This is the main ingredient group to explore in the making of truly sustainable skincare products in your kitchen. In Asia, food and beauty products are often interchangeable, and roughly half the ingredients in most dishes are used in a traditional beauty regimen. The reason why we should use food for our skincare products is obviously for safety because food ingredients are far more regulated than cosmetic ingredients. In addition, they are biodegradable and both our bodies and the Earth know how to process them.

Edible Ingredients

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate):

Helps draw out toxins as the body attempts to balance the percentage of saline content between the water and skin. Add to a hot bath.


Honey is proven to have a broad spectrum of anti-infectious action against at least 80 germs and is used topically to cure wounds and burns both in traditional and modern medicine. Honey also has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a humectant which draws moisture to be retained in the skin. It also has astringent and soothing properties which explains its wide use in creams, face masks, toners, and so on. A traditional recipe containing honey is used to treat acne.

Konnyaku powder:

Glucomannan, a natural fibre derived from the root of the konjac plant, is widely used in personal care products and cosmetics due to its water-retention capacity; it ensures that the skin is moisturised, smooth, and supple. Use for a peel-off face mask as inflammation, eczema, and acne. It is proven to stimulate the cells’ immune system and retain moisture.


Contains both alpha-hydroxy and niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, making it a useful ingredient for moisturising and anti-ageing.


It has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it effective in combatting acne. Some studies also confirm its antioxidant property, as an effective anti-ageing ingredient.

Salt (Sodium chloride, Ammonium chloride):

It helps adjust viscosity in creams. It also detoxifies and cleanses the skin. Epsom salts (Magnesium sulphate) are known to relieve aches and pains


Fragrance-free alcohol can be used as a solvent for herbs. As vodka may be expensive, rice wine is a good alternative.


The main ingredient in commercial skincare products is water to lower viscosity. And the water used in products is mostly deionised water (DI water), from which almost all mineral irons have been removed to avoid any chemical reaction with other ingredients. For homemade products, you can either buy distilled water or use the following simple method to prepare the water:

  1. Heat up tap water and cool down overnight in a glass jar with a wide opening.
  2. Gently scoop out the top to middle part, discarding the bottom part.
  3. Do not use unboiled tap water or mineral water as they contain metals and minerals.

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana):

Native Americans have long recognised the medicinal properties of witch hazel. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and can also accelerate the healing process, making it beneficial for acne. It is used as a natural astringent for removing excess oil as well as toning the skin.


Most of yogurt’s beneficial impact on the skin is due to its component lactic acid, as certain lactic bacteria strengthen the skin’s barrier and fight skin dryness in topical applications. In pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, yogurt is used for its conditioning and soothing properties when applied topically. Research states that Streptococcus thermophilus, a lactic acid bacteria found in most yogurts, enhances ceramide production, thus fighting acne (if applied to the skin for seven days as a cream). Yogurt can also be a nice supplement to bath rituals for a softening result.

Back to top