Homemade apothecary: DIY beauty products

Posted on January 20, 2021 at 6:00 am

Image from Creativebug

By Crystal Miller

If the winter cold and extra hand washing have made your hands slightly (or very!) dry like mine, I offer you the idea of handmade lotion bars. Instead of grabbing hand lotion at the store, you can make these lotion bars with help from our digital resource Creativebug. By making your own beauty and bath products, you can cover several New Year’s resolutions at once—save money, pursue a new hobby, be more creative (…if these made your list for 2021).

Creativebug has a plethora of recipes to help you create your own homemade apothecary.

I enjoy making my own body products for several different reasons. Besides making my own body products, I make them as gifts for others, all while using ingredients that I already have in my pantry. When I whip up my own body butter or bath bomb, I feel a sense of accomplishment for having made it with my own hands and by saving money—a win-win in the feel-good department.

I also get to customize my creation! If I’m in the festive mood, I make a peppermint lip balm. If I’m in need of some energizing citrus, I can make a grapefruit scented body scrub. Imagining the possibilities helps fuel my creativity as well.

If you’re new to homemade body products, I suggest watching this instructional video from Creativebug: Homemade Apothecary by Amy Karol. In the online course, you’ll learn how to make your own lip balm, facial oil, deodorant, and more. Using household ingredients to make beauty products ensures that you’re in control of what is in it, so there’s no mystery.

I find this to be a mindful way for me to slow down and be intentional about the products I use. In making the product myself, I feel more connected to my self-care routine. 

Get everyone involved! DIY beauty products can be a fun project to do with kids, as well! You can also be creative by making (having the kids make?) labels or packaging for gifting of your handmade creations.


One of my favorite things to make and use is a scalp scrub. I have curly hair and use various products to manage my locks. A scalp scrub is a useful way to cleanse the scalp and give it some extra TLC. I recently found the recipe below and use it once a week, it keeps my scalp hydrated and healthy.

Here’s a recipe from Byrdie.com.  

Scalp scrub made by Librarian Crystal
Scalp scrub made by Librarian Crystal

Coconut Oil and Honey Scrub

Combine the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil (Note: Swap in sweet almond or jojoba oil for finer hair textures.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5–10 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Manuka honey

Morton, recipe creator, shares how this scrub works on the scalp:

“First, the sugar acts as a natural exfoliant—I prefer sugar over salt because the texture is softer. An essential oil [such as] peppermint is a natural [anti-]inflammatory, plus calming to the scalp. Next, [apple cider vinegar] helps to maintain the pH balance of the skin, thanks to antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Finally, adding Manuka honey helps soothe the scalp while minimizing dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis.”


The Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products & Treatments: 175 Recipes from Scrubs & Masks to Moisturizers & Shampoos, by Amelia, Ruiz

Green Beauty Recipes: Easy Homemade Recipes to Make Your Own Natural and Organic Skincare, Hair Care, and Body Care Products, by Julie Gabriel

Homemade Beauty: 150 Simple Beauty Recipes Made from All-Natural Ingredients, by Annie Strole

Plant-Powered Beauty: The Essential Guide to Using Natural Ingredients for Health, Wellness, and Personal Skincare with 50-Plus Recipes, by Amy Galper and Christina Daigneault

The benefits to making your own body products include being able to experiment and create a product that works best for you, saving money, and flexing your creativity muscles.

Creativebug is a great place to explore DIY projects of all kinds. So are the helpful books on this topic found in our catalog.

I hope you find an inspiring project or recipe to try out!

Librarian Crystal Miller

Crystal Miller is a Business and Career Development Librarian and has been working in libraries for 15 years. She has a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and has worked at the Harvard Development Office Library, MIT Libraries, and the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. When she’s not at the library, she can be found at the dog park with her three fur babies or with a cookbook in hand, flipping through the pages, looking for the next recipe to try out.

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