Our high school biology teacher used to tell us that shampoo was a “Madison Avenue lie.” He’d stand before the class, proudly stroke his overgrown bowl haircut, and say, “Look! I wash my hair with ivory soap and it comes out fine!”

OK, he was a little crazy, and we won’t go so far as to recommend using bar soap on your tresses (ugh!), but dear Mr. Fitz did have something of a point. He instilled in us a cynical eye… a desire to be empowered consumers, not to be lured by silly marketing or brand names… and to think about how products marketed for one thing can be used in other ways.

Case in point?

We’ve learned that cheap, tear-free baby shampoo doubles as a killer eye-makeup remover. That in a pinch, a dab of toothpaste dries up a zit. That on a warm day, an easy deep conditioning treatment involves coating hair in olive oil, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and sitting in the sun.

We’ve been known to use moisturizer as a hair gel and we have friends who swear that diluted apple cider vinegar is an amazing facial toner.

Now it’s your turn. How do you re-purpose ordinary products to extraordinary effects? What ‘off-brand’ uses do you find for the stuff in your cabinets?

(While we’re all for creativity, please no active ingredient chemical/prescription thingy’s that may do more harm than good–you know, like birth control pills ground with mortar and pestle, mixed with shave cream, and used as an insect repellent.)

Click comments above to leave your reply. The most creative, economical, savvy answer wins a copy BITCHES ON A BUDGET! Last day to post March 7.