Facial scrub? Body lotion? Hair conditioner? If you think you need to visit the cosmetics aisle to stock up on these, think again! There are household and beauty products hidden all throughout your pantry and refrigerator — here’s a couple to definitely watch out for.
Honey is an essential ingredient in a number of simple recipes for skin rejuvenation and health. Alone, honey’s physical properties will trap moisture in the air and draw it into your skin. Mixed with coconut or jojoba oil, it’ll clear your pores and act as an acne-fighting antibacterial.
#2. Olive Oil
Perfect as a moisturizing shaving cream, a remedy against chapped lips, full body lotion or to protect steel from rust and lubricate door hinges, olive oil is a really versatile and readily available food item. Be careful not to use too much of it, unless you’re fine with smelling like Mama’s cooking.
Avocado facial masks have been all the rage for a while, and not without reason. There’s some pretty good evidence to suggest that slathering fruit all over yourself is actually beneficial to your skin, and the nutritious, green fatty flesh of an avocado is a great option to start with.
Coffee grounds make for an excellent exfoliate, especially when mixed with vanilla extract, some coconut oil and brown sugar. When bundled up and stored in shoes and fridges, coffee also absorbs odors, acting as a deodorant. Wrapped inside a washcloth, it can also be used as a light abrasive to clean pots without fear of scratching them.
#5. Green Tea
Freshly-brewed green tea has anti-bacterial properties, making it an excellent cleaning solution for dishes and appliances, from microwaves to refrigerators. The tannic acid in green, black, white and fermented tea also tightens the skin and makes for an excellent facial toner.
#6. Cider Vinegar
Everybody knows of the copious household benefits of white vinegar, from breaking apart talc buildup to wiping away rust, vanishing water rings on furniture and unclogging drains — but apple cider vinegar makes for a cheap and effective way to wash out shampoo buildup in hair and tighten your facial pores (mix with 2 parts water first).
Oats and oatmeal make for a non-abrasive way to remove dead skin with some honey and apple cider vinegar — it also comes with the added benefit that oats soothe sensitive skin, and reduce rashes and redness.
Believe it or not, eggs are extremely nourishing for your face and hair. Separate the whites from the yolk, and beat each for a one-two head combo. The fatty, mineral-rich yolks will nourish your hair, while the foamy beaten egg-whites make for a great face mask. Wash out with warm water (not hot, or you’ll risk cooking the egg!) and enjoy silky smooth hair and skin.
Lemon peels make for a great natural air freshener, and can keep household pets away from your pottery due to its strong aroma. Mixed with salt, lemons also make for great cleaning solutions for sinks and porcelain. Applied on the skin or lathered into conditioner, lemon juice also bleaches age spots and lightens natural hair color.
Everyone’s seen the cucumber-slices-on-eyes trick, and there’s a good reason it’s become a cliche for the wellness industry. Thanks to a combination of water, ascorbic acid, caffeic acid and just the right pH level, cucumbers soothe the skin, restore its acid mantle, and fight puffy eyes or dark circles.
#11. Coconut Oil
Cold-pressed coconut oil is a powerful brain food thanks to its saturated fats, but the benefits keep going outside the culinary. Perfect for hair and skin, coconut oil retains moisture, disinfects and protects against bacteria and cracking, slows oxydation (and thus aging) and gives your hair a stronger, shinier and more luscious look and feel.
Turmeric is a natural anti-pest solution, warding off ants and other unwanted critters with its golden charm. Mix it with coconut oil and massage it into your scalp to fight dandruff and hair fall, and use it in a cold compress against sprains and arthritis.
#13. Baking Soda
Like vinegar, baking soda is another heavyweight champ in the household (and beauty) department. Baking soda fights grease and baking marks, deodorizes funky smells, bleaches clothing (and teeth), functions as a non-abrasive exfoliate when mixed with water and prevents split ends when mixed into your shampoo or conditioner (perfect for pets, too).
Cornstarch works as dry shampoo, allowing you to apply it to your hair and brush it off with any excess oil when in too much of a hurry to take a shower. It’s perfect for cleaning counter tops, windows, and polishing metals, too. When waxing, you can apply cornstarch on an area to keep the wax from sticking to your skin.
#15. Brown Sugar
This sweet little scrub is both easy on the pocket, and on the skin. Like honey, brown sugar traps moisture in the air and delivers it to your skin, while being naturally coarse enough to exfoliate. An additional benefit is glycolic acid, which is corrosive in high dosages, but clears away dead skin and promotes the growth of new skin in the levels present in sugar.
#16. Coarse Sea Salt
Salt is a natural way to exfoliate, and when combined into a delicious scrub with honey, soothes the skin and protects it from bacteria. In the mouth, gargling salt or using it as a tooth scrub provides a natural source of fluoride and is great for gum health and disinfection.
#17. Pineapple Skin
When chopping up a pineapple, keep the skin so you can use the remaining flesh on it as a chemical exfoliant. Bromelain, the protein-digesting enzyme that makes pineapple so irritating to the mouth, effective breaks down dead skin and tightens your pores. Beware, however, of the fact that bromelain may cause irritation.
Mixed with honey and lemon, papaya’s antioxidants and vitamins nourish and hydrate the skin for a perfect fruity face mask. Alongside its native enzyme, papain, papaya contains alpha hydroxyl acids, the same class of acids that glycolic acid belongs to. That makes it very exfoliating.
Although it’s neither food, nor is it used often in cooking, beer is great for fertilizing the lawn, trapping snails, polishing wood and jewelry, and making your hair more luscious. When mixed into a face mask or used as a pedicure, the combination of yeast, alcohol and hops will soften your skin, disinfect it and act as a natural toner.
Traditionally, the wasabi root was paired with raw fish to ward off food poisoning due to its antimicrobial properties — but being loaded with phytochemicals and minerals, the fiery green paste is (amazingly) great for the skin, too. When combined with an oil, wasabi makes for great spray-on pain relief, and massaging it into your scalp helps repair hair cuticles and protect them.
With luscious brows back in vogue, trying this really won’t cost you much — apply fresh onion juice onto your eyebrows, wait a few hours, then rinse off with cold water. The sulphurs in the onions is what will promote faster growth, presumably due to an increase in blood circulation. Onions are also successful metal polishers, and ward off insects.
#22. Peanut Butter
This household material is the ultimate goo buster. From gum on your shoe or in your hair, to adhesive residue left behind by stubborn stickers and glues, rubbing some peanut butter will fix all your sticky issues. The reason for that lies in the combination of oil and the abrasive nature of ground peanuts.