Low Cost Ideas
for Healthy Personal Care

There are many items in the home that can be used for beauty and grooming products.


  • Put small pieces of soap into a white sock. Tie the end. Use as a washcloth.

  • Add a few drops of baby oil under running water. This will soften dry skin.

  • A squirt of dishwashing liquid under running water makes a bubbly bath. Add four drops of food coloring. The kids will love it.


  • Chapped lips: Rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly on lips. Then rub in a few drops of cold water. Repeat. Lips will soon feel soft and smooth again.

  • Dead skin: Rub salad dressing (not mayonnaise) into skin. Let dry for a few minutes. Start massaging with fingertips while skin is still moist. Rub vigorously. Dead skin will roll right off. Use this treatment for feet, elbows, face, and knees. Bathe as usual.

  • To dry up a blemish: Dab with lemon juice several times during the day. Fresh or bottled juice will work.

  • A cheap facial: Make of paste of cornmeal and water. Apply to face. Let dry until it feels tight. Rub off with fingertips, using lots of gentle back and forth motion. Removes dry skin and black heads. Rinse with cool water.

  • Eye Cream: Apply castor oil (odorless type) around eyes each night.

  • Deodorant:

    1. Paste deodorant: Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to clean armpits.

    2. Spray deodorant: Mix 2 tablespoons alum with 2 cups water. Pour into an empty spray bottle. Buy alum at a large grocery or hardware store.

    3. Cream deodorant: Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda, 2 tablespoons of petroleum jelly and 2 tablespoons talcum powder or baby powder. Heat in a double boiler or over very low heat, stirring until smooth cream forms. Keep in a small jar with a tight lid.

  • Tooth powder: Mix equal amounts of baking soda and salt. Apply to a wet, soft bristle brush. Rinse. Doesn't taste good, but it cleans.

  • Moisturizer: Wash face thoroughly. Rub a tiny amount of petroleum jelly into damp skin. Splash with cool water. Rub gently. Repeat, spreading evenly until skin no longer feels greasy.

Hair Care

  • Shampoo: Use dishwashing liquid. Rinse thoroughly. Final rinse: Mix 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with 2 cups water. Removes soapy film, leaves hair shiny.

  • Hot Oil Treatment: Pour 2 tablespoons cooking oil into a cup. Warm in bowl of hot tap water. Part hair, apply oil to scalp, massage, shampoo.

  • Conditioner: Mayonnaise conditions dry hair. Apply 1/2 cup mayonnaise to dry, unwashed hair. Cover with a plastic bag. Wait 15 minutes. Rinse. Then shampoo thoroughly.

  • Setting Lotion:

    1. Use a teaspoon of gelatin dissolved in a cup of warm water. Cool.

    2. Use Jello for an extra firm set. That's right, fully prepared and ready to eat Jello. Also use for sculpting hair.

Prepared by Drusilla Banks, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension.

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