Skincare Pros Share Their Favorite “Secret” DIY Ingredients

The greatest skincare secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

Some seem exotic or unusual, in one case as you’ll see below, bordering on unpleasant — and yet hold seemingly magical powers. Others are so ordinary, so much a part of our everyday life, their healing potential is often overlooked.

To find the best of these under-the-radar ingredients, I asked a few of the top skincare experts to share their favorite “secret” natural ingredients. Hopefully, they will inspire you to add these underappreciated ingredients to your homemade beauty routine and finally give them the attention they deserve. 

Robbin Turner, M.Ed.

Founder, Violet Botanical Skincare

Mongongo Oil

“My favorite, lesser-known or “under-the-radar” natural beauty ingredient is Mongongo (aka Manketti) oil. It’s found in African countries. Mongongo, as it’s known as in Zambia, has healing and nurturing properties. It’s a moisturizer and emollient for skin. Mongongo oil contains fatty acids like linoleic, oleic, palmitic, linolenic, and erucic acids. They provide a natural oil barrier and hydrate the skin. Mongongo oil is rich in antioxidant vitamin E, which fights off free-radicals from UV ray exposure, smoking and drinking alcohol.”

Advice from Robbin

“Mongongo oil is for all skin types. You can incorporate Mongongo oil into a DIY body butter, body balm, body scrub recipe. You can also use Mongongo oil solo. It has a light texture and easily absorbs into the skin.”

Lise Andersen

Author and Skincare Formulator, LisaLise

Rhassoul Clay

“I have several favorites “under-the-radar” beauty ingredients but if I were to point at one, it would be Rhassoul (also called Ghassoul or Moroccan Soap) clay.

 

This is such a multifunctional ingredient and can be used on all skin and hair types. Gentle, effective, and planet-friendly. It can be used as a face or hair cleanser or mask by simply mixing with water and applying, then rinsing off.

 

I have written quite a bit about rhassoul over the years and have several free how-to’s on my blog.”

Advice from Lise

“Buy all cosmetics ingredients from a reputable source! I have seen adulterations of rhassoul and numerous other things sold via Amazon and other such sites. I cannot recommend shopping with these sites for cosmetics ingredients.”

Avocado Stones, Citrus Peels, and Peach Pits

“I like ingredients that people often throw out — like avocado stones, citrus peels, or peach pits.  These are all valuable cosmetic ingredients and can be added to creams, scrubs, and bath products. When you use an avocado I always save the pit and smash it then grind it up into small bits in the food processor or a coffee grinder.  You will want to do right away as the pit will dry out and then it is really only useful as a massage tool.”

Advice from Janice

“You can add these bits to creams and cleansers and they will help exfoliate dead skin cells and other surface impurities.  Whenever I eat or use citrus I always save the peels and just lay them out to dry on a clean plate. All of the essential oils of the plant are in the peel so they are really useful in creating infused oils or adding to bath salts for a boost of Vitamin C and an energizing scent.  

You also will see apricot and peach pits featured in a lot of commercial products these are also simple to save you simply have to “crack” the hard outer shell of the pit and inside you will find an oil-rich nut that can also be used in creating your own skin care treatments.”  

Victor Yoon

CEO, ZYM Biosciences

Kombucha

“Fermented ingredients are the core of our products and Kombucha is a star player. Kombucha is great for all skin types but it’s especially great for acne-prone skin. Kombucha contains healthy microbes (bacteria and yeast) that can compete with acne-causing bacteria on the surface of your skin. Use kombucha to help calm inflammation in acne skin and prevent future breakouts.”

Advice from Victor

“Kombucha is available in most health food stores. Make sure to only use pure kombucha in your routine. Don’t use any kombucha product that has ingredients other than the Kombucha tea (I.E. added sugars, stabilizers, etc.) PURE Kombucha ONLY! 

You can mix a teaspoon it with your serums or apply it to your skin and let it absorb after your initial cleanse!”

Sam Khaikin

Founder, Chuck & Sam

Pumpkin

“I’m a big believer in eating with the seasons, and sourcing DIY skincare ingredients is no different. For fall, I’m down with all things pumpkin. You can puree those extra jack-o-lanterns and make a really fantastic mask. The pulp is packed with enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids, which naturally exfoliate the skin by increasing cell turnover to help brighten and smooth the skin (and it’s extra important to do this as the seasons change).


Pumpkin is also full of vitamins A and C, which can help boost collagen production and smooth fine lines. It’s also something you can’t really buy off the shelf from beauty companies without it being super refined, adulterated, and preserved; this is a case where DIY really is best!”

Advice from Sam

“To use, either puree the pulp of a pumpkin (or buy it in a can, if blenders aren’t your thing), and apply it directly to your face. You can also mix it with some greek yogurt and honey for an extra hydrating boost. Leave it on your face and neck for 10-20 minutes, and rinse with warm water.”