Affordable Alternatives: For your daily beauty products (Part 1)

Affordable Alternatives: For your daily beauty products (Part 1)

Hack your way to fabulous skin without hacking your wallet! 

How I use plant oils in my budget beauty routine

As much as I hate to admit it, I'm on a tight student budget and it's an absolute financial miracle I've managed to afford the products I use! Below are some ways I save money on every day beauty products, by swapping pricey non-essential items, for significantly cheaper alternatives. They work exactly the same, if not better! 

Swapping micellar water makeup remover with avocado oil and a relaxing steamed wash cloth   

Micellar water makeup removers contain micelles which have hydrophobic cores made up of fatty acid tails that have affinity for oil, and on the outside, hydrophilic heads which have affinity for water, hence the name of the product, "micellar water." And it's the fatty acids in the micelles that are key facilitators in the removal of makeup. 

Ahhh my two favourite things... makeup and science :p

I have sensitive, often oily, blemish-prone skin and removing makeup thoroughly is a must in my beauty routine. Micellar water is one of the most common types of makeup removers, ranging anywhere between AU$12-$43, with the most bang-for-your-buck brand being Garnier at AU$13.99 for 400ml (these regularly go on sale, marked down to approx AU$8 for 400ml) and the most expensive brand (as far as I know) being Bioderma at AU$42.99 for 500ml.

The star player in Garnier’s micellar cleansing waters for oily, combination & problem skin is alcohol. Sigh.

Unfortunately Garnier just doesn't do it for me. The Garnier "Pure Active" bottle for oily, problem skin and the green lid bottle for oily & combination skin contains alcohol, which is drying and can promote more oil production -  not to mention alcohol is irritating to problem skin!

And after buying half a litre of Bioderma Sensibio and crying over the fact that it's AU$42.99, I thought to myself, if all it takes to remove the cake on face is a bit of oil and water, why not just use oil and water!?

My laboratory "Ultra Pure DNase/RNase-free" distilled water is cheaper than this

My laboratory "Ultra Pure DNase/RNase-free" distilled water is cheaper than this

Avocados are such fabulous fruit, I thought I'd rub my face in it... :p 

Because I research avocado tree diseases for a living, I thought I'd give cold-pressed avocado oil a try. And it surprisingly works very well! Avocado oil is rich in omega-3 & 6 fatty acids, vitamin E & C plus a tonne of other awesome nutrients that could benefit your skin. Why wouldn't you put it on your face?

Also cosmetic-grade avocado oil is about AU$4-12 per bottle online at iHerb ( and it will last you months ;)

After a month of removing my makeup with cold-pressed avocado oil, my skin has had significantly less breakouts (in fact the pimple-prone area appeared to look less inflamed!) and it physically looked younger & felt softer. 

Dr Jean was on to something when she sang, "peel the avocado" over & over again

Dr Jean was on to something when she sang, "peel the avocado" over & over again

The quick avocado oil makeup removing routine that'll save you time, money and heaps of cotton pads:
  1. Pour a 10-20 cent piece size blob of cold-pressed avocado oil into your hand and wipe it all over your face, gently working it into your skin. No need to rub your eyes with it, just carefully wipe some of the oil over the eyelids.
  2. Let it sit for at least a minute - the longer the better. 
  3. Get a really cheap wash cloth**, one that you're happy to stain and make a mess of, and soak it in hot water (if you have sensitive skin, I recommend softer cloth material such as a muslin cloth).
  4. Wring out the cloth and while it's hot, place it over your face, briefly indulging in the steam (it's super relaxing!).
  5. Then gently wipe off your make up with the cloth! You can easily remove eye make up like you would with a cotton pad, by holding the cloth over the eye and gently wiggling the make up off. 
  6. Repeat the process if there is still make up present. 
  7. After removing my makeup I'll cleanse my face & follow my regular skin care routine. When I'm lazy I don't even bother with the cleansing & skin care steps as the avocado oil is really hydrating!   

You don't have to use avocado oil to remove your make up, and there are plenty of plant oils that make fantastic makeup removers such as coconut oil or olive oil. Perhaps you could also try these or create a unique makeup remover mixture of your own!  

**remember to wash your face cloth thoroughly & regularly to keep it hygienic and clean. 

Swapping expensive skin serum with rosehip oil

Before I could even afford a skin serum, I applied cold-pressed rosehip oil to my face & neck underneath my night cream, immediately after cleansing & toning, while my skin was still damp. 

Rosehip oil is food for my skin. Similar to avocado oil, it's got:

  • Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids
  • Vitamin E, used in many anti-ageing products
  • Vitamin C, a skin brightener 
  • Plus other antioxidants that are associated with prolonging soft, youthful skin, like beta-carotene & lycopene. 

I swear by the stuff! I received heaps of compliments about my skin "glowing" during the periods I used rosehip oil. I recommended rosehip oil to a friend once, and forgot about it, then months later I saw how amazing her skin looked and asked her what she uses and she laughed and said, "Rosehip oil! You recommended it!" I wish I stuck to rosehip oil for longer. My friend has the most beautiful complexion!


You can buy cold-pressed rosehip oil from almost anywhere - Chemist Warehouse & Priceline have the largest range and at dirt cheap prices (approx AU$7-$25; serums average AU$50 to put it into perspective).  In my opinion, the rosehip oil brand doesn't really matter. If it's pure rosehip oil as the ingredients says, it'll have the same nutrient content and will provide the same benefits as the other brands regardless of the cost.

Model Co ($13.99 at Priceline) was the first brand I ever tried and it got me hooked on the oil. I currently interchange between Trilogy ($21.99) & RosehipPLUS ($10.69) from Chemist Warehouse. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between any of them! 

(I also wear a skin serum now and it's good, meh, but it's no rosehip oil... haha!)

Swapping in-shower moisturiser with apricot kernel oil

I always feel guilty slathering on in-shower moisturiser. I use so much product to "feel moisturised" and the majority of it washes off under the shower stream. It feels like such a waste! Nutrimetics is my favourite luxury skincare brand, famous for innovative uses for apricot kernel oil, the active plant ingredient in their best selling skin care products. I have the Nutrimetics' apricot oil-based in-shower moisturiser, and it's fantastic, but at AU$26 a bottle, I consciously use very little of it and reap almost no benefits! 

So I bought a $5 bottle of cold-pressed apricot kernel oil online from iHerb and use about a 20 cent piece of it in the shower, and my skin is baby soft! I save so much time & money! And it's lasted all winter.

$26 for apricot kernel oil-enriched in-shower moisturiser vs $5.22 for the actual oil at iHerb

$26 for apricot kernel oil-enriched in-shower moisturiser vs $5.22 for the actual oil at iHerb

I also use apricot kernel oil as the base for a body scrub, mixing it with coconut oil and brown sugar. I wash off the scrub, and what's left are the oils absorbed into my soft, polished skin. Slay.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for Part 2 of Affordable Alternatives!