Repurposing Kitchen Staples for Skin + Body

Prior to our embarking on this year’s no-buy year, I (Shannon) have always been mindful about the products we use on, and in, our body, especially when it comes to bath and skin care, cleaners, etc. Our skin is the largest organ we have, so best practice would be to pay close attention to the items we use to take care of it.  

When Pinterest first came on the scene, I had a board full of pins, dedicated to homemade recipes of sugar scrubs, hair masks, and lip balms, all made of products used from our kitchen, and have been using those recipes ever since.

A portion of the items I mention in this post, may not be news to some of you, but I thought that since we are in the beginning of the no-buy year, it would be helpful to talk about some of the products that we naturally do not buy, that may be of use to those of you who are just starting out your no-buy, or low-buy year, so that you can look at not only saving on your costs, but by reducing your carbon footprint, waste, and by using cruelty-free products, and making use of items that are more than likely in your kitchen, anyway. Besides, if we are eating these items, it would make sense that they would also be safe to put them onto our skin.

Coconut oil is a staple in the kitchen and bath.
  • Facewash– I have learned through the years, and note, everyone is different, but for me, I do not use soap to wash my face. My face enjoys its natural oils. I only use a cloth and water. I use olive oil to remove eye make-up. After washing, I then use a tiny bit of coconut oil as a moisturizer for my face and lips, especially in the winter. Due to Covid/WFH I really haven’t used foundation, so my face has had a nice break, and it is healthier than it has ever been.
  • Body moisturizer– depending on mood, we use olive oil, or coconut oil. If you use oil when you are just getting out of the shower, while your skin is wet, the oil will help the water stay trapped onto your body, so that is the ideal time to use it. If you have an aloe vera plant, score! Aloe is very hydrating, especially in the summer, so use that as a moisturizer if you have it.
  • Scrubs/exfoliants– my skin depends on an exfoliant in the winter, so I use several different creations, but my fave is a sugar scrub. You can use a blend of olive oil and sugar, coconut oil and brown sugar, or you can use coffee grounds and grapeseed oil. In the summer, if you are fortunate enough to live near the ocean, when you go for a swim, use the sand for those rough areas to scrub it around your feet, elbows, and knees, gently. I do love a natural scrub!  
  • Face mask– I’ve blogged about a self-care face mask, using lime juice, honey, and egg. So great! Of course, put some cucumbers on your eyes, and you’ve got an at-home day spa!
  • Toothpaste– we make our own toothpaste and have for years. It uses an ayurvedic method of oil pulling, and bonus, it is a natural teeth whitening method. Mix together 3 tbsp coconut oil (melted makes it easier), 3 tbsp baking soda, ½ tsp stevia, 5 drops of peppermint oil, in a bowl, and put in an airtight container.
  • Teeth whitening– if you are ever looking for an extra teeth whitening boost. I use this combination 2-3 times per year, when I feel like I just need a tad more brightening.  All you do is put a tiny bit of baking soda on your toothbrush and pour a smidge of hydrogen peroxide onto that. Brush with that mixture. That is it!  Repeat that process for about a 7-10 days and you will notice a whiter smile.
  • Hair– still searching for a DIY shampoo recipe that works for us, but I have learned that my natural hair oils, once I got used to it, are so much better than washing my hair every day. I have thick hair so I can get by with this for a bit longer than most people, I know. I will shut up about that. 🙂 I dabble with different recipes and love the natural bars, such as Naturel Earth. They are cruelty-free, do not use plastic, and are a small business we really love supporting. For conditioning, we use coconut oil, which has been great for our hair, and can be used as a great hair mask. You just have to figure out the amount, and the type of oil that works best for your hair. Don’t be afraid to try them out.
Aloe is great for cooking burns, and for moisturizing. This aloe plant came from Key West so it is a fave!

Noticing a trend here? Lizzo said it best, “I thought I needed the rush, but there was never enough, ’cause all I needed was some coconut oil.” Coconut oil is a godsend. It works in, and for everything, and I mean, everything

Betty White also loves using kitchen items for her bath use. She has sensitive skin, so when she has bath time, we blend down oats, into a refined powder, and mix that with olive oil, and rub that on her, massaging it into her fur. Let that sit for about 10 minutes, and it works as a nice anti-allergen bath. It helps to soothe her skin.

In the works:

  • We are currently playing around with some recipes for shaving creams with coconut oil, castile soap, lavender and peppermint oils, but haven’t quite worked out the texture issue yet. Stay tuned.
  • We use natural deodorant but are also trying out our own concoctions for that, too, with of course, coconut oil, baking soda, but again, it’s the consistency we haven’t mastered.
  • We have tons of DIYs on cleaning products, including detergents, and soaps, and will blog later about that, so be on the lookout. 😉

Using items from our kitchen for the dual purpose as bath and skin care, was a huge pivot in our lives. It not only allows us to be healthier, but it also allows us to be more mindful about our purchases. We can ask ourselves about the dual purpose of items that we bring into our home, reducing our carbon footprint, and make a difference in the reduction of chemicals being used on a global level. Even on a small scale, every bit makes a difference.

If you have ideas for ways in which you use items in your kitchen pantry, or refrigerator for bath or skin care, let us know. We are always open to other ideas. We will share more as we learn them. 

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