Thursday, February 24, 2011

7 Cheap (and Green) Beauty Tricks


Somehow, over the years, I've amassed a collection of weird and wonderful beauty tricks - most of which are frugal and earth-friendly as well.  Here's a few to consider adding into your routine:

1) Felt Pads

Since we started eliminating paper from our house cotton balls and beauty pads went as well. For anyone who has ever taken off their own nail polish you know what a mess toilet paper can be - it's a pretty worthless nail polish remover. Enter felt scraps - a single square (mine is about 2 inches square) of cast off, rough felt (like the craft store grade, or even sometimes found with automotive care) is great for removing nail polish. Felt is durable, can be rinsed/ left to dry and used again, and it's just abrasive enough to really do a great job of removing polish without scrapping or abrading.

2) White Colored Pencils

Speaking of nails...I have no idea why or how, but around the middle of high school I had a pile of white colored pencils that I never used in my creative projects. One day I used one of the white pencils to color under the end of my nails - creating an instant french manicure with minimal effort and no nail polish needed. Of course you can buy "nail whitening pencils" at a couple bucks a pop but if you happen to have unused white colored pencils it works just the same (I've tried).

Bonus trick: use a white colored pencil (especially useful is the watercolor type made just a bit wet) to draw where you want to remove eyebrow hair and only pluck there - creates and instant and easy guide to follow.

2) Coffee

Drink coffee? Scrub the used grounds all over your hands and rinse. The grounds will exfoliate and make your hands soft, the oils will moisturize. If you have very dry hands add a touch of olive oil to prevent staining. Super soft hands, a cup of coffee, reuse of waste: a good way to start the day.

4) Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda

Want whiter teeth? If teeth are pretty stained first brush with some baking soda. No, it doesn't taste great but it works. Wet your toothbrush, sprinkle some baking soda on the bristles and brush (and rinse, of course).

The easiest, most effective teeth whitener? Hydrogen Peroxide. Whenever I tell people this I get one of two reactions: 1) No way, you can't put that in your mouth! and 2) Gross. Ok. 1) Yes, you can put hydrogen peroxide in your mouth. If you read the bottle (the 3% drugstore variety) it says, on the bottle "to use as an oral debriding agent..." (In dentistry, debridement refers to the necessary removal of plaque and calculus that have accumulated on the teeth in order to maintain oral health). And 2) It doesn't actually taste like anything, so, not so gross. Also, if you look, you might notice the hydrogen peroxide is a main ingredient in many teeth whitening formulas and strips - might as well skip the middle man and all the trash and cut to the chase!

The 3% solution will usually say to water the hydrogen peroxide down. I don't, but you can if you like. To use simply swish around for a minute like your would mouthwash. Rinse thoroughly after and of course, don't swallow the stuff. If you like, you can follow with a mouthwash to freshen up but you don't have to. For the first week rinse everyday, then you can go to every other day, and then once a week or just when you feel like it until your teeth are as white as you like. 

If you have gingivitis this is actually a particularly good rinse - though you might notice some white spots on your gums at first after rinsing - this is where the peroxide is actually cleaning/getting rid of the dead tissues - it'll stop after a few rinses.

5) Egg Whites

Ever use one of those fancy pore strips to get rid of blackheads? Expensive, right? You can do the same thing without any wasteful packaging and one egg.

Take an egg, separate out the yolk and give the white a thorough mixing with a fork. Spread the white on your (clean) face, then cover with toilet paper (yes, squares of toilet paper). Let dry. Peel off. That's it.

For more info there are tons of videos on YouTube (just look up "egg white mask"). I have to admit, I don't use this much anymore (my skin has changed so much with time and having a baby) - but it works, it's gentle and it's cheap!

6) Vitamin E

Where to even start! Vitamin E is the best. You can use the oil (which I prefer) or even the capsules. If you use a capsule you'll be better off if you use the capsule contents with a bit of olive oil (otherwise it can be too thick/viscous to spread). Use vitamin E on burns, under your eyes, on your lips, on stretch marks or scars, on dry hands and heels, even on your hair to moisturize.

7) Olive Oil

Olive oil can be used in many of the same moisturizing ways as vitamin E (though not on burns, ouch!). Warm olive oil on your hair for 5-10 minutes before a shower is a great way to restore shine and moisture after too many laps in the pool or hours in the sun.

Mixed with sea salt or a more coarse, larger crystal sugar (like a demerara sugar or "sugar in the raw" style), or even oatmeal and you've got an excellent exfoliating scrub.

Olive oil is also an excellent eye makeup remover - bonus: you get an eye moisturizer and cleanser in one!


Before I get swept up and tell you every crazy concoction for facial masks and soaks I'll leave the list at that. What simple and earth-friendly solutions to you love? Would love to hear your tips and tricks too!


LeAnna said...

Love these tricks! They are awesome, especially going to try the hydrogen peroxide one. No wonder you have such a purty smile!

Brandi said...

Hydrogen peroxide is one thing I use all the time -- it's really fantastic for sore throats. I don't use it for teeth whitening though as I know it causes problems for some people. But sore throats, yes.

Anonymous said...

Like the above, the hydrogen peroxide is the one thing I use constantly. I also use it like mouthwash and just swish it around. Those stupid strips on the teeth just don't stay on properly, plus peroxide is uber cheap! Great tips T!

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