■Olive Oil: Eye Make-Up Remover
Keep a small jar in your medicine cabinet. Dab a little onto a damp cotton ball and watch your eye makeup melt right off. It also moisturizes the delicate skin around your eyes and nourishes your lashes. And it doesn’t sting.
■Coconut Oil: Moisturizer and Stretch Mark Cream
I used coconut oil on my belly throughout my pregnancy and have nary a stretch mark to show for it. It’s also excellent on hands and feet, especially with cotton gloves or socks worn overnight.
■Salt and Sugar: Hand and Foot Exfoliator
Salt and sugar are too strong for the delicate skin on your face, but make an excellent scrub for hardworking hands and feet. Mix a little with some olive oil or honey and keep a jar handy for a quick treatment.
■Honey: Skin and Hair Conditioner
Stored in a squeeze bottle in your shower, honey makes a wonderful, moisture-rich conditioner. Its humectant properties draw moisture into your hair. And far from being a sticky mess it rinses out easily and leaves hair soft.
■Eggs: Protein Hair Mask
Eggs are high in protein and make an excellent mask for damaged hair. Whip up the eggs a bit, adding a tablespoon or two of olive oil and spread onto damp hair. You may want to mix it in a blender to completely emulsify the oil. Spread it onto your hair, wrap it in a warm towel, relax for ten to twenty minutes while it works its magic, then shampoo as you normally would. A once a week treatment will help protect oft-styled hair.
■Milk: Skin Softener
Cleopatra was rumored to bathe in milk for its beauty-enhancing properties. If you don’t have a whole tub full of milk to bathe in, simply patting some onto your face, letting it dry and then rinsing it off with warm water will give you noticeably softer skin.
■Lemon Juice: Nail Whitener
My mom was always dipping her fingers in a little basin of lemon juice to remove the stains that would accrue from a day of cooking and cleaning.
■Vinegar: Shiny Hair Rinse
1 tablespoon in a cup of water will give you a great hair rinse that removes product buildup and makes your hair shaft smother, resulting in shinier hair. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a pleasant scent.
■Avocado: Nourishing Skin Mask
Face masks containing avocado line grocery store shelves. Simply mashing up an avocado and letting it sit on your face will give you all the nutrients and moisture, plus enzymes, but minus weird fillers and chemicals. Mixing it in the blender with a little water or olive oil will give you an easier-to-spread consistency.
■Cornmeal: Facial Exfoliator
You can mix fine to medium ground cornmeal into a base of honey, oil, yogurt or mashed fruit for a gentle, but effective facial scrub that can be used on a daily basis.
In addition to the cost-saving benefit of using ingredients you already have in place of personal care products, there is the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what you’re putting on your skin. You’ll likely find that these “products” work even better than their store-bought counterparts and leave your skin and hair feeling more nourished and balanced.