Skin has the capacity to absorb everything it comes into contact with. Synthetic and potentially harmful ingredients are found in most packaged products, whether they’re labeled as natural or not.

There was a time when personal care products were not readily available. Back then, people made their own toiletries with simple ingredients found in most kitchens.

Possibly the easiest way to achieve a completely chemical-free body care regimen is to follow the saying: “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”

Just about everything used in the kitchen can be applied to the skin. Honey regenerates the skin after a cut, vinegar prevents scarring from burns, raw potato slices help reduce puffiness, and raw meat really does help heal black eyes.

Some homemade beauty recipes can be very complicated, require many components, and sometimes fail.

The following formulas for the most frequently used body care products contain items commonly found in the kitchen and can be easily prepared.

Hair Care:

Lemon or Lime Shampoo: Throw two to four whole limes or lemons, with the peel, into enough boiling water to cover them. Wait until they begin to disintegrate and become foamy. This should take about 20 minutes. Puree the water and fruit, then strain, keeping the liquid. Let cool and use as shampoo and/or body wash. Toasted sesame seeds or aloe may be added, but the plain foaming water from the limes is enough to thoroughly clean and perfume the hair.

Milk and honey can be mixed to condition the hair, and mashed avocado with olive oil makes a wonderful deep conditioning treatment.

Deodorant:

Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice on the fingertips and apply, or use a small spray bottle. It can work for more than 24 hours.

Oral care:

Ground sea salt. Just plain salt is how plenty of souls took care of their teeth for millennia before the invention of commercial toothpaste and baking soda. Sea salt cleanses, polishes and whitens teeth. Sprinkle salt on a moist toothbrush and brush for a very clean feeling and great taste.

Sunscreen:

Aloe vera. Open a leaf of aloe and apply to the skin.

Bar Soap:

Several Native American communities got dirty to get clean. They used to rub dirt all over the skin to cleanse and exfoliate. The use of sand and clay follows this principle. The easiest way to make bar soap is to moisten a couple of tablespoons of bentonite clay. Plain water works, but many skin nourishing ingredients can be added to the basic clay soap, such as honey or any kind of natural oil.

Body Scrub:

Don’t throw out those coffee grounds in the morning. Instead, use them as a scrub for the entire body. Salt, sugar and cornmeal can also be good scrubbing ingredients.

Facial Cleanser: Mix a little yogurt with cooked oatmeal; many fruits also work great as facial cleansers, such as bananas and strawberries.

Facial Toner: Dip a cotton ball in plain brewed coffee and rub on the face to cleanse, tighten and smooth the skin, even around the eyes.

Facial Moisturizer:

Any oil. Try different ones to find the ones that best feel on your your skin. Olive, coconut, almond and sesame oils are recommended.

Facial Mask:

Apply honey on the skin and wait a few minutes. Rinse.

Perfume:

Soak aromatic roses in pure alcohol or vodka for at least one week to gather the essence. Natural vanilla extract and rose water are also cooking ingredients that may be used to perfume the skin or add to any other recipe.

Editor’s note: Individual mileage may vary when trying any of these natural solutions. It’s best to consult with someone in the know before making any major change to the homemade recipes listed here.