Phew! I've been reading the Good Guide and it's a bit scary when you start looking at personal hygiene and body care products. The shampoo I'm using has a suspected respiratory irritant in it, most body washes are ranked poorly, and don't get them started on antiperspirants.
The problem with their highly-ranked products is that they begin to get really expensive. I'm a college student; I don't have that kind of money to spend on body soap. I do, however, have a bit of extra time this summer, so I thought I'd take matters into my own hands and try to make my own products.
Janice Cox has a fantastic series of home beauty books with really easy recipes. I own Natural Beauty at Home, but I've read her other books and find them just as good. All the recipes involve things which are easily found in the grocery store or easily grown, if you have gardening space or friends with a green thumb. Even if you have to buy everything, it's not terribly expensive. It's sectioned by type of product, with a special section for men's products.
I've tried several recipes with good success. The sugar scrubs are really easy, and a great way to refresh your skin. Olive oil works wonders as an eye-makeup remover, and also moisturizes the thin eye skin.
One of her recipes I've tried and really like is the All-Purpose Honey Cleanser. It works for face, body, and hair. The honey is great for me, since I have oily, troubled skin and honey is antibacterial (and therefore anti-acne). The recipe is:
2 Tbsp liquid soap (see the note at the end)
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. rose water, orange flower water, or distilled water (or a mix of any of these.--AJ).
Stir them gently so the soap doesn't foam. Pour into a clean jar or a container with a pump or spout (Recycled hand soap containers work nicely. -AJ) To use, pour a small amount in your palm and massage gently into your skin or hair. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry (p. 34). It thickens to the consistency of standard hand soap over time.
Note: liquid soap can be made by dissolving regular soap in water at a 1:1 ratio (e.g.: 1 Tbsp soap in 1 Tbsp water). I find it helps to grate it first using a normal cheese grater to speed up the process. I made this with a really expensive handmade soap from a Renaissance faire to give it a nice scent, which worked really well.