If you’re looking for environmentally-friendly natural beauty methods that don’t cost a bundle, we have good news: You can treat yourself from head to toe with stuff that you’ve probably already got in your kitchen. Here are 21 couldn’t-be-easier beauty hacks that are 100 percent natural and totally affordable.
1. Moisturize tired tresses
Hair that’s colored, highlighted, or regularly heat-styled (like with a curling iron or flat iron) can get dried out. Give your mane a moisturizing mask right from your refrigerator. In a bowl, mash together one banana and one avocado until the mixture has a smooth, even texture. Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the mixture evenly through clean, damp hair, then pop on a shower cap (you want the mask on your hair, not your clothes or furniture). Wait at least 15 minutes, then hop in the shower and rinse.
2. Make beachy waves anywhere
A beach day’s great, but if you don’t have the time (or a conveniently located ocean), you can get the look with grocery store ingredients. Make your own salt spray by mixing a teaspoon of sea salt into 20 ounces of seltzer. Put it into a spray bottle and spritz liberally while scrunching your hair. Another option for major waves: Coat your strands in your DIY salt spray, then braid hair (two French braids are best). Let your locks dry out, then unbraid your tresses for serious mermaid hair.
3. Prevent split ends
Coconut oil is kind of a magic bullet when it comes to DIY beauty hacks — there’s so much you can use it for, and you can pretty much put it all over. It’s rich in fatty acids and proteins, so it’s great for keeping hair hydrated. Rub just a little bit between your fingertips — seriously, just a dab is plenty — and use it as a treat for the ends of your hair, pinching it into the ends. It’ll help keep your style neat and prevent damage without weighing down your locks, so this hack will work even for fine hair.
4. Fix discolored pool hair
If you’ve been spending your summer days in the pool (or even if you have really hard water!), chlorine and other chemicals can tint your tresses green. Yuck! To tone it down, take some tomato juice into the shower with you — you’ll need at least 8 ounces, though long hair may require more. Massage the juice through your locks, then let it sit for about 15 minutes. That gives the acids in the tomato juice time to nix the chemical residue. Rinse it out, then shampoo and condition as usual.
5. Get a head full of curls
We’ve all heard bouncy, Shirley Temple-style hair described as “corkscrew curls,” but if you’ve got leftover wine corks around the house, you can actually use them as curlers. You can use them exactly as you’d use a regular curler — wrap a 1-inch strand of damp hair around a cork, then use bobby pins to secure it in place. When you’re done, hit it with a hair dryer until completely dry, then unroll your curls. We’re not saying it’s a license to drink more wine, but hey, it’s a reason to hang onto your corks.
6. Amp up blonde highlights
Spritzing your hair with lemon juice has long been a trick for lightening your locks, but the results can be brassy. To lighten and brighten blonde hair more gently, try chamomile tea. There’s a reason you often see chamomile as an ingredient in color-boosting shampoos and conditioners — it’s a gentle color booster for blonde, with chemicals that are easier on tresses than the citric acid in lemons (though admittedly, many chamomile blends include some citrus). To do, brew up a cup of strong chamomile tea — just leave the tea bag be and let it keep steeping while the tea cools off. Once it’s cool, comb it through your hair everywhere you want it lighter. Then either sit outside or blow-dry until your tresses are completely dry for bright, non-brassy color.
7. Boost red or brown hair
Not a blonde? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. To give red or brown hair — including color-treated strands — more pop, do a rinse with cranberry juice. After washing your hair, thoroughly saturate your damp tresses with cranberry juice (real cranberry juice is better than cranberry cocktail, but technically either will work). The longer you leave it on, the bolder your results. The only caveat: Unlike lightening your strands, this isn’t permanent (it’ll last through 1 or 2 washes).
8. Get shinier strands
Hair looking dull from overstyling? An easy DIY clarifying rinse will do the trick (and save you money compared to buying a clarifying shampoo). Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a half cup of water (double the receipt for longer locks). Using a wide-tooth comb, spread the mixture evenly through damp hair. The vinegar’s acidity helps seal up your hair’s cuticles, making your strands look shiny and healthy. After letting it sit for five minutes, rinse your hair with cold water to get the most benefit — heat will encourage the cuticles to open up again.
9. Clean skin naturally
Apple cider vinegar can help your face, too. Here however, you can take advantage of its astringent properties to reduce shine. Put a little on a cotton ball or makeup pad, and swipe all over your face as a toner. If you’ve got combination skin, just focus on your T-zone (across your forehead, and down the middle of your face including nose and chin) to take down any oiliness.
10. Send under-eye bags packing
Didn’t get enough sleep last night? If you want to look like you got your beauty sleep, it’s all about caffeine — but not the way you might think. Soak two tea bags (black tea or green tea, as long as it’s caffeinated) in ice water for a few minutes. Squeeze them out (so tea’s not running all over the place), then apply directly to your eyes and leave ’em there for at least 5 minutes. You can place them over your entire eye area, or just under your eyes. The combo of the caffeine and the cold nixes puffiness and dark circles.
11. Get an extra bright smile
There are baking soda toothpastes out there, and there’s always the option of brushing with just baking soda, but an effective combo is to sprinkle a little baking soda on your toothpaste before brushing your teeth. It’ll help remove surface stains (like from coffee or wine) and can get into spaces your brush can’t reach. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly when you’re through!
12. Plump up your pout
Want a natural way to get fuller lips? Moisturize your kisser while boosting volume with this simple concoction: Add a little pinch of cinnamon to a few drops of almond oil, then massage into your lips. Want to go extra-tingly (and extra-plump)? Do half almond oil, half peppermint oil with the cinnamon.
13. Make a moisturizing face mask
There are lots of DIY mask options that you can make with natural ingredients from your kitchen for almost ever dilemma your face, well, faces. This one’s an amazing moisturizer, perfect for skin that parched from staying out late or hitting the beach all day (or both). Mash up half an avocado with 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey, and layer it onto your face. Relax for 10 minutes or so, then rinse clean with a wash cloth.
14. Put pimples on ice
Feel a zit coming on? Pop an ice cube in a sandwich bag and hold it right on the little bugger. Try to hold it for at least five minutes, more if you can (we know, it’s cold). The ice will help decrease the inflammation, so the pimple will be less prominent and less red. If it’s cystic acne (those painful, deep, under-the-skin zits), the ice will also help numb away the physical pain.
15. Exfoliate and brighten your complexion
Kiwis are such adorable, fuzzy little fruits — but dealing with all those little seeds can be a pain in the you-know-what. Put those seeds to your advantage with this one-ingredient facial fix. Peel a ripe kiwi, slice it up, then mash the slices with a fork — just mix all those little seeds into it. Scoop it up with your fingers, and work the paste all over your clean, damp face, rubbing with a circular motion. All those tiny seeds are perfect exfoliators, banishing dead skin cells, plus all of the vitamin C helps improve your skin texture and fight free radicals. Scrub for 60 seconds, then rinse your face with warm water.
16. Treat sun-damaged skin
This yummy and easy serum is perfect for soothing spots that have gotten too much sun — it’s perfect for your nose and forehead, but also for shoulders and the upper torso. Squeeze juice from a slice of ripe watermelon, then take one tablespoon of your watermelon juice and mix it thoroughly with a tablespoon of raw honey. Apply where needed to moisturize and soothe irritated skin. Let your serum sit for 20 minutes or so, then gently rinse it away with cool water.
17. Get a smoother bod
Heard about how terrible those little beads you see in exfoliating scrubs are for the environment? Get smooth, glowing skin naturally by mixing up your own scrub. Mix equal parts sugar (white or brown works, but coarser is better — think raw, not refined) and olive or almond oil. If you’d like a scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil — peppermint is especially refreshing. Then exfoliate by rubbing the mixture all over your skin. To get the most benefit, massage it around for a few minutes before rinsing off.
18. Treat your hands
Your hands work hard all day! Give them a break with an ultra-rich natural treatment. Mix one tablespoon of honey — a natural humectant, i.e. moisturizer — into one cup of plain yogurt. Slather all over your hands, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off and enjoy your soft, renewed skin.
19. Give your deodorant back up
Want to be sure you’re absolutely, positively BO-free? Top off your deodorant with a light dusting of baking soda (just a pinch, since you don’t want to powder your clothes). It does the same thing for your pits that it does for your fridge, neutralizing and absorbing odors.
20. Soothe stressed skin
To relieve dry, itchy skin, make yourself an oatmeal bath. Sounds crazy, but it works! To do it, just add 1 to 2 cups of dry oatmeal to a warm bath. The water releases the oats’ natural fats and complex sugars. These turn into a thin, moisturizing jelly (you’ll be able to see it in the surface of the water but trust us, it’s a good thing), which soothes dryness, itchiness, and redness.
21. Scrub your feet smooth
Exfoliate your feet and grind away at those calluses with this easy DIY scrub. Put half a cup of walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely ground. Then mix the nuts into a cup of plain yogurt. The yogurt moisturizes, while the nuts exfoliate (and again, are much better for the environment than those beads). Even better: As you work on your feet, you’re exfoliating your hands too… unless you’ve got someone else rubbing it into your feet, in which case you’re super-relaxed and hey, they’re getting smoother hands!
Featured photo credit: Kim Love via flickr.com