DIY Supplies for Handmade Skin Care

One of the best aspects of creating a handmade skin care business is that you can very successful create and sell out of your home.

Most of the supplies you need you can ‘technically’ find in your kitchen – but that doesn’t mean use them. You absolutely, no doubt, 100% positively NEED to have a separate set of supplies for your skin care making needs.

Luckily, many of the items recommended on this page only need to purchased once – and you can do it very affordably as your product list grows.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. This is at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.  Please read my disclosure for more information.

DIY Skin Care Supplies

Amber Wide Mouth Mason Jars

If you infuse any of your oils prior to using in handmade skin care recipes, these amber glass jars have your name all over them.

The larger 32oz size is perfect for adding several cups of dried herbs and botanicals while still coming away with a decent amount of infused carrier oils.

Amber glass is MORE than ideal for keeping UV rays away from your oils, preserving the nutrients in your vitamin-rich infusions.

Visit our tutorial blog for instructions on three different types of herbal infusions.

Bamboo Skewers

Wooden skewers are a FANTASTIC way to stir skin care products you have to make on a stovetop.

Using anything plastic to stir heated/melted ingredients will contaminate your recipe. Using anything metal is difficult to clean afterwards (especially if a wax is involved).

Wood skewer sticks are the perfect answer, as they do not harm your end product, can be cut in half for a larger quantity, and can be used multiple times (I have a separate one reserved for each type of recipe I make so that I know the exact ingredients it has been introduced to).

Blendtec Professional-Grade Blender

If you will be making powdered laundry soap in large batches, a professional blender like this one is absolutely worth the cost.

After months of grating castile soap with a handheld cheese grater, I finally ‘splurged’ on a $30 blender dedicated just to making laundry soap. Three cheap blenders later (in only four months time), it was clear that you get what you pay for.

An investment item for your skin care line, but one that will pay for itself very quickly.

Freezer Paper, Plastic-coated

 If you will be lining your wooden soap molds by hand, you will need roll of plastic-coated paper such as freezer paper.  Using an uncoated paper, such as butcher paper, will make for a mess when trying to peel the soap away.

I bought a huge economy size like this one for cost purposes (I always buy in bulk when I can), and it has lasted for years. And as a mom win, it also doubles as a huge coloring surface for my kids! I roll it the entire length of the house and it occupies my girls for a decent amount of time while I work.

Go here to get directions on lining a soap mold with paper.

Candy Thermometer with Long Probe

Cold process soap making requires you to know the exact temperature of your lye solution and your heated oils before combining them together. An instant digital thermometer is the most efficient tool for this.

I highly recommend getting a candy or meat thermometer with a long probe like the one shown here, as it easily reaches down into a deep stockpot.

The steel probe is also a breeze to clean when compared to the typical thick glass candy thermometer.

Cheesecloth, Unbleached Cotton

Infusing oils with herbs and botanicals is a wonderful way to make your skin care products stand out from the rest – infusions provide more vitamins, natural fragrance, and moisturize skin better than carrier oils alone.

To get the herbs out of the oils after an infusion, you either need cheesecloth or a stainless steel mesh strainer.

Learn more about time infusion, solar infusion, and heat infusion for your skin care recipes to decide which method is better for you.

Cheese Grater

Having a thick, sturdy, stainless steel cheese grater around specifically for handmade recipes is super handy.

Helpful for when you accidentally order a solid bucket of cocoa butter that needs to be grated for each recipe (guilty), if you accidentally order a block of beeswax instead of the pellets, or if you’re making your own laundry soap and need to grate up a bar of castile soap.

Having the no-slip bottom is important so you don’t cut your fingers when dealing with muscle jobs that also get greasy as the waxes and butters get on your hands.

Curing Racks

After making cold process soap, it must be cured for six to eight weeks for the longest lasting bar.

For even curing all the way through, a well-ventilated surface like these cooling racks are ideal so that air is getting to all sides of the soap.

If you are a professional soaper or are making much larger quantities than this three-tiered version will hold, a commercial cooling rack that has 20 tiers may be a better answer.

Elbow-Length Chemical Resistant Gloves

Most soaping recipes remind you to wear gloves, and then show pictures of those wrist-length latex fellas. Let me just throw out a big NO to that.

When working with lye during cold process soap making, you can’t be too careful. I have had lye end up on my upper arms before when not wearing these big long guys, and let me tell you. You don’t want to experience that. You need chemical-resistant gloves that go the ENTIRE length of your arm.

This version has elastic to keep the gloves from slipping down while working – a must.

Electric Heat Gun

If you use shrink wrap to seal your products, you will need to have a craft heat gun on hand (nope, hair dryers don’t work, unfortunately).

The model shown here is your best bet, as it has two heat settings. The heat guns with only one setting tend to get too hot after repeated use and melt and burn the shrink wrap beyond repair.

Purchasing a heat tool that has a stand and a burn-guard around the metal tip is an absolute must to protect your surfaces and skin.

Electric Hot Plate

Since most home-based skin care makers are using their own kitchen to create product, it is REALLY handy to have a portable stovetop on hand.

Some recipes, such as those that require heat infusions or long and slow melting times, take several hours. It is essential that you keep any recipes you’re making away from food prep. Hotplates allow you to keep your skin care products doing science in another room while also using the kitchen for other purposes.

Bonus points for having another heating element available during busy e-commerce seasons, such as Black Friday and Mother’s Day.

Glass Pipettes

While many people swear by lip balm filling trays, I find it much more efficient and clean to use a glass transfer pipette.

The droppers on the top of these 4oz boston round bottle hold a decent amount of heated liquid balm without leaking out. And who can’t use a few extra amber bottles laying around?

For more specific instructions on how I use these droppers, visit my lip balm recipe blog post for an explanation and photos.

Heat Sealable Empty Tea Bags

Heat sealed tea bags are the most efficient (and tidy) way to use heat infusion methods in your skin care recipes.

For naturally colored cosmetics, such as our Alkanet Root Tinted Lip Balm, you simply add the ground roots and herbs to the tea bag, seal it with a standard clothing iron, and let it sit in heated carrier oils while it transfers the color over.

Also useful for adding titanium dioxide safely to balms and creams without the added grit of the mineral remaining in the end product.

Plastic Pipettes

Most essential oils come with glass droppers or orifice reducers. When creating skin care recipes that require several types of essential oils, the only way you can guarantee your drops of oil are the same size is by using a standard transfer pipette for all.

I have a separate pipette dropper for each essential oil I have on hand. That way, I know that each bottle is 100% pure and hasn’t been mixed with any other oils.

These disposable pipettes hold 3mL, a bit larger than most droppers – MUCH more efficient when creating large batches of product.

Respirator

Working with natural ingredients is not always danger-free.

If you are a soap maker, you know the dangers of inhaling the fumes of lye when it is mixed with water. A respirator is also necessary when mixing recipes that produce dust and powder that are easily inhaled. Wearing a respirator is absolutely essential for your health and safety.

This version creates a strong seal, is comfortable, an easily repositions so that your goggles fit simultaneously.

Don’t forget to grab the filter cartridges (bonus that they come in fun colors)!

Safety Goggles

Goggles are another super important safety item to use when making soap and recipes with smaller dust particles.

Spending a couple extra dollars for a snug fit like this one is worth the cost, or you’ll be adjusting the straps as you work.

If you would rather search around for different options, make sure you get a pair that has anti-fog lenses. When using a respirator for soap-making, goggles that are unsealed and not anti-fog cloud up almost instantly, a situation you don’t want to be in when working with lye.

Silicone Spatulas, Heat-Resistant

A basic item to have on hand for any DIY maker. Heat-resistant spatulas make them useful for all skin care recipes, including mixing super hot lye solutions in cold-process soap making.

I am very particular about keeping specific tools for specific recipes, so I love that this set of four has different shapes. It makes it easy to tell that ‘this one is for soap making’ and ‘this one is for laundy powder making’.

Soap Cutters, Stainless Steel 

Two popular cutting styles for handmade soaps: straight and wavy.

If you’re just getting into soap making, this is an affordable set to have on hand – they easily rinse off under a stream of hot water.

For individuals that know hot or cold process soap will be part of your product line for the long-haul, a professional soap cutter meant to cut an entire loaf at one time is a better option (for consistency and efficiency).

Soap Molds, Silicone Insert in Wooden Box

 Soap making can be an expensive addition to your skin care offerings, and it doesn’t make sense to buy professional equipment when you’re just starting out.

I highly recommend getting basic molds at the beginning of your soaping journey while you become aquainted with the process.

After you know you’re a lifer, check out Soap Making Resource for really well-made wooden soap molds and acrylic soap molds that last a long time and easily disassemble for cleaning.

Stainless Steel Double Boiler

I used a stainless steel bowl in a pot as a homemade double boiler in my early skin care making days, and I wish I would have purchased this one so much sooner!

It fits nearly any pot (though I do recommend a smaller saucepan like the one below) and the pour spouts on each side are SUPER helpful when transferring product to tins and larger tubes.

The inside is slick so it is a dream to clean, even when using ingredients that tend to stick around (like shimmery micas and titanium dioxide). A staple in my workshop!

Stainless Steel Measuring Cups

For the same reasons as mentioned above in the measuring spoons section, the best dry measuring cups for making skin care products are ones that have engraved handles.

Natural ingredients are gentle on the skin, but they can remove ink and paint from surfaces and break down plastic.

Metal measuring cups are easier to clean, last longer, and won’t contaminate your handmade products.

Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons

The best measuring spoons to purchase if working with essential oils are a stainless steel version that have the measurements engraved onto the handle.

As essential oils are powerful cleaners, they quickly remove paint. If using a measuring spoon that has the measurement printed in ink, it will be removed within a couple of uses.

Similarly, essential oils eat through plastic, making any spoons that are coated with rubber unusable as well.

A basic metal, engraved set is all you need when working with natural skin care ingredients.

Stainless Steel Mini Funnels

These stainless steel funnels are the perfect size to sit on top of 10mL roller bottles and 1oz dropper bottles while adding your ingredients.

In addition to making it faster to get oils and carriers into your bottle, it keeps the outside of your container clean so that your product labels stick much better.

Using flask funnels like these (that have a short stem) rather than standard essential oil funnels (that have a longer stem) ensures you don’t waste or drip any product when removing it from the bottle opening.

Stainless Steel Nesting Bowls

 All the high fives for this essential set of bowls in your handmade skin care kitchen. I use these every day, without fail.

The lids make it easy for me to prep all of my recipes for the week in one day and seal them up until they’re ready to be transferred to my double boiler or stockpot. I even use them AS double boilers when I need to make more than one recipe at a time.

The biggest sizes are perfect for batching laundry powder or measuring out larger volumes of oils and butters for cold process soap recipes.

Stainless Steel Ramikens

These little guys are perfect for measuring out smaller quantities of ingredients in advance, such as seeds, clays, and other exfoliants or colorants.

Ramikens are also helpful for when essential oils need to be measure out in grams instead of drops, as is needed for cold process soap recipes.

This particular set gives you the choice of 12 all the way to a pack of 576 (four different sizes available).

Stainless Steel Saucepan

A small saucepan like this one is the perfect size for creating balms and creams on the stove. They heat up quickly and fits the double boiler above perfectly.

The best saucepan to use is one that has taller sides so the ingredients are as far away from the heating element as possible. This conserves the vitamins and skin-loving properties of your handmade skin care product.

Stainless Steel Stockpot

A tall stockpot is the best container for melting your butters and oils for cold process soap making.

Having a deep pot is necessary so that when you add the lye and mix with a stick blender, the solution doesn’t splash out and onto your skin or surfaces.

This particular size (16 quarts) is large enough to make ten pounds of soap (two 5 lb soap molds).

Stainless Steel Whisk

 A steel whisk is a safe instrument to use when adding lye to water for soap making purposes.

Though silicone spatulas are heat-resistant and would hold up fine in the lye solution, a whisk does a faster job and keeps the water from sloshing out of the bowl as it is being mixed. 

Stick Blender

Stick blenders are used in soap making to help get the ingredients to trace much faster.

Mixing your melted butters and oils with lye with a spatula would take hours to reach trace – using a hand blender like this one cuts that time down to just a couple of minutes.

You don’t need a top-of-the-line blender, just make sure it has a detachable shaft for easy clean up.

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