Thrifty Beauty – Twelve uses from two essential ingredients

18 March, 2013

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 £10 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.Thrifty beauty tricks

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. Here are twelve ways I use the two, both solo and together.

Deodorant When I get out of the shower I just swipe a layer of coconut oil and then 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.

Exfoliater 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.

Moisturiser 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!

Toothpaste  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!)

Tooth Whitener 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.

Conditioner 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.

Lip Care 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.)

Thrush Buster 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.

Nappy cream 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! So yeah, dudes! Head over to Ethical Superstore and buy them both in bulk right away!

What are your thrifty beauty tips and tricks?

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  • Circus Queen 18 March, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I was just recently telling a mum friend that coconut oil is the business. We use it for everything from nappy cream to roasting potatoes. It’s awesome stuff. We use bicarbonate for cleaning but not for cosmetics. Will have to give that a go!

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Roasting potatoes? AMAZE! I am kind of the opposite- don’t use coconut oil nearly enough in the kitchen. Although it makes a mean coconut rice!

  • Jen aka The Mad House 18 March, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I am a great believer in coconut oil too. I do not use any moisturizer or lip balms, as I think they make your body dependent on them.

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      I am so with you on this- nothing proves it more than lip balm. Once you wean off it it is miraculous how quickly they start producing their own oils.

  • Kirsten Whyte 18 March, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Where can I get coconut oil from?

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Health shops are a good source, also afro- Carribean shops (where I get mine) and online! x

  • Kat 18 March, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Love it! I had no idea about most of these!

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      I am so surprised, Kat you are going to fall in luuuurve!

  • Jen 18 March, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Fab, fab fab!! I made my own deodorant from coconut oil, and it works a treat! Going to try some of these others now 🙂 Great post

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Jen 🙂
      Have fun with them, unleash the power of the coconut oil!

  • Bake 18 March, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Where do you get your coconut oil from? I find it really expensive, although I imagine a little goes a long way, right? xoxo

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      A little goes a really long way 🙂 I get mine SUPER CHEAP from my local afro- Carribean shop, but once this runs out I am going to order an organic bulk one from Tinternet.

  • Molly - Mother's Always Right 19 March, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Wow – I had no idea! Love the idea of coconut oil as a nappy rash cream too. Totally going to bookmark this post for future reference if another bub comes along!

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      It is truly lovely for little ones. Sometimes I give Ramona a whole body massage with it, she loves it!

  • Bee 19 March, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Loved this post … I too use coconut oil and bicarb every day … for deodorant, moisturiser, tooth polishing occasionally, foot rub, soda is lovely in a bath mixed with epson salts and sea salt … so relaxing … I love using it … I use soda under my arms and so does my hubby … fresh and natural … I have tried to convert a few family and friends but they tend to look at me like I have landed from Mars … they have much to learn 😉 … Bee x

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      OH DELISH I am so going to try the bath soak!
      I so know the extra-teristrial look!

  • kaeli 19 March, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Im going to try the no ‘poo deal. I have kids (4&5mo) what would you suggest using on them?

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      I don’t use anything on Ramona, only a little coconut oil if she has bad knots. They emit so little natural oils that I think they will adapt to a new routine fairly quickly (your four year old) – babies don’t need a thing. 🙂

  • Wendy @ Moral Fibres 20 March, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I’m already a fan of bicarbonate of soda for everything, but I definitely need to get my hands on some coconut oil.

    I tried apple cider vinegar as toner but couldn’t stand the smell – I think I’d get on a lot better with coconut oil 🙂

    • Lucy 20 March, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Wow, ACV as a toner? That would be pretty strong! You are going to LOVE coconut oil!

      • Wendy @ Moral Fibres 20 March, 2013 at 8:38 pm

        I used it diluted – first off 1 part ACV to one part water, but the smell was too overpowering so I used 1 part ACV to 3 parts water. Still too overpowering – I found the smell too “sweaty” and lingering.

  • Marie 20 March, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Lucy,
    thank you for all the great suggestions! I am a happy Czech/Prague reader of your blogs:), I have discovered them only a couple of weeks ago and find them inspiring, brave and kind:). I have a little daughter (2years) and share with you many of your parenting/crafting/thrifting ideas and approaches.
    As to this post – I also use often bicarbonate of soda especially for cleaning, but I did not know that it can be perfectly used also for our bodies:) and I had no idea about the multiple use of coconut oil, so I am going to try it soon!
    And one question – if I understand it well, you don´t use anything on Ramona (nor e.g. for washing her hair)?

    • Lucy 21 March, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Hi Marie, lovely to hear from you, thank you for your comment.
      You are right, I don’t use anything on Ramona, just water and a brush through, and coconut oil if it is too knotty.
      I haven’t ever used anything on her hair, and it was partly seeing how clean her hair was that made me believe No Poo was possible.

      • Marie 29 March, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        Thank you for your answer! Nice Eastern!:)

  • Jacqui Daly 3 April, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I seriously love this blog, thank you so much and this post is amazing!! I am also making my own washing powder this week with the amazing magic powder that is bicarb just 10kg of the stuff, this should keep me going!!!

    • Lucy 3 April, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Wow, awesome! We are yet to do this but I intend to!

  • Natalie 16 April, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Great post! I’m definitely going to try some of these. Bicarbonate of soda is great isn’t it.
    Were trying to use more Eco friendly product and save money too!! The price of most products are just scandalous!!

    • Lucy 17 April, 2013 at 11:24 am

      A total scandal! But the adverts DO make you think they are absolutely vital!!

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    Love this post – a big fan of both coconutoil (used it daily over my pregnant bump and have zero stretch marks!) and bicarb (especially for domestic cleaning – going to try it for dry shampoo and deodorant now though). I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I was wondering what you use for face washing. I’ve tried many different things (cleansers/face wash/soap/ oils) but just cant seem to find the right thing for my skin…any tips please?

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