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Pre-Shaving Oil for Men or Women ~ Fast and Cheap Homemade Christmas Gift

Christmas is mere hours away, which means that the mad dash toward the end has begun.  Inspired by this video, I decided to give a few of my (hard-to-shop-for) male relatives some pre-shaving oil (like this, but much cheaper!), which helps soften hair prior to shaving, prepares the skin for shaving, protects it during the process, leaves it soft afterward, and prevents razor burn.  My husband swears by pre-shaving oil, but this is a great last-minute, inexpensive, handmade gift for women or men.

A little shaving oil goes a long way–most store-bought pre-shaving oils come in 2oz jars, so you don’t need much to create a nice gift.


The Ingredients

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2. Castor Oil

3. Jojoba Oil

4. Essential Oil (optional, but highly-recommended)

5. Measuring cup

6. Garnish (optional)

7. Storage Bottle/Container.  I found the bottles shown above at Michaels Craft Store for about $1, but in a pinch, you can use any jar/bottle you can find.  I almost used a tiny bottle of worchestire sauce (which I planned to empty into a larger container for our use) that had been cleaned and aired-out.

8. Tag with directions for use and ingredients (optional)

The Recipe

1.  If you don’t know how many ounces your storage container holds, fill it with water and pour into a measuring cup to find out (then dry it out).

2.  Pour roughly equal amounts of olive, jojoba, and castor oil into the jar.  I fudged a little on this and added less jojoba oil because I was running out, so this recipe is by no means strict.  To make it a bit cheaper, you can use more olive oil than other the oils. Hint: If you are making multiple bottles of this, figure out the total number of ounces of oil you will need, combine (equalish parts of) them all into a larger container, and pour from there.

3. Add your essential oil, cap the storage container, and shake.  While essential oils are usually optional, olive oil has a lingering odor that may not be pleasing to slather on your face or other body parts, so I highly suggest using a bit of it.  I chose cinnamon, and added about 10-15 drops per ounce.

4.  Add any garnish (like dried mint, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, etc), cap, and present!

The Result

I tested this bad boy out (because I had to know if it worked or not) and was extremely pleased to find that it made shaving much easier.  I slathered it on under conditioner (with which I shave) on one leg, and shaved normally on the other leg.  I had no razor burn on the oiled leg (which I cannot say was true for the other one), my skin was soft afterward, and very lightly scented with cinnamon.  I had such a great experience with it that I’m going to make myself a little Christmas present of it as well!



Homemade, All-Natural, Ultra-Moisturizing Lipstick: A Cheap, Quick, Last-Minute Christmas Gift

One of my family members can’t use store-bought lipstick for health reasons.  In an effort to find a suitable alternative, I came across a recipe that produces awesome lipstick in less than five minutes and for about $1 a pop here.  I tweaked the recipe to make it a bit softer and more moisturizing and these are the results.


The Ingredients


1. 1 to 1 1/2 Crayons, Red or Pink Shade (I know, weird!  But crayons are non-toxic wax that provide great pigmentation).  You can mix and match different sizes and colors to get a customized shade.

2. 1 heaping 1/2 tablespoon of Shea Butter

3. 1/2 teaspoon or so of Coconut Oil

4. 1 teaspoon Castor or Jojoba Oil

5. 10-15 drops of the Essential Oil of Your Choice (optional but highly recommended)

6. Tin/container for storing lipstick (mini Altoids tins work fantastically!), washed and ready to be filled

7. Something tiny to stir with (I used a disposable chopstick)

8. A small metal or heat-resistant bowl (I used a disposable tin-foil pan for ease)

9. A pan to in which to simmer water

The Recipe

1. Begin warming a pan about half an inch of water full.  Do not let it boil at all during this process.

2. Place everything except the essential oil into your small metal container.  Spread the ingredients out so they melt at about the same rate.


3. Once the water is simmering, put the container in the middle of the pan.  (The tinfoil container floats on top, slowing down the melting process and rendering a very smooth mixture.)  Make sure you constantly stir everything so that it is fully-blended (the crayons take the longest to melt).  I held the container with tongs and used my chopstick to stir and stir.


4. Once everything has melted, add your essential oils and blend carefully.  The ingredients should be one color and consistency.


5. Pour the mixture quickly into the waiting tin or container.  It will firm up very fast.  (Don’t worry, if something goes awry, you can always reheat and re-pour).


6.  Let cool for a few minutes, and wait to enjoy the final product!  (Hint: I use the remnant lipstick in the bottom of the melting container to test it out ~ I would suggest this too.)


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Last-Minute, Homemade Christmas Gifts

This is a complication post of all the last-minute, frugal, DIY gifts we’ve suggested over the past few weeks.

For Women:

1. Facial Scrubs: These facial scrubs range from pennies (baking soda + water) to about $2.  It’s probably a better idea to give each of these items separately along with a recipe card instead of premixing the ingredients (can we all say days-old milk mixed with mashed  banana?)

2. Lip Balm: This gift requires some specific ingredients that you may not have on hand, but if you do (or can get them easily at a local store), you’ll end up with with an amazing, giftable (or keepable!) lip balm for about $1.15 per tin.

3. Tasty Lip Stain: The trickiest thing about this gift is finding a suitable container for it.  For  about $0.50 a pop (or less!), you can give your friend sweet, colorful lips for an incredible price.

4. Olive Oil Facial Cleanser: This fantastic recipe doubles as a makeup remover and cleanser in one.  A small batch (1-month supply) will cost you about $1-$2.

5. Hair Treatment:  Luxurious locks don’t happen overnight, unless you use this hair treatment.  It requires only one ingredient, Olive Oil, but adding essential oils or other natural oils (like coconut or argan) will improve this treatment’s scent and efficacy.  Cost?  $1-$3 (depending on size and other ingredients added)

6. Bath Fizzies: These delectable-looking bath treatments will provide your friend a luxuriant, stress-relieving treat.   Hint: substitue lemon Kool Aid for citric acid to save time and money!  These babies will cost you about $3-$5 a batch.

7. Bath Salts: Epsom salt is the main ingredient in this recipe, and it is exceedingly cheap.  You can make a sizable batch of this recipe for $2-$3.

8. Natural Body Moisturizer:  This recipe does call for an ingredient that may not be readily available, but if you can find beeswax, you’ll be able to make a heavenly moisturizer for about $2.

9. Lotion Bar: If, like the previous post, you can get your hands on some beeswax, creating lotion bars will provide a very unique and useful gift for about $2-$3.

10. Translucent Face Powder: Help your friend’s skin remain oil-free this year by making a batch of sheer powder.  This will cost about $1-$2.

11. Facial Scrub/Mask: This simple, yet effective, recipe will give your friend glowing skin.  As the author notes, you can add in various ingredients to give your skin’s friend the extra punch it needs to be its best.  If you have a do-it-herself type of friend, you may consider giving her the ingredients separately (in inexpensive but decorative jars/bottles/containers) along with a hand-written recipe card so that she can enjoy making the mask herself.

12. Hand Care Set:  ‘Tis the season for dry, cracked hands.  Your friend will appreciate this brown sugar hand softener recipe paired with a moisturizing hand cream.  You can power the hand cream up by adding an essential oil for a delicate scent and jojoba oil for additional moisture.  Inexpensive jars with hand-printed labels round out a wonderful pair!

13. Scented Body Dusting Powder:  A unique (and cheap!) gift is scented body powder.  Use cornstarch and baking soda (in place of other, more expensive ingredients in this recipe) and herbal tea (which you have ground finely) to save even more.  If your friend enjoys sparkle, cosmetic glitter is a great finishing touch.

14. Lightly-Scented Body Spray: To continue our idea of sweet-smelling Christmas concoctions, consider making this super-easy recipe to keep your friend pleasantly fragranced throughout the new year.  If you know her favorite scent, you can use the same essential oil in the previous two posts as well.

15. Kool-Aid Lip Balm:  Give your friend the perfect pucker with this simple and cheap homemade lip balm recipe.  You can house this balm in a small jar or tube, but another cute alternative is to find funky contact lens holders and give two servings of different-colored balms.

16. Sugar Scrub: Give the gift of soft skin without breaking the bank.  This recipe is cheap, easy-to-make, and has endless possibilities for customization.  Find a cute jar to put the scrub in, add an essential oil or two, put a ribbon on top, and the recipient will enjoy glowing skin.

17. Coconut Milk Shampoo: Home-brewed shampoo has been all the rage recently, and if your friend enjoys high-end shampoos, try your hand at making one for her.  HIt a thrift shop or antique store to find a vintage glass bottle to house your concoction.

18. Heat Therapy Pillow: There’s something soothing about having a warm, sweet-smelling pillow draped around your neck and shoulders.  Give you friend the gift of relaxation this holiday season by creating a heat therapy pillow.  If you’re not big into sewing (like me), buy a small tube pillow, take out the stuffing, and fill it with your herbal mixture.

19. Herbal Tea Bath: Let your friend soak her worries away in a luxuriant herbal tea bath.  Simply find an organza bag, and fill it with the ingredients mentioned in this post (to make finding herbs cheap and easy, head town the tea aisle in your local grocery store and pick out your friend’s favorite tea).  To spice things up a bit more (no pun intended!), give your bud a trio of different teas to enjoy in her bath.

20. Super Smoothie Recipe Cards: When you’re healthy on the inside, it shows on the outside.  Write out a few of your favorite super-healthy smoothie recipes on nice notecards to share with your bestie.  Try them out yourself before passing them off so you’ll know if a recipe works (or not).  Spinach is quickly becoming my new best friend!

For Men:

1. Cologne: Who doesn’t like to smell nice?  This recipe provides a simple way to craft a custom scent for your man that won’t break the bank.

2. Urban Survival Tin:  By stuffing an altoids tin with travel-size personal care necessities (like aspirin, breath freshener, mini/samples colone, individually-wrapped tush wipes, a pocket knife, tissues, etc), you can give peace of mind this holiday season (see a sample picture here).  The whole post is worth reading if you need non-personal care gift ideas.

3. Shaving Essentials: Homemade shaving soap and after shave treatments are fantastic, customizable gifts.  If you want to help him save time and money, complete his kit with a safety razorbladesbrush, and shaving guide (which will cut his shaving bill by a hefty chunk–we’ve saved over $200 this year after my husband made the switch!).

4. Bay Rum Aftershave: I know, I know, I just mentioned aftershave.  But, this particular recipe has been lauded for both its efficacy and manly scent.  There’s really no aftershave (homemade or store-bought) that can compare quality-wise with this bad boy!

5. Muscle Salve:  Help sooth his aches and pains with a deliciously-scented and effective homemade salve.  If giving this concoction to your man, throw in a hand-written coupon for a massage and he will be on cloud nine.

6. Toner: Skincare is not just for women.  Help him achieve healthy skin by using this toner recipe.

7. Tooth Whitening Kit: I suggest putting each ingredient in a resealable container as well as including a cool toothbrush and mixing bowl to add the perfect touch to this economical idea.

8. Body Wash (err Manly Liquid Soap!): Give him a scentual, cleansing experience every time he steps into the shower with this masculine body wash recipe.

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Last-Minute Christmas Gifts from Amazon.com (for Prime Members) under $25


This post might have better been titled last-second gift ideas, because time is certainly fast approaching Christmas!  But, for those who are amazon.com prime members, you need not despair.  Amazon has a treasure chest of low-cost gift options still available for free 2-day shipping, and approaching availability for $4 overnight shipping that will make in the nick of time (no pun intended!).  The ideas below should cover everyone left on your list.  (Note, these ideas are not restricted to beauty items only–check out our complied post of last-minute, frugal homemade gifts here.)

For Her

1. Comfy Cable-Knit Sweater, $22

2.  Shea Butter Foot Treatment, $13

3. 78-Color Makeup Kit, $17

4. Professional Brush Kit, $13

5. Philosophy Pure Grace 3-in-1 Body Wash, $22

6. Fountain Pen & Stationary, $22

For Him

1. Crank Flashlight, $12

2. The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil. $21

3. Portable Speaker, $19

4. Roadside Emergency Kit, $20

5. Wool Gloves, $20

6. Snow-Prevention Windshield Cover, $7

For Kids

1. Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set Vol 1, $13

2. Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set Vol 2, $13

3. Snuggly Blanket, $15

4. Rory’s Story-Telling Cubes, $7

5. Angry Birds Hot Wheels, $13

6. Coin-Counting Piggy Bank, $13

7. Walkie Talkie, $25

8. The Biggest Baddest Boy Book Ever, $10