7 Pantry items you can use in your skin care routine

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Photo credit: canyonos/Getty Images

Skin care is expensive. That’s not much of a surprise if you love beauty. From serums to toners to cleansers, there could be a hefty sum coming out of your wallet to keep your skin care routine stocked and on point. But as it turns out, some real winners could be hiding in plain sight right in your kitchen. 

I tried six different pantry items in my beauty routine. Yes, some of the items were weird, and no, the experience didn’t always turn out well. However, a few surprising winners might be worth adding to your own skin care routine.

1. Cornstarch

I’m from the South. Not only is it 90 degrees in June, but it’s also 90 degrees in October. Not to be crass, but that means people sweat a lot. Down here, there’s a hack for that: Cornstarch. It absorbs sweat and helps prevent chafing. No more chafing gel for you. 

In addition, this light powder absorbs facial oils and prevents shine. Want to avoid heavy foundations and powders? Say hello to your new best friend.

MORE: Homemade makeup: 3 DIY foundation recipes to try

2. Lemon juice

Lemon is one of the more well-known skin care ingredients you can find in your pantry, especially in preventing hyperpigmentation. It naturally lightens the skin, but it’s not so powerful as to act as a true bleaching agent. What this means for your skin is that lemon can help even out dark spots and redness. 

Just dilute the juice with water (so the acid doesn’t strip your skin oils), and sweep the mixture over your skin as a toner with a cotton round or pad. It works, and it smells nice. While not revolutionary or particularly odd, this DIY skin care item gets a major thumbs-up.

3. Olive oil

Sure, you can use olive oil on your hair. And you can use it as a moisturizer, too (but remember that it’s occlusive and can clog pores). But what I’m actually here to endorse is olive oil as an eye makeup remover.

If you’ve heard of or use a double-cleansing method to remove your makeup, this is a similar approach. Oil breaks down mascaras and eyeliners, making removal easy. Simply place some oil on your fingers and gently rub your eyes. Then, wipe away the residue with a warm, wet washcloth. Then, cleanse your face as normal, and make sure all the oil is gone. I wouldn’t do this every day, but it’s a decent sub if you’ve run out of eye makeup remover.

4. Condensed milk

This is another Southern hack (at least as far as I’m concerned). Growing up in the heat and the sun, I got sunburnt frequently as a kid. I promise I wear SPF every day now, but for those days when I did get burned, my mother always whipped out a can of condensed milk from our pantry. She’d open up the can and smooth the milk over my burned skin, and almost instantly the burning sensation would be gone. It turns out, the treatment wasn’t just an old wives’ tale. Milk helps draw out heat, while vitamins A and D soothe.

5. Rice water

You might have heard about Japanese-inspired beauty brand Tatchausing and other manufacturers using rice-based ingredients in their skin care products. It turns out you can do the same thing at home. 

Rice itself isn’t going to help your face, but the water you cook it in can. Simply grab high-quality rice from your pantry and cook it as you normally would — except, add extra water so there are leftovers for you to save and use on your skin. 

How did this work? Really well, actually. I dipped a cotton round into the water and used it as a toner. The result was similar to that of my usual toner. My pores felt tighter, and my skin looked a bit brighter. Over time, this pantry staple could be a real winner.

MORE: The best facial sunscreens to protect you from UV rays

6. Crisco

Oh boy, Crisco. I’ll be honest: This was not my favorite experiment ever. How did I handle putting Crisco on my body? I essentially just pretended it was a really thick lotion and called it a day. The important thing, though, is whether or not it worked. Perhaps in a not so surprising twist, it did! 

Basically, Crisco is thick vegetable oil, much like coconut oil. The texture and benefits aren’t that different. Although I don’t recommend slapping Crisco on your whole body (it will clog your pores and likely cause breakouts), a bit on the elbows, feet and other dry patches isn’t so bad during the winter months.

7. Red Wine 

We all love a glass of red wine, and some studies even show the drink is good for you and your skin. What about applying it directly to skin? In short, it might have benefits, but it might not be a great option for everyone. 

Red wine is said to do everything from treating acne to boosting glow, but there’s a catch: It’s drying … as I found out. Much like drinking too much will dehydrate you, using red wine on your face  — especially if you have dry skin — will do the same. When I used a cotton pad to apply the wine to my face (which my partner thought was a serious waste of good alcohol), it felt as if every bit of oil on my face was sucked right out. For me, that’s not good because of my skin type. However, if you have oily skin, this might help control oil and shrink the appearance of your pores. 

All in all, raiding my pantry for skin care gems was a surprising success. Next time you’re lamenting the cost of your skin care routine or you run out of eye makeup remover, look to your pantry.

Staying hydrated should also be an important step in everyone’s skin care routine. Learn how to make sure you’re drinking the best water possible with our video below.

Which pantry items do you use for skin care? Tag us on Instagram @makeitgrateful and #makeitgrateful!