10 Budget Beauty Products You Can Make at Home
Tired of hearing health and beauty product recipes you'd need a chemistry text book to decipher? Here are ten simple ideas you can try today with things most people have sitting in the cupboards and pantries at home.
For the most part, these ideas are pretty unisex. So guys, feel free to indulge too. The only thing you'll need in addition to the ingredients is a few different types of empty containers such as spray bottles, squeezable squirt bottles, and empty jars with screw on caps.
Spray Conditioning Treatment
My husband and I used this idea on our backpacking trip. It worked really well and helped me stretch my preferred conditioner through several countries where I know I wouldn't have been able to purchase it. All you need is a fine mist spray bottle. (I got a miniature sized one because I was spending several months with only one bag to live out of and space was a concern. Doing this in your home, you could get a larger bottle and not have to re-mix as often.) Put a small squirt of your favorite hair conditioner in the bottom. Fill the rest with water. Close the bottle. Shake like crazy. Spray on wet hair and comb through. It's also a great detangler for kids. That is literally all there is to it. Word to the wise? All spray bottles are NOT created equal. I bumped up to a larger one so I could not have to remix as often here at the lake. Let's just say I should have checked to see if it was a spray or a stream before I purchased it. Definitely would not recommend the stream. Also, play around with the amount of conditioner that works for you. What works great for one person may leave another's hair oily. This is easily solved with either extra water or extra product.
Scented Hand Sanitizer or Aftershave Gel
Equal parts of rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel with a few drops of your favorite scented oil. Seriously, that's it. We like the pump action containers left over from liquid hand soap. You might like the smaller squirt bottles — whatever works for you. My husband also likes to add sandalwood oil to this mixture and use it as an aftershave gel. To be honest, we play it by ear to see if this will save us money or not. Sometimes, it's easily found for a decent price. This summer, that was the case. But in Arizona, it never was. So I got by with my dollar store aloe vera and my Costco rubbing alcohol. It came out to around 25 cents for a regular sized pump bottle, and I put one by every sink in the house, and next to the keyboard. After using the handle on the grocery cart, handling money at the bank, etc., we've gotten in the habit of having a small bottle in each vehicle as well.
Body Ointment for Extra Dry Spots
This is dirt cheap and in my opinion, works really well. Buy the cheapest generic brand of vegetable shortening you can find (In Tucson, this was always located at Save-A-Lot). Melt it slowly in a mini crock pot or double boiler. Pour into a small airtight container and add a few drops of essential oil. (Peppermint works for me!) Close the container and allow to re-solidify. Use as a night balm on lips, elbows, heels and knees. This works really well and has no unidentified ingredients. Like I said, I'm a fan of using peppermint oil in this ointment because it has a soothing yet zingy feel when you use the balm. Choose the scent that works best for you. Warning: I tried going the extra mile and tint this stuff once because I thought it would look nicer and I wanted to give a batch as a gift to a friend of mine. Huge debacle! Really, don't even go there. It works just fine without the custom tinting efforts.
After Shower Body Oil
You can skip the regular stuff with all the petroleum additives and just use olive or soy oil with your favorite scented oil. Olive oil blends work great. Women in the Mediterranean have been using this for a very long time. A friend of mine has a mother-in-law who is Greek. She let her in on this little secret years ago. All the women in that family have FABULOUS looking skin.
Salt and Sugar Scrubs
I usually make salt scrubs, because they feel the same to me and bulk salt costs a fair amount less, which enables me to enjoy even more of this stuff! Pick a great essential oil scent or a fun combo like orange and cinnamon or grapefruit and sage. (A great place for inspiration regarding scent combos is your handy dandy spa products store.) Put a few drops of the scented stuff into a larger amount of either olive or soy oil (the soy oil is available in bulk at Costco for pretty cheap). Mix in either salt or sugar until you have the desired consistency. Scoop into airtight containers and set aside for use. What I think is great about these scrubs is that you get an exfoliation and a moisture seal at the same time.
Multi Purpose Shampoo
I've heard horror stories of people out there using bar or liquid hand and body soap on their hair when money was tight. As a woman who loves her hair and prefers not to have to wear a crew cut, this is FAR too harsh a solution for me. I am however, willing to go in the other direction. Here are some things I use shampoo for: shower gel, facial cleanser, light stain remover, substitute sudsing item in homemade spray cleaners, and as a laundering agent for hand washable delicates.
Everlasting Hair Spray
OK, it doesn't last forever this way, but it lasts much longer. The only trick is you need the pump bottle kind not the aerosol. You can transfer this to another empty pump hair spray bottle, or wait until yours is half empty. Ready? Mix it half and half with water. Yup. That's it. It works just fine when diluted by up to 50 percent. If you are a hard core penny pincher and buy the bargain brands with the dollar coupons, you could conceivably not have to pay anything for your hair spray ever again. However, if you enjoy the salon brands of hair spray (and what woman could blame you?) this will really help you maximize your product investment.
Maybe all of you women out there have had better luck than I have finding a brand of this stuff that is effective enough to do the job, and yet gentle enough to not completely dry out your skin. Since that's never happened for me (although I'm certainly open to brand suggestions), I use this version. It's pretty simple. All you need is two parts witch hazel to one part distilled water and a few drops of tea tree oil. I suppose you could skip the tea tree oil, but it works well for this, is refreshing, and allows you to adjust the recipe for those times when your skin is more oily than others. I put this in a small travel sized squirt bottle from the pharmacy section at the local Walmart/Target/whatever, and use it with a cotton ball. So far, it's worked the best for me. I'd be really open to hearing what other ideas all of you have.
Hair Clarifying Treatment
If you like to keep a container of baking soda in the shower to keep your tiles ship-shape, you're set to go with this idea. Otherwise, you may want to put an air and water tight container of the stuff in there to make this go smoother. To give yourself a hair clarifying treatment, mix a tiny bit of baking soda with your shampoo in the palm of your hand. It really doesn't take much. Do this at least once a week to keep the build-up off your hair and promote volume. More than one of my hair dresser friends over the years has let me in on this little secret. If you've never tried this, or it's been a while since you have, use lots of baking soda all through your hair before your shampoo. You'll need to deep condition afterward for sure, but it's a good way to get the gook off. If you really want to not have to bother with the mixing part, I was told you can put a tad in a separate bottle of shampoo and mark it as clarifying shampoo to use once a week or so. Word to the wise? Too much of the baking soda can cause a bit of drying. Start light and work your way up.
Scented Body Spray
Two parts rubbing alcohol to one part water, and your favorite scented oil combo in a spray bottle. If you'd like a little more luxury, add a bit of olive or soy oil for moisture to rub in.
What I like about this list is that these are simple things that everyone can try at home. No twenty-eight step, fifteen ingredient face masks here. Simple. Quick. Workable. If money is really tight for you, or you have sensitive skin, feel free to skip the scented oil portions. We used bits of our weekly and monthly savings to slowly accumulate a good sized collection of various essential oils. My favorite kind is the N.O.W. brand that many health food stores carry. They are the most affordable brand I've found, and they have a killer selection of scents. My husband and I really enjoy having these on hand at home. Having several scents to choose from really makes us feel like we're living large and getting a custom product every time we make stuff for baths and massages.
Even some of the more expensive scents like sandalwood last a really long time, so in the end, you are getting more spa, beauty and bath products than you ever would otherwise. Which leaves you more money for other important bubble bath necessities . . . like wine!