“No matter how chic your outfit is, bad nails or hair will ruin it all.”
When it comes to looking your best, upkeep costs like makeup, hair care, skin care and spa treatments can cost a pretty penny.
On average women in the US spend an average of $7 billion a year on cosmetics and services each year, according to a 2008 study by the YWCA. Luckily, the price of beauty can be trimmed when you replace salon treatments for do-it-yourself solutions that cost less.
Household items are a great option for cost-effective skin care, said Lauren Luke, a self-taught makeup artist who rose to fame with YouTube beauty tutorials.
“You can use honey with sugar and salt crystals for a great smelling home face mask. You can also make a yogurt face mask from fresh yogurt, which is great for the skin. Top it off with some cucumber sliced for each eye to soothe,” said Luke, who recently released her line of cosmetics.
Most people spend their money on anti-aging creams, but Luke said they’re not necessary.
“As long as you keep up the daily moisturizing and wash make up off before bed properly, then you don’t need to splurge too much on expensive creams,” she said.
Avoid exposure to the sun to maintain healthy, young looking skin. Wear moisturizers and foundations with sun protection. They don’t have to be expensive to be good, but they do have to be safe to keep skin looking young, she said.
A final skin tip: Drink plenty of water. It keeps toxins at bay, leading to clearer looking skin, Luke said.
Salon manicures and pedicures can be costly once you include artificial enhancements such as acrylics, UV gels and fabric wraps.
“They look beautiful when done, but need to be maintained regularly,” said nail care expert Michele Pierno, a product developer for Kiss Products. To avoid high-priced salon treatments, follow some inexpensive nail care tips using products from your own kitchen.
“Your nails reflect your overall well-being, so take vitamins, drink plenty of water, and always moisturize hands after washing,” Pierno said.
Warm olive oil is Pierno’s solution to soften cuticles. “Applying oil or balm to nails and surrounding skin will tame ragged cuticles and prevent shredding,” she said. Use a manicure stick to gently push back cuticles, and buy a good cuticle nipper to properly remove any excess skin that you might otherwise tug at.
To reduce trips to the salon -- and save money -- Pierno suggested applying a top coat every other day to polished nails to refresh the shine and seal the edges. Use a topcoat whenever your nails will be exposed to water for extended periods of time. “Nails will absorb water and naturally bend [and] polish will not, and this is why polish chips,” Pierno said.
We’ve all had bad hair days, but expensive products are not the only solution to frizziness, flyaways or split ends. Vinegar can help bring dull hair back to life, said national consumer expert Jenny Realo, an executive vice president of Care One Services who frequently offers tips for frugal beauty and style.
“Apple cider vinegar is a budget-friendly solution that adds shine to lackluster locks,” she said. After shampooing, rinse hair with a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Rinse and dry. Apple cider vinegar is great for conditioning cleaning hair. It helps with itchy scalp and acts like a cream rinse when used after shampoo. And, Realo said, “The smell should fade in less than 30 minutes.”
Another tip for healthy vibrant hair: Stimulate your scalp and send nutrients to hair follicles. Brush your hair before you hop into the shower, and once you’re in, massage your scalp while washing your hair. “An extra few seconds can go a long way to improving the health of your hair,” Realo said.
No one likes hair removal. Among the options, waxing and shaving are the two most cost-effective ways to remove hair, but shaving is by far the cheapest, said Agatha Kranidiotis, a waxing expert.
“Many women believe that we need pretty razors and special shaving cream to get the job done. The truth is, all you need is a good razor and an emollient shaving cream, period. So go ahead, use your guy’s stash,” Kranidiotis said.
The main disadvantage of shaving? The hair grows back quickly because it isn’t removed from the root. DIY waxing kits are available if that’s your preference, but Kranidiotis cautions that application and removal is the biggest problem with at-home waxing.
“Never attempt to wax an area when there is an overabundance hair or [where] it is extremely coarse and stubborn,” she said. Kranidiotis offers this tip: Apply the wax in the same direction as hair growth, and remove it in the opposite direction.