Homemade beauty treatments are very much in demand right now. And the good news is you can monetise this trend. If you need a bit of extra cash and love being crafty, why not try your hand at whisking together some bath salts or sugar scrubs? You can make money selling organic, 100% natural cosmetics people will love.
Of course, it may take some practice. But once you’ve perfected your craft, you can sell your homemade beauty treatments at a local jumble sale or a product party you host. Alternatively, you can also give them away as presents so you don’t have to spend money buying gifts. Homemade presents are generally considered to be more thoughtful so it’s a win-win.
Tell us about your hits and misses in the comments section below too!
- The ingredients you need to get started
- The recipes for success – from body scrubs to soap bags
- How to maximise your profits
- Safety first
Why create homemade beauty treatments?
It’s good business. For instance, things like bath salts and sugar scrubs can easily sell in shops for anything between £5 to £15 (or even more for certain brands). The reality is that they’re so simple and cheap to produce that you can make an easy profit selling them as gifts.
Most – if not all – of the ingredients can be bought in the supermarket. If you can’t find something in your local store, though, there’re loads of websites where you can get hold of the missing items.
Add a little panache in presentation and people will be tempted. Also, you can make bespoke packs, cater for people with allergies, produce vegan-friendly cosmetics and work on your own signature products that aren’t available elsewhere. The possibilities are endless.
This flexibility beats the high street hands down. In fact, you can probably charge much less than the high street equivalents, but still make a healthy profit.
Once you’re confident you can make good handmade beauty treatments, you can start hosting product parties for friends and family, and make some real cash from your hobby.
The first thing you’ll need to start making homemade beauty treatments is ingredients. Some of the things included in the recipes below may seem incredibly obscure. But don’t let that put you off. They’re actually very easy to get hold of and are much cheaper than you might expect.
Here’re the main ingredients:
- Plant fats/butters: These are the solid fats extracted from certain tropical plants. You’ll need them for products such as body bars and melts; they’re also used for moisturisers and creams. For instance, some commonly used ones are cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut butter and mango butter.
- Plant oils: Very common in beauty products. Plant oils consist of liquid fats extracted from certain plants. The cold-pressed varieties are especially good for your skin. You can use them to dilute essential oils or blend them with the solid butters to make creams and moisturisers, for instance. A few of the most popular ones are almond oil, apricot oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil and jojoba oil.
- Macerated oils: They may sound a little obscure but they’re basically plant oils with medicinal herbs and scented flowers steeped in them. You can actually make these at home. Most widely used macerated oils are calendula oil, rose oil, carrot oil and monoi de tahiti, for example.
- Essential oils: You’ll often see these as key ingredients in many beauty products. These oils are concentrated aromatic essences distilled from certain plants. Some of the most commonly used ones are rose (for rejuvenating mature skin), lavender (for cleansing and healing), rosemary (for hair care) and chamomile (for soothing skin), for instance.
Some additional ingredients which you can use to personalise your products are:
- Flower waters/distillates – used in deodorants, facial toners and as the watery part of moisturiser.
- Herbs/flowers – the ‘active ingredient’ which can be used whole, ground down or infused.
- Kitchen edibles – food that can be used in your beauty products (for example oats, beans, yoghurt, fruit, sea salt etc).
Where to shop
To start with, try sites like Baldwins and Sheabuttercottage where you can buy ingredients at reasonable prices. Another good site is Aromantic if you’re after herbs and flowers.
Lots of the ingredients you may want to try in your homemade beauty treatments are things you’ll have lying around in your kitchen cupboards or that you can find in the wild (like lavender). Start at home first, take a look at what you could use. Alternatively, a quick trip down to the supermarket will sort you out for other bits and bobs.
what will you need to make homemade beauty treatments?
Let’s talk equipment. You should actually have most of what you’ll need for making your homemade beauty treatments at home. To get started with potion-making, you’ll typically need the same bits and pieces as for cooking. So, generally speaking, apart from some of the more exotic ingredients, you may already be well-equipped for making your own unique holistic products!
Here’re some of the items you will need to make your lotions and potions:
- Heatproof bowls
- Mini whisks
- Stirrers (chopsticks will do)
- Cheese grater (for grating lemons or cocoa butter)
- Sieve (for straining macerated oils)
- Soap moulds (ice cube trays work well for melts and mini cake tins are good for massage bars)
- Pestle and mortar
- Food processor (for body butters and moisturisers)
- Coffee grinder (for grinding herbs and flowers)
Presentation Tips for homemade beauty treatments
Making your homemade beauty treatments is a great start. Only if they sell will you be making profit, though. While it’s key your products are good, selling is often not about how great something is, but how well you present it. Get creative with your bottles and gift wrapping. That way, your products will look more attractive and sell better.
Bear in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean a big spend for new bottles and lots of cellophane wrap. Start by reusing any bottles and jars that you’ve got lying around at home. They’re perfectly fine to use as long as you prep them. Firstly, wash your jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse in cold water and finally place somewhere warm until they’re bone dry.
Glass is the best material for your lotions as it won’t taint the product and it’s readily available around your house. If you need more, try collecting old bottles and jars from friends and family to reuse. Another idea is to start hoarding them wherever you go. For example, hotels will often save you the mini jam jars they use at breakfasts, which are great for lip balm pots. You can also try getting free samples from the perfume counters in department stores. And don’t forget to try your local supermarket. See if you like some of the little presentation bottles that olive oils, vinegar or mini products come in, for example.
For scrubs and face masks why not try recycled jam jars. To make them look nice, cover the lid with scraps of fabric such as recycled old clothing or table cloths and string. Simply blob a little bit of glue in the middle of the lid and use a piece of fabric big enough to come down over the sides. Next, tie and string with a tag on top of the fabric around the neck of the jar and voila, you’ve got a pretty container for your homemade beauty treatments.
Alternatively, you could buy cheap jars. You’ll find a lot of unique ones on eBay, for example. The site is full of glass jars with crock lids or glass clamp jars to keep your homemade beauty treatments safely stored. So have a browse and find what’s best for your products.
If you do want to invest in some new presentation vials, Colouredbottles is a great site. It sells pretty glass bottles and jars in bulk. Although if you just want to start off with a few items, you can buy them from their eBay site.
And finally, gather old bits of material. Some of your products will only need a little spare fabric rather than jars. For example, scraps of old cloth can be sewn up into simple drawstring bags, making cheap and pretty packaging for bath melts, massage bars and bath salts.
Make homemade beauty treatments gift sets
Your beauty products can also make a wonderful gift. It’s actually very cheap to get some gift sets together to sell. For instance, you can arrange a jar of hand scrub, some hand balm and a nail brush inside a cheap terracotta flower-pot for a gorgeous gardener’s gift set. Or why not try making a selection of herbal bath tea blends (dried herbs and flowers in mini muslin bags) and arrange them inside a second-hand teapot. All you need is a little imagination.
And remember: if all does go wrong, a bit of clever marketing a la l’Oreal can fix everything. For example, most mixtures can be re-melted and remade with an adjustment of solids and liquids, so when it comes to consistency you’ve always got a second chance.
Sometimes your carefully crafted homemade beauty treatments may just seem unfixable. If that’s the case, just rename them cunningly:
- A too-liquid moisturiser becomes a lotion
- A too-hard face-cream becomes a lip-balm
- A very hard moisturizer is a bath melt
- A very stiff face scrub becomes fragrant bathing grains
A few ground rules
- Never eat or drink your potions, even though they may look tasty!
- Make sure your hands are dry before using the potions as water can encourage bacterial contamination.
- Always store the potions and ingredients in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- Make sure all your equipment is squeaky clean before you make your potions.
- Never use a bit of water to get out the remaining bit of products at the bottom of the bottle.
- If you’re pregnant, make sure you’ve consulted the NHS website to check your potions are safe. Alternatively, look for info on the Aromatherapy Council’s website.
- There’re no 100% natural preservatives which work as well as the chemical ones. For this reason, ensure you store your homemade beauty treatments in accordance with the instructions on each recipe. And if in doubt, chuck it out.
- Remember to always do a patch test before you use any lotions, just in case you’re allergic.
- If you do want to go into business selling beauty products, it’s essential that you do your research. That’s because you may find that you require insurance and safety testing.
All the recipes shared below are from The Holistic Beauty Book by Star Khechara published by Green Books.
The book contains over 100 natural recipes for gorgeous, healthy skin so you can get creating your own homemade beauty treatments right now. You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.
Vanilla Spice Scrub
Shelf-life: 3 months
Skin types: suitable for all
- 300g white granulated sugar
- Half a bottle of vanilla essence
- 100-200ml unrefined sunflower oil
- 2 tsp of nutmeg powder
- 2 tsp of cinnamon powder
How to make
- Mix the sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl
- Add the oil and vanilla essence while stirring until a thick paste is achieved. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more oil
- Store in a jar (Kilner jars look pretty)
How to use
Dampen skin and massage gently into skin. Rinse off thoroughly.
After eight(ish) chocolate mint scrub
For a slightly more exotic scrub, try the after-eight(ish) chocolate mint scrub. You can buy most of the ingredients you’ll need at the supermarket. For virgin coconut oil, go to Sheabuttercottage.
Shelf-life: 3 months
Skin types: suitable for all
- 50g fair-trade/organic dark brown sugar
- 30g organic or raw cocoa powder
- 50g dried peppermint (or several opened-up peppermint tea bags)
- 100-150ml virgin coconut oil/butter
How to make
- Mix the sugar, cocoa powder and dried peppermint in a bowl
- Gradually add the oil while stirring until you have a thick paste
- Store in a jar
How to use
Massage the chocolatey mixture gently all over damp skin. Then rinse off thoroughly.
Another cheap-to-make beauty product is a ‘soap bag’. One of the key ingredients is vegetable or olive oil soap, if you prefer. You can get these from your local health store and they can cost less than £1.
Shelf-life: 3 months
Skin types: suitable for all, especially sensitive skin
- 50g fine oatmeal
- 50g grated pure vegetable soap
- Your choice of herb or flower. The recipe suggests 50g of dried lavender but you can use ground rose petals or ground orange peel, or an exotic blend of your own!
How to make
- Grate the soap
- Grind the lavender using the coffee grinder
- Then mix up all three ingredients in the bowl
- Cut a circle of muslin about the size of a large saucer
- Place a heap of mixture in the middle
- Gather the muslin together like a little sack containing the blend
- Tie it up tightly with string or raffia
- Store the ready-made bags in a large glass jar
How to use
Use in the shower and soak the little bag under the warm water. Soon enough it should start to feel squishy and soapy. Use the bag like a bar of soap. You’ll find the muslin will exfoliate your skin while the oats soothe and the soap cleans. Because the soap is ‘diluted’ with other ingredients, it’s not so drying to the skin.
Honey & Oat Cheatin’ Soap
Another vegetable or olive oil soap based homemade beauty treatment that you can make cheaply – and sell for a good profit – is soap. To make soap from scratch, you’ll need to use a really strong chemical (sodium hydroxide), which can burn skin really badly. The following recipe calls for making a new and customised soap from melting down an existing one instead.
Shelf-life: 6 months
Skin types: suitable for all
- 200g plain vegetable soap (i.e. the plain olive oil soap you can find in health food shops)
- 100ml water or herbal tea (cold)
- 30g medium oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- Variation: Vegans can still make this soap – just leave out the honey and add your favourite plant oil instead for a silky soap.
How to make
- To start, grate your soap very finely
- Next, place in a bowl with the water and set aside for a couple of hours, stirring now and again. Then, place the bowl of soap and water on top of pan of simmering water
- Add more water if necessary
- Keep the heat as low as possible so that the soap melts very slowly
- Stir gently until it’s a stringy gloop (could take up to an hour)
- Once smooth and molten, add the honey and oatmeal
- Stir in quickly. Then pour into your moulds straight away
- Leave the soaps to set for 24 hours
- Once set, tip the soaps out of the moulds and put on a wire rack to dry out
- Finally, remember to turn over every couple of days and the soap should be ready to use in 2-4 weeks
How to use
Use with water like everyday soap and remember to rinse well.
Herbal bath bag
And finally a herbal bath bag. It’s a great alternative to soap and this recipe below uses only two ingredients (or three, if you like) which cuts down on cost.
Shelf-life: 3 months as a dry mix
Skin types: suitable for all, especially those suffering with eczema
- 50g organic fine oatmeal (or oatmeal and ground almond blend)
- 50g dried organic lavender
How to make
1. Start by grinding half of the lavender in a coffee grinder, leaving the rest whole
2. Mix all the ingredients together
3. Tie up in a muslin circle with raffia to make a little sack
4. You can make several of these up at once and store them in a glass jar
How to use
Add to warm bath and use the oaty bag like soap. Once it’s wet, it’ll feel a bit slimy – that’s the soothing oat milk coming out. You’ll find that it really does clean effectively but won’t dry your skin like soap and it’s very healing for dry sensitive skin and eczema. Remember to use a bag once only.
One more point – Post Brexit we may have a different regulatory landscape – lets wait and see what happens.
You might want to check out – www.gov.uk/guidance/product-safety-for-manufacturers (fi you are thinking of selling and putting out cosmetic products for sale).
I really enjoyed reading the article and have a life-long interest in herbal products and related matters. The article was well researched and there’s lots of ideas there. It was interesting and easy to read as well. So well done!
Your tips are detailed and encouraging. I am propeled to try them myself and when i am perfected start making for sales. Anyone waiting for you to tell them to get a Licence and insurance before they can start it as a business is stupid. Am sure people who are checking this posts are not kids, you mustnt state everything word for word the writeup alone is nice. Thanks
There are numerous laws and legislation regarding the selling of Cosmetic Products. You must have a Cosmetic Safety Assessment fr every product, issues by a Chemist and follow various other rules and regulations. Simply making and selling them is breaking the law and could land you with a hefty fine or worse. How irresponsible of the author of this article. Badly researched.
What is exactly necessary for the labels and how do you actually get a licence. Thank it’s been so interesting reading all the posts it’s excellent
Ooh good questions there! We will check and come back to you (we will also add it to the article). Thanks for asking!
How utterly irresponsible of the author of this article, to completely leave out the need to have proper safety assessments and liability insurance. This is not a ‘golden goose’ opportunity, but actually a very time consuming and rather expensive business to get into. Certainly not as easy as putting a few bath salts in a bag and making it look pretty. Please do not take this article at face value, but do your research thoroughly and test your products rigorously before you even attempt to sell them. Have a look at a forum called ‘The Dish’, which will offer you… Read more »
I agree. To suggest that people can make and sell products without Liability Insurance among other things is ridiculous! A very time consuming business thats involves alot more than prettying things up.
#9 says to do your research and that insurance may be necessary. FYI
I have use Makari for 6 years it has no effect omn me. Origin is one product that leaves my face clean and beautiful but it does not lighten or tone as descibed
I am african american and I have very dark marks on my shoulders and upper back as a result of wearing the wrong sized bra. Now that I am wearing the correct sized bra, I would like to know if either of the products would fade the dark marks from my shoulders and upper back as I am in a wedding in August and the dress is strapless.
a good place to get essential oils and other carrier base oils is justaromatherapy.co.uk they have a good range