Jean is in a lather of excitement over her latest skincare experiments, and so is everyone she knows.
The basics of DIY cosmetics
My farmhouse kitchen smells like a perfume store at the moment, and it’s not a bad thing.
My sharemilker says he can drive by on his ATV, sniff the air, and know I’m making soap by the fabulous fragrances. I think anything is an improvement on eau de cow manure.
My cheese-making students have been good testing agents for my soaps and balms. I have a steady stream of happy cheese-makers giving me feedback on my skincare experiments, helping me to improve my recipes.
A friend and fellow cheese-making tutor asked if I was giving up cheesemaking in favour of soap. That will never happen. But I can see that making soap and cosmetics have a lot in common with cheese-making and they all can be made quite professionally in your own kitchen.
The hardest part with any craft is searching for inspiration and ingredients. I began with soap-making and quickly moved into my first skin care success with a lotus beauty body butter. Then my niece asked for a lotion to help with stretch marks. After some research I came up with a recipe that everyone loves and you don’t even need stretch marks to enjoy it.
You can also use ingredients from your garden like herbs, spices, leaves and flowers. Fat can be rendered from a homekill animal, oil pressed from your own olives or nuts, and there’s also milk, an amazing ingredient. If you have bees, the honey and wax are really valuable additions.
If you don’t have time, the supermarket is invaluable for supplying many of your needs, so long as you are careful to choose something that is safe for skin or body.
But my best friend when it comes to ingredients is the internet. While I like to personally check out what I am buying whenever possible, some items have to be couriered. This isn’t a problem these days as couriers or rural post deliver even large parcels to the door. Online auction sites are a good starting point and keyword searches will find the rest. As with most purchases, the more you buy, the cheaper it becomes. I started with just a small amount but have quickly graduated to bulk now I am making balms and salves for everyone.
I’ve also had great fun looking for containers to hold my body butters and lip balms. You would be surprised at the range of unusual receptacles now residing on my dressing table. You can even source very professional lipstick and deodorant containers available especially for making cosmetics at home. They only cost a few cents each, and you can also reuse old cosmetic containers if you sanitise them first.
The internet has lots of recipes. Some good, some not so good. Trialling and tweaking recipes is the way to start. As I do with my cheesemaking, I keep really detailed notes and photos so I can reproduce something that works well.
Go to a class or workshop. I’m going to show groups how to get started as I want everyone to see just how easy it is.
you can use ingredients from your garden, like herbs, leaves and flowers