Go Green & Save Green: My Beauty Routine and a DIY Body Butter Recipe

I’m excited to be participating in the Go Green & Save Green Series with several other green bloggers this week!  We’ll be talking about different areas of green and natural living, showing you how to go green while saving money at the same time! Be sure to check out the great links at the end of this post! 

One of the first places where I decided to “go green” was my bathroom’s medicine cabinet; yep, my personal care and beauty products. Of course, often, the more-natural products also cost more. I hope that this gets better as we spread the word to our friends and family members and demand for these products goes up.

But as I began phasing out the toxic products and looking for more natural alternatives, I also found myself simplifying the amount of products I even needed, and thereby spending less money.

Here are a few of the areas where I was able to simplify– eliminating some items, and making others myself.


I used to keep a big ol’ bag of makeup, with eyeliners in every color, multiple eyeshadows, and a variety of everything else. This is definitely an area where I learned to value quality over quantity.

I’ve slimmed down my makeup to a simple mineral powder, one blush, and a couple of mineral eyeshadows that also double as liners with the change of a brush. I use a natural mascara now, which does cost more, but I only buy one shade of color as opposed to the three I used to keep on hand.

Face Washing

This is one of the areas where I’ve made the most drastic changes. I used to purchase and use specialized soaps known to the masses as “face washes.” Now? I use oil. If you’ve never heard of the oil-cleansing method, this might sound totally bizarre to you, but let me tell you, it is amazing.

A little goes a long way here, so not only does it feel wonderful, but it saves me money, too. (I use a small squirt bottle filled with equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and castor oil, along with a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil.)


For a little while, I used the No ‘Poo technique (i.e. washing hair with baking soda and a vinegar/lemon juice wash), but at the time I had very long hair and it just didn’t seem to work for me in the long run. What I believe it did for me though, was strip my hair of all the toxic stuff I’d been putting in my hair for the past twenty-some-odd years.

When I started gradually phasing back into shampoo (I use California Baby), I required substantially less– we’re talking a nickel-sized portion for hair that went halfway down my back.

In addition, for the first time ever since I began washing my own hair, I could skip the conditioner all together (and use a rinse of lemon juice diluted with water) or again, use a very small amount of my daughter’s (and now my) California Baby conditioner (I don’t rinse my conditioner all the way out, by the way).

I never would have believed it myself, but my hair is smoother, less frizzy and more manageable than ever before (I don’t use any other hair products except maybe a dab of coconut oil at my temples). And I’m able to afford a pretty pricey brand of products simply because they will last so long.

For soap, I use simple, handmade soaps from local vendors or from Graham Gardens. Someday, I hope to foray into making my own, but not yet. For a few great resources on making soap and other beauty products, check out Renee’s list over at FIMBY.


On my face? Simple: I use coconut oil. Sometimes I use this on my body as well, especially after a lot of sun exposure (it’s very light so I love it in the summer). I buy a less-expensive coconut oil for this since I’m not eating it. 🙂

For severely dry, cracked skin? (i.e. hands in winter, feet in summer) I use MadeOn lotion bars.

For all-over body moisture? I have finally found my favorite natural/homemade lotion! My friend made it for me as a belly balm when I was pregnant, and I fell in love with using it all over (especially on freshly shaved legs!). I’m so excited to share with you this recipe for a body lotion, or body butter, because, seriously, I love it so much.

Homemade Body Butter

1/2 cup cocoa butter

1/2 cup coconut oil (unrefined)

1/4 cup apricot or almond oil (I used apricot kernel oil)

2 tsp grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles

10,000 IU of Vitamin E oil (25 capsules, 400 IU each)

Stir over low heat until mixed and pour into jars. You could also add herbs or essential oils if you want, but the cocoa butter gives it a nice chocolatey scent which I like.

Some of the ingredients are a little pricey (affiliate links included above!) but one batch makes quite a lot (everything in the top photo on this post), and the ingredients will make more than one batch as well. The cocoa butter I bought online ended up having jojoba oil in it, too. This was fine, but I think it made the final lotion a bit greasier.


My next homemade beauty product is definitely going to be sunscreen. I recently received a copy of Renee from MadeOn Hard Lotion‘s new recipe book (with five recipes with five ingredients for five dollars!), My Buttered Life, and I can’t wait to dig in and try a couple of them, especially the sunscreen. I’ll be sure to share my review with you, and maybe even give away a copy, too!

Check Out These Other Great Posts in the Go Green & Save Green Series:

Live Renewed: My Green and Frugal Beauty Routine

A Delightful Home: How to Make Leave-In Conditioner

Kinda Crunchy Kate: A Crunchy Girl’s Guide to Curly Hair

How do you save money on personal care and beauty products? Do you make any yourself?

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Jonalynn

    I’ve been considering switching to Mineral make up. Do you mind sharing what brand you like?

    • Nicole

      I use a brand called ZUZU (or is it XUXU?) Luxe that I got at Whole Foods and also a brand called Larenim.

  2. Kara E.

    Sadly, OCM and coconut oil don’t get along with my acne prone skin. I do enjoy using castile soap for washing, and I like my natural tea tree shampoo. I do wear mineral makeup on occasion, but I haven’t found a natural mascara that my eyes don’t become irritated with. Oh, also, I really like the Badge lip tint balm for when I want some color on my lips (it smells like chocolate – well coco butter, to be exact). 🙂

  3. Emily @ Live Renewed

    Thanks for sharing your routine Nicole! I love to get a glimpse into what other people are doing that works well for them!

    And that lotion looks great! I can’ wait to try making some for myself, and maybe for Christmas gifts too! I’m hoping to do some handmade gifts this year and that lotion sounds like just the right thing!

    • Nicole

      Mine came out a little liquidy this time, I’m thinking next time I’ll be sure to get pure cocoa butter and maybe add a little extra beeswax. I hope you like it, too!

      • Kara

        I had the same problem with the body butter coming out totally liquid. Would you recommend using more beeswax next time to thicken it up? It smell oh-so-yummy and I’m hoping to perfect it to make for Christmas presents. Thanks!

  4. Stacy

    I enjoyed reading this! It’s great when we can simplify like this. I love being able to use less, but use better products.

    Thanks for sharing your OCM mix. I want to try that right away. I had not heard of putting tea tree oil in it before.

    The belly butter looks awesome. Those are wonderful ingredients to keep on hand. There are so many different things you can make with them,

  5. Angela

    Fantastic! I was just thinking the other day I wanted make some body butter to give as Christmas presents this year. Many thanks for the recipe, I look forward to trying it out.

  6. Kristina Larson

    Thanks for the tips! Any thoughts on using Shea butter as a moisturizer?

    • Nicole

      I haven’t used it by itself but I have a shea butter soap that I love! It’s very moisturizing.

      • Arlene

        I use wen shampoo.Sounds expensive on QVC-shopping network. But 5 16oz bottles last a long time,months. I ordered in November,barely opened second one this week. I shower 2x a day(because of,my job),shampooing, too. All natural. My very thin,fine hair finally feels and looks like hair. I also alternate pure shea and coconut oil for lotion. Doesn’t leave you greasy. Arlene

  7. Rebecca

    I’m excited to try some of these out, especially the facial wash. Great post!

  8. TheActorsWife

    About two months ago, I started using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair (inspired by SimpleMom). And am excited about finding more ways to simplify and “greenify” my routines. Thanks for the ideas!

  9. Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal

    I love my mineral powder! Plus – you can put it in your purse and it goes through airport security with no problems! 🙂

  10. Kinda Crunchy Kate

    I really want to learn how to make soap. I’ve just been ordering from Apple Valley Farms or somewhere like that until I have enough courage to make it.
    I love the packaging for the body butter. So cute and such a good idea!

  11. renee @ FIMBY

    Thank you for the link love!

  12. Mrs. Graham Gardens

    Thanks for the mention regarding soaps, Nicole! This is such a helpful, practical post.

  13. Sally Thompson

    This is great! I love to try this on.. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Lola

    Can’t wait to try the body butter recipe!

  15. Shannon M.

    What brand of Vitamin E capsules do you use? Are they the softgels that are considered vitamin supplements or something specifically for skin? Thanks!

    • Nicole

      I’ll have to get back to you on the brand, but basically they were regular vitamin supplements that I bought at a natural food store. I was taking them orally back when I was trying to get pregnant so I had them on-hand. 😉

  16. Mom Photographer

    I’ve been making my body lotins for over a year now. I’ve created a recipe using fresh brewed coffee-cocoa butter-vitamin E or oatmeal-cocoa butter-milk-vitamin E. Those are my favorite so far. I had never had such a great body lotions in my life when I was buying them.
    A few days ago I’ve started washing my face with oils and it works perfect so far. Before, I used to use only apple cider vinegar with mother once a day or green tea. I do use the no poo technique. It’s my second month right now and I am so happy with the effect.
    Now I’m planning to switch to glycerine based soaps and used them to make my own scented soaps. It’s much safer and quicker than making your own soap from scratch.
    and your’re right those things are such a money savers 🙂

  17. Sally

    Hi, I just made this last night and was hoping the lotion would set up overnight as it cooled, but as I woke up this morning it’s still liquid and is basically like rubbing oil on my hands. I did use the pure cocoa butter- it was rock hard. What can I do to make it more of a body butter consistency? add more beeswax? add more cocoa butter? I’d like to salvage it if possible! Thanks!

    • Nicole

      Hi Sally,
      Not sure, as I just made the recipe again, but with pure cocoa butter and it came out great. I did let it set in the fridge and that seemed to set it nicely. I wonder if that would help your batch? Mine definitely is softer in warmer weather, but otherwise it is a great buttery consistency.

  18. Sarah

    I made this recipe today and it smells delicious, but didn’t set up. I did some researching and what I found is that to get a creamy consistency, you need 75% solid to 25% liquid oils. I think that if you are having problems getting it to set, you need to add more cocoa butter. I would probably do 3/4 to 1 cup cocoa butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/4 almond or apricot oil. I don’t think 1/2 cup is quite enough.

  19. Lorraine

    I made my own face sunscreen. I tested it out on the mountain ski slopes on a bright sunny day in Colorado. I was shooting for a SPF of 20-25 and I believe I hit it right on. I used 2 oz of unrefined coconut oil, .4 oz grated beeswax, a Tbsp of cocoa butter, a Tbsp of unrefined Shea Butter, 1 oz. Aloe Vera jelly, 2 Vitamin E capsules, a dropper full of Emu Oil, and 1 tsp. Titanium Dioxide. In a double broiler, I melted the wax and hard oils, removed from heat and added the rest doing the Titanium Dioxide last, while wearing a mask. I got a little bit of color, but no burn. That says a lot up in the high altitude with reflecting sun on the snow. It made approximately 3 oz. which was perfect for a couple of 1 oz jars and a couple of small carry in the pocket containers that would fit in the ski jacket.

  20. stephanie

    Do you know what the “shelf life” is? How long can a big batch be stored for? Thanks!

  21. Angela

    A friend shared this page with me. I’ve been making my own moisturizer (oil scented with essential oils, olive for cold dry months, almond for hot sweaty months), and was looking for a facial cleanser recipe – I think I’ll just try the oil since I already have it on hand! Next I’m going to try a shampoo substitute.

    Your comment about using the inexpensive oil on your skin because you’re not drinking it caught my eye. I’ve always said that if I had to choose between non toxic foods or body products, I would choose the latter. From what I undertand, our digestive system is set up to break down and eliminate toxins, whereas toxins absorbed through the skin go directly into the blood stream. I am not a scientist, so take what I say with a grain of salt and do your own research.

    Thanks again for sharing your recipes and links!

  22. Tammy

    Do you think there would be issues with the butter not setting if the beeswax is omitted?

    • Nicole

      Hi Tammy,
      I’m not sure, because I haven’t tried it, but I imagine it would cause a problem because the wax seems to thicken it.

  23. Dawn

    There are a ton of ways to save money and certainly you can buy bulk online! I have researched many items you can make….mineral makeup, body butters, facial serums…et al. You can just search for recipes! From Nature With Love offers tons of recipes but I don’t like using preservatives except for natural ones, so you can use vit E (they offer it on their site or you can use grapeseed oil and other oils as well) if you want to go that route. Water will make a lotion go rancid…so if you make these products and give them away…ensure you DO protect your friends and whomever you’re selling/giving them away to! Search whatever it is you’re searching for and you can even find cheap PET or glass bottles and make gifts for the holidays 🙂 It’s fun and rewarding.
    I have switched from shampoo to cowashing. You can also use babassu oil for hair and skin if you have dry/problematic hair and skin. Rosemary oil is also good for hair that is falling out like mine but I have an autoimmune disease so not sure if it will help me or not…we’ll see :/
    Thanks for the post! We can all share!
    BTW I worked for Bobbi Brown cosmetics…you can find many natural methods for skincare/makeup. Research is the best option for finding out what’s in your products. The Skin Deep Database is a great place to start 🙂

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