More beauty for the buck: 15 buy-smart beauty bargains
Instead of pricey facial cleansers:
Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash, by Johnson & Johnson
12 ounces for under $8
Dermatologists recommend it for both oily and dry skin. Beauty product junkies swear by it. This soap-free, oil-free, noncomedogenic facial cleanser touts itself as being "gentle as water" and, since it won't sting your eyes, you can also use it as an eye makeup remover. Why spend any more when it's all a wash?
Instead of shaving cream:
28 ounces for under $3
Bing: Shaving tips
Frugalistas know the secret to smooth, silky legs isn't spendy shaving cream but cheap hair conditioner. Apply as you would shaving cream; you'll moisturize your legs, reduce the chance of razor burn, and save a lot of money using drugstore brands.
Instead of benzoyl peroxide for spot acne:
Tea tree oil
$3 an ounce and up
Bing: Tea tree oil and acne
It's a natural therapy that really works -- even The New York Times says so. This essential oil, extracted from the leaves of a tree native to Australia, "has been shown to have both antibacterial and cosmetic properties" according The Times’ "Well" blog. Applied to the skin, tea tree oil works more slowly than benzoyl peroxide but also has fewer side effects. Dilute with almond or olive oil for more sensitive skin.
Instead of MAC eye shadow:
Coastal Scents 88 shade palette
Bing: Costal scents eyeshadow
You're a kid in a candy store at the MAC eye shadow display, but at $15 a pop you can only afford a couple. Indulge yourself with a close copycat: the 88 shade palette from CoastalScents.com. In both matte and metallic powders, you can choose from warm versions in browns and earth tones ($18 on sale, $24.95 regular price) or their original palette ($12 on sale, $18.95 regular price) in nearly every color of the rainbow. The pots of color are small--about the size of a dime--but a little goes a long way.
Instead of department store under-eye concealer:
Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, by Maybelline New York
.05 fluid ounces for $7.99
Bing: Dream Lumi Concealer
Author and makeup/skin care expert Paula Begoun, who reviews products at PaulasChoice.com-, says this concealer from Maybelline is worth considering, especially if you're using Yves St. Laurent's Touche Eclat or Lancome's Teint Miracle Instant Retouch Pen Lit-From-Within Perfector, "which cost at least three times as much."
Instead of expensive shampoos:
Buy the cheapest brand you like
15 ounces and up from $1
Despite the huge price difference between grocery store brands and those found in salons, shampoos are pretty much the same. UK hair-and-beauty industry expert John Hamilton tells the Daily Mail, "somewhere between 90 and 95 per cent of the ingredients are going to be identical. Perfume and colour are what often distinguish one from another...Additives such as almond oil and castor oil will probably only be present as less than 1 per cent of the overall amount....That’s like adding a drop of whisky to water and calling it a cocktail." U.S. beauty expert Paula Begoun agrees: "There is absolutely no difference between expensive shampoos and inexpensive ones."
Instead of a French manicure:
Nail white pencil and a buffer
$4 for pencil, $5 for buffer
Bing: Save on nail care
Want the look of a French manicure but don't have the time or money? With a nail white pencil (or white eyeliner pencil) and a chamois nail buffer you can fake it in under 10 minutes. Sharpen the pencil and lightly wet the tip, slide it underneath the whites of your nails (as if you're cleaning with an orange stick), and then buff nails until glossy. It'll pass for the real thing...until you wash your hands.
Instead of exfoliating creams:
Muslin face cloths
Eight for under $12
Bing: Muslin face clothes
If you've had a facial at a spa, you know estheticians use cotton cloths to apply and remove masks. The soft surface gently yet effectively works as a micro exfoliant to clean and remove makeup and leave skin smooth without causing the kind of damage or irritation that facial scrubs often produce. Since muslin face cloths dry rapidly because of their open weave, they discourage the growth of bacteria. And at the end of the day, you can throw it in the wash and use a fresh cloth each morning.
Instead of costly wrinkle creams:
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair, SPF 30
$14.99 for 1 ounce
A derivative of vitamin A, retinol reduces fine lines and hyperpigmentation. “Vitamin A is the go-to skin-care ingredient,” Scottsdale, Arizona dermatologist Jennifer Linder told Vogue in 2012. The magazine noted, "Virtually all skin-care experts agree," and cited Neutrogena's retinol-infused moisturizer as one of the best. At the cosmetics review website Nouveau Cheap, blogger G. observed that after two months "my skin feels a bit plumper, more hydrated and overall smoother in texture. The fine lines around my lips are far less noticeable...the wrinkles around my eyes look a tiny bit less noticeable as well." Compared to Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector (1 oz. for $47.50) this is a steal.
Instead of tony toners:
Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner
11.5 ounces for under $10
Bing: Thayer's Witch Hazel
Jennifer Aniston swears by Dr. Hauschka's skincare products. But $34.95 for 3.4 ounces of Facial Toner that is mostly water, alcohol and witch hazel? Ouch. A better choice is Thayer's Witch Hazel, blended with aloe vera, vitamin E and grapefruit seed extract to tone and remove makeup without irritating sensitive skin. Alcohol-free with a light rose water scent, it's nourishing and non-drying with the added benefit of being made in the USA with only American ingredients.