Toiletries can be expensive. However, there’s no need to spend a fortune on expensive lotions and potions. You can easily make luxury toiletries with minimal expenditure (avoiding anything you’re sensitive to, if you tend to react to shop-bought toiletries.)
You may even have all you need already. Better yet, many of the things you need can double as ingredients for food or cleaning products too. Here are my favourites.
We take oats for granted. They provide a cheap and easy food source that’s low-fat and filling (unless you make porridge with cream and honey). They are great for snacks (flapjacks can be loaded with dried fruit and seeds, and made with less sugar to make them an ‘anytime’ option rather than a treat). And they’re an essential base for many toiletries.
I keep it simple by having a jar of oats I can grab from the bath. I use a generous pinch of dry oats (and sea salt) as an exfoliator/face wash. You can also use them as follows:
- Face mask: Add water to form a paste. This can be used as a face mask. Add honey to make it more soothing. You can also add avocado for a creamier mask, banana to soothe spots, lavender water for a relaxing mask, and fresh herbs to taste. Adding salt gives a more intense scrub.
- Cleanser: Add a few tablespoons of oats to a glass of water. Leave to steep for an hour, then strain through muslin (or clean old tights) into a jar, squeezing the oats in the fabric to release as much oat milk as possible. Use as cleanser. Add the contents of one vitamin E capsule and a few drops of a skin friendly aromatherapy oil to make it more luxurious. Shake well before use. A pinch or spoonful of mustard will help the cleanser emulsify and make your skin glow.
- Body Scrub: Combine equal amounts of sea salt and oats (around a mug full of each works for me). Add a tablespoon of coconut oil and a few drops of your favourite aromatherapy oils.
- Bath Soak: Mix with dried herbs, sea salt, coconut oil and aromatherapy oil, put a spoonful or two in muslin and tie with ribbon or fabric scraps. Add to your bath a few minutes before bathing to give it time to steep.
Many people rave about coconut oil. It’s become a high-end product with a ridiculous price tag attached.
While some obsess about the different types, from virgin to cold-pressed, and insist its a miracle cure, a lot of this is hype. I use coconut oil that’s £1.69 per bottle from my local cornershop and it works brilliantly in both toiletries and curries.
Coconut Oil is a great way to make oat masks more moisturising. It can also be used for many other things:
- Moisturiser: Apply directly to skin as moisturiser after cleansing.
- Conditioner: Put a pea sized lump of oil between your palms and rub together. Rub over washed hair. I use it on dry hair to ensure I don’t use too much. A little goes a long way.
- Shaving: I use coconut oil or oat milk to help the razor glide over my skin.
Another versatile substance, salt is a soothing – if drying – addition to toiletries. Use it as follows:
- Face/Body Scrub: Used alone, salt provides an exfoliating scrub. Added to honey, it’s easier to use. It can also be combined with oats and herbs.
- Bath Soak: Salt is a soothing addition to a bath. It can speed healing of scratches so is great after a day of gardening. Dead sea salt is particularly lovely but budget salt also works. I opt for sea salt as the larger flakes are better for toiletries.
I also add salt to face masks to make them last longer (though still refrigerate them for maximum life span).
There are many more common storecupboard ingredients you can use to make toiletries, including lemons, fresh herbs, honey and sunflower oil. I’ll write about more soon.
Not only will you reduce waste by making your own toiletries, you can also use home made toiletries as Christmas gifts, and save a fortune. Package in recycled, decorated jars for zero-waste, low-budget gifts.