There are two types of beauty people in the world: those who swear by the all-natural, no preservatives, no chemicals, no bad-stuff-whatsoever life — and those who don't even bother to glance at the ingredient list. Until a couple of months ago, I fell into the latter camp. If it worked, I didn't care what the hell was in it. Then, I started doing research for a story about the best and worst ingredients for your hair type
(and read my colleague's story about best and worst ingredients for your skin type
) and quickly changed my tune. There's some scary (and hard-to-pronounce) stuff out there, folks.
Now, I've obviously never been one to shame the chemical users (probably because I used to be one of them). But I did start to wonder what would happen if I tried my hand at making my very own skin and hair care (it's all the rage
, after all) — with ingredients I can actually spell.
I'll be honest: From researching which ingredients worked for what, to sourcing them (why does Whole Foods need to carry 500 different coconut oils?), to scouring the internet for recipes, it was overwhelming AF. Luckily, I had DIY guru Adina George of S.W. Basics
, who recently launched a line of single-ingredient products, and natural-hair blogger Whitney White (a.k.a. Naptural85
) to hold my hand.
The first bit of advice George gave me was: Don't complicate things. "I think the biggest reason people decide to not do something like this is because they think it's going to be such a huge endeavor — almost akin to making your own food for a month instead of going out or ordering in. But it doesn't have to be like that, especially if you don't get caught up in making super-sophisticated recipes every day."
Another thing I learned quickly was to lower my aesthetic expectations for my homemade beauty creations. "It’s not always beautiful, it doesn’t always even smell magical, but you can throw some pretty ugly shit in a bathtub and it’ll feel amazing," George says. "So be patient, and don’t think that you’re going to come out with something that looks like your typical L'Oréal cream.”
With these tidbits in mind, I ventured boldly into DIY territory. One disclaimer: I didn't overhaul my entire
beauty routine, nor did I test out all of the recipes at once (I wanted to be able to clearly pinpoint what worked and didn't). Ahead, my favorite (and least favorite) recipes from my homegrown beauty experiment.
Photographed by Tory Rust; Prop Styling by Jennifer Tran