When you think of emergency supplies, you probably think of the most critical preps like food and water. And while these are certainly important, for extended emergencies, you’ll want more of creature comforts. If you can’t or don’t want to get personal care products from a drug store or other retailer, you’re not doomed to being dirty, smelly, and unkempt. You can easily create your own personal care products from simple ingredients in your kitchen.
To add fragrance to your personal care products, you’ll want to use essential oils. While it is possible to distill your own essential oils using dried plant material and a still, you may find it more convenient to purchase essential oils from someone who crafts a wide variety of them. Some of the most popular essential oils come from citrus fruits and flowers.
Mouth and Tooth Care
You can brush your teeth with baking soda to remove stains and whiten the enamel. Moisten your toothbrush and dip it in baking soda, then apply it to your teeth.
For natural mouthwash, add ½ teaspoon baking soda to ½ cup water. Stir together. Gargle with the mouthwash, and swish it around your mouth.
If you are concerned about using precious water to shower and wash your hair, you can use a dry shampoo. Mix ½ cup of coarse-ground cornmeal, twenty drops of castor oil, and thirty drops of lemon essential oil. Blend together in a blender. Lean over a sink or large towel, and apply pinches of the blended mixture into your hair and rub into your scalp. Comb out all the cornmeal, then brush hair until shiny. This works best for men and women with short hair.
Another homemade shampoo can be made from the root of the soapwort plant. Boil two cups of water, reduce to a simmer, and add one and a half tablespoons of chopped, dried soapwort root. Cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Remove from heat, and add two teaspoons of lemon verbena, catnip, or a combination of the two. Allow to cool, and then strain the liquid into a bottle. Use within ten days.
You can also make a basic shampoo out of one cup of water and one tablespoon of baking soda. Put in a sealed container (such as an empty shampoo bottle) and shake vigorously before using. After shampooing your hair with baking soda, use a vinegar conditioner (see below) to deactivate the baking soda.
To make an excellent detangler and conditioner, mix together one cup of water and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Put in a sealed container (such as an empty conditioner bottle) and shake vigorously before using.
To style your hair, you can make your own hair gel by dissolving half to one teaspoon of plain, unflavored gelatin in a cup of warm water. Add a few drops of essential oil if you prefer a scented hair gel.
You can make your own hair spray from simple citrus fruit. If you have normal or oily hair, use one lemon. If you have dry hair, use one orange. Slice the citrus fruit into wedges and place them in a pot. Cover them with two cups of water. Bring to a boil and allow it to cook until it is reduced to one cup of liquid. Allow the liquid to cool. Add one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, a few drops of any desired essential oil for fragrance, and then strain the mixture into a clean spray bottle. Mixture should be used within two weeks.
A deodorant that softens and conditions your underarm skin without dangerous aluminum can be made simply from coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch. Mix ¼ cup baking soda with ¼ cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder). Slowly add five to six tablespoons of coconut oil to the mixture, stirring with a spoon until it reaches your desired consistency and texture. You can refill your old deodorant dispenser with this, although you will need to ensure it is kept in a cool location to prevent the coconut oil from liquefying. An alternate means of storage is to put it in a covered jar or bowl and use your fingers to apply the product. The coconut oil will melt from the heat of your skin, and the remaining product can be rubbed into your hands as a skin lotion.
If you prefer scented deodorants, mix together equal parts baking soda and cornstarch, and add a few drops of essential oil. Store the mixture in an airtight container. You can apply dry to your underarms with a soft brush such as a cosmetic brush or a powder puff. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some of the powder onto a damp washcloth and apply to your underarms.
All you need to prepare your face, legs, underarms or other body parts for shaving is simple oil. Use a natural oil that is compatible with skin, such as olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil. Slather it onto the area in need of shaving, rub it in, and start shaving. Do not shave in the shower, however, since running water will interfere with the oil’s ability to protect your skin.
You can create your own aftershave from equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. Mix together and store in an airtight container, such as an empty aftershave bottle. Shake vigorously before using.
Scrubs and Masks
To make a facial scrub, pour one tablespoon of raw honey and half a tablespoon of baking soda into the palm of your hand. Mix it together, and apply to wet skin. This facial scrub gently exfoliates the skin without irritation, and is both antibacterial and moisturizing.
To make a body scrub, combine 1/4 cup of olive or other natural oil, 1/8 cup of brown sugar, 1/8 cup of salt, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance in a glass bowl. If your skin is dry, flaky, or sunburned, use ¼ cup of oil, ¼ cup of brown sugar, and essential oil.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, an excellent moisturizing facemask can be made from one cup yogurt and half a cup uncooked oatmeal. Mix the two ingredients together, and apply the mixture to your face. Leave it on for fifteen minutes, and then rinse it off with water. Your face will be clear and bright, and your skin will be noticeably softer.
A simple and long-lasting eyeliner can be made from activated charcoal – the substance used to filter water and soothe stomach aches. If the charcoal is encapsulated, empty the capsule onto a small plate. Otherwise, pour out a small amount onto the plate. Dip the tip of a narrow makeup brush into water, then swirl the moistened brush through the charcoal. Apply as you would any other eyeliner.
To make a clear lip-gloss, mix one teaspoon of aloe vera gel (slice open the leaves of an aloe vera plant and scrape out the gel), half a teaspoon of coconut oil, and 1/8 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. Mix until smooth, and then pour into a lidded container.
While you can dab a bit of essential oil onto your skin as a fragrance, many people find the essential oils are too strong and can burn or irritate their skin when used at full strength. Combine vodka with your favorite essential oils, mix well, and store in an airtight container. The more vodka you add, the weaker the resulting fragrance will be.