I’m not worth it: Beauty on the cheap part 1

When it comes to toiletries and cosmetics, like most people, I have my favourites. In no particular order, they are:

  1. Things that are cheap.
  2. Things that are free.
  3. Things that I don’t have to go to the f*£&%#g shops for.

So with all that in mind, home made toiletries are a winner, as are, things that are multi purpose and /or can be picked up cheaply with the grocery shop.

I must clarify one thing. I don’t make my own toiletries because I’m afraid of ‘toxins’. Or ‘chemicals’. Or ‘toxic chemicals’. The current vogue for spreading fear and misinformation about the evil spirits humours toxins that somehow invade your body if your food, medicine and cosmetics aren’t holy enough expensive enough pure enough is causing fits of mighty ill-humour among actually real-life toxicologists who point out that ‘This Is Not How Any Of This Works’. ‘Hush you industry shills!’ yell the natural health pushers in retort. “Clearly, you are being paid to say that! Now buy my detox kit!'”.

But I do like things simple, and if I can do something with one ingredient rather than a blend of dozens, then I’m happy. The way I see it, most skincare falls into three basic categorys anyway:

  1. Things that removes dirt and other crud.
  2. Things that scrape off the surface layer of skin giving one a brief but heartening illusion of freshness and youth.
  3. Things that provides a nice greasy surface layer which slows the rate at which the skin dries out, temporarily arresting the speed at which your faces caves in on itself.

Feeling better about yourself yet? I know I am. In all seriousness, I’m actually probably more confident about my skin now then I ever have been. Partly, that because my teenage skin finally cleared up, after what was apparently a record breaking puberty of about twenty five years. It may have been pregnancy and the resulting tidal wave of hormones that finally did the trick. But I also wonder if switching to a simpler regime helped a little too. So without further ado, here’s what works (cheaply and easily) for me:

Make up remover – Olive oil.
Eat the olives first, duh. Wash and dry the jar before decanting your oil. A nice reusable and recyclable jar and you won't forget what's in it.
Eat the olives first, duh. Wash and dry the jar before decanting your oil. A nice reusable and recyclable jar and you won’t forget what’s in it.

I wear make up on work and going-out days and a cream or oil based cleanser is vital for make up removal. I had switched to cold cream which was cheap and felt satisfying to use. But it was very greasy, had a mild sting and produced unrecyclable pots which needed to be disposed of. Plus, I wondered at the sustainability of using a product made from petrochemicals. I was pretty sure that just about any oil would soften make up and surface dirt sufficiently for it to be wiped away. So I gave olive oil a whirl. I decant some into a tall, narrow jar which I keep in the bathroom cabinet. I tip a bit onto a flannel and wipe away. I’m then ready for Phase 2 which is:

Vegetable soap
On the right: expensive. On the left: cheap. Come on, its all just fat and alkali.
On the right: expensive. On the left: cheap. Come on, its all just fat and alkali.

We now have a Whole Foods in the neighbourhood which US readers may be used to, but is an entirely novel experience for most Brits. They were doing some lovely vegetable soaps scented with essential oils for a bargain price of 99p and I had stocked up. On running out, I headed over there to find out that the price had tripled, wiping out one of the few Whole Foods products that I could actually afford. So hooray for another immigrant, or immigrants in general, as we have a thriving stock of shops in the area which cater for our Asian friends and neighbours. From there, I buy gorgeous soaps made from olive oil, cheap, easy on the skin and only a shelf away from the mega sized bags of spices that I also stock up on. While I’m there, I can also bag some:

Coconut oil
It's fat, it's cheap, it's wrapped in plastic. Stop it now.
It’s fat, it’s cheap, it’s wrapped in plastic. Stop it now.

Its the most famous lump of fat in the world. I see a picture of it just about every time I look on the internet. (Did you want to just insert your own big-arsed celebrity joke? It will save me the bother).

Yes, it does have numerous health benefits and is a versatile beauty aid but if you’re fed up of the health-hysteria, try reading this slightly more reasoned analysis here.

A little goes a long way and the result is surprisingly non-greasy. (A tip: Don’t get all enthusiastic, add essential oils to it and then forget and add it to porridge. My husbands face was a picture).

So that’s my cleanse and moisturise routine taken care of. Exfoliation, deep cleansing and sun care? That will have to wait for another day. In the meantime, for the love of God, steer clear of this.



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