Monday, July 4, 2011

Frugal(ish) summer beauty tips

So as a professor, I go on unpaid leave during the summer. (Not all institutions do this but mine does.) This isn't a huge deal, but it does mean that we reduce our discretionary spending somewhat, so that we can continue to eat and pay our mortgage. (Priorities!)

Confession: I am a beauty product and services addict, y'all. There is nothing I love more than getting a haircut and a facial and then buying a brand new tube of mascara. But that stuff costs bank, so I try to cut back on it over the summer. However, the flip side of that is that I don't want to look like a crazy hermit ("Oh look, apparently Danielle vacationed in a cave in the desert this summer!"), so I try to swap out my full-priced indulgences for cheaper alternatives where I can.

Hair Care:
So my regular routine is getting my hair colored and cut every 6 weeks. I'm pretty low maintenance with products--I use Aveda Madder Root Shampoo (for red hair) and their Rosemary Mint conditioner. I occasionally use some Aveda Confixor gel and I use a dime-sized dab of Moroccan oil every time I shampoo.

Getting my hair cut and colored costs about $150 every 6 weeks. That thud you just heard was when my mom passed out and hit the ground--sorry Mom, should have warned you.

I've been trying to grow my hair out so I haven't gotten it cut since late April, and I'm not planning on doing it again until August, so that's been saving me some money. To prevent split ends I'm shampooing less (every other day or every third day when I can stand it, saving money on shampoo and conditioner right there!), being religious about applying the Moroccan oil, and trying to heat style less.

What's really saving me some cash though is doing my own haircolor at home. I explained my situation to my hair guru Max and he signed off on it, before letting loose a huge dis on L'Oreal haircolor ("it will dry your hair right out and ruin it and we'll have to cut it off!") and making me swear to use Clairol.

On Max's recommendation, I've been using Clairol Nice N Easy #108, Natural Reddish Blonde. I bought a 3 pack on Amazon: so that should last me through the summer. The color looks great. If I weren't so lazy I'd keep doing it myself, but honestly I love going to the salon to have it done and I'm going to be there for a haircut anyway.

I honestly get these more than I should, even when money isn't tight. Doing my own fingernails is one thing but getting my feet super-smooth and sandal ready is a chore that I'm definitely willing to outsource. However, I've found a new secret weapon: Pretty Hands and Feet! It's a lotion-like product; you rub a dab into your hand or foot and keep rubbing. It's kind of like in elementary school when you rubbed Elmer's glue into your skin and then peeled it off (don't lie, we all did it), except here, you rub away your nasty layers of old dead skin.

It's kind of therapeutic. I do it sitting on the edge of the tub right before I shower, so I don't have to walk around with little balls of rolled up skin all over me. Slap on some seriously moisturizing lotion (Neutrogena makes a great foot cream!) and you're ready for some polish.

I always balk at paying like $8 for a bottle of OPI until I stop and consider that buying an entire BOTTLE of nail polish, even the really good stuff, costs less than one professional manicure. OPI also stays on for a long time, even their darker colors. Thus, I love it. Apparently lilac and coral are what all the hip kids are wearing. Right now I have on bright red (Friar Friar Pants on Fire! by OPI) from 4th of July festiveness but it looks kind of weird with my red hair so I'll probably ditch it in favor of something more summery soon.

Skin care:
So facials are just about my favorite thing ever. Unfortunately they are REAL expensive and seem kind of silly in the summer, because I'm just going to go out in the sun and make my skin terrible again anyway. I can have Irina (my super-tough Ukranian aesthetician--side note, is it a requirement that you be Ukranian to give facials? Because I don't think I've ever had a facialist who wasn't from Ukraine.) yell at me once in August for spending too much time in the sun and not moisturizing enough, or I can have her do it three times in the summer. I choose once, because Irina is a little scary.

I keep up with the rest of my skincare routine throughout the summer. I don't know how I lived without my Clarisonic, which I use once a day. I also use Philosophy Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads once a day. Both are kind of on the pricey side but together they keep my skin clean and exfoliated which means I can go longer between facials without looking like something you dug up in your backyard.

The other budget plus in the skincare category is the fact that I go out in public much less during the summer than I do in the other seasons. By public, I mean places where you feel you have to wear makeup--not like a Target run. (Let's face it, the Maryland frat boys are going to say vaguely creepy things to me in Target regardless of whether I'm wearing makeup or not, so why bother?) This not only saves me money on the makeup itself, but also on the stuff I use to take off my warpaint. Further, when I do go in to the office or out to a place where you want to look like a functioning adult and not like a sleep-deprived middle school student (I'm short, remember?), I find myself wearing considerably less makeup, possibly because I know I'm just going to sweat it all off anyway, or possibly because the heat makes me too lazy to spend more than 5 minutes doing anything. Tinted moisturizer, neutral eyeshadow, waterproof mascara, BLAMMO, we're done here. Put on lipgloss when I get where I'm going, because let's face it, I'm probably going to have like 3 drinks before I get there, so why put on lipgloss just to leave it on a cup?

Hair Removal:
Skimping here sucks. Don't do it. Invest the $50 or whatever in the bikini wax. I've Nair-ed in a pinch before (Impromptu pool party!) and always always ALWAYS regret it later, when the stubble starts to grow in. TERRIBLE. F. Wax it and then forget about it for 6-8 weeks.

Ok readers, do you have any tips for saving money on summer beauty? Disagree with any of my scrimping and pinching? Tell me about it!

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