Treat yourself to homemade skin and hair goodies featuring fresh-grown ingredients and you'll access nature's most vibrant beauty boosters—while steering clear of the synthetic chemicals, preservatives, and excess packaging that come with many store-bought personal-care products.
Not only nurturing to your body and the planet, making your own beauty essentials lets you tap into your creative side and fully indulge your senses. "Experiment, have fun, get messy, don't rush,” advises Dawn Gallagher, author of Nature's Beauty Secrets: Recipes for Beauty Treatments from the World's Best Spas. "Take the time to enjoy the scents and textures of fresh fruits, exotic essences, and pungent herbs, all of them sensory delights in themselves."
Here, natural-beauty mavens share easy recipes for head-to-toe rejuvenation.
Celery and Parsley Skin Refresher
Perfect for all skin types, this gentle toner is both calming and revitalizing. Mildly astringent parsley helps clear pores, says Natural Beauty at Home author Janice Cox, while celery provides vitamin C to ease inflammation and stimulate skin regeneration.
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped celery
Place the parsley and celery in a glass bowl, then pour in 1 cup of boiling water. After 20 to 30 minutes, strain out any solids, and transfer the liquid to a sealable container. (Toner will keep for about two weeks in the fridge.) Using a cotton ball or pad, apply the toner to newly cleansed skin. No need to rinse.
Moisture-Boosting Carrot Mask
Carrots come packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps clear away blemishes and smooth fine lines. Wheat germ oil and honey replenish moisture in dry or combination skin; adding geranium oil to the mix aids acne-prone complexions, says Gallagher.
2 tsp. organic honey
1 tsp. wheat germ oil
2 drops geranium oil (optional)
Chop the carrots, drop them into a pot of boiling water, and cook until soft. Next, mash up the carrots with the remaining ingredients. Once the mixture's lukewarm or cool to touch, slather the mask onto just-cleansed skin; leave on for 20 minutes before scrubbing away.
Clarifying Tomato Juice Hair Rinse
The acids in tomato juice help whisk away product residue and leave your hair silky. Especially benefi cial for thick hair, this rinse contains apple cider vinegar and rosemary and peppermint essential oils to promote shine, says Leslie Martin, author of Crunchy Betty’s Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin.
1 ripe tomato
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
5 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops peppermint essential oil
Juice your tomato by tossing it into a juicer or by pushing it through a very fine mesh sieve, then combine with remaining ingredients and 2 cups of water, and stir well. Pour the mixture over conditioned hair, leave on for 2 minutes, and rinse with cool water.
Shine-Enhancing Banana Hair Mask
To bring luster back to dull, damaged hair, soak your locks with a blend of naturally conditioning banana and coconut oil. Following the mask with an apple cider vinegar rinse helps remove product buildup and protect against dandruff, says Gorgeously Green author Sophie Uliano.
1 ripe banana
2 tsp. virgin coconut oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Mash banana, mix with coconut oil, and spread onto clean hair. Tuck hair under a shower cap; let sit 30 minutes. After shampooing the mask from your hair, rinse with apple cider vinegar.
Ultra-Softening Avocado Hand Lotion
This lushly scented hand balm taps into the hydrating power of avocado and rose essential oil. Like avocado, olive oil serves up plenty of fatty acids and vitamin E to alleviate skin roughness. What's more, oats offer skin-soothing compounds, notes Martin.
1/2 overripe avocado
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 tsp. finely ground oats
4 drops rose essential oil
Mash the avocado until smooth, quickly whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the oats and rose essential oil. After rubbing the lotion onto your hands in a thick layer, sit back for 5 to 10 minutes; rinse clean.
Refreshing Rosemary Sea Salt Body Scrub
A classic skin slougher, sea salt polishes away dead cells while delivering minerals that strengthen skin's protective barrier and, in turn, help seal in moisture. Fatty-acid-rich olive oil amps up the moisture, while rosemary tones and firms skin, says Jessica Timberlake, spa director of Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in California.
2 Tbs. sea salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium sprig rosemary
2–3 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)
Scoop sea salt into a ceramic or stainless steel mixing bowl, then slowly stir in the olive oil to your preferred consistency. Remove rosemary leaves from the sprig, and fold into the mixture, adding rosemary essential oil for a stronger aroma. Massage the scrub into damp skin, rinse off , and follow with a pampering shea butter moisturizer.