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:
- Kids mean all the wrinkle serums in the world couldn’t prevent those worry lines and under-eye bags from forming.
- 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**
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.
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?