I use various kitchen things on my skin, partly for frugality, partly because my sensitive skin seems to prefer them.
I read in a novel about patting sake (sweeter the better, apparently) onto your skin as a toner. Despite a diagnosed allergy to rice, this seems to be OK on my skin. I also use almond or olive oil as an overall cleanser and winter moisturizer round the eyes -- I buy the almond oil for my wooden flute, so it's extra frugal! I stay away from essential oils -- just too strong for easily irritated facial skin, even when diluted.
However, almond oil and an orangey essential oil are very nice to rub into the feet after a bath in winter -- pop socks on straight away to allow oil to continue protecting your skin. This seems to keep feet extra toasty, and also prevents dry, cracking, winter skin.
Facial scrub -- black sugar (kurozato) is great for greasy summer skin! It dissolves very easily in even a little water, so even the lumpy types seem to be OK. Add a little katakuri-ko (especially the genuine one!) for extra squeaky-clean skin.
I've heard that fresh okara makes a good face/body scrub, but I'm definitely allergic to soy, so I have never tried it.
Not home-made, but old-fashioned gourd lotion ("Hechima-sui") is cheap, mild, and pleasant to keep in the fridge and pat onto your face in the summer.
Also not home-made, and not cheap either but a bargain compared to famous-brand cosmetics - horse oil (uma no abura). This never seems to irritate even severely chapped or sensitive skin, and quickly heals chapped lips so I can play my flute all winter. Also excellent for my dishwasher hands and the kids' wind-chapped hands. Kept in the fridge, it lasts a long time, but will go rancid out of the fridge.
The International Women's Network (IWN) is a group of women who enjoy chatting with people from all over the world. We hold a monthly potluck dinner where we exchange information about the local community while eating a variety of foods. No reservation is needed to attend the potluck. Just bring one dish of food and show up at the meeting. Newcomers are always welcome! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to enjoy the international city of Tsukuba with us!
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