The 8 Best Pantry Ingredients for DIY Skincare

Budget Fashionista

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Even the rich and famous turn to the DIY skincare made from kitchen pantry ingredients when their skin needs a little extra love. It's true! Jessica Biel reportedly uses smashed avocados as a facial mask and Katy Perry uses a mixture of egg whites and almond oil to prevent wrinkles.

Your pantry, too, may already have the ingredients you need to treat your most troublesome skin problems, from fine lines to hyperpigmentation to dryness. Sadly, these raw ingredients sometimes feel more effective than formulations I've spent good money on. Plus, there's something very rewarding about making your own skincare treatments from stuff you already have on hand. As indulgent as it might seem to smear avocado all over your face, it's still economical. That avocado maybe cost you $1 or $2 -- and you don't even need a whole one for a luxurious facial treatment. Heck, make yourself a sandwich first and then scoop out what's left to make your DIY mask. (Incidentally, Victoria Beckham swears by eating three or four avocados daily for youthful skin. So eating an avocado sandwich and applying the leftovers to your face improves your skin problem two ways).

Here's a look at the eight best pantry ingredients for making DIY skincare treatments, along with how to use them.

1. Avocado

Since we're talking about avocados…the fleshy green fruit is a powerhouse of vitamins C and E, lutein, oleic acid, and essential fatty acids. It moisturizes, soothes, protects, heals, and has antioxidant properties. And that's not just marketing speak from the Avocado Council (I don't know if there is such an organization, but you know what I mean).

Research shows that avocado oil can reduce the number of inflammatory cells around a wound and also increase collagen synthesis. And to think, we've been buying Neosporin all these years, when a dab of avocado may be an equally effective treatment.

You, like Jessica Biel, are probably more interested in avocado's anti-aging properties than its wound-healing powers. Fair enough. Avocados' moisturizing properties can soften fine lines and wrinkles. It may also have the power to improve circulation and lighten dark spots. And, as mentioned, it promotes collagen synthesis which can plump and firm your skin's appearance.

Avocado is also very easy to use as a DIY facial mask. Make your sandwich with the lighter green flesh in the center of the fruit. You're going to use darkest green parts near the avocado's skin on your face, since these have the highest concentration of vitamins and nutrients. Scoop out that dark green stuff and apply it to your clean face. If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, focus on the areas under your eyes only, since avocado oil can clog your pores. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

2. Raw organic honey

Like avocado, honey delivers multiple benefits to skin. It kills some bacteria, prevents moisture loss, fights against free radicals, and promotes wound healing. Honey is also an effective treatment for rosacea, which causes redness on the face. According to Webmd, you can minimize your rosacea redness by applying a mixture of 90% medical-grade kanuka honey with glycerine twice a day, 60 minutes at a time, for eight weeks.

Even if you don't have rosacea, a honey mask will give your skin a big moisture boost, normalize its pH balance, and, possibly, even out your skin tone. You can apply it directly to your face or dilute it slightly with other powerful pantry ingredients like lemon or olive oil. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse gently with warm water.

3. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has alpha hydroxy acid along with acetic acid. If you've spent any time in the skincare aisle of any drugstore, you might recognize alpha hydroxy acid or AHA as a popular exfoliant. It can slough away dead skin cells, deep clean pores, restore your skin's pH levels, and absorb excess oils. Generally, AHA-based products promise to give your skin that fresh, glowy look that we older ladies crave.

Sadly, at this moment, I have an AHA product in my bathroom and unfiltered apple cider vinegar in my pantry. Just goes to show you that even a Budget Fashionista can overlook money-saving opportunities by accident.

You can use apple cider vinegar as a toner, between cleansing and moisturizing. It's pretty harsh straight up, so dilute it first. Start with a 2:1 ratio of filtered water and apple cider vinegar. If your skin responds all right to that, move to a 1:1 ratio. Apply by gently wiping over your face with a cotton ball.

4. Coffee grounds

Coffee helps your skin in three ways. It's an antioxidant that can reduce the signs of premature aging and it stimulates blood flow which can help with fatigue-induced puffiness. Ground coffee is also an exfoliant that will remove dead skin cells and other build-up.

Some sources say a DIY coffee scrub works against acne, but I'd proceed with caution. The texture of coffee can be harsh on our skin. If your coffee scrub creates tiny tears in your skin, you may worsen your acne.

You can safely use a coffee scrub on your body to exfoliate and refresh dry, dull areas. It may help with the appearance of cellulite, too. To use, mix two parts coffee grounds with one part granulated sugar. Add in some olive oil to create a paste. Draw yourself a bath and slough away. I have used this on my face without issue but be sure to test a small patch first and smooth very gently over your skin. You can scrub coffee over your feet and elbows, but never scrub it on your face.

5. Lemon

Lemons are rich in vitamin C, another wonder ingredient you'll find in the skincare aisle. Vitamin C is known for its brightening, lightening, and rejuvenating properties. Unfortunately, it's also very unstable, which is why you may have experienced inconsistent results from store-bought vitamin C serums. You won't have that problem if you squeeze your own lemon juice and immediately mix it up into a DIY lightening cream.

Lemon juice can be harsh, so don't apply it full-strength. Instead, add a drop or two to your cleanser before you wash. Or, mix it with olive oil and plain yogurt to make a brightening mask.

6. Plain yogurt

Yogurt is rich in lactic acid, which is one of the gentler AHAs, and zinc, which has healing properties. Regular application of a yogurt-based facial mask can smooth dry skin, soften wrinkles and fine lines, even skin tone, and promote healing of acne blemishes. It'll even calm a sunburn.

You can mix yogurt with most of the pantry ingredients on this list (except coffee) to make a soothing, anti-aging mask. Try adding a teaspoon of lemon if you're fighting hyperpigmentation. Or combine your full-fat yogurt with olive oil for a big dose of moisture. Smooth your concoction over your face and let it dry for 15 minutes. Rinse gently with warm water.

7. Olive oil

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The most interesting thing about olive oil as a DIY skincare ingredient is that it won't clog your pores. So, you can use it to moisturize and repair even oily skin. Olive oil is rich in vitamins A and E, both of which are known to soften skin and combat aging.

As with yogurt, you can mix olive oil with other powerhouse pantry ingredients for an indulgent DIY mask. But you can also use olive oil daily as a makeup remover. Simply apply to a cotton ball and smooth over your face. It'll grab your makeup and leave your skin soft and moisturized.

8. Unrefined coconut oil

Coconut oil moisturizes and calms inflammation. It's rich in fatty acids, which have antimicrobial properties (meaning they can kill bacteria). Some sources say that antimicrobial power makes coconut oil an effective acne treatment, but it can also clog your pores. If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, ease gently into the use of coconut oil on your face -- at least until you know how your skin responds.

If you have dry skin, you can use coconut oil much as you would use olive oil, as a makeup remover or moisturizer. But those aren't the only uses of this DIY skincare ingredient. Try smoothing a bit over your hair after a blow dry to tame frizzies. Or take the proactive approach and mix a few drops into your shampoo for shine and softness. You can also add a bit of coconut oil to your bath to calm irritated skin. Some fashionistas even swear by swishing coconut oil around in the mouth for improved oral health.

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I'm a fashion blogger and personal finance writer on a mission to spread beauty, laughter, and smarts. I love puns, cheap outfits that look expensive, people who are genuine, horses and dogs (because they're always genuine), and money. You'll mostly hear about budget fashion and beauty from me -- but once I can articulate the answer to everlasting happiness, I'll share that too.

St. Louis, MO
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