Homemade Organic Body Care: Safety Basics

For a while I was plugging away on safe, non-toxic body care, then got distracted with organic food and other topics. If you need to catch up, take a look at Organic vs. Green Body Care Products and Body Care Product Ingredients To Avoid.

Homemade Organic Body Care, non-toxic, organic body care, homemade body care, homemade soap, green family, homemade body scrub

We should keep on looking at alternatives to toxic body care though – even if I did get off-track. I thought we should take a look at homemade organic body care. Homemade organic body care products are a rockin’ alternative to pricey store-bought organics and a killer option compared to toxic products. However, if you’re going to make homemade body care products, there are some basic safety rules you must follow.

Just because a beauty product is homemade and organic, doesn’t mean it’s safe for your skin or body type. The following tips apply for any homemade body products you make at home, including homemade organic cosmetics, soaps, hair colors, body washes, massage oils or steams, lotions, sugar scrubs, or any other homemade concoction.

1) You are responsible for your own health and safety: Books, websites, blogs, and other resources for homemade organic body care (myself included) ARE NOT responsible for your personal health and safety. Homemade beauty products are amazing, but be sure to take responsibility for your own health by researching herb, flower and essential oil safety before you make a product.

2) Educate yourself: Some excellent books about homemade body care products include:

3) Speak with an expert. I know quite a lot about homemade beauty products, essential oils, flowers and herbs. I’ve worked as a doula, went to college for nursing and have picked up tips from experts I’ve worked with over the years. When I talk about a homemade body care recipe, you can be sure I’ve already made it for me and my family.

That said, I’m not a licensed holistic doctor or a professional in the field of aromatherapy, herbs, flowers, essential oils, or any other homemade beauty or health profession. I’m just a girl who likes non-toxic, organic body care. The ingredients that go into creating homemade beauty products are complex. Speaking with a professional health care provider (holistic or conventional) before making homemade beauty products is a great idea. Skipping this step can be dangerious because many herbs, flowers, and oils can interact negatively with medications or vitamins you may be taking. Personal health concern can also limit your use of homemade beauty products.

4) Basic homemade beauty product safety tips you should always follow:

  • Homemade body care products are not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. They’re meant to be tweaked and personalized.
  • Natural or organic does not mean a product is 100% safe. You can just as easily have a negative reaction to a homemade organic body care product as you can to a store bought conventional product.
  • Always do a test dab after making a new homemade body care product. For a test dab, take a dab of a homemade product and rub it on your inner arm. You can also do test dabs with individual ingredients instead, like lavender essential oil, before using it in a completed product. Cover the dab with a bandage. If you develop red, burning, itching, pain or any other issue you may be allergic or sensitive to the product and should toss it or tweak the recipe  to make it safely work for you.
  • Homemade products are preservative free (unless you have some freaky chem set in your basement). Preservative free is healthy for you, but not so great for shelf life. If there’s anything questionable in your product that may go bad, keep it in the fridge. Make small batches so you don’t have to toss a lot of one product. Lotions and some hair colors are important to keep in the fridge, while things like soaps and sugar scrubs are not.


If you are pregnant: Your midwife or doctor must give you the go-ahead before you use any homemade beauty product. Some essential oils or herbs can cause birth complications, harm your baby or induce early labor. There are many safe natural and organic items for pregnancy, however, unless you can name them all, check with your prenatal care provider first.

Babies and elderly individuals: Natural and organic homemade beauty products can be good for little ones and the elderly. Still, it’s commonly recommended that you down-size recipes for these age groups. For example, if a recipe for a body wash calls for 12 drops of lavender oil, you’d want to cut that by 1/3 or more for a baby or elder adult.

Get More Information:

More from Growing a Green Family:

Do you make homemade organic body care products? Would you like to?

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  1. Christine says

    What are some of the essential oils that are known to be unsafe for pregnancy? I’m pregnant and have been using homemade body care products using tea tree and lavendar…

  2. Lynn says

    This is such a great piece Jennifer. Very important info. Personally I try to use one-ingredient body care products like argan oil or coconut oil! Sure simplifies life!

  3. Jennifer Chait says

    I try to use single products – like I use a big bottle of Bronners for my hair, body, cleaning, etc. BUT sometimes I start thinking, hmmmm, I want something pretty, and awesome smelling and more complex. It’s either the girly habits in me, or all that stupid advertising has gotten to me! Yikes.

  4. Lila says

    Thank you for all the facts you’ve shared and for this beautiful site! I was wondering about squeezing fresh fruits into my homemade body scrubs. Will they go rancid much quicker like a fruits goes bad after a week or two…same for scrubs? Thanks!

  5. Jennifer Chait says

    I haven’t looked it up, but I wouldn’t put juice in a scrub unless I kept it in the fridge. Just to be on the safe side. I make this one toner with juice and I keep that in the fridge. If I leave a scrub out, it only has sugar (or salt), carrier oil and essential oils.

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