The ol' Skinflint Curmudgeon
Cosmetics - Personal Hygiene
Clean it for Less
Kitchen Helper Hints
Cosmetics - Personal Hygiene
Garden and Yard Helpers
Craft it Cheaply
Surviving in Disaster Emergencies
Refashion it - everything old is new again
101 Uses for.....
Holiday Newsletter 2006

Back in the day, families didn't have a different product for every action, and often used products on hand for cosmetics and personal hygiene.  For today's consumer there is a product for everything, it seems, but do we really need that many different products when a few basics can meet the need?

Helpful Hints thanks all those to clever Skinflint $$  saving people out there!
-- Use Bubble Bath to Refill Soap Dispensers.   $$ saver; try buying large containers of bubble bath or shampoo from the dollar store and use these to refill soap dispensers in bathroom, kitchen.
-- Toilet Paper - conserving - Do you have kids who whiz yards of toilet paper roll when they visit the bathroom? Try this trick - squeeze the roll so that the cardboard liner is an oval instead of round, and the brake comes on automatically. Helps a bit anyway! Also hang the roll the "wrong"  way so it comes off the back of the roll and a person (or cat)  can't just hit it and get the tp to unroll onto the floor or the toilet.
-- Fabric Softener - If you put 5 to 10 used fabric softener sheets in a spray bottle and fill it with water, it works as a great anti-static spray for hair and clothes. It also removes wallpaper paste, except in this case use new sheets. Just spray it on the wallpaper, wait a couple of minutes and then scrape it right off.
-- Liquid Fabric Softener makes copycat Wrinkle Releaser or Air Freshner; fill a spray bottle about 1/4th full of inexpensive liquid fabric softener that has a smell you like and add water to rest of the spray bottle.  Use to spray on clothing to remove wrinkles.  Use to spray on furniture, carpet to give a fresh smell.  Recommend test on fabric before spraying.  Also adjust the proportions to suit your needs, could use more or less liquid fabric softener.

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   Body Wash or Body Lotion Converted to Bath Body Scrub

  You wind up with a lotion or body wash you aren't using anymore. Great - make it into a body scrub. Lotions make a rich, moisturizing body scrub while body washes make a cleansing one.

The basic rule is to mix a tablespoon of your exfoliant per cup of lotion or body wash. The exfoliants you might want to try include:

  • Ground walnuts or almonds. If you have a coffee grinder or food processor that can grind these up into tiny little specks, you can do this yourself (stop grinding before it turns into a paste). Otherwise, look for ground walnuts or almonds as a pre-sold food ingredient at grocery or health food stores. This makes for a fairly intense scrub which may be rough on some sensitive skin people, but is awesome on rough and dry skin.
  • Ground oatmeal. Probably the best choice for sensitive skin. Oatmeal makes for a rather fine scrub - still very effective, but gentle, and with all the soothing anti-itch, anti-redness properties of oatmeal.
  • Ground apricot pits. Another rather intense scrub. Be very careful to get all of it ground up very fine - watch for sharp pieces that don’t get trimmed down to size.
  • Corn meal. Another fairly gentle option for people with sensitive skin.
  • Coarse salt. A really popular as a body scrub ingredient right now. It can be drying, so it’s only recommended for oily skin.
  • Coarse raw sugar. Another really popular ingredient which works for combination and dry skin. The sugar polishes without dehydrating.
  • Old coffee grounds. This is a nice bit of recycling - keep old coffee grounds to use in scrubs. The caffeine smooths cellulite as well as polishing skin.

That’s really all you need to do - add your ingredients together, and have fun. But if you want, you can also add:

  • Vitamins. Try a couple of capsules of E or crush tablets of A or C, and mix that up in your scrub.
  • Essential oils. It’s important to do research rather than just add what smells nice. For example, lavender essential oil is drying - great as an acne spot treatment, but not ideal for dry skin. Start with just a drop or two - you’ll be shocked how much scent some oils provide. Vanilla extract is a great choice, too.
  •  Corn Meal in milk or water for a nice scrub.  Cornmeal doesn't dissolve.
  • ground up seeds or nuts
  • Sugar or salt mixed in oil won't dissolve. Most scrub recipes call for olive oil or almond oil.  Try making scrubs using ground almonds or almond shells.

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By Charles Dickson, Ph.D.

Besides regular brushing, the use of herbal mouthwashes can make us sweeter company for others. Here are some tried and true recipes.

Mix 1 teaspoon each of rosemary, peppermint and lavender. Mix the herbs well and then place 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a cup of boiling water. Steep 15 minutes, then strain. Cool and use as a mouthwash.

Mix 2 teaspoons of sugar, 3 drops of peppermint oil, 3/4 teaspoon of boric acid solution and 4 cups of water. Add food coloring if desired. Put into a quart bottle and shake well. Remember not to drink, just gargle.

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 3 tablespoons of angelica seeds. Add peppermint, lemon verbena, caraway and rosemary for extra strength. A touch of orris root will perfume the breath with the smell of violet. Cover and steep until cool. Strain and store in a tightly closed container.

Combine 3 drops of cinnamon oil, 2 drops of clove oil, 2 teaspoons of sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of boric acid solution to 4 cups of water. Place in a quart container and shake well.

A very simple mouthwash with antiseptic properties can be made by combining 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of boiling water. Let it cool and store in a jar in your medicine cabinet.

Some homemade toothpastes can be used as effective cleansing agents for teeth and can promote general oral hygiene. Try the following:

Cut a fresh strawberry in half and rub your teeth and gums with it. Leave on for 15 minutes, then add some warm water and gently brush. This is not only a good cleaner but promotes health of the gums.

Take lemon rind and rub your teeth and gums, massaging your upper gums downward and your lower gums upward. This helps to remove plaque and tartar.

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of glycerin, 1/4 teaspoon of neutral soap powder, 1 tablespoon of calcium carbonate, 1 teaspoon of acacia (gum arabic) and 2 drops of oil of peppermint. To this mixture add 10 ml of water. Heat and stir for 5 minutes and note the pasty appearance. Each substance has a specific purpose in this formula: glycerin, the sweetener; calcium carbonate, the abrasive; acacia, the thickener; soap, the cleansing agent; and oil of peppermint, the flavoring agent.

Canker sores in the mouth may be caused by bacteria or viruses, by chemical irritants such as alcohol and tobacco, or by gastric upset. There are numerous herhal preparations which can help to clear up these painful sores.

Boil a tea bag in water and apply it to the affected area for 5 minutes.

Swish a couple of tablespoons of oil of myrrh in your mouth, concentrating it at the site of the canker sore.

Boil a tablespoon of cankerroot in a cup of water. Strain and apply this to the canker sore. The very name of this plant suggests its ancient use among herbalists.

A good mouthwash for canker sores can be made by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of thyme. Steep for 15 minutes, and it's ready to use.

Toothaches are indicative of a problem that needs dental attention. However, in the event the pain strikes at 2 a.m., when not too many dental offices are open, you can make some herbal remedies to gain some temporary relief.

The most time-tested remedy is to soak a cotton swab with oil of cloves and apply it to the tooth. Clove oil is a topical anesthetic.

Soak a cotton ball with ammonia and place it over the aching tooth.

For a remedy that will make you feel worse before you feel better, apply a few grains of cayenne pepper to the tooth and gum. As soon as the original smarting stops, the toothache will subside.

An ancient Hindu remedy is to cut open a fresh ripe fig. Place the juice on the affected tooth and continue to repeat this for 15 minute intervals until the toothache goes away.

Read more about NATURAL HEALTH

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Hair Butterfly clips:  how about those  big butterfly clips not so much in fashion any more? Try this hint from some clever woman.  Turn them upside down and clip recipes in them, mail to go out, messages for family members, bills, family photos or recycled note pads.
They can also be used to keep those cords and wires organized behind the office desk or entertainment center. String a cord through the center to hang on the shop wall and keep your bungie cords and lighter ropes off the floors and shelves.

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