Economic times are tough, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on your luxe beauty habits. You can always back away from those pricey potions at the store. Instead, discover key ingredients right in your home and try some tricks that are so simple you might be surprised they really work. We asked the experts to reveal their favorite eco-friendly ways to beautify on a budget. Here are 10 easy ideas that all cost less than $5.
1. Fruity Facial
When you go to buy an anti-aging face cream you probably know to look for superstar ingredients like coenzymeQ10 and AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids), but did you know you can get the same from pineapple? Emma Pezzack, president of FutureNatural.com says to keep the rinds next time you eat the fruit. “Gently rub the rinds on your face, leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse,” she says. “It’ll help dissolve and dislodge dead skin cells, brighten the complexion, refine pores and even skin tone.”
2. Plump it Up
Chapped lips may take the cake as winter’s worst beauty woe. Combat the flakiness with a homemade lip scrub: Moisten lips with a swipe of lip balm, and then put about a teaspoon of cinnamon in your palm. Carefully rub it across your lips to exfoliate. Since the spice is finely ground, it makes for a gentle abrasive. Plus, you can reap cinnamon’s added benefit – the spice naturally brings more blood to the surface making them appear fuller and redder.
3. Lavender Foot Soak
A great way to cut down your beauty spending is to resist salon mani/pedis, but that doesn’t mean it can’t feel just as pampering. Kyra Johnson, director of the luxury eco-friendly spa Blue Marble in San Diego, says to start your pedicure with an organic lavender milk bath. Fill a basin with 6 oz. of organic milk (feel free to finish off that jug that’s pushing the expiration date), 3 to 6 drops of lavender essential oil and, if you want to splurge on fresh cut flowers for your home, a sprinkle of lavender petals. Enjoy for 15 to 20 minutes. “Milk is full of lactic acid, which is a natural chemical exfoliant that softens the skin’s surface and delicately reduces dull and devitalized skin,” says Johnson. And not only is the scent of lavender soothing, the essential oil also is known to relieve muscle soreness and has antiseptic and antifungal properties to get those tootsies clean.
4. Erase Stress
If penny-pinching has left you stressed, chill out in a yummy smelling bubble bath. Toss in a Butterball Bath Bomb from LUSH for $4.85. It’s both vegan- and eco-friendly. The vanilla scent will ease your mind and flecks of Fair Trade cocoa butter will melt away in the tub leaving your skin soft and supple.
5. Frizz Fix
If you’re like many eco-minded women, you probably already have an aloe vera plant in your kitchen – it helps filter the air in your home and is a wonderful natural burn remedy. But Kathryn Santoyo, of EarthFlow Design Works, says it’s a great natural frizz fighter for your hair, too. Cut small bit of the leaf off and use the gel that you find inside. Rub it on your hands and apply to hair to smooth it, tame curls, or comb through wet hair to tame flyaways. If you’re not into taking the gel straight from the plant, you can buy it bottled at your local health food store.
6. Go for the Glow
Need another reason to up the ante on your fitness routine? Simply going for a run, or a walk, playing a sport or chasing after your kids can help improve your skin, no fancy creams required. Exercise helps you relax overall, which in turn eases tension in your face (think fewer crow’s feet and expression lines). Sweating it out can also help your skin rid itself of toxins like air pollution or even chemicals from beauty products. A study in the British Journal of Medicine also found that exercise can shave 10 to 12 years off your age. And you can’t forget that natural rosy glow you have post-workout.
7. Fresh Hair Treatment
Want to infuse your dry, damaged, dull hair with shine and life? Moni Schifler, of blog Vegetarian on the Cheap, suggests mashing up a few fruits that you have around like bananas, melons, berries and avocados. Mix it all up with a little olive or coconut oil. Then spread it evenly on your hair and wrap it all up in a warm, moist towel. Hang out for 30 minutes then wash as usual.
8. Tea Trick
The ‘old tea bags on the eyes trick’ might not be anything new, but Schifler gives reasons to try it again. The next time you drink a cup of green tea, don’t throw out the used tea bag. Instead put it in the refrigerator until the next time you need some eye relief. “The tannins in tea act as an astringent to help shrink puffy eye tissue,” Schifler says. And the cool temperature will add to the effect.
9. Root Refresh
You know that box of baking soda that’s been parked in the back of your fridge for months keeping it fresh? That’s not all it can do. The experts at Arm & Hammer tout its ability to clean everything from your house to your hair. Yes, your hair. Add a quarter-sized pile to your shampoo (sulfate-free of course) and it’ll help remove any built up residue left behind by styling products (especially if you haven’t fully weaned yourself off the less-than-green brands). The result – an amazing hair day with extra bounce and shine.
10. Sweet Swap
Want better skin? Swap your morning blueberry muffin for a pile of fresh blueberries. According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, a diet high in sugar can damage collagen, increasing the effects of aging. Blueberries, on the other hand, are loaded with vitamin C, which helps to build collagen and anthocyanins, which help battle free radicals.