Sometimes, when I'm especially broke, I like to mentally tot up all that money I've saved by never smoking.
Imagine. A fiver a day over 14 years. Probably like a house deposit, I reckon.
The flipside of this, natch, is how much I've frittered on the frivolous. Specifically, on stuff that men aren't socially conditioned from the time of toddler-dem to have in, lest they get painted as social pariahs with sub par conditioning and unkempt eyebrows. Beauty products - all the jazz from shampoo that WILL MAKE YOU A TROPICAL GODDESS to scrubs to destroy all that nasty dead skin that renders you VILE TO THE OPPOSITE SEX - ain't cheap.
After zipping through a book named Skin Cleanse, by Adina Grigore, who founded Brooklyn-based S.W. Basics after discovering that the key to ending her war with her itchy, red and rash-y complexion lay in ditching shop products and mixing up concoctions with stuff you'd normally put in your dinner, rather than on your face - the prospect of doing the same felt pretty appealing.
"I had so many problems with my skin before going truly natural," she tells me. "It was itchy, rashy, red, broke out, and just irritated all the time. I felt better instantly. My skin calmed down, it got clearer, and it stayed that way."
This all sounding pretty sweet, I decided to try some out. Here's how they're done. Both work a treat, smell like sunshine and, if kept in pretty jars, make your bathroom look like a Pinterest board.
1 | Banana Honey hair mask
Mash a ripe banana up with a teaspoon of honey and 100ml of extra virgin olive oil. To use, work a handful through your hair, leave for an hour, and wash out.
2 | Papaya, lime and sugar combination face and body exfoliant
This one is taken from Adina's Skin Cleanse book. Take a quarter of a papaya, chop, then whizz in a food processor with the juice of half a lime and 40g of demerara sugar. Lightly rub onto clean skin.
Sure, tightness drove me to give these a whirl. But there's a giant benefit to doing these (really quick) ideas, too. Zero chemicals. Now, science not being my strong suit (shout out to all my grade C double award at GCSE people) I'm not too sure on the intricacies of what makes up your typical bathroom cabinet.
But, just like with food, I'm imagining that ingredients made up of letters/ numbers/ hieroglyphics probably aren't the best for you. And, given that a decent whack of what you slather on your body's largest organ wriggles its way in your blood stream, using things that you'd happily spoon for breakfast is a good shout.
As for me, I'm a total convert.