Nothing makes me crazier than mixing a balm or salve only to realize at the end that I don’t have the right container to store it in. And even though I hoard glass jars, there’s really only so much jam one family can eat.
We’ve talked about the must-have beauty ingredients, which books to follow and how to stock a natural medicine cabinet. But what about the tools? After writing my second book (which you can order now, yay!), I realized that I could have made my life so, so much easier if I had bought a dedicated set of DIY tools early on.
Don’t get intimidated, you don’t need a lot of stuff—and most things are inexpensive. The saying about having the right tool at the right time is pretty darn true. Because, from experience, trying to cook dinner in the same pan where you just infused oil or melted beeswax is not recommended.
10 Essential DIY Beauty Tools
1. Measuring cups
Always go with glass. It’s helpful when you want to stick the cup in the microwave.
2. Measuring spoons
Avoid metal because you shouldn’t use it with clay. And you don’t have to remember that every time you measure or have two sets of spoons. Plus ceramic sets are always cuter.
3. Mixing bowls
These are my favorite bowls on the planet. They fit perfectly on top of a saucepan for a make-shift double boiler. Again, go with glass because you don’t want to mix up clay in a bowl, and glass just makes life easier.
4. Double boiler
I highly recommend having a dedicated sauce pan for melting. Because when you’re melting ingredients in a bowl on top of the saucepan, somehow wax or butter always ends up in the water. And it leaves a yucky film that’s a pain to clean.
But if you’re going to buy a saucepan, you might as well splurge and get a double boiler. I just bought this one, and it’s kind of too big. The 2-quart size would be perfect.
5. Immersion blender
I love my immersion blender. It makes whipping coconut oil or other body butter so easy. And you can get a really smooth consistency for a banana or avocado mask so you don’t have to pick pieces out of your hair forever.
Plus it is impossible to blend most beauty recipes in a regular blender—there’s usually not enough liquid to make things blend properly and it’s a nightmare to clean.
6. Coffee grinder
I never would have thought to buy a coffee grinder for beauty recipes, but it’s invaluable. I have one from long ago fancy coffee drinking days that now gets used on the regular to grind almonds, rice, oatmeal, and dried herbs.
7. Fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth
A strainer is a must-have for separating out infused oils or vinegars. And cheesecloth. You might not realize you need it, but you do.
Using old t-shirts, pantyhose or paper towels is not ideal. You’ll end up losing more of that precious oil that you just worked so hard to infuse. And for getting out tiny pieces, like when you’re using powders, cheesecloth is the best.
Speaking of losing precious liquids, a funnel will save so many tears. There’s nothing worse than trying to pour a concoction into a storage bottle and spilling half of it on the counter. This funnel set is a bit more expensive than plastic versions, but it holds up better in the dishwasher.
9. 4-ounce containers
Cleansing powders, masks, balms and salves all need to be stored somewhere. Most recipes will fit into a 4-ounce jar or, at most, need two jars.
And having a nice, neat set of mason jars is so much prettier to look at on your bathroom counter than Tupperware of all shapes and sizes. Go ahead and buy the 2-set pack!
10. Amber bottles
The 2-ounce size works well for storing oils. You don’t want a lot of extra air in the bottle to oxidize and degrade the ingredients. So make small batches and remake as needed.
What am I missing? Do you have a favorite DIY tool?
Essential DIY Beauty Tools FAQ
Can I use what I already have in my kitchen, or do I need to buy new tools?
While some of the ingredients in the DIY beauty products you make at home may be food grade, I always keep beauty tools separate from my kitchen tools for a couple of reasons. First, it’s easier: if you’ve ever wanted to cook dinner in the same pan you’ve used to melt beeswax for candles or infuse oils, you know what a headache it is to clean.
Plus, there is the issue of safety, especially when it comes to tools that will eventually come into contact with food you’re preparing down the line. It may be an investment up front to buy separate tools for DIYs, but you’ll save lots of time and potential worry in the long run.
Now that I have the proper tools, what natural ingredients should I keep on hand for beauty DIYs?
While you can certainly buy ingredients as you tackle each new DIY, it’s also nice to have a stocked natural medicine cabinet and a selection of must-have beauty ingredients at the ready. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have a lot of time to make things.
So when I do feel like getting crafty, keeping ingredients stocked and on hand lets me try new recipes on a whim (and avoid a run to the store or the wait for a delivery).
Why should I avoid using metal bowls, measuring spoons and measuring cups when making DIY beauty products?
Aside from the ease of being able to stick glass bowls in the microwave or on top of a saucepan when you need to heat or melt an ingredient, it’s important to remember that metal shouldn’t be used with clay. Metal can interact with the negative charge in clay and can decrease its effectiveness, which can defeat the purpose of using clay to make a mask.
If you opt for glass bowls and measuring cups and ceramic spoons, you won’t have to remember which tools react can with different ingredients when you’re testing out a new recipe.8
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