Monday, 29 October 2012

Budget Beauty for Frugal Fashionistas: Oils, Butters & Floral Waters

Okay, so today I have finally kicked out this blog post which I have been planning for months now! It's a series of posts which will hopefully be very useful to any creative and money-conscious beauty enthusiast! Aptly titled "Budget Beauty for Frugal Fashionistas" - and yes, I did think the title up all by myself! - I want to cover as much beauty ground as possible when it comes to looking your best and saving pennies in the meantime. From the best commercially available products at great prices to making your own easy cosmetics, these blog articles will hopefully show you that you can look awesome, cover all the skincare steps and routines you want and not have to spend tons of money doing it.

So, let's get to it and let's get the basics covered! Originally I wanted to include some answers I received from r/AskReddit but just explaining liquid oils, butters and solid oils and floral waters took forever so I will make a separate article for the Reddit answers, suggestions and recommendations I received.

A lot of people recommended using pure, natural oils made from fruits, nuts, plants and more for things like moisturising your skin (both face and body), using as a pre-shampoo hair treatment and hot oil treatment and  literally hundreds more uses.

The most recommended oil to use is coconut oil. It is solid but very slightly melted in room temperature, making it great for scooping up and applying on your face, body, hair and mixing in with other ingredients. Coconut oil is quite cheap and can be found more easily than other exotic oils in places such as health and whole food stores, Asian supermarkets and online. According to a lot of testimonials, reviews and articles online, coconut oil is an all-in-one, miracle products with hundreds of uses for your health, beauty and inner vitality. You can keep coconut oil in a airtight jar or the packaging it came in and it is recommended to keep it in the bathroom for ease of use and because steam from baths and showers warms it up slightly, making it easier to scoop up and apply. Here are all the most relevant, beauty-related uses for coconut oil and be prepared as there are many!

♥ Use coconut oil as a pure, simple, no frills moisturiser. Coconut oil is absorbed into skin quite quickly and depending on your skin type, has little to no greasy residue or feel. It can be comedogenic to acne-prone or oily skin, meaning it can block pores and cause spots.
♥ Use coconut oil as a make-up remover - simply slather all over your face, leave for a few minutes and wipe off with cotton pads and warm water. Cleanse, tone and moisturise afterwards if desired and to get rid of any greasy or unfamiliar feel you may experience.
♥ Apply coconut all over your hairline, on your ears and neck before dyeing your hair to prevent dye stains.
♥ Use coconut oil as a pre-shampoo or hot oil treatment for any hair type. Cover your entire hair with it and leave it in for as long as possible before rinsing it out with regular shampoo or an apple cider vinegar rinse. Either heat it up before use for a hot oil treatment (but be very careful!) or apply it on hair then heat up with a hairdryer for a few minutes to open the hair follicles and penetrate your hair more deeply.
♥ Use coconut oil before shaving for a closer shave, or after shaving for a deeply moisturising effect.
♥ Use coconut oil for an intensive body moisturising, particularly for elbows, knees, feet, hands, etc.
♥  Use as a styling agent for very dry hair - take a tiny, tiny bit, warm it up in your hands and run through your hair.
♥ Rub all over your underarms for a natural deodorant - this may not be as effective as commercial deodorants but it depends on how smelly you are, bluntly put!
♥ Add a tiny bit to a wash bowl or sink full of warm water for a moisturising foot soak.
♥ Soothe chickenpox, shingles and other irritating skin problems.
♥ Treat athlete's foot and other fungal infections.
♥ Use as an intensive eye moisturiser to combat wrinkles, crows feet and delicate skin.
♥ Use as a simple and great smelling massage oil!
♥ Reduce the visibility of stretch marks, scars, acne pocks and scars, etc.
♥ Coat your eyelashes with it at night for a strengthening eyelash serum.
♥ Use with new tattoos to aid healing and keep the colour longer.
♥ Use as a cuticle oil - simply massage into cuticles every night for soft, smooth cuticles and nourished nails!

Phew! You can also use olive oil in for a lot of the above uses too - that's right, the stuff in your cupboards! Well, it's not in my cupboard right now, we're not that posh...but it's definitely on my budget beauty basic ingredients list! Some people prefer olive oil as it absorbs faster and is better for sensitive and problematic skin.

In fact, you can substitute coconut and olive oil for almost any exotic oil of your choice! I was going to make a list of all the different oils available and their different benefits but to be honest, there are literally hundreds of different ones and they all provide the same, basic benefits - they leave skin soft and smooth with no greasy feel, are quickly absorbed, protects against environmental damage and free-radicals, treats sunburn, acne, stretch marks and scars, eczema, psoriasis, treats itchy scalps and dandruff, can be used as a pre-shampoo/hot oil hair treatment, bath or massage oil, intensive under-eye and body moisturiser, eyelash serum, etc. There are only a few oils that are particularly great for dry or mature skin, oily or acne-prone, etc. I wish I could suggest specific oils for you to try out depending on your skin type and the benefits you need but it's all down to personal preference and what your skin seems to lap up. If you adore avocado, avocado oil could be great for you; for a more exotic twist, mango oil or butter; if you love the idea of using oils Japanese and Asian products contain, try camellia or rice bran oil. There are tons of different ones for you to try out and experiment for relatively cheap prices! It may seem costly at first but you only need a small amount of oil as it is easy to spread into a thin layer and is more intensive than commercially available moisturisers and lotions made with chemicals and ingredients that can aggravate your skin or block pores.

A Redditor also recommended using grapeseed oil as a moisturiser and many-uses oil; it goes on the skin thinner and absorbs faster than other oils and is less likely to clog pores than olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, etc. It's also usually cheaper than most other exotic oils such as sweet almond and jojoba.

There are also butters and solid oils for you to try out too! Coconut oil is technically a solid oil/butter and some benefits you can get from butters rather than lipid oils are that butters and solid oils are more intensive than liquid oils (therefore you need less product to be as effective, saving money) and are great for point-moisturising parts of your body that need more intensive moisture, such as elbows, knees, hands and feet and are better for pre-shampoo and hot oil hair treatments. They can take longer to absorb into skin, however, and some butters can be comedogenic and block pores, cause spots and irritate oily, problematic and acne-prone skin.

Butters and solid oils that can be used for intensive moisturising purposes and making homemade lotions, hand creams, etc. include: Coconut oil, shea butter, avocado butter, mango butter, macadamia butter, apricot butter, babassu oil/butter, aloe butter, olive butter and sunflower butter among others.

Liquid oils for moisturising purposes, cuticle oils, mixing into homemade cosmetics, etc. include: Moringa oil, jojoba oil, safflower oil, sweet almond oil (slower absorption time, good for massages), baobab oil (good for particularly dry or mature skin), avocado oil, grapefruit seed oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, kukui nut oil, papaya oil, cherry kernel oil, peach kernel oil, pistachio oil, kiwi seed oil, carrot seed oil, argan oil, sesame oil, neem oil, watermelon seed oil and camellia oil among others.

It's a good idea to search for all the different types of oils/butters available and find one you'd like to try out. Perhaps it's a good idea to combine the same base ingredient for oils and butters? So, you could have avocado oil for facial moisturising, cuticle oils, bath soaks, massage oils, etc. and use avocado butter for hot oil hair treatments, intensive moisturising, using in homemade cosmetics, etc.

Okay, now we have the benefits of using oils and butters as simple, one ingredient products for many purposes, it's a good idea to note that these ingredients can be used to make a number of cheap and effective cosmetics, such as lotions, cleansers, lip balms, hand creams, etc. You only need a few other basic ingredients to get started, depending on what recipes you want to make!

The start up costs can seem expensive but you can make products that last months and can make more than one batch from a bottle of oil or tub of butter. Two ingredients that will make your venture into homemade cosmetics sooo much easier are rosemary extract and grapefruit seed extract - these are natural preservatives that are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-oxidants, meaning they stop homemade products from oxidising and growing bacteria, stopping them from going off and preserving their shelf life from a couple of days to months and even years, depending on the ingredients used. They are not the same as essential oils so please stick to buying the extracts wherever possible - essential oils are more potent yet have been processed and some of the benefits may be lessened or even unnoticeable if you use an essential oil instead.

You only need to use around 0.5%-3% of extract depending on volume and ingredients used so a small bottle lasts ages! Unfortunately I can't find grapefruit seed extract in the UK without extortionate prices attached to it so I bought some rosemary extract for just over £4 for 25ml and Ethox preservative instead of grapefruit seed extract - a mixture of phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin; phenoxyethanol is a colourless and odourless oil that is anti-bacterial and is used in cosmetics such as skin creams and sunscreen whilst ethylhexylglycerin is derived from glycerin and is a preservative you can use if you don't want to use parabens. It's not 100% natural and can cause skin irritation (only found in two surveys though) but just because it isn't 100% natural doesn't mean it is absolutely awful, morally wrong, etc. etc. etc. I bought Ethox preservative for £2.95 for 25ml and they were both from a UK based company called Fresholi. These are your best bet for starting out and being able to use your homemade face masks, scrubs, lotions and other cosmetics for a while longer than using no preservatives.

Floral waters are also a pure, simple ingredient you can use - mostly for tones, astringents, soothing ingredients and the such. You can find floral waters for lots of different flowers but here are some of the most common and their different benefits:

Lavender, rose, witch hazel, juniperberry and chamomile water soothes irritations, redness, swellings, blemishes, acne and sensitive skin whilst being great for all skin types and non-reactive (it won't aggravate your skin).

Orange blossom/flower water encourages circulation in dry and mature skin, helping to restore moisturiser and clear the skin from toxins. It restores suppleness, rejuvenates mind and body when exhausted and is a refreshing tonic for dry to normal skin.

Agonis water: The oil and hydrolat from the Agonis plant is said to be eight times stronger than tea tree oil or water. It has significant anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory purposes and may aid in the healing of cuts, scratches, bites, stings, minor burns and is good for problematic skin.

Tea tree water is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal to help regulate the balance of problematic skin, especially useful for hormonally imbalanced teenage skin. It helps kill bacteria in the pores without clogging them and is very soothing and non-reactive, similar to lavender, rose, chamomile, etc.

One of the easiest, most effective and cheapest toners you can make are simply a blend of two or more floral waters - Lush's Eau Roma Water is simply lavender and rose water mixed together! To help you pick which waters to mix, consult which waters are best for your skin type and give you what it needs. Rose water blends well with lavender and chamomile water, lavender blends well with rose, orange and chamomile water, orange blends well with lavender water and juniperberry blends well with chamomile water.

With these three all-natural substances, you can be well on your way to dropping your skincare routine from numerous products to just one or two, saving money in the long run and helping your skin regain its balance and lustre, preventing it from soaking in tons of ingredients and chemicals whilst keeping things easy for you and your body. This was such a long post and I sure am beat after typing all this up but I hope this has been a great start to using purse-friendly beauty products and being creative, concocting your own potions and elixirs for a beautiful body and face!

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