melbourne vegan

Jaclyn McCosker

Tried & Tested Vegan Beauty Products From Your Pantry

Tried & Tested Vegan Beauty Products From Your Pantry

You've probably heard the adage, "If you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin." Yet while we live in a society that believes in the value of skin absorbed products like Voltaren gel and Nicotine patches, many inexplicably remain sceptical that their beauty products are also being absorbed by their skin. The reality is, our skin is our largest organ. And this organ absorbs about 60% of the products that come into contact with it. Our skin is not impenetrable, and what we slather over our body will end up in our bloodstream.

This means we should take our skincare seriously, and quit using overpriced, toxic, plastic-packaged bullshit sold to us to the detriment of our health but the benefit of the beauty industry. Commercial products containing plastic microbeads, and synthetic chemicals that are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors put us all at risk. (Read more here.

Yet we don't have to keep buying what they're selling. Over several decades we have been convinced that we need to buy expensive cosmetics, but the reality is that medicine and beauty once started from plants. Universally, all cultures celebrate the natural world for the abundance of plants we can use for our health and beauty. All big companies do is replicate the qualities of plants in nature.

Why not cut out the middleman and embrace the full benefit of those plants directly by utilising vegan food products we already buy? Using single ingredients in our beauty regime cuts out much of the carbon footprint, animal testing, animal-derived ingredients, and plastic packaging used in traditional mass-produced products.

Below are six of the natural, all vegan foods I do or have personally used on my body in the place of wasteful and expensive bathroom products.

Coconut Oil
Useful as a makeup remover, face wash, hair treatment, body moisturiser and as an ingredient in deodorant and toothpaste. I've personally used it for all these purposes, and especially tout the benefits on using coconut oil in your 'pits thanks to its antibacterial properties! Currently, I use it as deodorant, body moisturiser and I put a bit in my hands then run it over the ends of my hair to combat the Central Queensland humidity. If my hair is in deep stress I'll coat it in coconut oil for an overnight mask. In India, I used it as insect repellant which was the only thing that saved me when the tropical-strength Doctor recommended formula failed me. (Coconut oil is too thick for them to reach you!)

My worst kept secret. Coffee is added in a lot of cellulite, anti-ageing or under eye products. Leftover coffee grinds are the best damn body and face exfoliant in existence. The combination of its rough texture and the caffeine can smooth skin, reduce cellulite (science!) and tighten everything up. 

Olive Oil
Useful as a makeup remover, moisturiser and for stretch marks. Olive oil is a popular zero-waste hack as you can buy it in reusable glass bottles. Rich in Vitamin E, olive oil has been a beauty staple since Ancient Egypt for use on hair, skin and nails. I primarily use olive oil on stretch marks but it makes a pretty dope eye makeup remover or face moisturiser when I'm particularly dry (lips, too!).

Brown or raw sugar makes another amazing exfoliant and is a key ingredient in many homemade beauty products. Mix with coconut or olive oil for a simple but moisturising body and face scrub.

Bicarb soda
Useful for teeth cleaning, face cleansing and as a dry shampoo. Bicarb is the main ingredient in my DIY toothpaste (see here) and I've also used it to stretch out the time between washing my hair and as a facial scrub. It's also used by others in the place of shampoo and as a deodorant.

Apple cider vinegar
Great as a face toner and for spot treating any skin conditions from pimples to rashes due to its dual antibacterial and antifungal properties. I predominantly use it on problematic skin patches to clear something up, but others also use it in the place of shampoo and it can be used as a daily toner if diluted with water.

These are just six of the options I have personally used from my own kitchen and have gotten results from, but this list is far from exhaustive. What beauty products do you share with the pantry?

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