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I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my beauty routine, I’m all about cheap, easy, and fast. But I’m also against products that are tested on animals, have animal products in them, or are full of gross chemicals. Natural beauty products that are currently on the market are either falsely advertised as natural, or hella expensive. So I’ve tried just about every beauty product hack there is out there, and lived to tell the tale. This is a list of the things that I’ve tried, and have been using regularly since they work so well.
Replace your face wash with oil.
Putting oil on your skin may sound crazy, but I swear it works. This technique has to do with the science of like dissolving like: oil dissolves oil. The best part about this technique is that it is highly customizable depending on your skin type.
How do you wash your face with oil? First, you need castor oil. You can pick it up at most local grocery or drug stores, or here for super cheap. Castor is your base oil. When used alone, it could dry your skin. Therefore, you need a carrier oil to mix with it for your oil wash to be effective. The carrier oil will help you balance things out. I’ve tried avocado oil, apricot oil, and jojoba oil. My favorite is jojoba oil. That one works the best for me. Avocado is too moisturizing, and apricot didn’t seem like it worked well on my face.
I also tried several different ratios of castor to carrier oil. The one that works the best for me is 2 parts castor to 1 part carrier oil, unless I’m dry, then I bump up the amount of carrier oil. The right balance is going to be different for everybody, and it takes some experimentation. Patience is key, but if this works for you, it’s about a $20 investment for a year or more of face washes.
How to go about actually washing your face this way? I’ve been rubbing the oil on my face before I get into the shower, then rinsing it off as I shower. At night I put the oil on my face and rinse it off with a warm washcloth.
What I seriously love about this method is that I can put my oils right on top of my makeup, instead of removing my makeup and then washing my face. The oil method is double duty AND cheap, but, most importantly, it has proven to be highly effective. Before switching from face wash to the oil method, I typically had 3-4 whiteheads, several pimples, and tons of blackheads on my face daily. Now I never get a breakout like that and freak out when I get A zit.
Use oil as body lotion.
I bought quite a few different oils to try when I decided to switch to the oil method for facial care. I’ve been using the reject face oils as body lotion. Apricot oil is my favorite because it soaks in to my skin and doesn’t feel greasy. I typically put this on my skin after a shower, and at night before bed if I need some extra moisture.
Jojoba oil is supposedly close to the same makeup as the oil your skin naturally produces, so I recommend trying this one if you’re game.
Curly haired girlies: try oil instead of your current product.
I’m including a word of caution on this one: if you’re typically protein sensitive (seems no matter what you do, your hair is always dry, but it’s really, really strong), then check your oil type before trying this. Some oils act as proteins, or include proteins, and can make your hair dryer and frizzy. I’ve tried coconut, avocado, jojoba, and am now using apricot oil. The first three oils made my hair hold on to too much protein, so the opposite of the desired effect was happening. I’ve been using apricot oil for a couple of days, and it seems to work well. I’ve paired with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and put about a nickel-sized amount on my ends to hold in the moisture from the shampoo and conditioner. I’ve not tried argan oil, but I’ve heard that it works quite well as a styling and moisturizing product, but haven’t tried because it comes with a hefty price tag (remember: cheap!).
[ before apricot oil ]
[ after apricot oil ]
Exfoliate with baking soda.
The oil face cleansing method is missing a key element of skin care: exfoliation. I read somewhere that using baking soda on your face is like a light version of microderm abrasion. So I tried it. And it was a bit too harsh for my face. I looked up a ton of other skin care hacks, and found a recipe for acne scar reduction. So naturally, I combined the two ideas.
Along with my oil washing, once or twice a week I exfoliate with my baking soda, honey, and nutmeg mask. I leave it on for about 5 minutes (usually I put it on my face before I hop in the shower), then rinse, making sure to rub in the baking soda and get some nice exfoliation. The result is less angry and more even baby-soft skin.
I don’t really have a recipe for this mask. I have been throwing it together every week. I use about a one-to-one honey and baking soda ratio, and then sprinkle in some nutmeg. I keep it in the fridge, though that’s probably not necessary, and I warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave before using for ease of application.
Try the no-poo method.
Ditch your shampoo in exchange for baking soda and vinegar. I’ve tried this twice, and never stuck to it, but I really like it, so other than the fact that my hair is not behaving right now (too dry, too much protein, Dove is the only thing that has seemed to work so far), I really should be using this method.
Instead of shampoo, mix 1 part baking soda with 3 parts water. Drizzle onto wet or dry hair (closer to the scalp), rub into your scalp and roots (and ends if you’re greasy), then rinse. To condition, use a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar (must be ACV — try Braggs) to 3 parts water. If you hate the smell (okay, this is probably why I quit doing this), then add a few drops of essential oil to the mix. I’ll be going back to the no-poo method of washing my hair as soon as my hair is back to normal, and I’ll try adding a citrus or a flowery scent to the rinse.
Make your mascara last longer with contact solution.
I can’t live without mascara — it’s my one required beauty product. I also hate replacing it every 6 months like I’m supposed to (now I sound like a real cheapskate). So I make my mascara last longer by adding some saline solution (commonly sold as contact solution). Just 3-4 drops every time the mascara starts to get dry will extend the lifetime. I’ve tried this with waterproof and regular, and I haven’t noticed that adding saline solution changes the waterproof capability of the mascara.
Turn any eyeshadow into eyeliner, or give it staying power, with contact solution.
I swear, if I didn’t wear contacts I never would have discovered these tricks. If you put a couple of drops of saline solution on your eyeshadow, and use a brush (or Q-tip), you can apply your eyeshadow like eyeliner, and it will stay. I used to use this method to apply all my eyeshadow before I discovered eyeshadow primer. The eyeshadow goes on a bit darker, but it will stay a lot longer. Primer plus this method is nearly impossible to remove (unless you’re washing your face with oil ), so I’d say it’s pretty effective. Plus, you get multiple uses out of one eyeshadow.
Other cheap beauty hacks I’ve tried and loved:
- Use conditioner as shaving cream in a pinch, or if you want super silky legs. Works great, but wears down your razor really, really fast — buying razors = antithesis of cheap*.
- Curly girls, or girls with dry hair: try a dollup of your conditioner as styling product. I use about a pea-sized amount. Concentrate on rubbing into the ends.
- Try coconut oil to strengthen hair and nails. When I first started the oil face washing method, I tried coconut oil (it made me break out!), but I discovered that my fingernails were CRAZY strong. I used coconut oil with a hot moist towel to bring my fried hair back to life when I bleached it in June. However, too much of a good thing is not good. You can easily add too much protein to your hair, as I mentioned, and end up with a frizzy, disobeying mess.
Your turn. What cheap and easy beauty tips do you have for me?
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Hi there. I'm Calee (pronounced CAL-e). If that's too hard, just call me Cal. Also known as chimes or the chimes. I'm 28ish, a designer, a runner, a self-proclaimed fitness queen, a craftster, a foodie, a music snob — some might call me a hipster. Here's the unabridged version.
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