When I first moved to NYC in 1999, I bought a book called Kitchen Cosmetics. I loved the idea of making my own cosmetic products so much that my friend Bari and I decided to create a small business. We called it Julen, named after our mothers (my mom’s name is Judy and her mom’s is Ellen). Even our own mothers may not remember this venture, as it was very short-lived! After we fulfilled our first Mother’s Day orders, we decided to reserve making cosmetics for our personal use only 🙂
I’ve continued to do so over the years and I am often asked to share some of my favorite recipes. I can’t take the credit for them, but I can tell you that the following ones have stood the test of time in our home!
Homemade Foaming Hand Soap
We go through a lot of soap with 3 kids (and a Pediatrician husband, who is always reminding them to wash their hands!). About a year ago, I searched through different blogs to try a few recipes and I landed on this one here . The simplicity of this recipe can’t be beat, and according to her calculations it will cost you only $0.79 a bottle! And my version is even easier. Here’s what I personally do:
- Pour two cups of water into your foaming hand soap bottle.
- Add 2 TBSP of Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap.
- Put the pump back in your bottle and shake gently before use.
- I have also experimented with adding a few drops of essential oils like tea tree, thieves, grapefruit and lavendar for their antibacterial properties and scent.
My sister made me this deodorant two summers ago and I was hooked. Everyone who I’ve given a sample to gets hooked! I wrote about it a year ago in a newsletter and have since converted even more of you! In my opinion, it is better than anything on the market! The original recipe is from this blog post and here’s what I personally do:
6 TBSP coconut oil
4 TBSP baking soda
4 TBSP arrowroot starch
5-7 drops lavender essential oil
5-7 drops grapefruit essential oil
- Mix baking soda and arrowroot together in a medium sized bowl.
- Mash in coconut oil with a fork until well mixed.
- Add essential oils (use more if necessary to achieve a pasty consistency. It should not be crumbly).
- Store in small glass jar.
- NOTE: when you travel take only a small amount with you. This deodorant WILL melt if heated during travel!
Homemade Chocolate-Mint Sugar Scrub
The kids and I found this recipe about 3 years ago when we were inspired to make homemade teachers’ gifts. They had so much fun that we’ve done it every year since as part of a holiday gift.
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup almond oil
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
10 drops peppermint essential oil
A glass container and a small stainless spoon
- In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder.
- Add the almond oil and peppermint essential oil and mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a pretty glass container with a secure lid. We also attach a small stainless spoon for easy use. And, of course, a cute label saying “Leo’s Chocolate-Mint Sugar Scrub” (for example).
Homemade Goo Gone (glue remover)
Ok, this may seem like a strange one! But I can’t possibly be the only person who wants to save a glass jar from something I’ve bought, only to eventually toss it because the label comes off easily BUT the glue remains!! I’ve tried everything from putting it through the dishwasher, to boiling it in water, to peanut butter, to detergent…..and nothing works as well as this simple recipe- no chemicals needed!
2 parts canola oil (for example, 2 tsp)
1 part baking soda (for example, 1 tsp)
- Remove the label/sticker as well as you can (this is where boiling water works well).
- Combine the canola oil and baking soda to make a paste.
- Using a sponge, apply the mixture and gently scrub the glass jar until the sticker glue is gone!
Homemade Sterling Silver Jewelry Cleaner
While in high school, I worked at a store that bought and re-sold jewelry. I was in charge of keeping the sterling silver jewelry sparkly, and learned this simple recipe that I’ve been using at home for 20 years!
- Pour a bit of baking soda in your cupped hand and add enough water to make a thick paste.
- Rub the paste on tarnished sterling silver rings, earrings, necklaces etc. until shiny again. Repeat as necessary.
Now, I want to hear from you! Do you have any favorite recipes that you make for your household? Email me and let me know!!