Making biodegradable cleaning products, cosmetics, creams and organic lotion

home made natural soaphome made natural soap

If you are struggling to find affordable organic lotion, moisturizers, soaps, and environmentally safe cleaning agents, you can make your own and its easier than you think. 

I recently attended an informative, well planned (and very affordable) workshop at Guerilla House where we learned how to make natural cosmetics from lip balm, to toothpaste, antiperspirant, perfume, face peels and biodegradable soap and washing powder.

There is no need to worry about your beauty products or household cleaning agents turning your grey water toxic or damaging your garden if you learn to make cosmetics yourself and use simple ingredients from your kitchen cupboard for cleaning instead of buying brands. We even learned that there is a recipe for washing powder that degrades into natural garden fertilizer. Imraan explained some very simple ways to clean the house with non toxic environmentally friendly methods using bicarb and vinegar.

more like a kitchen than a lab: the simple tools neededmore like a kitchen than a lab: simple tools needed

The beauty of the workshop is that they taught us recipes in which all the cosmetic items listed above could be made of a handful of eight basic ingredients and simple measuring and processing equipment, found in most kitchens !

All you need are glass jars and bowls, steel pots, spoons, a scale, thermometer, stick blender, and small plastic buckets as equipment  to produce the cosmetics, and the containers to store them in.

natural ingredients in home made creams and organic lotionbeeswax is an ingredient of natural creams and organic lotion

Making natural soap and 
organic lotion and cream

The ingredients of the recipes are mostly the skin pampering natural vegetable oils, fats and waxes. Tiny amounts of salt, charcoal and bicarbonate of soda are in some of the simple recipes we learned.

To make soap a reaction between fat and lye is needed, and the workshop hosts Imraan and Josh used the easily sourced ‘caustic soda’ as lye and made up soaps which were super-fatted, that is had an excess of fats, to protect the skin. 

working with lye requires protectionworking with lye requires protection

To make organic lotion and soft creams, fat must be mixed with water, and natural emulsifiers must be added to the water, and the water and melted fat must be blended with a blender until cool.

As all these items are to be used on the skin or make some contact with the skin, it is best to guarantee mildness and safety by using food-grade materials without additives.

As you can imagine, like food, most of the organic skin treatments are better stored in the fridge as they are totally natural without preservatives and if fat and water are mixed they can be liable to go off. Those cosmetics consisting of only fats, oils, waxes and essential oils can last longer, and be shelf stored.

measuring out the skin nurturing natural vegetable fatsmeasuring the skin nurturing natural vegetable fats

After the workshop we were sent a Guerilla House manual with recipes using many more different kinds of fats, oils, fragrances and other ingredients, but the workshop itself was cleverly thought out to be based on the simple palette of eight ingredients. Thus one can start of making DIY biodegradable and natural products with very little outlay.

proud producers of home made soap and organic lotionproud soap and organic lotion makers

Everyone had so much fun. It was a quite a packed and dense workshop, well worth the cost. It was thorough and they taught us about safety and keeping dilute vinegar available incase of lye splashes, and wearing goggles and gloves and masks when working with lye.

to take home: lip balm, perfume,organic lotion and moretake home: lip balm, perfume,organic lotion and more

The nicest part for me was unexpected, mixing our own perfume based on a chart of base, middle and top notes. I really enjoyed that, and they may expand the perfume workshop in the future. We also got to take home a little parcel of cosmetic samples we had made ourselves. I tried the toothpaste today. It is black, which is something one is not used to, and I’ve very sensitive teeth. But the paste was incredibly gentle and has a fresh authentic flavor that left my mouth feeling and tasting good.

soap mould: a cardboard box lined with baking papersoap mould: a cardboard box lined with baking paper

Imraan and Josh have developed the art of home made soap making and have a special workshop devoted to it in which beautiful layered and marbled soaps are made from different fats and oils. They go to so much trouble as teachers, I always learn so much from them, and also learn things that are important to me, like how to care better for my garden and environment. Knowledge is power and this kind of knowledge is empowering.


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