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Beauty on a Budget: 6 Tips for Looking Great Without Breaking the Bank

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Living through a pandemic is changing the way we spend both our time and money. It has also made most of us reflect on the importance of self-care.

I started having more time to think about my needs when the first lockdown happened. In fact, that’s how I developed an interest in skincare. But how exactly do women like us stay gorgeous in this economy? The answer is budget beauty.

You don’t need to break the bank just to stay trendy and chic. But you don’t want to cut corners on beauty either. Read these beauty on a budget tips to learn how to find the balance!

C/O Unsplash

C/O Unsplash

1. Set a monthly beauty budget

We can’t call it “beauty on a budget” if we don’t set a budget! Determining your monthly budget is a good way to assess your assets and liabilities. Your beauty products and treatments should also get a monthly allocation. That way, you won’t spend more than you can spare. The pandemic has affected the livelihood of so many people, so there is no shame in having to re-evaluate your priorities. If you need to focus on paying off a debt or saving up for a move, then it would be best to reduce your monthly spending, beauty products included.

Again, spending on makeup and skincare is fine. But insisting on buying luxury brands when they’re over your budget is not. In the succeeding tips, we’ll talk about DIY beauty hacks and affordable makeup brands that will bring out the best in your looks without emptying your pockets.

2. Give drugstore brands a try

Beauty doesn’t come cheap. But there are ways to decrease the amount you spend on beauty products. Drugstore brands don’t exactly have a fabulous reputation among beauty enthusiasts — but hear me out. A lot of drugstore products are actually just as effective as their high-end counterparts. That’s because they’re made using the same ingredients. While you don’t need to switch completely to drugstore makeup and skincare, it would be a good idea to try out some established drugstore brands.

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Cleanser Fresh Foaming 9.6 Ounce Pump (283ml) (Pack of 6)

For starters, you can use a Neutrogena cleanser. Using less expensive cleansers is okay because they’re meant to be washed off. Additionally, lots of people swear by the CeraVe moisturizing lotion, and that only means that it serves its purpose. The price point doesn’t determine a product’s effectiveness after all. Drugstore haircare products that work wonders aren’t hard to find either. The Garnier Fructis leave-in conditioning cream is a crowd favorite. I understand that some Holy Grail products are worth the splurge, though. Still, I’d go with items that have multiple functionality, like the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint, which hydrates the skin, works as a makeup base, and has SPF 40 to boot.

Meanwhile, drugstore makeup brands that are known for their topnotch quality include NYX, Milani, Maybelline, and e.l.f. Cosmetics. A lot of their products are around (or under) $10 but they sure look like a hundred bucks.

3. Don’t buy what you can DIY

My lips are prone to cracking and peeling, so I bought lip scrub from a local retailer. But a while later, I saw videos of her showing how she makes lip scrubs and thought, “I could’ve done that at home!” A quick Google search also revealed that a teaspoon of honey mixed with two teaspoons of sugar would have made an effective DIY lip scrub.

So many of the products we love can be made with ingredients and tools we already have at home. There are several recipes for DIY facial masks, body and face scrubs, eye creams, and serums available online. You’ll need to spend time to perfect your DIY beauty products and affordable natural makeup, but it’ll just be hard in the beginning. Plus, there are incredibly simple hacks like popping open Vitamin E capsules and using them on chapped lips. The bottomline is that nothing says “beauty on a budget” better than DIY beauty hacks.

4. Limit salon visits

Now that you know how to cut down on beauty product expenses, you can probably visit the salon more often, right? Not exactly. The point of budget beauty is minimizing cost, and we all know professional treatments aren’t the cheapest. To start, think about how often you go to the salon and what treatments you frequently get. I like going to the salon for a mani-pedi. But lately, I realized that I can save several bucks by buying high-quality tools and nail polish (like this set from Essie) and doing my own nails.

Treatments like deep conditioning can be done at home, too. Just choose a good deep conditioning product (e.g., Hask’s Monoi Coconut Oil Deep Conditioner) or DIY one. After shampooing, apply conditioner from your strands going up to your scalp. Leave it for around half an hour and apply heat if necessary. Finally, wash your hair with cold water. Sounds like something you can do on a weekend, doesn’t it?

5. Find a cosmetology school

What about the treatments you simply cannot DIY because you lack the time or technical know-how? Say, you want a bold new hair color for a special occasion. Find a nearby cosmetology school to get a discount on your treatment. Sure, cosmetology students aren’t as experienced as most stylists, but they’ll be supervised during the procedure and they wouldn’t want a bad grade or an angry first customer. And hey, the best professional stylists need to start somewhere. Consider it a win-win. They get to enhance their skills and you get your pro treatment at a discount.

Seek the best deals

This tip is well-known but worth repeating. Always do your research and compare prices before a purchase! With online shopping platforms, comparing prices is a piece of cake. For bulk or expensive purchases, you can use coupons or wait for special shopping events like the Black Friday Sale. And if you haven’t already, join online communities like Supergreat to get reliable beauty reviews, discounts, and giveaways.

Final words

Beauty on a budget equals resourceful, conscientious, and creative beauty. It is a version of self-care that highlights the need for more introspection and mindfulness, and less indulgence. So, set a monthly beauty budget, consider drugstore brands, and DIY as much as you can. Additionally, search for the best prices, seek help from student cosmetologists, and cut down on salon visits.

Your turn!

Share with us your best Beauty Budget tips!

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