By Alexandra Gekas Posted November 09, 2010 from

Whether it’s for antiaging creams, acne medicine or exfoliating scrubs, American women spend a bundle on maintaining their beauty. In fact, a 2008 YWCA report found that U.S. women dole out around $7 billion—roughly $100 per month—on cosmetics and beauty products. But there’s a select group who prefer to go the old-fashioned route, choosing cheaper skincare methods that use household goods. From removing makeup with vegetable shortening to dabbing hemorrhoid cream under the eyes, discover eight of the most bizarre ways women bolster their beauty routines.

No Stubble Left Behind


Reality TV star Caroline Manzo brought shaving to light on an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. She swears that shaving in the shower every day helps exfoliate her face, and is the secret to her flawless complexion. But, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s dermatology department in New York City, it’s probably not an ideal method for most women. “It isn’t my first recommendation for exfoliating because it can cause irritation, which outweighs the rewards,” he says. Whether you try it in the shower, like Manzo, or dry with cold cream like some bloggers suggest, just be sure to use a sterile, disposable razor. Photo: Shutterstock


Get Basted

And here we thought cooking spray was for our skillet! We stumbled across a beauty blog that suggested using the foodstuff—unscented, that is—after fake tanning to make your skin glow. According to Dr. Zeichner, people prone to skin irritation and allergies should be wary of this kind of at-home treatment. However, he does believe oil can improve the quality of your skin: “Modified oil and oils are commonly used on the skin to help moisturize and improve the integrity of the skin barrier,” he says. “When your skin barrier looks good, the skin will have a more even tone and glow.” Photo: Thinkstock


Wipe Away the Puffiness

In addition to dazzling eyeshadows and lustrous bronzers, every makeup artist has hemorrhoid cream in her arsenal. Yes, you read that right! Believe it or not, the cream is said to quickly reduce undereye puffiness and dark circles—and Dr. Zeichner agrees. “Hemorrhoid cream and nasal sprays contain chemicals that constrict blood vessels, so using those products is a trick you can use not only for circles under your eyes, but also for red marks such as pimples,” he says. Simply squeeze out a pea-size amount and dab under each eye, rubbing the cream in gently with your ring finger—then, before leaving home, rehearse a vague reply for when people ask how you got so gorgeous! Photo: iStockphoto


Jolt Cellulite into Submission

Sorry, Marilyn—on most busy days, coffee is actually a girl’s best friend. And it turns out it could be good for our lumps and bumps as well! Although a foolproof solution to cellulite remains elusive, Dr. Zeichner says coffee might help. “What caffeine does is it pulls water out so it can make cellulite appear less apparent rather than plumping up everything around it,” he says. “It may also help reduce the number of fat cells. ” Applying the coffee can be messy, but it’s worth a whirl: Mix ¼ to ½ cup coffee grounds (used ones from your coffeemaker are fine) with approximately 2 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and massage into the affected areas, trying to get as much to stick as possible. Cover the area in plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Photo: iStockphoto


Stop Sagging Before It Stops You

Antidiarrheal medicines can play an, ahem, important role in your digestive life. But did you know that the liquid pink-colored kind can also help tighten your skin and shrink pores? At least that’s the claim by some beauty bloggers who swear by the stuff, applying it straight from the bottle with a cotton ball. Dr. Zeichner says the idea isn’t completely far-fetched, because these over-the-counter meds contain bismuth subsalicylate, which can be found in a slightly different form in cosmetics. Even so, Dr. Zeichner would shy away from using it on your face. “There are much better clay masks available commercially and inexpensively on the market,” he says. Photo: iStockphoto


Make Fat Your Friend

This beauty trick is one of the oldest in the books—and for a reason: It works! Vegetable shortening as a makeup remover “has been used commonly, especially for patients with dry skin,” Dr. Zeichner says. “It’s helpful for patients with more mature skin who may be looking for something with a bit more moisture,” he says. Just be forewarned: Given its greasiness from the soybean oil, you’ll sport your fair share of shine throughout the day! Photo: Lisa Fain/Getty Images


Buy Your Body a Drink

According to The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets, actress Teri Hatcher uses red wine in her bath water to soften her skin. While it certainly sounds decadent, Dr. Zeichner questions its effectiveness: “Red wine is full of antioxidants that we know are beneficial to our overall health, but the challenge is making sure these antioxidants are actually absorbed into the skin,” he says. “So putting a little red wine in the water won’t hurt, but it’s about getting the antioxidants where they have to go.” Enough said—we’ll drink to that advice! Photo: iStockphoto


Baby Your Zits

New mothers aren’t the only ones who are stocking up on diaper rash cream—it seems this product is catching on as an adult acne treatment as well! According to the site, diaper rash cream helps zap zits quickly when it’s applied like regular pimple cream. Dr. Zeichner says new studies are showing this may be true. “There is recent evidence out there that diaper rash is caused by both irritation to the skin and by yeast, so most diaper creams contain antifungal medicines that are actually effective at treating the bacteria that causes acne.” However, for the time being, Dr. Zeichner advises acne-prone individuals to stick with over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Photo: Jupiterimages