Cheap Thrills

OK FIRST THING I have an assignment for you — in two weeks I’m going to do a post called Another Chance, and I need your help. This is a post that occurred to me while I was rearranging some perfume downstairs in my secondary storage.  I want you, in the next day or two, to dig out a fragrance you haven’t worn in awhile (maybe even one you’re on the fence about) and I want you to wear it consistently for a few days like “normal” people do, lol. Then I want you to come back in two weeks and comment — did you decide you liked it?  Hated it?  Was your love rekindled?  Is it going straight to your swap box?  Why?  I’ll choose something of my own and we’ll all report back.  It’ll be fun!

SECOND THING I’m trapped at home and lonely and bored and anxious and I really appreciate your comments.  It makes my day to stop by here and read what you have to say, so thanks. On to today’s post.

In the shower I was pondering (as one does) the state of my existence and the condition of my boudoir, and I realized I was surrounded by some of the cheapest things I own that bring me the most …. okay, maybe joy is the wrong word, but if one of them got lost, or used up, or broken, I’d get another pronto.  I’ll provide links so you know what I’m talking about but many/most of these things are so common they could be sourced at Target, the drugstore, etc.

  • A scalp scrubber. I read an article awhile ago from a dermatologist saying that in order to maintain our hair health we should be washing our hair less– with unscented shampoo– but scrubbing our scalps more.  I only wash my hair once a week (even then, not because it looks greasy, lol) but I do a gentle once-over of my scalp with this doohickey in the shower about three times per week.
  • That tiare-scented hand and body oil pictured above.  It’s been manufactured since 1942, the bottle’s charming as heck, and the base is coconut oil, so I don’t use it on my face. I decant plain coconut oil into a dish on my bathroom shelf for ease of use, blended with a bit of this oil because it smells fantastic.  The two together, slathered on my arms and legs in a steamy bathroom, is a little tropical vacation.
  • A decent razor. I shaved for decades with those crap two-blade disposable drugstore razors, whatever was on sale while picking up toothpaste, and then I tried a five-blade on a whim and whoa the difference!  If you want, there’s subscriptions like Billie and Flamingo (in the US anyway) that send you new blades in the mail.
  • Some cloth facial cleansing pads. I use them for makeup removal and general skincare.  Now that I’m not commuting to work, and all my makeup’s sitting right here, I’ve been practicing various lewks – the perfect winged eyeliner, the smoky eye, etc.  It’s hilarious, I show up for my daily Zoom work check-in with eyes made up like an extra in an 80’s MTV video.  Anyway, I thought washable pads were kinda dumb until a friend gave me these, and now I’m hooked.  Splash out for one of those mesh lingerie bags to wash them in, then throw them in the laundry when you start to run low.  There are a million variations in color, fancy organic ones on Etsy, etc.
  • This easy peel. I love the Ordinary so, so much, for demystifying ingredients and for punching a giant hole in the notion that good skincare needs to be hideously expensive.  I use several of their items including their marula oil, the caffeine gel, and their squalane serum.  If your face is getting all rough-looking, slap some of this on for ten minutes and rinse and your skin will be as soft as the proverbial baby’s bottom.  I find it gentle, but then I use AHAs and BHAs and whatnot all the time, so proceed accordingly.
  • I keep gallon jugs of vinegar under every sink in the house, plus spray bottles in the kitchen and my shower. Are your drains getting funky?  Your dishwasher?  Your washing machine?  Your clothing or towels or bedlinens?  Throw some vinegar in there and let the magic happen (I swear, your laundry doesn’t come out smelling of vinegar.)  In my bathroom I have one of those charming, old-timey clawfoot tubs with the ceiling-mounted shower curtain ring, and poor ventilation. After my shower I spritz the curtains with vinegar, and I’ve never had a mildew problem.  I spray my hair occasionally for a clean cold-water rinse.  I also (tmi!) have an occasional fungal issue with my left big toenail, a gift from a hot-yoga class years ago.  Whenever it crops up, I spray it twice a day with vinegar until things return to normal.
  • A glass nail file. Not gonna lie, if you’ve never used one, there’s a bit of tolerance you may need to develop. It’s got a weirdly annoying sensation to a lot of people, vaguely reminiscent of fingernails on a blackboard to me.  However, it’s the smoothest, fastest file out there.  My nails are both hard and brittle, and it’s difficult for me to get a smooth edge with a metal file or emory board, I’m always left with snags.  A glass file is, well, glass, which means they can break if you drop them, and they’re not really portable unless you carry them in a protective hard case.  But they’re cheap and otherwise durable enough I always have one or two sitting here.  You can wash them, and if you don’t drop them they last forever.

OK, your turn!  What cheap and cheerful treasures make your life easier in the personal-care department?

  • Melissa Baker says:

    And YES! Love the AHA 30% + BHA 2% peel! I sprayed the new MAC FIX+ MAGIC RADIANCE on after and my skin just really drank it up, more than usual. Could really tell a difference. I’m going to do the peel again this morning.

  • Melissa Baker says:

    Thanks to you, I have a bottle of the Monoi Tiki Tahiti Tiare Coconut Oil en route! So excited

  • Bee says:

    I am loving all these ideas for vinegar – especially for laundry! I have awful feet with bunions and calluses galore and I recommend O’Keefe’s Exfoliating Moisturising Foot Cream – it’s got rid of a load of really hard skin overnight.

  • Sarah B. Patton says:

    Hallo! Catching up on old comments to this fun post. Were there ever any links for best ever Korean Foot File? My feet are like goat hooves.

  • AnnieA says:

    I use baby washcloths and they provide gentle exfoliation. (I bought my own, not taking them from a baby…)

  • Musette says:

    I’m cheap as a lima bean (as you know 😉 and I spent waay too many years in marketing to justify a lot of spendy beauty stuff – so my bathroom/kitchen/etc is full of ‘hacks’ – I have a jar of organic coconut oil the size of The Girl’s head – I scoop some out into a small jar, add some EO and slather it on, post-shower. I tend towards spa smells like tea tree, cedar and eucalyptus, so my bathroom always smells like Ten Thousand Waves

    I second (third? 203rd?) the vinegar! Portia suggested it for laundry use awhile back – and I’ve been AWN it! ever since. I haven’t used it for the shower curtain, though (bleach water spray) – but I think I might try it!!!


    • March says:

      See, I LOATHE the way bleach smells. I don’t know why but I do. So I started using ye olde vinegar and I’ve never looked back. I did however recommend the vinegar solution to someone who said I HATE THE SMELL lol

  • Kathleen says:

    I love your Another Chance assignment, I will select a perfume today and wear it for a few days.
    One of my favorite cheap thrills is Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. It is the best lip balm that I have ever found and I wear it day and night. Dry chapped lips a thing of the past!
    Also Alpha Skin Care body lotion products with 10% glycolic acid. These products banish dry skin and exfoliate better than products much more expensive.

    • March says:

      Ooooh, I keep meaning to try that Laneige! And thanks for the body lotion tip, I am always up for another lotion to try, I have suuuuper dry skin.

  • gwenyth2 says:

    I have had great results using Organic Australian Pumpkin Seed Butter. check out this link
    After a bath or shower, I buff my feet with a foot file, then rub in the pumpkin seed butter (I wear cotton socks to keep the butter in place and to protect my floors)
    These are nice…..

    • March says:

      That sounds amazing! I was doing a routine for awhile with the socks etc. and I got out of the habit and it shows…. thank you!

  • Patty says:

    The Amazon ads got reallly weird for this post. I’m still contemplating that makeup thing. I haven’t put on makeup in five weeks. I’m not sure I’ve brushed my hair except after I wash it. But I did order that blush thingie you talked about on Facebook, plus the eyeshadow one, so I think I’m going to try those lewks for the duration, but after I get back on my bike and ride daily.

    • March says:

      Makeup is a funny thing. I put it on every day even though nobody is going to see it, because just doing so cheers me up. Oooh, I hope you love the blush, I got it and the eye palette as well!

  • Amateur Dilettante says:

    How did I not know of the existence of scalp scrubbers?!?!?!? Must remedy immediately!
    Ummm cheap thrills…I’m not good at this game. Everything I have is either cheap and not a thrill, or is a thrill but expensive. Most thrilling lately is my Lemon Verbena soap from Oriza Legrand, but not cheap, and Deva Curl Styling Crean, which works great for my hair but smells like a truck-stop air freshener.
    Looks like I need to try some Ordinary products though!

    • March says:

      I am a big fan of The Ordinary if anything on their website speaks to you. I’ve been very pleased. And I am going to google the soap, Lemon Verbena is one of my favorite scents! DevaCurl “truck stop air freshener” lololol their product scent is pretty strong, as is Ouidad.

  • Tanja says:

    I love my korean laser foot file, gets rid of horny heels in minutes… And korean Italy towels for exfoliating in the shower.

  • Peggy says:

    My newest cheap thrill is Dove Wash Mousse with Rose Oil, which smells pleasant and the lather is fantastic! My oldest cheap thrill is my Buff Puff, which I have been using since the seventies. With a light hand and maybe a bit of camellia oil, it does a good job of exfoliating.

  • Dina C. says:

    I like glass nail files too! I picked up a couple of travel-sized Essie ones years ago, and they’re going strong. I also love a Swedish file for gently scrubbing my heels and callouses on my feet during a shower. And those exfoliating gloves. You wear them during a shower, squeeze your body wash onto them, they make tons of lather, and then you rinse them out and hang them up to dry. They’re less than $5 at CVS right now. Ulta usually has them, too.

  • Tara C says:

    I have a glass nail file and I also have a rubber thing which looks just like the scalp scrubber but was sold at a pet store to brush excess fur off your cat. I bet it would work. The monoi oil, I have a similar product made by Yves Rocher, which I wear in the summer. The makeup pads look interesting, never tried them, but I like the idea, very ecological. My own musts are a pumice stone to scrub my feet, shea butter to slather them with, and Tatcha rice enzyme powder to exfoliate my very sensitive face that can’t tolerate scrubs or acids.

    • March says:

      I love my pumice thingy! I have one with a handle, I think someone below referenced it? I don’t exfoliate w the Tatcha, although I hear it is fantastic.

  • matty1649 says:

    I use white vinegar spray with a little bit of Zoflora added.

  • Portia says:

    Hey there March,
    I’m a 100% white vinegar user. We use it in the clothes washing instead of fabric softener because there’s no residue or scent. Clean the bathroom, fridge and dishwasher with a 90% Vinegar 10% Disinfectant mix.
    I seriously can’t think of anything else.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Yep, I don’t buy fabric softener, vinegar works so much better, especially on things like towels!

    • Kathleen says:

      I never thought to use vinegar instead of fabric softener. Thank you for this tip Portia!

      • March says:

        Fabric softener can get itself glued into towels in a way that makes them weirdly non-absorbent. A vinegar rinse in your laundry tends to fluff things up, and they don’t smell like vinegar although you’d think they would!

  • Ann says:

    WHAT A DELIGHTFUL READ! I love cheap thrills, and I love reading about other people’s cheap thrills even more. I do have that very scalp scrubber, but did not think of using it outside the shower. I WILL be ordering the Monoi Tiki Tahiti Tiare, and I really hope someone says I smell good so I can tell them what it is 🙂 I don’t have an issue with brittle nails to date, but I do have an issue with mildew and will be using your vinegar spray solution, thank you March!

    • March says:

      Hey there, you! I think you will really enjoy the Tiare, note that there’s like six different scents if one of the others appeals to you more! Thanks for stopping by.