The other day, I was talking to Mary about a beauty/food book by a celebrity beauty guru. It’s a book that we’ve even talked about a few times in the past on PD, but I was surprised to learn that Mary has actually read it. “Have you tried any of the recipes?!” I asked, and Mary said she’s gotten as far as the maca hot cacao drink because everything else is as complicated and as woo-woo as its reputation.
While there isn’t anything inherently wrong about making insanely complicated health/beauty food for oneself, per se, it is out of touch with reality on many levels. Most women don’t have the time to belabor a superfood recipe with twenty steps before or after going to work. Most women also don’t have the budget to stock their pantries and fridges with exotic ingredients and supplements–$50 small jar of vegan collagen, $20 package of super mushroom powder, $x for moon fairy sprinkles, etc etc. And to imply that you’re not taking good care of yourself, that you’re not *doing enough*, if you don’t commit to this type of mumbo jumbo is really lacking in perspective. God knows, we do enough already.
Self-care doesn’t have to cost a lot to be effective. At PD, we believe that beauty should be accessible and nurturing no matter what your budget. Disclaimer: I do indulge in more splurges for my beauty and health these days. Now that I’m 31, my skin needs a lot more help than it used to, meaning I can’t get away with using so-so products. Most of the products I use on a daily basis (basically Earthwise Beauty and Bella Aura products, on rotation) are in the $50-120 range. I also swear by daily NuFACE microcurrent facial ($217) and once a month 5yina Bio-Cellulose Collagen Mask ($85 for 5 pack). They’re ultra age-erasing and time-reversing, and well worth every single penny. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot to boost your collagen and get a firmer, smoother, more hydrated and generally youthful looking skin.
Here I have gathered my best secrets for getting a vegan collagen boost. They’re simple, budget-friendly, and don’t require any superfoods. (In fact, the current trend for concentrating every kind of superfood and adaptogen into smoothies, moon powders and whatnot isn’t always beneficial–it can even be harmful. A lot of these ingredients are extremely potent, and their effects when combined are not studied carefully. Many adaptogens shouldn’t be treated like food, but like medicine–if you see on a label, “Do not feed to infants or pregnant women,” you know it’s not supposed to be eaten 3 times a day.)
Best Budget-Friendly Vegan Collagen Tips
Cucumber mask – $0.67 per mask (1 organic kirby cucumber)
This is the ultimate OG K-beauty ritual that you haven’t tried. I used to do this cucumber mask with my aunts even before grade school! Cucumber is a source of silica, the precursor of collagen. It’s also the vegetable with the closest pH level as your own skin, which is why you’ll look instantly juicier and more hydrated after this mask. Cucumbers also contain cucurbitacins and cucumerin, which fight aging, and Vitamin C for brightening sunspots and discoloration–sans skin-irritating acid. Oh la la!
- Thoroughly wash and peel 1 organic kirby cucumber. Organic is super important–this is going on your face!
- Using the same vegetable peeler, make paper-thin sheets of cucumber length-wise. You can also use a mandolin.
- Lie down. On a clean, washed and towel-dried face, put cucumber ribbons until completely covered, including eyelids and décolletage, as needed.
- Rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Take off cucumbers.
- Don’t wash off. You can add more serum and oil as you wish. Go to bed in order to let your skin repair itself using precious cucumber juice.
I also love to munch on kirby cucumbers on hot summer days. Try eating cukes and doing the facial on the same day. You can thank me when you wake up the next morning!
Aloe juice – $8 per bottle / 3 days
I always have a bottle of organic, glass-bottled aloe juice in my fridge. According to a study, women who took aloe vera gel supplements had less wrinkles and higher elasticity, with an increase in collagen production and a decrease in the collagen-degrading MMP-1 gene expression. This is even more encouraging because the subjects were 45+ and had photo-aged skin! I drink about 1/3 cup of pure aloe juice with 1 1/2 cup of filtered water, as soon as I get up and again right before bed. It’s about waking up that skin and giving it the best repairing session at night! Also, since I don’t buy any other drink or coffee, it’s money well spent.
Aloe gel – $15 per bottle / 4-5 months?
For the same reason as above, pure, organic aloe vera gel used topically is super collagen-boosting. I use aloe gel for my NuFACE facial, but even if you don’t do microcurrent facial, just apply whenever you need hydration and firmness. My favorite trick: Dab a pea-sized amount of aloe gel on your lips before bed and wake up to a youthful, kissable pout. Ugh I’m giving away the farm here!!
Brown rice flour – $5…lasts forever
Here’s the thing about collagen. No matter how plump and firm and ready to go your collagen and elastin are, if your top layer (epidermis) is dead and dry, it’s not going to show through. Use that brown rice flour you bought for a recipe to exfoliate gently: simply wet face, massage about a teaspoon (more as needed) in a circular motion. You’ll also get some additional blood flow from the massage.
Have you tried any of these easy, budget-friendly vegan collagen care tips?
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