An Eco-Product Junkie’s Favorite “Beauty” Weapons

by Erina Davidson

I confess –  I’ve been a huge product junkie ever since I could bike to Rite Aid and drool at the rows of eyeshadows and press-on nails. At the ripe age of 12, I was introduced to Sephora and subsequently spent all of my allowance buying neon eyeliners and beauty tools a middle schooler had absolutely no uses for. 

Ten years later, I wish I could go back in time and slap little Erina in the face with a piggy bank. But when I do need to pick up a few things, I like to research before I pull out my bills. At the end of the day, it’s the cheap and eco-friendly goods that grace my bathroom cabinets. With these vegan, cruelty-free babies, there’s no such thing as “mystery ingredient”. All of the products below are available at your local heath food store. (Some of the products are available for cheaper on Amazon.)

*Desert Essence Jojoba Oil ($8~$9 for 4 oz.)
Oil as a moisturizer? At first, I sprouted pimples just thinking about it. But this oil won’t clog your pores. In fact, its makeup is very similar to your skin’s natural oil. After a shower, massage a couple drops (that’s all you need) into your face. I always come back to jojoba oil – it makes my skin super soft and keeps bumps at bay. It might seem pricey, but jojoba oil has a long shelf life and with sparing use it’ll last you a while.

*Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Nutiva brand is popular, but Whole Foods brand is cheaper)
You can cook with it, too, but I prefer to use it as a hair treatment. It also makes a great body moisturizer, but don’t use too much or you’ll leave the whole house slick. (I’ve also heard that coconut oil allegedly relieves the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.) Be sure to get pure, cold-pressed coconut oil,  since refined coconut oil is highly comedogenic. Massage about a teaspoon of the oil into your hair. Leave it in for as long as desired; I usually braid my hair and sleep with it in. Rinse and shampoo well. If you’re dandruff-prone, coconut oil may become your new best friend.

*Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar ($3.29 for 16 oz.)
Good for you, inside and out! I used to drink a teaspoon of this every morning with OJ, until I found out that the acidity of the combo is killer on your teeth. (It’s better with water and a little bit of honey.) Apple Cider Vinegar makes a fantastic toner, if you’re willing to add that to your regimen. It can be too strong on its own, so transfer a little into an empty container and dilute with water. (About half and half for normal skin; add more water for sensitive skin.) The smell takes getting used to, but I love it.

*Thayers Rose Witch Hazel (About $10, available for cheaper on Amazon)
I’ve long since eliminated toners from my shopping list, but I used to really love this blend of Witch Hazel. It removes everything your cleanser left behind, without reminding you of your Sea Breeze years. (Plus, that shit stung and smelled like mouthwash.) Really refreshing after a day in the sun. If Rose isn’t your thing, Thayers has a wide variety of witch hazel – Lemon, Lavender, Peach, Cucumber, and Original – to choose from.

*Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay (About $7~$8 for 1 lb. tub)
I don’t know what it is about slopping muddy goop on my face and sitting around, but it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m particularly stressed out. This mask cuts down the oil on my face and leaves it soft and smooth. It’s a fantastic spot treatment, too. I mix it with just the right amount of apple cider vinegar to create a thick, spreadable paste, and leave it on my face for about 10 minutes. Toting the slogan “World’s Most Powerful Facial,” the mask certainly makes its presence known by tightening up as it dries on your face. Rinse when you feel just the right amount of tightness. 

*JASON Aloe Vera 98% Moisturizing Gel ($4.75 for 4 oz.)
This is my go-to for sunburns, bug bites, and other skin inflammations. It’s also a lighter summer alternative to jojoba oil. I’ve also used it as hair gel to tame my flyaways. Ideally, I’d like to grow my own aloe plant, but until then this tube-o’-goodness will do.

And last but not least, I use diluted Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castille Soap ($6.39 for 8 oz.) as a cleanser. But you’ve probably heard and seen enough about Dr. Bronner’s.

Do you currently use any of the items above?  Do you have suggestions on how to get the most out these and other versatile, eco-friendly products?


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