Winter wonderlands are spectacular to look at but there’s nothing pretty about dry, itchy, winter skin. While designer creams and tonics may offer a miracle in a bottle, the basic everyday items that grace your cupboards and stockpile shelves will do the trick at a fraction of the cost. Follow these six simple steps for softer skin and you'll feel as smooth as satin.

1. Use leftover coffee grinds to buff away dull, dry skin.

When rough hands put a cramp in your coupon clipping, you needn't look further than your cup of morning Joe for fast and cheap relief. While it may seem like slathering on hand cream is the simple solution, the truth is that dry hands can't absorb moisturizers due to a buildup of flaky, dead skin. Take the cooled coffee grinds from your coffee pot and gently exfoliate your weary hands, rinsing with tepid water before patting dry. The added bonus? While this scrub is too abrasive for your delicate facial skin, it works wonders on arms, legs, and feet—and the caffeine in the grinds will also tone and tighten skin which can temporarily decrease the appearance of cellulite.

2. Take a fresh look at kitchen basics

Sometimes the secret to silky, smooth skin lies in thinking outside the box-bottle. While expensive sugar scrubs from bath & body boutiques may feel worth the splurge, you can make your very own spa-worthy scrub with two simple ingredients that are already sitting on your pantry shelf. This sugar scrub will keep at room temperature in a sealed container for several weeks and makes for great homemade gifts that your friends will adore.

Sugar Scrub

  • ½ cup coconut or olive oil (don’t warm the coconut oil as it will dissolve the sugar)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-5 drops of essential oil (optional)

Directions

Combine the sugar, oil and essential oil and stir to form a thick paste. Rub mixture on dry skin in circular motions and rinse with warm water.

4. Turn stockpile freebies into healing treatments

Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of warm oatmeal on a cold winter morning, but did you know oatmeal is equally comforting to itchy, dry skin? Oatmeal baths have long been recommended by dermatologists to combat the tight and itchy skin common with eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. If you're like me, I can't resist the free-oatmeal-after-coupon deals that pop up this time of year, and this bath soak is an easy and inventive way to put those victory buys to good use.

Oatmeal Bath Soak

 

  • 1 cup oatmeal (instant, quick oats or slow cooking oats)

Directions

Grind oatmeal into a fine powder using either a blender or coffee grinder. The mix should resemble powdered sugar or baking soda in particle size. Add the ground oatmeal into a tub of running water, stirring the water with your hand to ensure even distribution. (Use caution when entering and exiting the tub as surfaces may be extra slippery.)

5. DIY Designer hand cream

When my hands are chapped and raw, I'm easily swayed by the allure of high-end hand creams. With their rich texture and calming ingredients, it's easy to see why you can't put a price on the relief they can bring. But what if you could? And what if instead of shelling out $15 a pop for the latest "it" hand cream, you hit up the local dollar store for a handful of powerful emollients that offer the same sweet relief as those pricier creams? Well, wonder no more. The following DIY hand cream is moisture-rich, vitamin-dense, and a fraction of the cost.

Homemade Hand Cream

  • 8 oz. petroleum jelly
  • 8 oz. vitamin E cream
  • 16 oz. baby lotion

Directions

Combine all ingredients and whip together using an electric mixer until the cream resembles whipped icing. Store in a lidded container and apply as needed.

6. Create a skin-happy home

My yoga buddy has a saying, "If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?" Our skin rarely gets the credit for being the largest organ of our body, but our skin is home to everything that makes us tick and our first defense against invading germs. Dry skin is weak and vulnerable and much more susceptible to disease. Help your skin help you by wearing extra layers during the winter months instead of blasting dry air from the furnace throughout your home. Don't just stop there: go ahead and run your humidifier next to your bedside table. Your body does most of its repairs while you sleep, and creating skin-friendly air is just one more way to wake up with softer skin.

This is a guest post by Vanessa B.