How to Make Your Own Toiletries

Tea Tree OilImage via Wikipedia

As the costs of everything go up, I have been looking for some ways to save money. Toiletries are a big expense. I won’t buy the cheap drugstore stuff because I am concerned about the chemicals they contain, as well as their impact on the environment. But the all-natural organic products are often three or four times’ as expensive. The definition of sticker shock is paying $20 for a bottle of shampoo.

It occurred to me that I might be able to save some money by making some of my own toiletries. I have been having a lot of success with making my own cleaning products. A little Internet research led me to the conclusion that some of the same ingredients I use for cleaning my house could be used on myself with good results.

I’ve been trying out these recipes for a few weeks now, with good results. The ingredients list is short and economical. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and facial toner:

  • castile soap — I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild formula in the large bottle, which you can now get at Target. Castile soap has dozens of uses around the house. Besides shampoo and soap, I also use it to clean my baby, my dishes, my floors and my tubs.
  • vinegar — I use apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar will also work.
  • essential oils — I use tea tree oil for the antibacterial properties and lavender oil for the scent. Although they are expensive, a small vial will last you a long time.
  • Vitamin E liquid capsules — For moisturizing, as well as to help heal damaged skin.
  • witch hazel — Astringent for the face; a big bottle will cost you $3, about one-third of the cost of Burt’s Bees or similar facial toner.

Here are the recipes.


Combine in a squeeze bottle:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup castile soap
  • 10 drops essential oil for scent (use tea tree oil as well if you have dandruff)

With this shampoo, you don’t need to wash your hair as often. I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week now.


You don’t need a conditioner if you’re washing your hair with castile soap, because it doesn’t strip out your hair’s natural oils like shampoo does, but the soap can leave your hair feeling a little greasy. The antidote is an acid, such as vinegar. Just mix ¼ cup vinegar with warm water in the shower and pour it slowly over your head. I do this pretty much every day, and it leaves my hair smooth, sleek and without tangles.

I use apple cider vinegar, which also has dandruff-fighting properties, but any vinegar or even lemon juice would work. Lemon juice will probably lighten your hair as well. However, it’s easier and more economical to keep a large bottle of vinegar in the bathroom rather than freshly squeezing lemons every morning.

Hand Soap

Combine in a pump bottle:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup castile soap
  • 10 drops tea tree oil for the antibacterial properties
  • the liquid from 4 vitamin E capsules for moisturizing and healing properties
  • 10 drops another essential oil for scent, if desired

Facial Toner


  • 2/3 cup witch hazel
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 10 drops tea tree oil, if needed, to treat acne
  • 10 drops other essential oil for the scent, if desired

Here are some more recipes from Green Daily for other beauty products that I haven’t tried yet, including foot deodorizer, lip balm and facial scrub.

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9 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Toiletries

  1. Pam 8 August 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been making my own cleaners and have been wondering about trying to make toiletries. I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps, especially the peppermint!

  2. More Uses for Vinegar « Simply Cooking 19 August 2008 at 10:46 am

    […] Hair rinse: Mix apple cider vinegar with warm water and pour over your head for a natural conditioner. […]

  3. […] How to Make Your Own Toiletries […]

  4. […] I found Shannon’s post on Simply Cooking about How to Make Your Own Toiletries.  She has recipes on her site about how to make your own shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, and […]

  5. Homemade Beauty: Scalp and Hair Treatments 14 November 2008 at 2:44 pm

    […] How to Make Your Own Toiletries […]

  6. Using Less Plastic | 1-800-Recycling 12 November 2009 at 12:45 pm

    […] laundry detergent, your friend can make bar soap and your mom can make a facial cleanser. Check out Simply Cooking and Cosmetics at Home to gather information on how to make it […]

  7. Laura 22 September 2010 at 5:10 am

    Hi, you dont know much, you have helped me with your information but i still need to know more on hair care treatment for black woman, pls send me receipe on how to grow my hair.

    Thanks and God bless you

  8. Shannon 22 September 2010 at 7:48 am

    Laura-I don’t have any recipes for that. I’m sorry.

  9. […] really does work – check out this post for a good shampoo recipe (Dr Bronners, which is a fair trade organic castile soap, is available at Piko). You can also use a […]

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