My Frugal Beauty Routine

A stylin’ self-portrait of me in my bathroom seemed right for a post that takes you through a day-in-the-life of my frugal beauty routine.

Beauty and skin care doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive (or toxic, for that matter). I’m choosy about the few things I use and I like to keep things simple when it comes to the time I spend in front of the mirror. Ever wondered what products grace my bathroom counter? Wonder no more.

7:07 am – I take a shower

Body: I use simple homemade soaps, either handmade by my health-conscious mother-in-law (we get a basket of soap each Christmas, which I love), or something else with pure ingredients like the ones I’m reviewing from Apple Valley Natural Soap (speaking of which, don’t miss this month’s giveaway!).

Shampooing: Up until recently, I had been using the “no shampoo” method for over 2 years and loved it the frugal simplicity of it. My hair always felt clean and fresh.

This winter I began to have some issues with hair breakage (I have particularly thin and fine hair that breaks easy, but it got worse for some reason this winter). I was worried that the baking soda might not be a fit for my hair during this season, so I went back to JASON shampoo and conditioner for a spell (free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, etc. and one of the more cost effective natural options out there). Now I’m trying the Shampoo Bars from Apple Valley and so far so good, although I may still like to go back to “no shampoo” ultimately.

**Frugal tip– You can’t get cheaper than the “no shampoo” method. Baking soda. Vinegar. How cheap is that?

Top bar- May Chang from Graham Gardens, bottom is Latte Beaute from Apple Valley

Shaving: I either do a dry method with my cheap little electric razor, or I just lather up with bar soap or Dr. Bronner’s in the shower to do a wet shave.

7:19 am – I get ready for the day

Hair styling: I do have a natural mousse (from Lavera) that I use a little squirt of about once a week (usually for Sundays or going out on dates with my hubby). Other than that, I just keep my hair au naturel.

**Frugal tip– I bought my mousse and some gel for the boys in the house from the Lavera clearance section. Though I would never pay full price for most of the things they sell, every once in a while they have a stellar sale in their clearance section. I think I paid around $2-3 each for these natural styling products that retail for $16. Worth checking every once in a while if they have products that you are interested in.

Face: For moisturizing, coconut oil (the same kind that we eat) is my preferred choice. I’ve currently got some Terralina moisturizer that I got for free (yes, blogging has perks) but honestly coconut oil works just as well at a fraction of the price.

**Frugal tip– If you do like fancier products like Terralina, watch the daily deal sites like Jasmere and Eversave. They have both previously had 1/2 price vouchers for Terralina as well as other natural beauty care products.

Makeup: Most days I don’t wear much except a natural lip balm. A few days a week I use a light foundation powder from Everyday Minerals. Usually one day a week I will add one or two shades of eye shadow (also from EM), a light dust of transluscent finishing powder and a colored lip gloss (I have a few- Burt’s Bees, Lavera, etc.).

**Frugal tip– If you’ve never tried mineral makeup and you would like to, Everyday Minerals has free sample kits available. Sometimes you can get coupon codes for a discount or a free item with your order. Check out RetailMeNot to find current coupons.

Deodorant: I’ve tried so many over the years and have never come up with one I really love. All sorts of natural brands (Tom’s of Maine, JASON, Dessert Essence, deodorant crystal, etc.). I’m currently trying a homemade one and I have a feeling this most-frugal option will be the winner!

Teeth: See below.

Purple bottle is castile soap, green bottle is my oil cleansing mix (castor oil and olive oil), and then my two favorite hard lotion bars.

9:04 am – I finish cleaning the kitchen after breakfast

Hands: After cleaning the kitchen and prepping for lunch and/or dinner, my hands are usually a bit dry. I treat them to one of my hard lotion bars, which work so well on my dry skin (that used to get eczema but rarely breaks out in it these days).

My favorite hard lotion bars come from MadeOn Skin Care (a more solid bar that requires more rubbing but lasts a long time, with a light scent of beeswax or cocoa butter, depending on the bar) and Graham Gardens (a slightly softer bar that rubs on easily, may not last quite as long as the MadeOn bar, but smells exquisite).

4:37 pm – I realize my lips are dry

Lips: Lately I just rub them with hard lotion bars, since the ingredients are basically the same as lip balm, or I use Burt’s Bees original lip balm, which is my hubby’s favorite. Homemade lip balms (or lotion bars) are easy to make as well.

10:05 pm (or somewhere thereafter) – I’m heading to bed

Face: I am a self-confessed lazy face washer. However. When I do wash my face properly before bed, I love the oil cleansing method. It feels fantastic, it makes my skin looks good and it’s very frugal to boot. Watch my video tutorial and see how easy this fabulous method is. I don’t necessarily feel that I need any moisturizer after this, but if I do, it will usually be coconut oil.

Teeth: We either use a non-toxic and fluoride-free toothpaste like Tom’s of Maine or JASON, or our latest attempt to use a tooth cleaner instead of toothpaste.

The difference is in the glycerin, which supposedly coats teeth and prevents saliva from doing its job of neutralizing the bacteria and acid balance in the mouth (or at least, that’s my understanding of it). We’re hoping it helps to prevent cavities, but the jury is still out and frankly we still like toothpaste better. And we floss… just plain old floss.

Skin: If needed, I give my hands and legs a once over with one of my hard lotion bars.

And that, my friends, is basically all of the products that touch my skin in any way, shape or form.

I do have one remaining bottle of conventional perfume that I use every now and then, although I just received some Jasmine Body Oil from Graham Gardens and I’d love to switch over to just using products made with essential oils for fragrance. Most days, I just skip fancy scents. I also have one small bag of nail polish that is lingering from my university days (which were much longer ago than I care to admit) and should just be thrown out since I avoid those toxic polishes now.

I actually love the simplicity of what I use now, compared to all the stuff that used to clutter up my bathroom counter before I went natural (although my husband would probably beg to differ about whether the bathroom counter is still cluttered up or not).

What does your beauty care routine consist of?

Disclaimer: All times listed are approximate. I may or may not struggle with going to bed after 11pm or not getting up with my alarm to exercise and do devotions at 6am. I’m just sayin’.

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. jessica says:

    Really? You use all that?

    I just use olive oil soap to wash my face and body and to brush my teeth. Wash and condition hair with apple cider vinegar (makes my coarse curly hair look like “normal” hair) Make my own deodorant and use coconut oil for any moisturizing.

  2. Jessica says:

    Primal Pit Paste is the best all-natural deoderant out there. Check out their website, seriously!

  3. I loved reading about your normal routine. I wish I had one down pat, but am working toward that (and slowly-but-surely finding alternatives to store-bought products). Thanks for a great read!

  4. Thanks for the tip on Everyday Minerals. I’ve tried Zuzu Luxe, Jane Iredale and others, but they are expensive and I don’t totally love them. I’m going to give EDM a try! Just ordered some samples of their semi-matte base and am looking forward to trying them out. Thanks again!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Rarely do I use makeup so maybe that’s why I can get away with using just water to clean my face. Was using all the expensive store bought face cleaners & they all made me break out & usually left my face dry. Have been cleaning my face with just water for 6 months now & my face feels/looks great!!! I am considering using a natural face cream but will finnish the bottle I have now. (just hand cream) Keep up the great work Stephanie!

  6. Thanks for this fabulous post! We are in the midst of switching to organic/natural personal care products so this was perfect timing.

    I only scanned the comments so someone may have already said this, but have you seen the Organic Consumers Association’s Coming Clean campaign? The gist of it is to raise consumer awareness and company responsibility to use organic labeling honestly in personal care products. I share this because I found many of the JASON “organic” products {which are not USDA certified} have a higher hazard rating on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database than the {much cheaper} non-organic products I used in the past. I’ve found it helpful to check the database prior to paying high prices for products that may or may not be better than the conventional ones.

    Here is the link to the Skin Deep Database:

    And here is the one to the Organic Consumers Association “Sham-poo” Information:

    Keep up the great work! I love your site!

  7. To remain beautiful, you have to spend more time on making all your list of beauty than your work to do. It can be whole day to spend time on your face and body. Looking at the mirror, deciding on what is the best style that you can apply in your face. Don’t forget your hair because it can ruin your schedule ever.

  8. Definitely your taking the right path with your hair routine. It doesn’t only need to be frugal but needs a total delicate touch. Thanks for taking time to share your frugal tips that will make us save a lot and experience an appropriate budgeting for the whole month.

  9. …and do you smell like coconut all day? :)

  10. I started using the OCM a few months ago and LOVE it but find that if I wash in the evening but shower in the morning, the water dries out my skin. Was wondering what face lotion you recommend and thankful to read it here! Quick question, though, and it might sound silly, but do you just scoop the coconut oil out of the jar you use in the kitchen and just slather it on like lotion? Any other steps involved? Almost seems too simple! :) Thanks, Stephanie!

  11. My dentist told me that I could not use regular commercial toothpastes, because they made my gums bleed. Doing a little research I came across Tom’s of Maine, and their products are simply wonderful. The Whole Care (with flouride) is my personal favorite. The rest of my routine (I’m a guy) if you can call it that, is pretty simple:

    For face washing: Nutribiotic Non-Soap Skin Cleanser
    For shaving: Professional Formula Shaving Gel from the Real Shaving Company. Which unfortunately, isn’t natural. But, its gives a close shave.
    For hair: Head and Shoulders (I need to research a more natural alternative)
    To condition the scalp: Kemi Organics Oyl All Natural Hair Oil.

  12. Other than my friend’s organic perfume, I have only 3 other comments to contribute:

    1. Natural deoderant – that works!
    I personally like the Lavender & White Tea.

    2. Natural shampoo – have yet to find one that I like, unfortunately. ONESTA is expensive, and sadly does not work for my hair even though the stylist recommended it. Others love it!

    3. Natural cleaner – vinegar. I buy vinegar at the supermarket, then put it in a spray bottle and use it daily on my Kitchen counters. It freshens, cuts through grease, has natural anti-bacterial properties and apparently helps keep ants away (I certainly haven’t noticed any in our kitchen)! I live in Toronto, Canada in a house built in 1927 that is not sealed up tight like newer homes.

    Thank you for all the great tips here.

  13. I just wanted to mention that anyone who is using an electric toothbrush, such as Sonicare, should be very careful about using a toothpaste with baking soda or anything else abrasive in it. Please read your user manual. I know for my brand of toothbrush baking soda is definitely not to be used.

  14. I don’t know if anyone has already mentioned this but I found the electric razor that you were talking about. The brand is Clio and it can be found at Walgreens for $16.99 for the rechargeable one and $7.99 for the battery-powered one. I haven’t tried either of them but I plan on it based on your review! I’ve pasted a link to the Walgreens website:

  15. These are all good tips. I still use a lot of store-bought products but want to learn how to make my own soap and build on that. I did once make my own scrub. It was super simple and worked like a charm!

    Basically, mix equal parts of (brown) sugar with olive oil. Add a splash of scented essential oil for scent (optional). And… scrub! The good thing about this recipe is that you can make a tiny amount as needed per time since these are easy and quick household ingredients. White sugar makes a courser scrub which might be suitable for the body. Brown sugar is finer and hence better for the face. And the olive oil? Leaves your skin silky smooth… the Romans used it for skin conditioning as well, after all! :)

    Great blog, by the way. I hope to learn more about all this good old, DIY and sustainable stuff!

    This Good Life

  16. I’m having a tough time switching to natural personal care products. I tried the oil cleansing method with olive oil and jojoba oil and w/ a higher ration of castor oil and I seem to break out everytime I use it (I’m 32 and would like to stop having acne issues!). And I have thick, fairly coarse, wavy hair and could not handle the no poo method. It was very drying to my hair. I stuck it out for several months and I didn’t hardly have any issues w/ grease. My stylist about flipped when I told her what I was doing–she said it was very damaging to my hair. So now I use suave conditioner and “shampoo” with that. I do like my homemade DO well enough. And have not yet made the leap for toothpaste unless I can find a deal on Tom’s. Sigh. I do like the coconut oil on my face and I like that my daughter (2 yrs) can put it on too–just like Mommy. :)

    • I also have not yet found a good face washing method. I have very oily skin that is very break-out prone. The oil face washing method was horrible- it made break outs way worse. Plain water does nothing. I tried honey, and it was moderately ok. I’m using castille soap right now. It takes me about a month of using it to really test how it does, but not looking stellar.

      Any other suggestions??

      • @Meggan,
        Yes! Try washing your face with plain yogurt. I’ve been using yogurt for about a month now, and discovered it to be a mild, anti-inflamatory, gently-exfoliating, lightly-moisturizing solution for my (sometimes oily) skin. I formerly used olive oil, but I prefer the consistency of yogurt. If yogurt works for you initially, you could also try adding a little honey, or leaving it on for an extended period of time (10-20 minutes) before washing it off, to amp up exfoliation and moisturization.

  17. LOVED this (and all the comments!). I actually switched over most of our personal care and home-care products before making some of the bigger changes with our diets … it just seemed easier. I wanted to add a note about the glycerin in toothpastes — quite accidentally I have discovered that there does seem to be some credibility to the theory that the glycerin blocks our saliva from healing our teeth naturally. My hubby’s schedule switched drastically and suddenly he was in bed and lights out before I was ready so I was fumbling around in the bathroom night after night trying to brush my teeth in the dark and finally I just gave up trying to use toothpaste every night and just started brushing very thoroughly with water. In a very short period of time I have healed four different teeth that have had deep fissures at the gum line where I had brushed too aggressively years ago. (The dentist always wanted to do flouride treatments and told me there was nothing else to do to heal these spots — two of them were practically to the nerve.) I have the coconut oil/baking soda mixture for mornings and outings when I want my breath to be fresh but I make it a point to just brush with water at night so the saliva has a chance to do it’s work all night long. Thanks for all the great tips!

  18. Jennine G-L says:

    I use Oyin Handmade funk butter for my deodorant.
    I love it and it lasts a while. Just a thought if you wanted to try it. You can usually find coupons around their website.

  19. Seriously, I would never think of ANY of this if it wasn’t for you! Thanks for broadening my horizons!

  20. I just started making my own deoderant, it is similar to the one you posted, except I add: tea tree oil for antibacterial properties and Lavendar oil for aroma and skin softening properties, I must say I do love it, I keep it in the fridge so it stays solid and I just put it in an old deoderant container.

  21. I recently started making organic soaps with essential oils and organic additives. I have also started selling them! I had to I use to buy a soap for my adult acne face for $6 a bar. It went up to $8 + shipping. We use to use Dr. Bronner’s. We use Tom’s Of Maine flouride free toothpaste. Shampoo…well I do color my hair and I use Davines which is a bit better. Deo. I go without on most days but Sunday’s I use some just for protection ;) Lotion I use Whole Foods brand fragrance free. I also like coconut oil when I remember. I will have to try it around the eyes for sure.

  22. I love hard lotion! So awesome. But where is your sunblock? You have to put something with SPF on your face EVERYDAY.


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