New Beauty Uses for Pantry Items
Apple Cider Vinegar as Hair Rinse
Use this homemade rinse once a week to deep-clean hair and make it shinier: Dilute ½ cup apple-cider vinegar with 1½ cups water, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to mask the smell, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spritz the concoction onto dry roots and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for five minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Baking Soda as Skin Soother
If facial scrubs leave your skin feeling irritated, here’s a gentler option: Mix about ½ tablespoon of baking soda in your palm with enough water to turn it into a paste. Massage into damp skin, then rinse.
Cornstarch as Makeup Finish
Moisturizing makeup is a godsend for dry skin, but it can be oily. To balance it, brush on a thin layer of cornstarch, which will also help it set and stay in place.
Olive Oil as Eye Makeup Remover
Fresh out of eye makeup remover? Dab a little olive oil under the eyes and rinse off with a washcloth.
Avocado as Hair Conditioner
For a good moisturizing conditioner, mash one avocado and coat your hair with the paste after you’ve shampooed. Start at the scalp and work through to the ends. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well. (No avocado on hand? Try ½ cup of whole milk or mayonnaise instead.)
Oatmeal and Yogurt as At-Home Facial
Help replenish moisture and exfoliate all skin types with a mask of plain full-fat yogurt and oatmeal, a treatment that also cools and calms overheated skin, red skin, and heat rash. Mix ½ cup of each ingredient, leave the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat up to three times a week.
For an even simpler at-home facial, mix a package of plain instant oatmeal with warm water and apply to skin. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse well.
Cooking Oil as Cuticle Moisturizer
Soften cuticles easily with a couple of dabs of cooking oil. It’s the quickest cure for dishpan hands.
Lemon as Hair Lightener
For subtle highlights in blond hair, simmer two sliced lemons in water for one hour (add more water if needed). Strain, then pour into a spray bottle for easy spritzing.
Sugar as Lip Scrub
A quick way to exfoliate dry, peeling lips is with a paste of sugar and petroleum jelly. Use a toothbrush to gently brush on your lips until they are smooth.
Vinegar as Bath Booster
Add ½ cup of vinegar to your bathwater to soothe dry skin—and get a cleaner tub to boot. Pour a bit of essential oil into your bath to help counteract the smell.
Salt and Vinegar as Hand Deodorizer
Do your hands smell like those onions you just chopped? Banish the odor by rubbing on a paste of salt and vinegar.
Black Tea as Foot Deodorizer
For days when your feet get hot and sweaty, treat them to a refreshing foot bath. Brew and cool black tea, then soak your feet in it for 30 minutes.
Baking Soda as Hair Cleanser
You probably already know that baking soda will clean your teeth (make a paste of it with a little water). But it can remove product buildup from your hair, too. Just add a pinch or two of baking soda to your shampoo once a week.
Bonus baking soda use: Dust it under your arms to absorb body odor.
Sugar as Hand Conditioner
Just as a sugar scrub can work wonders for dry lips, so can it tackle dry skin around your nail beds. Mix 2 cups sugar with 1 cup olive oil. Rub the mixture all over your hands, paying special attention to your cuticles. Remove it with a warm washcloth after 15 minutes.
You can cut grease on hands, too, by rubbing them with a blend of sugar and water.
Avocado as Rich Hair Mask
This DIY mask from Lydia Sarfati, the founder of the skin-care line Repêchage, is perfect for hair parched from the summer sun and chlorine. Mash 1 avocado with 1 tablespoon safflower oil. After shampooing, massage the mixture into your scalp and wet hair. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on for 10 minutes; rinse.
White Vinegar as Oily Hair Treatment
Because it helps adjust pH levels, white vinegar is a good degreaser for oily hair. Shampoo your hair as usual, rinse, then pour ¼ cup of vinegar over it and rinse again.
Rice, Coconut Milk, and Brown Sugar as Body Treatment
This coconut body-smoothing treatment comes from Jennifer Yen, the creator of the Pur-Lisse skin-care line. In a bowl, mix together ½ cup ground rice (you can use a blender to grind), ½ cup coconut milk, ¼ cup brown sugar, and 1½ tablespoons freshly grated ginger. Stir until the ingredients form a paste, then smooth it on your body using circular motions. Rinse in the shower, then slather on moisturizer.
Green Tea as Eye Soother
Tired, puffy eyes? Place two cotton pads soaked in green tea and chilled in the refrigerator over your eyes. Leave the pads on for 10 minutes. The combination of the cold from the fridge and the antioxidants in the tea will help tighten skin.
Water as Hairstyle Reviver
If your hair has gone flat but you don’t want to pile on more hair products, let water reactivate what you applied in the morning. Just spritz hair and reshape. Need a firm hold? You’ll have to apply a fresh coat of hairspray.
Lemon as Nail Whitener
Polish wearers know that nails can yellow from frequent applications of heavily pigmented colors. To the rescue: a lemon. Rubbing a wedge on the surface of your nails will help whiten them. For a more intense treatment, soak nails for a few minutes in lemon juice (the citric acid helps remove discoloration). Dab on some cuticle oil, then use a buffer to gently slough away the old, stained nail plate.