But a new book that just crossed our desk promises to spell out how to make completely natural beauty recipes right in your own kitchen, and several of the blends cost mere cents.
"Green Beauty Recipes" explores the gamut of natural skin remedies made from essential and vegetable oils, fruits and vegetables, vitamins, salts and other common kitchen items. Not just a collection of recipes, the book also gives practical instructions on where to buy ingredients, how to cook them, and how to store and use them.
It's the second green book from author Julie Gabriel, founder of Petite Marie Organics and a former beauty editor, whose intention was to empower consumers to create their own products, so that they know for sure what is going on their skin.
"If you choose organic, you do that because you care for your health as well as the well-being of our planet," says Gabriel.
"However, with the abundance of organic frauds and gimmicks, it may be hard to tell the genuine organic or natural product from 'greenwashed' wannabe products that put 'organic' on the label without any true relation to the contents of their tubes and bottles," explains Gabriel.
(Whole Foods addressed this hot-button issue last year with new regulations.)
The 268-page paperback retails for $16.95 (though we caught it on sale at Amazon.com for $11) and is published by eco-conscious, carbon-neutral Petite Marie, which specializes in health and fitness titles.
And while by our count, the handy guide contains over 150 different skin, body and hair recipes, we secured permission to share five of our favorites right here.
What do we love most about them? They're just so darn easy.
"My favorite facial oil is made from jojoba and tea tree oils; my favorite body polish is nothing but olive oil and fine sea salt with a sprinkle of mandarin essential oil for that uplifting fragrance. The most effective hair rinse and shine booster I have tried is simply apple cider vinegar," shares Gabriel.
We're all for simplifying our lives. So without further ado, some of Gabriel's recipes that you can whip up yourself.
Peach and Lime Exfoliating Facial Soap
Alpha-hydroxy acids in peaches and limes, as well as other citruses, help soften wrinkles, sun spots, age spots and blemishes, and can even unclog pores. If you want to seriously lighten your complexion, double the amount of limes in this recipe. You can buy ready-made soap flakes or finely grate any organic or all-natural soap you fancy.
1 medium peach
1 cup soap flakes
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
Peel the peach and remove the stone. Finely chop it or make a puree with a food processor. Squeeze the juice form the lime and add to the peach puree. Stir well. Fold in the soap flakes and the sea salt. Stir well to achieve a homogeneous mass. Transfer to a glass jar.
Every morning or evening, use a hazelnut-sized amount to lightly massage into your face. Avoid getting the cleanser into your eyes. Rinse off with a face cloth and warm water.
Store up to one month in a refrigerator. Please keep the container tightly closed between uses.
Almond Milk Toner
When your skin feels dry at one spot and oily at another, you don't need to use two or three products at the same time. Soothe and nourish your skin and allow it to rest while it heals.
1/2 cup rose water
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon glycerin
Mix all ingredients together in a bottle and shake well. Shake well before each application.
Gently apply to the whole face, including the eye area. Do not rinse.
Store up to two weeks in a refrigerator.
Skin Whitening Mask With Potato
This is a very simple mask that utilizes the skin-bleaching enzyme catecholase in raw potato. If you suffer from uneven skin pigmentation, apply this mask daily for one month to see great results. This mask must be prepared fresh daily.
1/2 medium raw potato
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon wheat or rice flour
Finely grate the potato, add milk and flour. Stir well to make a thick paste.
Apply the mask evenly on your face and leave it for twenty minutes or until the mask dries. Remove carefully with a washcloth and warm water.
This mask is best used on the day of preparation. It cannot be stored.
Apple Hair Shine Restoring Mask
To revive dry, dull hair, all you need is one big apple. This mask also solves dry scalp problems, such as itchiness and flakes. You can also use two or three medium-sized apples, depending on your hair length. Choose only fresh apples without any dents or flaws.
1-2 large or 3-4 medium apples
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn flour
Peel, core and grate the apples. Combine the pulp with the remaining ingredients and stir well.
Spread the mixture over dry unwashed hair and leave on for twenty to thirty minutes. You can cover your hair with a shower cap or PVC-free food film and then wrap it with a towel. Rinse the mask off with tepid water and follow with a mild shampoo, if desired.
This mask cannot be stored and must be used on the day of preparation.
Anti-Cellulite Bath Salt
This bath salt relieves water retention, which helps smooth and even skin texture. Epsom salts are very relaxing and may help you unwind after vigorous exercise. It can also be used as a base for a body scrub. Feel free to multiply the recipe if needed.
2 cups sea salt
1 cup Epsom salt
1/2 cup baking soda
20 drops grapefruit essential oil
20 drops pine essential oil
10 drops black pepper essential oil
10 drops mandarin essential oil
Combine the salt and baking soda in a glass jar. Add essential oils and stir well to distribute the oils evenly. Close the jar and shake more. Leave the mixture to infuse for 24 hours, and then shake again. The salt is ready to use.
Add half a cup of salt to the bath water. Stir well. To make a body exfoliating treatment for use on thighs and other problem areas, blend one tablespoon salt with three tablespoons plant or nut oil of your choice.
Store up to twelve months in a closed container. Close the lid promptly after using the salt.