Spa Apothecary: Natural Bath & Beauty Recipes
By Stasie McArthur
(124 pages, non-fiction, 2019)
Stasie McArthur’s 2019 Spa Apothecary is a great place to get started creating your own all-natural bath and body products. Whether your goals are to save money, create an eco-friendlier household, reduce your family’s exposure to chemical additives, or simply to try a fun new hobby, this is a wonderfully accessible resource for getting started with your own at-home spa apothecary. (Pssst: go ahead and call it an a-SPA-thecary: I won’t tell!)
In this book, McArthur takes readers through the basics of creating all-natural, small-batch bath and body products, including the essential supplies for mixing and storing your concoctions, the properties of common ingredients, and information on how to work safely with essential oils. The recipes are divided into just a few sections: Face and Hand Care (e.g., lip balm, cuticle oil), Skin and Body Care (e.g., foot scrub, shave gel), Hair Care (e.g., detangling spray, shampoo and conditioner), and Healing (e.g., skin tag remover, earache relief).
I’ve tried several of McArthur’s recipes, from every section of this book, and haven’t had a bad result yet. Admittedly, some of the formulations require a fair investment at the outset — for instance, the ones that require beeswax, specialized carrier oils, reusable spray bottles, or a double-boiler setup. However, I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to find all of my ingredients and materials locally thus far, so I can support small Concord-based businesses, rather than big-box online retailers, with my apothecary purchases. (It’s also been my experience that products requiring an upfront investment still prove cost-effective over store-bought, when you look at the long term.) If you’re interested in the principles of at-home spa care but aren’t quite ready to invest financially, never fear! Many of these recipes — such as the baking soda face scrub, apple cider vinegar face toner, and chamomile tea hair rinse — cost next to nothing and can be whipped up in just a few minutes with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. I love that McArthur’s recipes are simple, straightforward, and printed in large, readable font.
Go ahead and pick up this book for its simple two-step kitchen recipes, more advanced spa formulations, or simply to learn about the soothing, healing, and invigorating properties of some pantry staples. Your skin, hair, pocketbook, and the environment will thank you.
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Faithe Miller Lakowicz