Beauty may only be skin-deep, but it sure knows how to dig deep into your purse.
Studies have shown that we can spend up to $2000 per year on beauty products - and it's not hard to see why. Just think of the items that most of us would consider the basics. There's at least ten of them, and all can carry price tags that make us wince.
Does it have to be this way? Is the only way of getting good skin and a beautiful face to throw dollars at the problem?
The truth is, you probably have alternatives to some of these items in your home right now. They may not have the fantastic luxury packaging that looks so good on Instagram, but the base result of what they can achieve is the same.
Even if you don't have some of these products right now, the cost saving in purchasing them versus traditional products is enormous. The vast majority don't need to be used in combination with anything else, so changing the way you do things can also simplify your dressing table. At present, you probably have a thousand and one pots, jars and tubes cast around your home - by trying some of the below; that will be a thing of the past.
If you fancy giving your credit card a rest for awhile and going down the basic-but-effective beauty route, then here's a few places to start.
Switch From: Mascara
Switch To: Activated charcoal and shea butter
Activated charcoal is a natural mineral that can leave stains on anything. Do try and keep that in mind if you try to use it - it will stain clothing too. The upside is that it will also stain your eyelashes. Mix with a little shea butter and apply with a heavy hand. It won't give you the full false-lash effect, but it'll make a massive difference.
Switch From: Scrubs and Exfoliants
Switch To: Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the great multi-use products to have around your home, and if you wish you can learn about it at The Alternative Daily. The use I am focusing on is in its texture. Not only can facial scrubs be bad for the environment if they contain microbeads, they are also extremely expensive. All you're looking for here is a fine, gritty texture. Mix a little coconut oil with baking soda and massage into skin, before washing clear.
Switch From: Oil cleansers
Switch To: Oil cleansers
Okay, bear with me on this one. There has been an upward trend towards oil cleansers, particularly for the first cleanse. They're now a staple in many a beauty regime and beloved of bloggers the internet over.
Of course, oils in these cleansers are not synthetically produced. So you can cut out the middleman and just buy a bottle of pure, unrefined oil for up to a 10th of the price as the high-end ranges. The oil you choose depends on your skin type, but a general guide is:
Dry Skin - Coconut Oil / Sweet Almond Oil
Oily, Acne Prone Skin - Avocado Oil / Hazelnut Oil
Aging Skin - Argan Oil / Castor Oil
Switch From: Face Masks
Switch To: Clay
The idea of using clay as a face mask is well established, but as with the oils, you can strip the process down. This will substantially lower the cost per use while still having the same impact.
entonite clay is the most common and works as a good catch-all for all types of skin. If you are prone to acne or oily skin, then consider French green clay as well.
Switch From: Deodorant
Switch To: Magnesium Oil
Magnesium is a vital mineral, so not only will this work as a deodorant but you get an extra health boost as well. You can buy mineral oil premade or create your own, using mineral flakes and hot water. Apply liberally, and you'll banish bad body odour.
It's worth noting this is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. You will still sweat, but given that's a natural biological process, there's no harm in that.
Switch From: Anti-Ageing Remedies
Switch To: Tomatoes
Yes, just ordinary tomatoes you find in the grocery store.
Tomatoes are high in retinoids and carotenoids, two chemicals associated with the anti-ageing process. Rather than buying expensive serums or using face masks, use a tomato instead. You can use the diluted juice almost as a toner, or mash a tomato and use it as a face mask once a week.
Switch From: Lip Balm
Switch To: Lanolin
Lanolin doesn't sound like a pretty product. It sounds disgusting; it's the grease found on sheep wool, produced naturally by the sheep, to keep their wool in good condition. If you can sidestep that unpleasant association, lanolin will be far better for your lips than any balm could ever be. It's rich and gives a great shine, while both nourishing any existing sores and helping prevent any in the future. The lip balm you have right now may contain some lanolin, so again, skip the expensive manufacturing process and go right to the source.
Switch From: Complexion Brighteners
Switch To: Aspirin
Aspirin is the hidden gem of the beauty world. Due to the the type of acid it contains, it can help exfoliate and brighten your complexion just as well as any store-bought product.
Use it as a face mask around once a week, though you may need to work up to this. It's relatively strong due to how effective it is, so go by your own needs.
To use on your face, all you need to do is drop two tablets (not capsules) of aspirin into a small amount of warm water. Let them dissolve completely and then layer onto your face. Leave for between five to 15 minutes, depending on how sensitive your skin is.
You can then wipe away with a damp cloth or - preferably - shower to remove all the remaining particles. You should see a difference on the first use, and this will just improve as you continue.
hat's your favourite at home beauty DIY? Let me know, it's nice to save around the holidays and still feel pampered!