Taking a crafty cue from the law-breaking ladies like those in Netflix’s Orange is The New Black, here are 20 clever beauty tips straight outta state that felons and the free can both enjoy- for next to nothing!
1. Melted colored pencils as eyeliner
In need of some eye drama? Head over to the art room with a lighter and heat up the sharpened colored pencil of your choice, then apply the softened tip to the eyes. Sharpies can also be used for a bolder look, but that shit will sting.
2. Garlic to zap zits
Making friends with the clink’s cook has benefits that surpass access to an actually edible meal; many simple kitchen items have fantastic beauty properties, including garlic. One raw garlic clove cut open and rubbed on zits is a natural, quick remedy to get rid of them!
3. Carrots and strawberries as teeth whiteners
Carrots and strawberries are great for a “balanced diet and shit”, but they also have natural properties that can lead to a more dazzling smile! Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is key in healthy tooth enamel, and the act of chewing them in their raw, crunchy state is a natural tooth cleaner. Strawberries contain a natural astringent that aids in removing surface stains from teeth and has lots of vitamin C, which can clear plaque.
4. Cherries & beets as lip stains
Just eating these highly pigmented foods will leave you with a red pout, but for lasting red lips like miss Lorna Morello, dip a Q-tip in crushed cherries or beets, dab on dry lips, then seal with petroleum jelly for long lasting wear. I’m telling you, make friends with that cook!
5. Go to sleep with wet, french braided hair for beachy waves the next morning
It’ll cost you a mighty large number of cigarettes to afford a bottle of Bumble + Bumble Surf Spray at the commissary, but in the mean time you can get nice beachy waves overnight! After your shower, french braid your wet hair and secure with a rubber band (if you can’t french it yourself, grab a bored inmate who owes you a favor to do it), and simply go to sleep. When you wake up and take out the braid, try to get your hands on some hair spray to set the style and werq it all day.
6. Lemon as a scar fader
Prison fights got you all scarred and whatnot? Cutting open a lemon and rubbing it in circular motions on the healed scar for a few minutes every day will help fade it. Save up your cigs and trade for some cocoa butter to rub on there as well to really speed up the process.
7. Rubber bands or dental floss for eyebrow threading
Eyebrow maintenance isn’t just something you give up along with many of your rights when you enter prison, amirite Alex? Rubber bands or dental floss can do the trick when you’re short of proper thread. Check out how to do it here!
8. Crushed hot peppers & cocoa butter for anti-aging moisturizer
The stress of being locked up (combined with the crappy diet and crappy sleep and being an aging prisoner in general) can certainly take a toll on the youthfulness of one’s skin. To tighten up that face and lock in moisture, grind up hot peppers and mix them into cocoa butter for a refreshing anti-aging daily moisturizer. Just please, for the love of god, don’t get it in your eyes.
9. Ground up coffee as eyeshadow/ contouring
Prison coffee is notoriously horrible, but why waste a perfectly shitty brew when you can utilize it in your beauty routine? Further grind up one tablespoon of coffee grinds, add a little bit of water, and apply to your lids for a natural, surprisingly effective eyeshadow or contouring alternative. Lock it in with a touch of petroleum jelly.
10. Spray deodorant as nail polish remover
So you snuck in some polish but forgot the remover and now that asshat prison guard who has it out for you is making his rounds, itching to give out some shots? Hide the evidence of your minor infraction by spraying some spray deodorant close to your fingers and wiping away vigorously with a napkin or handkerchief.
11. Preparation H for puffy morning eyes
Yes, that Preparation H! It’s hard getting a good night’s sleep when you share a room with three other women and sleep on a joke of a mattress. Banish those puffy morning eyes with a dab of the wonderful hemorrhoid ointment under your eyes and let them sit for 10 minutes.
12. Vaseline and Kool-Aid for lip gloss
Want luscious lips but just found out that the prison commissary doesn’t carry MAC Lip Glass (the horror!)? Just mix in some strawberry or cherry Kool-Aid mix (or any pink/red-colored beverage mix) with some petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) and you’ve got a pout that, like your verdict, is anything but innocent.
13. Sandpaper as nail file
Red is seen on the new season of OITNB tending to her iconic red manicure with a piece of sandpaper- take a cue from the former head cook and try this cheap and effective alternative to a nail file or emery board.
14. Kitchen sponge as a makeup sponge
So you’ve scored some foundation, but no cosmetic sponges? Head over to the cleaning supply closet and get your hands on a fresh household sponge- it will do the trick for applying liquid foundation and can also aid in blending those coffee grinds you’re using as contour.
15. Glitter from cards as cosmetic glitter
What with the drab uniforms and dreadful overhead lighting, a girl in the pen could use a bit of glitter in her life. Greeting cards are often topped with glitter, so if you’re in dire need of some sparkle but find yourself without, go to that stash of thoughtful yet “who actually cares anymore” cards you feel too bad about throwing out and scrape the glitter from their surface and apply wherever the hell you need it. Once again, the sealing power of petroleum jelly like Vaseline will keep you flossin’ all day.
16. Mashed bananas, egg yolks and sugar for a face mask
Consider breakfast to be the start of your daily beauty regimen. Swipe those bananas from your tray and instead mash them up, slather on your face, sit for 20 minutes, rinse off, and enjoy instantly softer skin. Sugar is also a great exfoliant for dry skin, and if you can nab a raw egg the yolks make an equally superb daily/ nightly face mask. You may have to deal with bitches making fun of you for looking like an absolute freak though.
17. Tampons as hair curlers
How do Taystee’s curls stay so damn fly? She wraps them in tampons, naturally! Check out a fun how-to video here.
18. Baby oil on razors for closer shave & longer lasting blade
You’re probably not going to get to keep using that hot pink Schick Quattro when you’re doing time, so stretch those shabby little shavers with subbing baby oil for your shaving cream. Not only will you get a closer shave, but the oil is easier on the blades and will shorten their dulling time!
19. Lemon juice for lightening your locks
Want Piper-worthy hair but don’t have a Sophia-worthy stylist in your ward? Wait for a sunny day, wash your hair, grab a bottle of lemon juice from your buddy the cook, squirt it and lather it into your damp hair, and enjoy your new blonde highlights as you sit out in the sun. If you can get your hands on a spray bottle to more evenly disperse the juice, the better.
20. Maxi pad and rubber band for a sleep mask
It must be tough drifting off to dreamland with a surly prison guard shining a flashlight in your face to make sure you’re still totally imprisoned. Pay that dude no mind with a surprisingly cushy sleep mask made of one maxi pad (preferably without wings) and a large rubber band (or two broken bands tied together) tied to self-made holes at each end of the pad. Absorbs the lights and commotion around you right up.