Recently, I have been on a mission to drastically reduce the amount of unnecessary “stuff” in my life.
Like many in the West, I have too much rather than too little-too many clothes, books and last but certainly, not least, too many choices.
Nowhere is this more reflected then in the amount of grooming and beauty products I have purchased over the years.
Despite the fact that I rarely wear make-up and am as low maintenance as it comes with my hair, I nonetheless have enough stuff to open up a Sephora’s. Forget my knitting habit: I’ve arguably spent more on personal care products over the years than anything else and the odd thing is, I wasn’t even aware of it.
A tube of lipstick here, a few bottles of body lotion that seemed like a good deal at the time-it all adds up.
And even though I am one of those women who used to feel sorry for those “poor dears” who was always rushing off to buy the latest miracle cream or trendy new nail polish or lipstick stage, I realized that I was no more immune to the power of advertising and empty products than the average Western woman.
All of them do-from big corporations to small, “all-natural” brands-we are promised that if we want to look better, then it is essential we use _________ product. Plus, who can blame anyone for treating themselves every now and then. As L’oreal says, “I’m worth it” and arguably a new beauty product, even those from a very expensive line, isn’t going to cost as much as the latest “It” handbag or a day at the spa.
However, all this stuff has an impact both on our wallets and the environment. Nearly all these things come packaged in plastic-in many cases, the kind that isn’t easily recyclable, Plus, unlike clothing, most of these items can be passed on once they have been used thanks to the risk of contamination. (In fact, one of the first things I learned when I forced wore make up was to never share it especially eye make up thanks to the risk.)
Still, it can be easier said than done to cut back on the number of products we use thanks to the message that we “need” so many things. Plus, there is the not so little fact that many of us—especially women—are very attached to certain items. (I happen to be one of them. After years of struggling to find the perfect sunscreen that would protect me and not leave me looking like chalky or oily, I finally found one and said that if this mass-produced, inexpensive gem is ever discontinued I will probably go crazy.)
Therefore, I am the last person who endorses depriving oneself. However, for those looking to par down or simply want to save money, below are five items you absolutely can live without and will probably not even miss.
1. Shaving cream
The whole purpose of shaving cream is to soften hair so it is easier to shave. Most shaving cream does a good job at that, but so does hair conditioner or body oil or even cooking oil straight from the pantry. (Just be sure not to spill oil in the shower or bathtub to prevent accidental slipping.)
In my case, I always tend to buy big bottles of hair conditioner that I never seem to be able to get through before the expiration date. Using it as shaving cream has certainly allowed me to use more of it. Another plus is unlike those metal cans that most shaving creams come in, my conditioner bottle doesn’t rust and leave a ring on my tub counter.
2. Eye cream
Moisturizers of any sort are optional for people with oily skin but for those who use it, you can use the same cream you use on your face around the eyes as well. (Just use a smaller amount since some can work too well and lead to puffy eyes.)
For those who don’t believe this, ask as dermatologist or compare the ingredients in eye cream to that of a facial moisturizer. In most cases, they are the same.
3. Wrinkle removers
The only thing that will permanently remove wrinkles are prescription creams (which are drugs) and surgery. Using a so-called wrinkle remover as a moisturizer is fine, but using a moisturizer plus a wrinkle remover tends to be overkill for most.
Many people love the way that these feel on the skin especially if cooled in the fridge and applied on a hot summer day but despite what you have heard, toners cannot close pores. (Also, hot water does not open them though it can loosen dirt and debris making them look smaller.)
If you like how they feel, they by all means use them as an extra cleansing step. However, if they aren’t your thing, skip ’em and it won’t make a difference.
5. Body scrubs
I include these here because they are just so easy to make. My favorite DIY is 1/4 cup of salt or sugar with 1/4 cup of olive oil. It works even better than the store bought stuff, plus, it doesn’t cost me anything extra because I always have these items on hand.
Also, as we get older, the skin often gets thinner and scrubbing it may not be a good option for many. Over-exfoliating doesn’t lead to younger-looking, healthier looker skin: rather, it can leave us looking and feeling irritated. If this is the case, just skip it and use a regular washcloth to exfoliate. It may be all that is necessary.
In closing, eliminating unnecessary grooming items is a great way to save money and the environment. Many of us already use too much stuff and may be amazed what we can actually do without.
The list above is only a start. If each of us looked at our own personal care regimes, chances are we might find other things we could go without.
As we make the transition from summer to fall, why not stop and review our respective routines? Less may truly be more.
More DIY Beauty:
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Google images/public domain