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Skin Care on a food stamp budget

Nothing about being broke is easy. You have to make everything stretch to the absolute ends and suffer through all sort of indignities because somehow, according to those making more money, the energy you put into your 40-hour week is not equivalent to theirs. Those working the hardest so often have to forego the self-care they need. Many of the working poor and those unable to work for a multitude of reasons are simply expected to forego anything that could be perceived as a “luxury” — even if it is the most basic of femme-care for many of us.

What if we told you that you could recreate a ton of spa recipes at home with food items that you can purchase with food stamps? Yogurt, honey, cucumbers, brown sugar and cinnamon are often found in the best spa treatments and are easy to obtain. Why not take an hour or two for yourself to try out some of these easy treatments?

Make your grocery-bought ingredients do double-time by nurturing your belly and your skin with these 5 foodie skin care recipes: 

1. Banana Dry Skin Mask

Winter can be brutal on skin, leaving it cracked and dry. Give your skin some love! Bananas are excellent for moisturizing skin. If you don’t have honey or yogurt, just eat a banana and then wipe the inside of the peel on your face in circular motions. The beginning of a skincare routine can be that simple!


2 very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 cup of plain yogurt

If you have a blender, put all of the ingredients in your blender and mix until you’ve got a uniform paste. Otherwise, mash them all together very well by hand with a fork and beat the mix for a minute with a whisk. Apply the paste onto your face, leaving on the skin for 20 minutes or until dry. Rinse with warm water.

2. Avocado Honey Dry Skin Mask


1/2 very ripe avocado
1/4 cup of honey

Mash the avocado in the bowl and then mix in the honey. Apply to your face, leaving the mask on your skin for ten minutes. Gently wipe it off with a warm, damp washcloth. Splash cold water on your face afterward to close your pores.

Related: Self-Care Sunday: Treat Yourself

3. Beauty Banter’s Invigorating Coffee Mask

Wake dull skin up with an invigorating coffee mask from Beauty Banter! The coffee grounds help slough the dead skin from your face, and the caffeine reduces puffiness and redness. Lactic acid from milk serve as an exfoliant, and its amino acids keep skin hydrated. Cocoa powder provides anti-oxidants for the skin to rid it of free radicals, while the lemon juice tightens and brightens, and the honey locks in moisture, as well as having anti-bacterial properties. If finances permit, it’s best to use organic ingredients for your skincare recipes.


1/2 cup ground coffee beans
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup of unsweetened whole milk (can sub for vegan milks, but you won’t get the benefits of lactic acid)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (for dry skin, try olive or almond oil)
1 tablespoon of honey (for extra oily or acne prone skin, use additional lemon juice here instead of honey)

Mix coffee and cocoa powder, mixing in the milk to create a paste. If you want a thicker paste, use less milk. Fold in lemon juice and honey. Apply to skin in circular scrubbing motion to exfoliate, and let sit for 20 minutes.

You can also mix a teaspoon of coffee with just enough milk to make a paste and put it on dark under-eye circles daily to reduce discoloration and swelling.

4. Everyday Root’s Honey and Cinnamon Mask

You’d think that sticky honey and spicy cinnamon would be something to keep away from your skin, but they can be great in limited quantities and are both excellent for treating acne-prone skin. Cinnamon has anti-microbial properties and honey is a natural antibiotic. This simple mask from Everyday Roots is great for treating acne, whether as an entire face mask or simply spot treatment.


2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Paper towels or washcloths

Rinse your face with water and pat dry. Mix honey and cinnamon to form a paste. Apply the mask to your face (or spot-treat) and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off completely and pat your face dry. Beware, this mixture is super sticky, so you will want to make sure that your hair is totally off your face!

5. Cucumber and Yogurt Mask

Great for on top of a gyro or on your face, this mask is simple to make and great for all skin types. Both yogurt and cucumbers are great for sunburns, so whether you’ve gotten too much sun reflecting off of snow or you’re outdoors in a warm climate, this mask is perfect.


1/2 cucumber
1 tablespoon plain yogurt

Puree the cucumber and mix with the yogurt. Apply to face and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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