Frugal Beauty Tips - picture of woman applying face cream in mirror

Frugal Beauty Tips

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People are always asking me, “How do you always look so amazing?”  I usually tell them that it is part luck, part genetics, and part my amazing set of secret beauty skills.  No, just kidding.  Nobody ever asks me that.  *As If*

I have two small kids and am regularly sporting pajama pants and a bun on my head.  Still, I do try to look the best I can.  Fortunately, looking good doesn’t have to cost that much if you are creative.  The following beauty tips will help you look your best (on a budget).

Tip #1 Buy Cheap Makeup and Personal Supplies

I know, I know.  That $47 bottle of Mascara does an amazing job at plumping up those lashes.  I’m sure it does…but Covergirl and Maybelline make pretty good products as well.  I have literally been wearing the same Covergirl eyeshadow for 15 years and I get compliments on it all the time.  The cheap makeup brands really do make some pretty good imitations of the more expensive makeup products.  Also look for cheap alternatives when it comes to personal care.  For starters, look for cheap alternatives for your favorite deodorant that works, and products you use regularly like shampoo, conditioner, and lotion.

Tip #2 Use Baby Wash as Eye Makeup Remover

Several years ago, I was staying at a friend’s house and didn’t have my expensive eye makeup remover with me.  I couldn’t find anything other than regular soap to remove my eye makeup so I started looking around her bathroom for other options.  After some digging, I tried her baby’s tear-free baby wash and it did an amazing job at getting off my heavy coat of mascara.  I have used it ever since and a $3-$4 bottle can last up to a year.

Tip #3 Color Your Own Wig

I only pay to have my hair professionally highlighted about once a year.  Beyond that, I supplement throughout the year with a bottle of Sun-In and a blow dryer.  Seriously.  I have gotten pretty good at highlighting my own hair this way and a $3 bottle of Sun-In can last as long as 6 months.  I know several women who color their hair with boxed color from the supermarket, and they look amazing!  I think it’s definitely worth a try.

What is your favorite way to save money on beauty supplies?  Any tips?

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34 Comments

  1. I like the baby wash tip! I like Mary Kay products but I’m not a fan of MK parties or salespeople, so I buy most of my MK stuff on Ebay. For a while I got really into it and bought huge lots of products from salespeople who decided to give up on the dream of the pink cadillac. Then I kept what I wanted from the lots and resold the remainder on ebay, which was a nice way to make some cash for a while.

    1. Nice! I also like some Mary Kay products, including their version of face powder.

  2. Freshman year of college I bleached my hair so I could be Eminem for Halloween. That’s about the extent of my makeup expertise! Haha. But I’ll remember the baby soap tip for the next time I have a big thing of mascara to remove.

      1. Oh man this is scary! Add me to the growing list as well! I actually had to do it twice. The first time I didn’t leave the coloring in long enough and ended up with orange hair. The second box did the trick though.

        As for shampoo/deodorant/body wash for guys, I used to buy the name brands, but now I just buy the store brands. CVS usually sells their stuff at 50% off on a regular basis and they throw in the Extra Rewards Bucks from time to time. I can’t remember when I paid full price for these things. I tend to walk out with 4-5 bottles per trip and end up spending just $2-$3.

    1. All three of you guys did that? LOL Must be a PF thing!

  3. This is awesome Holly! My secret is Oil of Olay which I have been using for 20 years now. A large bottle costs $9 and lasts me 4 months. I use it for moisturizing and for make up removal. I also go to Sephora once a week with no make up on and give myself a “free” facial with all of their expensive lotion samples.

    1. We use Oil of Olay too. Sometimes we even get the generic kind from Kroger.

  4. I don’t use make-up ever and I don’t dye my hair, great way to save money ;). I guess my only tip is that less is more. I can buy a bottle of body wash or shampoo and make it last a long time by using just a dime-sized blob. My husband adds water to our liquid hand soap and that helps prolong the use.

  5. Haha oh whatever Holly, you do look amazing!

    I don’t spend a ton on beauty products either. I have a great hairstylist who doesn’t charge a ton (I’m not sure why she is so cheap!), and she saves me a lot of money.

    1. I need someone to cut and highlight my hair in our new town. Haven’t found anyone yet!

  6. And if you want to go even cheaper on the Sun-In, it’s just hydrogen peroxide, water and a little bit of conditioner. Or you can skip the conditioner if you condition your hair regularly.

    1. Sadly, I usually use my kid’s three-in-one body wash, shampoo, conditioner. Haha!

  7. I am in my late 40s and people are often shocked because I am so wrinkle free. My cheap secret is sunscreen all the time including the back of my hands when I am walking the dog or strolling around the farmer’s market.

    Start now ladies and don’t stop.

    1. Great tip, Jane! I am terrible about sunscreen.

  8. I will definitely pass along the Sun-In tip to my wife. She’s been holding off on getting her hair done because it is sooo expense!

    1. It is a little scary at first. Tell her to test an area at the back of her head before she goes any further.

  9. I’m in my forties and HAVE to dye my hair. I also get it highlighted about once a year. I was going 4x but I’m afraid to say what it was costing me. Now I use a box of hair dye in between and go for the ombre look lol. My hair is dark brown so sun in would turn it orange but it’s great for blondes. I also use sunscreen ever day and I live in Canada.

    1. Boxed hair dye is a great way to save if you can pull it off!

  10. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about much of this, as I’m a guy. But my wife used to spend wayyy too much on beauty supplies, however since deciding to get out of debt she started coloring her own hair, using less makeup, and when she needs a cut, she goes to the local Aveda salon school and spends $12 on one. Can’t beat it.

    1. Nice! I wonder if we have a salon school around here?

  11. I do a lot of my own grooming which helps save me money. Mani/Pedi’s, eyebrows, hair coloring, hairstyling. It really pays off to learn how to do all these things yourself as they can cost a small fortune.

  12. I used to be obsessed with high end makeup, so I never need to buy eyeshadow or blush again. For the items I have to replace — mascara, concealer, powder — I have found drugstore alternatives I actually like 🙂

    For hair, I use drugstore shampoo, conditioner, mousse, and hairspray and I don’t color it. I also don’t use hair tools so I don’t have to replace them every few years or so. Natural is the (frugal) way to go, and I love my hair anyways.

  13. I’m going to be honest – this is definitely one area that we differ. I confess to using the expensive stuff and get my hair professionally colored. I do agree that you can still look amazing without breaking the bank on beauty items if you not in your budget or something you want to spend extra money on. 🙂 I am also about 15 years older than you so I am probably in more panicked state about every wrinkle or fine line I see! LOL!

  14. I don’t wear makeup often– if ever, but I have extremely sensitive skin. If I buy the cheap stuff, my skin breaks out in hives! It’s seriously horrible. So I do invest in more expensive items (usually MAC or organic brands) when I find what works for my skin.

    My tip- buy tinted moisturize with sunscreen in it! It saves on sunscreen, moisturizer, and foundation!

  15. Coconut oil! I use it for moisturizing, shaving, anti-aging, hair mask, etc.
    I’ll definitely have to try the baby wash thing…my mom uses that and baby oil and says both are awesome. My blonde friend and I tried the sun-in thing in high school. My hair color looked like baby poo-poo, but of course hers looked amazing!

  16. I don’t usually wear make up, so I don’t spend that much in make up anyway… But for toiletries, to save money I buy in bulk! I like to buy from the Amazon because it’s cheaper than if I buy from the retail stores… Also, use coupons!

  17. I have sensitive skin. I only wear eye shadow (have had the same MAC for years!). I use baby oil to remove it. I use Boots generic moisturizer. I don’t like change as l break out, so l just stick to carmex for lips. BTW, hydrocortisone cream is a good moisturizer for allergic skin, and it’s cheap, so l always make sure l have some handy.

  18. I don’t have any tips, but I know my wife will go some days during the week without wearing makeup. She looks beautiful without it, too, and I’m sure it makes her makeup stretch farther.

  19. I will have to look into the baby wash. I buy a Target brand of eye make-up remover which works pretty well, but that sounds like a cheaper alternative. My mom has always dyed her hair using a box from the store, so that’s what I ended up doing whenever I felt like changing things up.

  20. Vicky L. Cooling says:

    Don’t know if you have one in your area, but I go to Mario Tricosi Beauty Academy for haircut every month or so. A cut is $10, takes a little longer than a regular salon but it absolutlely awesome for quality., The Instructors are monitoring the students and I have had different students and not had a bad cut, ever; you can make an appointment with the same person if you wish. I don’t color my hair, but I know they do that, mani/pedi and all sorts of Spa services as well. I know some beauty academies have a bad reputation, but if you can get to a Mario Tricosi place, they are great. BTW, I always give the beautician a tip, but it is NOT a requirement.

  21. I can’t imagine how women spend $47 on a tube of anything that they put on their faces. I get a hair cut, and I know some people who either just shave their heads or get their wives to cut their hair but it is cheap for me.

  22. Vitamin E lotion in a jar is my best friend. I use it on my hands as hand lotion and on my eyelids/face, which get really dry. Recently bf’s lips were cracked and he used a little on them. Within 24 hours they started to heal. The best part? I buy the nature’s bounty brand at the grocery store (with the vitamins and supplements) and it’s only $1.74 a jar. There are often $1.00 coupons available, so I get it for just $0.74 a jar!

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