Low cost beauty treatments: luxury living on a budget 

Who doesn’t love a bit of pampering once in a while? Having an occasional manicure, facial or massage is a huge treat, but these treatments can be expensive. However, there is one way you have almost any hair or beauty treatment you want for a fraction of the usual price.

Finding low cost beauty treatments

The trick to having low cost beauty treatments is to find a student learning how to do them. And the best way to do this is to locate your local college! Those running hair and beauty courses are often crying out for customers willing to let their pupils practice on them. To entice you in they offer treatments for just the cost of the materials.

Now is a good time to do this as students have done enough training to be reasonably proficient. They are also likely to need people to work on at the moment as the academic year is coming to an end and the students are being assessed. They will want to get a good mark! Don’t leave it too long, however, or the summer holidays will start and they will close.

The savings are huge! Yesterday I had my eyebrows waxed and tinted and also an eyelash tint for just £7.50 at my local adult learning college. There is also a further education college that has a huge hairdressing and beauty salon.

If I wanted to, I could have a luxury manicure for £10, a full body massage for £15 or a cut and blow dry for £6.50. Fancy half a head of highlights? £13.50. I can have a leg wax for £10, a bikini wax for a fiver or a full set of party lashes for £5.50. Bargain!

The pros and cons

The biggest and most obvious advantage is the low cost, of course. You also have a tutor monitoring and supervising all the way through so the students are very careful to do a good job.  The cons could include having a dodgy hair cut , but I have had enough of those paying the full price. I have used the hairdressing section of the college on several occasions and not had a bad experience yet. As for beauty treatments that could go wrong, I had the worst wonky eyebrow threading experience once with a fully qualified lady in a department store.

The other disadvantage is that treatments are offered term time only and you need to book well in advance. Lots of money savers know about them and they get booked up!

Have you used the students at a college for hair and beauty treatments? How did you find it?

Beauty on a Budget Revisited

In The Art of Being Gorgeous on a Budget  I touched on the subject of frugal style and beauty, so I thought I would explore this subject a little more.  I know you can spend a fortune on looking good, but I know many women who look gorgeous without breaking the bank. Just because you are frugal it doesn’t mean you have to be frumpy. Taking care of yourself makes you feel better mentally as well as physically but you don’t need a huge beauty budget. So what is the art of beauty on a budget? Here are some ideas to help you save money.

Dilute your shampoo – or give it up!

budget beautyMost of us use more shampoo than they need. But it is possible to use a bit less by really soaking your hair and then using shampoo diluted with water. Some people give up washing their hair altogether. This ‘no poo’  concept has many devotees, who say giving up shampoo and all hair products leaves their hair looking better than it ever did when they piled on the chemicals. There is a very interesting article, plus details of what you can use instead if you don’t fancy giving it up immediately, here.

I save money by cutting my own hair. I have done it for myself and my daughter. Hers is so long it is easy to trim the bottom and add a layer. Mine is slightly trickier, so I keep it trimmed in between hair cuts so that I visit the hairdresser less frequently and spend less.

Very dry hair can benefit from a hot oil treatment. You can buy these pretty cheaply or make them yourself for an even more budget friendly hair treat. Coconut oil is good, as is olive oil, but almost any oil will be beneficial. Just warm it gently, smooth it through your hair and wrap it in a warm towel. Leave on for about 20 minutes, then shampoo off.

Face masks

My daughter loves a good face mask. She buys them really cheaply from places like Poundland, Home Bargains and Superdrug. However, she also makes her own. She likes this one, which is supposed to help clear spots and acne:

1 teaspoon each of oatmeal, runny honey and plain yogurt.

Just mix together and smooth over your face, avoiding the eyes. Leave on for 10-15 minutes then rinse off and use your usual moisturiser.

I prefer the non chemical home made version to the packet stuff!

There are many other DIY personal care products that you can make for yourself very cheaply.  I mentioned that you can use bicarbonate of soda to clean your teeth the other day, but you can also make a minty toothpaste with it. I have found a recipe to try here.

Boost your eyelashes

Another frugal beauty tip that my daughter swears by is castor oil for making her eyelashes grow. She dips an old mascara brush into a £2 bottle of the stuff and uses it most nights. I didn’t really see how this could work, but apparently it is a thing. I found an interesting article on how it works here. It also works on your scalp hair and eyebrows! Incidentally, this article also recommends castor oil as a remedy for dandruff and stretch marks.

Money Saving Expert

A really great place to find cheap beauty and make up deals is  Money Saving Expert. A current deal offers a set of nail polishes for £29 from Nails Inc that would usually cost about £105, a nice gift for someone I think – or for yourself!

Use your gifts

How many times have you been given boxed sets of smellies only to stick them in the back of the cupboard and forget about them? Get them out and use them up. If you really don’t like them, then re-gift them and buy yourself something you do like with the money you save.  I always drop big hints as Christmas approaches for lovely body  butters or Lush products that I wouldn’t usually buy myself.

Drink more water

Nothing is cheaper or easier to improve your health and appearance than drinking water. Wrinkles show more on dehydrated skin and drinking lots of water flushes out toxins and improves blood flow, so your skin will look better.

Get more sleep

I am the worst for going to bed when I need to, yet I look and feel so much better if I get my 7-8 hours a night. You can get away with less foundation and concealer when you’re not hiding the bags under your eyes!

This is a big subject!! I shall return to it. What are your best tips for beauty on a budget?

Frugal holiday essentials – sun protection and fake tan 

We managed to move room yesterday and now have one away from the noisy entertainment bar with a sea view. It definitely pays to ask if you’re not happy about something. 

My favourite sun protection cream

There are lots of very sunburnt people here. I don’t understand this. It’s so dangerous and bad for your skin. Too much and you soon look like a piece of old leather! Not attractive! You can get good sun protection very cheaply. I really like this one from Boots as it isn’t greasy or highly perfumed. I am using SP 15 but probably need 20. I am putting lots on frequently.  It cost  £4, plus you get the Boots points, of course! 

I drink a lot of water and wear a hat as well. I am quite fair and I don’t want to get sunstroke. 

Faking it

And if you really want a tan, you can always fake it! That’s what I do 😀😀. I have found this one pretty good, Soltan instant gel – Boots again. I use a mitt to apply it and get Mr S to do my back. He doesn’t need to worry about getting burnt and already has a tan. I think he looks like a handsome Simon Cowell lookalike! Boots sun products are three for two at the moment so I got my mitt for free.

We are sitting at the port of Cala D’or having coffee and looking at the yachts. It’s very pretty here. We also had a walk up the coastal path yesterday which gave us absolutely stunning views of the sea. 

All in all, it is perfectly chilled. It’s nice not to be rushing around and I am surprisingly good at doing sod all 😀.

Off for another wander. Have a good day.

Home spa! Giving myself a treat 

I had a late night yesterday as my friends were round for dinner, followed by an early start with my daughters at a boot sale, so I am a bit knackered!

I thought I would give myself a cheap treat, so I have nicked some of my daughter’s posh products and some of my own for a lovely home spa.

I started with a deep bubble bath and washed my hair, then put on a hair mask – I used an organic avocado and honey one, which was lovely and not at all expensive.  Next I applied a snail face mask – sounds gross but was actually quite nice! I used some of the gorgeous Body Shop shea butter body scrub I had for Christmas. It leaves your skin so soft. I had a good soak then rinsed it all off and applied somebody Body Shop shea body butter. Bliss!

Then I used my Ped Egg on my feet to get rid of all the  hard skin and some nice foot lotion, did my nails and I am currently chilling with a nice glass of white wine.

You need a treat every now and then, but it doesn’t need to cost much.

I got more bargains at the boot sale to list tomorrow. It was a bit grey and I thought it might rain but it held off. The girls all bought loads of clothes but none of them spent more than a tenner. I love a boot sale! I am going to have a lie in tomorrow though!

What cheap treats do you enjoy?

Is Easter the best time to cut out sugar?

Well, why not?

I recently blogged about how I had a sugar free March. I didn’t find it difficult generally and lost a couple of pounds, even though I ate as much of everything else as I wanted. Mr S didn’t do it as strictly as me but he also felt a lot healthier.

I noticed that my IBS symptoms improved massively, which was a big surprise. There are a lot of foods that I now avoid (cabbage, onions, milk products unless they are Lactofree, cauliflower and highly spiced food are some), but I had never considered that sugar might irritate my sensitive gut.

I have allowed myself some sweet stuff again in the past couple of weeks – mainly chocolate, which I love – and have had an upset tummy most days. It’s hard to avoid the realisation that these two things are inextricably linked! 

We ate half a Lindt Easter bunny between us last night and I feel awful today, so I am going to cut sugar right out of my diet starting now. 

I now realise there is a whole area of research around sugar, candida and yeast infections which I intend to research. Perhaps that is the root cause of my IBS?

Speaking to a colleague today, he has also given up sugar and started to exercise and eat healthily as he was diagnosed with diabetes. A couple of months in, his blood sugar is normal, he no longer had diabetes and he has lost a stone! Living proof that a high sugar intake and a poor diet have massive health implications.

Sugar sneaks into many foods, even savoury. I bought some cup-a-soups on a whim recently as I had run out of home made for work and they are full of rubbish (plus they taste horrible). Sugar is the third ingredient! Whatever possessed me I don’t know but I won’t be buying them again. I will try to avoid refined sugar wherever possible. 

I have told everyone that I don’t want any more chocolate over Easter and we will have a fruit salad for dessert on Easter Sunday.

Has anyone else stopped eating sugar? How have you found it?

Releasing the purse strings

After two no spend months, I finally released the purse strings a tad and bought some cushion covers. We are planning a budget lounge makeover over the coming months. I am going to buy a few small bits each month to spread the cost. We will replace some of the wallpaper, paint everything and get new curtains, throws cushions and a rug. We won’t spend more than a couple of hundred pounds. I’m going for an ethnic, Indian feel. You don’t need to shell out a fortune to brighten up your home.

Mr S has fitted the new wood burner, built a hearth and added a shelf. We now need to employ someone to line the chimney – this is the expensive bit! It may have to wait a bit. In the meantime I will continue to spend as little as possible!

I finally got around to buying some sharper hairdressing scissors at the weekend. I say ‘buy’ but they cost me nothing as I got them with my Boots points. Got to love Boots! The points on the loyalty card are really worth having and cutting my own hair continues to save me money. I will get a professional cut next time I think but won’t bother with the blow dry to save a bit of cash.

Tired this week. Thank heavens it’s almost the weekend. Until tomorrow 😀.

Giving up the drug…

The drug in this case being sugar! It being Shrove Tuesday, we had our pancakes with lashings of lemon, sugar and Nutella last night. 

But today is the day – I’m going sugar free for a month. I am a bit nervous as I think I am going to find it really hard! I rely too much on a mid afternoon  biscuit or a bar of chocolate when I need a boost. 

I popped to the supermarket and bought some savoury bits and bobs to take to work: poppyseed crackers, breadsticks, cheesy oatcakes, hummus and soft cheese. I am terrible for snacks so  I need to be prepared. Hopefully I will lose a bit of weight but not if I snack too hard on the savoury stuff. I will have fruit and vegetable sticks too. Honestly. Talk about first world problems!

Some swine has been at my bank account. They got hold of my bank details somehow and went on a spree at Boohoo. Fortunately the bank spotted that this is not normal for me and stopped the card quickly, but it’s annoying as I now have to go to the bank in person when I need cash. I got some cash out at the weekend just before my card was blocked but not enough. Let’s hope the new card arrives soon. In the meantime this will focus my attention and keep my spending to a minimum. I have had two no spend months, so will carry on as before!

I hope whoever cloned my card enjoys their new clothes. Hopefully everything will be just a little too tight or very itchy 😀. Have a good day!

It doesn’t take much to make me happy!

Really! It doesn’t. I was in the middle of a busy work day, craving chocolate but determined not to give in and spend 80p in the vending machine, when I suddenly remembered I had a Daim bar tucked away in my handbag. It had been in there for weeks. Like I said, it doesn’t take much 😀.

I don’t eat that much chocolate but could do with cutting down a bit. I am considering doing a sugar free March actually as I still haven’t lost the extra half a stone that makes my clothes a bit tight. It will be cheaper to lose it than buy new ones!

On the news yesterday they were reporting that we should all be aiming to eat TEN portions of fruit and veg every day, rather than the five we have been told to aim for. I am one of the few people I know who does manage five. I take three prices of fruit to snack on at work and have two lots of veg with my dinner. Sometimes I have more, but even I would be pushed to eat ten. Perhaps I will try this when I cut out the sugar. If I have a glass of juice and a banana on my porridge, take three pieces of fruit to work with vegetable soup or a salad for lunch that makes six, three portions of veg with dinner and more fruit for pudding I might make it but will never stop eating!

I think poorer families are likely to think eating ten portions a day is too expensive. I don’t think it needs to be. If you replace some meat  with cheaper pulses, eat more tinned and frozen and buy from the discount supermarkets or, even better, a real market stall it would be possible. Maybe we all need to go vegetarian? 

How about you? Are you seduced by chocolate or would you rather have an apple? Could you eat ten portions of fruit and veg a day?

Thanks for all the comments yesterday on my post about whether money can buy happiness, some really interesting ones I thought. 

Beauty products that last and last…

Last April I blogged about buying a solid deodorant bar from Lush. Ten months on, it is still going strong! I have occasionally used a roll on deodorant on hot, sticky days but other than that I have used the Lush one. Not bad for a £5.50 investment. I will definitely be purchasing another one of these when it eventually runs out.

It made me think about other health and beauty products that seem to last forever. One I tried and really wanted to get on with (but didn’t) was a Mooncup. I love the idea that these produce no waste and, after the initial investment, cost nothing. However, I didn’t find it comfortable to wear. I also tried washable sanitary pads and these lasted quite a long time, but were awkward when I was out and about so I eventually gave up on those.

I make my hairdryers last for years – in the past I have gone through them in under 12 months. Now I make sure I buy one with a two year guarantee and never use it on full power, as this is what makes them blow. My current one is four years old but I hope it will keep going for a while yet. I do blow dry my hair every couple of days so work it quite hard.

I have had the same plastic hairbrush for ever – easily 15 years I should think. I remember brushing my daughters’ hair with it when they were younger. It’s practically a family heirloom!

I make other things last too. I have been known to water down shampoo, shower gel and conditioner, I squeeze the last drop of toothpaste out of the tube by snipping the top off and the same with foundation. I found that putting a little baby oil on the mascara wand as it neared the end made it last ages longer. 

Do you have any products that are reusable or that just seem to last and last? Do you dilute products to extend their use?

Cutting my own hair

I am getting so into this no spending lark I couldn’t quite face booking myself in for a £30 cut and blow dry. I haven’t even been that happy with my last couple of haircuts. But my locks were looking a little lank and frizzy so I thought I might have a little snip myself. After all, I have witnessed many haircuts over the years. I have watched how my layers have been cut by pulling sections of hair up and cutting them straight across. I always cut my own fringe as hairdressers tend to take it too short.  How hard could it be?

I had a look at some of the many tutorials on You Tube and decided not very, especially if you have long hair and want to add a few layers. Mine isn’t that long so is perhaps a little more complicated. I decided to divide it into four sections with a fifth section at the top of my head where the shortest layers are. I pulled this section up towards the ceiling and cut an inch off. I took the side sections and pulled them horizontal and took an inch off those too, then pulled the back sections out and up on the diagonal and snipped those. 

I was cautious as it was the first time I had attempted to be my own hairdresser but it seems to have turned out OK so I will take a bit more off next time 😄. At least the dry ends are off!

Anyone else cut their own hair?

We got our new (to us) freebie sofa yesterday. It needs a throw but is really comfortable. I also got a call back from the British Heart Foundation to say they can collect my old one after all on Wednesday. Until then our sitting room looks a bit like a furniture shop but we will cope! 

How about you? Any good freebies? Have a good Sunday everyone.