Dear Answer Angel Ellen: In my stay home/unemployed state, I’ve seen and read several helpful articles about recipe substitutions using what you already have on hand. What DIY beauty substitutes can you tell me about? Especially ones that will save me some money.

— Allison E.

Dear Allison: I’ve found that a lot of the DIY beauty tips call for ingredients that most of us usually don’t have at home. Here’s a few beauty substitutions or ideas made with ingredients you might actually have in your cupboard, refrigerator or pantry — or that you can find at the grocery store. But these are just some starter suggestions. (An online search and YouTube turn up lots more.) I’ve learned from experience that the most creative and cost-saving ideas come from all you smart, creative readers. Lets hear from you!

Dry shampoo: Dust talc or baby powder on your scalp (a couple drops of essential oil for scent is nice but not necessary); a couple tablespoons of cornstarch also work. Let it sit for five minutes then brush hair.

Liquid shampoo: Several tablespoons of baking soda in a squeeze bottle, hot water and shake (essential oil optional), rinse with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice and cool water.

Hair conditioner: One egg yolk beaten until fluffy, add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, beat; add 3/4-1 cup warm water, mix. Pour through wet hair and let it sit for at least five minutes, rinse.

Deep hair conditioner: (This can get messy.) Alone or combo’d with any of these others — massage olive oil, coconut oil, mayonnaise, mashed avocado and a beaten egg yolk into wet hair; wrap head in an old towel for 20 minutes or more, rinse well.

Hand and body dry skin moisturizer: Cocoa butter (smells like chocolate) or coconut oil used sparingly; or, if you happen to have an aloe vera plant, use gel from leaves. You can also use the following very sparingly (greasy but they work): petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or solid shortenings like Crisco. Add optional scent — an essential oil or vanilla or almond oil, wipe off excess.

Foot cream: Apply a generous amount of the hand/body formula above at bedtime, cover with socks.

Lip balm: Vaseline.

Dry or itchy skin soak: Pulverize 1 cup dry, instant, quick or slow-cooking oatmeal, pour the powder into tub of running water, add 1 cup baking soda (optional for itching), soak in tub for 15-20 minutes, gently rub skin; pat dry.

Eye makeup remover: Coconut oil or olive oil.

Face scrub: 1/4-1/2 cup coconut oil, add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon cinnamon (if available), juice of half a lemon; scrub face, let sit for at least 15 minutes, rinse.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’m thinking ahead — and trying to stay positive. The wedding I was going to attend was postponed so this isn’t an immediate problem but … can I wear a red dress to the wedding? It’s new and beautiful, but it IS red. I asked two girlfriends and one said yes and the other said no. You’re the tiebreaker.

— Terri R.

Dear Terri: Yes, wear it — as long as you won’t feel uncomfortable and keep second-guessing yourself. Wedding guest clothing rules have loosened so that your only concerns should be how you feel about how you look and dressing too over the top such that you seize attention away from the bride.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: During the stay-at-home COVID-19 confinement I am cleaning my house in very small spurts. So I noticed the plastic shower liner had gross streaks of mold on the yellow rubber duckie pattern. The decorative fabric “over curtain” (flowered cloth) had some mold along its hem too. Help! They’re too new (and expensive) to discard and they still have a lot of use left in them.

— Peggy E.

Dear Peggy: Your question prompted me to tackle my own identical problem. This worked perfectly: Put both the liner and curtain in the washing machine, along with a 1/2 cup of detergent and 1/2 cup of baking soda, plus two towels, to minimize the plastic liner from cracking. Choose the gentle cycle with a warm water setting. During the first rinse, add one cup of white vinegar. Don’t put them in the dryer. Instead just rehang them in the shower to dry.

Angelic Readers 1

Responding to a recent column discussing what clothes to wear when working from home, Judy B. suggests that instead of sweatpants, choose pants (even jeans) “with a zipper” so that “they’ll (still) fit when you need to go back to the office or out in public. It’s too easy to snack all day working at home.”

Angelic Readers 2

Lyn M. writes: “For many years I have been coloring my hair at home. The product is to be put only on the roots during the first round. Often there were missed patches with the single nozzle applicator. Then I found this “Salon Care Root Comb Applicator” (, $8.79) — a bottle with a comb-shaped applicator with 10 nozzles. I do a center part and apply evenly from the top down through the roots. Then I start at the front hairline/sides and go front to back. Problem solved! The attachment cleans with water and, if needed, cotton swab. Air dry for the next time.”

Angelic Readers 3

From Lynda S.: “Wanted to share a handy static stopper for any outfit. Use a tiny safety pin in the inside hem of the outfit. If it’s pants, use two (one for each leg). If it’s a top or dress, use one on each side or front and back. Works like a charm. Remove when washing.”



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