Show off your natural beauty with natural products

Coconut oil for alternative therapy

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by Jazmine Mercado, Contributor

With U.S. women spending an average of more than $426 billion on beauty products a year according to the Huffington Post, “beauty on a budget” seems like an ideal but hard-to-reach concept for college women. Add in the desire to use more natural, paraben-free products that are enriching to the skin and you’re left spending the same amount you would on a textbook for a face cream. To avoid such an ugly situation, here is a small list of natural alternatives that you can use, and probably already have, to meet your beauty needs on a college-friendly budget.

Instead of buying a nighttime moisturizer: try Jojoba oil.

This lightweight, odorless oil comes from the “Simmondsia chinensis,” or Jojoba plant, that is native to certain regions of California, Arizona, and Mexico.  Commonly found in various drugstore beauty products like lotions, shampoos, and conditioners, Jojoba is well known for being an excellent source of moisture. Also, jojoba oil contains a long list of minerals and vitamins needed for healthy skin including: iodine, vitamin E, B-complex and copper. In addition, jojoba can be used as a cuticle cream, make-up remover and hair conditioner. So instead of heading to Wal-Mart for a refill on your moisturizer, take a trip to your local health foods store (Sprouts, Trader Joes, Jimbo’s) and pick up a bottle of “unrefined” or  “organic” Jojoba oil. On average, a bottle of Jojoba oil costs around $7 a bottle, while the everyday moisturizer costs about $5. It’s a slight and well-worth price difference for an all-natural, organic product.  Simply apply a few drops to a clean face right before bed with a cotton ball and fall as asleep dreaming of healthy, glowing skin.

Instead of buying an eye cream: try extra virgin olive oil.

A typical ingredient in most households, olive oil comes from none other than, you guessed it, olives. While it tends to get a bad rap as “unhealthy,” olive oil is actually good for you and your body. More recently, the natural cosmetic benefits of using olive oil on your skin is becoming more recognized and appreciated. Packed with vitamin A and E, olive oil delivers much needed antioxidants to the skin, works to remove free radicals and protects your skin’s fatty acids, an essential aspect for the thinner and more delicate skin around your eyes. Olive oil is also good for removing make-up, getting paint out of your hair and if you forgot to pick a body lotion, you can use it a moisturizer too. You can pick up a bottle for about seven dollars at your local grocery store.

Instead of buying an exfoliator: try a homemade facial scrub.

For this all you need is a little creativity, some iodized salt and a couple of your favorite healthy foods.  The iodized salt is a must, as the larger salt crystals will help scrub your skin free of dead skin cells and bring new, healthy skin to the surface.  Next, mix the salt with ingredients of your choice—most people tend to use an oil (olive, coconut, almond, sunflower, jojoba) to add moisture to their skin and because most oils contain anti-bacterial properties. Be sure to add in a fruit or vegetable as they bring the personalized element to your scrub. Kiwis can improve your complexion, pineapples can help with acne and strawberries are great for brightening.  Do some research to determine what your skin needs are and what elements would work best for you at the moment.  After mixing your ingredients together, simply apply to your skin the same way you would with a store bought mask and store leftover product in a sealable jar until your next spa night.  The price for ingredients to make your own mask may vary, with the average cost being around $6 to $8 with the added benefit of being able to customize the components and ensuring the product is pure.


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