The packaging does not control you, personal care edition

Like I’ve mentioned before, you don’t have to follow the directions on the packaging or do what the label says to get the best deal. This works for personal care products also. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • If you run out of body wash or soap, there are several other products you can use. I know it’s a typical first-world problem that you have a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in your shower and they all get used up at different rates. If you run out of body wash, use the shampoo or conditioner instead. Both are easy on your skin, smell good, and get you clean. Conditioner has the added benefit of moisturizing also.
  • Ditto for shaving cream if you shave in the shower. Use conditioner instead. It’s great for your skin, smells good, and sticks to your skin like shaving cream.
  • One tip though – I don’t recommend hand soap (the kind that comes in a pump) for body wash. Most hand soap is harsher and more detergent-like, and many have antibacterial properties, and unless it is a moisturizing variety, is likely to dry out your skin.
  • Don’t pay attention to whether a body wash/soap/hair product is marketed to men, women or kids. If it smells good and has the right properties and is at the right price, buy it. I don’t care if my body wash has a picture of a wolf on the label and comes with a free wrench, if I like it and the price is right, I’m using it.
  • Also, lots of personal care products are non-specific when it comes to gender. For example, scents like aloe, coconut (if it isn’t also mixed with Tahitian flowers or something), citrus, ginger, and wood notes work well for both males and females. One of our male family members mostly prefers unscented products, but he’s not opposed to mild ones like aloe or a generic “fresh” scent.
  • I am told that there are body chemistry differences between men and women and because of that, male and female deodorant are different. I have been out of town before with my husband and forgotten my deodorant and used his with no ill effects, and as far as I was told, I wasn’t smelly. So, I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I know most deodorants are scented clearly for men or women. Again, there are exceptions – many of the Suave, Arm & Hammer, and Sure ones aren’t specific and so my suspicion is this is more of a marketing thing. Besides, unless you are having a particularly hot and humid or excessively exertion-laden day, you aren’t likely to put your deodorant to much of a strenuous test on a daily basis where your gender would affect the performance of the deodorant. My suspicion is this is more of a scent and appearance thing.
  • There are tons of DIY substitutions online for expensive personal care products. One that I like, because my hair tends to be dry, is the deep conditioning treatment. You can spend anywhere from $12-25 for a single deep conditioning treatment, or spend approximately 25 cents on this one. When you aren’t in the shower and your hair is dry, rub a lot of your regular conditioner through it. A lot. Not so much that it is dripping down your face and onto your clothes, but enough to really saturate your hair. Then, either cover your hair with a shower cap, or at least pin it up (if it is long) on top of your head and find something to do for about 30 minutes. When you rinse out the conditioner, you’ll find it has had the same effect as the expensive hot oil stuff, for a lot less.

You are not controlled by a decision made in a marketing department in some office somewhere. You can save money and still get the function that you need from a product by being creative about how and what you use.



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