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Do-It-Yourself Beauty

By Amalah

I have heard that people who use natural products instead of moisturizers on their face (olive oil mixed with a herbal essence for example) are always complimented on how young and great they look — does this really work? I like the idea of a cheap and natural moisturizer, but am worried that years from now I will look back and regret not going for a “real” product. What do you think? Should I give it a try for a few months and see how it goes or would I be making a big mistake? As I write this, I have an olive oil and apple cider vinegar blend on my face…greasy, but my skin feels less dry than it did before I put it on.
Noosa (39 yrs)

I think there’s definitely something to be said about homemade beauty and skincare solutions. I’m just not sure I’m the right person to say…whatever that something is to be said. (Am writing viking!) I just don’t know that much about them, honestly.
avocado.jpgI once tried washing my face with olive oil on the advice of my mother-in-law. It did not go well. (She later switched back to “real” products as well.) But lots of people swear by it, so I’m guessing it’s just like any skincare routine — you have to find the one that works for you. If I had chronically dry skin or never wore makeup, perhaps the olive oil method would have been it.
But there was no harm in trying it, nor should you be that worried about giving your oil and vinegar routine a shot for a few weeks. My two big unbreakable and nonnegotiable rules for skincare and aging are 1) protect your skin from the sun and 2) lay off the harsh-harsh stuff (scrubs and alcohol and acids and fragrance) as much as possible. In the meantime, if you’re happy with what you see in the mirror NOW, I wouldn’t stress out too much over abandoning the poor little mainstream cosmetics industry.
I’ve found a few green-living-type sites that offer a ton of homemade beauty tips — so many, in fact, that it’s hard to know where to start. But your question (and a few other similar ones I’ve received…sorry I can’t post them all), has inspired me to start trying some of them out and report back on my progress. The Smackdown’s going green! Sometimes!
Reader Anna submitted a couple ideas of her own, which are just too good not to pass on:

I have waistlength hair (and I am freakishly tall, so we are indeed talking long). The ends used to be a disaster for years – didn’t look too bad but felt dry and lifeless. Distributing a few drops of hair friendly oil on the ends – so few that it is not at all noticeable to the eye – (I use jojoba) has made a WORLD of difference.

I also found that the best exfoliator, hands down, is either softly ground coffee residue, if you brew your coffee at home, or a few drops of oil mixed with sugar or salt. Sophia Loren’s recipe, and you can’t say the lady doesn’t look good! Final magic tip: to fade any red spots, control breakouts, brighten the skin and moisturise it at the same time: crush a few aspirin pills in a few drops of water, mix it with honey, slap it on, rinse in 20 minutes, and voila!

What say you, peanut gallery? Any inexpensive and homemade solutions you’ve tried and loved? (Or hated, you know we always welcome the crankiness here.)

Published October 10, 2007. Last updated October 10, 2007.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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