How much do you spend on beauty products?
It’s clear that we’re willing to shell out to take care of ourselves. But what if you could save your hard-earned cash and customize your regimen to your needs by making a few of your own health and beauty essentials at home – with ingredients you already have in your pantry?
You can! Here are a few DIY beauty products that’ll help keep both you and your wallet looking good.
1. Volumizing Sea Spray
On those all-too-frequent days I can’t get to the beach, I use this hair spray for lots of lift and a breezy scent. You could pay as much as $40 per bottle, but these replacement options will keep you volumized for mere pennies per ounce.
I’ve riffed off a couple of great recipes in my time, but the main components of a great texturizer are salt for volume, a softener to counteract the salt’s drying effect, and something to make it smell great!
Combine a cup of hot water with a tablespoon or so of coarse salt — sea salt or Epsom salts work great. The more salt, the beachier the look. Add in aloe, some conditioner you already have or maybe some of the water-based gel in your cabinet to add softness and hold.
After it cools, add a few (optional!) drops of essential oil and pour into your spray bottle. Bend over your sink and spray liberally on damp or dry hair at the roots. Shake, scrunch, flip and otherwise adore your instant big, sexy, beach-day look!
I used this spray almost daily when I was working up north and missing my seaside Florida hometown.
Off-the-shelf cost: $12.99 for 5 ounces
DIY cost: $1 per bottle at most, and your first batch of ingredients will last forever.
2. Dry Shampoo
When your day is too full of
responsibilities excitement for a full shampoo and conditioning, you reach for dry shampoo for a grease-free look that won’t strip your hair’s natural oils – but there’s no need to strip your wallet, either.
Dry shampoo dispenses greasiness with an oil-absorbing powder that disappears in your hair. Depending on your hair color and what’s on your shelves, you can try cornstarch, fine arrowroot flour, baby powder or even unsweetened cocoa powder (my personal fave, though I’m a pretty dark brunette and a total chocoholic). Apply to your roots and comb through until the product disappears.
Not into smelling like a chocolate cake or a baby’s bottom? I like to comb in a drop or two of that essential oil I use in my sea salt spray for scrumptious-smelling hair.
DIY cost: You probably already have these items in your pantry. Otherwise, maybe a couple of bucks at your grocery store’s bulk bin.
3. Exfoliating Salt or Sugar Scrub for Hands and Body
This product is pretty much just sugar or salt, oil and something that smells good. Go ahead and raid your pantry and grab that essential oil.
Plus, you can choose between a micro-exfoliating granulated sugar scrub or a macro-exfoliating coarse sea salt scrub, experiment with white or brown sugars, coconut or olive or almond oil… the possibilities are endless.
I’m planning on making these for holiday gifts this season, since they’re inexpensive, useful and pretty to boot!
DIY cost: About $3 per batch, depending on the type of oil you choose
4. Body or Face Lotion
You can make a fabulous body lotion by simply adding a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil to the coconut oil you’re already using.
Or, experiment with shea butter-based lotions and try other nourishing oils, like avocado or jojoba. Depending on how much you trust your face, you could try a gentle mixture — I’m pretty oily, though, so I’d proceed with caution!
Off-the-shelf cost: Amazon lists a 12-ounce Aveeno lotion for $5.75, which is pretty standard for drugstore body lotion. Facial skincare products are hugely variable and can be quite expensive, like $24 for 2 ounces.
DIY cost: About $3 to $5 per batch
5. Facial Toner
Check out the ingredient list on that refreshing spritz you use before your moisturizer or in the middle of the day — it’s pretty much a bottle of watery perfume!
By experimenting with tea, rose water or witch hazel, you slash costs and get to figure out what works best for your skin on the cheap. If you’re starting to amass those essential oils I keep mentioning from all this DIY, check out some of these skin-type-specific recipes.
I like using a cotton pad to apply my toner, but you could grab another spray bottle if you enjoy the spritz effect.
DIY cost: Depends on your ingredients, but could cost pennies or up to $4 per batch
6. Face Masks
Whether your skin is dry, oily or a combination — and even if you’re dealing with acne well after high school — you can try tons of at-home treatments. Raid your kitchen for apple cider vinegar, honey and egg whites. How about avocado and cocoa powder?
The good news is, not only do you already have these ingredients on your grocery list, but you can try a variety of treatments without breaking the bank. My oily summer skin loves apple cider vinegar, but milk and honey feels decadent before bed!
Off-the-shelf cost: $25 for 3 ounces was one of the cheaper options I saw at Sephora, and who knows which one’s right for you?
DIY cost: From pennies to $5 per mask, depending on the ingredients you choose
7. Tooth-Whitening Treatment
Don’t throw away your store-bought toothpaste just yet — this treatment doesn’t contain cavity-fighting ingredients, and is meant to work in tandem with your normal brushing.
My favorite method is to combine a few tablespoons of baking soda, a pinch of salt and some lemon juice (doesn’t have to be fresh) until the mixture is the consistency of paste. Replace your toothpaste for an evening brush session or apply and let stand for one to three minutes, but only once per week. Acidic lemon juice and baking soda are pretty abrasive, so don’t overdo it!
Off-the-shelf cost: $30 for 28 treatments of at-home strips — or hundreds of dollars at the dentist’s office
DIY cost: Less than $1 per batch, many of which will last a few weeks on your counter in an air-tight container
Although a few of these recipes require some initial investments like essential oils, glass containers, spray bottles or shea butter, you’ll be left with ingredients to keep making personalized beauty products for a year or longer — and with extra cash in your pocket.
Your Turn: What are your favorite DIY beauty products? Share your recipes and savings in the comments!
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
Jamie Cattanach is a writer and adventurer who lives in Saint Augustine, Florida. She spends her hoarded pennies on fine wine, dark chocolate, gasoline and sweaters for her greyhound, Odin.