Beauty is a $170-billion-per year industry [per GCI Magazine].   Unsurprisingly, a lot of those products are over-processed, over-priced, and downright unhealthy.  For example, the little microdermabrasion beads in scrubs are tiny bits of plastic that get through water filtration systems and kill birds and fish that ingest them [per Scientific American, 25 June 2013].  This is ridiculous when personal care can be easy and inexpensive… and healthy. As part of my savings goal, I’m trying to cut down on expensive beauty products (not that I use a lot anyway), so I went on a search of the best in beauty from head to toe. Hair Care There are lots of ways to save money on hair care.  Don’t color it or at least color it less often.  Wash less often; unless your hair is extremely greasy, you can wash every other day.  Other tips include:

  • Remove hair product residue with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar (the vinegar smell fades as soon as it dries).
  • Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of water and apply this paste to your hair thoroughly.  Rinse well.  This is better than a shampoo, minus the chemically-induced bubbles.
  • Knead a few tablespoons of olive oil into your hair and scalp, cover with a shower cap, and let set for thirty minutes.  Rinse or shampoo as usual for fully conditioned locks.

[Reference: The Daily Green]

Facial Care

  • Papain, found naturally in papaya, and bromelain, found in pineapple, both make excellent topicals to remove the dull look from skin.  WebMD has a papaya-pineapple mask on their site here.   Papaya also may help lessen the appearance of fine lines and dark spots.
  • Oatmeal, honey and yogurt are more than breakfast foods; they make great skincare, too.  For a once-a-week exfoliant, finely grind one cup of oatmeal and stir into a mixture of one cup of plain yogurt and two tablespoons of honey.  Mix thoroughly into a paste and apply to face, leaving on for 15 minutes.  Rinse with warm water and pat dry.  Don’t use before a beach day or after a sunburn.  [A variation on this recipe is available here.]
  • Add a little baking soda to your normal facial wash (or use it on its own with warm water) to boost the gentle cleaning [see here].
  • Make your own moisturizer, ala’ Crunchy Betty (I’m not even going to try to duplicate her genius here).
  • Use a dab of coconut oil around the eyes to reduce lines.

Your Teeth

You probably already know that you can brush with baking soda.  Want more of a smooth, toothpaste feel?  Mix the baking soda with coconut oil.  Want to whiten at the same time?  Once a week, crush in a fresh strawberry (just be sure to floss away the seeds afterwards).  The malic acid in the strawberry will act as a natural whitener.


Shaving cream can be expensive and pretty unhealthy.  You can use plain coconut oil to shave with or you can try this recipe from Homemade Mommy (a little more complicated and expensive).

Your Feet

Feet take a lot of abuse.  If you want to baby yours and get rid of the dead skin, try a coffee rub:

  • 1 c ground coffee (wonder if you can make coffee and use the grounds?)
  • 1 c crushed strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons salt (sea or kosher)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix all ingredients together, rub over feet (get in a personal foot massage while you’re at it), and rinse.  Follow with a good moisturizer.

So, there you have it.  Give up your Suave, your Oil of Olay, and your Jergens.  Everything you and I need for beauty may be right in your kitchen.