5 Cheap and Simple Green Beauty Hacks

Listen, I’m no girly girl by a long stretch of the imagination. However, I do see the advantage of tarting up and primping now and then. Being nature/organically inclined, and also not a fan of waste, I thought I’d share a few tips with you. Most of these will be for the ladies, I guess, but hey, perhaps the gents will find some of these useful too!

Disclaimer time … this is stuff I do and find useful. There may be a few eyebrows raised or winces, but these work for me and have done so for some time. It may not work for you.

Let’s start with mascara. It’s getting a bit clumpy, and you want to throw it out?  Try a drop (one drop to start with, you really don’t need a lot, else you’ll thin it out too much and it won’t set and you’ll look like a racoon in no time and all day) of grapeseed or olive oil down the tube, close it up, open, close, open, close (much like a child at the front door, not knowing where it wants to be, inside or outside) but for heaven’s sake, don’t pump the wand in and out. Twist it instead. And tada, your mascara should be unclumped and last a bit longer. If you can, leave it for a day before you use it, just for everything to blend properly.

Benefit: Your mascara lasts longer, so there is less waste, saving you money and trips to the shop.

Don’t wear foundation often, so you don’t have any, and have to go to a fancy occasion that requires a bit of even tone? Or you fell on your face and need to cover up the weird splodge it left on your forehead for a regular party so that you don’t spoil the photos? We all know how much good foundation costs. It’s ludicrous! And then it goes bad in about two seconds after opening it, so as far as I’m concerned, not really worth your while, unless you use it often.

But fear not. You’ll have to practice a bit to get the consistency right for you, but try this trick next time. Take your regular mousturiser, or any other favourite facial cream, and mix some organic mineral foundation powder into it. A ratio guideline is the usual amount of cream you’d use to about half a level teaspoon of powder. Use clean fingers to mix it up or something that’ll do the job just as well. Then smoothe on to your face as usual. Yes, it’s that easy. And the powder won’t go bad (as quickly? I don’t know, I’ve had my powder for years, and it seems perfectly fine. You decide what you can live with).

Benefit: Less waste from having to throw away expired liquid foundation, saving you money and has a lower impact on the environment (footprint).

Make-up removal is a drag (he he) most of the time. There is no one who likes doing it every single night. If you do, I’d like to hear from you… Nevertheless, often the products on offer out there are too harsh, or if they’re not harsh they don’t do the job properly, or are just plain expensive. Be prepared to be a bit more enthusiastic about this (and hopefully get into the habit of always removing your make-up before you go to bed to avoid looking like a puffy Godzilla when you wake up).

Take some grapeseed or olive oil, a squirt or two from well, a squirty/spray bottle, at a time should do, and rub it gently over your (closed … oh, these tricksey disclaimers) eyes, cheeks, lips, wherever the war paint is. You could also try coconut oil, but soften it in your hand first, your body heat with do the trick in no time. Take damp cotton wool and wipe it off. That’s it. You may have to repeat this if wearing hardcore stuff, and then wash, but generally you don’t even have to wash your face again. Squeaky clean and moisturised.

Benefit: Cleaning and mousturising in one step saves time and dineros. Again. Also, it’s gentle on the skin, so less wrinkle-creation activity. Not that I’m against wrinkles, but I prefer mine to be the result of laughing and other such pleasant experiences. For me, the fun part is when you get to see yourself look like a prime candidate for Fright Night reruns just after you’ve rubbed the oil in. And then how quickly it can be wiped off. It’s the small things in life …

While on the topic of moisturising. It can actually start with clean(s)ing. Eh? You heard me. Instead of using the petrochemical-laden soap you probably grew up with and still use, try natural soap made of e.g. olive oil and see how your skin feels afterwards. They generally don’t strip your skin of its oils, so no need to put them back on after cleaning. But if you feel compelled to moisturise anyway, use either olive, grapseed or macadamia oil straight after a bath or shower, when you’re still in marshmallow mode.

Benefit: Natural olive oil soap costs about R30 a pop (at my local shop), so not cheap, but worth it. We overclean ourselves anyway. In other words, you probably don’t have to vigorously soap up every part of your body every day. Depending of course on how physically active you are as a rule. (Disclaimers are so tedious …) A bottle of grapeseed oil will set you back about R60 and last roughly 6 months. No petrochemicals in these babies for your skin to absorb either.

And then, lastly, since summer is on its way here in the southern hemisphere, hair removal at regular intervals will be back on the agenda. Forget about the other areas, I’m talking leg hair, particularly the lower half of the leg. Personally, I can’t stand shaving my legs. It must be the most tedious chore of them all! And the freekin’ hairs grow back in no time, so you have to shave at least a few times a week, sometimes every day. If you’re lucky, you have fine little hairs and I suggest you don’t even bother. I shaved right through high school and the first few years of university.

And then my mother saw my discontent and bought me an epilator for Christmas. This is where some of you wince. So did I at first. But sometimes progress is made by gritting your teeth because the alternative is even worse. Hear me out, it works, albeit painful at first. Once the results kick in … Yeehaa …! You only have to pay attention to your leg hair once every two to three weeks. It also costs a lot less than buying razors and shaving cream (rather use cheap conditioner, if you must), and its footprint is lower in the long run – I’ve had the same machine for over 20 years (it was not made in China, incidentally).

Benefit: While not for the faint-hearted, this has possibly saved me the most time and money of the lot. I can’t remember when last I bought a packet of disposable razors, it must be over a year ago. Not only does this save money, but it’s also less in the landfill. I’m still trying to find out where to dispose of razors properly as sending them to landfill could be harmful to people and animals at the site. If you know of a solution, please let me know! And lastly, if you get ingrown hair easily, this is probably not the solution for you.

There, I hope some of this has helped you. Looking nice and grooming shouldn’t be a pain in the butt or wreck the planet. For a wonderful explanation of what traditional versus natural cosmetics entails, head over to this video called The Story of Cosmetics by The Story of Stuff Project.


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