Category Archives: Frugality

Look who’s back! With cornmeal!


Wow.  What an absence, huh?

I don’t have any excuses as to why I haven’t posted again other than that the holidays make me crazy.  Is anyone else like that, or is it just me?  I feel like you get all aflutter with the overwhelming joy of the holidays and then crushed by the universal “blah” that follows…

Speaking of blah, I’m having some pretty blah winter issues with my skin and I KNOW I’m not the only one in this boat.  It is because of this that I have decided to bless you, dear reader, with an invaluable nugget of information.  This information, however, comes at a price.  You have to scroll to the bottom of the page sit through one of my rather pointless stories.

I grew up in what I would consider to be a middle-class family, capable of and willing to live well within our means.  To sum it up quickly, it almost reminds me of a Jeff Foxworthy-style anecdote: If you grew up thinking that Old Navy was high-end, your mom might have been a cheapskate.  If you thought Wally-World means Walgreens (because the coupons were better and that was your rollback), your mom might have been a cheapskate.  If you know how to make 2% from the last inch of whole milk in the jug, your mom might have been a cheapskate.  Need I go on?

My mom was awesome, don’t get me wrong.  I never felt like I went without anything because she made it work.  That is not to say that we were always just flat broke, its just that my mom really was a penny-pinching, tight-fisted, I-am-the-only-one-who-touches-the-checkbook kind of cheapskate.  It’s like she thought the world was out to rip her off.  She never paid for something she thought wasn’t important and – after watching copious hours of TLC – I am glad that she found toilet paper to be important, but that’s a rant for another post.  Some of her home-made concoctions have stuck with me, though, like the one I’m about to share with you all.

In my opinion, this is one of her best-kept secrets of all time and it still amazes me that there are not more suggestions like this on the internet.  Believe it or not, skincare is easy.  Not only is it easy, it can be very cheap.  My mom used cornmeal like it had been blessed by the divine.  Not just for cornbread and frying things – no sir!  I grew up with a little baggy of cornmeal living in my shower.  Cornmeal is an awesome exfoliator and if you have eczema like me or psoriasis  like He-Man, it can help with the itching.  Mix about a tablespoon of cornmeal from your live-in shower baggy with your regular body wash or lathered soap.  Wash.  Exfoliate.  Rinse.  Done.  It’s SO SIMPLE!  I do this after I shave my legs to get them ready for lotion.  I use it on my arms after an eczema flare-up to get rid of the flakiness.  I also use this on my face to get rid of blackheads and zits.

(photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Did you know that you can medicate your cornmeal?  I did!  The main acne-fighting ingredient in whatever you overpay for is salicylic acid.  Do you know what that is?  Asprin.  Put two asprin in your food processor and get it all munched up into a powder.  Mix that powder with about a cup of cornmeal and put it in a plastic baggy.  Let that baggy live in your shower.  The salicylic acid is a great acne-fighter, the cornmeal is a great scrub, and the best part is that it doesn’t stink like most medicated washes.  It just smells like whatever body wash you happen to be using.  This method also works wonders on razor burn, just so you know.  Have I blown your mind enough yet?  Because I’m not even done yet.

Do you remember when Garnier came out with that caffeine-powered under-eye roller thing?  Well, where do you get your caffeine power from in the morning?  Oh yes, I’m going there.  You can use dry coffee grounds the same way you would use the cornmeal as listed above, though I have never tried it with the emulsified asprin.  Use it on your face in the morning for a quick pick-me-up after it looks like your pillow gave you a high-five to the face.  This may not smell so wonderful with your berries-and-creme body wash but the effects are well worth it.

Now, this is the part where I leave a few disclaimers:

DO NOT get this in your eyes.  All the same rules apply for when you get something in your eye that was never meant to be there.  Flush with water for several seconds and contact a medical professional if you feel that something is “really wrong”.

DO NOT over-exfoliate.  Such a thing is possible and while you’re probably saying to yourself “oh it’s just cornmeal so it could never work as well as the stuff I actually pay for,” you’re wrong.  If you over-exfoliate it will feel like a sunburn, so have fun with that.

DO NOT use this while you are mid-breakout with your eczema, psoriasis, etc.  Wait until the breakout has cleared and you have been left with dry itchiness that you just have to get off this second.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I know you’re dying to try it.  It really works so go pay Martha White a visit at the Wally-World of your childhood and let her scrub your back for you.  Just keep in mind that nothing goes better after a nice body and facial scrub than the right moisturization.  Be good to your body and enjoy feeling like silk for the next few days.

Until next time, happy scrubbing!