Good question! There are a lot of different ingredients you can purchase, and trying to decide can be overwhelming.
If you haven’t already signed up for my free DIY Skin Care for Beginners e-course I’d really recommend it. It features a short and easily accessible list of ingredients that are used for all six projects. That’s a great place to start!
What you’ll need is, of course, going to be heavily influenced by what you want to make. If you are intending on focussing on soap and body butter your list will look very different than if you want to create water-based serums and shampoo bars.
I highly recommend looking up the ingredients you are considering purchasing in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia to learn more about them, including why they are used in formulas and recommended starter purchasing amounts.
Looking for somewhere to shop? I highly recommend shopping online/at specialty retailers—I have compiled a list of them located all over the world here. If you’re lucky enough to have a physical specialty DIY/soap supply retailer in your city, amazing! Otherwise you will almost always find the best prices and selection and online. Health food shops may have some of the things you’re looking for, but they are almost always much more expensive.
My Recommended Starter Shopping List
With this list you’ll be able to create body butters, lip balms, simple lotions, cleansing balms and oils, and more.
- A lightweight, inexpensive liquid oil like sweet almond oil or safflower oil
- Virgin coconut oil
- A soft butter—shea butter or mango butter are recommended
- A brittle oil/butter—cocoa butter is my favourite
- A complete emulsifying wax—Polawax is very easy to use, Olivem 1000 is a good more “natural” option
- A broad spectrum preservative—I recommend Liquid Germall Plus, but you can learn more here
- A solubilizer—Polysorbate 80 will be the most readily available and inexpensive
- A humectant—I’d recommend vegetable glycerin
- A few essential oils or fragrances—your preference
- A fatty thickener will be very useful—cetearyl alcohol is very versatile
- Panthenol (Vitamin B5)
Other ingredients to consider
- Hydrosols, for easily scenting your hydrous products
- A hydrolyzed protein—I love hydrolyzed silk
- More luxurious/pampering carrier oils, like argan oil and jojoba oil
- Surfactants, for foaming cleansing products
- A cationic emulsifying wax like BTMS-50, for making conditioners
- Other humectants, like sodium lactate and propanediol 1,3
Posted in: Ingredients