Where to Find Cheap Basic Bath and Beauty Products Ingredients

image via rebel society

 So you want to start making your own bath and body products?  Where do you start?  Where can you find supplies?  What do you need? I have spent countless hours researching online, books, and looking high and low at local stores (literally some products I found in odd places in food aisles at great prices) comparing prices to find the cheapest and most versatile products needed in general bath and body products.

Here is what I've found and where I found it (all products not specified for a specific use generally can be used in all bath and beauty products):

  • Olive Oil (the cheapest oil I've found)  I get mine at Trader Joe's for $6/32oz
  • Coconut oil (is solid at room temp and smells good in lotions, helps create suds in soaps) I get organic unrefined virgin at Whole Foods $5.69/ 16 oz
  • Palm oil (for soap making) I found an organic vegetable shortening grown in a environmentally sustaining manner made of 100% palm oil at Whole Foods in the Baking Aisle $7/24 oz (can be used as shortening for cooking too!)
  • Cocoa Butter, (almost as expensive as shea butter!  usually $1 or more an oz and sold out every store I go to)  I subsituted with coconut butter I got at Whole Foods by the peanut butter, almond butters, etc... for $11/16 oz Raw and it's Organic, cheaper then you could probably find online after shipping.  
  • Lye otherwise known as Sodium Hydroxide or Caustic Soda (needed for soap making, if it doesn't use lye it isn't soap)  Be careful when handling lye it is a bit scary sounding but is necessary because lye+water =salt, soap, and lye does not stay in the soap when finished curing.  I found some after a lot of research at my local Ace Hardware as drain cleaner labeled 100% Lye on the front $4.69/16 oz.  Do not use any drain cleaner unless it is 100% lye.
  • Vitamin E (used as a moisturizer and as a preserve) find soft gel tablets in any vitamin aisle, just prick with a pin and squeeze the liquid out, usually 1 tablet will do
  • Pure Aloe Vera most 100% pure aloe vera gels still have unnatural perservatives, so just go to the source and get it straight from the leaves.  Either get an Aloe Vera plant (beware if you have a cat though it's poisonous to them) or go to your local superrmarkets produce section most will have it.
  • Beeswax (used in lotion making, lip balms, etc) This is essential in making lotion because lotion is basically oil and water together.  Oil and water naturally repeal each other, an emulsifer is needed to keep them together.  While harder to find I lucked out and found some at a great price at my local farmer's market, so check out your local farmer's market.  Otherwise you can get some online through the same place I get mine at Ames farms.com for $7.50 a lb
  • Almond Oil (used in lotions and lip balms mostly)  I got mine at Whole Foods $4/8 oz.in the food oil aisle
  • Liquid Letchin (used in lotions as an thickener and to emulsify) Found mine in the supplements and vitamins aisle at Whole Foods for $7/16 oz
  • Castor Oil   The most expensive oil I use, so just use sparingly, I got mine at Whole Foods in the Bath and Beauty aisle, also saw the same thing at my local co-ops $9/16 oz.
  • Essential oils can be found at your local co-op, Whole Foods, and many local shops
  • Containers For Your Products wide mouth pint and 1/2 pint canning jars found at grocery stores, Target, Menards, etc. are great for lotion and bath salts and are a great value.  For small quantities of other products try your local dollar store and travel containers at Target, Kmart, and grocery stores.  Also check your local co-op near the essential oil displays.  For large quantities try online resources, keep in mind shipping costs.
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