What’s Really In Your Beauty Products (and How to Make Your Own)?

Posted on June 12, 2017

by Sarah H

Methylparaben. Dibutyl phthalate. Methyl aldehyde. Hydroquinone. Sodium lauryl sulfate.

It’s difficult to pronounce the names of these chemicals, let alone understand what they are and what they do. But they’re some of the most common ingredients in products we use every day, from toothpaste to deodorant to nail polish.

Most of us have been using products with these ingredients for years without giving it much thought. Lately though, there’s been a lot more attention given to the effects these substances have on our health. Many people are choosing to use products made with natural, organic ingredients or even to make their own cosmetics at home.

Are you curious about how dangerous these chemicals really are? Have you ever tried to figure out which unpronounceable cosmetic ingredients to avoid and which are actually harmless? Do you want to try making your own beauty products made from natural ingredients? If so, you may find the selection of books and online resources listed below especially helpful:

Natural Beauty Products

No more dirty looks : the truth about your beauty products-- and the ultimate guide to safe and clean cosmetics / Siobhan O'Connor, Alexandra Spunt

No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products — and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics by Siobhan O’Connor, Alexandra Spunt

Most of us don’t realize that the products we use every day can expose us to thousands of chemicals that are readily absorbed through our skin. The impact on your health? It’s not pretty.

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health... and What You Can Do About It by Samuel S. Epstein

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health … and What You Can Do About It by Samuel S. Epstein

Splashy ads and commercials for personal care products are everywhere we turn, promising to keep our appearances fresh and our partners satisfied. But do consumers really know what they’re applying to their faces and bodies in their quests for youth and beauty? Do they know the health risks they’re taking by simply applying lipstick, face moisturizer or deodorant? Toxic cosmetics and personal care products clutter the shelves at retail stores everywhere, and consumers don’t know the avoidable risks they’re taking by following a simple beauty regimen.

Green beauty recipes : easy homemade recipes to make your own natural and organic skincare, hair care, and body care products / Julie Gabriel

Green Beauty Recipes: Easy Homemade Recipes to Make Your Own Natural and Organic Skincare, Hair Care, and Body Care Products by Julie Gabriel

A comprehensive, well-written and easy to understand guide into practical side of natural beauty. The book gives actual formulas for all kinds of beauty products, from cleansers to hair conditioners, plus amazing tips and techniques you wouldn’t expect to find anywhere but a professional manual. Learn insider secrets to making your own organic and natural skincare, hair care, and spa products.

The complete guide to natural homemade beauty products & treatments : 150 recipes from scrubs to masks to moisturizers & shampoos / Amelia Ruiz

The Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products & Treatments: 150 Recipes from Scrubs to Masks to Moisturizers & Shampoos by Amelia Ruiz

These beauty-enhancing and soothing cosmetics and treatments use only completely chemical-free ingredients.

Amelia Ruiz guides the reader to effective use of all of nature’s possibilities in homemade beauty treatments for complete skin, body and hair care. From aromatic and medicinal plants to flowers, fruits and essential oils, these incredible recipes and lifestyle tips enhance beauty inside and out.

Botanical beauty : 80 essential recipes for natural spa products / by Aubre Andrus

Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus

Soak, scrub, and soothe your way to relaxation with simple homemade spa recipes from award-winning author Aubre Andrus. Using some of nature’s best ingredients, such as beeswax, sugar, coconut oil, shea butter, avocado, sea salt, essential oils, and more, craft everything from a Cooling Peppermint Hand Cream to a Vanilla Honey Body Scrub. Make practical products, like your own all-natural Bugs-Be-Gone Insect Repellent, Minty Homemade Toothpaste, and Natural Shaving Cream. Nourish your body from head to toe with these organic, handmade recipes and crafts, or package them as a gift to share a fresh, fun spa experience.

Natural beauty alchemy : make your own organic cleansers, creams, serums, shampoos, balms, and more / Fifi M. Maacaron

Natural Beauty Alchemy: Make Your Own Organic Cleansers, Creams, Serums, Shampoos, Balms, and More by Fifi M. Maacaron

Offers recipes for creating more than one hundred natural beauty and organic health products in the kitchen, including hair conditioners, facial masks, perfumes, and body scrubs.

More Resources for DIY Natural Beauty Products

Natural hair coloring : how to use henna and other pure herbal pigments for chemical-free beauty / Christine Shahin - print and eBook
200 tips, techniques & recipes for natural beauty / Shannon Buck - print and eBook
Natural beauty : [natural makeup, soothing therapies, homeade preparations] / [Susan Curtis, Fran Johnson, Pat Thomas ; makeup artist Justine Jenkins] - DK Publishing
The compassionate chick's guide to DIY beauty : 125 recipes for vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free makeup, skin & hair products / Sunny Subramanian of veganbeautyreview. com & Chrystle Fiedler
Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts and Scrubs - 300 Natural Recipes for Luxurious Soaks by Kate Bello - eBook Overdrive
Organic Body Care Recipes - 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin and a Vibrant Self by Stephanie Tourles (book and eBook available)
Herbs for natural beauty : create your own herbal shampoos, cleansers, creams, bath blends, and more / Rosemary Gladstar - print and eBook
Beauty Recipes, Herbal Remedies And Natural Beauty Care Guide - eBook hoopla


If Looks Could Kill by Jolene Edgar – Oprah.com

‘Dirty Dozen’ Cosmetic Chemicals to Avoid – David Suzuki Foundation

Personal Care Products – Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

20 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Body Care Products and Cosmetics by Maria Morri – TreeHugger

DIY Recipes

DIY Lip Scrub: A Natural Beauty Treatment – Honest.com

Homemade Lotion: A Natural Hand and Body Moisturizer – DIY Natural

How to Make DIY Natural Make-Up and Why You Should Make the Switch – One Green Planet

Seven Ingredients 21 Natural Beauty Recipes – Wellness Mama

Over 50 Recipes and Tutorials for Easy DIY Natural Beauty & Non-Toxic Makeup – Real Food Whole Health


Campaign for Safe Cosmetics The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (formerly the Breast Cancer Fund), works to protect the health of consumers, workers and the environment through public education and engagement, corporate accountability and sustainability campaigns and legislative advocacy designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products.

EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Databases The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to use the power of information to protect human health and the environment. EWG’s Skin Deep database gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. They launched Skin Deep in 2004 to create online profiles for cosmetics and personal care products and their potential hazards and health concerns. And their aim is to fill in where industry and government leave off. Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish and the U.S. government doesn’t review the safety of products before they’re sold. EWG’s staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. Now in its eighth year, EWG’s Skin Deep database provides you with easy-to-navigate ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market.

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