Ten Beauty Products in Your Kitchen

How many times have you been swayed by one luxurious-sounding ingredient in a personal care product?  Perhaps pineapple enzymes, organic olive oil, sea salt…  I only recently began asking myself, “why not go straight to the source?”  If those ingredients are so good for my skin, why purchase something that is 99% filler and only 1% good stuff?

You may be surprised to find that your kitchen is chock full of secret beauty ingredients that are simple to use and as good as, if not better than, the store bought version!


Photo by Stock Exchange

So many homemade beauty recipes involve multiple ingredients, many of which can be hard to source.  It often seems easier to buy the ready-made products off the shelf.  But nothing could be simpler than grabbing one basic ingredient from your kitchen and using it in a completely new way.

Ten Beauty Products Hiding in Your Kitchen

  • Olive Oil: Eye Make-Up Remover

Keep a small jar in your medicine cabinet.  Dab a little onto a damp cotton ball and watch your eye makeup melt right off.  It also moisturizes the delicate skin around your eyes and nourishes your lashes.  And it doesn’t sting.

  • Coconut Oil: Moisturizer and Stretch Mark Cream

I used coconut oil on my belly throughout my pregnancy and have nary a stretch mark to show for it.  It’s also excellent on hands and feet, especially with cotton gloves or socks worn overnight.

  • Salt and Sugar: Hand and Foot Exfoliator

Salt and sugar are too strong for the delicate skin on your face, but make an excellent scrub for hardworking hands and feet.  Mix a little with some olive oil or honey and keep a jar handy for a quick treatment.


Photo by Amy Thompson

Stored in a squeeze bottle in your shower, honey makes a wonderful, moisture-rich conditioner.  Its humectant properties draw moisture into your hair.  And far from being a sticky mess it rinses out easily and leaves hair soft.

  • Eggs: Protein Hair Mask

Eggs are high in protein and make an excellent mask for damaged hair.  Whip up the eggs a bit, adding a tablespoon or two of olive oil and spread onto damp hair.  You may want to mix it in a blender to completely emulsify the oil.  Spread it onto your hair, wrap it in a warm towel, relax for ten to twenty minutes while it works its magic, then shampoo as you normally would.  A once a week treatment will help protect oft-styled hair.

  • Milk: Skin Softener

Cleopatra was rumored to bathe in milk for its beauty-enhancing properties.  If you don’t have a whole tub full of milk to bathe in, simply patting some onto your face, letting it dry and then rinsing it off with warm water will give you noticeably softer skin.

  • Lemon Juice: Nail Whitener

My mom was always dipping her fingers in a little basin of lemon juice to remove the stains that would accrue from a day of cooking and cleaning.

  • Vinegar: Shiny Hair Rinse

1 tablespoon in a cup of water will give you a great hair rinse that removes product buildup and makes your hair shaft smother, resulting in shinier hair.  You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a pleasant scent.

  • Avocado: Nourishing Skin Mask

Face masks containing avocado line grocery store shelves.  Simply mashing up an avocado and letting it sit on your face will give you all the nutrients and moisture, plus enzymes, but minus weird fillers and chemicals.  Mixing it in the blender with a little water or olive oil will give you an easier-to-spread consistency.

  • Cornmeal: Facial Exfoliator

You can mix fine to medium ground cornmeal into a base of honey, oil, yogurt or mashed fruit for a gentle, but effective facial scrub that can be used on a daily basis.

In addition to the cost-saving benefit of using ingredients you already have in place of personal care products, there is the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what you’re putting on your skin.  You’ll likely find that these “products” work even better than their store-bought counterparts and leave your skin and hair feeling more nourished and balanced.


Photo by Stock Exchange

What homemade beauty products have you tried and loved? Any that flopped?

120 Comments

  1. Amanda

    What an excellent post! Amy, I’ve been following your wonderful blog for a while now and have been making some of my own cleaners at home but hadn’t yet forayed into the homemade hygiene world but you made it sound so easy – I’m in! Thanks for such a great post – I’m going to repost the content on my blog with links to your blog and this post, I hope you don’t mind! it’s great info and I want to spread the word 🙂
    .-= Amanda’s last blog: More lace inspiration!These wall hangings are Tord… =-.

  2. Amy

    Thanks, Amanda! I’m so glad you’re going to give it a shot; it’s really not so intimidating once you get into it, in fact, it’s kind of fun:) I think my next project is going to be homemade toothpaste…

    • Maria

      I’d love to hear about homemade toothpaste! I have 2 recipes for it (both really simple) but I’m afraid to try them. I will certainly be trying the things from today.
      Loving Simple Organic!!!
      Thanks!
      .-= Maria’s last blog: Sewing Machine Needles: A Short Primer =-.

  3. Lise

    Thank you! One of the few products I still buy is hair conditioner for my tangly, brittle hair. I’m going to try honey right away! I’d love to be able to use something a) local, b)in glass, and c) with only one ingredient.
    .-= Lise’s last blog: 1st knitting lesson =-.

    • Amy

      We love local, raw honey on our toast and in our tea, but I usually buy big jugs of the cheap stuff for my hair:) This summer we’ll be harvesting honey from our own hive though, so maybe I’ll treat my hair to the good stuff!

      • Beth Coetzee

        ooh…your own hive! How exciting! I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

        Been washing my hair with baking soda/rosemary/carrots for months now. Found a process that’s easy for me. You can read about it at http://potluckmama.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/dirty-hippie-ditch-the-shampoo/.

        I used a castor oil & EVOO mix as a facial cleaner for a while but it didn’t convince me…can you recommend anything gentle enough for daily use?

  4. Eren

    Amy, what a great post! I am so happy to see the olive oil as an eyemakeup remover…perfect!

  5. Sarah M

    Love all these little tips!
    Sarah M

  6. Deborah

    Great post! Any tips on what to use after the olive oil remover? The oily residue gives me styes. I use Witch Hazel, but is there anything in my pantry? A diluted vinegar solution? Any experience with this?
    .-= Deborah’s last blog: One Burnt-Out Green Mama =-.

    • Amy

      Sometimes if I feel like I don’t want the extra oil I just do the olive oil first and then wash my face with soap, that way it doesn’t leave the residue. This time of year, when it’s so dry, I’m loving the extra moisture though! Vinegar sounds a little iffy to use around your eyes you could try it though, it wouldn’t do any damage just might not be comfortable, witch hazel sounds great though, love that stuff.

      • Beth Coetzee

        I use witch hazel some but the bottle I picked up at the grocery store contains 15% alcohol…do you know if that’s standard/ok?
        .-= Beth Coetzee’s last blog: Frugal Fever =-.

  7. Kathryn

    You’re so right about the sugar/salt–that’s what expensive spas use, LOL! And yogurt and honey, because of their natural antibacterial properties, are really good for acne. For those with really sensitive skin, oatmeal makes a good alternative to cornmeal; my mom used to make me a great facial scrub from ground oatmeal, yogurt, and a little honey.

  8. Nikki Moore

    I’ve experimented quite a bit with homemade/kitchen/diy beauty “products.” I use olive oil, and a bit of castor oil, to wash my face. It works beautifully. I blogged about it here: http://moorethanfine.blogspot.com/2010/01/miracle-face-washing-epiphany.html

    Olive oil is amazing. I use it on dry skin, my lips, and I’ve also started shaving with it…another miracle. I won’t ever go back.

    I also tried going without shampoo and conditioner, using baking soda and diluted lemon juice. I’m back to a regular, all-natural shampoo, but the lemon juice still works like a dream. Another miracle! I also blogged about my no-‘poo months here: http://moorethanfine.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-i-stopped-using-shampoo-why-i.html

    Sorry for all the links…not trying to sound like an advertisement! There’s just a lot to tell. 🙂
    .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: Why I Stopped Using Shampoo, Why I Started Again, and What I’ve Learned Along The Way =-.

  9. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    I have never heard of using honey for conditioner, but I would really like to try that! I sometimes use homemade mayo with raw egg and that is quite nice in my hair.
    I am also in love with using coconut oil for anything I can think of. That stuff works wonders. 🙂
    .-= Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home’s last blog: It’s (About) Time for a Change =-.

  10. Kara

    Olive oil for eye make up remover? Honey for your hair? I had no idea! I do a vinegary rinse a few times a week for my hair, but I wonder if honey wouldn’t be gentler and help me control the frizz in my normally pretty wavy hair (this could lead to a whole different line of thinking as I contemplate growing my hair longer again …. hmmmm …..) 🙂

    I feel a pampering day coming on …. from the kitchen 🙂
    .-= Kara’s last blog: Head of the Class: Eco-Friendly Lunch Containers for a Smarter Planet =-.

  11. Kate

    I LOVE these tips. However, I think you’re just genetically predisposed to stretch marks…
    I can’t imagine any amount of coconut oil would have staved off the patchwork I’m left with.

    The honey in the hair will be the first I try. I’ve been searching for a new conditioner.

  12. Katie

    I am going to try a lot of these things soon! I especially want to try the honey as hair conditioner – I have very dry curly hair, and I went no-poo with great results but the vinegar rinse alone doesn’t always seem to be enough for my tangles.

    I heard that fresh strawberries cut in half and rubbed on the face are a great fruit acid peel – has anyone ever tried this?

    • Amy

      Ooh, I haven’t heard of the strawberry thing, but I’m totally going to try it! I’ve been looking for something like that.

  13. Jennie L

    I’ve been washing my hair with vinegar and baking soda and I LOVE using olive oil to wash my face and remove makeup. I WISH I would have known about coconut oil sooner. I have an immense amount of stretch marks! I love the honey in the hair idea. These sound like some great ideas to try with my sisters for a pampering evening. Thank you!

  14. renee @ FIMBY

    I make all our own beauty and skin care products (except toothpaste – that’s next up). I love mixing up beauty potions and prefer to make concoctions vs. using straight oil or baking soda for example.

    http://fimby.tougas.net/homemade-body-care-recipes

    So far no flops!

    • Amy

      I do love a good homemade potion, they’re a lot of fun to mix up. I recently had a girlfriend over for a spa night where we made all sorts of goodies to pamper ourselves with. I only wish I time to do that on a regular basis!

    • 3trikes

      I use himalayan sea salt with baking soda and eos to brush my teeth with. you simple grind it together (the benefits are the 84 minerals in the salt are so healthy!) keep a dish or shallow glass jar of it in your bathroom, dip your damp toothbrush in and brush. no flouride, no unessential chemicals or preservatives. clean and healthy gums and teeth.
      .-= 3trikes’s last blog: Crafting therapy. =-.

      • veronica

        what’s eos?

  15. Kimberly

    I love this! I wash my face with olive oil, use coconut oil for moisturizer, baking soda instead of shampoo, vinegar for conditioner, sugar and oils for scrubs, mix coconut oil/baking soda/cornstarch for deodorant, make lipbalms with honey, and sugar water for hairspray. It is all so easy, natural and cheap!

  16. Roxane

    Thank you for this post! I have been thinking about using things from my kitchen for a while and this is so helpful. I also love this idea because the packaging (or lack of packaging) is so much greener on food rather than cosmetics and lotions.

  17. Esther

    sounds wonderful but i was just wondering how long do these things keep? i.e. the sugar/oil scrubs etc. thanks!

    • Amy

      I make tiny batches at once (little half pint jars) so they get used up quickly, but I think they keep a long time. Sugar/salt and oil keep practically indefinitely in the cupboards. If you’re using yogurt as a base for a scrub, of course you’d keep it in the fridge for only about a week. But anything with less volatile ingredients; honey, cornmeal, oil, sugar, salt etc. will keep for quite awhile.

  18. Meg

    Great post! I have been trying to use more natural and frugal items on my face and it DOES make a difference! Ever since I stopped using soap on my face and using oil instead, my acne (preggo zits) cleared up and my skin looks less blotchy! I put oil on first and then gently wipe off with a nice warm cloth and my skin doesn’t feel greasy! I follow that up with coconut oil to moisturize. I just made homemade toothpaste with peroxide, baking soda, arrowroot, and peppermint oil and my hubby loves it! It makes our teeth feel clean with no weird aftertaste. 🙂

  19. Joliese Tan

    What an excellent post! Amy, I’ve been following your wonderful blog for a while now. I have been trying to use more natural and frugal items on my face…………..tell me something abot hair fall solution also?

    • Amy of Progessive Pioneer

      Hi Joliese, for my hair I sometimes use an apple cider vinegar rinse with a little essential oil (so it smells better) and then put in some honey to sit for awhile, then rinse that out. Other times I use this shampoo bar, I think it’s called Dr. Liggets or J.R. Liggets or something like that. I find that the less I use actual shampoo the nicer my hair is because the natural oils stay in balance.
      .-= Amy of Progessive Pioneer’s last blog: A Time Drawing to a Close =-.

  20. Best Lip Plumper

    Hi Amy,
    You have a wonderful post. I dye my hair blonde and i suffer from extremely dry strawy hair its horrible. I use salon shampoos but im beginning to think they just damage my hair more. I am going to try your suggestion about using honey and the vinegar solution.
    Fingers crossed it works and thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    .-= Best Lip Plumper’s last blog: Best Lip Enhancer =-.

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    Amazing you could use these simple kitchen ingredients in place of expensive make up such as mac. I should make my girlfriend read this post :p

  22. Alicia

    Love this! Thanks!

  23. fitness girl

    hi Amanda,
    I really like this post……
    Especially nowadays that our economy is in crises….
    I would try this

  24. sandy

    Does anyone have any ideas on a natural ingredient in my kitchen that would help with facial redness. Please let me know.

  25. cindy

    Olive Oil: I have a small pump bottle of EVOO in my bathroom. I wet my face, massage well, wipe with wet wash cloth. If moisture is still needed after that then I add a little to my wet hands and massage in.

    I have been amazed at the results and the savings. Olive oil works great for so many things. Use alone as a moisturizer or add some to lotion, use a little to reduce frizzies from your hair. You can also use coconut oil the same way.

  26. cindy

    Sandy, you can use cooled cammomille tea on a cotton ball for facial redness.

  27. Elizabeth Anderson

    Hello all, I have pretty bad acne that has popped up in my mid twenties. I hate putting all these harsh chemicals on my face and it doesn’t really help. Also, any tricks for psoriasis on the scalp?

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    Great Post! Love everything!

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  31. Grace Segura

    I try plain yogurt on my face , that works beautiful for me, my skin is very nice,
    looks clean, no spots at all.

  32. beauty 4 ever

    I have tried every thing i could steal from my moms fridge ever since i was 16 ,at 52 now all my friends ask me of my secret for looking young . But using honey on my hair i never heard before . I will try it right away .
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