Beauty Wednesday: Natural Beauty Products for Winter

We’ve talked a lot about drugstore beauty items and how your beauty routine changes in the winter, but more and more my winter beauty routine is involving “natural” beauty things — supermarket, even! — and so I thought I’d round up a few I like to kick off the discussion. Find out below how I’m using apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and castor oil in my beauty routine. Ladies, have you experimented with natural beauty things? How did you like them compared to fancier beauty products — is anything a definite in your routine? 

Apple Cider Vinegar – Hair – Clarifying and Defrizzing. I use this year-round for my hair, to be honest, but I may be more likely to put gunk in my hair in the winter and thus more likely to need to use this. As I understand it, ACV helps clarify stuff from your hair — and it also helps close the cuticle shaft, which means it reduces frizz. The first time I used ACV in the shower it was kind of crazy — I shampooed my hair, sprayed a 50/50 mixture of ACV and water on my hair, let it sit for a minute, and as I was rinsing it out it was like the texture and thickness of my hair and had changed from just a few minutes before. If I grabbed a handful of hair there was a lot less bulk than just a minute prior, and it felt more silky, too. I should mention here that most people talk about doing this with unfiltered ACV, but the first time I tried it I only had regular ACV on hand, so that’s what I used. (Here are a few articles to get you started on further reading: CurlyNikki, AlureFutureDerm.)

Coconut Oil – Hair – Moisturizing. The older I get, the drier I get, and while I’ve had some fun with fancy hair masks for winter over the years, I’m more likely to grab my coconut oil first. I’ve read tutorials that include coating your hair completely in 2″ sections, then sitting with a hot towel on your head for an hour. I did that once but am more likely to just start grabbing handfuls of coconut oil, rubbing until it’s more liquidy/spreadable, then grabbing whatever hair I can and putting it up in a claw clip while I do errands for 15 minutes. I feel like it’s just as useful as other hair masks I’ve used as far as a “noticeable difference” goes, and I like the smell, which is an overwhelming smell of a coconut dessert. I usually combine this with an ACV rinse in the shower. (Further reading: Byrdie, Well + GoodWellnessMama, The Fashion Spot.)

Coconut Oil – Face – Moisturizing. Some people take their makeup off with coconut oil, and I can’t imagine that — but if my face feels a bit dry, I will slather coconut oil on my face for a minute before I step in the shower. It is very, very moisturizing and oily, but because I only keep it on for a minute, it’s manageable. I like this because it only takes a bit of time and I notice an immediate difference afterward. (Further reading: Bustle, Fashionista, Well + Good.)

Olive Oil – Hair – Moisturizing. I’ve used olive oil less on my hair than I’ve used coconut oil — in my experience, olive oil is FAR greasier. I use it by getting a weeeeee bit of olive oil on my hands and running through the ends of my hair, leaving it on for about 5-15 minutes before a shower. I only do the ends of my hair, not my scalp unless it feels parched/itchy. (Further reading: FutureDerm, LiveStrong. Here’s an article from HealthSite on which olive oil to use for your hair.)

Castor Oil – Hands – Moisturizing. To be honest, this is something I haven’t done in years, but I’m considering doing it this winter! My grandmother did this every day on both her hands and her face, and even at the end of her life people remarked on what beautiful, supple skin she had. Be warned: castor oil is a laxative, so don’t store it where kids or animals might be tempted to get into it. But: this stuff is crazy moisturizing for skin, but is less goopy than coconut oil and (can be) cheaper than olive oil. (Further reading: Jezebel.)

My cousin was just telling me I should try tea tree oil on my hair this winter… hmmmmn. Ladies, let’s hear from you — what natural/supermarket products have you integrated into your beauty routines? What did you like, what was a fail — and did anything replace fancier beauty products? 

Picture: Katfry LLC, all rights reserved. 


  1. Sydney Bristow :

    Is there a trick for getting coconut (or other oil) out of your hair? I have fine hair, but a ton of it, and the one time I tried coconut oil I wound up needing to wash it 3 times to get it all out and not look and feel greasy anymore. I figured the 3 washes cancelled out the good that I did with the oil.

    • That’s why I usually pair it with an ACV rinse… just mix 50/50 ACV and water and spray it on your hair (or dumping it works, too).

    • afd daf fdsa :

      Don’t use coconut oil – use something lighter like almond oil or cactus oil or olive oil.

    • I’ve got a headful of fine, straight hair and coconut oil is too heavy for it. In shower deep conditioners work better for me- Aussie 3 Minute miracle is a good option. If the ends feel really dry, then I use some argan oil on them before bed.

    • It’s not natural, but if you’re into Korean beauty and have a surplus of oil cleansers, they can work nicely on hair, and are made to rinse off much more cleanly.

    • Straight oil is not great for fine, straight hair. I do have an oil shampoo/conditioner that I really like (Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose line), but who knows how much oil is actually in it.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Thanks all. Glad to hear I’m not totally crazy and actually was missing something. I’ll look into these ideas.

  2. Anonymous :

    I use a mask/scrub of brown sugar, honey and a little citrus. The honey is the best moisturizer I’ve ever used. I start my shower off using it as a scrub then leave it on until the end of my shower. My skin feels amazing after.

  3. Anonymous :

    Just saw the news on Texas and Planned Parenthood. I’m in Texas. :-/
    So what is the best way to donate – they have an online form where you create an account but is a check to the national office best? The Texas HQ?
    Also, will I go on any lists?

  4. Anonymous :

    PSA: This post is a little inaccurate because oils aren’t technically moisturizing. If you have very dry skin/hair, then all the oil in the world won’t be enough to fix it. Why? Because oil creates a layer on the outside that keeps moisture IN (it’s an occlusive), but that does nothing if you don’t already have enough moisture inside the hair shaft or epidermis (for which you need a humectant, like glycerin- something that penetrates and attracts water to itself. Then you can top that with an occlusive to keep the water from escaping).

    More on hair: if it feels very dry/brittle and kind of holds its shape too much, that means that you have too much protein versus moisture. Focus on getting moisture into the hair, and skip products that advertise ‘strengthening’ properties or ‘damage repair’ because that’s just marketing code for protein treatment.

    But if your hair feels very limp and weak and doesn’t have enough texture or hold its shape, add protein. Lots of over the counter options, and at-home treatments using things like egg whites will also be good for you.

    • Meredith Grey :

      Thanks!! I’m digging this!

    • What does it mean for hair to hold its shape? Does that mean go back to original, or hold the unnatural one?

      I have stick straight hair that will not curl for longer than 50 minutes. Does it hold its shape, or does it not?

      • Anonymous :

        I didn’t explain it properly! You know people whose hair is kind of ‘stiff’ and dry and liable to stick out at weird angles? That’s what I meant by holding its shape. When I made the utterly misguided decision to use protein treatment, it made me look like I stuck my finger in a socket.

    • Shopaholic :

      I like to put oil on top of my moisturizer/night cream over night – when I wake up, my skin is glowing. It doesn’t have the same impact if I put oil on my skin directly.

    • This is really really helpful! Thank you! And, as another person with fine straight hair, I immediately knew what you meant about it being dry and “holding shape”. I’ve found vinegar works really well for me when my hair gets that way, also.

  5. DC Lawyer :

    Question for the hive. I’m in salary negotiations with my boss (I’m currently part time and looking to go full time) and I pulled together data on legal salaries for similar jobs as best I could (mostly using the Robert Half legal salary guide) and proposed something at the bottom end of the range of what I found as ‘market’. However, my boss is saying that any data of this type (self-reporting or put out by legal recruiters) is self-serving and too high, and places no weight on it, instead relying on his instinct as to what he could pay to find someone else to fill the position. He has a history of pinching pinnies and underestimating what things will cost (for instance, legal bills for outside counsel), but he really has me doubting myself and whether I should stick to my numbers. The money would be helpful, but I also feel like I’ve been under paid at previous jobs, based on what they had to pay to fill my position once I left, and I don’t want to keep being a doormat. Would it be crazy to turn down a decent salary because I feel like it undervalues me?

  6. One thing I do when I have time or for occasions when I want my skin to look and feel really nice is a sugar and olive oil scrub. My skin feels amazing after. Especially good to make a shave last a little longer. I just mix roughly equal parts of both for the right consistency. Highly recommend.

    For hands – Kat, look into a paraffin bath. Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond sell them and your hands look and feel amazing after. No laxative dangers and it’s super fun to do as a little pampering ritual while watching tv and unwinding. Someone gave me one as a gift and I am always so happy after I do it.

    • I like sugar scrubs for general skin softness, but they don’t cut it for my feet. For feet, I use salt instead. My runner’s calluses are serious business.

  7. Anonymous :

    I recommend Jojoba oil — I use it for everything, from my hair, to removing makeup, to moisturizing my skin. Works wonders..and can also be found at Trader Joes.

  8. blueberries :

    I like coconut oil in place of hair gel/oil when my hair is very short.

  9. I used apple cider vinegar on my hair this morning (I didn’t bother putting it in a spray bottle cause I’m lazy and also I don’t think I have one) and holy crap is it soft. Thanks for the tip!

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