The trend of ‘Do It Yourself’, or DIY, has become very popular in the beauty industry lately. The idea can be extended anywhere between bands creating their own record labels, to people creating their own furniture, and of course, those who prepare their own natural beauty products. The many benefits of the DIY mentality includes a sense of independence, fostering creativity, and learning new skills. In the specific arena of making your own beauty products, it can also encourage you to learn more about the ingredients in your products, and to keep the products you use on your face and body as natural and basic as possible. The added bonus, of course, is that making your own beauty products can also be very cost-effective, saving you money in the long run!
DIY beauty products have become so popular, that there are even companies focusing on it, and marketing their own products this way as well, where the consumer is meant to prepare the final product based on instructions in a kit. While these companies can of course potentially carry well-made or natural options, why not skip the ‘middle-man’ and create your own products with the ingredients tailored to your preferences? Let us however take DIY beauty products an additional step further and create them from items that can already be found around our homes – notably things we could be ready to throw out! With this idea, we also incorporate one of the important “R’s” in “Recycle, Reuse, Reduce”, and can make our own products that are also environmentally friendly!
1. Lemon Peel/Leftover
Whether you use your lemons to make a salad dressing, in lemon meringue pies, or just to squeeze some into your morning tea, after using up as much of the liquid from the pulp as you can, you might be ready to just toss them into the compost bucket without thinking twice. However, that lemon peel with any leftover can be a great skin care product – all on its own or with just a little water!
For those prone to dirt-based pimples and break-outs, which can be caused from environmental pollution, pillow covers that haven’t been washed, or simply touching your face too much with unclean hands, using a lemon peel can be a great way to prevent an outbreak, or at the very least reduce the symptoms of one that has already begun. Simply grab the cut lemon half, spread the pulp and the juices over a dry unwashed face, and let it sit for about half a minute, or even just twenty seconds. If you have any cuts on your face, this could of course sting a little bit so be careful! Once the time is up, use relatively cold water to wash it off thoroughly. Remember, while the lemon juice is acidic enough to actually clean up dirt based residue, it is not meant to be left on the face for a long period of time, as it is very acidic. Make sure to rinse properly and then simply towel dry your face and only use this option when you need it. Alternatively, you can mix the pulp with some water for a gentler option before rubbing it over your face, but you should still wash it thoroughly off after 20-30 seconds. You can keep your lemon peels in your fridge and use them for this quick face wash when you need it to prevent pimples or an outbreak, or to reduce already existing ones.
2. Coffee Grinds/Almond Pulp
Moving on from DIY beauty products for your face to ones that you can make for your body, let’s consider a very simple, effective, and natural body scrub, again made from products you may be throwing out! When you make your morning coffee, whether it be with a coffee maker or in a jazzve, you are usually left with the coffee grind residue, either in shapes that resemble cookies, or in the bottom of your cup. While your first thought would be to again dump the residue in your compost bin, instead, consider saving it and keeping it in your fridge or freezer (the latter only if there is no water left remaining). If you don’t drink coffee, but make your own home made almond milk, after straining the milk through a cheesecloth or metal strainer, you are again left with almond pulp or grounds. Some people may use it in baked goods for substance as well as a protein-kick, but you can also save it in your fridge, again for an important ingredient in a homemade body scrub!
Whether it is the coffee grinds or the almond pulp that you have, both are meant to serve as the ‘scrub’ in the body scrub. The only real difference is that almond pulp, especially if blended for a long period of time, would be a gentler alternative. Regardless of which one you use, it is always best to mix with a natural product that would soften the exfoliation, as well as moisturize the skin. In this case, some options you could use are coconut oil or shea butter, or you could use both mixed together. Coconut oil and shea butter are great natural skin moisturizers and will balance out the effects of the scrub, leaving you with exfoliated skin that is soft to the touch. Coconut oil is also considered to have a great scent, but if you prefer a different one, you can always add a drop or two of a favorite essential oil to the mix to personalize your body scrub! As coconut oil hardens or softens depending on room temperature, you could use your fingers to soften it up before adding it to the coffee grinds or the almond pulp, or simply double-boil the amount you want and use as a liquid that can be distributed more easily.
Depending on your skin type, you can adjust the ratio between the scrub and the moisturizer with some trial and error. If you have sensitive skin, add more moisturizer. If you want a thorough scrub to improve your circulation, you can adjust the mix to be able to deliver just that. Once you are in the shower, just take small amounts of the scrub at a time and move it all over your body or the desired areas. Try to step away from the water or turn it off in order to let the moisture sink in before washing it off. Rinse off thoroughly and simply towel dry your exfoliated and moisturized skin!
3. Avocado Peel/Leftovers
Whether you just made delicious guacamole, or have devoured an avocado straight, before tossing the peel, check to see if there is any residue of the avocado left, and if so, use it as a moisturizing facial mask. You can leave it on while you finish preparing your meal too! You have probably heard avocados are high in fat, but they are the food fats such as oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acid. These fats are health promoting fats when you consume them, but can still provide benefits to the surface layers of skin. Avocados are also a rich source of vitamin E, which protects skin tissues and keeps the skin looking young and refreshed. The oleic acid found in avocados also moisturizes the surface layers of skin, keeping it hydrated and smooth, and also at the same time reducing redness, inflammation, as well as irritation. Simply use your fingers or a spoon to gather up any remaining avocado that is still connected to the peel and rub it all over your face. Aim to leave the ‘facial mask’ on for about 20 minutes or until it hardens. Rinse off with warm water and simply towel dry. Done!
4. Extra Coconut Oil
While you may not usually have excess amounts of coconut oil around the house you are planning to throw out, you can still use this nutrient-packed oil in small amounts for beauty purposes. When you use it in cooking, and remember, as it is a medium chain fatty acid it is one of the few oils that are actually stable enough to be used in heat without any adverse effects, the little residue oil left on the knife or spoon you scooped it out with can be just enough for anything between a quick moisturizer for your hands, lips, face, or any part of your skin, a make-up remover, deep hair mask conditioner, or even as a great substitute for a shaving gel!
So instead of washing the small amounts off of the spoon, collect it with your fingers and make sure to use it, as with coconut oil a little bit still goes a long way. As it is a great natural antifungal and antibacterial, it serves as a great moisturizer for our skin, especially on our faces. You will not need very much, so just soften the oil with your fingers to make it into more of a liquid state and rub it all over your face and you can resume any cooking or baking and let it sink in completely! You can alternatively use it on your hands or lips, especially during the winter months when they both tend to become dry and chapped, and it is a good reminder to keep them moisturized as often as you can.
You can also use a small amount as a fantastic natural makeup remover too, that will leave your skin clean as well as moisturized. Simply use a small amount and gently rub it into your eye makeup and/or your entire face. Next just rinse everything off with warm water and the residue of the coconut oil will leave your face feeling soft and fresh. Better than most commercial brands of make-up remover, which have more ingredients than we can count, and it will get the job done while moisturizing! Alternatively, you can use it as a base before applying your make up, again with the benefits of having a natural base that will moisturize.
Depending on the amount leftover, you can also opt to use the extra coconut oil as a fantastic alternative to shaving gel, or keep small amounts in a bowl or jar until there is enough to get the job done. Rub it all over your legs or anywhere else you wish to shave, let it sink in for a few moments, and begin shaving. It will keep your skin smooth enough to practically guarantee a smooth shaving with no accidents or irritation, and when you rinse off all of the residue, your skin will remain smooth and supple, and the moisturizing aspect of the coconut oil will reduce any potential bumps or irritation post-shave!
Whenever you also have a small amount of coconut oil leftover from any cooking or baking, it can also serve (talk about multi-purpose!) as a deep hair conditioning mask. Again, a little bit goes a long way, so you would just need a small amount and you can distribute it after softening it with your fingers all over your dry hair, focusing mostly on your ends, especially if they are dry or brittle. You can then pin your hair up away from your face and leave it in as long as you like before showering. If you leave it in overnight like most deep hair treatments, make sure to put something between you and your pillow to avoid any messes! You can also just use it on your ends as a detangler or moisturizer that you can leave on until your next hair wash.
5. Used Tea Bags
When you have a morning cup of green tea, or are enjoying a late afternoon tea on a weekend, after dipping in a green tea bag or letting it sit for a while, you may remove it and think once the flavor is gone you might as well toss it in the compost pile. However, many people swear by using caffeine-based tea bags to alleviate the appearance of dark circles under the eyes and puffy or swollen eyes. Many companies, when making under eye treatments, add caffeine to their products for the reason that it is said to shrink blood vessels around the eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles as well as puffiness. So whether you were up late working, went for a night out with friends, or had an interrupted sleep causing the ‘tired’ look in the morning, before piling up on the concealer, try this trick for a refreshed and rejuvenated look!
After making your tea, simply squeeze out excess water from your tea bag (into your tea), and put the bag on a small tea plate to cool off, or put the plate into the fridge if you are in a rush. Once it cools off significantly, pick it up out of the cup, carefully not to burn yourself, and if there is still a lot of excess water, give it another squeeze, and then lie down and put it over your eye, alternating your eyes with the two sides of the tea bag. You can leave them on from 10 to 15 minutes on each eye and then simply rinse off your face. You can also collect the tea bags as you use them in a container in the fridge so you can have two ready at a time, and speed up the process!
So with just a few products you would perhaps throw out – a lemon peel, coffee grinds or almond pulp, coconut oil and tea bags, you can make a DIY natural face cleanser to clear out dirt, a body scrub you can adjust to match your skin type, a face mask, an all-purpose moisturizer, a deep hair conditioner, a shaving gel, and an under eye treatment!
Photo courtesy of Vogue