There is always an upside to bathing in exotic-smelling shower gels or Cleopatra-inspired body oils or anoint yourself with myriad fragrances. The downside, of course, is the huge carbon footprint you leave behind as you step out of your shower when using chemical bathing products. Not to mention the annual dent in your finances. What if we told you making your own bath care products was easier than you thought? Well, all you need is some patience and these instructions…and you can feel good about doing your teeny weeny bit.
1. Softening Body Oil
A sweet smelling oil rub before a nice bath relaxes you like nothing will. Mix a cup of sweet almond oil with 1/2 a cup each of jojoba and hazelnut (or apricot kernel oil). Add to this combination a teaspoon each of hemp seed, carrot seed and jasmine essential oil. Once mixed thoroughly, add three drops each of ylang-ylang and geranium oil.
To use: Brush your skin gently to exfoliate skin and stimulate blood circulation. Warm a little oil in the sun before massaging. Leave on the skin for half an hour for absorption. After bathing, apply on extra dry areas such as heels and elbows when the skin is still moist.
2. Shampoo-less Shampoo
Simply mix a heaped tablespoon of baking soda with a cup each of apple cider vinegar and hot water. Stir or shake until well dissolved. Add a couple of drops of geranium oil and pour in a squirt bottle using a funnel.
To use: Essentially the baking soda functions as hair cleanser while vinegar substitutes chemical conditioner. Wet hair and simply take a handful of this mixture and massage onto your scalp. Rinse well.
3. Bath Bomb
This is the most interesting DIY project and makes for great gifting as well. Sieve a cup of baking soda, half a cup each of dry citric acid, corn starch or Epsom salts and blend them well. Combine separately in a dry and clean jar, 3 tablespoons of sunflower or sweet almond oil, a tablespoon of rosewater (be careful not to start the fizzing action by adding too much water, so add 1/4 tsp at a time), 1 teaspoon essential oil in your preferred fragrance or combination of fragrances, 1/4 teaspoon borax as an emulsifier and 5-6 drops of vegetable or natural colouring (optional). Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Slowly drizzle the wet ingredients onto the dry ones, stirring very gently to prevent the reaction from starting. The mixture should start to hold together like moist sand in your hands. Put in a pinch of dried rose petals into your mould if you like and stuff the mould with the bomb mixture. I used the round plastic Gems boxes as mould or even cookie and chocolate trays. You can buy moulds in craft stores or online. Do not oil the moulds beforehand; just make sure they are clean and dry. Unmold after about two hours and let them dry overnight before using them. Store them in a dry place.
To use: One whole bath bomb is more than enough to soak in a bathtub.
4. Roll-on Deodorant
Melt 8 ounces of beeswax over very low heat in a double boiler. Mix 8 tablespoons cornstarch, 4 tablespoons each of baking soda, vodka and distilled water well. Add to the melted beeswax and stir until well combined. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves juice and 15-20 drops of your favourite essential oil or a combination of several oils. Pour into mould and let it harden. Store in an airtight container.
To use: Rub on as desired.
The asking point in any sunscreen of calibre is its sun protection factor or SPF. Most of the ingredients in this DIY recipe have a natural SPF, so this concoction has to be a winner. Put half cup almond oil or olive oil (SPF 7), 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 5), 1/4 cup beeswax and half a cup of carrot seed oil (natural SPF 35-40) in a glass bowl and melt the contents in a double boiler. Once lukewarm, add two tablespoons of zinc oxide and a teaspoon of Vitamin E (simply break a Vitamin E capsule). Mix well and add 10-15 drops of vanilla or lavender essential oil. Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen.
To use: Use as you would regular sunscreen. Best if used within six months. This sunscreen is not fully waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming.
Text by Aarti Kapur Singh