I’ve been a bit obsessed with making my own beauty products lately. I’ve experimented with making my own wax, face/body scrub and lip balm, and in time I’d like to make almost everything I put on my face and body, including foundation, moisturizer, and eventually maybe even mascara and eyeliner. I have to draw the line at deodorant, mind you…
There are dozens and dozens of bloggers offering up recipes for DIY beauty products (links to my favourite recipes at the bottom of this post). Most cite dangerous cancer-causing toxins and saving the environment as reasons for wanting to shun store-bought products, and while those are good reasons, they’re not mine.
Initially, it was a cost-cutting exercise. Two cups of sugar and a lemon are significantly cheaper than store-bought wax or going to the salon, and so I decided to give sugaring a try. When it worked better than any store-bought wax I’ve ever tried and didn’t irritate my skin, I was A) stoked and B) sold on trying (almost) every other DIY cosmetic alternative I could find.
But, let’s be honest. There’s a lot more effort involved in making your own products than there is in buying them already made. So, why bother putting the effort in? Well…
A US survey done last year showed women spend an average of $US15,000 ($CDN16,300, $NZ18,000) in their lifetimes on makeup. That figure doesn’t include hair care, hair removal, face cleansers and masks, body washes, shampoo, nail care, etc. etc. Just makeup.
Another study done in the UK found the average woman spends about 18,000 pounds on her face in her lifetime. That’s a whopping $CDN31,960 and $NZ35,250. And again, this doesn’t include things like hair removal elsewhere on the body, hair cuts/colour, nails, shampoo etc.
Also worth noting is that many products for men and women are the same but packaged differently, allowing manufacturers to A) sell more of the same product and (apparently) B) charge ladies more money. See…
And… (skip to 2.10 for relevant part)
Basically, we’re getting totally ripped off! Especially when you take into account the fact that on average women earn less money than men. Think of what else we could be spending that money on. Like education! Or charity! Or craft supplies!
So that’s why I’m endeavouring to one day make most of the health and beauty products I use: to stop funding an industry that thrives on making women feel insecure and self conscious and put that money to better use. While I’m not willing to abandon hair removal and completely stop wearing makeup, I can choose not to buy from companies that want me to feel bad about myself for not being Photoshop perfect.
By making most of my own beauty products, say I save about $300 a year. I could use that to pay for a lynda.com subscription and do all sorts of learning and upskilling. Or I could make a $300 donation to the local Women’s Crisis Centre. Thinking super long term, over 50 years that adds up to $15,000. That’s almost enough to pay for another university degree (depending on the institution/degree) or nearly 320 goats for families in Papua New Guinea.
Of course, there are other benefits as well. If you’re concerned about your health and stuff, this article on Herizons might be of interest.
I’m a firm believer in putting your money where your mouth is. I think one of the best ways to effect change is to vote with your wallet, so that’s what I’m doing. And possibly saving the planet and avoiding cancer in the process. Can’t argue with that.
My favourite beauty DIYs so far…
Sugar wax — This recipe says you don’t need to use wax strips, but I do. I got a square of cotton from Walmart for like $2 and cut it into strips, so they’re totally washable/resuable.
Face/body scrub — This is great. Absolutely love it. A batch this size usually lasts me a few weeks.
Lip balm — Most people refer to this as crayon lipstick, but I use a bit less crayon and the result is more what I would call a tinted lip balm. I love coconut oil because it feels great your skin and smells delightful, and the crayons are totally non-toxic because little ones like to chew on them.
I’ve also bought this book by Robin Konie, which has 75 different recipes for both beauty products and cleaning supplies. I’m a big fan of her glass cleaner, and have plans to try her body butter, dry shampoo and foundation. I have tried the facial toner, but couldn’t get past the vinegar smell.