Reformed Beauty Junkie Goes DIY (And You Can Too!)


I’m not sure when it started, but even as a pre-teen, I was obsessed with health and beauty paraphernalia. My mom would probably blame Bath & Body Works as the gateway to all of my high-end lotion obsessions. It started with the smelly lotions. Oh, how I loved to slather on all different kinds of vanilla lotion: french vanilla, vanilla bean, vanilla spice. There was a vanilla to fit any mood on any given day.

Lotions quickly evolved into all the face gunk you can imagine. A college trip to NYC showed me the wonders of Mario Badescu, and I was hooked. One of their on-site consultants examined my pores under a brightly-lit magnifying glass. With a mild look of contempt, she declared that I needed drying lotions and glycolic peels. She had a Swedish accent, so I took that as a sign of authority.

For years, I invested in all kinds of peels, oil-free everything, and whatever promised an eternal radiant glow of youth.

And then I had kids.

With kids, I was now faced with two problems that I arrogantly assumed would never happen to me:

  1. Kids mean all the wrinkle serums in the world couldn’t prevent those worry lines and under-eye bags from forming.
  2. Being a stay-at-home mom now meant that our money had to stretch far – like the length of the Great Wall of China.

That first year after having a baby, I systematically used every free sample of high-end face creams in my arsenal to get me through the year. When the last drop had soaked into my tired skin, I made a plan to be as cheap as I possibly could — and make my own beauty products.

There was a lot of trial and error, but I finally found a routine that I can sustain and that actually works well with my skin. I was also surprised that my sleek, shiny forehead was less oily with homemade concoctions. Even my dirty-disbelieving husband told me he thought my skin had a healthy (non-oily) glow.

So, without further adieu, the following is a compilation of my beauty fails and successes.
**Note: I am not a dermatologist, and don’t play one on TV. So, please use your own judgment to find the best skincare routine for you**

Beauty Fails

Coconut oil: Despite what the internet says, it’s NOT a cure-all. I use coconut oil for many things, but NOT for deodorant (my poor family) OR face wash (No one wants a surprise pizza party on their face)

Shea/Coconut lotion: This isn’t really a fail because it was moisturizing, but I could never find a non-greasy formula. My husband can also attest that no matter what essential oil mixtures I used, it always ended up smelling like….lavender and shea.

Baking Soda Dry Shampoo: So many people swear by this, but when I use baking soda as dry shampoo? I look like I’m on the set of an amateur stage-production – and I’m the gray-haired grandma.

Beauty Wins

Oil Cleansing: There is a cult following for this method, but I don’t really follow the directions to the letter. I simply found that a mixture of sunflower oil and jojoba oil was a great night-time face wash to take my makeup off and cleanse. Mix in safe essential oils (like Frankincense, lavender, and tea tree) for additional health benefits.

Honey/Aloe Face Wash: I know, I know. This is weird. However, I have found that raw honey and aloe is a great skin-soothing wash to use in the morning. There are many fancy recipes out there, but I just do a 1:1 ratio of honey and aloe.

Witch Hazel Toner: Witch hazel has soothing, astringent qualities that help take the red out of your skin and obliterate bacteria. Because I am lazy and cheap, I use whatever witch hazel I can find, in whatever form I can find it (either spray or swiping my face with a cotton ball).

Shea Butter Night Moisturizer: Hear me out. Pure, raw shea butter is a thick, heavy butter that feels like a volcanic pimple waiting to happen when you smear it on. However, after researching that pure shea butter is non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores), I tried a vanilla-scented version on my face at night. And never looked back. This is when “the glow” happened for me (according to my husband).

Homemade beauty options may not always be a good fit for me, but for now, it’s a budget-friendly way to feel like I can still take care of my skin.

What are some DIY beauty treatments you swear by?

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I am a Dayton native who vowed to pack up and leave for bigger sights but never made it further than Centerville. I've been married to a fellow Daytonian for five years, and we currently play house in the Englewood area. I have two bonus kiddos - a daughter (13) and a son (11) - and one daughter (3). When we aren't playing soccer or hockey, our family enjoys checking out our Metroparks and visiting local farms that host family events. To detox from life's stressors, I love running, eating mass quantities of chocolate, and praying -- sometimes all at the same time.


  1. Okay, I have never tried any of these and now I need to! I’m all about DIY things that can be done at home, and I, too, have had the worst type of luck with coconut oil, so I’m all about your tips!

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