Creative Genius: Jan Berry

Get to know the best-selling author and master soap maker whose all-natural body care projects power the popular blog, The Nerdy Farm Wife.

Photo by: Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

Jan Berry is the creator behind The Nerdy Farm Wife, a popular DIY beauty and garden blog where she shares herbal recipes and natural DIY body care projects made from herbs, flowers and beneficial weeds harvested from her Virginia farm. She is the author of two DIY books: 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home and Simple & Natural Soapmaking. She shares her extensive knowledge via photo and video tutorials on her Instagram feed and blog and is a master when it comes to combining herbs and plants in order to reap the benefits that they offer.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Photo by: Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

I'm a soapmaker, writer, photographer, farm wife, mom of two homeschooled teens and serial crafter.

Describe your garden/farm for us.

Our seven-acre mini farm is located in the middle of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We raise a variety of farm animals including chickens, turkeys, goats, and bees and try to grow and preserve as much of our own food as possible.

How did you get into making your own natural beauty products?

Photo by: Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

It all began with my toddler (now 17 years old) who struggled with allergies, asthma and eczema. Store-bought soaps and lotions made his skin worse, so I learned how to create simple but effective natural products instead.

What are favorite plants to use in your natural beauty products and why?

Photo by: Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

I love using the most commonly found plants, especially if they're considered useless weeds by most everyone else. Dandelion, violets and plantain are my favorite weeds, while rose, lavender, lemon balm, calendula and chamomile are my favorite garden plants.

What is your favorite product to make?

I most enjoy the process of creating new soap recipes. Making salves and tinctures is also a satisfying pastime because both are extra-simple to make, yet so effective.

Photo by: Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

Page Street Publishing/Jan Berry

What is an easy way for someone to get into making their own beauty products?

I recommend starting with a basic project, using easy-to-find ingredients. Some great beginner recipes are Cucumber Mint Bath Soak, Aloe Rose Skin Soothing Gel or Dandelion Lotion Bars. I also have a free Soapmaking for Absolute Beginners mini email course to help jump start your soapmaking adventures! Also, my latest release, Simple and Natural Soap Making from Page Street Publishing is full of step-by-step recipes for beginner and seasoned soap makers.

Next Up

Creative Genius: Tanya Anderson

When she's not giving soapmaking lessons, this beauty and garden vlogger is tending her garden and caring for honeybees from her home on the idyllic Isle of Man.

Tips for Harvesting Edible Weeds and Flowers

Forage for supper in your own backyard. Learn tips for gathering edible weeds and flowers.

Edible Chickweed: Here Chicky, Chicky, Chickweed

Chickweed is a prevalent edible weed beloved by chickens and foragers alike.

Foraging for Edible Plants With Steve Brill

The benefits of finding your next meal in the woods.

How to Make Infused Oils

Learn how to make garden infused oils of your own.

DIY Herbal Lotion Bars

Use the herbs from your garden to make these handmade lotion bars.

Feeling Congested? Whip Up These DIY Shower Steamers

Say goodbye to the sniffles with the help of these essential oil-packed pods you can make in a muffin tin.

Make a DIY Exfoliating Scrub in Just 4 Steps

With three simple ingredients you can make a scrub that's great for your skin and smells delicious.

3 Must-Try DIY Essential Oil Roller Blends

Life got you stressed? These all-natural essential oil roller blends are the perfect addition for your daily arsenal, providing a stress aid, headache relief and mental boost when you need it most.

What's New in Handmade

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.