Seven Ways to Save Money With Natural Products
We’ve heard it time and again, invoked both as a defense and a deterrent: Clean personal care products are just too expensive. And it’s true that many (though not all) of the items we most adore are on the pricier side. But before getting into some practical advice on how to save as you green your grooming, let’s consider why these goodies are so costly in the first place.
Well, just think about organic food—small-scale manufacturing along with higher-quality ingredients is always going to be more expensive. On the plus side, with natural and clean body-care products, you're often getting more of the good-for-you ingredients, without all the cheap chemical fillers. So when you do the math, you’re actually getting more product per penny.
And yet, it’s still hard to get your head around an $18 dollar deodorant, we know. (Side note: It’s worth it.) Click "Next" above for sensible budgeting tips that will help you eliminate unnecessary expenses, so you can indulge when it counts.
This is a series inspired by No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics, a book by GOOD's features editor Siobhan O'Connor and her co-author Alexandra Spunt.
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Illustrations by Brianna Harden
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We’re serious. Our general overuse of harsh shampoos and industrial-strength soaps causes more harm than good. If you wash your hair a day or two less a week—and lather your dirty bits on the regular (but not your entire body)—your products will last that much longer. It adds up, and your body will thank you. Shampoos that strip out all your natural oils make additional conditioner and leave-ins necessary to tame your now-broken hair. Ditto for body soaps that dry out your skin and leave you reaching for the lotion.
We’ve covered this in the past but it’s worth reiterating: Half the products cluttering your bathroom were invented by marketing people out to empty your pockets. Your so-called soothing aftershave? It’s filled with harsh and irritating ingredients; try a little aloe instead. How about your fancy, fragrance-filled body wash? It doesn’t do a thing that a nice (and cheap) clean bar soap can’t, except maybe disrupt your hormones.
Hair dyes along with nail polishes and removers are among some of the most toxic products out there. You know what else salons visits are? Expensive. Even if you can’t live without your highlights, work with your hairdresser to minimize how often you get them. DIY your manicure, or get a buff when you do: You'll expose yourself to fewer chemicals and it will last three times as long as polish. Do a quick count on how much you spend at the salon each year—now half it. There’s your clean beauty budget.
You can scrunch up your nose at our love of oils, but if you’re looking to save money, we suggest organic virgin coconut oil as your multitasker—if you don’t like the smell, go for jojoba. You can apply it to your damp body post-shower (wait 10 minutes before dressing), massage your feet with it, shave, and take off your mascara with it. A big jar will last you months, and thanks to its antibacterial properties, won’t go bad. Then—when you’re ready to have some real fun—splurge on some pure argan oil for your face, because that’s where the expensive stuff belongs.
The same logic applies to body scrubs. Yes, they can be lovely and luxurious—and companies are happy to charge an arm and a leg for them—but they’re not worth the price. Here’s why: You already have those ingredients in your pantry. It’s more economical (and less gross) to make them as you go. Try mixing olive oil, vanilla extract and brown sugar or sea salt (or both). You’ll get a yummy scrub for the price of a few kitchen staples.
If you buy products that you really love, you will stop buying multiples of everything. Those seven conditioners in your shower may be cheap individually, but they add up. How much money have you spent on products you never ended up using? See that’s the big trick of this big business: Each new product comes with a new promise that rarely delivers. While a good clean cosmetic will generally do what it says, without hidden dangers.
Sure, one or two good brushes come in handy when covering a pimple, or applying some exacting eye shadow. But if you use clean makeup, your fingers, thanks to their warmth and dexterity, will generally be your best tools. They’re perfect for applying clean lip and cheek products like the ones by RMS Beauty or W3LL People—which are also cost cutters, because you can use them just about anywhere. Can't say the same for your pharmacy-bought lipstick, now can you?