Getting StartedNew to this whole DIY thing? No worries!
DIY for Beginners
Totally new to DIY? This article is for you. It’s full of awesome links, great starter projects, and more.
What ingredients will I need?
Here’s an ingredient overview and a couple great starter shopping lists to help you get started.
What equipment will I need?
From measuring spoons to spatulas, you’ll need some equipment to get started (you probably have most of it already).
Where to buy ingredients
You’ll need some ingredients—this page is full of links to places to shop all over the world.
Simple Starter Recipes
These recipes are a great place to get started—they don’t require too many ingredients, they come together easily, and they’re pretty much foolproof!
I've been playing with lots of more complex DIYs lately, and I was itching to get back to something a bit simpler. Something made with wonderful plant-sourced oils and butters that are accented with essential oils. The sort of thing that isn't intimidating, and really...read more
Happy Canada Day! For anyone who doesn't already know, I'm Canadian, and Canada Day was yesterday—a day where we celebrate red and white, maple leaves, apologizing to people who bump into you, and our delicious decision to elevate doughnut holes into their own food...read more
This marvelous body butter is many things I thought it couldn’t be. It is rich in skin-loving shea butter, but not at all greasy. It smells deliciously of citrus, but isn’t photosensitizing. It is lightweight and whippy (and stays that way!), but you don’t have to do...read more
I thought we'd continue our Earl Grey theme today with this simple clay face mask that helps brighten the complexion and fade hyper-pigmentation left behind by healing acne. It's made from just a few simple ingredients that you almost certainly already have, comes...read more
I have so been enjoying using this silky Raspberry Marula Facial Serum. Not only is it a joy to use thanks to its lightweight consistency and luxurious slip, it also leaves my skin dewy and glowing. Oil serums were one of my first DIY/natural beauty loves, but it's...read more
When I was a kid I had the most absurdly dry hands—the kind of dry that hurts. I can remember having hands so dry that lotion stung, and they'd crack and bleed. I think I was about twelve or thirteen when I realized I was sick of having sore lizard hands and it was in...read more
This past weekend I ran my first-ever 10km race! It was in Montreal, and it was proper hot last weekend—so hot they cancelled the full marathon out of safety concerns. The 10k race was at 8:45am and it was already somewhere between warm and hot when that started,...read more
On the face of it, this salve sounds simple. Chamomile, shea, some carnauba wax. Meh. Nothing fancy, right? But... oh. Oh my. It's so much more than you'd think from looking at the ingredient list. Smokey raw shea butter and silky, nutty macadamia nut oil are infused...read more
This decadent Vanilla Coco Body Lotion smells wonderfully of vanilla, chocolate, and coconut. I may or may not have spent an embarrassingly long time smelling my hands after testing it out for the first time (and after every subsequent use, if we're being honest)....read more
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Learn about carrier oils, essential oils, solubility, substitutions, and more. I’ve also got clean-up tips, shopping lists, and all kinds of other helpful information.
Today I want to talk about something that really isn’t all that sexy or exciting, but it is super useful—using spreadsheets for your DIYing and formulating! Even if you don't formulate I'd recommend stepping away from online recipe calculators in favour of...read more
I wanted to take some time today to talk about something I find harder than it should be, but something that has to happen: throwing DIY stuff away. Be it past-their-prime ingredients, dubiously useable products, mystery bottles, or packaging you swear you’ll be able...read more
Recipe scaling is something I get a reasonable amount of questions about, so I thought I'd write out a how-to on how to scale any recipe so you can confidently make lots (or very little) of the things you love. I've also created a downloadable spreadsheet that you can...read more
One of my favourite things about this community is the enthusiasm with which people research; the desire to learn more about ingredients, products, and processes is insatiable! However, as anyone who has done much poking about in this space will know, there's a lot of...read more
This hobby, moreso than many others, seems to have people opening up their own Etsy shops and stalls at local markets within months of making their first lip balm. And frankly, that's a bit concerning. If you told a friend you'd just learned to make a great marinara...read more
Back in 2012 I published a short post on DIY sunscreen, the gist of which was “don’t make it, you can’t know if it works.” That post continues to get a lot of traffic and quite a few comments, many of which aim to convince me that DIY sunscreen is (or can be) a good...read more
I get asked about substitutions, additions, and swaps a lot—hence this guide to making substitutions. I've already got guides on carrier oil substitutions and essential oil substitutions, so this article is going to be a bit more scattered. I'll look at some starter...read more
In my time working with emulsifying waxes, I've found that they vary quite a lot. There are two main categories of emulsifying waxes—complete and incomplete. We'll be looking at complete emulsifying waxes (or e-waxes) here as incomplete e-waxes require co-emulsifiers...read more
You might not guess it, but I get a surprisingly large number of questions about how to clean up DIY messes. Beeswax, shea butter, clays, and other assorted powders can make some pretty mighty messes that outclass a kid's pizza party pretty fast. Here's how I deal...read more
As I'm sure you can tell, I'm not much for following recipes—I'd rather make up my own. Sometimes it works, sometimes it sort of works, and sometimes it's a catastrophic, err, "learning experience". Over the last few years I've learned some lessons when it comes to...read more
This is an experiment I've been meaning to conduct for ages. For as many DIY concoctions I've made over the years, I still found myself wondering how much beeswax to add to something to get a certain level of hardness or thickening. So, one short winter day I set out...read more
Happy New Year! If one of your resolutions is to make more and buy less (well, buy less finished stuffs and more ingredients, that is), this is the post for you—especially if you're super new to this whole DIY thing. I'm going to walk you through which ingredients to...read more
So, you're getting into making your own body products and household cleaners. You've found a supplier, you've found their essential oils section... and whoa. There are hundreds. And they all sound amazing. The reviews rave about how this one cured their epilepsy and...read more
As much as I have resisted the idea, a lot of my assorted DIY-ing is scientific-ish. Drat. My high school science teacher was right (though I have never bothered to balance the equation of surplus electrons for anything I have ever made, and I can safely say I never...read more
Let me preface this by saying I am no scientist, and this guide is definitely a quick one (and based very much on personal experience). I took 12th grade chemistry, and that's it—and that was a while ago. I did, however, convince my brilliant friend Adrian to...read more
Canada, for all of its wonderful traits, is a wee bit confused in the measurement department. We officially switched over to the metric system in the 1970's, but we did a pretty half-assed job of it. We measure distances in kilometers, and temperature in Celsius, but...read more
After writing about carrier oil substitutions, I couldn't wait to write more about swapping this ingredient for that, and why things do or don't work. So, today I'm writing about essential oil substitutions. There are fewer variables here, so it'll be a shorter entry,...read more
One of the questions I am asked the most is along the lines of "I don't have ingredient X, can I use ingredient Y or Z instead, or just leave it out?". Sometimes the answer is a quick yes, and sometimes it's a complicated no. So, I put together this guide to help you...read more