Best Nontoxic Body and Beauty Recipes that Won’t Trigger Migraine (DIY)

As anyone who gets migraines knows, common ingredients and fragrances in mainstream bath, body, and beauty products can be full of synthetic chemical triggers.  Even many of the products on the shelves of health food stores can be a trigger, depending on how sensitive you are.  People who get a few migraines a week or who are highly sensitive to chemical triggers may benefit more from the information below than someone who only gets migraines once in awhile and can get away with conventional products and makeup.  Still, who would want to compromise their health in favor of beauty?

So today I want to share with you some of the best DIY recipes I’ve come across in my search over the years for truly effective, homemade, nontoxic body and beauty care.  Most of these recipes I’ve adapted and changed from other recipes and made them truly my own.  That’s the fun of DIY products – you can use the top quality ingredients and get the ratios and proportions just right for you.

It’s my view that health and beauty are truly synonymous.  We are our most beautiful when we are the most healthy, so it behooves us to choose the most wholesome ingredients and/or products possible, especially when we keep in mind that the skin absorbs what we put onto it.

If you have a shampoo, deodorant, or makeup brand that you like and you want to know its toxicity (or rather, safety), look it up on the Skin Deep Database. Note that some products that have a 0 rating are not nontoxic, they may just not have any data.  It is well known that all red lake dyes used in lipsticks, including carmine (which has a natural source), is very toxic and inflammatory especially for those with migraine.

Homemade Nontoxic Borax Shampoo Recipe

This recipe works really well and is super easy to make. The portions below are for a single wash for someone with shoulder length hair, but I tend to make a big batch of the baking soda and borax, which I leave in my bathroom with a spoon, and then I add it to the right portion of water.  It’s important not to approximate too much on the ratio of water to powder, as the strength of the solution determines how well it will clean your heair.

The only challenge with this recipe is remembering that this water mixture needs to go on your hair when it is DRY, not wet.

1 t. baking soda
1 t. mule team borax
1/2 t. honey (optional) dissolved in
3 cups warm water

Raw African Black Soap Shea Butter Shampoo Recipe

This recipe is even better than the borax shampoo but it takes some ingredients that are not as easily found in most stores, such as cetyl alchohol.  Cetyl alchohol will also make this shampoo froth up nicely so it feels more like a traditional shampoo in that sense.  Cetyl alchohol is made from saponified coconut oil.

1 oz of herbs, steeped and strained in the above water (optional. I use sage and comfrey for dark hair)
(Steep herbs in boiling water for 20 minutes and strain before adding back into the pan for the total of 2 cups water)
16 oz (2 cups) of water
Add 1/3 cup of grated authentic African Black Soap – the raw kind made with Shea Butter.
1 teaspoon of oil
3 granules of cetyl alcohol (I got mine at
1/8 teaspoon of guar gum (Optional depending on whether you want it thickened. I use Bob’s Red Mill guar gum)
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerine

I got my African Black Soap on Amazon from Suds of Beauty. I grate mine on the fine side of the grater.  An African black soap bar with other additives will not work in the same way the raw shea soap does. You will want to add the essential oils at the end.  For oils, I use sesame, rice bran, jojoba, coconut, castor, or olive oil, OR essential oils of choice. 100 drops of essential oil is equivalent to one teaspoon. I use 50 drops of rosemary, 30 drops of lavender, 20 drops of basil.  You could also use oils that are good for staving off migraine: peppermint, black pepper, grapefruit, frankincense

Simple Homemade Conditioners

1/4 teaspoon of citric acid in 3 cups water, OR 1 teaspoon vinegar to 3 cups water, or adjust to your liking.  Different hair types require different levels of acidity.  I try to err on the side of less acidic, as it can leave hair stringy and almost greasy looking if too much acid is used. Rinse afterwards. You will not smell like vinegar after your hair dries, but for those who don’t like the smell of vinegar during showering, use the citric acid version.

Leave-in Hair Conditioner

A few drops of castor oil or essential oil of rosemary, basil, lemon, and/or lavender are great hair conditioners, as are very light oils such as sesame oil.  The Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum & Toner (recipe below) also works great as a leave-e in hair conditioner.

Flax Gel

Boil 1/4 cup flax seeds in 3 cups of water
strain and keep refrigerated


One thing I’ve discovered is that body odour is greatly reduced once magnesium levels have reached a tissue concentration after 3-6 months of continual high-dose (around 800 mg/day) magnesium supplementation. In addition to that, the deodorant recipe below is effective.  This deodorant can be alternated out every few days with a simple magnesium oil.

3 T Diatomaceous Earth
2 T coconut Oil
1 T Baking Soda
10 drops cardamom essential oil

Mix the above ingredients and put into a deodorant tube.

Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum Toner

1/4 c. water, aloe vera juice, rosewater, alcohol-free witch hazel, or hydrosol
10 caps of NOW hyaluronic acid supplements with MSM
1/4 + 1/8 t honey
3 drops vegetable glycerine
1/2 t aloe vera gel
20 drops of essential oils (I use lavender, frankincense, and cypress, or a few drops of clove if acne prone)
1/4 t sesame oil
4 drops of Sangre de Grado (aka, Dragon’s Blood) (optional)

Whisk these ingredients together and put in a pump dispenser.  I usually use mine all up before this needs to be refrigerated, but if you make larger batches at once you will want to refrigerate the extra.  I put this on top of my facial oil or moisturizer and it lends a beautiful glow.

Deep Moisturizing Face Cream for Dry Skin

This is by far my most complex product I’ve ever made, but it’s amazing!  Not every single ingredient is required to make it, so if you make adaptations just make sure that the ratios of oils to waters are the same as that presented here.

Heat in a double boiler:
1/4 cup plus 2.5 T shea butter
1 t beeswax
4 tabs cocoa butter
1/8 t lanolin
Then pour into a blender.

After the waxes and shea have cooled, add in to the blender, and blend:
3T evening primrose oil (or your favorite oil)
20 drops frankincense, 10 myrrh, 20 cypress, 20 lavender (or 70 drops of your favorite essential oils)
6 drops vit e oil (not necessary if you are using an oil already high in vitamin E like rice bran or sesame oil)
2 capsules sunflower lecithin (about 1/8-1/4 t)

In a separate bowl, mix:
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup water heated + 1/2 t honey and 1/2 t acacia fiber, dissolved in the warm water
4 inches scraped aloe vera (or 3 T aloe gel, optional)
5 drops glycerine (optional)

The key to making this successfully is to wait until the oil portion has cooled before mixing. Very slowly, add the water mixture to the oil mixture only after the oils have sufficiently cooled until they are slightly solid but not hard. This is key. Very gradually add these waters until the blender “chokes.” Scoop out and put into jars.

Antioxidant Face Oil

This is my go-to face oil.  It’s simple to make and can be made with any number of oils depending on what works best for your skin.  My current favorite right now is rice bran oil, which is very firming due to the tocotrienols (a special type of vitamin E) present in the oil. I use a 10ml roller for my face oil and roll the oil onto my hand before applying to my face.

Red palm oil is also very nice and super nourishing.  I put it on at night because this oil is high in beta-carotene (ie, it gives your face a light yellow tinge, which is gone in the morning).  The beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A which is excellent for skin health and tone. Evening primrose or rosehipseed oil are two other of my favorite base oils.

After you’ve decided on your base oil, add 15 drops of your favorite facial essential oil. I use 7 drops frankincense, 3 drops rose, 5 drops lavender. Helicrhyrsum and copaiba are also lovely skin oils.  Add a drop of clove in if you are prone to acne, but be sure not to put more in as this is a very fiery oil.

Traditional Kohl Recipe

For thousands of years, women have made kohl by collecting the soot from an almond or a piece of burnt cotton, then mixing it with ghee or sesame oil.  Currently this is what I use for my own eye makeup, and I love it.  I purchased an eyeliner wand from a conventional cosmetic company, emptied out the toxic contents, and apply my kohl with the wand.

Kohl is very easy and fun to make.  Just watch this video to learn how to do it.

Nontoxic Makeup Brands

Since all red lake dyes and carmine contain toxic lead or aluminum salts, I use 100% Pure’s line of cosmetics for cheeks and lips. This is a great brand for nontoxic cosmetics if you don’t want to make your own. Their mascara is great as well.

Rejuva Minerals has a very nice nontoxic concealer.  Sorry, there are only limited shades available, so this site does not provide good options if your skin tone is darker. 100% Pure has a broader range of shades though I have not tried their concealer. One nice side-effect of the SimplyWell Protocol is that is clears your skin, so eventually you will not need any concealer at all.

Do you have a favorite nontoxic beauty recipe or brand?

Comments are open.  Feel free to share below.  Sorry, but I don’t have time to answer specific questions about recipe adaptations.  Please experiment and share with the community what you learn.

About Marya Gendron
Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions and hair mineral analysis. She practices out of White Salmon, Washington.