Beauty and Home Products

DeenaPicI’ll tell ya straight up, this is a long post.

Make up, beauty tips, cleaning and the cheap ways that work!

Maybe I’m just plain old cheap. Maybe I’m frugal. Who knows… I just think my money is better off in my pocket than some big business somewhere. I say screw them! You’d be surprised what you can pull off with inexpensive items you already likely have around the house or can get for relatively cheap for beauty and cleaning. I will share with you things that I do and have done that I found great success with using items such as:

Ink pens, Cool aid without the sugar, chapstick, shampoo and conditioner, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, vinegar, laundry bleach, dish soap, fabric softener, spray bottles, baby talcum powder, hand towels, hair brushes, flat irons. Iodine, although most people don’t have it, it’s available at most pharmacies and pretty cheap. You can save LOADS with it too!For most of these things, I get them at Big Lots. Big Lots is an amazing place to get inexpensive discontinued, off brand items and products that work and they’re cheap! It works the same. Bleach, not all are created equal however, for the purposes that I use it, it works well and I dilute it anyway so it doesn’t really matter. On that here we go.This is a VERY lengthy blog so if you don’t have a lot of time to spend reading, just skim the bold points and look for things you might be interested in. I typed this up in Microsoft Word first and it 7 pages.

Lipstick, Lipgloss: I buy el cheapo chapstick and unscrew wind it up so it all comes out and I scrape it all into a small measuring cup. I get a 2 or 3 of them and do it. Soften it up in the microwave a little bit. From here, if you want lipstick, add some of that really thick concealer that is for under eye use. I have a couple that were the wrong color but they’re perfect for this. I scrape a hunk off and mix that in. Cool aid I add for various colors. NOT the stuff with sugar. Use different colors and mix it. Test it out on your lips until you’re happy. It can be done, but it is hard to get earth tones out of it but you can get some good pink and nude shades. If you want the more earth tones, get some concealer for dark skin. Some that really is dark, typically, if it’s made for African American skin. It’s great stuff! Once you have it right, melt it in the microwave but do not boil it. Get a paper plate, the cheapest variety. You know, the ones that get all soggy and only work for sandwiches and stuff. Cut it and roll it so it makes a funnel. Stick the tip down into the chapstick tube so it doesn’t fall over and pour the melted lipstick or gloss back into the container. Let it firm up with the lid off and voila. New lipgloss or lipstick for a LOT cheaper than you can buy in department stores. Also, the cool aid stains so keep it off other things. Oh and if you just want gloss, don’t add concealer. You can also add some shimmer if you get the shimmer power from the drug store.

Chapstick, other uses: Other uses for chapstick or cheap wannabe chapstick type products. I use a plain, non-shiny type on my cuticles for my fingernails when my cuticles are dry, peely and look it. It covers it up, makes them look nicer and helps to moisturize the dryness out. It’s cheaper than cuticle oil and less messy. I also used it when I used to “fake a bake” at the tanning salon or got sunburned at the beach. It’s a great way to cover up the fact that your face might be a bit peely or scaley. Rub a little lightly onto the scaley areas and it disappears. If you have the $ tho, Burts Bees pure beeswax cakes work perfect for this and can even have make up applied over it or under it. Anywhere you have overly dry, scaley skin, chapstick works great. Knuckles, knees, elbows, etc. I even put it on the backs of my hands and it gives my hands a much softer look and feel. I don’t want my hands to look all old, dry and crinkly and lotions are either greasy or just don’t work well. Chapstick works (not recommended for palms). Chapstick also works MUCH better around your hairline if you dye your hair and don’t want to dye your skin. Directions often say to use Vaseline or something like that, but that’s messy. Chapstick isn’t and it works great. Use a lot, it isn’t messy, even though the dye often is. You can also use it to “write” on cloths that you are going to dye and the dye won’t penetrate as much into those areas. It will, but not as much. It can add an interesting element to any tie dying or any other clothing modifications like that. I’m a BIG fan of chapstick!

Hair smoothing serum or leave in conditioner: Now I wouldn’t recommend this to those who have thin or fine hair. Mine is super thick and has a lot of damage since I highlighted it and that took a lot of bleaching. This works great to tame frizzies and you can save a TON on NOT buying smoothing products of which will also make your hair greasy just like mine will, if you use to much. I buy a bottle of Neutrogena light sesame oil. Now it is kinda pricey but for what I use it for, it saves me loads. I get about 20 or more bottles of leave in conditioner/smoother/ frizzy getter ridder of for my hair out of it. It actually saves me loads. About 8 ounces of water and maybe a tablespoon or a little more of the light sesame oil. Over time, you’ll figure out what works best for your hair. See, the light sesame oil will emulsify in water. It just makes the water look foggy or milky. If the water looks white or “like milk” you’ve added to much and should dilute with more water. I spray my hair with that before I brush it out after I get out of the shower. Be careful though because as with any smoothing product, to much will make your hair greasy and need to be washed again. Keep it away from your roots.You can also spray more later if needed. I use it and then as I’m blow drying my hair, I can see if I have enough and if I get frizzy parts, I just add another spray and work it through and continue drying. It also works like a champ to use “lightly” on dry hair before flat ironing it. It really smoothes it out nice. This is a HELL of a lot cheaper than buying smoothing serums and sprays that cost loads because you’re paying for the label and they often make a mess of your hands and get all over your stuff. If you do end up getting to much and don’t have time to rewash your hair there is a quick fix, whether you’ve used my method or some other serum or spray. Take a hand towel and sprinkle baby power on it and then fluff the towel a little in your hand. Take the greasy parts of the hair shaft and gently rub the towel on and in it. Not unlike you would if you were towel drying wet hair. Do this very lightly and then brush it out. If you get to much, then it will revert to frizzy so do it very lightly and repeat if you need. Moderation is key, to much of anything will simply need to be washed out. Do not sprinkle powder directly into your hair. It leaves foggy, whitish areas and looks horrible and wont brush out.

Greasy hair remedy: We’ve all been there. Wake up, late for work or a date and haven’t got time to do our hair. We take a quick shower and wash up the critical’s but doing our hair is going to add some time that we don’t have. Like I mentioned above, baby powder can work miracles. If you’re in the situation where you don’t have time to wash and style your hair from scratch and it’s oily because you haven’t washed it,  that typically happens at the root. You can take a hand towel or even a wash cloth and sprinkle baby powder on it. Fluff it a little in your hands and gently rub it on areas that are oily. Then brush it out. If you get to much and looks grayish/whitish, take a clean dry cloth with NO powder and rub it over those areas. Done, that’s it and it works like a champ. When I was in beauty school years ago we had these sweet little old ladies who would come in for their weekly “wash and style”. They didn’t wash their hair for a week. It got oily and this is what I showed them to do. Some of them ladies…. Troopers. They would get an extra week out of it sometimes! Not that I would but some were older and had a hard time dealing with that sort of thing due to disabilities, arthritis in shoulders and neck or other reasons.  

Other types of make up: This I add with a big disclaimer over the ink pen usage. Seriously if you use ink pens on your face or on your eyes you can get hurt. I would not recommend it, do so at your own risk. I just add it here because some have done and it worked for them. I won’t spend a whole lot of time writing about this because frankly, some of it can be bad for you. Many, many years ago I worked in a jail. The women are not allowed make up. They can however and did come up with some rather creative ways to get themselves made up. They made it. Beats and other colored berries if they could get their hands on it from the meals that were served were often smashed up and used as blush, lipstain, etc. In certain jail modules where they were non-violent, they could have use of pens and pencils. They would steal the pens and markers and use them for eyeliner and lip liner or lipstain, brown markers for eye shadow and an array of different things. They were coloring their faces with whatever they could get their hands on. Now, of course I will not recommend using a sharpie on your face but they did it and didn’t appear to suffer any ill effects. Like I said, do so at your own risk. I suppose if you were in a pinch and didn’t have any and were desperate for some eye liner, you could use a pen. For the cheap price of eye liner, just go to Walgreens and pick some up. You can get some cheap Wet-n-Wild for 99 cents and that might be a really cheapy brand but it’s better than a marker!

Hair Toner: I bleach my hair. It turns really brassy and looks like orange and doesn’t look right. Grape cool aid powder (no sugar) added to shampoo and conditioner works wonderful as a toner. I add it to my shampoo and I also add it to my conditioner. Best to use for this purpose is Finesse. Yes, Finesse. It’s inexpensive and it smells nice. I let the shampoo sit on my hair while I’m shaving my legs and stuff and then rinse. I let the conditioner sit on my hair while I’m finishing up with shaving my legs and whatnot, face washing, etc. I try to keep it on about 5 minutes and then rinse. Purple shades are the opposite of brassy, yellowy, orangy shades and make a great, inexpensive toner. I do it as needed. If it’s to much, just wash it again without the coolaid. It does wash out and it’s not permanent but start adding it in small amounts and test it out, some hair types might be excessively damaged and will really soak it up. Some might need a lot. I ended up using an entire package of grape coolaid with no sugar of course, into a bottle of conditioner. The reasin I use the cheap ole’ Finesse is that once hair is damaged, it isn’t coming back. Damaged hair will not heal. It’s dead. I went to cosmetology and I know this. No matter what your salon tells you or how much of the expensive products they want you to buy, it will not restore your hair. Finesse has paraffin and other wax products in it. What Finesse does, is just covers up the fact that your hair is damaged. It coats the hair shaft and smoothes out the rough, open and crackly cuticle that makes damaged hair feel like hay. Plus, its self adjusting because if you have hair like mine that is highlighted more than a full bleach, my undamaged hair doesn’t have as much for the wax to stick to and is therefore coated with less. The damaged hair with the rough cuticle grabs up a lot. It works really well. Plus, it aids in the toner effects of the grape cool aid by allowing more of it to stick essentially on the parts that need it most. Also, if you use those spray on, leave in conditioners, you can add a pinch or so to that. That works equally as well. Be careful of your hands because it can turn your bare, unpolished fingernails sort of gray. I recommend polishing the tops and even the undersides with some clear polish to avoid this.

Scene hair: Many of you, if you don’t have teens that are into it or are older than say, 15, you may not know what this is. Google it. Now, I do not use those crazy colors on my hair so I have not personally tested this. I read that it works and it stands to reason with the staining properties of cool aid that it would. They said they mixed it with shampoo or conditioner. Cool aid packages, as in a couple or more, with a cup or so of conditioner or some shampoo, applied it just like a hair dye to clean, dry bleached hair and let it sit. I would think your hair would fare better if done with conditioner, but they said with shampoo it worked better. Probably because shampoo can have the tendency to open up the cuticle and allow for better penetration of the staining cool aid. But either way, since it isn’t using harsh chemicals, some said they let it sit overnight and protected the pillows and stuff by wrapping their head in plastic wrap and a towels and stuff. I am not going to try this because I don’t need blue, green, purple or bright red hair, but hey, if it works and somebody wants to try it and let us know, that would be great. My own personal input, don’t forget to use the chapstick all around your hairline and ears if you don’t want those stained too! If you’re a brave lassie and have tried it and it works, post a comment and tell us how you did it!

Skin and body glow/shimmer: This is quite possibly one of the easiest things to do that most people just don’t think about. We all have seen in the stores the lotions and creams and even sprays used to add that glittery shimmer to our skin. The heck with that. Why pay extra? I mentioned above that you can buy the powdered shimmer in containers and that a little bit really goes a long way. Just add some to your favorite body lotion. Shake it up real well. I don’t recommend adding it to body sprays that are intended for after the bath or what not because the shimmer powder will eventually clog up the sprayer. I tried it and it only works for a little while and then it won’t come out.

Tanning: Many people spend LOADS of money on tanning products. Fake tanning lotions, creams and sprays that frankly stink. They make you smell nasty. 30 years ago, Coppertone made one. My sister of course piled it on and for some reason our fire/smoke detector went off. Now, she was right near it. We can’t confirm whether it was the fumes from that or not, but since then, I just don’t really care for it but still have used it in my quest to look a little bit tan. I have tried NUMEROUS tanning products. Some work really well. Neutrogena has its “Micromist” which works wonderful. It really does and it doesn’t make you stink to bad or turn orange. However, even with that, it’s expensive and takes hours before you can see the effects of it. With bronzers, they just wash off in the shower. My Mom used to work in a lab and had a lot of access to iodine. Iodine is used as a topical antiseptic. It’s what they rub all over sites that are about to have surgery. It works very well. It also stains like the dickens and that brownish staining lasts for days. You know where I’m going with this….. You can buy iodine at Walgreens and most other pharmacies. Walgreens carries one called Providone Iodine. It’s about 13 dollars but has enough to make about 20 or more bottles of self tanner so the cost is negligible by comparison. So, not only is it useful as an antiseptic, it makes a wonderful additive to products used to bronze your skin and NOT have it wash off in the shower or take hours to see. Typically it’s harmless but you may want to spot test to make sure you don’t have any reactions. Do it someplace inconspicuous so it’s not a bit spot on you somewhere. As with any tanning product, you want to use gloves and use it sparingly so you don’t look orange and keep out of eyes and off your cloths since it stains. The nice thing about it is the effect is immediate. You will not wait hours to see the effects. Add some to your favorite body lotion or facial moisturizer and save your skin from the damaging effects of tanning beds and the sun. You could also add it to a spray bottle and dilute with water. Just remember, it stains anything it gets on so you want to do it in a way that overspray isn’t getting on things you don’t want tanned! It can save you a LOT of money.

No time to iron: This actually requires ownership of a flat iron for your hair. I use mine often because I just hate ironing but still need to have that freshly pressed look from time to time. I use my flat iron to put creases in my slacks and in the sleeves of my dress work tops. Just lay them on the bed or wherever. (I’ve even done it while I’m wearing them but be careful to not burn yourself!!). Lay them out, line up your seams and flat iron in your creases. I also use it on my collar too to make sure that it’s laying right. I use it to iron in the cuff on my shorts too. They have a cuff where they’ve been rolled up one time. When they come out of the dryer, the cuff is all messed up. I use my flat iron to quickly set it right! Quick and painless and takes a hell of a lot less time than getting out the iron, etc.

Okay, now lets move on to household cleaning products. Most of us fall for some fancy packaging at some point and some of us just want to go green with our cleaning products.

White Vinegar: This has more purposes that one could imagine and its dirt cheap.  Here are some of its many uses. I have tested them and they most definitely DO work and often work better than the standard products that you buy for the specific use. Vinegar also does not leave residue. It just isn’t really suitable for use where you need to kill germs such as cleaning after dealing with raw chicken or the like. The ONLY downside of vinegar is that and that it smells.

Window Cleaner. Dilute as needed. I person ally don’t dilute it at all. A little smelly but the smell goes away. Use it anywhere you’d use windex. Windex smells a little better and has fragrance but that doesn’t get your surfaces any cleaner, it just costs more.

Windshield wiper fluid. I do not dilute for this use either. It does smell, but again, it works like a champ. You can also use unsweetened tea. Unsweetened tea cuts grease and grime just as well as vinegar but tea isn’t useful for interior because it can leave a residue.

Floor Cleaner. Dilute half and half and add it to your mop bucket.

 All purpose surface cleaner. Vinegar is safe, non toxic to people and animals.

 In place of JetDry in the dishwasher. I’ve tried it and although I don’t have a full size dishwasher right now, it does work. Not quite as well but it does.

Pest Control: I don’t know about you but I do NOT like the idea of chemical pesticides in and around things I eat off of and my food. The cheapest, most effective by far is simply baby powder. Surprisingly critters won’t walk through it. Ants particularly don’t like it. I found this out when I had a tree trimmed off the side of the house and disturbed a very large ant colony. They were pouring in through outlets, etc. It was like a horror movie. At anyrate, the pest control guy started sprinkling baby powder around the outlets, etc. I ended up sprinkling a layer in my silverware drawer underneath the organizer caddy they’re in. In and on the shelves in my pantry, stuff like that. I don’t mind baby powder, I DO mind toxic chemicals. I don’t want that crap in my house. It will not kill pests, it’s mainly to keep them out and can be sprinkled anywhere. Non toxic, smells nice. Just be careful on any floors without carpet. It will make it slippery as heck if you’re wearing socks and you’ll fall on your dookus. Those lil’ walking critters… maybe they fall on their little dookus’ too and maybe that’s why they don’t like it, I don’t know. I only know it works. I live in Florida, the bug capital of the world probably second only to Brazil or other South American places. We got bugs here, lots of em’ and baby powder keeps them out of my kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets, etc. Some are so big, they don’t bother wiggling under doors or coming in through cracks. They just open the door and walk on in. LOL Flying bugs… you’re probably still going to have to spray em’ with a can of whoop ass.

Alcohol: This has NUMEROUS purposes and uses. It also works really well for cleaning glass. It evaporates very quickly, disinfects and leaves no odor or residue. Because of its evaporative properties, I’ve never tried it as washer fluid but who knows. It can also be used as a bleach substitute for cleaning up after raw meat handling but bleach if often just easier. I use alcohol to clean my TV screen, computer monitor, and anywhere else that needs cleaning and can’t get wet. Certain alloys in metals will also turn brown if exposed to bleach so alcohol is good in those instances as well. Silver will turn brown if exposed to bleach but it won’t with alcohol. I’ve had my sterling rings get ruined from bleach. I don’t care for yellow gold so mostly all I have is silver and white gold. White gold fares fine.

Clorox Cleanup substitute: This is probably one of the more expensive cleaners. Although typically it isn’t “green” sometimes there just isn’t a truly suitable green option for cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. I just use about a eighth to a quarter cup of bleach, a good squirt of dish soap (not dishwasher detergent) and water. I use a big spray bottle too. Be careful though because bleach will booger up the metal spring mechanisms on the spray bottle and it will stop spraying good over time if the bleach is to strong. That’s it. The soap is what cuts through greasy surfaces and also allows the bleach to spread across the surface evenly without any type of beading. If you test it out without soap, you’ll see what I mean. Bleach should NOT be mixed with any other chemicals. It is also a corrosive and should not be used full strength or in any way NOT consistent with the labeling. Read the label! It is safe to mix with soap and water because that’s what we do in the laundry. Just don’t mix it with anything else or you could wind up with toxic fumes. If you, like me, enjoy breathing, do not try to add anything else or any fragrances. I quite like breathing and adding anything else will likely ruin it for ya.

Febreeze dewrinkle spray:  This is so simple and I can’t believe people spend so much money on this product. Sure, it works but it isn’t needed. I use a spray bottle, fill it with water and then top it off with liquid fabric softener. That’s it. Just don’t use it on anything that needs to be dry cleaned. It not only will get rid of your wrinkles but will also soften and make the garment or item smell nice! It also works perfect if you hang new window coverings that come out of the package full of fold wrinkles. I have some tab top window curtains that I hung from by back slider door and they came out of the package totally wrinkled and looked awful. Of course the wrinkles will fall out over time and become unwrinkled but I wanted the wrinkles gone now and didn’t want to throw them in the dryer. Why waste electricity! I just sprayed them, while they were hanging, with my water and fabric softener mix and they came out great and it made my dining area smell nice. Same with my sofas. They weren’t wrinkled, but I wanted them to smell nice and it works.

Oxyclean substitute:  This really is a great product and does have more uses than my substitute but I use my substitute a lot more often. Plain old 3% hydrogen peroxide. Not diluted. I bought a large bottle at Big Lots for fifty cents. What I use this for, aside from owies and scrapes, is to get rid of any biological stain. Now this might sound gross, but we’ve all experienced the surprise arrival of “Aunt Flow” (Our period) and it ruins our undies and sometimes our cloths. It may not be able to get rid of any embarrassment, but it can get rid of the stain. Remove said garment, rinse with cold water and then pour hydrogen peroxide on it and watch it go to work. First it turns brownish but it works quite well. If it gets deep into a seam, sometimes that’s hard to get out. It also won’t work if the item has been through the dryer. Blood has iron which is where it gets the “copperiness” from. Once through the wash and dryer, there is no getting it out. Anyway once in the sink it just needs to soak with the peroxide. You might have to keep pouring a little more into the area for awhile but it does work and it works better than any laundry combination of products that I’ve ever used. If it stops being bubbly and the stain is still there, add more. Our kids also have numerous cuts and scrapes that result in blood getting on their cloths. It works for that too. It also works well if you have pets that may have had a potty accident. Pee or poop or even barf. It happens when you have pets. I pour hydrogen peroxide right on it. You of course want to remove any poop if it’s there beforehand. The thing is, it won’t do anything to colors that are synthetic. My carpet is not natural fiber or natural color. You may want to check or test a spot in an inconspicuous area beforehand to make sure it won’t bleach out any natural color from said items. It works and it also gets rid of the lingering smell.If you know of any other cleaning or beauty tips that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know and share by posting a comment! Beauty and safe, effective cleaning doesn’t have to take us to the cleaners!

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~ by Deena Kay on 11/16/2009.

2 Responses to “Beauty and Home Products”

  1. […] Beauty and Home Products « A day in the life of me […]

    MOD edit: Not sure why this is in here. It was flagged as spam but appears to be an information blog so I’m approving it. It was progably tag search and post on the word “Alcohol”

  2. This is a fabulous post! As are all your others. But I had no idea about the grape Kool-Aid and Finesse! I’ll definitely be back!

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