This holiday season, steer clear of mall bath and body stores, with their overpowering scents, and try your hand at DIY body treatments. These eight recipes are not only an inexpensive alternative but a chance to give nourishing, personalized gifts -- and treat yourself while you're at it. Besides the ingredients, all you need is a stove, a double boiler, a blender, and jars or containers for storage.
Caffeine is known to help firm skin and reduce cellulite, while coconut oil hydrates dry skin. Melt 1 cup coconut oil into liquid form and stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla. Then add 1 cup ground coffee, 1 cup pink Himalayan sea salt, and one-half tablespoon cinnamon. Mix together and place in an airtight jar. Use once or twice a week in the shower.
The green tea in this highly exfoliating scrub has caffeine, which can firm skin, and antioxidants, which prevent cell damage. Granulated sugar helps gently remove dead skin cells. Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and one-eighth cup olive oil in a bowl. Slowly add one-eighth cup brewed green tea while stirring. Cut open a tea bag and sprinkle in the loose green tea. Mix well, then place in a Mason jar or other container. Use twice a week in the shower on the neck and body (but not the delicate facial area) to help exfoliate skin.
Besides exfoliation and hydration, the benefits of the lemon juice and oil in this citrus scrub include natural, antibacterial cleansing and a scent that's a known mood lifter. Start by combining one-half cup coconut oil and 1 and a quarter cups sugar and mix well. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice while continuing to stir the mixture. Add zest from half a lemon, followed by 5 drops peppermint and 10 drops lemon essential oils and mix for 1 minute. Place in the container of your choice. To use, massage the mixture in slow circles over the face and neck. Rinse well and pat dry.
Lavender is a natural stress reliever and promotes deeper sleep. To make this body cream, melt 2 tablespoons beeswax pellets in a double boiler. Let sit until the wax reaches room temperature. Pour 1 cup distilled water into a blender, turn it on a low setting, and slowly add 1 cup coconut oil and melted beeswax. Once combined, add 5 drops tea tree oil and 25 drops lavender essential oil. Blend for 1 minute. Use this cream after a shower for maximum absorption as well as before bed for deeper sleep.
Shea butter is one of the most moisturizing agents available. Sandalwood essential oil and cinnamon add an earthy musk and may have a warming effect in cold weather. Melt one-quarter cup shea butter, one-eighth cup olive oil, and 1 tablespoon beeswax pellets together in a double boiler. Stir the mixture as the ingredients melt. Once combined, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add 10 drops sandalwood essential oil and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the mixture and whisk for 1 minute. Place the mixture into a container to let sit for a few hours to thicken.
Who doesn't love bath bombs? The scent of orange essential oil is refreshing after a long day. Mix together 1 cup citric acid, 1 cup baking soda, and one-half cup cornstarch. Add one-half cup sunflower oil, followed by 5 to 8 drops of orange essential oil. Stir with a fork until all ingredients are combined, then knead together into a ball. The end result should feel like cookie dough. If it is too dry, moisten with a spray bottle of water. Press the mixture into cupcake molds or use cookie cutters to cut into shapes and let dry.
Argon and coconut oils are hydrating, and peppermint oil stimulates the scalp, strengthening hair follicles and balancing pH levels. In the microwave, melt one-third cup coconut oil (preferably organic and virgin) so that it takes liquid form. Let it cool to room temperature, then add 1 teaspoon argon oil and 16 drops peppermint essential oil. Apply to clean, dry hair and comb from the scalp to the ends, giving the ends extra attention. Let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse hair. Shampoo to remove excess oil.
This one is easy to make (and, since it requires immediate use, you'll want to make it as a gift for yourself). It's also extremely soothing to irritated or inflamed skin. Cook one-half cup old-fashioned oats following the directions on the package. Substitute whole milk for water for added nutrients if preferred. Add 2 tablespoons honey (preferably local) to the hot oatmeal. Let the mixture cool to slightly warmer than room temperature. To use, apply to face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.