“What is THAT?” my Marine asked me as he opened up the medicine cabinet to find a tiny plastic container full of dark golden liquid. Much to his surprise, it was not in fact a backup urine sample that I keep, ya know, just in case. It was actually a new facial toner that I had made and was trying out to help combat our hard water and my forever changing skin.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had an “eh, it’s worth a shot” attitude whenever it came to a homemade recipe for beauty products. I’ve got two main reasons why — one because I am super cheap and two because I’ve always had problem skin.  Lucky for me, not only was Pinterest born, but the demand to know exactly what’s going on our skin has exploded, thus shedding more light on at-home remedies vs. store-bought elixirs.

We live in an area where our water is not only hard but it also has high pH levels. I never really took notice until I couldn’t figure out why my face and hair felt so different. I never felt like my skin was clean. My diet hadn’t changed and my skin regimen hadn’t shifted much either. Now, I’m fortunate enough to have one best friend who is an esthetician and another best friend who is a hair stylist (and yet I still can’t figure out how to properly tweeze my own brows or French braid). They identified my issue right away and quite matter of factly said, “well, it’s your water, duh,” and just like that, they were right. Thank goodness for BFFs. So I ordered one of those free water test kits and guess what? Home girls were right. So then my journey began on how to rebalance my skin and combat breakouts.

3Three Beauty Problems Solved with Kitchen IngredientsOil Control Toner

This brings me to the aforementioned plastic container, also known as my organic apple cider vinegar toner. I played around with the balance, but I have found that equal parts ACV and filtered water did the trick, for me at least. The ACV acts as a pH neutralizer, which was exactly what I needed. I tone my face in the morning and at night. My oiliness is under control without drying me out and I’m finally starting to feel clean again. The price and simplicity can not be beat. Amen.

If you struggle with acne and hyper-pigmentation from melasma, check out the Honey Lemon Face Wash and Face Toner post from Leslie’s DIY Beauty Arsenal series.

Blackhead Remover

If you’ve got oily skin, you know that this can lead to blackheads, no matter how much you may wash or tone.  One night, after getting out of the shower and examining my face in the MAGNIFYING MIRROR (P.S. What was I thinking? See “cannot properly tweeze brows” above.) I sent an emergency 911 text to my esthetician who by default has to answer me because she’s my best friend. I asked what I can do about the gazillion blackheads I was seeing. She told me to get a lemon out of the crisper, slice it up, and start to rub around the problem areas. Not only does the acid help to break the blackheads down, but it also gives you a wonderful “just rubbed a lemon on my face” glow, which is a great pick-me-up if I do say so myself. This goes great after an exfoliation. Just make sure you don’t leave it on because it does get sticky.

Dragon Breath Neutralizer

I recently also started to jump on the oil pulling bandwagon, which I guess isn’t a bandwagon at all since it’s an ancient technique. And it might take me another eternity to get to twenty minutes of “pulling”. Admittedly, the first night I tried it I almost gagged, tears in the eyes and everything. I think it’s because of the initial texture of the coconut oil I had put it my mouth. Once I got it liquefied it wasn’t that bad, but twenty minutes is tough for me. I started out with five minutes and have been adding a minute every time I do it. Initially I thought I’d feel literally reborn after my first session. I couldn’t wait to spit out my gag-worthy oil and start my life as a cleansed woman. Surprisingly enough, that’s not exactly how I felt after five minutes. I will say however, my mouth felt noticeably cleaner the next morning. My breath was neutral vs. dragon. If I haven’t scared you away, and you’re interested in an oil pulling tutorial so you can have whiter teeth and better oral health, Wellness Mama gives a great rundown of the process.

I’ll keep you posted on my DIY beauty metamorphosis, but until then, I’ll be selling my magnifying mirror to the highest bidder.

Have you experimented with DIY beauty? What are your favorite concoctions?