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aloeThis is for a beauty editor friend of mine…

I don’t like the word cheap.  It brings to my mind all kinds of fungi or blemish producing products, rather than clean and clear skin.  In my mind has always lived the notion that the more expensive the product the better it works.  I love to slowly walk around that well-lit and glamorous cases in the department store, wondering which of the thousands of products will be perfect for me.  The bottles lined up in rows, with pillows usually reserved for jewelry showcasing the latest and greatest.

Lately however I am trying to pay down debt.  Which means that there are no trips to mall, where I have to buy something, and no fancy bottles to line up my countertops collecting dust.  It is a sad reality, and I have had to become creative in my beauty regime. The good news is I still have a beauty regime, the bad news is I have to keep it all under my sink because it looks weird on my counters.  Maybe I could buy my own fancy jars…

So here is what everyone needs (men can do this too.  Who the heck is going to see it?)

Avocados

plain yogurt

lemon juice

honey

cucumber

sea salt

witch hazel

fresh picked aloe

boiling water

Seems like a lot, but really it is not.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Avocados – avocados are nature’s moisturizer.  I am not a scientist so I don’t know much about the molecular structure of most of these ingredients, so I can only tell you what it does for me.  First I cut the avocado in half, scoop out the insides and then put it on my face to rest.  This is a messy thing, as the avocado wants to slide off your face the moment you put it on.  I find if I put it on in the tub and lay back against the sides to relax, most of it will stay on.  It isn’t really the pulp you want to stay on anyways; it’s the oil.  If you have very oily skin this isn’t for you.  I usually only need avocados in the winter and the first buds of spring.

Plain yogurt and lemon juice – This is an incredible combination.  And you don’t have to use top shelf yogurt – get the ridiculously cheap stuff.  Just make it plain because I promise no matter how much you like vanilla smells, even this will get to be too much when sitting on your skin.  The yogurt, and its famous cultures seems to repair my skin, get it back to what I consider normal.  The lemon juice (which you can use 100% lemon juice out of a jar) does two things for me; it tightens my skin and the citric acid will lighten blemishes.  I read once that you could literally take a q-tip, dip it in citric acid and apply it directly to your brown spots if you so wish.  Some of the most expensive products out there now have citrus in their ingredients.  You can simply go to your grocery aisle.

Honey – honey is tricky, just because it is sticky.  When I have a zit or blemish coming I put a dab of honey on it and let it rest on my skin (by the way, I can’t use toothpaste because of the smell…but I have heard this works as well.)  While honey will, for the most part, stick to your skin, it will also stick to your hair, your pillow and your husband if you kiss him good night.  And that is not pleasant.  Usually, I cover the honey spot with a large band-aid; making sure none of the sticky sides of the band-aid is touching the spot I am trying to cure.  This is one of those tricks that you may want to do a couple of nights in a row.

Cucumbers – there is a reason this is a staple.  But here is something you may not know; freeze/fridge those cucumbers before you put them on your eyes.  You can also use tea bags but don’t put them on right after you boiled them – that’s ridiculous.  After you brew the tea bags, get them cold.  Same principle – cold works, hot just makes it look worse. Enough said about that one.

Sea Salt – sea salt is a natural exfoliation.  It will take the dry skin off, and help to promote regeneration.  Here is the thing about sea salt (which by the way, you can also use brown sugar).  Simply calmly and easily rub it on your skin.  Do not mash it on your skin and rub until half your skin comes off.  I like to mix both these items with a little virgin olive oil.  I think it works better and the virgin olive oil seems to counter act some of the harshness of the rub.  Be careful here, these products can do a number on your skin, so only use them if your skin is either used to harsh treatments, or if you have no outstanding engagements to attend.  You don’t know how your skin will react.

Witch Hazel – if you don’t have this product, go get it.  While I will bring to your attention the usefulness of this liquid on your face, the truth is this is like the be-all end-all product you should have.  Have sore muscles, use this.  Have a cut; use this.  Have hemorrhoids; use this.  On your face, we use it  as a astringer.  But unlike those drug store products, witch hazel doesn’t have alcohol in it.  There is no satisfying burn or outrageous dry skin, yet it will still clean.  Put it on a cotton square, and off you go.

Fresh Aloe – This is one plant that I can actually grow, despite the midnight black thumb that I have.  It doesn’t take much to cultivate the aloe leaves, and if you are anything like me, you will find yourself easily overrun with aloe leaves in a matter of weeks.  I like to take the fresh aloe out of the plant, but it on my face like a masque and let it dry.  The longer you keep it on your skin, the better it will do.  Like the feeling when you have a sun burn, aloe will tighten your skin.  It also seems to smooth out my skin, and even help to turn the tide on my blemishes.  Again, I am not a scientist, I simply know what works for me.

Boiling Water – Boiling water is one of those really cheap things, that actually works really well.  I can use tap water.  I boil it in a pan, (a rolling boiling), take it off the heat, put my face in it, and cover my head with a towel.  It is that simple, and that cheap.  Here is one thing to remember, for those of you who aren’t thinking, don’t stick your face really close to the boiling water…you will get burned.  Steam can burn just as easily as a fire – be smart.  The steam opens up my pores and I have found that if I use the yogurt and lemon juice masque right after, everything seems to work together well.

Again, don’t do any of this the night before a big event.  The world works in a way that you will regret it, every time.  Instead, I prefer to do things for the first time on a Friday.  My kids think it is cool if I turn my skin a different color, and my husband never notices. (Don’t worry, I don’t think the avocados can turn your skin green).  Use your common sense and I promise that not only will these products work, but you will be able to find similar products that possibly work better (don’t like lemon – use oranges).

There is a prevailing theory that using all natural products are better than manufactured.  I don’t honestly know if I believe that completely.  It doesn’t bother me to use all natural or even organic products, but I am not giving up my cokes just because water is all natural.  Can’t do it.  Find the things, things in a grocery store, or things that are cheap that work.  Like mud; use it.  Like beer; use it.

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