Personal Care Recipes: Corn Free Personal Care

Yeah, you guessed it. I make most of my  personal care products. And here’s what I use.

For a list of brands of products I am using including vinegar and essential oils, see my safe-for-me food and products list.

Baking Soda Face Wash

In the morning, I put 2 tsp baking soda in a half-pint jar of water and stir. I let it sit until the evening, when it should be a solution instead of a gritty paste. In the evening, I apply by dipping a microfiber facial cloth into the solution, gently rub in, then rinse well with water. There is enough left in the jar after this to use again in the morning, after which I refill the jar for use that night.


Raw Honey Face Wash

In the mornings, and any evenings where I don’t need to take off heavy makeup or lots of grease and dirt, I literally just put apply raw honey to my dry face and then rinse. For “creamed”, meaning crystallized honey, I get my fingertips a bit wet to allow the honey to spread on without pulling my skin around too much. I am also currently experimenting with infusing honey with thyme and cinnamon for an acne treatment.

Facial Moisturizer

  • 2 parts argan or jojoba oil
  • 1 part tamanu oil
  • essential oils of your choosing (be careful ifyou are going to use next to your eyes.)

Daily Soothing Acne Mask

  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp ground ceylon (sweet) cinnamon.

Mush it into a paste, apply, sit. Rinse off with lukewarm (not hot) water, then cleanse as usual. Unlike many other face masks, this can be done daily without fear of irritation or overdrying. I use this as a gentle face wash as well when I don’t feel I have a lot of makeup or dirt to remove.

Daily Antioxidant Face Mask

  • 2 tbsp whatever safe fruit I have
  • 1-2 tbsp honey

Which fruit? All of them! Mush up with honey, put on face, relax. Then rinse with lukewarm water and cleanse as usual.

Weekly Clarifying Mask

  • 2 tbsp brewed green tea (if I have it safe, otherwise I just use water)
  • 2 tsp ground calendula petals (I do this in a coffee grinder that I have reserved for herbal stuff)
  • 2 tbsp clay (i use bentonite from Living Clay Co. or MRH’s French Green)
  • 1 tsp honey

Mix up, apply to face, let dry, rinse off, then cleanse. Don’t do this every day as it can be irritating if done too often. Rinse off while still a bit sticky. If you let it dry completely you will irritate your skin more.

Shampoo and Conditioner

I use baking soda to clean the dirt from my hair. I then smooth the cuticle and condition it by adjusting the PH back to neutral with kombucha vinegar. For scent, I add whatever essential oils I feel like. This is called the No Poo method. I make a solution of about 1 cup of baking soda per gallon of water (or 1 tbsp baking soda per 1 cup of water) and either soak my head in it in a hairwashing basin or pour it over my head with a squirt bottle and work in. I then dunk my hair in a solution of about 2 tbsp kombucha vinegar per 1 cup of water (2 cups per gallon, 4 tbsp per quart) and rinse.

An Intro to No Poo
No Poo Troubleshooting
More No Poo Troubleshooting

Body Wash

This is currently in flux. Dr Bronner’s changed their citric acid source to corn and I haven’t arrived at what I really want to be washing with yet. Currently trying out Olivella fragrance free bar soap (only the bars, not the liquid, and not the frangrances) and also looking into using soap nuts for personal care.

Shaving cream

I use this recipe and put it in a hand soap pump bottle.

Body Moisturizer

I used to make lots of lotion and other body recipes but I got sick of it. Mostly I just use straight jojoba oil or shea butter. When my hands get super cracked in the winter I infuse whatever safe oils I have with herbs and add beeswax to make a salve. I kind of wing it based on what I’ve got, but this recipe is pretty similar to what I’ve done.

Finger and Toenails

I really never was much of a manicure girl before but I did get pedicures often. I lost a toenail in like 2005 or so and it never grew back right, so I have a mottled Zombie Toe on my left foot. If I keep that nail painted, I look a little more normal and don’t feel embarrassed to wear open-toed shoes. Now I just do my pedicures myself. I use safe-for-me products to soak, scrub, exfoliate, and moisturize, then paint my toenails myself. No, there is no corn free nail polish. I just use the highest quality I can find of the corny stuff, wear a mask while I apply it, and try not to get it on my actual cuticles too much. I don’t notice any irritation from it so far, and each pedicure lasts 3 weeks or so.


  • 2 tbsp calendula-infused semi-liquid oil (actually calendula, tea, rosemary, lemon balm infused combination of grapeseed, olive, and shea) (how to make an herb infused oil)
  • 6 tbsp shea butter
  • 2 tbsp zinc oxide (only buy NON-NANO zinc oxide!)
  • 1/4c baking soda
  • 1/4c arrowroot
  • essential oils- amount depends on your preferences

Melt coconut oil and beeswax. Stir in infused oil. Add baking soda and arrowroot and mix. Wearing a mask, carefully stir in zinc until smooth. Transfer to jars and apply to pits with fingertips. (I was making my deodorant stiffer and in stick form but after I accidentally made my last recipe too gooey, I decided I like the cream version better.)

Insect Repellent

The general recipe is 5% neem oil in a 50/50 solution of vodka and water, with essential oils to cover the smell of the neem. You can also do all water instead of vodka, the vodka just helps it dry faster.

    • 1/2c vodka
    • 1/2c water
    • 2.5 tsp neem oil
    • A few drops, to scent preference,  of any combination you like of essential oils.

Mix it all together and add to a spray bottle. Shake well before spraying as the oils will all float to the top.

The following essential oils are known to have insect repellent effects: lemon eucalyptus, lavender, citronella, lemongrass, lemon, geranium, rose geranium, thyme, perpperment.  Neem oil is the active ingredient, the essential oils can help repel but mostly cover the scent of the neem. Lemon eucalyptus seems to make everyone freak out about how good I smell so I use a lot of that.  I have tested this recipe while camping in high summer, and if re-applied every 2-3 hours it works like a charm. I only got bit when it wore off. I used Badger Balm bug balm once when I couldn’t find my homemade stuff, and accrued about 15 bites in under an hour.

9 thoughts on “Personal Care Recipes: Corn Free Personal Care

  1. Hi, I used to have a soaprecipe that I got from a blog. A mom and daughter were allergic to corn. I can not find it anywhere. I believe at one point you linked to the recipe. It was coconut oil, shea butter and lye. It was cold process and molded into a pvc pipe. Is there any chance you have or know where to find the recipe?

    1. You’re thinking of baking powder which usually contains corn starch. Hain brand contains potato starch instead. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and is a mineral mined from the earth. Some brands may be cross contaminated but they do not directly contain corn.

  2. I just realized I have a corn allergy about a month ago, and that corn is in literally everything about a week ago. I was heartbroken to learn that nail polish has ethanol in it, and it’s so difficult to find an answer about whether or not it’s safe to use, with a corn allergy. You said you haven’t noticed any problems with pedicures– do you think it’s safe to do a manicure? I love having my fingernails painted, but I don’t know if it’s safe, since your hands come in contact with your mouth and food. I haven’t looked up all the ingredients of nail polish, yet. I stopped at the ethanol, but, I would think ethanol evaporates… What are your thoughts? Do you find it’s safe, or too risky? Thank you for your blog. I think I’m going to be here, awhile!

    1. I said I didn’t notice a problem with doing them *myself*, just to be clear. I have not even considered going to a nail salon. Their soaps, lotions, and sanitizers can’t possibly be corn free and even if I got them to use my products I’d worry about residue left on their equipment.

      I was able to use regular corny OPI nail polish for my wedding. I wore an n99 carbon filter vogmask and my friend did it and we used pure acetone nail polish remover (the gentle/moisturizing stuff has corn) on a cotton swab to remove any polish that touched my cuticles ASAP.

      I did not have issues with the dried polish making me react or contaminating my food. I was somewhat careful with handling my food. I removed the polish as soon as it began to flake. I don’t wear polish every day- this was for my wedding.

      Me getting away with it for one day doesn’t really mean I recommend it as something to do often though.

      I think some folks use Piggy Paint, and that has way less corn in it. Might be something to look into?

      1. I’m so sorry for posting the same comment, twice. I’m not very familiar with wordpress! Thank you so much for getting back to me. Corn allergies are so overwhelming, and it feels like, every time I’ve got it figured out, I find a new thing has corn. Vanilla extract is off the table, which was a new discovery.

        Oh, you’re right. Salons would not be safe! I do my nails, myself, about once a week, because I find it therapeutic. But, I’m not sure if it’s safe, mostly with the nail polish-food cross contamination. I’m trying to figure out just how sensitive this allergy is. Like, do I need to switch out my laundry detergent? I’ve isolated all the corn/soy in my self-care routine–at least, I think I have– and, I’m working on replacing/making all the things I need. It’s so incredibly overwhelming. I want to make a tent in my room, and stay in bed until things get better. Unfortunately, I don’t think the universe does ultimatums. However, your blog is a god-send, and I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and expertise with the rest of us!

      2. It’s a lot, I know. You should probably join the fb group I have linked on the righthand bar and get some real-time support or at least lurk and see what other people are doing. It’s a big group these days and there are a fair number of people who are also just learning, but the folks who have been around awhile try to keep up as much as they can.

        If it were me I would shelve the manicure as an unnecessary risk given that you are still working on the basics and focus on cleaning up your food and home products and getting yourself stable and reaction free so that you can actually know whether you’re reacting to the polish or not.

        Most likely you do need to switch your laundry products- most people that end up needing to ask my blog or the group for help do. Plenty more that don’t ask for help do tbh. If you actually go and read the more recent posts and the top linked menu items on this blog, this is probably the ONLY place that I discuss using something on rare occasion that I know isn’t corn free. So the info you’re going to find here is how to scrupulously avoid corn down to the literal molecule. Whether you need to do that or not is something you need to determine for yourself. We find with corn allergy that more people have to go further than the rest of the world expects. Reactions to derivatives are pretty much standard. Reactions to cross contamination are standard too. Airborne reactivity isn’t rare but isn’t universal. I know for other allergens those things are considered rare.

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