“Hey, beautiful! Your skin is glowing today. It looks so soft and smooth?” Oh, wouldn’t we love to hear those words? But quality skincare products can be so expensive. Worse, there are so many ingredients in these products, it’s difficult to even know what you’re putting on your skin, much less if it’s healthy. And making your own DIY skincare recipes… forget about it. That has to be difficult, time-consuming, challenging, and messy (especially if you aren’t the DIY type)!
That’s certainly what I thought when a good friend invited me over to her home for a body-butter-making party years ago. A group of us got together, shared the cost of just a few ingredients, and made the most delicious, decadent, and delightful body butter I had ever used. I came home with little bottles of a variety of different scents and types to enjoy for very little money (with some wonderful memories and new friends to boot).
Mmm… DIY skincare recipes. They are so worth the effort when it comes to the minimal time and money involved. And, they’re fun to make. Yes, really! The mess? Well, clean up is easy. Especially with soaps and creams that can be used immediately.
So, let’s have some fun and get into some fantastic DIY skincare recipes you can make with just a few ingredients (many of which you may already have on hand)!
11 DIY Skincare Recipes Using 5 Ingredients or Less
1. Milk Hand Soak
This is one of the quickest, easiest ways to soften over-washed, dry, and even cracked hands.
- 2 – 3 cups whole milk (or enough to submerge both hands)
- Heat milk in a medium-sized microwave-safe container (choose one that you can fit both your hands in and submerge fully) until it’s pleasantly warm but not too hot. Be careful not to overheat or burn yourself.
- Completely submerge your hands in the warm milk. Then just relax and let your hands soak for five to ten minutes to allow the nutrients in the milk—fatty acids as well as vitamins A, D, and E—to nourish your overworked skin.
- Use this time to just let everything go and maybe even enjoy some breathing exercises or meditation.
- Rinse your hands well, pat dry, and enjoy how much softer and smoother they feel.
Optional: You can also add 1 to 3 tablespoons of honey and/or a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Geranium, lavender, and rose are all lovely choices.
2. Three-Ingredient Hand Soak
While the milk bath can do wonders on its own, sometimes your dry, chapped hands may need a little more to soothe and nourish.
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (you can also use white vinegar if that’s all that’s available)
- 3 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
- Put water, vinegar, and oil in a medium-sized microwave-safe container (choose a bowl that you can fit both your hands in and submerge fully).
- Heat until it’s pleasantly warm but not too hot. Be careful not to overheat or burn yourself.
- Relax and let your hands soak for five to ten minutes.
- Use this time to just let go and maybe even enjoy some breathing exercises or meditation.
- Rinse your hands well, pat dry, and enjoy how much softer and smoother they feel.
- Optional: follow up with a nourishing hand cream (see DIY skincare recipes below).
Optional: You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Frankincense is a wonderful addition if you’re looking for some extra TLC.
3. Four-Ingredient Foot Soak
Got sore or tired feet? Feet have a tough job and often get ignored and neglected. No wonder they get so tired! Take a few minutes to give them the pampering they deserve with this lovely foot soak. It may soon become one of your favorite DIY skincare recipes!
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup milk (or coconut milk)
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- Make sure you have a foot tub cleaned and ready to go with a towel for drying your feet as well as a mat to set your tub on (in case of any spillage).
- Bring four cups of water to a slow boil in a large pot, and add honey, milk, and cinnamon powder and allow to dissolve—this can take less than a minute.
- Remove from heat and let cool enough to be comfortable for your feet to soak in. (Test it with your fingers, being careful not to burn yourself.)
- Transfer liquid to your foot-soaking tub.
- Slip your feet in and just relax for as long as you’d like—at least ten minutes.
- Remove from water, rinse off your feet, and pat dry.
Optional: You can also add 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Good options to blend with the cinnamon include clove, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper.
Tip: To really pamper your toes, after your feet are dry, massage in lotion or foot balm (see DIY skincare recipes below).
4. Exfoliating Foot Soak
Summer feet are often dry, cracked, and painful. Help loosen dry, dead skin with this super-simple summer soak.
- Gallon of water
- ½ cup baking soda
- Make sure you have a foot tub cleaned and ready to go with a towel for drying your feet as well as a mat to set your tub on (in case of spillage).
- Pour a gallon of warm water into your foot tub.
- Add ½ cup of baking soda and stir until it dissolves.
- Slip in your feet, kick back, and soak for 30 minutes. (May I suggest reading a relaxing novel or a favorite blog while you wait?)
- Rinse off the baking soda and pat your feet until they’re almost dry. Finish by massaging in some foot cream (DIY skincare recipes below) and then cover your feet with a soft pair of cotton socks to allow the moisture to continue soothing into your dry, painful skin.
5. Hydrating Hand Cream
With just three natural ingredients, you may wonder where this gem of a hand lotion has been hiding all your life. Plus, it’s simple to make, and because it’s whipped, it’s light and fluffy enough to use throughout the day. (Better yet, it works just as well on dry elbows and feet as it does on hands.)
- 4 oz coconut oil
- 4 oz shea butter
- 3 Tbsp honey
- Place all ingredients into a double boiler over medium heat.
- Melt completely.
- Pull off heat and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. (It will solidify.)
- Use a spatula or spoon to scrape the mixture off the side of the bowl and mix in the honey if it has separated.
- If you want it to be scented, add your favorite essential oil(s) or vanilla extract and combine.
- Using a hand mixer or emersion blender, whip it until it’s light and airy.
- Transfer into glass containers to store.
Optional: To add a little scent, you can add 2 tsp of vanilla extract or your favorite essential oil blend.
6. Peppermint Foot Cream
Indulge your feet with this uplifting cream.
- ½ cup shea butter
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 4 Tbsp sweet almond oil (you can also use avocado, hemp seed, chia seed, apricot kernel, or hazelnut oil)
- 15 – 30 drops peppermint essential oil
- Place shea butter and coconut oil into a double boiler over medium heat.
- Melt completely.
- Pull off heat and add the almond oil, stirring to mix. Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. Then, stir in the peppermint essential oil.
- Place the mixture into the freezer and allow to freeze for about 20 minutes, until the mixture starts to solidify.
- Using a handheld or immersion blender, blend until you get a nice, creamy texture.
- Spoon your foot cream into jars or tins to store.
- Store in a cool, dark space, out of direct sunlight. If you are not using right away, you can also store in the refrigerator for up to six months.
- Now it’s ready to massage into clean, tired, sore feet. (On a hot day, it can be especially refreshing to take it right out of the fridge!)
Tip: While this is a wonderful foot cream, it can also work to soften dry hands. You can also choose a different essential oil if you prefer another scent.
7. Coffee Body Scrub
This simple-to-make, 3-ingredient DIY skincare recipe smells like your favorite coffee shop and helps gently remove dry, dull, dead skin. You’ll love how soft and smooth your skin is after use. (Just make sure you use it before washing with soap and rinse out your shower well after use.)
- ½ cup coffee grounds (as I hate to let anything go to waste, I use the used coffee grounds after making a pot of coffee, but if you aren’t a coffee drinker, fresh grounds work too)
- ¼ cup coconut or hemp oil
- In a large jar with a lid, mix coffee grounds, brown sugar, and coconut oil.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Use three to four tablespoons (one tablespoon at a time) to scrub your entire body (except for your face as it can clog pores and may be too harsh).
- Rinse and wash your body as usual.
Tip: Because of the oil in this scrub, it can make the shower slippery. Please take extra care to ensure you don’t slip.
Tip: To prevent mold, store this scrub in your fridge between uses and make a new batch every two weeks.
Tip: Coffee grounds have been claimed to help “reduce the appearance of cellulite temporarily,” especially when massaged into trouble areas. This is because coffee may help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, eliminate excess water, and provide antioxidants. Does it work? Maybe. There’s not a lot of research either way, but it’s worth a try anyway, right? You’ll still come away with softer, smoother skin after using the scrub.
8. Body Wash
If you’ve never used a natural body wash, you are in for a treat. This body wash is rich and moisturizing but also leaves your skin feeling so clean and so fresh. Best of all, unlike the store-bought varieties, it’s made with so few ingredients!
- 1/3 cup liquid castile soap (like Kirk’s Natural Original Coco Castile Liquid Soap or Dr. Bronner’s)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup olive, jojoba, or coconut oil
- Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. (You can also put them in a blender to really mix it up.)
- Use a funnel to move the liquid bodywash to your choice of pump or squeeze-top dispenser.
- Keep the bottle in the shower or bath. Then simply shake a couple of times before use (as it can separate a bit between uses).
- Wash as usual.
Tip: Of course, you can add or blend your favorite essential oils to create your own unique scent. Just add 10 to 20 drops (more or less until it smells amazing to you). Be forewarned, many of Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps are already scented with essential oil. If you want to add more scent, cut back on the number of drops so it’s not overpowering and potentially irritating to sensitive skin.
9. Lotion Bath Bar
Do you ever wish you could lotion your body before getting out of the shower, so you can quickly get on with your day? Then this lotion bar is what you’ve been looking for!
- 1 cup cocoa butter (or shea butter), shaved or cut into smaller pieces to melt more quickly
- 1/2 cup coconut or olive oil (for a softer bar, you can increase to 1 cup)
- 1 cup beeswax pellets or pearls
- Place all three ingredients in a double boiler and heat gently, stirring until the ingredients are melted and combined.
- If you want to add a scent, then add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) and stir to combine.
- Pour into individual molds. Silicon baking molds are perfect for this, but you can also use a muffin tin. Just be aware that essential oil scents can linger, so you may want to keep any molds you use separate from your baking tins after the first use.
- Allow to cool and solidify completely.
- Pop out of the molds, and they’re ready to use.
- Store in sealed container or bag in a cool, dark spot, away from direct sunlight.
Tip: If you are using both cocoa butter and essential oils, consider which oils will pair well with the light scent of chocolate. Some that work particularly well are mint and citrus.
Tip: If you are using safe-to-consume ingredients (especially when considering the essential oils), then you can also fill a couple of small tins and use this lotion as a soothing lip balm.
Tip: If your lotion bar is softer and tends to melt, use more cocoa butter or beeswax. If the bar feels sticky, then cut back on the shea or cocoa butter.)
Tip: These will remain shelf-stable for at least six months. If they do start to smell rancid, it’s time to toss them and make a new batch.
10. Full-Body Lotion
When it comes to the right DIY skincare recipes for lotion, you want something that’s lightweight and absorbs readily into the skin, so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy. And this recipe is it!
- 2 Tbsp beeswax (pellets or grated)
- ½ cup olive or sweet almond oil
- 2 Tbsp vitamin E oil
- 2 Tbsp cocoa butter
- ¾ cup water
- Combine the beeswax, oil, and cocoa butter together in a double boiler over medium heat.
- Once they’re melted and combined, add in the vitamin E oil. If you are adding any essential oils, add them here.
- Remove from heat and place into container that’s easy to pour (e.g., a glass measuring cup).
- Pull out your blender and add ¾ cup of water. (It’s even better to have previously boiled and slightly cooled water to ensure any bacteria has been killed and to help it blend.)
- Turn the blender on low, and as it’s running, very slowly allow your oil mixture to stream in to create an emulsion. (You can also use an emersion blender by placing the water on the bottom of your container and slowly lifting the blender up as it blends.)
- Once it’s thick and creamy, pour your lotion into your lotion dispenser (a mason jar works well if you don’t have a pump bottle).
- Store it in the fridge and enjoy hydrating your skin with your cool, creamy lotion.
11. Body Butter
As mentioned, the first time I tried a DIY skincare recipe, it was to make body butter with friends. Sure, this recipe can be made alone in your own kitchen, but if you can get friends to join you, it’s even more fun.
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- ¼ cup shea butter
- ¼ cup raw cocoa butter
- 1 Tbsp calendula oil (you can also use 1 Tbsp beeswax pellets or pearls, if you prefer)
- 1 tsp vitamin E oil
- Place coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter in a double boiler and heat over medium heat.
- Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool until opaque but not solidified.
- Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, whip the melted oils with the calendula oil and vitamin E oil (and essential oils if you’re adding any) until everything is light and fluffy (for about 5 minutes or so).
- Transfer to multiple small containers and store in a cool place, out of direct sunlight.
- During clean up, feel free to rub any excess on your skin.
- Then apply it as needed.
Optional: Again, you can always add 15 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Some favorites include frankincense, Roman chamomile, rose, ylang ylang, cedarwood, geranium, helichrysum, and lavender.
Tip: This body butter can last for up to four months and even longer when refrigerated.
Tip: For a wonderfully relaxing body butter, replace the olive or coconut oil with ¼ cup magnesium oil to use at night.
DIY Skincare Recipes: A Wrap-Up
During difficult and stressful times, a little bit of pampering and self-care can do wonders. You can try just one of these simple DIY skincare recipes for a quick emotional boost. Or, if you can, get together with some friends to whip up some recipes, laughter, and connection.