Hot on the heels of The Guardian’s 50 best beauty products, I trot, bearing news of great frugal joy. You don’t need 50 products, and in fact, you needn’t spend more than £3 all up. For here are THE two essential ingredients, that individually and paired can be everything you need. It is a magical combination that will massively reduce your beauty/ health bill AND eliminate a whole load of toxins from your life. In the name of everything eco and thrifty let me introduce you to coconut oil and bicarbonate of soda.
Now, I may well be the last person you should heed when it comes to beauty advice. When I first became aware of “beauty” as a “thing” age ten, I promptly shaved my eyebrows off to try and get involved. Then there was that time in my late teens when I had dreadlocks that I dyed so much that one day they just fell right out of my head. And then last week I spent a whole evening out with a bright red chilli tucked between my two front teeth (CHEERS for that, husband. Hehe.)
However, when it comes to questioning those hoodwinky pharmaceuticals, saving money and opting for natural alternatives – and getting away- with it I am a WHIZZ.
Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal as it contains lots of lush caprylic, lauric and myristic acids. Yet it is also deeply nourishing and moisturising. It is SO good that you can eat it by the spoonful, replacing other cooking oils with it.
Bicarbonate of soda is also antibacterial yet has a texture that means you can use it as an alternative to other exfoliating type products.
When I get out of the shower I just swipe a dusting of bicarb under my armpits. If you want something less drying just swipe a little coconut oil under there instead. If you want to unleash the full power of both of them, mix them together and let it set in a bowl which you can then up turn to make a perfect deoderant like dome.
Once a week I dab my fingers into some bicarb and gently rub it over my face. It is a perfect scrub, not too harsh but leaves my skin looking fresh.
I don’t really use any products super regularly as I tend to think our bodies should be mostly left to do their thing, to regulate their own oils. But when my face feels a bit dry I simply rub coconut oil into my face at night time and by the morning it is rejuvenated!
Make Up Remover
NOTHING swipes mascara from your eye bags like coconut oil! And it feels so nice!
Mix equal parts of bicarb with coconut oil for a quick and super effective toothpaste. (Add a mint oil if you want it to taste nicer!)
And for a natural tooth whitener – I mean this GENUINELY works amazingly, getting rid of a tea stain I had taken for a keeper- simply rub bicarb on your teeth and hold an electric toothbrush onto the stain. I haven’t charged my electric toothbrush for yonks (even though it was my 2012 New Years Resolution) so i just used a flannel and it worked fairly well. Don’t do this regularly though. Just a big night out treat, okay?
Shampoo and Dry Shampoo
You probably don’t know, as I really hardly EVER mention it (PAHAHAHA) but I have been shampoo free for about 15 months. Bicarb is my total go-to. Mixing a spoon of it in half a cup of water and pouring on my wet hair, leaving for 5 minutes and massaging out, makes my hair squeaky clean.
In a running out the door- greasy head emergency (of which I don’t have too many anymore) a sprinkle on the scalp and a good brush through rivals spray on dry shampoo anyday.
Every time I clean my hair with bicarb I run half a teaspoon of coconut oil through the ends as it dries. Since I have begun doing this my hair feels in brilliant condition.
Ramona isn’t a big fan of hairbrushing so she often develops a dreadlock on the back of her head (what kind of mama allows this, eh?!) I rub a bit of coconut oil through it, wait for an hour or so and brush it out easy peasy. It doesn’t even need to get wet.
Coconut Oil makes a lush lip balm, and sometimes I use bicarb as a little lip scrub before putting the coconut oil on too. (I once tried to make a tinted lip balm with coconut oil and food colouring. It, er, doesn’t work, okay? It will just mess your face up.)
Coconut oil is a great treatment for oral thrush, which is super common in breastfeeding babies – mum and nursee can pass it back and forth. We had it when Ramona was 10 months old and I just gave her a few small teaspoons of coconut oil a day, and used it on my nipples and it effectively killed of the bacteria. (You also need to do other things like cut out sugar and up the probiotics in your diet.)
Nipple relief and wound healer
Remember those early, painful breastfeeding days? Coconut oil on the nipples is a complete winner.
Because of all of its germ fighting and soothing properties it is great on cuts and scratches too.
Coconut Oil is the only thing we use when Ramona has a sore bum nowadays and we will rely on it with the newborn too. An IMMENSELY thrifty option for nappy rash cream.
These are the ways that coconut oil and bicarb have become pretty much the only two essentials I have in my beauty box. But if you liked the sound of these than do check out the million other uses out there - this post by the awesome Hybrid Rasta Mama is epic!
What are your thrifty beauty tips and tricks?