Beauty Products

by marilynk

Have you ever walked down the aisle of shampoo and conditioner and been completely overwhelmed? Do you have fine hair, oily hair, dry scalp? Do you use heat stylers? What about colour? You try and answer all of these questions in order to choose the right product for you! Walk down the facial cleaners aisle and it’s the same thing all over again: oily, dry, or combination skin? acne? wrinkles? We have got the products to save your skin!

But are all those products really all that different from each other and are any of them really good for you, your skin, or your hair? What about your wallet? I find that of all the beauty products I buy, I spend the most on shampoo, conditioner, various face wash products, and moisturizer. Given my current financial situation, I decided to look for ways to reduce those costs while switching to things that are simpler formulas (it’s like with my food – the more ingredients I can’t pronounce, the less I want it on my body).

I am still finishing off the products that I was already using, but I have found my replacement products and have tried them out a few times to see how I like them. So what am I switching to? They look a lot more like cooking ingredients than beauty products, but so far I like how they work. All of the ingredients are available at the grocery store or health-food store.


  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part water*

Hair Clarifier:

  • 1 part apple cider vinegar
  • 1 part water*

I put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into a small glass and bring it into the shower with me. When I’m ready to wash my hair, I hold the glass under the water, then swirl it to mix the baking soda into the water. I pour about a third of the mixture onto the crown of my head, a third along my hair line in the front and by my temples, and for the last third I tip my head forward and pour it along the hairline in back. Put the glass down & then I massage the baking soda mixture into my scalp, then rinse it out.

For the clarifier, I’ve made a half-and-half mix of the apple cider vinegar and water in a spritz bottle I had left over from a hair product I had finished off. In the shower, I give the bottle a shake then spritz my hair, keeping the mix on the ends of my hair, not on my scalp (according to online sources, the vinegar can be hard on the scalp).

*Some online resources suggest using distilled water, but that would be an added expense and Edmonton has some of the best tap water in North America, so I’m sticking with that.

Facial Cleanser:

  • 1 part castor oil (available at health-food stores)
  • 1 part olive oil


  • adzuki beans, ground fine

I’ve made a half-and-half mix of the castor oil and olive oil in a small container that used to hold face wash gel. I only clean my face with the oil in the evenings and just splash my face with cold water in the mornings. To clean my face, I pour out a nickel-size amount of the oil mixture onto my fingers and massage it into my face (the oil also breaks up makeup really well and is safe to use on eyes and eyelashes). Meanwhile, I soak a face cloth in the hottest water that will come out of my tap. Once the oil is worked in, I wring out the cloth and drape it over my face (I lie down for this part – so much easier). I lie with the cloth on my face until it is room temperature again, then wipe off any excess oil (& makeup), and rinse out the cloth.

The cleanser is actually my favourite of the new products – it’s like a mini facial every night! I also like that it forces me to take a few minutes to just lie still and quiet as part of my evening routine. It seems to help me transition from busy day to restful sleeping and that’s always a good thing!

The exfoliant isn’t really a new addition, I’ve been using adzuki beans for about a year now. I use it 1-2 times per week and it’s super simple to make. Just buy dry adzuki beans (I find mine at the local health-food store) and grind them in a spice grinder or food processor. I grind enough to fill a twist-top container and keep the container in my bathroom. When I want to exfoliate, I pour about 1.5 Tbsp of the ground beans into my hand and take it into the shower. I wet my face and drip water into the beans until there’s enough to make a paste, then just massage the paste into my skin. Using this exfoliant, my skin feels polished and smooth, but not dried out – it’s really great!


3 Responses to “Beauty Products”

  1. I remember when ground adzuki beans were sold by the Body Shop! They worked so well. I wonder why they stopped selling them?

    Looking forward to hearing how you like these formulas over time! I read another blog post a few days ago about a mom who has been using baking soda and a vinegar rinse exclusively for the past couple of years. She says her hair is super shiny and healthy, and has a great FAQ about it in the post. Oh, found it in my browsing history:

    • I think they stopped selling them because one shaker lasted for freaking ever! 🙂

      I will definitely do a follow up post in a few months…just have to finish up these other products before I start using the new stuff consistently. And thanks for the link to that FAQ…handy!


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