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I was once just like you: I'd read about do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty, but kept my kitchen ventures very separate from my bathroom. Then one terrifically easy recipe for a homemade body scrub graced the glossy pages of a magazine I was reading, and I couldn't turn it down. Now, my grocery list mimics my beauty list as I try to find natural replicas of the products I love, which I can make at home for a fraction of the cost.
That being said, I know some of you want your beauty products ready-made and ready-to-use without having to concoct them yourself, so here are a few products for treating that dry winter skin that you can either buy or DIY.
OLIVE OIL CLEANSER
All skin types can enjoy the gentle, vitamin E-packed moisturization of olive oil, and using it as a cleanser is one of the best ways to do it. Olive oil breaks down dirt and makeup so that soap can easily cleanse it away — a method that's been used for decades in Asia, and recently oil-based cleansers and pre-cleansers have become the new 'it' beauty must-have in the West.
Combine 3 parts organic olive oil to 1 part castile soap, like Dr. Bronner's unscented pure castile soap ($8, Drugstore.com), together in a reusable flip-cap plastic bottle. Even after the first use, you'll be able to feel a difference in how the softness of your skin feels and see how much better an olive oil cleanser works at removing the day from your skin.
For a deep-cleansing experience appropriate for all skin types that also balances the skin's natural oils, I like St. Ives Olive Cleanser ($5, Amazon.com). Whether your skin is very dry, oily, even sensitive, this paraben-free cleanser made with olive oil and natural extracts is comfortable and tolerable.
PUMPKIN FACIAL MASQUE
Although pie and Jack-o-Lanterns might be our only experience with pumpkins each fall, this sweet gourd also makes a perfect facial masque. Pumpkin is high in vitamins A and C, as well as zinc and potassium, which are immersed in the pumpkin's natural "carrier" — meaning it's well absorbed by and fully benefits your skin.
Combine 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon spice until the mixture is well combined. Use the mixture on freshly washed skin for about 15 minutes. This pumpkin masque treatment is a fabulous way to get an instant glow that smells as great as it works.
Pumpkin, honey, and milk are also used in Zia's Pumpkin Exfoliating Mask ($4.50 for trial size, Amazon.com), but they infuse it with carrot and pineapple juice to banish clogged pores and add an extra dose of antioxidants which help to reduce dark patches caused by a summer in the sun. It's a bit pricier, but is in season and readily available all year long.
BROWN SUGAR BODY SCRUB
Spa treatments have risen in popularity to new heights over the past decade, bringing with them the popularity of brown sugar body scrubs, which went from virtually unknown to a shower staple. Just a handful of brown sugar scrub rubbed into dry skin before a shower or bath provides the immediate feeling of smooth, bright skin, and for much less money than you'd pay at a day spa.
Since this treatment is really one-size-fits-all, start scouting now for super-cute jars and use this recipe to make budget-friendly and best-loved holiday gifts. All you'll need is a cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of honey. If you'd like to give it a special scent, simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the mix. This DIY brown sugar scrub has a shelf life of around 3 months, so making it in a small batches like this one is an easy way to ensure that a fresh scrub is always on hand.
Shea butter and natural oils combine with brown sugar and lemongrass in Crabtree & Evelyn's Botanical Body Scrub ($26, Drugstore.com) for a fresh-scented scrub that's perfect for pre-shave exfoliation.
Copyright 2009 Shoestring, LLC and Carissa Passerella