Remember the joy on your mum’s face when you brought home a gift for her that you made at school? Nothing compares. You could have given her a brand-new car and she wouldn’t have been nearly as delighted. Now, imagine the reaction if you were to present family and friends with the grown-up version – a gorgeous botanical DIY beauty gift that you made yourself, such as a lip balm or whipped body butter – perhaps even customised specially for them.
As the leading online organic cosmetic formulation school, we’d like to offer this gift to you: beginner-level, yet sound skincare formulas that are fun and easy to make at home. These are not skincare recipes with measures in cups, teaspoons and drops – these follow practices and methods adopted by professional formulators, and your finished homemade beauty products will be similarly elevated.
Anyone can formulate these 22 easy skincare products – you don’t need to be a cosmetic chemist to create cherished, homemade beauty gifts that feel absolutely luxurious on the skin. First, let’s talk you through the kind of set-up you need at home to get started. Believe us, when we say you can formulate with just a few, basic tools (between 6 – 12 in fact) and in a small, dedicated space.
Setting Up Your Home Formulation Lab
It sounds intimidating, but “lab” is just a space that you dedicate to formulating your skincare products, such as a crafting table or a corner of your kitchen (when not in use for food preparation). This is how our students and graduates start out, and many now run their own beauty brands.
Cleanliness is important – make sure that your worktop and tools are sanitised. Tying your hair back and wearing an apron, gloves, goggles and sometimes a mask is good practice when you’re a beginner – and essential if you sell your skincare products, which is often the natural next step. Safety is paramount even – or perhaps especially – if giving to family and friends. Our blog posts below guide you on the tools you’ll need, which are readily available from online stores, and how to prepare a sanitised space for formulating. We’ve included a video post of some of our students’ labs to get you inspired.
22 Easy DIY beauty gifts
With around 120 free formulations on our blog, the Formula Botanica website is a rich resource for natural formulators to dive into. Most of the formulations are aimed at beginner-to-intermediate-level formulators. But, we’ve done the legwork for you and selected those that are not only among the easiest beauty products to make at home, but also the most suited to gifts that will bring a smile and skincare benefits to the recipients.
You can follow each of these skincare formulations as written or adapt them to create your own customised formulas, opting, for example, for different botanical oils and butters. But whatever you choose, artisan skincare gifts are always special and appreciated.
Face and body oils
It’s true that anyone can formulate, and it’s especially true that anyone can formulate body oils. Simply combine a few botanical oils that you like, add an antioxidant and essential oil if desired – making sure the latter is within safe levels – and that’s it. All that’s left to do is get creative with the label and gift wrap. Here are some super simple face and body oils to formulate:
Butters, Balms and Scrubs
These are just as easy to make as the face and body oils, but in this case, you’re using heat and paying closer attention to the method. Don’t think the word “simple” in the first two formulas means boring: the first is a beautiful whipped butter with a gorgeous floral scent, and the second spotlights gorgeous plant oils and butters instead of scent, which can be a safer option when gifting as scent can be be a matter of personal preference. The body butter is an ideal place to start and we even prefix it as “your first formulation”.
Solid Beauty Bars
Solid skincare is trending for a variety of reasons such as its eco-friendliness and waterless properties. Although soap is the original solid skincare product, the cleansers here are its next-gen darlings with a pH that’s more skin-friendly. The method involved in making these is similar to that of balm making, but the ingredients give a harder consistency. Others contain just a little water so pH testing and a preservative are recommended in some cases, and worth the extra effort.
How to safely formulate with powder surfactants
In their pure form, powder surfactants are very irritating to the throat and lungs (though this is not an issue after they are blended into final products). When working with powder surfactants, always wear a good tight-fitting face mask and safety goggles. We can’t stress this enough.
It’s easy to think that because you’re using just a little bit, it will be okay to turn your head away from the dust and skip the gear just this once. But it’s best to get into a pro mindset from the start, even if it’s your first time formulating. So, get on your protective gear, and these formulas will prove to be impressive gifts.
For more solid skincare ideas, see:
Powder beauty products
Technically, powders are a form of solid skincare, since they contain no water, and they couldn’t be easier to put together. But, since the format and gift packaging potential is different from those required for a solid bar, we’ve placed them in a category of their own. The three formulations we picked out below show just how diverse and interesting powder cosmetics can be to both make and use.
These contain a significant amount of water, so the use of a preservative and pH testing are not optional. As such, these are geared more toward intermediate-level formulators. However, they are still easy to follow, satisfying to formulate and let’s be honest, everybody needs a goal to stretch them.
Get formulating your fabulous homemade beauty gifts
Once you start, it’s easy to get used to making your own skincare. Many of our students and graduates started out with DIY recipes at home, just as you are, and decided to take their new-found passion to the next level. If this is you, our Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation could be an exciting next step in the right direction.
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Shauna is a copywriter and content creator at Formula Botanica. Her love of beauty began with creating a make-your-own cosmetics kit for kids. A former aesthetician, Shauna is also an active formulator and perfumer, and a member of the Formula Botanica community.