Grow-Your-Own Shampoo & Other DIY Health & Beauty Products

shampoo bottle
Photo by Takashi Ota

Petrolatum. Phthalates. Parabens. Propylene glycol. Triclosan. These are common ingredients in many health and beauty products on store shelves, including toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and cosmetics.  You may be surprised to learn that these and other ingredients in everyday items are linked to cancer, organ toxicity, birth defects, and liver damage. I certainly was after I read an article about parabens that motivated me to research what’s really lurking in my medicine cabinet.

If you’re like me, you want to avoid harmful chemicals around your home but you don’t want to spend a fortune on specialty products in the process. Well, you’re in luck! Most beauty products can be made at home using ingredients you probably already have on hand or ones you can easily grow.

 

Soapwort Shampoo

Soapwort got its name for a reason. The roots of this plant contain saponins, naturally occurring chemicals that create soap-like suds. Saponins are found in many plants that have long been used in traditional soap recipes, like yucca, aloe, and fenugreek. You can purchase soapwort seeds to sow in your garden. They may be sold under the plant’s alternate name, Bouncing Betty.

You Will Need:

  • 2 tsp fresh soapwort roots or 1 tsp dried root, soaked overnight
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 4 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • ½ liter of water

Put the rosemary, soapwort, and water in a pan. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool before straining it through a piece of muslin or paper towel in a sieve. Stir in the essential oil.

Use a cupful each time you wash your hair. Keep the rest in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer if you want it to last longer.

 

Toothpaste

Ever notice the warning label on toothpaste? It usually reads something like this: If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately. Fortunately, there’s a safe, affordable DIY alternative that you can whip up in just a few minutes.

You Will Need:

  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 – 2 tsp peppermint extract or 10-15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • filtered water (add to desired consistency)

Mix baking soda and peppermint extract in a clean glass jar. Add filtered water while stirring mixture until desired consistency is achieved. Yes, it’s that easy.

 

Deodorant

Of all the products I started making for myself, this was the hardest sell. I don’t like to worry about whether the person standing next to me at the bus stop can smell my B.O.. So I was really excited when I finally tried this recipe and it worked. It even held up during summer’s hottest days.

You Will Need:

  • 6 T coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 20 drops essential oil (optional; I like to use lavender)

Mix baking soda and arrowroot together in a medium sized bowl. Mash in coconut oil with a fork until an even consistency is achieved. Add essential oils, if desired. Store in a small glass jar or an old deodorant container.