It seems like every other day, a new study comes out claiming that what we've been putting in or on our bodies is causing us harm in some way (here's looking at you, bacon and nail polish). As Drake says, "What a [scary] time to be alive," indeed. So it's no wonder that the DIY segment of the beauty industry is shining a brighter light on ingredients, and encouraging consumers to play a larger role in determining what goes on their hair and face. The rise of DIY products and beauty boxes is the perfect expression of this idea. "In the bigger picture sense, people are getting more and more crafty," says Adina Grigore, founder of the sustainable indie skin-care company S.W. Basics. "The existence of Pinterest has changed things... I think that that’s where the trend is coming from, and it’s seeping into more aspects of people's lives, and so it makes sense that it would go into skin care as well." Beyond the pinning obsession, people are also becoming more cognizant of what they're putting on their skin. "Women who are sensitive, or having reactions, or honestly are just a little bit scared, know that, 'If I DIY something, I have full control over what I’m doing and I know that I’m going to feel better,'" says Grigore. Doing it yourself isn't always an easy task. A big turnoff for most novice DIYers is that the process of making your own beauty product can be quite involved. You have to buy the ingredients, find the recipe, and concoct everything on your own. And, quite frankly, ain't nobody got time. But the new DIY products and boxes on the market are aimed at making it easier for everyone, particularly for first-timers. S.W. Basics is coming out with a line of single-ingredient — like aloe vera powder, lavender and jojoba oils, and shea butter — products in November, along with recommended recipes so you can mix and match those ingredients for your needs. Beauty boxes have started to catch DIY fever, too: Organic brand Loli offers a subscription-based box that provides customers with wild-harvested, fair trade, and food-grade ingredients and customizable recipes. And a natural-hair-friendly DIY subscription box called CurlMix launched just last month; it includes ingredients, tools, and recipes created by popular bloggers. It's safe to say personalization is becoming a big thing. (Three's a trend, after all.)
Even with the tools at your disposal, the process can still seem a bit daunting. In order to help quell that fear, Grigore recommends starting simple. "Start with single ingredients... Use them on your skin by themselves, then slowly mix...more things together," she says. "Don't start tomorrow and be like, 'I’m gonna DIY my own candles.'" This kind of beauty experimentation isn't always going to be pretty. In fact, it's sometimes going to be confusing and messy — and definitely won't look as cute as that $50 mask you can pick up at Sephora. "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," says Grigore. "So be patient, and don’t think that you’re going to come out with something that looks like your typical [store-bought] cream.” The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Make a DIY night in of it with your friends. Gift a Loli or CurlMix subscription to a family member. As Vogue puts it, these boxes and products are the beauty equivalents of dinner-prep kits. The ingredients are laid out for you; all you have to do is throw them in a dish and whip up a satisfying meal (or, in this case, beauty product).