Natural Beauty

A few months ago, I was scouring the aisles of Trader Joe’s looking for an elusive Ritter Sport flavor when I ran into one of my friends who was clutching a jar of coconut oil. She mentioned that she had started using it as a leave in conditioning treatment, and since my friend has fabulous hair, I had to get myself a jar as well.

Back home, I started Googling all the various ways to use coconut oil, and from there went down a rabbit hole of reading about all kinds of highly extolled items found at your local grocery store. Over these last few months my husband has had to put up with a rotating array of all sorts of items on our kitchen and bathroom countertops. Even though I’ve had some spectacular flukes, I’m still a huge convert to these natural beauty and skincare products.  A lot of them performed as well if not better than their way more expensive counterparts. Here are some of my favorites.

Natural goodies

Cornstarch. Cornstarch has a variety of uses, and a lot of people use it as a face powder to keep shine away. In fact, my own favorite Bare Mineral’s powder has cornstarch as it’s first ingredient (why did I pay $20 for it again)? Anyway, I don’t use it for powder but rather as a version of dry shampoo. I keep it in a little sifter jar and will shake a bit out into my hair part and into my roots, and use my fingers to rub it in. Be careful not to use too much! I then brush out my hair and the results are as good as with any dry shampoo I’ve used. If you have dark hair though try not to use too much, it’ll show up after a while.

Coconut oil. The product that started my whole obsession! I LOVE coconuts and so was thrilled to find a variety of applications for coconut oil. There’s a whole slew of ways people use it (a great list here). I use it for cooking, as a moisturizer for my face (only in very dry areas) and body, and also as a overnight leave in conditioner. I have a few smaller jars that I put it in around the house, to keep things hygienic.

I’d highly recommend getting a virgin, cold pressed organic coconut oil. Trader Joe’s sells a fabulous version for $5.99. Nature’s Way is also a very popular choice and you can find it online or at Whole Foods.

Vitamin E oil. I use this oil largely for removing my eye makeup – I just pour some out onto a cotton bud and it removes everything remaining after I wash my face. As a bonus, Vitamin E is great for your eyes and it provides a base level of moisturizer at the same time! I’ve also used this in the shower mixed with my conditioner for my hair, and as a moisturizer for my body. Again I buy mine at Trader Joe’s for a very reasonable price (I think around $4-5), you can also find an organic version online.

Vegetable glycerine. I use vegetable glycerine as part of a moisturizing routine for my face and body, especially in the winter. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, sometimes a few drops of beauty oil aren’t always enough to provide long lasting moisture. In those cases, I put just a drop of vegetable glycerine in my hand, and mix with either oils (when I want a ton of moisture) or a bit of water, and apply on my face. I also will mix it with my Vitamin E oil as a moisturizer for my body Totally works and lasts all day. I also like knowing that vegetable glycerine is so natural and “clean” that you can even eat it, use it in cooking, etc. Be careful to only start with a small drop when you start using it – any more and your face may feel a little “sticky”, it takes a while to absorb fully.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. This is hands down my favorite mask ever and one that I always have around. I try and use this once a week, and I can definitely feel a difference in my face and pores when I’ve let more than a few weeks go by. It’s the best for cleaning out your pores and overall making your face feel clean, with impurities drawn out. Yes, it can feel a bit uncomfortable and for an hour you basically can’t speak and will look like the swamp monster. However, it works amazingly well and costs about $6-8 for many uses. I like to mix it with apple cider vinegar for the best results versus water.


What are some of your favorite “natural” beauty products?


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  • Prêt à Porter P
    August 27, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I’m skeptical about using oils, because Bio Oil made my face break out, and I can’t be bothered to apply it on my body. Can’t say I use any of these natural things, but I did recently buy a yerba tampico brush ($9.99 at Whole Foods). I’ve read good things about dry skin brushing, so I’ll see…

  • Dzung
    August 27, 2013 at 8:45 am

    wow, the cornstarch is a great idea! gotta try that one. i’ve been using the aztec clay as well as notice a huge difference after – my skin is baby soft! now if only there is a way to make natural deodorant! 🙂

  • Tabitha
    August 27, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Ooh was it the yoghurt one? That’s my favourite.

    • Katherine
      August 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Not that day but I love the yogurt !

  • Adele
    August 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I’ve jumped on the hair oil bandwagon!
    Happy Tuesday Katherine xoxo

  • Robin
    August 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

    This was a great post, but I am more concerned with what flavor Ritter Sport you were looking for. I grab the mixed berry yogurt anytime I see it. That is my white whale… it must be seasonal.

    • Katherine
      August 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Wow I’ve never even seen this flavor!! I love the yogurt, cornflakes, praline and more. That day I was looking for the marzipan, I’ve seen it before and thought it was at TJ but it wasn’t at my store. I actually have found our local Target to have a decent selection.

      • Anonymous
        August 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        That is my second fave! 🙂

      • Ella Pretty Blog
        August 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm

        Cornflake Ritter Sports are my fave!!!

        • Sue
          August 29, 2013 at 10:45 am

          At one time at Jack’s 99 Center chain stores throughout NY they had ALL the flavors for $1.99 each, the same size as the ones sold in Target. I love the mixed berry yogurt, the light blue Alpine milk chocolate and the cornflakes. I prefer the tiny bite sized packets that I’ve only seen in Europe.

          • Katherine
            September 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm

            Oh what a deal!! I’m in Europe now and am going to go hunting for some of these little packs, perfect to stick in a bag!

  • christine brightside
    August 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

    well my mum has beautiful skin and great hair – she uses a coconut oil as leave in to her hair, and even eats coconut oil/butter or whatever it is (in a jar like peanut butter but white and coconut)… my issue is that I really HATE coconut and the smell of it, so I cannot even try since I can’t stand it… 🙁

    • Katherine
      August 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      I’ve heard about people eating a teaspoon a day too – I haven’t graduated to that level yet though have heard great things! You know the coconut oil doesn’t really smell too strongly…at least to me!

  • Kayli Schattner
    August 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I’ve been all about learning about natural beauty products lately and really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the items featured in this post. I cannot wait to try the healing mask (my pores are getting huge!) and the coconut oil, which I’ve heard nothing but great things about. When you use the coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner, do you put your hair in a shower-cap so that it doesn’t get all over or just a loose ponytail?

    • Katherine
      August 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      I do a loose ponytail on the top of my head AND the showercap because I’m paranoid. However these days I alternate it with my Fekkai glossing cream as a very light conditioner on the ends – I just take a TEENY dab (if I do more my hair will look greasy) and rub on the ends while my hair is wet, works very similarly to the Fekkai but much cheaper. The Fekkai is a bit easier to use though, doesn’t get greasy so fast.

  • Katherine
    August 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Katherine – Just a quick question on where you purchase your aztec mask from? Are they in drugstores?

    • Alison
      August 28, 2013 at 6:34 am

      You can get it at Whole Foods. The jar pictured above it $6-$7.

      • Katherine
        August 28, 2013 at 7:18 am

        Yup – thanks Alison!

  • Ella Pretty Blog
    August 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I’m going to get some Vit E oil for eye-makeup removal – love that it works AND is good for the eye area! Also curious about the mask!

    My best natural beauty tip is baking soda as an exfoliatior. Mix a small amount with water or a gentle cleanser (like cetaphil) and use it to exfoliate your face – it’s SO effective…and supposedly better for your skin than physical exfoliators like apricot kernals etc.

    I’ve also had spectacular fails with natural beauty products too…I’ve tried the Oil Cleansing Method, Coconut Oil as a moisturizer (both broke me out!) and oil-pulling (weird and no noticeable results).

    I have a couple of great books about natural products, I’m inspired to pull them out and give some new products a try!

    • Katherine
      August 28, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Yes oil cleansing hasn’t worked out for me either..please let me know if you find a good method/brand that works for you! 🙂

      • Ella Pretty Blog
        August 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

        I did find an amazing brand – it’s just not with a “pure oil” from the grocery store. But it doesn’t break me out – and has actually helped my blemishes clear up (because oil is meant to draw out sebum plugs and prevent breakouts – ironic yet true!)

        Here’s the product I’ve been loving – I did a post about it on my blog a while back – it’s main ingredient is Safflower Seed Oil:

        • Ella Pretty Blog
          August 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

          Ugh – I wrote it’s instead of its….classic type pet peeve !

  • Ammu
    August 28, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Indian women have been using coconut oil forever as a conditioner and leave-in treatment for hair. I use it from time to time, though the smell makes it slightly less appealing to me! The best hair oil I have ever come across is ayurvedic bhringaraj oil, which is so restorative, it’s amazing.

    • Katherine
      August 28, 2013 at 8:19 am

      I would love to try this oil! Looking it up next time!

      • gracious ann
        April 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

        and I have been using the ayurvedic – neelabringadi oil – get the original for best results – thick hair .

  • Alison
    August 28, 2013 at 6:35 am


    I love the clay mask too. Is it bad to wash the clay down the drain? I’m scared of clogging it over long-term use. Any suggestions?

    • Katherine
      August 28, 2013 at 7:20 am

      I use it over my kitchen sink (after I’ve done the dishes) and then run the disposal right after – it’s seemed to work okay so far, I can see how it might clog up a bathroom/shower sink (though it’s mighty tempting just to hop in the shower once the mask has dried!)

  • aunty_drew
    August 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

    vinegar – not on body but as a cleaning agent. I use it as a degreaser. Just love it. I used to lather up on dishwashing detergent and chemicals just to get grease off glass tables and kitchen tiles. Now I use vinegar with microfiber clothes ( and the grease comes off easily. Plus it sanitises everything.

    • Katherine
      August 28, 2013 at 7:20 am

      I’ve heard great things about using vinegar for all cleaning, I use it for drain clearing with baking soda and must go research other ways to use! Thank you!

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    August 28, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I started on a journey to use mostly natural products 2 years ago. I’ve been using coconut oil and olive oil more as a body lotion on myself and my daughter. Manuka honey is great on burns and wounds. Rosehip oil for anti aging etc etc. I’ve switched toothpaste, shampoo etc as well. It’s crazy how much we fork out for these so called incredible lotions and potions when natural products often work so much better.

  • Glenda
    August 28, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Because of allergies I began eating paleo, all organic food, using all organic cleaning & beauty products (many easily homemade), & organic makeup: Vapour! My biggest discovery of all: organic food tastes better, & organic products work better!–this was a Huge surprise to me, because I thought you couldn’t taste the difference in food (wrong!) & conventional products were cheaper & better (wrong!). Vapour is the best cosmetics I’ve ever used, does not sink into lines & lasts all day. Happy me! I’ve also started using Acquarella nail system, and it, too, is superior to conventional nail products.

    Unrefined organic coconut oil is best. I’ve even started mixing in a tiny tub: coconut oil & a few drops of essential oil to use as perfume, and it lasts longer than conventional perfumes. I thought this new-to-me organic world would be a struggle, and I’m delighted to discover that it’s easy, healthful, and overall more enjoyable!

  • irugnotmis
    August 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

    always love these kind of posts from you! for the mask, how much vinegar do you put in? is it just vinegar + clay powder or vinegar + water + clay powder?

    • Katherine
      August 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

      50% apple cider vinegar, 50% clay powder, no water! I find tha tworks best!

  • UrbanJungleFashion
    September 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Great article! I gave been using coconut oil for years… but I have NEVER cooked with it. I used it for my hair and body because it make a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference. I also use Shea butter on my hair as well. I’m also going to start using ginger root. My BF and I have also started cooking more organically (mainly b/c I purchase the food and he cooks it) so have seen a major improvement in my energy levels as well.

    • Katherine
      September 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      I don’t eat organic food nearly as much as I should, I really have to start..

  • elizabeth
    September 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Katherine, where do you get your sifter jars for your cornstarch?

    • Katherine
      September 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

      I’ve seen them at beauty stores like Sally’s, etc – however I actually just used one of my old Clinique sifters and dumped out the expired product!