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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or stories to share on gardening, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests, natural gardening, do nothing gardening, observations about pests and diseases, foraging, dealing with and using weeds constructively, composting and going offgrid.
If you have any questions please let us know !
Check out our selection of ecological designs printed on T-shirts, accessories and decor items. The designs are about soil regeneration, indigenous Cape wild flowers, wild African animals and other fauna, as well as bible quotes and geometric patterns.
Oct 21, 21 12:27 PM
Growing against extinction. Some of the many reasons why one should garden for wildlife all around the world using native food plants
Sep 03, 21 06:37 AM
can an established, large, wild plum tree Harpephyllum caffrum be pruned in order to try shape/reduce the width of its canopy? I have a huge wild plum
Aug 31, 21 12:08 PM
Caroline, thanks so much for the valuable information in your blog. I also try to garden in Cape Town in a garden that is battered by the Southeast in