5 Double Duty Drugstore Beauty Products

September 12, 2012
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The 3 items I featured on the “10! Show” today.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, then you know that I love to find multiple uses for any products I might purchase or own.

Just consider how I turned plastic mesh bags that Baby Bell cheese and produce come in into a great scrubbing tool for cleaning pots.

Or the fact that I’ll use a box of borax to make DIY laundry detergent and homemade dishwasher detergent, or to kill ants. (I’m not sure I ever blogged about that third use for borax but, trust me, it works.)

When it comes to drugstore beauty products, I try to find as many reasonable uses for them as I can. It helps to stretch my dollar–I buy one product once but use it in double duty and triple duty ways. Plus, sometimes my “off label” uses of a product simply saves money overall.

On Wednesday morning I’ll be appearing on “The 10! Show” on NBC 10 in Philadelphia to discuss double duty drugstore beauty products. My segment only has enough time for me to highlight three. However, I have five favorites, which I’ve listed here.

  1. Clarifying shampoo. You may recall my mentioning that when it comes to stain removal and laundry, I find that clarifying shampoos work as well–if not better–than commercial stain sticks. That’s because clarifying shampoos are designed to strip your hair of any product and oil buildup. These shampoos can do the same for stains on fabrics–especially those involving oil or sweat. In fact, when it comes to my husband’s “ring around the collar,” this kind of shampoo is my most reliable weapon. Best of all, I can usually pick up a big bottle of clarifying or cleansing shampoos for under $1–or for free in a hotel room–whereas a stain stick can cost as much as five times that retail price.
  2. Baby shampoo. Also in the realm of double duty shampoo, baby shampoo works great as a dog shampoo–I don’t have to worry about it getting in my dog’s eyes and stinging them. In addition, baby shampoo doubles as a terrific agent for cleaning hand washables and delicate items. Don’t add it to your washing machine, though. This is for hand wash in a basin or sink only–too many bubbles otherwise.
  3. Petroleum jelly. The uses for petroleum jelly are almost limitless. In our house a tub or tube of petroleum jelly is transformed into instant lip gloss, makeup remover, balm to put over a healing cut, and heavy duty moisturizer. In the latter instance I will use petroleum jelly in the winter to keep my feet moisturized and soft. I’ll slather it on my feet before bed, pull on a pair of socks, and by the morning by feet look just-pedicured!
  4. Toothpaste. Of course, toothpaste gets your teeth clean, but did you know that toothpaste can act as a stand in for your zit cream? I had heard this use for years but never gave it a try until a few months ago. I was on the road during my summer-of-savings media tour, and I noticed a mini Mount Vesuvius forming on my forehead. I needed to be on TV early the next morning, but I hadn’t packed any acne medicine. So I dabbed some toothpaste on and went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, the pimple was barely a bump. I’ve read that it is toothpaste’s drying properties that work to blast a blemish, but since I’m no chemist, I can’t explain why this happens. All I know is that you need to use the white kind of toothpaste for these zit-fighting properties to work. The gel stuff doesn’t seem to do the trick.
  5. Diaper rash cream. One of the main ingredients in diaper rash cream is zinc oxide. One of the main UVA and UVB blocking ingredients in sunscreen is, you guessed it, zinc oxide. While diaper rash cream won’t go on as nearly invisibly as traditional sunscreen, if you find yourself in a potential sunburn situation and the only thing you have on hand is diaper rash cream, you can totally use it as a makeshift sunscreen.

Let me know if you have any favorite double duty drugstore beauty products beyond these five.

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