As any woman (and some men) can tell you, the price of beauty is high. While people would get pretty miffed if vendors charged a premium for necessities like food, beauty products are luxury items, and are therefore subject to arbitrary pricing. So the many lotions and potions that you use to beautify can range in cost from minimal to truly exorbitant. Either way, you can save a lot by mixing up your own alternatives at home, and with so many elements readily available, you might be surprised by how easy it is to create targeted specialty items you want for less. Of course, they won't come with a fancy label, but you can still get some of the many products you use every day at a fraction of the cost of retail. Here are some to try.
- Soap. Making soap can be a complex process, especially if you do it from scratch. But you can make your own specialty soaps for less by starting with a cheap, already-made option like Ivory soap, for example, and adding the items that will give it the scent and texture you prefer (a method called "rebatching"). Simply shred two cups of soap (and set aside), then bring ¼ cup of water to a boil. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or even ground flowers and herbs, simmering for 15 minutes. Pour the boiled mixture over the soap, mix, and allow to set (about half an hour). Then divide the soap into portions (however many bars you want) and set out to dry on wax paper for about three days. You could even add a couple ounces of shea butter or your favorite oil to make a creamier soap. Just be sure to wear protective gear (goggles, gloves) and use dedicated pots and utensils.
- Shampoo. You might be surprised how easy this is to make. All you really need is a base consisting of equal parts distilled water and liquid castile soap and you can add any scent or oil you like. For a recipe containing ½ cup soap and ½ cup water, add 1 tsp. of your favorite oil (like coconut, grapeseed, or even olive) along with a few drops of essential oil or some rosewater.
- Face wash. In many cases you don't even have to do much mixing to make washes, masks, and astringents for your face. Crystalized honey, for example, can scrub away the dead skin that clogs pores, kill the bacteria that causes acne, and even reduce oil on the surface of your face, making it a great all-in-one daily cleanser. Oatmeal makes for a harsher abrasive, lemon juice can act as an astringent for oily skin, and mashed avocado and bananas are great for dryer skin. You need go no further than the produce section at the grocery store to find amazing skin products.
- Moisturizer. This one is also easy. Pretty much any kind of household oil, from olive to coconut, can be used as a basic moisturizer (in small doses). If you want something thicker, simply heat the oil (let's say 1 cup) in a double boiler, add beeswax (¼ cup), and then remove from heat and add water (¼ cup) along with a few drops of essential oil for scent. Mix and pour into container.
- Makeup. You might not be able to produce the same professional packages you'd spend beaucoup bucks on from Chanel and L'Oreal, but you can pretty easily make lipgloss and rouge (creamy cosmetics rather than pressed powders) with Vaseline or beeswax as the base and crushed berries to add color. Once you've settled on the many homemade beauty products you like best you'll be ready to go for driver's license and passport renewals or the photo checks and credit cards that will stick with you for years to come.
(Guest Post by Carol Montrose)
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