My All-Natural Homemade Body Care Products, Part Two: Toothpaste and Oil Face Cleanser

In my last post, I explained why I make many of my own homemade body care products, and shared my homemade deodorant recipe. Here are the rest. Enjoy!

Homemade Toothpaste

 OK, I am NOT an expert on dental care, so I won’t even go so far as recommending this recipe to you. I’m just letting you know that it’s what I use. I’ve been using it for almost two years and my teeth are as white as ever. I’ve had problems with sensitive teeth in previous years when using commercial toothpaste but never while using this recipe.

I must confess that I haven’t been to the dentist in several years, though, so I don’t know how she would evaluate my teeth. I can’t imagine she would be horrified by anything she saw, considering I don’t feel any sensitivity and haven’t noticed any discoloration. But I just wanted you to know that I haven’t been evaluated by a professional.

Why make my own toothpaste?

It can be kind of scary to take your dental hygiene into your own hands, but I decided I was more scared of fluoride and Sodium Laurel Sulfate, so I took the plunge.

Dental health is a topic I want to learn much more about. All I currently know is that modern dentistry and oral hygiene practices are clearly not working. It’s rare to meet a person who has never had a cavity filled. I, for one, have had literally dozens of fillings in my lifetime, between my primary and secondary teeth. (So has my husband.) I got my first fillings at the age of two, despite the fact that my mom followed all the rules, brushing my little teeth with fluoridated toothpaste from the start and taking me in for regular dentist check-ups and cleanings. And all that fluoride I was given in school and at the dentist’s office? Yeh. Didn’t seem to work out that well for me.

I understand that diet plays a huge role, but I find it remarkable that modern dental practices seem completely unable to abate the decay.

So while I may not know everything there is to know about caring for my teeth, I do know that it could hardly get any worse than it was under the care of professionals.

(OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now and just give you the recipe).

The Recipe:

  •  5 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s baby mild; you could also try peppermint)
  • ½ Tbsp baking soda
  • 10-20 drops essential oil (I use 10 drops peppermint and 10 drops sweet orange)
  • ½ tsp stevia or 1 tsp xylitol

Mix in a small container. Chill to let it firm up; stir again (the baking soda tends to settle on the bottom).

To use, scoop a little onto your toothbrush with a spoon if you’re all hoity-toity about germs; dip your toothbrush into it if you’re not.

The coconut oil and peppermint oil are antimicrobial; the baking soda is a mild abrasive; the soap gives you a little foam. The stevia or xylitol sweeten it, although xylitol is reported to help remineralize tooth enamel.

The taste isn’t half bad. You can’t really taste the soap or baking soda. It’s no Crest or Aquafresh, but it’s all right.

I tried this other homemade toothpaste recipe, but found the salt taste disgusting. However, the article regarding fluoride is worth a read.

In the future, I would love to try this remineralizing tooth powder or this other remineralizing toothpaste, both from Wellness Mama. I just have to get a hold of all the ingredients.

 Oil Facial Cleanser

 facial cleaner olive oil castor oilI first read about cleaning your face with oil from Simple Mom. You massage a blend of olive oil and castor oil into your skin, and then steam it out with a hot washcloth.

The idea is that like dissolves like: oil dissolves excess oil on your face, along with any gunk, and then gets wiped away with a warm, wet cloth.

I have to admit, this one was a hard sell for me. I’ve always had acne-prone skin, and slathering oil onto my face just sounded so counter-intuitive.

But I wasn’t comfortable slathering on the chemicals, either. Besides, I’d tried everything on the market growing up, and nothing — I mean NOTHING — ever worked. So I put on my big girl panties and gave it a try.

I love it. It works great. My skin is soft and as blemish-free as I can expect it to be, given my poor genetic foundation.

Instead of reprinting the whole thing, and repeating the benefits, I’ll just direct you to the Simple Mom post.

I use the dry-skin formula, i.e. one part castor oil to three parts extra-virgin olive oil. And again, tea tree oil is important for its antibacterial properties if you have problem skin.

Moisturizing, etc.

I have also made my own hard hand lotion, whipped body lotion, and lip balm, but honestly, ever since switching to a high-fat, traditional-foods diet with fish oil supplements, I don’t have many of the skin problems I used to have — namely, dry, flaky skin in the winter, mild cellulite, and Keratosis pilaris (i.e. red bumps on the backs of my arms). And I’m too lazy to apply these things just for the pretty smell.

If I ever do need a bit of moisturizing, I usually just rub on a dab of coconut oil. (Coconut oil also works as a general lubricant . . . *cough* . . . ). I rubbed it on my belly while I was pregnant, too. (I never got any stretchmarks, but that was probably just luck).

If I’m going to be out in the sun for a bit I rub on a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. According to the authors of No More Dirty Looks, in addition to packing antioxidants and skin-friendly fats, EVOO also enhances UVB protection. (I wouldn’t recommend this to really fair folks or for truly extended periods of time in the sun. You probably need some proper sun block in these cases. I have a dash of Aboriginal blood in me and rarely burn). If I do get a bit of a pink tinge from the sun, I re-apply EVOO as it reduces sun damage.

So I have tiny little Tupperware containers filled with coconut oil and EVOO sitting around in the bathroom and bedroom for these purposes.

Oh, and as I’ve mentioned, I do also use some commercial makeup from time to time, which I’m not thrilled about. I use Physician’s Formula, which isn’t fantastic, but at least isn’t Maybelline or Cover Girl.

* * *

So there you have it: my entire homemade beauty regimen.

Have you ever tried making your own body care products? What was your experience?

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  1. Hi Kathleen! I was wondering if you experienced any sort of adjustment period using oil to clean your face? I know you mentioned that with the shampoo and deodorant your body had to adjust to the change, so I was wondering if this was similar. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s as my face and body wash. I love how foamy it gets and the almond smells SO good! I don’t get breakouts much anymore (I probably will now that I mentioned it, ha!), but I do feel that my skin isn’t as balanced as it could be. It can still be oily and dry (at the same time, I hate it!) depending on the weather and maybe this could help me balance things out better. I’m off to read the article you linked to!

    • Hi, Sam! Actually, the oil cleanse is the one thing I didn’t notice an “adjustment period” with. It was great right from the start. The only thing I had to get used to was the feeling of not having the protective layer stripped off my skin every night! :)

  2. I think I’m going to give the OCM a try =) I’m interested to see if it’ll help rosacea (damn you Irish genetics!)
    Molly W. recently posted..The County FairMy Profile

  3. I don’t know. Flouride always seemed effective on my teeth. Every cavity I’ve gotten correlates to going months without brushing my teeth at all, and when the dentist gave me a special extra-flouride toothpaste, that actually reversed some nascent cavities so they didn’t ever have to be filled. Perhaps it’s genetics. My mom has terrible teeth and always has cavitites though she takes much better care of her teeth. Dad has great teeth no matter what he does. My brother and I have excellent teeth; my sister, terrible ones. And at least when we were all younger our diets were the same.

    Although I swear that the Trader Joe’s natural toothpaste I use now (with flouride but without SLS, etc., and imported from Albuquerque because we don’t have a TJ’s here, *sob*) leaves my teeth whiter and cleaner feeling than commercial toothpastes ever did. The DDH hates the taste, though, and insists on Crest or Colgate or whichever one it is he feels brand loyalty for. I see the dentist every six months and so long as I’m semi-regular about brushing my teeth, no cavities. So at the very least I can’t see that the SLS is doing anything for anyone, but I can’t speak to a non-flouride toothpaste.

    I agree that OCM didn’t seem to have any sort of transition period. Other than missing that tingly, stripped-clean feeling, my face continued to behave quite the same as it always has. I have very acne-prone skin, too, but since neither daily cleansing with expensive commercial stuff nor weekly/semi-weekly OCM seem to affect it one way or another, I guess I’ll chalk it up to genetics again.

    And! I agree with you! The high fat diet makes my skin less dried out. Though…so does not showering every day, and honestly that’s probably the biggest factor. Everyone complains that their skin gets really dry when they’re pregnant, but mine’s been just fine. A big bottle of natural lotion will last me forever because I only use it a couple times a week. I do run through Burt’s Bees chapsticks like nobody’s business, though.

  4. Kathleen,

    You might want to try to “go all the way”. Personally, I haven’t used deodorant in years and now, for more than a year, I use no soap nor shampoo. Nothing but water, with the exception of washing my hands with soap once a day or before prepping food. The adjustment took about a month.

    I do still use toothpaste, but that is because I use a brand (herbal) that I really like the taste of and I’m too attached!
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    • Tracy: I really might, eventually. Thanks for the suggestion. You can’t get more minimalist than that! Thanks, also, for sharing your personal experience and making the idea seem a whole lot more plausible!

    • But … you do wash your hands with soap after going to the bathroom, right?

  5. PepperReed says

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on sunscreen… wearing it, as well as removal. I used to just stay out of the sun/wear a hat, but that isn’t enough anymore. It seems that any ‘decent’ sunscreen costs $$$, and even the face ones make my skin feel greasy/yuck. Love the oil idea and the deodorant, too, so thanks for the recipes/reviews. I need to use ‘sensitive’ toothpaste for some past tooth/gum trauma, or I’d switch homemade as well.

    • Hi PepperReed! Sorry I missed your question until now! Sunscreen is a topic I’ve researched lately but haven’t done anything much about. Like I mentioned in my post, I don’t burn easily (and I haven’t spent very much time in the sun at one time this year. No afternoons on the beach or at a water park or anything. Just a few hours in the garden here and there.)

      I’m interested in making my own sunscreen, like this one. But I haven’t gotten around to buying the ingredients (notably, the zinc oxide). Eventually, hopefully! My husband is pretty fair-skinned and needs something good.

  6. Oh, I knew there was a name for those darn red bumps on the back of my arms! I just ran to the bathroom to see if they’re better since we’ve been eating better for a while now, and they do look much less worse – but that could be because my arms have gotten fairly tanned this summer. I can’t wait ’til the winter to see if they’re still better! Though I might have to up my fat intake a bit more or consider some sort of fish oil. Have you tried fermented cod liver oil or are you happy with fish oil? I keep thinking I’m going to try FCLO but haven’t worked up the nerve yet. We get almost no fish in our diet here. Plus I’d love to take something like that as opposed to prenatal vitamins when that comes around again.

    This might be another random tangent, but any thoughts on flossing and mouthwash? I’d love to eat such a healthy diet that I could just go without brushing my teeth (ha! never gonna happen), but sometimes I muse over the fact that mouthwash really can’t be that great for us, can it? I still use it sometimes because I got some Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and it doesn’t leave me with that false fresh taste I’m used to from the other toothpastes!
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    • Yeah, apparently “those red bumps” are incredibly common! And I think the fish oil was a big factor in improving the condition (I’ve read omega-3’s are really helpful). I’m like you on the FCLO: I’m really interested in trying it, but DANG, it’s expensive and I’m worried about the taste. I was thinking maybe I’d try for the winter when I’ll need the immunity boost!

      I don’t use mouthwash, but my husband does, and I’ve thought the same thing. Haven’t come to any solutions. I’ve read that you can use straight-up alcohol (like vodka), but who can afford that?! I’ve also thought that I’d love to eat healthy enough that I could just forgo brushing altogether. I’m also skeptical that that will ever happen. :)

  7. Danielle says

    I am currently on my 5th week of the oil cleanse and I have acne prone skin and it does not seem to be improving.. I am also breaking out in my hair line around my face. I started out using EVOO but it seemed like my skin was always so dry afterwards. I would add a tiny bit of oil back onto my face but it didn’t help. I cam across an article that said that Sunflower oil was butter because it absorbed better into the skin. I started using that and my skin isnt so dry now but I am still breaking out like crazy!
    Should I just add tea tree oil to my routine? Should I change back to olive oil? I have been using different ratios like 1 part castor oil to 2-4 parts olive or sunflower.. Maybe I will try the 3 parts castor to 1 part oil.
    Should I still add the tea tree oil? Will I still use the oil as my moisturizer until my skin evens itself out?

    • Hi Danielle! So sorry to hear it’s not working out for you! I’m afraid I’m not an expert — this is just what I use. But I’ve heard that tea tree oil is very helpful for acne-prone skin (which I have), so that sounds like a good idea. I’ve always used it in my oil cleanse and have really liked the results; I think it would work as a moisturizer, too.

  8. THANK YOU for sharing this. Nothin has ever worked this well- this is truly life changing!
    Riotflower recently posted..Life Changing: Deodorant RecipeMy Profile

  9. you will probably get better results from oil cleansing if you ditch the olive oil. it has too much oleic acid in it and not enough linoleic acid. A much better choice to use for the oil cleansing method would be cold pressed organic hempseed oil. I learned this recently when I stumbled across this woman’s blog.

  10. Thanks for the post. The article contains some amazing information which helped me to update my post on remineralizing toothpaste.
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  11. I think that you will probably get better results from oil cleansing if you ditch the olive oil. it has too much oleic acid in it and not enough linoleic acid. A much better choice to use for the oil cleansing method would be cold pressed organic hempseed oil. I learned this recently when I stumbled across this woman’s blog.

  12. Ever since I started using this face wash, my face looks fresh and radiant. I had an event to go to and had no time for a salon visit. And this face wash came to my rescue. Love it!! Thank you for posting it!

  13. Hi Kathleen,
    I wasn’t able to find the recipe for the face cleanser on Simple Mom. The message said this page doesn’t exist. Would you mind posting it again. I would love to try it!



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