Whether you’re trying to save money or are forced to scrimp, looking good doesn’t have to be eliminated. When it comes to taking good care of your appearance product-wise, usually it’s the ingredients or principal that works. Things such as hydrating, cleansing and exfoliating can be done for very little. Here are some ideas to try if you’d like to avoid paying too much for products. Stress is one of the top ‘uglifiers’. So if you’re at peace with your finances, you’ll sleep better and be a prettier you – no amount of lotion can buy that!
If you don’t want to spend money on whitening strips, try an alternative. Swish with some hydrogen peroxide (diluted with a bit of water). Do that for about fifteen seconds then spit most but not all of it out. While there is still a bit of the solution in your mouth, brush with some Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste. If you do this once or twice per day for a couple of weeks your teeth should brighten up a bit. Don’t expect miracles, as it would take a while if you wanted extremely dramatic results. Try to avoid drinking dark liquids (wine, coffee) or if you consume them use a straw and rinse your teeth afterward, as your teeth will be more porous from the above regimen and will only grab stains easier.
Here’s a cheaper but similar concept of what you could get with Proactiv. Use some exfoliating cleanser such as CVS brand Apricot Scrub. Or for an even cheaper version, simply mix some sugar with some mild cleanser and massage it into your skin with lukewarm water. Next, use a toner containing glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids. I use Clean and Clear Cooling Daily Pore Toner. It is inexpensive and makes my skin rosy while tightening my pores. Next, apply some of this acne-busting combo: Clean and Clear Persa Gel + an oil-free moisturizer of your choice. The ingredients as well as the ‘3-step’ process is almost identical to the expensive alternative (which costs around $20 per month!). I should note that you should be careful with introducing the Persa gel into your regimen. I would recommend using it once per day every other day and then gradually using it twice per day. All you need is a pea-sized amount or less, mixed with one part moisturizer- adjust the moisturizer to your skin type.
Wrinkle creams are a fun but expensive luxury and if you try using simpler, more inexpensive (and all natural!) alternatives you not only will save money but it may very well work for you. I recommend investing in a good face scrub (look for ‘microexfoliant or microdermabrasion’ on the label) and using other alternative treatments. Lemon juice is excellent to even out skintone. I recommend using lemon juice with part water to tone your skin after cleansing with a mild cleanser. Even this concoction alone may be plenty to clean your skin. Many times, people over-wash their faces and use too many soaps. This is especially bad for skin that is headed for an age where wrinkles can be easily emerging. As far as as creams and lotions, my biggest recommendation is to use oil. I’m not talking about any oil. Olive and Emu oils are at the top of my list. I buy the brand Jurassic Secret from Henry’s healthfood store. It costs me about $12 for a little bottle, but all you need is a few drops massaged into your skin. It is non-comdogenic and has been touted for years for its anti-aging and healing properties. I highly recommend it.
Any shampoo will do. If you have damaged hair, simply work conditioner into your ends before shampooing your scalp. This will help protect the ends from the harsh sulfates and soaps in shampoo. If you want to save money, use olive or canola oil. Another great oil (personal favorite of mine for hair) is Jojoba. Initially, the bottle (if full size) can cost around $10, but since you need just a tiny bit for your hair, it will last and therefore, is a great investment.
A few inexpensive companies I highly recommend are E.L.F., Bonnie Bell and NYC. These brands offer inexpensive alternatives with great color choices when you don’t want to spend more than (literally) a couple of dollars on something. I still stand behind my thoughts on Bonnie Bell balms and glosses being the best. They’re not sticky and taste wonderful. Almost all other gloss brands (including high-end) tend to dissapoint me because they feel ‘sticky’ and taste weird if they get into your mouth. If there is a product you would like that requires more money, I urge you to check how well it pans out with others who have tried it. Makeupalley.com is my top favorite website for reviews on everything from lotions to shampoo, to nail polishes. They have reviews for almost any product you’re looking for.
For other toiletry products such as soap, body washes and lotions I would recommend checking out your local $1 store. I go to Big Lots and find tons of bathroom items there for a steal. Good luck with your endeavors to staying beautiful while living frugally!