shea butter) and beeswax.  But when I run out of those, I will probably apply my facial oil at night then smooth over some olive butter.  

Olive butter is also fantastic as a cuticle/nail cream, elbow softener, heal softener, etc.  Melting it with beeswax gives you a heavy moisturizer that can stand up to frequent hand washing.


Other Stuff

I switch off between a store-bought lotion I needed for my eczema in Singapore and my oils for general lotion application purposes.  I use a natural toothpaste or those tree bark powders you can get at Indian stores.  I don’t really use natural shampoo and conditioner because the cost can be really high abroad.  My natural versions of those were only tolerable while pregnant and nursing; after that, I wanted my hair to look more normal (it was pretty dry when using my homemade varieties).  My favorite natural shampoo product was JR Liggetts bar shampoo, and I used a homemade hair oil as conditioner including argan oil, avocado oil, and rosemary essential oil, all supposed to be great for hair. 

I still make my own deoderant, just baking soda. I keep it in a little travel shampoo container (label this so you don’t mix it up with your vitamin C).  You wet your armpit, put some baking soda (bicarbonate soda) on your wet hand, then rub in your armpit.  No nasty smells, but you will still sweat.  


Let me know if you have any questions about any of this!  I am happy to help you enjoy the process of making and using your own skin care products. 

Jennifer Jasensky is currently a New Jersey resident, formerly a resident of Dubai and Singapore, and a Chicagoland native. A former mathematics teacher and dancer/choreographer, she is an outgoing homebody and perpetual idealist whose love of learning knows no bounds. She hates writing bios, so that's all you get. :D

2 thoughts on “Cheaper and Cheapest: Homemade Skincare Guide

    1. Hello! Coconut oil works well as carrier oil (my apologies for the late reply, I moved to a new country again…). I recommend it for dry skin or acne-prone, because it is a little heavier and it is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, on top of protecting skin a bit from UVA rays. Don’t worry about clogging pores, that’s mostly a line from skin care companies. Skin needs oil; it produces now if it in response to dryness. On top of that, oily skin ages slower than dry skin, so yet another benefit for using oil. When I was living abroad in more humid climates, I used a facial oil and a sunscreen BB cream every morning, then my facial oil at night. In the US, I do the same but with an extra layer of a water based (store bought) moisturizer too day and night. I could get a heavier oil together but I’ve got two small kiddos so I just don’t get it all done. There are a number of essential oils that are great as well for acne prone skin, like Roman Chamomile to reduce redness. Read here for a decent list of others to try, don’t work about being comprehensive, it can get expensive to buy then all. https://www.google.com/amp/www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/beauty-hair/news/amp36363/best-oils-to-fight-oily-skin-and-breakouts-yes-really/

      I would also include one of the healing oils like helichrysum or (cheaper) calendula.

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