Natural Beauties

Martha Stewart Living, December 2008

Spa-inspired presents, including these handmade lip balms, can be created from basic kitchen ingredients and craft materials.

Getting Started: Essential Oils

To scent homemade bath and beauty items, you'll need essential oils, available at health-food shops and online.

There are dozens of scents on the market, but we've listed some of our favorites. You might also come across fragrance oils.

Unlike essential oils, which are extracts of plants and fruits, fragrance oils may be made with synthetic compounds. That said, either type of oil is suitable for these projects. Use scents alone or in combinations: If mixing scents, add the oil with the less-intense scent first, followed by the stronger kind, one drop at a time.


Strong intensity. A powerful, clear aroma that pairs nicely with lemon. Use sparingly.


Strong intensity. A sweet floral scent that mixes well with peppermint or lemon.

Grapefruit, Lemon, or Tangerine

Medium intensity. Citrus oils can be used individually, but because they're so lively and adaptable, they lend themselves naturally to combinations.


Strong intensity. Refreshing on its own but also a fine partner for many other oils. A little goes a long way.


Medium to strong intensity. Herbal, woodsy aroma. Especially good with lemon.

Star Anise

Medium intensity. Warm, almost wintry fragrance. Excellent with tangerine.

Carrier Oils

Two projects, the lip balm and the body scrub, call for a carrier oil. Chances are, you already have one of these oils in your kitchen. Their job is not to add scent but to create a smooth texture and also help distribute the essential oil.

Grapeseed Oil

Lightweight, easily absorbed, and virtually odorless.

Olive Oil

A natural moisturizer. Use the lightest grades so that the scent wont mask that of the essential oil.

Sunflower Oil

Odorless and inexpensive.

Vitamin E Oil

Has a soft, light body. It can be expensive, so use it in small quantities in combination with another carrier oil.

Body Scrub

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Web-Exclusive Clip-Art Labels

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Sugar Scrub Labels 1
Sugar Scrub Labels 2

Lip Balms

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Large Round Lip Balms 1
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Lip Balm Tubes

Bath Snowballs

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Bath Fizzies

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