Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

DIY-er beauty: HAIR! And skin.

For those of us who like to sew and make our own chocolate and knock off Anthropologie lamps... that is, the thrifty DIYers... we may have some beauty favorites in common, too. Some of you very sweet readers have asked me before about how I do my hair, and and about my skin and why I choose to stay so super pale all the time (guilty as charged...). I've never done a hair tutorial because I do NOT feel qualified ;), but I do manage to get my hair looking presentable most of the time, using a few quick methods I've developed, and I do have a skin ritual that's important to me for keeping my healthy (but super pale) skin.

First about the hair. For most of my life I did nothing to my hair other than wash it every other day or so, and I normally had it cut with layers so it would curl into waves naturally without any styling. In fact, when I brush it, it just turns into a first-year Hermione-esque puffball. A few years ago I got tired of the layers and have it all the same length around the face, which is great for wearing it up but means I have to guide it more into the nice curls, with the extra weight it has on the top layer. But I am still lazy and like the shortcuts, and don't want to pay a lot for products or haircuts. I've actually started having my mom trim the ends of my hair again--only a few times a year, which is probably not great, but... I'm busy! Aaack!

As for skin... yes, I am pale. I've never tanned well even when I tried a few times when I was 15 and had bad self-esteem and wanted to look like Jennifer Aniston, and then after that I decided I would fake tan my legs during the summer, which was a pain and smelled bad. I've had spray tans a couple times before, which is sorta fun but I do turn out pretty different-looking, and then when I go swimming it comes off, and the whole point was to look less blindingly white in a swimsuit, so... sorta counter productive. But nowadays it's really important to me to protect my skin from the sun and future sun damage. And there are lots of good fair-skinned role models on TV and in movies now, so I hope the pale-skinned teenage girls of the future will be more comfortable with their natural complexions!

Annnnnyway, my fave DIY/thrifty/health conscious products!!

one two three four five

For hair--

1. I don't know anything about the best hairspray so I am perfectly content with the White Rain I bought at Dollar Tree. Literally, for a dollar at Dollar Tree. I've had other brands before but sometimes the scents are just icky, and I don't care about max hold versus super max hold versus... I have a softer hold one I sometimes use, but just a liiiiiight spritz of this stuff and I'm good.

2. I am in love with my beautiful 1" curling iron that I treated myself to on Amazon a while back. Hot Tools gets really good reviews and this thing is definitely better quality than any of the Revlon or whatever ones I've had before.

3. When I curl my hair with my curling wand, I can seriously do my entire big head of hair in 8 minutes. It takes such big sections of hair at a time, it's amazing. And it stays for DAYS. I can go 3 days on a curl job from this thing--also an Amazon treat, by Remington.

4. I don't straighten my hair much, but for the longest time I had some crappy old cheap straightener that hardly did anything to my bushy hair. Then the Hana Air people sent me this Misikko flat iron, which is quite luxurious. I think it's similar to this on Amazon, but I bet the Remington one one would also do the trick.

5. New fave find--"shine spray." The girl who did my friend's hair for her wedding used some and I'd never heard of it before. Was hard to find at the drug store--think I went to three or four before finding this Tresemme one. I use it before curling my hair, particularly near the top and back, since my hair gets so crazy and frizzy sometimes. I think of it as anti-frizz, like leave-in conditioner is, except it doesn't make your hair greasy and heavy!
Those are my faves for hair, although one other fave I just remembered--spiral pins. I use them for top buns and I only need TWO! For all my hair! The Goody ones are kinda spendy (small and large) but I bought a bunch of cheapo ones for like $1 on eBay. Have you tried spiral pins before?! Aren't they AMAZING?!!

For skin--

6. I've recently been really adamant about not using harsh chemicals on my face or in our home, as much as possible, and so I love some of the natural products that I've found for the shower and my face. I use this crazy olive oil soap by Kiss My Face, which smells pretty crazy (no flowery scents added) but feels amaaaazing.

7. Kiss My Face also makes castille soap, you know, like Dr. Bronner's--good soap for any purpose at all. I use this mint one mixed with some water in a foaming soap dispenser and it lasts a long time and gives you just the right amount for washing hands or body wash. And it smells SO good! They also have an acai pomegranate one I looove and actually have the foaming pump of.

8. And I LOVE the Sonic Dermabrasion brush thing I got myself last Christmas when I wanted the super fancy Clarisonic but couldn't justify it. So I got the knockoff for only $25 and it rocks!! Cleans my face instead of a washcloth and is gentler and more effective.

9. Moisturizer. I didn't used to moisturize every day but now I do... getting closer to 60 every day, you know, gotta prevent those wrinkles, or something. Plus it feels good to moisturize, and keeps my skin from drying out in the winter or breaking out from being too harsh. And I decided a couple years ago that I ABsolutely want to protect my skin from the sun every single day--that means wearing SPF every day. It's hard to remember, unless it's just part of the routine, so now I put on my new fave SPF 15 moisturizer before my makeup every morning. Of course I put on more if I'm going outside in the middle of the day for a long period, but this keeps me for a few hours with normal sun exposure. For a while I used any old store brand SPF moisturizer, but then I read in a magazine talking about which products to prioritize buying organic, the most important products to get without harsh chemicals are the ones that go closest to your skin. I was like, DUH!! So the stuff that goes under the makeup should be natural even if I can't afford all natural makeup right now. So I shopped around at Whole Foods and our local version of Whole Foods, New Seasons, and tried out several choices... the all-natural ones are hard to find with SPF since it's normally made with artificial products. But I found this Say Yes to Carrots one that was affordable (less than $10 on sale or online!) and smells nice. Some of the others smelled weird. ;) I love how it feels!

10. Serious sunscreen. During the summer I wore this Neutrogena SPF 55 stuff on my collarbone area when I wore shirts with a neckline that exposed it. This part of the body ages first, on a lot of people, and the skin can get dark or enlarged pores, and I want to prevent that. I also have the SPF 45, and I love this Neutrogena Ultra Sheer stuff since it's truly sheer--completely non-greasy and super light, and doesn't smell awful.

PHEW, that was a lot of beauty talk!! My main point--I've figured out where to save and where to spend, and I love finding little shortcuts like I have! What are your time- and money-saving beauty tips for hair and skin??!?


  1. Katherine10/12/2012

    I love that Neutrogena sunscreen! I think I've been using it since at least 8-9 years ago!

  2. I have the same Remington curling wand and I LOVE it. I also have a Remington straightener that I've had for 5 years. Good quality.

  3. I use Neutrogena daily as well! So important to protect our skin, even in the PNW! I think when my hair gets a little longer I want to try out the curling wand. My hair is naturally wavy, but I'd like to make it a little more uniform. Thanks for letting us see into your beauty cabinet!

  4. I love your tip about putting sunscreen on the collarbone/chest area. I wear sunscreen on my face every day but hadn't thought about the collarbone area.

    I recently started using Garnier BB cream for my face. It is a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. I've be using it in place of foundation because I am really low maintenance. It provides light coverage that noticeably evens out my red skin tone; plus it makes my skin soft.

    1. I've heard of BB cream!! Not sure what it is/what the magic property is but it definitely sounds worth checking out. Thanks!

  5. Wow! So many great tips! I really need to wear sunscreen and moisturizer more often. I'll check out those brands!

  6. Anonymous10/13/2012

    Interesting to read! They look like great products!

    I just wanted to let you know that I always love reading your blog, so I nominated it for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! (I'm kind of new to the blogging world, so I'm not really sure if it works on sites that aren't Wordpress, but I thought that you would want to know anyway. Just in case, the requirements for the award are on my blog.) Thanks for sharing your great thoughts and creations with the world!

    1. Thanks so much for reading and thinking of me!

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  8. Hi Suzannah, Thank you very much for your caring and helpful tips, that we usually dont care of. Yes, you should never be out without sunscreen.

  9. Hi Suzannah,
    Here at our Tessuti blog (tessuti.blogspot.com.au) we are having a “Silk Stash Giveaway” and thought that this may be of interest to you and your readers.
    Thank you in advance

  10. I just can't say enough how much I appreciate your simple, sweet outlook!



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