Beauty On A Budget

In tough times we don’t always have the means to head to the salon every month or to shell out tons of money to keep up appearances but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice looking our best just because our budgets have gotten a little tighter.

In fact when you’re looking to scale back the amount you’re spending on beauty supplies and salon treatments you can often find new products you might like even better or perhaps learn how to do some salon treatments on your own. It can be a great opportunity to try new things and learn new skills.

The first and most important thing to remember is to be aware of how much of your beauty products you’re using and how many different products you use. I know that I personally tend to use a ton of conditioner and a ton of hairspray. This along can be a big waste of beauty products. How much of that hair mousse are you rinsing off your hands as opposed to putting on your hair? How much nail polish ends up on the carpet, the bathtub, or your skin instead of on your actual nail? Do you really need to be using three different types of hair products every morning just to get that specific look?

It’s worth taking the time to reevaluate your beauty routine because more often than not we end up using products we don’t really need or that don’t work all that well simply out of habit. It’s easy to get caught up using the same old products without really being sure if they’re effective or make much of a difference to our routine.

I used a hair gel for years that I loved because of the way it made my hair feel but it didn’t really provide any measurable results other than the fact that I enjoyed putting it on in the morning. On top of that it was pretty expensive stuff and it didn’t seem to make much of a difference if I forgot it one day. In the end I decided to forgo the gel and now I have a product that I love putting on and gives very measurable results in how my hair looks. Bottom line: If you don’t love it - toss it.

Now my hair routine is a lot more basic and because of that I’m spending a lot less money on hair products every month which saves me money and lets me go in for really nice treatments at the salon without worrying about going over my budget. It’s really a nice benefit in both areas. I save time in the morning because I’m doing less to my hair, I save money since I’m not using as many hair products, and I get to spend money on things like hair cuts and hair treatments that are more costly where it’s important to go high end.

Makeup can be extremely expensive and another way to save money in your beauty routine is to be aware of where the most of your money goes and how you can save some of it. For example most women that buy an expensive foundation go through it pretty quickly. Instead you can use a really nice moisturizer and just mix a couple drops of your foundation in. This will help you use much less and can save you quite a bit of money over time. It’s also a great idea to par down to the essentials as far as your makeup routine goes. Thick painted on makeup is never attractive or appealing so lighten up your beauty routine and cut back with what you wear. For most women a tinted moisturizer, some mascara and a bit of eyeliner are plenty to get you through the day. You can always apply some eyeshadow and a lip gloss at night for a more put together look but less is more when it comes to makeup and you don’t want to look overdone. It’s also a wise idea to only use brand names on products that are really important to you. For example you may want to buy a cleanser that is made by a specialty brand - especially if you have sensitive skin or a specific skin condition but you’ll probably be fine buying lotions and sunscreen from store name brands. I have friends that swear by certain makeup brands and then head to the drugstore and buy cost-effective products in other areas that are less expensive.

Personally, foundation is one area that I will only buy natural (who wants all those icky chemicals seeping into their skin) but for mascara and eyeliner I don’t really care too much about the brand. Little things like that can save you money each month that you can spend on the areas that are really important to you. Remember not to push to be too frugal when it comes to your skin though. Wearing cheap products with toxic ingredients can be very damaging to your skin both now and years down the road. It’s not worth developing a bunch of wrinkles early because you were trying to save a couple bucks on lotion now is it?

One of my favorite ways to save money actually involves a lot of fun with friends. Instead of spending a lot of money going and getting a manicure or a pedicure you can get together and have a girls night with friends and do each others nails. It sounds a little cliche but if everyone brings a few items you can all share and split the cost and have a lot of fun talking and hanging out instead of spending money to have your nails done by yourself. And while you’re with your friends ask them about the products they use and how they keep their beauty spending down - sometimes your friends might be aware of brands or stores that you aren’t and can even turn you on to discounts you might not have found otherwise. Take the opportunity to share about your best finds in makeup, skin-care, hair-care and more and you’ll probably come away with some great new tips and recommendations.

You can always stock up on your most frequently used beauty products in bulk. I tend to go through a ton of cotton balls as I use them to apply lotions and makeup and makeup remover and so on. So cotton balls are one item that I always buy in big bulk amounts. I just store them up in my linen closet and take them out and put them in a smaller jar wen I need them - after all its not like they’re going to go bad anytime soon. Lots of brands also have bulk options for frequently used products as well. I get my shampoo and conditioner in large oversized containers and just funnel them into my own personal bottles as I use them. It saves me cost and it’s better for the environment than going through tons of little plastic bottles a year.

Another great tip for saving on beauty supplies is to go natural and make your own masks, cleansers, shampoo and other products. You can find plenty of natural recipes in beauty books and online and few of them are difficult or have more than a few ingredients. You can cleanse your face at night with just a splash of milk and some water and you can moisturize with olive or coconut oil if you need. There are plenty of at home beauty recipes for face masks as well such as oatmeal and banana mixes, cucumber purees, or even simply using some steam from a pot of boiling water. You can also use some coffee or coffee grounds to bring out highlights in dark hair as well as lemon juice to bring out highlights in blond hair. A tablespoon of vinegar will remove any soap buildup in your hair and allow your shampoo and conditioner to work more effectively. Using simple, at-home recipes can help save money in the long run and the natural remedies can often be a lot better for your skin than brand names that are filled with chemicals.