Rinsing my hair with beer?!
May 26, 2011 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Give me your best homemade beauty concoctions!

I've got a lot of time on my hands this month. I've always had fun experimenting with making skin/hair/whatever else beauty concoctions. What are your favorite homemade beauty recipes?

I'm not looking for anything in particular, but I am young, female, and have very curly dry-ish hair. I'm not looking to buy a ton of supplies outside what I have around the house, but I can buy some.
posted by geegollygosh to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total) 185 users marked this as a favorite
The missus puts coconut oil (from the grocery store) on the ends of her hair to keep them in place. She also swears by yogurt/aspirin masks for her face. If her skin is dry, she also adds a little honey.
posted by Gilbert at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Seconding the honey+asprin masks.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:44 AM on May 26, 2011

But i think Gilbert, you might be mistaken about if her skin is dry. The honey absorbs oil, it will dry out your skin rather than helping the dry skin.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

if you can get it, moroccan argan oil is great. You should be able to buy it on the internet. Kiehl's also do a really good argan oil product for skin and hair, that is a bit pricey, but lasts for a long time and is quite universal.
posted by iamnotateenagegirl at 11:47 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

[universal wasn't the word I meant to use... useful and applicable to numerous bits explains it better]

Also, avocados.
posted by iamnotateenagegirl at 11:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Plain, full fat yogurt makes an *amazing* skin mask. Apply it to your face, let it dry until it feels tight and flaky, and then gently wipe off with a warm damp washcloth.

Will give you the smoothest, clearest, most evenly-toned skin you'll ever have if you can summon up the 45 minutes of patience that it takes for the yogurt to dry.
posted by muirne81 at 12:02 PM on May 26, 2011 [13 favorites]

Forgot to add - you should apply the yogurt every three days or so. You'll notice your skin glowing after a week or two.
posted by muirne81 at 12:03 PM on May 26, 2011

Best answer: I periodically make an exfoliating scrub by mixing cornmeal and honey. I use it mostly on my legs and arms, as the cornmeal can be a little harsh for facial use (although I do use it on my face every once in a while.) It makes my skin feel soooooooo soft.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 12:04 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

For sensitive skin: a paste of baking soda and water, or baking soda mixed into a gentle cleanser, is a really gentle but effective exfoliator for the face.
posted by illenion at 12:06 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You know how people use lemon juice to lighten their hair? You can redden your hair with cranberry juice (it at least works very well on brunettes). I'd recommend to combine equal parts cranberry juice and olive oil, to avoid drying out your hair with the cranberry acidity. Mix, lather, keep on your head for maybe a half our (smells delicious!), and rinse out. It won't make you clown-red, but gives really nice reddish/auburn highlights.
posted by raztaj at 12:14 PM on May 26, 2011 [15 favorites]

Olive oil in general is also an awesome natural conditioner! If you leave it in for a while, you might need to do two washes to get it out. But it'll definitely soften dryness of the hair.
posted by raztaj at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2011

Scalp scrub: conditioner + brown sugar (you can use white sugar, but it doesn't melt as well as brown so it harder to rinse out).

I use coconut oil on my hair. When I'm feeling fancy I scent it with essential oils or BPAL scents.

Brown sugar + various oils (jojoba is good, but olive and coconut will work), scented or not, for body scrub.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This skin cream recipe--amazing stuff. You'll never want to put anything else on your face! You can experiment with different oils too, depending on your skin type. You can usually find the ingredients at health food stores or order from Mountain Rose Herbs. You'll have to drop some cash on the initial investment, but once you have everything it ends up being much cheaper than the fancy organic creams you would buy. It's really not that hard to make either.
posted by janerica at 12:21 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I ran across an article from Not Martha a while back about how to make a DIY version of Bumble & Bumble's Salt Spray, and it's AWESOME. I have naturally wavy hair and this just makes it...beachier? It's also really awesome for travelling with carry-ons: epsom doesn't count as a liquid, so all you have to take is a few tablespoons of the gel, and then use water at your destination. Fun thread!
posted by stellaluna at 12:29 PM on May 26, 2011 [16 favorites]

Lately I've been making a moisturizing sugar scrub for the shower using 60 grams of sugar, 12 grams of oil (I mix shea and sunflower), a few drops of an essential oil and a small squirt of a body wash. It's incredibly effective but won't leave too much oil on your skin.
posted by Miss Matheson at 1:06 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go to Makeup Alley's product reviews section, click on "Best Values," and choose "Unlisted Brand." If it's in your kitchen, someone's put it on their hair or skin and written about it there.

My favorite discovery is using plain cornstarch as face powder - it's the first ingredient in quite a few commercial powders.

I used to snag packets of Sugar in the Raw every time I went out for coffee; you can mix a packet with a dollop of shower gel for an on-the-fly scrub.

I also use a variation of the salt spray that stellaluna describes - you can also use sea salt instead of Epsom salt and add a tiny bit of conditioner if you like.

And I second aspirin; it's either almost or exactly the same thing as the active ingredient in many anti-acne/clarifying products (aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid and face products contain salicylic acid and I don't have a good enough grasp of chemistry to explain the exact difference). The $1 uncoated kind dissolves into a grainy paste with just a little water, and you can use it as a scrub or a mask.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:22 PM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I like to rinse my hair with vinegar but it was annoying to have to dilute it with water and then try to pour it over my head in the shower. So I bought some Xanthan Gum (a thickening powder) from this place--you only need a tiny amount--to make the vinegar-water solution the consistency of creme conditioner. (If you over-thicken it, just add more water.)
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:19 PM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

The Hairpin just posted an article on how to make (disgusting-looking) hair gel out of flax seeds and water. (There are also instructions for how to make two different hair sprays, but the author said neither of them worked particularly well.)
posted by enlarged to show texture at 2:30 PM on May 26, 2011

Almond oil + essential oil = The best post-shower moisturizer ever.

I can also vouch for the aspirin mask (make sure to purchase uncoated aspirin.)
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 2:41 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

The honey absorbs oil, it will dry out your skin rather than helping the dry skin.

Honey is hygroscopic- it attracts water from the atmosphere, helping to keep skin hydrated and moist. It is commonly used in cosmetics for dry skin and hair. I don't think honey has any oil absorbing properties.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:39 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aspirin applied to the skin could get burny, so it's better to use a commercial wash with 2% or more salicylic acid.

In general, I find - as a person with very difficult skin and multiple scalp problems, that commercial products are superior to anything I might find in the kitchen. However, there are a few things that I do recommend.

Baking soda is too harsh for the face, but would make a good body exfoliator because of the fine evenness of the grains.

Once, when I was going crazy from an outbreak of acne on my scalp, I tried this shampoo recipe, but with green tea instead of camomile. (Also use glycerin & rosewater rather than just glycerin). Now, this is just anecdata, but I was stunned at how quickly my scalp was soothed by it. Please understand that I'd been clawing miserably at my scalp and scratching at the horrible bleeding sores that were all over it. Then I washed my hair in it last thing at night, and the itching and irritation stopped right away. In the morning, the acne was not healed, because it's impossible for acne to heal as quickly as that. But it was soothed and smoothed beyond anything I ever thought possible, and my itchy days were gone. I never again got such a dramatic effect from using the green tea shampoo, and whatever effect it had seemed best when it was very freshly made rather than a few days later. But what an answer to prayer it was, that one time.

Green tea is a good source of antioxidants, and there's no proof (yet) that wiping straight-up green tea over your skin would be good for it, but it certainly won't hurt. It would be worth leaving it for 30 minutes before applying anything else.

Re cornstarch: Leichner Blending Powder is the only stuff on the market that is not too yellow for me. But, it's also too dark. Since cornstarch is a major ingredient, I matched it against the much more expensive Rimmel translucent loose powder and I now mix it with 1 part powder to 4 1/2 parts cornstarch to get the closest match to my skin tone. A disadvantage of cornstarch is that, being a foodstuff, bacteria can feast on it; I haven't personally had a problem and I consider it an acceptable risk.

On my very pale face, I use Sudocrem zinc oxide diaper rash cream as a physical sunscreen. Obviously this wouldn't work for darker skin tones, but it might be worth experimenting with mixing it with foundation. The advantage is a) price and b) broad-spectrum protection, and being a physical block, it doesn't need time to bind to the skin. You can put colour cosmetics on right on top of it. I moisturize, wait 10 minutes, and then blend the Sudocrem on with a sponge and follow with the blended loose powder.

Last thing at night, to prevent ragged cuticles, I use almond oil.

For foot spray, I have been using rosewater, but I'm told that the stink of cheap rosewater is worse than the smell of feet, so I'm going back to 4711.
posted by tel3path at 4:06 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh! I almost forgot! You know what that very expensive BeneTint is made of? For like £22?

[drum roll] Cochineal, glycerin, and rosewater!!!!

Cochineal is, you know, like, food coloring.

Glycerin and rosewater costs pennies at the drugstore.

That's all it is. There is nothing else to it. Nada. Zip. Zilch. 22 bloody quid!!!

I have a little bottle of Tel3Tint on my dressing table. It cost £1.97 for the ingredients, which are enough to make two dozen bottles. I liked it so much I made a pink version, too, because it's worth splurging on the good stuff.
posted by tel3path at 4:10 PM on May 26, 2011 [16 favorites]

Learned this in high school and swear by it - stale beer on hair. Then, wash it and condition well.
posted by bunny hugger at 5:29 PM on May 26, 2011

Best answer: I have been experimenting with the Oil Cleansing Method, which I learned about here. It's great for both acne AND dry skin, how amazing is that?

You massage an oil mixture into your face, steam it with a hot washcloth, then wipe clean. It really is pretty amazing for cleansing and moisturizing!

There are a lot of different blends and oils you can use, which you can tweak to your own specifications. I finally settled on 75% jojoba oil, 20% castor oil, and 5% tea tree oil.
posted by ErikaB at 6:50 PM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I've heard good things about Josephine Fairley's Ultimate Natural Beauty Book, which is full of recipes for homemade cosmetics, including one for DIY Benetint made from grated beetroot and vegetable glycerine.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:53 PM on May 26, 2011

FYI on the aspirin masks--they ARE great, but you can have a topical allergy to aspirin even if you don't have a reaction when ingesting it. So, test a little swab on your jawline or hairline or somewhere, give it 24 hours, and then go nuts! Trust--you do not want a red, welty face.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 6:59 PM on May 26, 2011

Deodorant! Mix equal parts baking soda and cornstarch (or arrowroot), add just enough coconut oil (melted) that you can form a paste. Add essential oils like tea tree or lavender if you want, for scent and added antibacterial properties. Mix it all up and apply to underarms. In cooler weather the paste will harden and you'll have to let a little of it melt in your armpit before you spread it on.

I don't experience any underarm odor when I use this stuff - it's better than drugstore brands. You will have more moisture than if you used a commercial antiperspirant containing aluminum, but less than you'd think. This is better than any natural deodorant I've ever used and it costs pennies. My husband uses it too and we live in a hot, humid climate.
posted by TrixieRamble at 8:33 PM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]

Green Tea Clarifying Toner (pretty strong astringent, I might not use it on sensitive skin):
¼ cup strong, brewed green tea
¼ cup witch hazel
1 teaspoon tea tree oil

Put ingredients in a small bottle and shake well. Apply to skin with a cotton ball.
posted by arianell at 9:52 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

on arianell's toner:
if you halved the tto and diluted the resulting mixture with purified water (maybe 1:10?), that might actually still be a good toner for sensitive skin folks. I've got those ingredients and insanely sensitive skin and will try this weekend!

oatmeal is a terrific addition to any scrub or soak. skin loves it. some great masks rely on it, too.

whipped egg white makes a good hair conditioner. just don't use HOT water to rinse (lukewarm is best). it brings real curl into my wavy hair.
posted by batmonkey at 1:31 PM on May 27, 2011

Also, a hairdresser told me that if I really needed to use Head & Shoulders every day (which I did at the time, because I hadn't found a better shampoo) that I should counteract the alkalinity with a vinegar rinse.

Of course, better than using vinegar is just not completely massacring your hair with Head & Shoulders, from which I eventually moved on.
posted by tel3path at 2:06 PM on May 27, 2011

My mom swears by making a facial wash out of diluted vinegar.
posted by Sassyfras at 3:04 PM on May 27, 2011

The People's Pharmacy recommends Milk of Magnesia as a deodorant and to clear up acne.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:14 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

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