Guest post from Alina of Vegan Runner Eats
Looking good can boost our confidence even when everything is going downhill, so while our shopping trips and meals out may become less frequent when we’re struggling financially, we’ll often still be pinching pennies to continue buying our favorite shampoo.
Add to this a possible concern with going ‘green’, and the picture can get even more complicated — have you seen the price tags on some of those ‘all-natural’, ‘organic’ beauty products?
About a year ago, I went on a quest to find ways to simplify my beauty routine while making it ‘greener’ and more affordable. I had just switched to a plant-based (vegan) diet at the time, after reading about its benefits to our health and the environment, so looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly seemed logical.
After some searching, I discovered a few hair and skin care tricks that proved to work great, saved me money along the way, and helped me clear my bathroom of countless bottles of beauty products that had turned out to be useless.
Today I’d like to share three of those tricks – they won’t cost you anything, and you probably have everything you’ll need at home right now!
3 ‘Green’ Beauty Tricks That Save Money
1. Using coconut oil instead of face creams or lotions.
Coconut oil has moisturizing, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that can prevent the formation of new pimples. Most anti-acne lotions on the market are oil-free, so our skin kicks its oil production into overdrive when we use them, cue in even more acne. My skin has been acne-prone since high school, so I was surprised to see that coconut oil made things better.
Why it saves you money:
You only need a tiny dab of coconut oil to cover your face once or twice a day. A tablespoon of even the finest organic coconut oil will last you more than a month while costing you much less than a bottle of any face cream. Apply a dab of coconut oil onto wet skin in the morning and/or at night.
2. Using leftover coffee grounds as a weekly body scrub.
After you’ve brewed your morning pot of coffee, save 2 tablespoons of used coffee grounds and mix them with one tablespoon of body wash. Apply the mixture on your skin from the neck down in the shower, massage for 3-5 minutes, rinse, and be amazed how unbelievably soft your skin has become! Use 1-2 times a week.
Why it saves you money:
Because it’s free! You’ve used those coffee grounds anyway to make coffee, and the body wash is already in your shower.
3. Using baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner.
Here’s the most surprising discovery I’ve made: my hair looks clean, shiny, and has better texture after I rinse it with a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and then follow with a mix of 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in it. This method works better than most shampoos because it cleanses the hair more gently while not stripping all of its natural moisture, so my hair is never as frizzy anymore.
Why it saves you money:
A tablespoon of baking soda and apple cider vinegar will cost you pennies, plus since your hair is going to have better texture, you won’t need to spend money on additional hair styling products.
A few months into my new beauty routine, I noticed a big difference in my appearance: the acne on my face cleared up; my skin was always soft and glowing; and even my hairdresser complimented me on how well my hair looked. I’m sure my plant-based diet contributed to these changes too… but you get the picture.
I was also glad to get rid of numerous bottles of beauty products that I tried in the past and had to stop using because they were making matters even worse for me.
And the best part?
My ‘going green’ attempts ended up SAVING me lots of money, plus I won’t be likely to splurge on new miracle beauty products in the future since these tricks are already working great!
What are your favorite homemade beauty products?
Alina Zavatsky is passionate about whole food, plant-based (vegan) diet, exercise, running marathons, and designing one-of-a-kind handmade sock monkeys. She blogs about the benefits of plant foods and fitness at Vegan Runner Eats.
Be very careful about coconut oil. it has a comedogenic rating of 4 (from 0-4, which means there’s a very good chance it will clog your pores. Also, it actually has been known to dry out skin after awhile. There are other oils you can use on your face that won’t clog. I use argan oil and have had great results on my dry, acne prone skin.
Also, coffee grounds will clog your pipes. It can get trapped in there and cause a huge plumber bill. Better off using sugar.
I was wondering if anyone has a solution for a brown spot mark on the face. I tried coconut oil but the spot is still there. I have to use foundation to cover it so it won’t stand out on my face. It appeared out of nowhere several years ago like a birthmark. Strange, but I am tired of covering it. Need a natural solution. Thanks for any tips!
I love coconut oil! I have been using it this winter and my painful chapped skin is no more! I rub it on after turning off the shower which removes most of the water and then pat dry. As for my face. I wear contacts and if I get it near my eyes they burn as well as any oil, even from make up remover, is horrible for soft contacts. My eye Dr suggested washing my hands with blue Dawn before handling my contacts because most handsoap has lotion in it and what soft contacts are made of these days…any oil adheres to them and can’t be removed. This will shorten the life of your contacts and cause vision problems. After researching I found that the blue Dawn is just soap instead of anti-bacterial or lotion. I love the way my skin feels using coconut oil. It’s awesome. I am on a mission to eliminate as many chemicals from my environment as possible and as I run out of current products I am going to make my own body wash from goat milk soap from Bendsoap.com (all natural), my own deodorant, shampoo, lotion, hairspray etc. Already making my own laundry detergent and love it. Switching to goat milk soap instead of fels-naptha on this next batch. Spent $7 on the first 10 GALLONS! It lasted over a year and a half for me and my husband and still have enough of the powders to make at least 2 more batches, all I have to buy is the bars of soap.
In the past I have used BS and ACV on my hair, but found it inconvenient and did not like the results. I recently went no shampoo again and have found that using nothing but water works best for my hair (fine, straight, Native American). I had no visible oily stage, though I could feel extra oils in my hair when I ran my fingers through it. In less than three weeks, my hair has adjusted and looks awesome. For the first time ever I don’t have to deal with a tangled mess in my long hair. I do have a bit a static to deal with, but find after putting jojoba oil on my face, I can run my hand over the bottom part of my hair and that resolves the problem.
Thanks for the post. I grew up using coconut oil as a moisturizer as my mom is a patron of coconut oil. Applying coconut oil all over body before bath, let it sit on skin for 15 minutes does wonders on skin in the winter. It works well on skin of my little ones too.
Jenn Hen says
Baking soda is actually really basic (a pH of about 9) so it can potentially wreck havoc on your scalp that is slightly acidic. It can actually break down some of the bonds in your hair, which is why it doesn’t work for everyone. It totally dried out the ends of my hair, and then my scalp never looked clean. It also managed to give me dandruff that I’ve never had before. I’ve since switched to washing my hair with a watered down raw honey (1 tbs honey to about 3 tbs water), and it has done wonders for my hair. I only have to “wash” my hair about once a week. The apple cider vinegar still works wonders for my hair.
Also coconut oil is great for me at night, but I need the sunscreen of a conventional moisturizer during the day. Also, the coffee grounds, I will have to try!
D'Ann Martin says
I played with the no-poo formula for quite some time, but hated that my hair always felt coarse, dull, greasy and gunky. I tried upping the baking soda, downing the baking soda, upping the ACV, downing the ACV, but it just left my hair feeling gross:( I came across this very different version of no-poo and fell in love with it.
The recipe uses canned coconut milk and aloa vera. Strange concoction, but you freeze it in ice cube trays and just thaw out a cube when you need to clean your hair. I have medium length hair, and use most of the cube, putting any excess on my face for a facial:) I apply it to my scalp/roots and as I rinse it out, it cleans the rest of my hair. I use it twice a week. If I feel my hair feels oily at all in between, I simply rinse it with hot water, which takes out any extra oil. Been loving it so far:) I also bought a boars hair brush and use it twice a day to pull any extra oil down the hair. I also stopped using the ACV rinse.
I also moisturize with coconut oil twice daily, but have recently been hearing that argan oil is fantastic and you only need a very tiny amount as it is quite expensive. Coconut oil works great for me, but I’ve heard that argan oil is lighter and soaks in faster. I love making our personal care products!!!
I use coconut oil as a moisturizer already. Although I haven’t tried the baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair, will have no problem trying it. Just wondering how your husbands and children feel about using these alternatives.
These are great ideas, I will have to have someone save their coffee grounds for me so I can give the coffee scrub a try.
I use olive oil to clean my face but I’ve not tried coconut oil before. I will have to pick some up and give it a try.
My husband won’t even try the baking soda and cider vinegar for shampoo and conditioner. But I have been thinking of giving it a try for a while.
I do make my own eczema cream for my kids with Shea butter and sunflower oil that works well. We have also found a raw potato rubbed on eczema helps to treat it.
Presently I don’t do no poo but have in the past. I liked it and will be going back. I found a sulfate free shampoo at trader joes & don’t like it. Do you ladies understand that there is a transition period your hair goes through? Your hair is producing more oil as it gets used to no shampoo. A boar bristle brush is helpful. It distributes the oil evenly throughout your hair. I’m sorry some of you have had a unhappy experience with it. I akso wash my face with baking soda & use acv. My pores are so much smaller. I have 90% less blackheads & my skin is softer. Its a slow process but I can see it working.
I live for coconut oil….
I also use a sugar scrub in the shower with olive oil and sugar. Then, once a week, I use a baking soda/water wash on my face to clean my pores.
Green stuff is good stuff!!!!
Perhaps the ones who didn’t have positive results with coconut oil were not using cold pressed organic? Cold pressed is antibacterial, anti fungal, etc. However what we eat, especially if there could be a gluten or sugar issue, can cause a breakout. I know people who’s eczema it greatly helped. Or maybe she’s allergic to real coconut? When starting out on this journey I assumed results on my skin were due to only what was on my skin. I’ve since learned what we eat comes out of our pores in one way or another. Skin is our biggest organ and the body will use it to rid things that are hard on our digestion. Add sun-baking our skin to that and yes, there could be various results that have little to do with some new product we try short term. It’s a tricky thing. We can’t compartmentalize our bodies or our “results” could be totally falsely interpreted. Common sense always wins.
I’m always amazed at the misinformation “educated” people have. Lol
No. Coconut oil has a comedogenic rating of 4 (0-4 being the ratings, 0 being good and 4 being clogging), so it means it will clog your pores after while. I did try coconut oil on my skin when I didn’t know this (cold press, organic, etc) and it gave me the worst breakouts and dried out my skin! It also didn’t help my eczema at all. Once I switched to an oil with a rating of 0, my skin got much better. I am educated and did my research properly.
that said, if it doesn’t clog your facial skin and it actually moisturizes, then great! Everyone’s skin is different so we can’t put down those that it doesn’t work for.
Thank you! I look forward to trying these out to see what works for me! I recently developed an allergy to a preservative in beauty products and soaps. I was shocked to learn it’s linked to cancer and causes other sensitivities. I’ve been searching for all natural beauty alternatives, but they are so expensive. These tips are just what I’ve been hoping for! Thanks!
So excited to see someone talking on MSM about how great the Whole Food Plant Based diet is! We are 1.5 years plant based and it’s awesome. I will check out your blog for sure 🙂
Does Coconut Oil Help With Exema? My Husband Suffers Terribly From It!
I’ve found diluted apple cider vinegar has really helped mine. Good luck!
I’ve been using coconut oil as my sole moisturizer for about 6 years now. I love it. Sometimes I mix in some tea tree oil when I make a new jar.
I read recently of the pH problems with baking soda. I don’t think I’ll ever use it but a couple times a year, and very very diluted. I think it starts out well but damages hair.
Jen F says
My husband too would point out potential issues with coffee grounds in the shower.
I have been considering purchasing an outdoor solar shower for camping and emergencies, so I might be able to try it when warm weather comes. For now, more snow!
I’ve been using coconut oil on my face for a few weeks with no problems. I’ve tried MANY different skin care lines with terrible results. Within hours I get an irritation and milia. No fun at all. I’ve had no problems at all with coconut oil.
I love this post! I made the switch to making my own products and have saved so much money and time also. I do the baking soda and apple cider vinegar also only I use 1/4 cup ACV to one cup water and have found that works well on my curly hair. I use the coconut oil as moisturizer as well and have found that in conjunction with the oil cleansing method (one part castor oil to three parts olive oil) has significantly cleared up my very very acne prone skin. We’ve switched over to making our own toothpaste, lotion, hair gel, and hairspray…I’ve done it slowly and have shaving cream and makeup to go before we’re completely beauty routine homemade. (For deodorant we’ve been using a slice of lemon…so far its working and I am shocked about it!). Loved this post!!!
Kelsey B. says
Jody, I would love more info on your conversion on all of these products! Could you share your recipes? Also, how are you using a slice of lemon as deodorant?
Giving a thumbs up on coconut oil, have been using as moisturizer at night. I’ve seen fewer blackheads and pimples.
Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama says
I use a combination of coconut oil and brown sugar as a sugar scrub on my skin (especially my super dry face–even my T-Zone has patches of dry skin). It’s the most effective way I’ve found of getting rid of the dry skin (exfoliating and moisturizing in one step)
I’m all about trying no-poo and coconut oil, but my husband would be right surly if I started sending coffee grounds down the drain
I don’t recommend putting coffee grounds down the drain either. The grounds are highly acidic and will damage your pipes. You’ll save a couple dollars now, but spend big bucks later. Always be cautious about what you flush and put down the drain.
Our plumber actually recommends using coffee grounds down the drain periodically to help catch and clear them of oily residues and such…much like oatmeal (and fiber) does for our arteries!
I used coconut oil as a moisturizer for a week, but it just wasn’t enough for my face; I had dry flakes all over, especially on my checks.
Coconut oil = Awesome!
Note about the baking soda cleanser: my hairdresser recommended this once/wk for me (I use very little product in my hair), along with brushing from root to ends with a boar hair brush. She’s trying to help me balance the oil production out. The idea is that when you use the regular shampoos, they strip the natural oils, but then your body creates more oil in response. So, I’m going to try it out…
I use coconut oil for my moisturizer and an apple cider rinse once or twice a week following my usual shampoo. It has been wonderful to stop buying conditioner!
I also use a castor oil/olive oil mix as my evening face wash. After rinsing the oil with a hot cloth, I steam my face with a few drops of lavender oil in boiling water. It has been wonderful removing several products from my cabinet and shopping list!
I’ve actually been wanting to do the baking soda & vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner. I’m just not sure how that would work out since I MUST dye my roots about once a month. The dye comes with a rinsing shampoo (that you need to use to get the excess dye out). I would hate for the transition cycle to restart after each time I use the shampoo after dying my hair.
Any thoughts/ideas would be much appreciated. 🙂
I purchased a dry skin brush for my body online & one for my face at a local health food store. I try to dry skin brush once a day before showering. It helps open your pores so your skin releases toxins, & decreases acne. After the first month of dry skin brushing my skin was softer, smoother, & required less moisturizers.
I too use coconut oil as a moisturizer on my face. I tried just apple cider vinegar on my hair in the past, but didn’t like the texture of my hair afterwards. Right now I just use conditioner on my hair. It cleans as well as shampoo, so skipping the shampoo step save me both time & money. My hair is also much healthier now.
Could you tell me where you got your dry skin brush and what you look for when purchasing one?
Anne K says
Does anyone want to troubleshoot my baking soda shampoo issue? I’ve been doing this new routine for about 2 months, and my hair looks great. However, it appears that bits of baking soda are always hanging out near my scalp. Or maybe it’s dandruff? Does anyone know a natural way to get rid of that?
Tea tree oil. But not to much if it. Cause it also will make dandruff. Do a search online.
Jenn Hen says
I also had dandruff after starting the no poo baking soda thing. I switched from using baking soda (which can really mess with the pH of your scalp and hair), and started using a watered down raw honey instead of the baking soda. It has anti fungal properties, so if your dandruff is caused by a fungal infection instead of just dryness, it should help that too. Also tea tree oil, as said before, could help with the problem. Maybe at night though, because the smell can be a little strong.
We use baking soda as our “toothpaste”. Baking soda keeps teeth very white, it’s actually more effective at keeping cavities away (it’s also safer!)
Do you just keep a container near the sink and dip your tooth brush in it?
Very Practical question, I know. 🙂
I keep baking soda in a small bottle with a shaker top (a spice bottle) in the bathroom. I shake baking soda into my palm and dip my wet toothbrush into it to brush my teeth. The bottle of baking soda is not contaminated.
I use the same bottle of baking soda to wash my face and remove makeup. I just wet my face first, shake the baking soda into my palm, use my fingertips to rub it over my face, and rinse. My skin is very sensitive, but this does not make it worse. I do not find it too abrasive at all, but some might.
It also breaks down the enamel faster because of the abrasiveness, something to keep in mind.
When you mix it with water it becomes much less abrasive. Testing was done and it is less abrasive than most toothpastes when properly mixed into a slurry.
This is a great post! I have heard of the baking soda & apple cider vinegar for your hair but I have also heard that it takes a little while to get the best results. Since the 2 ingredients work to rid your hair of the chemicals we have been putting in it. I hear it makes your hair greasy at first until you finally get all the old chemicals out. Anyone out there tried it yet and found this to be true?
I did it for 2 months and had poor results. Always greasy looking. However, we have hard water that is softened, so that may be to blame.
Yes, there is normally a transition period when changing from shampoo to using the “no poo” method. It took me a couple months for my scalp and hair to balance out. I recommend trying dry shampoo to help get rid of greasiness. You can see my comment above. Yes it took awhile and I had plenty of bad hair days, but for me it was worth it. Now I only wash my hair 2 or 3x/week and it doesn’t get near as oily as it used to when I used shampoo every day.
Debbie Bolen says
I use coconut oil daily to clean my face and remove my make-up. I have really sensitive skin and it works great. I also make my own body scrub using sugar and oil (vegetable, mineral, baby, etc.) I use the oil on my skin to shave my legs. I’ve been using this routine for about 5 years with no problems whatsoever.
I find myself wondering what kind of water the poster has, ours is softened and therefore baking soda may not work for us. It doesn’t work with the clothes washer. But I plan on trying the oil. Thanks.
Not sure about the person who wrote this article, but we have softened water. I have found that washing my hair with baking soda works well in the softened water, but whenever the salt is low in our softening system, my hair becomes unmanageable and nasty with tons of gunky buildup. So actually softened water is much better than hard water for natural hair care. This is my own experience, but I have read of this being the case for many.
One word on washing hair with baking soda and vinegar rinsing: there is a transition for most people. Especially if you normally have oily hair, it can take awhile for your scalp to get used to it. I recommend trying dry shampoo to help rid the greasiness. I make my own with arrowroot and cocoa powders. It’s so nice to not have to wash my hair every day.
Thank you for the comments about using the coconut oil on your face! I have acne prone skin and wondered about using an oil like this, thanks for letting me know how it works for other people! The last thing I need is more acne 🙂
Another option is organic avocado oil on the face, as well as the whole body. I’ve dealt with acne my whole life, and did not have a problem. Very affordable and easily sinks in.
Alina Zavatsky says
Thank you for publishing my post today, I am very excited to be featured on MoneySavingMom!
Coconut oil is comedogenic, so you might not want to use it on your face. I have clear skin but a couple small patches of eczema that I was treating with coconut oil. I don’t typically break out, but I’ve gotten whiteheads where I used coconut oil, including a fairly large one on my eyelid. I would NOT recommend coconut oil topically on the face.
I suppose everyone’s skin is different, however I have been using coconut oil as a moisturizer for years and I never have breakouts.
My face broke out horribly after using coconut oil. It was an absolute disaster. I still shave my legs with it but don’t put it anywhere near my face!
I used it every night and love it!
paul's mommy says
I use coconut oil for everything. My face, a lotion for my body,my sons diaper cream, coconut oil to cook…ect. not all from the same bottle lol. We have no problem with it. My sons skin still holds moisture very well and my stretch marks seem to be fading. I have even put it in my hair overnight then washed it in the morning. Yes my hair was oily for a day but after that it was so soft. I get the organic, unrefined coconut oil if that helps anyone. (: also the smell is great, if you like coconut lol.
I use it on my face after I cleanse with the oil cleansing method if I feel a little dry. I love it!
I tried coconut oil on my face and had no problems at first. Over time, I started getting breakouts. I’ve tried other oils (use 6 or7 drops for entire face) with better success…grapeseed, jojoba, avocado. A baking soda scrub occasionally also helps the skin.
I also didn’t like using baking soda/apple cider vinegar in my hair. My hair always felt oily and gross. It might have been my imagination — I really like the “sudsy” feeling in my hair. However, both baking soda makes a great additional to face soap. Add some for instant facial scrub.
Glad the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine worked for you 🙂 So funny your hairdresser complimented you…because after I tried it for two months then went in for a haircut MY hairdresser said “Whatever you’re doing to your hair, you need to STOP! It feels gross!” :-/ Maybe it was because I have naturally curly hair and to tame it down I have to use product in it and the baking soda/vinegar routine wasn’t cleansing enough to get out all the product?? Anyway, I have definitely heard of a lot of people with more “normal” hair having great success with it, so cool that you passed the tip along.
I’ve noticed that people with naturally wavy/curly thick/coarse hair have this problem. Several bloggers I follow had negative experiences with the “no poo” method, and so did I.
I do love coconut oil for so many things – it’s a wonderful eye makeup remover, facial cleanser, moisturizer… and I mix it in with a little styling cream and scrunch it in my wavy hair.
I have curly hair and have found 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar per cup of water works really well for me, and the one tablespoon baking soda to one cup water. For other hair products at the same time I switched to baking soda/ apple cider vinegar I also started making my own flax seed and aloe vera hair gel and using sugar and water when I used hairspray. I think using homemade hair gel and hair spray definitely played a part in me being curly haired and being able to make the switch to baking soda/apple cider vinegar. It rinses out really well and my hair has been healthier than it ever has been…if you try it again I would definitely try homemade gel and spray at the same time to see if that maybe makes a difference?
Won’t sugar attract flies or bees to your hair?
Actually, I did a little research on my own after trying this tip to get rid of what I like to call “winter hair.” Anyway, Baking soda has a PH of about 11. That’s quite a bit stronger than most soaps and shampoos. Your hair feels softer afterwards because you are literally stripping the surface….like a tile floor…every time you use it. Vinegar has a Ph level closer to your hair’s natural Ph, which can put it back in balance, but it can’t replace anything you just burned off of it. You have to have some kind of oil or conditioner to repair the damage.
My personal conclusion is this; baking soda can be used on your hair as a replacement for a clarifying shampoo. It should be used VERY sparingly, like twice a year. Always follow it up with a quality conditioner.
If you are truly dedicated to using an all-natural shampoo, I suggest you take a look at making your own in bar-soap form, that way you can control what goes into it, or shop around for one elsewhere.
Sorry just want to correct you. Baking soda has a ph of 8.2-8.3 (slightly basic) and of course it is being diluted in water making it even less so. Water is 7 (neutral), hair is about 5 (slightly acidic) vinegar is about 2 (acidic). The vinegar is also diluted so that figure would be much closer to the natural ph of hair as well. This method isn’t for everyone and all hair types. It takes time for hair to stop overproducing oils that it has been doing from years of regular shampooing, but it does work really well for some, myself included. I add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to the vinegar rinse to make my hair smell great.
I’m with you! I’ve wanted to try it from a cost/less products standpoint, but my thick, naturally curly hair requires more maintenance than that, unfortunately! 🙂
My hair didn’t do well with it either. I have very fine, naturally wavy/curly/frizzy hair. It actually seemed to dry it out and make it worse 🙁
jen keith says
this is great, thanks so much!
Margery H. says
I have been using coconut oil on my face for the past two months as a moisturizer. I really like the results, even under makeup. Note: don’t put too much oil around your eyes before applying makeup. The oil will act like a makeup remover, and you might find yourself smearing. I do apply it generously around my under eyes at night, though, and just rinse with warm water in the morning.
I did find that for some reason the other parts of my body didn’t seem to like the coconut oil. My neck and legs experienced minor irritation. I’m not sure why.
I think in the summer I may switch back to regular face cream with SPF, however, because I am very fair complected and need the sunscreen.
I tried baking soda and vinegar for shampoo/conditioner and didn’t like the results. I didn’t find my hair coming clean, and I didn’t like smelling like salad dressing.
I learned recently that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4. That may be ok for days you’re not getting a lot of sun.
Yes! Coconut oil works well as a sunscreen for me and my darker-skinned, brown-eyed kiddos. My blonde/blue-eyed son needs a zinc oxide based formula though.
A friend uses it for sunscreen. She said you need to put it on liberally everyday for a week and get some sun everyday. She said that she never burns after she gets her skin well conditioned with this whole week regimen. She does put it on everyday that she will be in the sun after that first week.