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Frugal Beauty: 11 Household Items You Can Use As Beauty Products

(photo: stuartpilbrow)

A $25 face mask may be cheap enough to make it onto a magazine’s “bargain” beauty buys list, but there are less expensive and more effective head-to-toe pampering products to be had in your fridge and pantry.

Even professional aestheticians and stylists turn to household staples like lemons, baking soda or yogurt when it’s time to clear skin of acne, soften rough patches or keep teeth sparkling. “What better way to achieve a natural glow, then from natural products?” asks Lily Morgan, the founder of Lily Organics Fresh Skin Care.

Post your own tips below, and try these beauty uses for common household goods:

Avocado

* Scott-Vincent Borba, the author of “Skintervention: The Personalized Solution for Healthier, Younger and Flawless Looking Skin,” suggests mashing an avocado with the oil from one vitamin E soft gel, a dash of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of honey. Apply the anti-aging mask in a thick coat all over face and neck for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with damp washcloth.

* Gently rub the inside of an avocado peel on your face, says Morgan. Leave the residue on for about 20 minutes for a moisturizing mask.

Baking soda

* Pour a quarter-cup of baking soda in a cold bath to relieve sunburn, Morgan says.

* Jan Patterson, a nurse in Cotati, Calif., makes homemade toothpaste with the contents of two Myrrh capsules, a quarter-cup baking soda, two lid-fuls of hydrogen peroxide and mint or another flavor extract to taste. Mix until fluffy, and then store in a covered container.

* Make a firming mask from a beaten egg and a tablespoon of baking soda, Borba says. Brush mixture onto face and let dry for eight minutes, and then gently wash off with warm water. “Egg yolks are high in skin-nourishing vitamins A, D, and E as well as firming protein,” he says. “Baking soda will tighten and kill bacteria.”

* Mix a tablespoon each of baking soda and raw sugar for a pore-opening scrub, Borba says. Rub gently onto your face, and leave until your skin begins to tingle, at least 30 seconds but no longer than five minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Coffee

Brunettes can give their hair color a lift with coffee, says Sheri D. of Sé Mō Hair. Make a strong pot of black coffee, then let cool. Shampoo your hair, and then pour the warm coffee on. Work it through and leave in for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water, condition and style as usual.

Cucumbers

A true DIY spa treatment: place slices on eyes to de-puff and lighten dark circles, says Sucheta Rawal of “Go, Eat, Give.”

Eggs

To remove hard-water deposits from hair and add shine, Sheri D. uses an egg-oil mix. Separate one egg, and pour an ounce of olive oil over the yolk. Mix. Shampoo your hair, and then pour the egg mixture into your hair, using a large-tooth comb to help distribute it. Leave on for five to 10 minutes. Shampoo your hair again, condition, rinse and style as usual.

Honey

Use a mix of honey and milk as a cleanser to ease acne-prone skin, Morgan says.

Lemons

* Applying diluted lemon juice to acne-prone skin can help. Morgan says it can act as an antiseptic.

* “Cut a lemon in half and rub the open part on your heels to remove stains,” says Judy Woodward Bates, The Bargainomics Lady.

* To add oomph to light-colored hair, Sheri D. suggests making a strong pitcher of lemonade – water and lemon only, no sugar or honey. Shampoo your hair, and then pour the lemonade on. Work it through and leave in for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water, condition and style as usual.

Oatmeal

* Fill a mesh bag full of dry oatmeal, Morgan says. Rub your face with the bag for a gentle exfoliation.

* For Borba’s clarifying mask, stir together a cup of lukewarm water, a tablespoon of honey, a tablespoon of chocolate syrup and a cup of oatmeal. Apply the mix to face for 15 minutes. “Lightly scrub the mask off is circular motion to ‘buff’ away dead surface skin cells,” he says.

* To ease sunburn, Morgan recommends applying a compress of cold skim milk mixed with oatmeal.

Olive oil

* Actress Vida Ghaffari says she uses olive oil as a conditioner. “I have to often get my hair styled and it’s the only thing that conditions my hair in the LA elements,” she says. “I put it in my hair a couple of hours before I wash my hair as sort of a pre-conditioner. It’s a bit oily, so I wear comfy clothes I don’t worry about.”

* Mix a quarter-cup with a cup of vanilla sugar for a body scrub, says Megan Moriarty of Savor: The Food Agency.

Shortening

“Many people don’t know that a very common baking ingredient, Crisco solid, can be used as a moisturizer on very dry heels, elbows, knees, as well as around dry, cuticles,” says Risi-Leanne Baranja of “Palacinka Beauty Blog.” In a thin layer, it can also work well as an overnight facial moisturizer.

Yogurt

* Mix a half cup of plain yogurt with a half-cup cornmeal and a quarter-cup grapefruit juice, says Joanna Vargas, the founder of Joanna Vargas Salon, Skin Care Sanctuary in Manhattan. Cool in the fridge to thicken, and then use as a face scrub.

* For a hydrating mask, Vargas mixes a half-cup of plain yogurt with half an avocado and a quarter-cup honey. Apply with a sea sponge.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.