Saving money is becoming a very important part of life today for many of us. It’s something we are teaching our children and something that is at the forefront of a lot of minds when it comes to shopping. So, what’s the first thing to get the heave-ho when the ends aren’t really meeting? For me, it is, unfortunately, beauty products. I have tried downgrading to the lesser known brands and shopping around for cheaper alternatives, but it isn’t working for me. I find I react to some of the ingredients in the cheaper face creams, and my unruly hair violently objects to cheap shampoo….
So, I have been experimenting with natural alternatives, made from ingredients I found around the house. This is a really fun way to spend some girly time with friends and doesn’t have to cost much at all. It can also provide some handy hints for the potless students in your life, or those high maintenance teenagers. As you can see from the photo above, I have my work cut out taming my frizz, so I'm starting with hair!
For brunettes, try a few sprigs of rosemary from the garden, infused in a jug of boiling water, which has been allowed to cool. Pour over your hair during the final rinse for added gloss and shine to your locks.
To tame your frizzy mane, I highly recommend… beer! Ok, I will admit, it does honk a bit, but the trick is to boil about 300 ml on the stove (to remove the alcohol), until there’s only about a quarter of it left, then mix it with about twice as much of your usual (hopefully fairly aromatic) shampoo. Lather through your hair, then rinse, as normal. It is wonderfully softening and leaves even my hair a lot more manageable.
Coconut oil is becoming a popular superfood for the health-conscious. It boasts a wealth of health benefits, and actually tastes pretty good too. If you happen to have any in the cupboard, don’t under estimate its ability to stand in for your regular smoothing serum. A little drop goes a long way for smoothing and styling wayward strands and it smells divine!
Exfoliating lips is a must for the perfect pout. Soft, kissable lips are the staple of the confident smile, and the basis for the barely-there make up trends that are often popular. To find your inner pucker, try a little petroleum jelly on an old toothbrush and gently buff for a glowing grin. Another favourite of mine is brown sugar, mixed with a little olive oil, to form a paste. Massage into the lips with a fingertip, and the sugar will slough away dead skin cells, while the olive oil provides the moisturising magic.
The banana is an unsung hero when it comes to facial treats. Who would have thought such a humble fruit could provide so much goodness for our skin? It’s so easy, no real preparation is required, just smash it up with a masher and smooth onto your skin. Like any face mask you can buy, it’s full of vitamins and nutrients and after around fifteen minutes, you can rinse it away to reveal radiant, vibrant skin.
Avocado is another super-fruit. You can make a lovely exfoliating facial treatment with half an avocado, a couple of tablespoons of oatmeal and a tablespoon of honey. Add some lemon juice if it’s a bit too stiff. Massage into the skin for a few minutes, before rinsing away. This is a lovely wake-up treat, that’s sure to refresh and invigorate even the most (hungover) careworn complexion.
Our hands are said to be the most age-revealing part of the body. On constant display and in and out of all sorts of unforgiving situations, they need all the help they can get! If you invest in one beauty item this year, make it a pair of cotton gloves. Not overly expensive, these will make any treatments work twice as hard, as they provide warmth to concentrate the effects. Even a very basic baby lotion or even hair conditioner can work wonders if applied generously and left overnight in a pair of cotton gloves. If you don’t have gloves, you can actually use socks. Provided they’re clean, obviously! To tackle those pesky cuticles, and brighten the look of the skin on your hands, mix some sugar with your usual hand soap, to provide a deep cleansing, exfoliating experience.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my beauty bargains, I’d love to hear some of yours!