The Green Recessionista’s Guide to Beauty & Personal Care


With the economy in shambles, it’s harder than ever to shell out $65 for face cream or upwards of $100 for a trip to the spa. If your pocketbook has been hit – or you’re just nervous and looking to save money – there’s no need to resort to using cheap, chemical-filled beauty and personal care products instead of safe, natural ones. Here are 7 super-natural and inexpensive ways to keep yourself looking and feeling your best that you can pull off even in the worst of circumstances.

1. A gallon-sized jug of castile soap is your best friend. Not only is it a fantastic face & body wash, hand soap and shampoo, you can also use it for household cleaning. It costs around $40 and will last for months and months.

2. Baking soda works wonders for clarifying oily scalps, gently exfoliating your face and keeping underarm odor at bay. I like to add a teaspoon or so to a few drops of castile soap as a mild face scrub as well as once-a-week clarifying shampoo. Washing with baking soda and water regularly also treats and prevents breakouts.

3. Mineral makeup lasts longer and is surprisingly affordable, even when you’re on a strict budget. Many of you already know that I’m a big fan of Everyday Minerals, which is inexpensive and great quality. Use an angled brush and some water to transform eyeshadow pigments into eyeliner, or mix pink, red and peachy shades with lip balm for cream blush or lipstick.

4. Embrace your natural hair color – or try henna. Expensive salon hair color is hard to keep up, especially when you need that money for more important things, like rent and food. Henna, on the other hand, is inexpensive, long-lasting and best done in the comfort of your own home. Henna has a bad reputation because of the metallic salt-laden cheapo versions out there, but body art quality henna will not damage your hair and is available in a range of shades. Since it tints your natural hair color, roots aren’t obvious. Check out the Henna for Hair page for more info.

5. A jar of coconut oil will last most people at least a year, and you can use it as an all-over body moisturizer or hair conditioning treatment. It’s thick and rich, liquid in warm weather and solid in cold – I like to use a wooden scoop when it’s solid and put it in a glass bottle with a pump in the summer.

6. Forget expensive disposable organic tampons and pads – you can purchase one DivaCup or Keeper for around $30 and it’ll last you at least a decade. The Keeper even comes in a natural rubber version. They’re hygienic and washable. (Check out this post at The Green Girls for more details). Organic cloth pads are also a frugal, green option – they’re available in some health food stores and all over the place online, including Etsy. Both of these ideas might sound weird, but they’re better for your body (many women report less cramping) and you get used to it quickly.

7. Get a book of DIY green beauty recipes or just search the ‘net. You can spend an evening pampering yourself in the comfort of your own home with products that you know are perfectly safe, because you made them yourself. Face masks, conditioning treatments, nail treatments, toners, scrubs – practically anything you could buy in the store or get done at a spa, you can DIY. I like “The Green Beauty Guide” by Julie Gabriel.

Photo credit: Flickr user Tedi [teodora doychinova]

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.