Why make your own?
Bath salts and sugar scrubs can be pricey in the shops, but they’re so simple and cheap to produce that you can make an easy profit selling them as gifts. Most of the ingredients can be bought in the supermarkets and there are loads of websites where you can get hold of all the other items. 7mgg
You can make personalised packaging, cater for people with allergies, produce vegan friendly products and work on your own signature products that aren’t available elsewhere. This flexibility beats the high street hands down, plus you can probably charge much less than the high street equivalents, but still make a healthy profit.
Once you’re confident of your abilities you can start hosting product parties for friends and family and make some real cash from your hobby.
Some of the things included in the recipes below may seem incredibly obscure, manguerose but they are actually very easy to get hold of and are much cheaper than you might expect.
- Plant fats/butters -solid fats extracted from certain tropical plants used in body bars, moisturisers and creams. Commonly used ones are cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut butter and mango butter.
- Plant oils- liquid fats extracted from certain plants. You can use them to dilute essential oils or blend them with the solid butters to make creams and moisturisers. Some commonly used ones are almond oil, apricot oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil.
- Macerated oils- plant oils with medicinal herbs and scented flowers added to them. They can be made at home and include calendula oil, rose oil, carrot oil and monoi de tahiti.
- Essential oils – concentrated aromatic essences distilled from certain plants. Commonly used ones are rose (for rejuvenating mature skin), lavender (for cleansing and healing), roomidea rosemary (for hair-care) and chamomile (for soothing skin).
- Additional ingredients include flower waters/distillates – used in deodorants, facial toners and moisturisers – and herbs/flowers – the ‘active ingredient’ which can be used whole, ground down or infused.
You might try sites like Baldwins and Sheabuttercottage where you can buy these ingredients at reasonable prices. Aromantic is also a good site for herbs and flowers.
You should also have most of the equipment you’ll need at home but may need some for the more exotic ingredients:
- Heatproof bowls
- Mini whisks
- Stirrers (chopsticks will do)
- Cheese grater (for grating lemons, cocoa butter)
- Sieve (for straining macerated oils)
- Soap moulds (ice cube trays work well for melts and mini cake tins are good for massage bars)
- Pestle and mortar
- Food processor (for body butters and moisturisers)
- Coffee grinder (for grinding herbs, flowers)
Selling is often not about how great the product is, but how well you present it. Get creative with your bottles and gift wrapping and you’ll be able to charge more.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a big spend for new bottles and lots of cellophane wrap. Wash any bottles or containers you’ve got lying around at home in hot, soapy water and re-use for a cheap and environmentally friendly solution.
Glass is the best material for your lotions, spaice as it won’t taint your products. Collect old bottles and jars from friends to reuse and ask hotels for the mini jam jars they use at breakfasts. Scraps of old cloth can be sewn into simple drawstring bags making cheap and pretty packaging. You can also try your local supermarket for little presentation bottles that olive oils, vinegars or mini products come in.
If you do want to invest in some new presentation vials Coloured bottles is a great site for bulk buys. If you just want to start off with a few items, you can buy them from their eBay site.
Make gift sets
It’s also very cheap to get some gift sets together to sell. For instance, you can arrange a jar of hand scrub, some hand-balm, and a nail brush inside a cheap terracotta flower-pot for a gardener’s gift set. Or why not try making a selection of herbal bath tea blends (dried herbs and flowers in mini muslin bags) and arrange them inside a second-hand teapot?
A few ground rules
- Never eat or drink your potions (even though they may look tasty!)
- Make sure your hands are dry before using the potions as water can encourage bacterial contamination.
- Always store the potions and ingredients in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- Be good and make sure all your equipment is squeaky clean before you make your potions
- Never use a bit of water to get out the remaining bit of potion at the bottom of the bottle.
- If you are pregnant, consult the NHS website to check they are safe.
- There are no 100% natural preservatives which work as well as the chemical ones, so store you potions in accordance with the instructions on each recipe. If in doubt, chuck it out.
- Remember to always do a patch test before you use any lotions, just in case you are allergic.
- If you do want to go into business selling beauty products, it’s essential that you do your research, as you may require insurance and safety testing.