Is there one place I can buy everything?

Generally no, unless you only need a handful of very simple things.

This hobby uses hundreds (if not thousands!) of ingredients, and no one shop stocks everything. I’ve noticed a few different sub-classes of DIYing—different suppliers tend to focus on different ones.

Here are the the sub-categories/classes I’ve noticed and the types of ingredients associated with them:

  • Soap/bath treat making
    • NaOH and KOH
    • Large amounts of soaping oils, baking soda, salts, etc.
    • Colours, fragrances, and essential oils
    • Surfactants
    • Clays
  • Herbal/crunchy
    • Lots of herbs
    • Plant-derived oils, waxes, and butters
    • Essential oils
    • Tinctures & extracts
    • Hydrosols
    • Clays
    • Possibly some functional ingredients, like preservatives or emulsifying waxes
  • Skin care
    • Emulsifiers
    • Actives
    • Preservatives
    • A variety of carrier oils, butters, etc. (often more expensive ones than you’d use in soap)
    • Surfactants
    • Hydrosols
    • Clays
    • Fragrances and essential oils
  • Makeup
    • Pigments
    • Micas
    • Base powders (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, sericite mica, silica, etc.)
    • Niche thickeners, silicones, slip agents, etc.

Generally speaking, most suppliers will either deep-dive in one or two (Mountain Rose Herbs and the “herbal/crunchy” pairing, for instance) or dabble across a few. Ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, and olive oil are generally very easy to source, but more niche ingredients like surfactants, skin care actives, and pigments can be harder to source from the same supplier.

If you’re looking for a supplier (or three), check out my big list of places to shop around the world.

Posted in: Ingredients