Photo: Three DIY recipes that are healthy for your skin, hair and the planet

Make my banana facial mask recipe with fair trade, local and organic ingredients. (Credit: Lindsay)

Many beauty product ingredients aren't pretty.

In fact, they're pretty ugly.

In 2010, the David Suzuki Foundation asked Canadians to read labels on their cosmetics. We were looking for a Dirty Dozen ingredients, including parabens, PEG compounds, parfum (a.k.a. "fragrance") and petrolatum. Eighty per cent of entered products contained at least one of these toxic chemicals!

Download a wallet-sized Dirty Dozen shopper's guide to help you avoid harmful chemicals in soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc. when you shop.

You can also make your own! These simple, effective recipes contain no toxic chemicals. They're healthy for your skin, hair and the planet.

Makeup remover recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately two months

15 ml (1 Tbsp) castor oil
15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
Optional: 10 ml (2 tsp) sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil

Combine oils. Store in air-tight container. Use with washable cloth or compostable organic cotton balls/pads.

This recipe will help you avoid parabens used as preservatives in a variety of cosmetics. They're suspected endocrine disrupters associated with breast cancer and may interfere with hormone function.

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Cocoa butter lotion recipe

Time needed: ten minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

30 ml (2 Tbsp) cocoa butter
30 ml (2 Tbsp) local beeswax (grated or pastilles)
30 ml (2 Tbsp) sweet almond oil
Optional: 5 drops essential oil (e.g., ylang ylang, grapefruit, geranium)

Put about 50 ml (1/5 cup) of water into a small pot on low heat. Combine first two ingredients in a small metal bowl. Create a double boiler by placing the bowl on top of the pot. Stir ingredients until melted. Remove from heat. Add sweet almond oil and optional ingredients. Stir. Let cool. Store in air-tight container.

This recipe will help you avoid PEG compounds used in moisturizers. They are sometimes contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.

Banana facial mask recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately one week

½ small, ripe, organic, fair trade banana, mashed
2.5 ml (1 tsp) organic, local honey
15 ml (1 Tbsp) organic, local yogurt
15 ml (1 Tbsp) clay (green, white, red or bentonite)
Optional: 2 drops Vitamin E oil, 5 ml (1 tsp) rose water, or 7.5 ml (1/2 Tbsp) organic rolled oats, ground.

Combine ingredients. Apply to face and neck. Let sit 15 minutes. Wipe off with warm cloth. Refrigerate extra.

Enjoy do-it-yourself recipes, tips and tricks? Make my lip balm recipe to avoid petrolatum and my dry shampoo recipe to avoid parfum. And subscribe to my Queen of Green monthly digest at for more "green" inspiration.

What's your favourite Queen of Green DIY recipe so far? And why?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

November 21, 2016

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Sep 20, 2017
8:16 AM

Thanks for the recipes. I’ve been looking for a shampoo recipe for years. Don’t suppose you know of any good ones?

Jan 27, 2017
8:16 AM

There are many great diy cosmetics that also don’t use animal excretion like honey, beeswax and yogurt. The data is pretty clear that animal husbandry is a major, if not leading, cause of climate change. I would like to see the Suzuki Foundation take up the cause of plant based diets and cruelty free products for the sake of our air and water.

Dec 07, 2016
3:53 PM

Thank you for these tips! There is one question that needs to be answered about soft plastic e.g. bread bags, coverings of fish and meat products in all major large grocery stores, in fact it is everywhere! The city of Vancouver does not take it so we have to drive our car across the city to take it to a “Return Depot”. If you buy your fish and meat at a small butcher or fish store, you can ask them to wrap it in paper which can then go into the city green bin.

Isn’t it time in this age of saying no to “Oil tankers” etc. that we ask for all food stores not to use this type of plastic. This would require extra employment for some staff in several departments in an age when we are letting people go and letting machines take over. We have to challenge “Corporate Greed and Wasteful Environmental Behaviour” and become old-fashioned all over again to save our planet for next generations.

Thank you for reading this.

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