I'm on vacation this week (could you tell?), but fortunately staff writer Christina Garofalo has pitched in an article that should save you money.
A couple months ago, while staying with a friend, I noticed a stack of cleansers, creams, and scrubs in her bathroom -- delicious combinations like coffee-coconut and sugar-mint that smelled better than anything I'd found at the store. When I asked about them, she told me she had made them herself.
I've seen recipes for DIY beauty products in the past, but they always seemed to involve too much time and effort. However, lately I've been changing my tune.
The average woman spends $15,000 on makeup alone over the course of her lifetime, and many of these products contain parabens that may cause hormonal imbalances and other health problems down the line. Natural and organic cosmetic lines are generally even more expensive than the conventional ones, forcing me to choose between my health and my budget.
With my friend's recommendations and a bit of my own research, I found a few staple recipes that are easy and far less expensive than the natural products in the beauty aisle -- and they give me control over what's going onto my skin.
There are a ton of natural ingredients -- most of which you can find in your kitchen -- that have great benefits for your skin.
The first are oils, primarily coconut and olive oil. These are the most expensive of the ingredients up front, but if you buy them in large quantities and use them for cooking as well, like I do, it ends up being cost effective in the end. Oils are great for moisturizing and for exfoliators.
Coarse sea salt, raw sugar, coffee grounds, and oats all make excellent exfoliants. Add these to any of the oils and you already have a simple, effective (and tasty) moisturizing scrub. One thing to note is that salt scrubs can be pretty tough on your skin, so I'd recommend keeping those to your body and reserving finer white table sugar or oats for your face.
Other ingredients you might want to consider are Vitamin E and aloe, which are great for restorative and anti-aging products, especially in winter. These you typically only need a tiny amount of at a time, so a little bit goes a long way. If you're not already using something with a powerful scent, like coffee grounds, peppermint oil or dried lavender can make a great addition; I'd suggest the former for a refreshing morning cleanser and the latter for a relaxing evening one.
To make all of these, mix the ingredients in a separate bowl before transferring it into the final container.
Here are three super easy recipes I love.
There are few things more uplifting in the morning than a fresh cup of coffee, so filling your steaming shower with that scent might be the *best* way to start your day. Aside from the invigorating smell, caffeine is also the active ingredient in most cellulite treatment creams. This scrub is ideal for exfoliating and rejuvenating your skin, while simultaneously moisturizing it. The consistency should be oily enough to stay together but be solid enough to scoop into your hands.
8 heaping tbsp of coconut oil
1 cup of ground coffee beans (do not use instant coffee)
Scoop coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for about 25 seconds or until it's completely melted. Add the cup of coffee grounds. Mix thoroughly, and scoop into a mason jar.
Note that coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so I like to bring the jar into the shower with me for a few minutes to soften a bit before use.
Moisturizing Lip Scrub
All winter, the cold dry air and wind take a toll on my face -- especially my lips. Sometimes they become so chapped that they begin to peel, and Chapstick just globs on and doesn't really seep in. This scrub gently removes the peeling skin from my lips while moisturizing them at the same time, plus it tastes good -- a little bit will invariably get into your mouth.
1 tsp olive oil (I like the extra virgin olive oil infused with lemon, also great on salads)
3/4 tsp white sugar
1 tsp crystallized honey
1 tsp olive or grape seed oil
Mix ingredients in a separate container. Adjust to desired thickness, and transfer to a wide, shallow container to store.
Natural Eye Makeup Remover
The skin around your eyes is the most sensitive skin on your body. It's surprising to me the number of people I know who use harsh clothes and astringents to remove their mascara and eyeliner. Mascara is already tough on your eyes, and many makeup removers don't get all of the makeup off, instead pushing it further into the skin around the eyes or severely drying that skin out. This all-natural eye makeup remover balances the astringent and soothing qualities I like to remove my makeup. Tip: After washing your face, use a Q-tip with an extra dab of Vitamin E oil to go over the eyelids and lashes to get rid of any leftover makeup.
2 tbsp vitamin E oil
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of alcohol-free witch hazel
1/2 cup purified water
Pour all ingredients into an eight ounce bottle that has a secure lid. Shake before each use.
Christina Garofalo is co-author of the blog Adventures in Frugal, where she writes about travel, food, finance, and more. Her writing has also appeared in Paste, First We Feast, Robb Report, and Art & Hustle. In her free time, you'll find her writing poetry and eating her way through Brooklyn, New York.
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