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Sunday, March 9, 2014

The (Too) High Price of Beauty

I once knew a first year engineering student who had a monthly beauty budget of $200.  Two hundred dollars a month?! That was my entire food budget and I ate well!  Most of us can’t afford $2000+/year on our beauty.  But we still want to look good.  Here are a few tips.
  • Choose a haircut that grows well so you don’t need a trim more than once every 3 months
  • Or enjoy a buzz cut by purchasing your own clippers at about $30-75.
  • Color your own hair – and buy your hair color when on sale
  • Learn to trim bangs so you can do your own and your friends’
  • Find a training program and hairstylists – for a fraction of the price (or just tip), you can get a professional haircut since the students are under the supervision of a qualified teacher stylist (look at collage and private schools and call for their schedule).
  • Find generic version of your favorite hair products
  • Find simple styles to deal with a bad hair day so you do not waste money and effort when your hair is not to your taste.
Makeup and skin
  • Buy generic – since we lose makeup and/or replace it often, there is no need to pay designer prices
  • Do your own makeup, even for formal events; or, enlist a talented friend to help out
  • Buy a skin/acne cleaner that is suitable for your skin and use it – it won’t work if you don’t use it.  Use it on your back and your chest if you are prone to acne and sweat a lot.
Body and facial hair
  • Dry your disposable razor ASAP after using it: first on a dry towel and then air-dry it for a few minutes before putting the protective cover back on.  It will last much longer; I don’t use more than one per month!
  • Use a mixture of cheap hair conditioner and water to lather your legs – they will be smooth and well moisturized after you shave!
  • Shaving (any body part) in the shower may save you time, but it is expensive if you pay for water and/or hot water.  Shave before going into the shower.
  • Prevent rather than treat: wear sunscreen to avoid sunburns (and skin cancer), wear flip-flops in communal showers to avoid warts and athlete’s foot
  • Before throwing out the ‘empty’ bottle of hand lotion or shampoo, add a bit of water to the bottle and use the diluted product
  • If you have a tube of ointment/body cream, cut it in half before throwing it out – you will be amazed at (or horrified) at how much left there is.  Use it all before discarding it.
  • Close all bottles, tubes, and jars when not using, to avoid spillage and drying out
  • Find new use for products you don’t use anymore: don’t like the job the conditioner does on your hair? Use it as a body moisturizer; Sunscreen lotion expired? It’s a great hand lotion.
  • If you can’t use it, give it away; being generous is always paid back one way or another.
  • If you enjoy spa treatment, massages, and nail treatment, prepare a session with friends when you take care of one another
Overall, be as wise with your beauty budget as you are with the other parts of your budget.  Be frugal and beautiful!

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