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?

Come on ladies, don’t be fooled by that pseudo science!

The skincare and cosmetics business is a racket! On the very rare occasions that I venture into a department store I am always stunned by the cost of products on sale. £45 for tiny tub of miracle moisturiser? I could feed myself for a week for that. I don’t buy them anymore, but I know the pages of the high end glossy women’s magazines are full of impossibly beautiful, photoshopped models and celebrities selling products claiming to reduce wrinkles, to revitalise your skin, to ‘replenish, hydrate and protect’, to ‘firm and lift’. One product I found claims to renew cells overnight; I’m sure that happens anyway! 

My daughter worked as an assistant in the beauty department of a national newspaper as a student. They were sent hundreds of such products to review and she brought me some to try a couple of times. One was an anti-aging serum which retailed at, wait for it, £120!!! I used it a couple of times but i didn’t rate it. I truly prefer my £1.99 Aldi face cream. Another freebie was a ‘natural’ moisturiser which was so highly perfumed I could only stand using it as a hand cream. This one would have cost £48 to buy.

I wonder if the claims of the companies producing these items have ever been scientifically tested? I doubt it. 

I do think it is a good idea to use some form of moisturiser and also sun protection. But you can purchase these things for less than a fiver. I have been using my Aldi creams for about five years now and I swear I don’t look a day over 25 😉. Don’t waste your money and take a holiday with what you save! 

Budget beauty

  I have said it before. I am a low budget kind of girl when it comes to make up and toiletries. At my age I have tried so many products and I no longer believe the pseudo science or advertising hype. All I need is a cleanser of some kind – and I don’t get on with soap for this as I have dry skin- some cotton wool and a moisturiser without too much fragrance in it. I use an exfoliator once or twice a week – the St Ives apricot stuff is fine. We have shower gel in the house as the others like it but actually I still prefer soap and a flannel. I always use body lotion, again because of the dry skin. I wear make up because I tend towards being too pale and showing any tiredness immediately, but not that much. I use a razor and soap to get rid of the fuzz, I pluck my own eyebrows and do myself the odd manicure and pedicure. I can’t afford to visit the beauty salon to be waxed and preened. I quite fancy getting my nails done, but I know I would wreck them in 10 minutes doing the garden! I dye my own hair but draw the line at cutting it…
  When I was in Aldi the other day buying the night cream that I use I had a good look at their range of toiletries and they are excellent value. This particular moisturiser costs £1.99 and is as good as anything else I have ever tried, including the Clarins range that I used to spend a small fortune on.  Home Bargains is another that I like for shampoos, shower gel and conditioner, plus they sell the hair colourant that I prefer.
  In Aldi this week you can buy shower gel for 33p, face wipes for 89p, permanent hair colour for £2.39, hairspray for 79p, sanitary towels for 69p for 14 and an impressive looking beauty serum for £3.99, among other bargain beauty buys.
  I look out for bargains in the supermarkets for makeup. I really like the foundation I have now and it was on offer for  £6.99. I know people who will spend £35 on a small pot of this stuff! I also very recently discovered the MUA range in Superdrug which is incredibly cheap. £1 for a lipstick and £2 for a cream blusher! That will do me!

My daughter raves about the bargains at www.cosmeticsfairy.co.uk and they do seem worth investigating.

Fragrance – the prices! I am sure you shouldn’t need to sell a kidney to smell nice! I go for the Body Shop range fairly often. Another good ploy is to buy the gift sets of fragrance and body lotion after Christmas at massively reduced prices or celebrity fragrance when the celebrity has fallen out of favour. It either smells good or it doesn’t. Who cares if Britney’s name is on the bottle?

If this stuff really matters to you, you probably think I am tighter than the proverbial bit of the duck’s anatomy. But if you are on a tight budget you can be sure you can do it more cheaply. Start at Aldi. You may be surprised at what you will find.

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!!