10 Beauty Products Hiding in Your Kitchen

BEAUTY STARTS IN THE KITCHEN

Here's a welcome surprise: Your kitchen cabinets contain a number of cheap alternatives to pricey beauty products. Add these common cooking and baking ingredients to your beauty regimen and watch your beauty budget shrink.

HONEY

Beauty bloggers at Prevention swear by honey as a natural cleanser, touting its antiviral and antimicrobial qualities and ability to keep skin moist. It's easy to find moisturizers, cleansers, and exfoliators with honey as a star ingredient, but they aren't worth the money. The bottle of honey in your pantry delivers the same punch as FarmHouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze, priced at $24 for 3 ounces. To relieve cracked heels, remove dead skin, and soften feet, mix equal amounts of honey and sugar and apply directly to feet in the shower.

SUGAR

White or brown, sugar is a staple in most kitchen cabinets. Sugar is also a common ingredient in luxury lip scrubs and body exfoliators. Plain old granulated sugar costs less than $1 a pound, brown sugar costs a bit more, and even organic varieties come in well under the $3 mark. Simply add sugar to your regular face wash or apply a little on an old toothbrush as a quick, cheap way to remove dead facial skin.

GROUND COFFEE

You probably never imagined your everyday cup o' Joe could fight wrinkles and temporarily reduce cellulite. The caffeine in coffee is a natural diuretic, which means it draws excess fluid from the skin, leaving it smooth and free of lumps. For best and immediate results, add a tablespoon of ground or cooled brewed coffee to your body wash or directly to your skin.

CINNAMON

Cinnamon is an inexpensive, common spice that can be used for a variety of beauty applications. Beauty blogger Michelle Phan notes that cinnamon serves as a quick and low-cost lip plumper. It's a welcome alternative when you want a fuller look but pale at the thought of spending, say, $22 at Sephora for a 0.12-ounce bottle of Bite Beauty Cinnamon Plumping Lip Oil. Just apply a bit of moistened cinnamon to your lips and smile.

TURMERIC

This kitchen spice, typically used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, has long been known for its medicinal benefits, such as quashing indigestion and reducing inflammation. In recent years, turmeric has been praised as a viable and low-cost acne treatment; curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric, fights common acne symptoms and prevents breakouts. A 2-ounce jar costs about $4 (it's far cheaper when bought in bulk), but this seems like a small price to pay when commercial treatments such as Proactiv can set you back $20 or more.

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OATMEAL

Oatmeal is a wholesome and low-cost breakfast favorite. It's also an affordable cleanser and exfoliator. Oatmeal contains an abundance of saponins, which, along with the cereal's grainy texture, help remove excess dirt and oil. If you don't already have this staple in your pantry, a 42-ounce container for less than $5 will keep your skin breathing easy for a while.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda serves a variety of cooking and cleaning purposes, so there's a good chance there's a box someplace in your kitchen cupboards. Try swapping out regular shampoo for a $1 box of baking soda, which cleans your scalp just as effectively as commercial shampoo. It also reduces dandruff, making it a thrifty substitute for dandruff shampoos, which often retail for $10 and up.

BLACK TEA

Black tea contains a high amount of antioxidants, which protect against free radicals that can damage the skin. Anti-aging products containing black tea have been popping up in the beauty aisles, and carry hefty price tags; a 1.6-ounce jar of Fresh's Black Tea Age-Delay Cream, for example, sells for $95. Instead, forego expensive specialty products and try a generic box of black tea. There are several ways to incorporate black tea into your beauty regime, such as steaming your face with a brew.

COCONUT OIL

Replace costly makeup remover (some products go for $10 and more) with coconut oil. Aside from getting rid of stubborn mascara and foundation residue, coconut oil has been praised for reducing eye wrinkles and puffiness. For just $7, a 14-ounce jar of coconut oil serves three purposes for the price of one: cooking, removing makeup, and reducing under-eye bags.

OLIVE OIL

Olive oil's beauty benefits are no secret. Women have used it to add shine to hair and moisture to skin for eons. Olive oil isn't particularly cheap, but it remains a welcome companion of salads and sautés in many kitchens. If you keep a bottle in stock, you might as well use a few dabs as your everyday moisturizer and forget about high-priced commercial body-moisturizing oils, which can cost more than $40 for an 8.5-ounce tube.