I adore certain of the more expensive natural skin care products. Like many people who do yoga and shop at whole food markets, I use Dr. Hauschka’s–in spite of not believing in the whole biodynamic crystals-in-a-cowhorn thing. Whatever I think about the packaging claims, I find their scent irresistable and soothing. And empirical evidence suggests they’re doing me good: even during the last two very cold winters, I haven’t had the tiny eczema patches that plagued me after I moved to New England from London.
But I’m also frugal, and offer these personally tested, natural alternatives to pricey purchased products:
Rose body oil
Buy a bottle of almond oil from the whole foods store. It’ll be about $10, and will last a long time in the fridge. Pour some out into a pretty bottle you can keep in the bathroom, and add drops of rose essential oil to scent it. This is a lovely body oil and can also be used on your face as a moisturizer–just a few drops patted in gently. I keep this in an old Dr. Hauschka “normalizing day oil” bottle so it’s easy to get a few drops. Rose oil is soothing, but only when very much diluted. A friend of mine once rubbed it directly on her face and was in agony. You can add any fragrance you like to that plain almond oil: an inexpensive and fun way to experiment with aromatherapy, if you’re so inclined.
Almond or red bean face scrub
Exfoliation is especially important in cold weather. You can buy prepared facial scrubs but if you look at the ingredients on, for exammple, the Body Shop red bean scrub you’ll see that it is nothing but red beans. Save a ton of money by grinding a few ounces of azuki beans in the blender. For drier skin, use whole almonds and again just grind very fine. In fact, the easiest and perhaps best facial scrub is plain old baking soda. Cheap, available anywhere, and no machinery required.
Super lip salve
Baby jelly from the whole food store is a natural, vegetable oil alternative to “petroleum jelly” (trade name Vaseline, and made, of course from petroleum–same as the gasoline in your car) and makes a brilliant lip gloss and lip protector, every bit as good as the Dr. Hauschka salve and about 1/100th the price. Not much of a scent, but what there is is pleasant. (I keep the jar in the fridge, by the way, because it’s enough for a year or two; I just put a blob into a small pot to keep in the bathroom, and by my bed.)