Personal Grooming on a Budget

I should begin by saying that I am a low maintenance kind of girl. I don’t have time to spend an hour getting ready in the morning and I don’t have the money to splash the cash on loads of expensive products. However, I do like to wear makeup every day, look after my skin, get my hair styled every now and again and keep the grey hair at bay.

I am not convinced by so-called miracle products that claim to banish wrinkles and make you 10 years younger. In my experience, at the grand old age of 50, the people who look youngest for longest are the ones with good genes, who don’t spend hours in the sun and who don’t smoke. I can tell a smoker by the wrinkles around the mouth and the leathery skin of the long term sun worshipper is a dead giveaway. I have always used a moisturiser, but I have never noticed any difference between the effectiveness of my £1.99 night cream from Aldi (brilliant stuff for my dry skin) and the £30 pot with a lot of fancy packaging and a mega advertising budget.

I also use a nice hand and body lotion from Aldi and their cotton pads are very reasonable. I buy a large bottle of cleanser from the nearby hair and beauty cash and carry every 3 months or so for £8 and we all use it so it’s worth dropping in if I’m passing. Sometimes I buy their very large hairdresser’s bottles of shampoo and conditioner for around £15, which last ages. Other times I go to my local Home Bargains and buy whichever branded shampoos are on offer, plus razors (we all use men’s disposables, but rinse and dry them after use and they last ages), soap, etc.

I colour my own hair once a month or so. This costs me about £3, as I buy a packet of dye, mix up half in my little mixer bowl that I got for the purpose and just brush it onto my roots. The other half is fine until the next month as long as you don’t mix it up. I get a cut and blow-dry every couple of months, but try to find a salon with a junior to do this. My last cut cost me £10! When I worked part time I used to use the local college, which was even cheaper. I found that because they were learning they were very careful, and the tutors checked everything to make sure I got a good cut.

I spend a lot of time in the garden so I don’t bother paying for expensive manicures or false nails – they would be destroyed! Once a week I give myself a manicure and, because I have brittle nails that break easily, treat myself to a bottle of Sally Hanson nail hardener, which works a treat.

If you can’t live without your waxing, highlights, massage, false nails and eyelashes or reflexology treatments, check out the local college – if they have a hair and beauty course they need guinea pigs and will offer treatments for a few pounds. They may take longer than usual but in my experience try very hard to do a good job and are a real bargain.

Most of all, if you really want to save money, stop buying the glamour magazines! They are hugely expensive and mostly full of glossy adverts and articles trying to convince you that you have to spend £50 on a lipstick in this season’s colour, which really isn’t very different to last season’s colour and you could probably buy a similar one in the supermarket for a fiver. Don’t believe the ad men. They want your money!!