Home Apothecary: The Essentials

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Treating your skin to natural, handmade recipes is much easier than it may seem. If you can cook, you can whip up a good number of skincare products at home. Just like your pantry, you’ll need to stock up on a few essentials. Once you get going, you’ll build upon these base products as you start to experiment with new and natural ingredients. We’ve put together the following list of essentials, their potential uses and a few places that you can source from.

Vegetable Oils (Organic):
At all times, we keep a mix of about 15 different vegetable oils. For starters, we recommend Olive and Grapeseed for use in body products and Almond, Apricot Kernal and Jojoba to use for face products. These oils will serve as a base for about 75% of the products you’ll likely make including body oil, face oil, cleansing oil, lotions/creams, salves and hair masks.

Coconut Oil (Unrefined, Raw, Organic):
This super oil is incredibly moisturizing and highly emollient. We love the buttery consistency, especially when the oil is in its solid state at temperatures below 76 degrees. Coconut oil is a versatile ingredient that can be used for lip balms, scrubs, lotions, balms and even oil pulling. You can even use coconut oil to wash your face.

Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter:
You can start with one or the other but we love both. Cocoa butter is more solid than shea butter so we recommend purchasing the wafers for ease of use. If you’re looking for an ingredient with a milder scent, go for the shea butter since cocoa butter smelts like chocolate. Both add a thick consistency to body butters, balms and salves.

Beeswax (Unrefined, Unbleached):
We recommend purchasing beeswax pastilles to avoid the step of grating. Beeswax is used as a thickener to creams, lotions, salves, butters and balms.

Aloe Vera (Fresh Gel, 99% Pure):
Aloe is soothing and relieves skin irritations from burns, rashes and bites. Plus, aloe helps restore the skin’s natural pH balance. We like to use aloe in toners, masks and face cleansers.

Hydrosol (aka Flower Water):
Hydrosols are the natural by-product of the essential oil distillation process. These fragrant waters retain the compounds present in the plant used and provide a great alternative to distilled water. You can find lovely hyrdrosols made from lavender, rose, chamomile, calendula and more. We like to use these flower waters for toners, refreshing face spritzers and lotions.

Clay:
You can pick from many different varieties depending on the source of the clay and your skin-type. Clays are extremely mineral-rich and have great absorbent powers for clearing pores. Plus, clay masks are so easy to make and a great addition to your weekly skincare routine. We also use clays to make exfoliants and face cleansers.

Honey (Raw):
This sticky sweetener acts as a humectant which helps lock in moisture when used on your skin. We use honey for masks, lip balms, body butters and even cleansers.

Sugar (Organic, Cane):
Our absolute favorite exfoliant used for scrubs.

Essential Oils:
The soul of the plant, essential oils embody the plant’s aromatic hormones and chemical compounds that can regenerate the skin and emotionally impact our mind state. There are so many to choose from, each with their own essence and use. Getting to know each essential oil takes time but there are a few that are great starters including lavender, lemon, bergamot, tea tree, ylang ylang, rose and sandalwood. We use essential oils in almost all products we craft, plus, you can play with your oils to make lovely, natural perfumes.

Tools:
Pyrex
Double Boiler
Measuring Spoons
Hand Mixer
Spatula
Brown Glass Containers for Storage

Resources:
Mountain Rose (vegetable oils, waxes, butters, essential oils)
Rivendell Farm in Ojai (essential oils, hyrdrosols)
Agbanga Karite (shea butter)
Global Goods (coconut oil)

Happy Crafting!
xx
Sam