Natural economical and Simple DIY Holiday gifts that everyone will love
Making your own products at home is not only economical, fun, and simple, but it is also the safest, healthiest, and greenest choice of all. In our already busy lives fitting in one more thing can seem impossible. Over many years of experimenting, I have come up with easy solutions for how you can squeeze in time for making everything from face masks to salt scrubs without needing a lot of extra time.
Growing up, my children loved to cook with me. From the time they could hold a knife, they were chopping, slicing, and dicing. Dinner became a time we all loved and embraced. We baked for fun. We also started to make bath products for ourselves and for gifts. This was a natural way to spend time with my children and get wonderful products. It was also a great teaching tool. We would measure, divide, and multiply, and learn about plants and herbs. I did home school my girls for a bit and these crafting times became a fun way for me to slide lessons in. This was long before Covid and we also had girls’ night, where we would have a group over and make enough products for the month (you can freeze them), and at birthday parties we would make products. These are things you can look forward to. It can be a wonderful hobby with healthful benefits.
The following are a few tips for using the recipes below:
- Whenever possible, buy in bulk and buy organic.
- Fresh is best.
- Whenever possible, use glass for making and storing products. Recycle jelly, vinegar, mayonnaise, or any other type of glass jar you use.
- Store your products carefully. If you’re making a dry product such as polishing grains, keep it away from moisture.
- If you’re making a liquid, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. You can also save time by making extra and freezing it in ice cube trays.
- Cleanliness is extremely important. You don’t want hair or dirt from your hands in your gifts. You can either wash your hands well and sanitize with alcohol or wear gloves. Pull your hair back and wear a scarf or hairnet. Treat making products like you would preparing food: Apply the same rules for working with open cuts, wash your hands, and follow the other general rules of hygiene.
- Remember, when you wash your hands, you must dry them completely before continuing to make products.
- The following are some easy recipes for products that are wonderful to use. After you get the basics, experiment and have fun with your own additions and twists. Make your own creations.
- Have fun and enjoy!
Stress-Reducing Bath Salts
These salts take no time to make. You can make them in large amounts and store them for six months to a year, depending on whether or not you use olive oil. Olive oil makes the salts go from matte to shiny and adds moisture; leaving it out of the recipe greatly extends shelf life.
- 1 cup pure sea salt (rock or granulated), not table salt
- ½ cup Epsom salt (optional, to relieve muscle tension)
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 drop orange essential oil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional—makes the salts go from matte to shiny, adds limited moisture)
- 1 teaspoon lavender petals (optional)
Pour all of the salt into a large bowl. You can use any combination of pure sea salts and Epsom salts you choose. There are more and more of these on the market these days, making it fun to experiment. Kosher salt is a standard rock salt that is easy to find and wonderful to use (not all kosher salt is sea salt; check the box). If you are adding olive oil, mix the essential oils with the olive oil, then add to the salts; mix by hand or with a spoon. Sprinkle in the lavender petals. Pour the salts into a clean jar with a lid, and keep closed until ready to use. Essential oils will lose their scent over time if not in closed glass or a PET plastic jar.
Use 2 or more tablespoons per bath.
Wake-Up Bath Tea
- 1 cup rosemary leaves, fresh or dried*
- 1 cup rose petals*
- 1 cup peppermint leaves*
- 1 drop each peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils
- 3 drops ginseng extract
Pour the rosemary, rose petals, and peppermint leaves into a large bowl. Using a spoon or your hands, gently toss, being careful not to crush the ingredients. Drop in the essential oils and ginseng extract and gently toss again. You can also mix by shaking in a Ziploc bag or a sealed plastic bowl. If you are using cheesecloth, cut two 6-inch x 6-inch squares and place one on top of the other. Put ½ cup of the “tea” mixture into the middle and draw all the sides and corners up, closing with a rubber band or thread. If using a muslin bag, fill it with ½ cup the mixture and tie the bag shut. Place the bath tea in the tub while it is in the process of filling so the herbs have time to “brew” and infuse the bathwater.
* If you’re using fresh herbs and petals, double the amount you place in the bag or cheesecloth.
The Ultimate Bathing Oil
You will need:
- avocado, apricot, grape seed, almond, coconut, and/or olive oils
- red turkey oil (note: this is not an animal product)
- the essential oils of your choice
You can use any combination of the above oils. Avocado, apricot, and olive are richer; almond and coconut are lighter. Have fun finding a combination that works best for your skin. All these oils are so wonderful.
For every cup of oil, add 1/8 cup red turkey oil (this helps the oil suspend in your bathwater instead of only floating on top) and up to 10 drops of essential oils.
Please note: Using oils and butters in your bath makes surfaces slippery. Be careful when leaving your bath, and clean well after bathing.
Helpful hint: Keep baking soda near your bath and sprinkle it in after the water drains to absorb the excess oils; then wash the surfaces with soap.
Moisturizing Bath Fizzer
- 1 cup baking soda
- ¼ cup citric acid
- 1 tablespoon powdered milk
- 2 teaspoons cocoa butter
- 5–20 drops essential oils
In a glass or metal bowl, mix the baking soda and citric acid; add the powdered milk. Melt the cocoa butter in a microwave until just melted but not scalding hot. Be very careful—heated butters can burn the skin. If the butter is too hot, let it cool a bit before using. When it is still melted and warm, mix with the dry ingredients, using a spoon or your hands. Add the essential oils and mix. The mixture should start to “come together” and feel slightly sticky. If needed, spray a tiny amount of water into the mixture, and press firmly into a silicone muffin pan, ice cube trays or molds. Let it dry overnight, then turn out of the mold.
* Teflon baking molds work great. They come in a muffin shape, and if you fill them ¾ of the way, they make a nice shape. Any hard plastic mold will work as well.
- ½ cup cocoa butter
- ½ cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoons apricot oil
- essential oils
Melt the cocoa butter in a microwave until just melted but not scalding hot. Be very careful—heated butters can burn the skin. Add the shea butter. The heat from the cocoa butter should be enough to melt the shea. If it isn’t, put the mixture in the microwave and cook it in 10-second intervals, waiting after each interval to give the shea a chance to melt, until it is completely melted. Add the apricot oil and blend well. You can add essential oils of your choice to create the scent level desired. Pour into a wide-mouth container or mold.
- 1/8 cup avocado oil
- ½ cup jojoba oil
- 1 cup safflower oil
- 1 teaspoon carrot oil
- 1 teaspoon evening primrose oil
Pour the oils into a glass jar with a lid. Close and shake well. Add essential oils of your choice to the scent level you desire.
Gentle Oat Face Cleanser for All Skin Types
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut (optional)
- ¼ cup cooked oats
- 1 tablespoon powdered soy, rice, coconut, almond or goat milk
- 1 tablespoon powdered honey
Put the coconut in a food processor and pulse a few times. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, and mix well. Add the coconut and mix until completely incorporated.
Store in an airtight container. Use a dime-sized amount to cleanse your face.
When choosing an oil, remember that different oils have different properties; some, such as olive, apricot, and avocado, are heavier; pistachio, safflower, and canola are lighter. My Body Oil recipe makes a wonderful base for this scrub. Choose oils that feel the best on your skin.
For add-ins, be creative and have fun. You can use fresh milks, fruit purées, honey, vinegar, or champagne. Or powdered milks, fruits, clays or dried flowers, The possibilities are unlimited.
- 1 cup sea salt or sugar
- enough oil to saturate the salt
- 10–15 drops of your favorite essential oils
- add-ins of your choice
In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients, using your hands, until well blended. If you use fresh ingredients, keep the mixture in a closed container in the refrigerator. Discard any unused scrub after a week. Without fresh ingredients, the scrub will last in a sealed container in your bathroom for approximately 4 to 8 months or until the oils go rancid.