Everyone knows – we love DIY beauty solutions made from 100% natural, organic products, many of which can be found in our own kitchens or gardens. Few people know more about this than Janice Cox, the American DIY natural beauty maven and author of several popular books on the subject.
In order to get some tips straight from the expert – The Digital Panacea was lucky enough to interview Janice in order to find out more about her passion – and get some sneaky tips for anyone also interested in natural, organic beauty.
1) Have you always made your own potions? Is this something that was passed onto you by family members or did you nurture this skill yourself?
Yes, I love making my own natural beauty products and it is something that I have done from a very young age. I grew up in a small town where we really did not have a lot of choices so creating your own beauty products and treatments was as much born out of necessity as it was fun. Both my grandmother and mother made their own products as well. I can remember at an early age being enchanted by my grandmother and watching her lay down for a nap with witch hazel soaked pads over her eyes to cool and soothe them. My mother used to set our hair with flat beer something I still do to this day.
2) Do you believe it’s possible to create a complete range of natural DIY beauty products at home or are there any that are genuinely best left to the shops?
It is possible but not entirely cost or time effective. Some products like soap making are really more of a craft and do require attention to detail and special equipment. Homemade shampoos also take a bit of getting used to as they do not “foam” like commercial products but they are just as effective. There is a huge advantage in making your own products is that you are in control and know exactly what ingredients are being used.
3) Today people seem far more concerned about the provenance of things they put on and in their bodies. Have you noticed a growth in interest for natural beauty products made fresh in the home?
Natural beauty is definitely popular right now and if you read the “key” ingredients in many commercial brands they are all inspired by common home and garden ingredients. I notice whole lines of commerical products built around ingredients such as honey, oatmeal or soy. I think all this attention to being more natural is a good thing but not a totally new idea as throughout history women have used what they have on hand to keep their skin and hair clean and looking it’s best.
4) What is the easiest product to make at home?
I would say facial masks – they are perfect for home beauty because you can use what you have on hand and also match it to what your skin needs at the time. If your skin is a bit oily you may use a mask of fresh strawberries but if your skin is dry and flaky – a mask made from mashed avocados or sour cream would work well.
5) Is there any one key ingredient that is used in many natural beauty products that is worth always having at home?
There are many but I think Baking Soda is a good beauty staple. You can use it as a mild facial scrub to get your skin super clean. It works well as a hair rinse and is one of the only products I know of that really gets rid of styling product build up on your hair. It is also a great bath additive and helps relax and refresh sore, tired muscles. Other uses include deodorizing powder, tooth cleanser and dry shampoo. It really is a key ingredient.
6) How do you keep your products?
Any product that contains fresh foods I would keep in the refrigerator and discard if it starts to look or smell bad, always safer to just mix up a fresh batch. For dried ingredients, if you keep them in a cool, dry, dark spot – they will last several months – as will many natural oils. Alcohol based products seem to have a longer shelf life, but again dry spots work best. Also, when handling your products if you can pour or spray them on your body that is best as keeping your hands out of your jars and containers will help keep bacteria and other things out.
7) What’s a great product to keep to hand during these cold winter months?
Coconut oil – it makes a wonderful all body oil and you can even use it as a conditioning hair pack. It also makes a nice lip balm and a treat for classic rough skin spots such as elbows, knees and heels.
8) Do you have another book in the pipeline?
I have three books on Natural Beauty: Natural Beauty at Home; Natural Beauty for All Seasons; and Natural Beauty from the Garden. I also helped my daughter write her book: Ecobeauty. I cam currently working on a new book series featuring key beauty ingredients. The first one is on Lavender, which I just love and so do many of my readers.
9) What is your favorite natural concoction that you cannot live without?
I would say bath salts. They are so easy to make and I love to give them as gifts to all my friends. They are also very nice to use, especially at the end of a busy week. Taking a bath is a real luxury for many people and you just feel like you are pampering yourself – like a mini vacation in your own home.
If you’d like to find out more about Janice, and try some of her wonder recipes – you can see her website. You can also try her amazing cucumber toner here (which we love!)
Picture courtesy of Praisaeng/FreeDigitalPhotos.net