My favorite beauty shop? From the time I was young, it's been the kitchen. Nowhere is nature's innate capacity to heal and beautify more evident. Apple-cider vinegar tones my skin and makes my hair shine. Honey acts as a natural anti-aging and antibacterial cleanser. Sugar and salt slough off dead skin cells. Cucumber and mint enliven. Oats calm irritation, and coconut and olive oils provide deep hydration.
Related: 5 Beauty Foods for Natural Radiance
While the pace of day-to-day life might make luxuriating in self-care feel like an impossibility, DIY spa treatments are easy, fast and affordable to make at home—even more so if you can look to your garden for inspiration and ingredients. The ritual of making your own body products and applying them also offers a built-in space to reduce anxiety and tension. Where stress—environmental, professional and emotional—ravages your skin and hair, carving 10 minutes out of your day to reconnect with your senses and lavish your body with a face mask, scrub or bath soak can help reset your relationship to yourself, your work and those around you.
Our skin is our body's largest organ, and—as evident any time we slather on lotions and other topical treatments—it is inherently absorbent. Much of what the skin soaks in from products, chemicals and all, moves into our bloodstream and on to our other organs. Choosing pure, food-based ingredients to care for your skin and hair means taking charge of what you let into your body.
Create your own body and beauty products as a gift for yourself or for others. These enlivening DIY concoctions make beautiful presents, with the help of just a glass jar and some twine or ribbon. Or host a girls' night in or spa day at home: make your treatments together and then enjoy using them as part of your time together.
Below are six incredibly simple favorites—offering new ways to exfoliate, repair, mask, tone, condition and bathe. (Note: While most of these recipes are completely edible, we don't recommend actually eating them.)
Related: Anti-Aging Foods for Your Skin
Pictured: Cucumber-Mint Sugar Body Scrub
Hydrating cucumber and cooling mint bring soothing and inflammation-quelling properties to this body exfoliator. The fine grains of sugar help shed dry skin, and skin-quenching coconut oil sweeps in to give a supple glow that lasts even after washing.
1/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
Scant 2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons raw virgin coconut oil, melted
1. In a small bowl or mortar and pestle, mash cucumber and mint into a pulp. Squeeze the liquid out into a second bowl and discard the pulp. Add sugar and melted coconut oil to the liquid and mix until fully incorporated.
2. Apply to clean, damp skin using circular motions to exfoliate the skin. Rinse off completely, then towel dry. Moisturize as desired.
Makes about 2/3 cup. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. The coconut oil will harden in the fridge; bring scrub to room temperature before using.
Pictured: Deep Hand-Repair Salve with Coconut Oil
This homemade moisturizer is an all-purpose miracle worker—as excellent for damaged and dry hands as it is for repairing chapped lips and cracked skin. Rosemary and sage oils, steeped in nourishing coconut oil and cocoa butter, help to jump-start skin repair.
1/2 cup raw virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped cocoa butter
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1. Melt coconut oil and cocoa butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When the oil is hot to the touch, add sage and rosemary. Let the mixture steep over low heat for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the pan on the stove to steep, uncovered, for another 1-2 hours, depending on desired potency of scent.
2. Strain out the leaves and discard. Pour the liquid into an 8-ounce glass jar, two 4-ounce jars, or four 2-ounce jars. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate overnight to harden. Remove from the fridge the next morning and keep in a cool, dry place.
Makes about 1 cup. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Pictured: Honey-Avocado Face Mask
For this homemade face mask, a dreamy mix of hydrating avocado, skin-cleansing honey and toning apple-cider vinegar delivers perfect pH balance for all types of skin.
1/4 cup ripe avocado
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Combine avocado, honey and vinegar in a mini food processor; process until smooth. (Alternatively, place in a small bowl; mash with a fork until smooth.) Apply a thin layer to clean, damp skin. Let dry, then rinse off and moisturize as desired. Oily skin types may not need additional moisturizer.
Makes enough for 2-3 applications. Should be used immediately.
Pictured: Lavender Toning Face Mist
Steeped lavender buds create a calming aromatherapeutic water to soothe the skin. A touch of apple-cider vinegar leaves skin fresh and toned.
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried organic lavender buds
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Pour boiling water over lavender buds; cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the lavender and discard. Let the steeped lavender water come to room temperature, then mix in vinegar. Pour the toner into a spray bottle and spritz it on to refresh the skin. Use on clean skin, after washing and before moisturizing, or for a mid-day pick-me-up.
Makes about 12 ounces. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
Pictured: Apple-Cider Vinegar Nourishing Hair Mask
In this homemade hair mask, apple-cider vinegar cleanses the scalp and removes excess oil, even as honey balances the skin and nourishes the hair shaft. A touch of olive oil restores any lost moisture.
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2-1 teaspoon olive oil
Place vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Add oil depending on hair type. (Use less for fine, oily hair types, more for thicker, dryer hair. Very oily hair types may omit the oil.) Mix until smooth. Apply to damp hair from ends to scalp, combing through to integrate. Pull hair back and let the mask work its magic for 10-15 minutes. Rinse out completely. No shampoo or conditioner is necessary, but if any oily residue remains, shampoo to remove.
Makes enough for 1 application. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks.
Pictured: Rose Oatmeal Milk Bath
Oats are nature's magic potion for reducing skin irritation, and can be used in scrubs, masks and poultices to calm redness, itching and rashes. In this homemade oatmeal bath, they're ground into a flour and combined with rose petals for a dose of lush floral comfort (plus anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties). While the oatmeal bath mixture is completely edible, we don't recommend actually eating it.
1 cup oats
1 cup dried organic rose petals
Combine oats and rose petals in a high-speed blender or food processor; process into a fine flour. Transfer to an airtight container or bag. Use ¾-1 cup per bath: add with the running water as you fill the tub; swirl to integrate. Bathe as you like, rinse thoroughly, towel dry and moisturize normally.
Makes about 2 cups. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.