Lotions and creams are the easiest to make, there is plenty of recipes on the internet and/or it’s easy to make one up, you can use any liquid oil of your preference mixed with beeswax to make it more “solid” or solid oils/fats even without (e.g. coconut oil). Just heat them up gently so you can mix everything together or to emulsify if you use some watery substance (e.g. I like magnesium “oil” in creams which is not a true oil but a salt suspension, water saturated with magnesium salt). Antioxidants (e.g. grapefruit seed extract) can bee used to improve “shelf life”. I find salves much more exciting now, why would one apply some cream without the added benefit of healing herbs? You just have to heat it a little bit longer (45` maybe) along with chamomile or yarrow or nettle or horsetail or rosemary etc. And remember, unlike the leather on the sofa, our skin is not a cover but an organ. Good diet is (one of) the key(s) and that you don’t spoil it with over cleaning, especially not with nasty chemicals. Just allow it to do its job!
Toothpaste is another easy one, especially if you understand that a good diet is more important for dental hygiene than any magic cleaning. In my case flossing is essential too (I’m just not lucky with the distance between my teeth, especially on the top, I wish the gaps were smaller or bigger…) Sea salt, bentonite clay, sodium bicarbonate, activate charcoal are the post popular ingredients, just mix them (all or any) together with a bit of a water. Oil pulling (swishing with e.g. coconut oil for 10-20` first thing the morning) is another effective one.
Soap and shampoo bars are still a fairly straight forward products to make, however there is a little chemistry involved in this one. You have to be careful with handling lye, it’s definitely not a project with children and you have to be more precise with your recipe if you want saponification to occur but fortunately there is a brilliant soap ingredient online calculator. You also have to get the temperatures right however it’s not much more difficult than making custard or jam, it is well possible that you’ll get it right first time and will definitely master it with further practice.
(Oils, just a final note as the world of the fats are so confusing. I wouldn’t use anything on my skin what I wouldn’t happily consume internally, otherwise what’s the point spending the time with making these lotions and potions. If it’s organic, raw and cold pressed, I would like to think it’s safe and fantastic to use. Forget pomace olive oil as it is a chemically extracted substance, shouldn’t be called oil or sold for human consumption. Palm oil is also controversial due to the unsustainable sourcing and just use your common sense, avoid GMO and anything with questionable quality. If you like the smell, taste of an oil/fat, start with that, make single or close to single oil mixtures or/and educate yourself e.g. sweet almond oil absorbs brilliantly but doesn’t store well, olive oil makes hard soap, castor oil is very healing but tends to remain on the skin surface so even in shampoo bars it’s not really used more 15% etc, etc etc)
Detergents I have to admit I haven’t started to make our own. I would like to think that the eco range we buy is decent enough, however some refill practice would be convenient as I’m not sure these opaque plastic bottles are entirely or at all recyclable. It wouldn’t be more difficult than soap making I ‘m sure, if not easier.
Apple cider vinegar would be perfect for cleaning, we have never had enough spare to waste it on cleaning though but the day will come! sounds like a paradise home, smelling like cider after cleaning.
Until then, industrial vinegar… (in what I tend to soak lemon zest. Works better, smells better.)
Sodium bicarbonate is the ultimate hardcore cleaner, the joint force of alkalinity and abrasion as far as my understanding goes. But it’s definitely natural.
Use industrial alcohol spray if you are paranoid or if you are just a professional caterer, host, travelling etc.