Men and women feel that looking their best gives them an edge professionally as well as socially — and are willing to spend a lot of money to do so.
“In this financially and socially competitive world where others are doing things to look younger, individuals cannot be dismissive of personal appearance and how they are being perceived,” says Dr. Sue Decotiis, a New York-based internist. It’s not surprising people can spend upwards of thousands of dollars a year on beauty and health products only to be disappointed with the results.
But why throw money away on expensive scrubs, masks and conditioners when you can make your own with items you probably already have in the pantry?
According to beauty expert and aesthetician Lora Condon, it may be worth your while. As Condon explains, many of the products you buy off the shelves don't contain enough of the "star" ingredients that get results.
“When you make it, you know the 'star' ingredient is the number one part of the product, if not the only ingredient you use," says Condon, who is also the author of "Spa Wars: The Ugly Truth about the Beauty Industry."
Here are a few everyday items you can use to make natural beauty products that work:
Sugar and Coffee Grinds
Smooth and tighten skin with sugar and coffee grinds by mixing them together. Put them in a jar and scoop them out to mix with your body wash in the shower. “They help to remove dead skin cells, prevent ingrown hairs, heal cuts and most of all, the caffeine will temporarily tighten up the thighs and butt," says Condon.
Mixed with water for a baking soda paste, it can be used on pimples, as a teeth whitener, as a face scrub or mask. It is especially good for oily, clogged complexions because it dissolves the dead skin cells, oil and sugars that keep the skin looking dull. According to Condon, “Keeping pores clean with minimal dead skin build-up gives a more youthful appearance."
Applying used tea bags to the eye area can temporarily help reduce eye puffiness, says Dr. Decotiis. The caffeine helps constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling. Just steep two bags of tea and let them cool off before placing over the eyes. You can even place in the refrigerator for a more cooling and soothing effect.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Put it directly on a pimple to help dissolve it and heal the skin. Mix with equal parts of water and use it as a rinse over hair to make it appear more shiny. It can also be effective against dandruff and an itchy scalp. Condon says you can even replace your dandruff and deep cleansing shampoos with this.
Use alone on skin, nails and hair or mix with sugar for a gentle yet effective face and body scrub. Its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants gives the skin a soft, dewy, and youthful glow. According to Condon, olive oil is incredible as a night treatment for dry, damaged hair and is very healing for dry cuticles.
The astringent and anti-inflammatory properties help tighten your skin and pores. Dr. Decotiis advises rubbing a lemon wedge or lemon juice applied to a cotton all over the face after washing and exfoliating.
Best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, mix oatmeal with honey and yogurt for a hydrating, cooling and soothing face or body mask. For a face scrub, you can mix the oatmeal with water, honey and a banana that might be getting old. Condon says this is also great on the feet to exfoliate and hydrate.
Before attempting any of these treatments, Condon advises doing a patch test on the skin to ensure you don't have any negative or allergic reactions.