8 DIY Beauty Products to Sneak Into Your Morning Routine

April 27, 2016

The world of beauty products is so incomprehensibly vast, so full of reaching claims and supposedly miraculous fixes, that it's tempting to just back away slowly rather than do all the necessary research before making a purchase. And then there's the whole problem of scary ingredients; I recently came across "Hydroxymethylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyde," which is a common synthetic fragrance. (Like I said: Back away slowly.)

So when I heard from Kelly LeVeque, an L.A.-based wellness expert, that homemade beauty products are easier than you think to mix up, I was intrigued (if skeptical of how easy it would actually be). Then she sent over some recipes: All were under 5 ingredients, composed mostly of items I already owned (like coffee grounds and baking soda) in a base of coconut oil—which, she tells me, is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

Body scrub, deodorant, lip balm, and a big bowl of coconut oil. Photo by Bobbi Lin

If you already love coconut oil (that's not a pre-req but it certainly helps), or you're looking for a more natural skin-care regimen to take the place of expensive or chemically-dubious bottles in your makeup bag, consider these 8 DIY beauty and body solutions from Kelly's arsenal.

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It should be said: Homespun deodorant isn't going to work for everybody. But with recipes that are so minimal and quick to make, there's little downside to giving them a whirl, working them into your routine, and seeing which you suddenly can't live without (in my case: See you never again, drug store eye makeup remover).

Body Oil

  • 1 cup solid coconut oil (pop it in the fridge to harden if yours is melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil, optional
  • 2 to 5 drops essential oils

Mix ingredients with a wire whisk for 6 to 7 minutes (easiest in a mixer on high speed, but you could also do it vigorously by hand) until whipped into a light, airy consistency. Spoon into a glass jar and cover tightly. Store at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your house is so warm it the oil will melt.

Creamy Lip Balm

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 drops calendula oil
  • 1 drop vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients with a spoon, and store in airtight jar.

Left: The makings of homespun lip balm. Right: DIY deodorant before packing it all into a container. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Natural Deodorant

The arrowroot (tapioca flour) absorbs moisture and gives the DIY deodorant a smooth texture, says Kelly.

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 to 4 drops essential oils (optional)

Mix baking soda and arrowroot in a medium-sized bowl, then mash in coconut oil with a fork until well-mixed. Add essential oils if desired. It will seem too fluffy, but just pack it into a small jar (or old deodorant container!) until solid.

Coffee Grounds Body Scrub

If you use caffeinated coffee grounds (and yes, they can be right out of a used filter), Kelly says that these scrubbies will also increase blood flow to the area as they exfoliate.

  • 1/2 cup liquified coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds

Mix equal parts coconut oil (microwave briefly to melt if needed) and fresh coffee grounds, then divide the mixture into muffin tins or ice cube trays. Freeze to solidify for 30 minutes and then pop them out and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Coffee grounds + coconut oil = body scrubbers that will wake you right up. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Peppermint Insect Repellent

  • Coconut oil
  • Peppermint oil

Mix coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint oil, then slather on exposed skin to keep bugs away.

And for the true purist, here are three ways that Kelly recommends using coconut oil in your beauty regimen without even adding anything to it.

Eye Oil

Dab under and around eyes to moisturize and help prevent wrinkles.

Leave-In Conditioner

Apply a small amount to wet hair, to seal in moisture.

Makeup Remover

Add a smear to a cotton ball to swipe away makeup, dirt, and grime.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it's good for you (see: lead, arsenic, nightshade, etc.) This article would have been great if it had just focused on neat recipes instead of trying to spook people with a long chemical name.”
— tia

Do you ever make your own beauty products? Share your favorite recipes in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dana Darr
    Dana Darr
  • La Fou
    La Fou
  • Caroline
  • lea
  • Amanda Adele Moussa
    Amanda Adele Moussa
Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Dana D. August 27, 2019
I love the idea of DIY beauty...but I can't use coconut oil. Some recipes or suggestions for alternatives would be a big help. :)
La F. March 9, 2019
For some reason, coconut oil works well on my face, but is irritating on my lips. Olive oil does not do that. I can't figure it out.
Caroline February 3, 2019
I've used baking soda dissolved in water instead of shampoo. Ok to use every few days, but will dry your hair if used too frequently.
Cornmeal makes an easy facial scrub. Much better for the environment than plastic microbeads.
lea September 20, 2017
I've used flax seeds boiled in water and then strained instead of hair gel. It actually works surprising well, the only downside is that it goes bad if you keep it too long
Amanda A. May 4, 2016
I use it as a toothpaste, sometimes mixing with baking soda. Bye, bye tartar. (I also use it as a toothpaste on my many dogs and cats).
rachel April 29, 2016
I find olive oil to work wonders as an eye makeup remover! In my opinion, it works better than coconut oil
tia April 27, 2016
Please don't scare-monger. Just because something has a long name doesn't mean it's bad for you (dihydrogen oxide, anyone?). Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it's good for you (see: lead, arsenic, nightshade, etc.)

This article would have been great if it had just focused on neat recipes instead of trying to spook people with a long chemical name.
Sean R. April 27, 2016
To be fair, this scary-sounding synthetic fragrance does seem concerning: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/703649/LYRAL/

However, I agree that blindly demonizing chemicals is a habit all too common in beauty AND food writing.
Amanda S. April 28, 2016
Hi Tia and Sean! Thanks for reading. I meant neither to "scare-monger" nor "blindly demonize"—simply to say that it can be overwhelming to suss out what's good or bad for you when perusing the beauty aisle. (And for what it's worth, I'm also allergic—as many people are—to that particular synthetic fragrance, which goes by many names and can be tough to find in an ingredient list.)
Sean R. May 2, 2016
Hi Amanda! So sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were furthering an anti-chemical agenda. Obviously, your statements were based in fact. I do contend, however, that the topic of chemically-derived ingredients really needs more context. It's valuable to hear details like the fact that you're allergic to Lyral, hence the label of "scary". Hopefully someone can benefit from that information! Thank you for sharing. :)
Caroline L. April 27, 2016
I have been making my own deodorant (following a formula very similar to Kelly's) for a few years! I still have all my friends. It's worth a try!