NEW YORK (MainStreet) — With all of the irresistible ads on television these days, it's hard to tame your desire to buy all of the products on the market. Who doesn't want the great-smelling shampoo, or the face wash that claims to stomp out the most zits? It all sounds perfect, until you realize that you're paying for a product with 20 different ingredients, maybe half of which are actually pronounceable. Aside from the fact that our skin is permeable and shouldn't be subjected to chemicals, why pay good money for a factory-made item when you probably have something in your home that will work just as well? Here is a group of seven body care items that are inexpensive, chemical-free and most likely already in your home.
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What most people use it for: Sweetening tea and other food items, and treating colds and sinus congestion.
What it can ALSO do: Cleanse and nourish your skin! Contrary to popular belief, honey can be used for so much more than just sweetening a cup of tea. It is filled with skin-loving nutrients, and it is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Some choose to wash their face with honey, while others choose to combine it with a nourishing oil, like olive or jojoba, and use it as a mask. When using honey on your skin, manuka honey is the best type to buy. It is a type of honey that is native to New Zealand, and it naturally contains higher levels of antibacterial and antibiotic properties that most other types of honey. The downside of purchasing manuka honey is that, with the increase in benefits comes an increase in price. The second best, and drastically less expensive, type of honey is organic, wild honey. It doesn't take a lot to cover the face with a thin layer, so one jar can last for a few months. After use, your skin will feel softer and smoother, and you will notice a decrease in inflammation within just a few hours.
2. & 3. Olive Oil and Castor Oil
What most people use them for: Olive oil is widely used for an array of cooking techniques. Castor oil is known to be used to assist in digestive issues and detoxification.
What they can ALSO do:
Cleanse your face! Commonly known as the "oil cleansing method," olive oil and castor oil are two of the most popular, and most commonly available, oils used together in this cleansing process. The olive oil acts as the primary moisturizer, soothing and softening the skin. The castor oil acts as a moisturizer as well, but its antimicrobial properties make it function primarily as a cleanser. Using harsh face washes can cause our skin to create excess oil, or sebum, causing our pores to become clogged and our skin to act out. Using nourishing, antibacterial oils to cleanse our natural facial oils decreases inflammation, soothes skin and saves a ton of money.
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4. Baking soda
What most people use it for: Cooking, cleaning, and neutralizing odors.
What it can ALSO do: Whiten teeth and cleanse hair! Baking soda is one of the most common natural teeth whiteners. It can be used after your normal dental routine, but, start slow! Going overboard with baking soda can cause gums to become sore and tender. Baking soda also has an unappetizing taste, and can be combined with some peppermint oil to make it easier to tolerate. Because boxes of baking soda can be purchased for around $1, bargainers will revel in the amount of money saved when not having to purchase their store-bought white strips! If opting to use baking soda as an alternative to shampoo, be sure to research more about the "no shampoo," or, "no 'poo" method of cleansing. Used as either a rinse or a paste, baking soda has the power to cleanse your hair without stripping the scalp of the natural oils that it needs.
5. Apple cider vinegar
What most people use it for: Salad dressing, weight loss and detoxification
What it can ALSO do: Facial toning and hair conditioning. When using the vinegar as a toner, be sure to dilute a tablespoon of it with a few tablespoons of water. The vinegar is really potent and you do not want it to dry out your face too much. Your skin will start to glow brighter, and the vinegar will also help to minimize breakouts. As a hair conditioner, the apple cider vinegar works well as a rinse after cleansing with baking soda. The vinegar is the other half of the "no 'poo" method and works as the moisturizer. It balances the pH level of the hair, and makes it easier to detangle. It's also important to note that, when used in excess, the potency of the vinegar can definitely affect the smell of your hair. Be sure to dilute a very small amount with water to prevent the pickle smell.
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6. Banana peels
What most people use them for: To cover their bananas, garbage or compost piles.
What they can ALSO do:
Assist with improving acne, psoriasis and wrinkles. Banana peels are filled with restorative and healing properties that work especially well on the skin. By rubbing the inside of the peel on to the affected area(s) of the skin every day, the antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients within the peel work together to speed up the healing process and improve the look and condition of the skin.
What most people use it for: Flavoring beverages, cooking, fragrance.
What it can ALSO be used for: Getting rid of blackheads and exfoliating! Dip a wedge or a slice of fresh lemon in some sugar and rub it on to your face once a week to tone the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Slices of lemon alone can also be rubbed on the blackhead-laden areas of the face at night and the amount of blackheads should be noticeably less within a few days of use. Buying a few lemons at the supermarket for $0.49 each definitely beats paying for a professional facial!
For further information and real-life testimonials on some of the techniques mentioned above, check out these two blogs:
--Written by Ciara Larkin for MainStreet