As discussed in what you’ll need (and why), the skin, while an amazing organ, is not an effective barrier and in fact allows much of what is applied to it to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Women who apply makeup every day and use commercial cleaning and grooming products are estimated to absorb nearly 5 pounds (about 2 kilograms) of synthetic chemicals through their skin each year. Other ingredients are not absorbed but instead form a suffocating layer which stops the skin from respiring. Wouldn’t you rather be applying natural, beneficial substances that your skin and body can recognise and use?

Here are some benign spotless ways to truly nurture and protect your skin and body without causing harm to yourself or the environment.


Luxury deodorant

Coconut oil helps to deodorise because of its anti-bacterial action, while also caring for the skin. This mixture forms a stiff paste which is very, very effective.

  • Combine equal parts of cornstach and bicarb (about a quarter cup of each) to two parts softened coconut oil (about half a cup). Mix well.
  • If your coconut oil is very solid, warm it gently to make mixing easier.
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil to keep the mixture from becoming too hard if you will be storing it in the fridge, or in cold weather.
  • You can add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice to this mixture for added fragrance and effectiveness, if you like. Tea tree, lavender or rose geranium work well. The deodorant is also highly effective without them if you want to go fragrance-free.
  • Allow the mixture to cool and get firm.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount under each armpit.
  • Store in a cool place or the fridge in warm weather. If it gets too warm and separates, mix it thoroughly again.

Simple deodorants

  • After a bath or shower, rub a tiny amount of bicarb onto damp underarms for an effective day long deodorant (or on feet; and bicarb sprinkled into shoes is a great shoe deodoriser).
  • For a silkier feel, or if bicarb makes you itch when used neat this way (some people are sensitive to it when it is left on the skin), mix one part bicarb with six parts cornstarch. Apply dry with a small sponge, puff or brush.
  • (Cornstarch is a good addition as it functions as a light “antiperspirant”, absorbing moisture away from the skin while the bicarb deodorises. This mixture is also a good baby powder and after-shaving powder.)
  • If you find you need more deodorising power, increase the ratio of bicarb to cornstarch.
  • Lemon juice is another deodorant that is good for the skin. Keep some in a small spray bottle for the purpose. Or moisten the skin with lemon juice before applying a dab of bicarb as a deodorant.
  • Rub a little coconut oil onto armpits. The anti-bacterial action keeps odour down.

Bath and shower

Body wash

  • Bicarb makes a gentle cleansing body wash that is soothing and antiseptic and softens the skin.
  • Salt is cleansing, exfoliating and antiseptic and good for the circulation when used as a wash. Use a medium or fine ground salt for this.
  • Apply either (or a mixture) directly to wet skin and rub gently in circles for an exfoliating scrub action.
  • Or make a paste with 3 parts bicarb (and / or salt) and one part water and rub gently in circles for gentler exfoliation. Rinse.
  • Don’t exfoliate your skin too often. For gentle effective cleaning without abrasion, thoroughly dissolve a teaspoon or two of bicarb (and / or salt) in a cup of water and use as a wash. Keep it in a squirt bottle for easy use, and shake up before use.
  • In the bath, add a few drops of olive oil or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water, especially if you are prone to dry skin. Avoid very hot water, which dries and damages the skin.

Body scrub

  • Mix salt (and / or raw sugar) with a little olive oil and / or coconut oil. Start with half a cup of salt to a tablespoon of oil and adjust to the consistency that suits you. (You can add any essential oil(s) of your choice.)
  • Gently rub onto skin to exfoliate, cleanse, tone and soften the skin.
  • Rinse and dry gently.

Bath salts and soaks


  • Add from a tablespoon to a quarter cup of olive oil to the bathwater, depending on how deep a treatment you want. (As with any bath oil, beware of a slippery bath.) Add essential oil(s) of your choice if you wish, mixed with the olive oil before adding to your bath.
  • Or, add a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar) to the bath for silky skin. This also soothes dry, sunburned or irritated skin.

Rejuvenating and detoxifying

  • Add half a cup sea salt and half a cup bicarb to water and soak. Soothes dry, flaky, sunburned or irritated skin and treats eczema, rashes and insect bites. Add essential oil(s) of your choice to the salts if you wish.
  • Or, add ¾ cup of 3% (10 volume) hydrogen peroxide (or more, up to 2 cups) to the bathwater and soak for at least half an hour.
  • (Epsom salts is another brilliant bath salt that soothes tired or aching muscles and joints as well as bites and stings, and softens skin. And Rooibos tea added to bath water is very good for any skin irritation.)

Relaxing bath salts

My favourite simple bath salts mixture is:

  • One cup of sea salt (to cleanse and detoxify)
  • One cup of bicarb (to cleanse, soothe and soften skin)
  • One cup of Epsom salts (to relax and soothe tired muscles, and soothe and soften skin)
  • One teaspoon cornstarch (prevents the salt from caking)
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil (to heal, soothe, relax and calm the mind)
  • 1 tablespoon Rooibos tea leaves (optional – to soothe and treat any rash or irritation)
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and then pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid to store. Add liberally to bath water.

Exchange the lavender oil for another essential oil of your choice for a different experience.

Skin conditioner

Paradoxically, your skin is at its most vulnerable to infection immediately after being washed, especially with hot water and harsh cleaners, as its natural protective layer has been stripped and the balance of micro-organisms disrupted. It is also a convenient time to apply a skin conditioner. Unlike many commercial “care” products, all of these will protect and nourish your skin, help it restore its natural balance, and boost its natural well-being without stifling respiration.

  • Use coconut oil as a fabulous all-round skin moisturising, anti-aging, healing and conditioning “butter” that absorbs easily and has long-lasting effects.
  • Or, after a bath or shower, rub a small amount of olive oil all over your skin while still slightly wet, for a light yet effective moisturiser that spreads quickly, absorbs easily and leaves skin silky.
  • For a wonderful skin mousse that combines the many benefits of both coconut and olive oil, blend one cup coconut oil with a quarter cup (or more) of olive oil. Add any essential oil(s) of your choice. Store in the fridge in warm weather. You can add this to bathwater too, and it makes a great butter for babies’ skin.
  • Spritz your skin with a spray bottle of 3% (10 volume) hydrogen peroxide after washing (especially if you are still using commercial soaps or washes) to restore the skin’s acid mantle.
  • For extra dry areas like elbows and heels, regularly rub in a small amount of olive or coconut oil.
  • Both olive oil and coconut oil help the skin recover during and after sun exposure, and help protect against skin cancer, without using synthetic chemicals to block the sun’s rays. (Read a good discussion of the benefits of using olive oil rather than sun screens to help the skin cope with the effects of the sun. Please note that, obviously, one should avoid sunburn. However some sun exposure is vital to good health as it allows the body to make vitamin D. Many sunscreens contain harmful and carcinogenic synthetic chemicals whose effects are worsened when exposed to sunlight and heat. Protective clothing is often a better defense.)


  • Vinegar (apple cider or white spirit), bicarb or 3% (10 volume) hydrogen peroxide can all be used for a safe douche, as follows.
  • Use two teaspoons vinegar, OR two teaspoons peroxide, OR one teaspoon of bicarb, in a cup of water.
  • Use the solution to rinse, spritz or douche once or twice a day till symptoms clear, or once a week to keep infections at bay.

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