Slicking on a sour-cream facial mask was as familiar to Lauren Cox at age 5 as dolls and dress-up. Her birthday parties were spa-themed, and custom-made lip gloss or bath salts often numbered among the gifts.
"It was always fun," Cox says. "I'd never get tired of it.
Cox was an enthusiastic participant in her mother's passion for home beauty treatments, which led Janice Cox to publish three how-to books over the past 15 years. Once Lauren, 20, was old enough to create new versions of her mother's concoctions, her own book wasn't far behind. Combining Lauren's love of cooking and cosmetics, "EcoBeauty," contains 100 recipes for body gels, scrubs, butters and myriad other products homemade from all-natural ingredients.
"It's cooking for your skin, basically," Lauren says. "I was trying to come up with creative names and fun flavors."
Pumpkin, coffee, chocolate, carrots, milk, sugar and spices make up the foundation of Lauren's favorite formulas. All are easily assembled in a home kitchen — even a college dorm room — and can easily be decorated as gifts. Lauren and Janice both favor recycled containers for storing homemade beauty aids and for gift-giving, a major selling point of "EcoBeauty," published in August by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House.
With more than 40 color photographs, the 152-page book brings home beauty to a younger audience interested in natural living and do-it-yourself projects. While Janice's books appealed to a generation of penny-pinchers, Lauren's is no less relevant to teens and young adults hard up for cash, the Medford family says.
"You can easily make these for pennies of what you're spending dollars on in the store," Janice says.
"If there's something I need, I can just whip it up really fast," says Janice's 17-year-old daughter, Marie Cox, who contributed the recipe for Marie's Basic Hand Cream to her sister's book.