Personal Care Recipes: Corn Free Personal Care

Yeah, you guessed it. I make most of my  personal care products.

Updated: March 2023

I no longer recommend most of the DIY products/recipes I used in 2012. These didn’t really work out *that* badly for me, but the main reason they didn’t is that allergenic products were WORSE for my skin than the DIY stuff I was using.

What I’m doing now is home formulating my own ph balanced, water-based formulations using actual cosmetics ingredients and broad-spectrum preservatives to protect against microbial growth. My reasons for switching away from “food on your face/in your hair” recipes is:

  1. Many of the options I was using were very high or low PH and literally caustic. Again, these were doing better for me than corny things, but barely.
  2. Oils do not moisturize your skin. Water moisturizes your skin. Oils can help seal that moisture in, but there is only so much they can do. It is far better for your skin if you can apply a product to your face that contains water, a humectant, and a number of emollients that may or may not include oil.
  3. No-poo low-poo type hair recipes are often not PH balanced are are also not great at actually cleaning your hair. Even using the Carina Organics shampoo and conditioner was not cutting it- the coconut oil in the conditioner built up on my hair and the single very gentle amphoteric surfactant in Carina’s shampoo, cocamidopropyl betaine, was not strong enough to remove that oil. Over time my hair began to streeetch and stretch when wet and eventually snap off. I had a microscope analysis done to my hair and even though I had washed the sample I sent them several times in the Carina shampoo, they still could not see the cuticle of the hair in their microscope because there was a film of buildup over the whole thing. They had to wash it in a special detergent that people would not use on hair that was still growing out of their head to see anything.

All that said, I am still using a few DIY type recipes. Those are listed below.

I am still narrowing down my home formulated shampoo, conditioner, lotion, if you want to understand the basics of what it looks like to formulate your own products, I would start with the blog Humblebee and Me and her youtube channel. She is not formulating for allergies so you wouldn’t likely be able to use any of her formulations as-is, but you can at least get an idea what it looks like to do this kind of thing if you wanted to get into it for yourself.

For a list of brands of products/raw ingredients I am using, see my safe-for-me food and products list.

Simple Oil Cleanser

  • Jojoba Oil


Apply jojoba oil to face and gently massage in. Use a soft cloth soaked in warm water to gently rub the oil off your face, which should remove the dirt along with the oil. Follow up with a safe non-oil cleanser. (The honey face wash for myself currently.)

Based on this information from Labmuffin, I would prefer to follow this up with an actual surfactant-based cleanser. However I’m not quite ready to try any of my cosmetics formulations on my face. The skin there is much more sensitive and prone to reactions and while I’ve done my diligence in checking for corn in the production of my cosmetics ingredients, there’s a limit to how much the vendors know since the laws around what needs to be disclosed for cosmetics ingredients is different from food. They may not be directly made from corn but I’m not 100% sure they haven’t been cross-contaminated in processing, or don’t have some kind of trace of some kind of preservative or excipient or something that isn’t labeled.

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

I used to apply straight oil to my face after washing, but I now do a two step process that includes a humectant. I am making body lotion but I am not yet ready to try those ingredients on my face for the reasons already mentioned.

  1. Wet face, and also wet palms.
  2. Put a pea-sized or smaller amount of pure coconut, palm, or other safe corn-free glycerin into your wetted palms and rub together to mix into the water.
  3. Apply diluted glycerin in your palms across your face and neck.
  4. Put another pea-sized or smaller amount of jojoba oil on your palms and apply over the top of the glycerin and water to seal in moisture.

The reason I apply things in stages rather than mixing them together  in batches is:

  1. Oil will not mix with glycerin and water without an emulsifier. I’m not yet ready to try the emulsifiers I use on the rest of my skin on my face. It might go fine. It might not.
  2. Any formula containing water MUST be preserved with a broad-spectrum preservative if you do not want to culture horrifying bacteria and fungi in your bottle. Even keeping stuff in the fridge will only slow the microbial growth, not stop it. I have a broad spectrum preservative that is working for me, but again, I am not ready to apply it to my face.

To modify this formula:

You can use just about any oil you want, although make sure that you choose a non-comedogenic oil, and also realize that some people develop Melessezia Folliculitis from using basically any oil except mineral oil on their face. I am not aware of mineral oil being sourced from corn at this time, but I have not tried any mineral oils on my skin to know how I do with them or if I suspect them to be cross-contaminated.
For safe glycerin, I’ve been using the Pure D’or brand coconut glycerin for ages. I know many people are allergic to coconut. I haven’t tried this product but there is a sunflower-derived glycerin here.  If you are not allergic to soy, soy glycerin is relatively easy to find. Mountain Rose Herbs has one.


This recipe still works okay but I honestly just buy my deodorant now. I like the ones from PureRemedy lately and they’ve been safe.

  • 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.)

Body Wash, Body Lotion, Shampoo, Conditioner

I’m formulating all of these using techniques similar to what you would see in the Humblebee and Me blog, but I’m still narrowing down my actual preferred formulas as well as doing do diligence with the corn safety of my raw ingredients.

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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