7 ways to look better for less

Beauty Products

contributed by Jennifer

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I have a few beauty tips that I love. They may have been used before, but I think they are good ones. I love beauty products and can quickly succumb to impulse buys in this area, so I try to incorporate these to reduce spending.

  • Don't wash your hair every day. By doing this, you aren't stripping your hair of its natural, protective oils every day. On top of that, you use less water and less electricity (don't have to blow dry it every time), and it takes less time. I always think "second day hair" looks better. Plus, you aren't using as much shampoo, conditioner, and styling products.
  • Don't spend your money on special shine serums or smoothing cremes for hair. A dab of lotion can do the exact same thing.
  • If you use self-tanning lotions, you can dilute it a little by mixing in regular body lotion. It reduces streaking (because you are adding extra moisture), doesn't come out looking as orange, and makes your expensive self-tanner last a lot longer. It also reduces some of the smell.
  • I live by at-home manicures and pedicures. I've got a little box that I've put together that has all of my supplies (nail polish, remover, cotton balls, and cuticle and nail clippers). Nail polish has so many preservatives that it lasts a long time. I pick up polish that is on clearance at my local drug store or Target (I go straight to the clearance end-caps and look no further). When it's time for me to do my nails, I light a little candle nearby and soak my feet first in some warm water. I even sip on some hot tea while I do it and turn on the most girly guilty pleasure TV I can find. Then I get to work on my tootsies and nails. When I finish, I prop up my feet and relax on my couch until everything is dry. I don't even answer the phone. I create a pampering atmosphere for myself, so I don't feel cheated on the spa experience. (As a bonus, sometimes I talk my husband into rubbing my feet a little too!)
  • Don't fall into the "gift with purchase" trap. I used to be terrible about purchasing stuff to get the free gift with purchase because it always looked like fun! However, every time I got them, I only used one or two things out of the freebies and the rest sat in a drawer until I cleaned them out.
  • If you want to splurge on beauty products, splurge on skin care. Don't splurge on makeup/color. There is absolutely no reason to spend $18 on a tube of lipstick. Store brands like Cover Girl or Physician's Formula are just as good and are a fraction of the cost. Or, try a company like Eyeslipsface.com. Most of their products are only $1 each, but they have some great products.
  • Experiment with leftovers. I had a couple of random tubes of lipstick that I never used. One was too dark for me and one was too light. Instead of letting them sit there unused, I melted them a tiny bit in the microwave, mixed them together, and put them into an empty lip balm container that I had. The blend of the colors was perfect. If you use things that you wouldn't have used, even if they turn out badly, you haven't lost anything. I've done the same with nail polish and have created some of my favorite colors.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com.

Take the Next Step:

  • Stop forgoing your favorite beauty treatments just because you're on a tight budget. Check out the TDS Guide to Beauty on a Budget and learn the tricks to pampering yourself for pennies.
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