Thrifty Beauty Tips

6 Nov

Those of you who know me, know of my obsession with beauty products. Call me superficial but I don’t care, I’ve long loved the Feel Good factor that some products can deliver. The beauty industry is a marketing mecca and many women spend far more than they intend to, well I’m here to tell you that you don’t always have to fork out the big bucks. Here’s a few tricks I keep up my sleeve.

Upcycle your mascara: Before you throw out your old mascara, remove the brush and wash it. You can toss the tube. Mascara wands are perfect for brushing clumps out of your lashes and shaping eyebrows. For easier handling try bending the wand at the base of the brush to an angle. With a range of wand styles available now, you can rack up quite the collection for specific needs. The short-handled wands that come in sample sized mascaras are perfect for travel. Keep one in you handbag and car console for touch ups.

In house Hairdresser: My kids have never been to a hairdresser and I’d be lucky to visit one maybe twice a year. I’ve always trimmed my girl’s hair (and occasionally my husband’s) It’s really not that hard, all you need it a water spray, a fine comb and a pair of sharp scissors. Invest in a pair of hairdresser’s scissors and use them exclusively for cutting hair or you will dull the blades. I picked up mine for around $20 from Priceline. Admittedly my girls don’t have tricky hairstyles so keep to the basics if you are not a hairdresser. I also trim my own fringe regularly. The rest of my hair is a long wavy mess so it disguises my lack of commitment to a salon pretty well. DIY conditioning treatments and avoiding heat styling where possible keeps your hair in top condition, stretching out the need for trims.

DIY Dye: I’ve had a long-standing relationship with hair dye. Though I wouldn’t say I was loyal. I’ve flitted from one colour to another with no fear. Afterall its just hair, you can always cut it or redye it. I’ve gone from brown to blonde and everything in between. Now that random grey strands of hair have emerged and announced themselves my nemesis, my committment to dyeing my own hair has taken on more of an essential beauty routine rather than a fun one. On the odd occasion that I have had my (long, thick)  hair coloured in a salon I’ve been astounded at the prices charged and sulked away a couple of hundred dollars lighter. Wasting a whole day in a salon, bruising my neck on those horrid basin sinks is not my idea of an indulgence. So, I dye my own hair. Currently I’m obsessed with Ombre hair. The Baylayge technique is way easier than trying to DIY own foils. No mucking about with fiddly bits of foil, yay! Invest in a hairdresser’s cape to protect your clothes, a colour bowl and brush makes bleaching easier. Supermarket brands of hair colour are good quality and a cinch to use. I highly recommend the L’Oreal colours as they always give me the best results and accurate colour guides. You can buy professional salon colour from stores like Price Attack and Hairhouse Warehouse. These stores are staffed by hairdressers who will help you with your selection.

Ombre hair / Bayalge

Baby Smooth Skin: Instead of buying tubs of body scrub and dropping half of it on the shower floor whilst rinsing the rest down the drain, buy a mitt. Body scrubbing mitts are far more effective at removing dead skin cells, fake tan and preventing ingrown hairs. A mitt will easily outlast several tubs of body scrub and guys will love it too as they are not technically using “a product”. Try a Riffi Mitt for only $20 or the new Le Tan Exfoliating Mitt for less than $10.

Whiten your nails: As much as I fuss over my nails, endlessly filing, painting them and refusing to do dishes I must admit to being very lax about wearing garden gloves. Then after a day of blissfully pottering around in the garden I curse myself for trashing my nails and staining them with dirt. It can be very difficult to remove these sort of stains without resorting to clinical grade bleach. That used to be my solution. Clean the bathroom with bleach and clean my nails at the same time but aside from drying out my skin and nail beds I couldn’t stand my hands smelling like a toilet, ugh. Now I have a much better way of removing stubborn stains from my hands & nails – Denture tablets. Just dissolve a tablet in a bowl of water and soak your nails til they are clean. You will notice the nails will be gleaming white and your skin softened. It’s very gentle and only takes a few minutes.

I couldn’t resist taking this shot of my gardener friend!

Do your homework: I’m not totally convinced that you need to spend lots of money on skincare. That said I have forked out the big bucks but not before researching exactly what is in the product and what the properties of those ingredients are. I always read the ingredient labels and if the label doesn’t disclose them then I won’t buy it. Personally I try to avoid petrochemicals and all its alibis – propylene glycol, mineral oil, petroleum, paraffin. Tons of companies use petrochemicals (which is derived from crude oil) because they are extremely cheap. I’d estimate 90% of lip balms, glosses and lipsticks are petroleum-based. Remember, you always end up consuming what you apply to your mouth so if you can’t survive without your Lucas Paw Paw ointment upgrade it to one of the natural versions available now (my new love is Nature’s Care Paw Paw Lip Balm, it tastes like mango!) or you might as well just use Vaseline *vomit*. My skin is sensitive to sulphates which are commonly used in practically any product that foams. That’s their job, they are foaming agents but hardcore foaming agents tend to inflame sensitive skin. Again there are many natural alternatives. Yes, I hear you – why do companies persist in using these chemicals when there are safer alternatives? The answer is money. Its much more cost-effective to use them though I have to question a brand ethics if they are willing to risk their customer’s health for the sake of profit. I’d rather support the many companies that work hard to bring us safe, effective and beautiful ranges. 

Tip: ingredients are always listed in order of concentration from highest to lowest. So if you are looking to buy a wrinkle busting product but all the active ingredients they spruik on the advertisement are at the end of the list, then its just not going to be as effective as you hope. The fewer ingredients the better, beware of lists with 263 ingredients.

Here are some great websites to bookmark. It takes a while but reading through the lists about what goes into your products will sink in and you can then make better informed choices and support companies that are doing the right thing. MooGoo is an Australian company who are passionate about simple products and clear labelling. They make great products for sensitive skin types. Burt’s Bees, Pangea Organics, Badger Balm and The Purist Company all like to inform their consumers exactly what goes into their products, I love that. The Cosmetic Cop has a comprehensive alphabetical list of practically everything. The Ethical Consumer Guide is a great handbook for brands across the board.

Protect yourself: If you take your quest for great skin seriously and you want to save loads of money on expensive anti-ageing creams and salon treatments like laser, then the best tip I can give you is, WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY SINGLE DAY. It doesn’t have to be a fancy pants expensive sunscreen but it does have to be broad spectrum SPF30+. The benefit of protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays is well documented but I’ve found that sunscreen has a lot more to offer. I prefer a physical sunscreen to a chemical one as I find it lasts longer on the skin and the active ingredient, zinc oxide is very beneficial. Mums will know that most nappy rash creams are zinc oxide based as it helps heal and soothe irritated skin. This is perfect is you suffer acne or sensitive skin conditions. Think about where the sun hits you on a regular basis and make sure you extend protection to those areas too – neck, chest and backs of hands get hammered by the sun especially whilst driving.

Do you have any thrifty beauty tips you’d like to share?


10 Responses to “Thrifty Beauty Tips”

  1. empressnasigoreng November 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Very useful and informative post. I have a problem with sulphur too (eating and drinking) and it didn’t occur to me that that could also be contributing to my skin sensitivities.

    • The Hunter Gatherers November 7, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      Sulphates tend to dry my skin out quite badly causing my scalp to itch & flake. Before switching to a Sulphate-free hand wash my hands were so dry that the skin was cracking open & bleeding! Of course not everyone reacts like this but try ditching the sulphates in all your beauty products and see if it makes a difference. It’s usually the second ingredient so high in concentration. Give your skin 6 weeks to get used to the change and show you the true results.

  2. tracey November 7, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Try Olive Oil for nice shining hair …rub about 2 to 3 spoonfull in long hair ,leave for half hour and shampoo out …..while your at it rub it into your body and shower off at the same time …

    • The Hunter Gatherers November 7, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks for the tip, Tracey I’ll try that. I’ve been experimenting with oils as a styling product. I’m about to buy some coconut oil next as I adore the scent.

      Speaking of oils…. you’ve reminded me of a tip I forgot to add to my post.
      Grapeseed oil works great as cheap, natural and effective eye make up remover. Just moisten a cotton pad with water then add some oil and gently wipe over the eyes. Great for sensitive types.

  3. Elisha November 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Oh I love the denture tablet idea! Must try it. I like to keep the pump parts of pump pack bottles … Not so much a thrifty tip but I find them useful for other bottles that haven’t come in a pump pack but which are easier to use with a pump (like bigger bottles of shower gel, hand wash etc).

    I often use lip gloss or lipstick as matching blush.

    I use coconut oil as a hair mask, skin oil, to shave my legs etc.

  4. Karen November 9, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    What a great post. I so need to ask you about ingredients. I find the names on the back of packaging so confusing!

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