What Katie Is Doing

Natural Cosmetics for Travel

For the past year or so I’ve been trying to make sure all the beauty products I use are as natural as possible, as, these days, I’m very much of the opinion that if I wouldn’t eat it, I certainly shouldn’t be putting it on my skin. Our skin is our largest organ, so why is it that we’re fine with plastering it with chemicals that we’d never put in our mouths in a million years? A few people have asked me about the DIY, natural cosmetics I’ve been making over the past year, so I thought I’d share the recipes here, and let you know how I’m managing now I’m living out in Mexico and don’t have access to all of the ingredients I do at home.

Natural Cosmetics for Travel


I swear by this moisturiser recipe. The DIY cosmetics recipes on the Modern Hippie Housewife site are great, although you have to scroll down quite a way to get to the recipe itself! This recipe says it’s just for the face, but I use it as an all-over-body moisturiser and it works wonderfully, although it doesn’t last very long. All you need is Shea butter, coconut oil, bees-wax, vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil. Although some of these ingredients might seem a bit pricey to begin with, they go a long way, and it definitely works out a lot cheaper per batch than buying natural moisturiser in a shop. Plus, you’ll need most of the ingredients for other recipes in this post (coconut oil in EVERYTHING), so you really do get your money’s worth.

The beauty of this recipe is its versatility, as it also doubles up as an all-natural make-up remover! My nightly skin care routine is incredibly simple. I use the moisturiser to take off my makeup with cotton pads, then use my homemade toner water to get rid of the rest, before reapplying the moisturiser to give my skin a treat overnight.

The toner water recipe is the simplest thing ever. I was paying £6 a bottle for toner from Lush, until I realised that I could recycle the bottles and just add a few drops of lavender oil and a few drops of vitamin E oil to water, and it would do exactly the same job.

Natural Cosmetics: Coconuts


Possibly my favourite of all of my homemade natural cosmetics, this deodorant works wonders. I gave some to my slightly sceptical mum and best friend, and they are both converts too. At first I didn’t trust it whenever I was likely to really sweat, like out on a run or on a night out, but I’ve since realised that it works just as well as any artificial deodorant I’ve ever had. There are all kinds of things in shop-bought deodorants that definitely shouldn’t be coming into close contact with such a sensitive part of our bodies. People often say that all these theories about chemicals causing certain diseases are rubbish, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

This is another of Modern Hippie Housewife’s recipes, and uses coconut oil, shea butter, cornstarch, bicarbonate of soda (which you probably have in your kitchen cupboard anyway), and tea tree oil. It takes minutes to whip it up and you can either shape it into deodorant bars (but these can melt a little in warm weather), or pour it into a jar, which is what I usually do. You can then use your fingertips to scoop a little out on a daily basis. When I’m at home, I transfer some into a tiny pot when I’m going away. A little goes a long way, so when you’re on your travels a medium-sized jar of this will last you a surprisingly long time.


Toothpaste is another one to be wary of. All of those ‘whitening’ ingredients are a bit questionable, and the amount of tubes of toothpaste we get through are an environmental nightmare. There are more eco-friendly brands out there that only use natural ingredients, but they don’t come cheap. The taste of this toothpaste recipe takes a bit of getting used to, but it does the job! All you need is coconut oil (obviously), baking soda, peppermint essential oil and a sweetener like xylitol.

Sun Cream

I made my own sun cream in the spring and I’m still going with the same batch, as it goes a long way (although I didn’t have any beach time during the summer, so it wasn’t pressed into service that much). You can find the recipe here (along with a lot of information about sun cream, scroll to the bottom for the recipe itself). As I understand it, sun cream isn’t great for your body as it often contains zinc oxide, which is essentially a poison. This sun cream recipe uses non-nano zinc oxide, which means the particles aren’t small enough to be absorbed through your pores and it sits on the surface of your skin instead. This recipe does leave your skin a little white, but it’s worth it.

I have however stopped using this cream on my face, because it’s a little greasy and I don’t like it when it gets in my hair. I bought a protective powder from Lush which I’ve used every day for two months and still haven’t made a dent in, and I haven’t yet burnt, even on a few beach days!

Natural Cosmetics: Suncream

Lip Balm

Nourish your lips with this incredibly simple recipe for lip balm. I bought a few small pots from Poundland and also recycled some old lip balm and Vaseline containers. For the recipe I used (number 2 on this list), you’ll need coconut oil, shea butter, bees-wax and peppermint oil.

Straight Coconut Oil

You can’t have failed to notice that coconut oil has featured very heavily in every recipe on this list. Although the moisturiser and deodorant recipes above work even better, you can also use straight coconut oil as a moisturiser, make up remover and even deodorant.

You can also rub it through the tips of your hair at night, and you’ll wake up with nourished locks (although make sure you shampoo your hair thoroughly in the morning or you’ll end up rocking the greasy look).

Coconut oil can also be used for oil pulling, the benefits of which you can read all about over on the wonderful Veggie Magnifique.

Last but not least, you can use coconut oil in place of shaving cream, making your legs even more silky smooth, as you’re basically shaving and moisturising at the same time. At home I epilate, but that’s often not practical on the road, so this is a great alternative.

Natural Cosmetics: Coconut Palms


I’ve moved to the land of the palm tree, so access to coconut oil is not an issue. However, I haven’t been able to find Shea butter anywhere, so I’m now back to straight coconut oil as a moisturiser. My deodorant, however, is still going strong and should last me a few more months. I have my tea tree oil and lavender oil being brought out to me by the lovely visitors whose arrival is now imminent (!), so I can make fresh toner water, but my toothpaste has run out so I’m unfortunately back to shop-bought, but still oil-pulling.

I’m also celebrating the fact that is also the land of the avocado by doing homemade face masks made out of avocado, olive oil and lemon juice, at least once a week. A little goes a long way here, and you can mash up half an avocado and divide it into face mask sized portions and then freeze them.

Natural Cosmetics: Avocados


Whenever you run out of a product that comes in a small jar or bottle with a spray top, squirrel it away somewhere as it could come in handy for one of these recipes. I’ve also used jam jars, salsa jars… you name it. Hang on to any big jars as you’ll need this for the double boiler method most of these recipes require!

Give a Homemade Gift

With Christmas coming up, if you haven’t already done the Christmas shopping, why not whip up a batch of one of these natural cosmetics, like moisturiser, for your friends, pour it into some nice jars, and wrap a ribbon round it? They’re bound to be impressed by your creativity, you get to feel good about yourself, and your bank balance will be pretty chuffed too. Win win.

Do you know any recipes for great DIY cosmetics? Are you a coconut oil addict like me? Please share your wisdom, and ask any questions, in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Natural Cosmetics for Travel

  1. Carly Daley

    Hey Katie! Thank you for including my recipes in this blog post! You sound as stoked as I was to find natural alternatives to nasty commercial products. So awesome!

    Just a note when you mention the sun block – zinc oxide isn’t the problem (I actually recommend sunblock with zinc oxide), it’s the sun-filtering ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate that can be problematic and the Environmental Working Group recommends staying away from.

    Anyways, looks like your living an incredible life! You certainly have a beautiful blog and a knack for writing. All the best xo. Carly

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