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Green for a Day: Homemade Beauty Treatments

By Amalah

This morning’s beauty ritual:
Yes, really. I’m soooo expensing my grocery bill, y’all.
So, as promised, after Googling homemade beauty recipes far and wide (here’s just a sampling of what’s out there), I opted to go with whichever ones I could make without a special trip to the store. This was surprisingly easy — the only common ingredient I was missing was an avocado, which can pretty much be used for ANYTHING. Hair, face, eyes, hands…whatever needs a good moisturizing.
First up, a mayonnaise hair mask. After finding a ton of conditioning recipes involving oil, egg yolks, vinegar and lemon juice, a couple sites pointed out that hey, you’re basically making mayonnaise there, why not skip the blender and go right for the jar?
That’s my kind of lazy. So a half cup of mayonnaise (applied to dry, unwashed hair) and a couple sheets of saran wrap later, I had my revolutionary costume for the day…
I’m too sexy for your potato salad.
Now, I love mayonnaise, but hoo boy, does a half cup of it stink. The plastic wrap helps though, and now I’m totally in the mood for a BLT. (Just to balance out all this good-for-the-planet stuff with some bacon consumption.)
Leave the mayo on for 15 to 20 minutes. Just enough time for a face mask.
One tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of yogurt and one egg yolk.
That healthy salmonella glow!
This concoction smells way better than the mayo, but hoo boy, is it a drippy mess. I tried adding more honey in hopes of thickening it up, but no dice. I smeared it on with my fingers (and then promptly had a sneezing fit, which was super fun), and kept dabbing at my mouth and eyebrows and nose with a paper towel to catch the drips. It eventually sort-of hardened, just in time to wash it off.
I washed everything off in the shower (I left the plastic wrap on until after I rinsed the face stuff off) and then shampooed and conditioned and washed my face as usual. (I decided to save the homemade shampoos and conditioners for another day, but hey! My Pureology is vegan and I recycle the bottles. So there.)
My hair was nice and tangle-free afterwards, and my face felt very tight. I swore my pores looked a little smaller, too. Behold the power of yogurt! My scalp felt a tad itchy though.
But before declaring myself done, I had one more treatment to try. A grated raw potato, wrapped in cheesecloth, applied to eyelids in hopes of lightening my under-eye circles.
Now I have to say that I was impressed that we had cheesecloth — it seems rather gourmet of us, considering I have absolutely no idea what we’ve ever used it for. Anyway, I grated the potato and made a couple eye-socket-sized pouches.
You gonna eat your tots?
The all-knowing Internet said to hold them over your eyes for 15 minutes, which didn’t seem like that big of a deal until I put them on my eyes, held them there for what felt like an eternity but was actually only two minutes. Bah.
I almost gave up after five minutes, but upon looking in the mirror found that my circles looked worse. So I gave it another five minutes. They looked better. Enough! Done.
A half-assed product-less blowdry and makeup application later…
My hair is ridiculously soft and shiny, if a little flatter than usual. And I SWEAR I STILL SMELL MAYONNAISE. My skin and pores are very tight but I discovered some fairly annoying dry patches when I put on my makeup. (Dammit! Where’s an avocado when you need one?) And I’m not really sure the potato did much of anything that a dab of any random eye cream couldn’t do.
All-in-all, these experiments were pretty fun, and I think this would be a great way to host a girls’ spa day on a shoestring budget. (Brides and shower-throwers, take note.) I’m definitely going to play around with the recipes and see if I can refine the results a little (clearly the face mask was too harsh for me, or I left it on too long), but since these fancy once-a-week deep treatments tend to be some of the most expensive beauty products on the shelf, going the natural route (at least occasionally) is a great way to shrink your beauty budget.
Related Alpha Mom Video:
Hey, you care about the environment? We think you’ll enjoy this video by Cool Mom Picks: Organic Baby

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

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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  • Cha

    October 17, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I did the mayo hair mask in high school once. Only once. Because I smelled mayo for about the entire week and was so grossed out by myself, I couldn’t take it. Ahh, misty, watercolored memories… My favorite clarifying hair treatment (for product build-up) is a handful of equal parts shampoo and baking soda (some shampoo in the palm of your hand, like you do and dump some baking soda, mix into a spreadable paste). Too harsh to do often (once every two weeks? When I remember to do it?), I use a deep-conditioner afterwards and my hair is amazing the next day. I think it may take care of the mayo smell issue, if you’re that bothered by it. Though a friend used to keep a (unrefridgerated) jar of mayonnaise in the shower and use that with no smell issues at all. I think she had a magic shower.

  • TasterSpoon

    October 17, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve been washing my face with honey once a day since that last post, and I’m not sure it would be any different from just rinsing my face rather than soaping once a day. But it smells good and I feel wholesome. I haven’t been able to pick up aspirin, though. From your comments section the aspirin-honey mask sounded like the miracle I’ve been waiting for all my life.

  • TasterSpoon

    October 17, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Also, you could try the old beer rinse for your mayonnaisey hair – go from country club to pool hall.

  • superblondgirl

    October 17, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I love for the face when it’s feeling icky. Skip the eggs and skip the 15 minutes, just use it like face wash. Your skin ends up really, really soft afterward, and your pores are nice. Another one I’ve used before and liked (for oilier days) is milk and tomato mashed up – again as a wash, not for leaving on. Baking soda scrub, too – it helps with the zits and pores without being too harsh. Avocado, though touted as miracle product, made my face hurt and itch. But it made great guacamole when I gave up the face thing, so I forgive it. My favorite kitchen beauty secret by far is olive oil and sugar body scrub. Just mix the two in pretty much equal amounts (I fill a ramekin halfway with the combo) and use it in the shower and you end up all glowy and gorgeous and soft.

  • superblondgirl

    October 17, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Whoops, that should have said I love YOGURT for the face. Mysterious there, huh?

  • Alice_R

    October 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    It’s a good thing I work from home now, because you make me laugh out loud often when I’m supposed to be working.
    I can’t do the mayo thing on my hair. I don’t like mayo in the first place, and the smell is just too gross for me. I occasionally coat my ends in olive oil before shampooing & conditioning, though, and it works pretty well. And, I just recently discovered mixing baking powder with a little Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap to use as shampoo, body wash – hell, you can even use it to clean with. It’s pretty awesome. My hair is amazingly voluminous and soft (it’s usually oily at the scalp with dry ends). The mixture looks and smells like toothpaste (which you can also use it for, apparently) and is very tingly.

  • Alice_R

    October 17, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Er, I meant baking soda, not baking powder.

  • Melanie

    October 18, 2007 at 10:07 am

    How much do I love that you quoted Grey Gardens? SO much!

  • mdvelazquez

    October 18, 2007 at 11:23 am

    I think your hair looks great.

  • katie

    November 12, 2008 at 12:02 am

    next time you make a mask that seems a little too drippy..try adding some ground oatmeal..throw 1/4 cup into a food processor and make it pretty works amazingly to exfoliate your skin and will thicken up the mask to give it more staying power! :o)