DIY Personal Care Products and More to Save Money, Promote Sustainability and Avoid Synthetic Chemicals by Deborah Tosline

By Betty Longbottom, CC BY-SA 2.0,

By Betty Longbottom, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Deborah Tosline wrote and published “Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skincare” in 2015. Her approach to skin care is based on a scientific background, love of research and over 30 years of DIY skincare experience.

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Life is busy. Life transitions can strain an already full day and require extra effort but they allow us to change our daily routines. Today I write about my experience changing to a natural toothpaste and making Do-It-Yourself (DIY) deodorant and laundry detergent to show how easy and effective it is to make home-made, Do-It-Yourself products to save money, produce less waste, and use ingredients that promote health (=beauty).

We did not always buy every single little thing. We used to make the things that we needed. Now we make money and it takes a bit to be enough to buy everything.

I am a frugal person who prefers to use high quality products. I also strive to reduce the waste that I generate. I’ve chosen to save money in all regards to support my habit of buying organic whole food over the past 29 years and I have no regrets.

Recently, I pushed my boundaries and made small life transitions to make more home-made products. After the extra effort of obtaining the ingredients, I am set up to make my own toothpaste, deodorant, and dry and liquid laundry detergent for the next year!

You will need a scale. Before you buy a scale check your recipes and write down the heaviest ingredient that will be measured. A laundry detergent recipe (or soap recipe) probably contains the heaviest weights that you would measure. Measuring volume, for example one cup, is not as accurate as measuring weight. I’ve done ceramic sculpture throughout my life and I purchased a precise scale decades ago to weigh glaze ingredients. I use this scale for DIY. A simple electronic kitchen scale will do.


Okay, this one is simple. I switched from store-bought toothpaste to baking soda. When I told my dental hygienist, she said that toothpaste is unnecessary and that all you really need to do is brush. It is fine to brush solely with baking soda and it is easy. I keep a small container of baking soda in the bathroom and in my travel bag. Dampen the toothbrush, dip it in the baking soda and brush for two minutes. This effective “toothpaste” doesn’t contain synthetic chemicals commonly found in conventional toothpaste. No waste generated. Money saved. Simplicity.


I’ve avoided conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants from the time that I was in high school in the late 1970’s. There was talk of harmful effects from aluminum, once I was able, I purchased natural brands from the health food store, usually a salt crystal with an added dab of Lavender essential oil. More recently, a small variety of natural deodorants became available, hallelujah!! I bought a couple of them and they are wonderful tho pricey. However, if I am going to smear something in my armpit everyday it is worth the money to use a product that contains quality ingredients. After purchasing several lovely natural deodorants, I made a choice to blend my own deodorant from now on. I researched recipes and selected one that “spoke to me”. I checked the ingredients, purchased any that I did not have and made a Saturday plan to make my first batch of deodorant. 

Having used it for about two weeks, I found that I love my DIY deodorant even more than the natural deodorants that I had previously bought and loved. Mine is all organic and incredibly emollient based on the raw oils that I used in the blend. I do not like perfumes. I know that this is a strong statement but the synthetic ingredients used in perfumes and fragrances smell like poison to me (and they are, read here) and they are everywhere!  Yet, every quality essential oil (EO) smells of all things good and earthy to me. Use pure essential oils in your home-made deodorant.  Select EO’s that “call to you”. Some EO’s are more anti-bacterial than others, they all have some level of anti-bacterial activity. I used Cedarwood, Tea Tree and Lavender EO’s in my blend.

When I made my DIY deodorant, it was runnier than expected. After a couple of days and cooler weather the deodorant is a soft firm. I don’t know if the blend became firmer due to the air temp change or maybe it took time for the dry particles to become fully saturated but it is perfect soft-firm for me. I store my DIY deodorant in a small reused glass jar from a natural deodorant that I had previously purchased. I reuse a tiny plastic spatula to scoop out the deodorant, place it on a finger and apply. The DIY deodorant blends in beautifully and in fact, my armpits have never received this level of skin care, LOL.

Aside from the extra armpit conditioning, this stuff works. For me, it works so well that I think that I naturally smell great and I forget that it’s the deodorant. I’ve tested it during stressful workdays, desert hikes, and hot yoga and again, for me, yes my home-made deodorant tricks me into believing that I naturally smell lovely. I do apply it every day and it is so emollient that sometimes my armpits want me to apply it at night too. 

I used the deodorant recipe from here.

I did not have all of the ingredients so I improvised and used all organic ingredients that I already had. My version is softer. My substitutions are italicized. 


½ cup shea butter – ¼ cup cocoa butter

½ cup jojoba oil – avocado oil

⅓ cup arrowroot powder – corn starch

⅛ cup baking soda

¼ cup candelilla wax – bees wax

optional, 10 drops cedarwood essential oil 

optional, 20 drops bergamot essential oil – lavender essential oil

also optional, 10 drops marjoram essential oil – tea tree essential oil

4 empty deodorant tubes – reused a 6 ounce glass jar from previous retail deodorant

glass Pyrex measuring cup

double boiler (or small saucepan) – small saucepan with water and a bowl on top



Combine jojoba oil, arrowroot powder, and baking soda in a small bowl.

Stir well until fully combined and no lumps remain.

Place a glass measuring cup in a pot of boiling water (or use a double boiler).

Add candelilla wax to the measuring cup and melt.

Once melted, pour in the jojoba oil, baking soda, and arrowroot powder.

When all is liquid once again, add in shea butter and stir until just melted.

Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Add in essential oils and stir well.

Let your homemade deodorant cool until slightly thick, but still pourable.

Pour into deodorant tubes and allow to cool completely before adding caps.

Store in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

Laundry detergent

I’ve been buying laundry detergent from the health food store for decades and lately Costco carries eco-versions but even these contain chemicals that I would rather avoid. 

I thought about it for a long time, then it took me a long time to research recipes. I still had not made any DIY detergent when I ran out of the store-bought detergent. I had told myself that I would not buy another retail laundry detergent so being true to myself, I used some Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap that I had as laundry soap. The Dr. B’s worked but left white marks on black clothes until I learned that I need to add a cup of vinegar to the rinse. 

Dr. B’s is a little pricy. Frugal me decided that it was time to stop dragging my feet. I finally selected a DIY laundry detergent recipe, purchased the ingredients and on a Saturday (catch the Saturday theme? I work full-time) I measured and blended a batch of simple laundry detergent. I like it very much. 

It is still new to me but after washing with the DIY detergent black fabrics are deeply black, whites are white, I did not add a scent (but you can) and the laundry looks and smells clean. The DIY detergent is economical and does not contain synthetic chemicals, I like that. I am used to using liquid laundry detergent but I decided that my first DIY laundry detergent would be a dry powder. I thought that the powder recipe might be a bit easier. I stored the DIY powder laundry detergent in a reused large coconut oil container and used a piece of masking tape and a black marker to label the container.

I used the DIY dry laundry detergent recipe posted here.

Cleaning solution

I have a small variety of natural cleaning ingredients and home-made cleaning products that I use for my home. When I Internet searched homemade cleansers, I noticed that many of them use the same ingredients as the DIY laundry detergent. After I made the DIY dry laundry detergent I made a liquid laundry detergent concentrate for use as a home cleaning solution. I used it to clean interior walls, doors and of course, laundry. I made 1 and 1/2 gallons and stored it in a reused a retail laundry detergent bottle. I labeled it with a piece of masking tape and a black marker.

I followed the recipe from here.

I added less water than the recipe calls for (1.5 gallons) and made a thick concentrate. I dilute the concentrate in a reused spray bottle for general house cleaning.

Like me, you may have thought that it would be cool to make your own products but maybe you don’t know where to start or you make it a low priority. I understand how life is so darn busy. Hopefully, you will see from my story that once you get the ingredients, it is easy to blend your own products and that it is a worthwhile and satisfying endeavor.

Beauty is dependent on good health. Design your life so that you reduce your exposure to synthetic chemicals in all the products that you use and environmental pollutants. Protect and promote your health, save hard-earned cash and reduce your impact on the Earth.

If you need more information, go to the library, search the Internet, read my past Blog articles, or get my book “Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skincare” 

Take good care of yourselves!

XO Deborah

This article is intended to be used as general information only and is in no way intended to replace medical advice, be used as a medical treatment program, diagnosis, or cure of any disease or medical condition. There are no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the effectiveness of the practices described in this article. Products or substances discussed herein are for educational purposes only and are not intended as recommendations of the author.