Beauty products are an investment, and working within a budget means you need to know what’s worth the money and what isn’t. To help you choose wisely, this chapter of our Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook offers essential tips for anyone looking for ways to save on quality skincare, gifts and more.
“Beauty is potent but money is omnipotent.” - Old saying
Many people assume that top-quality skincare has to come with an equally high price tag. Fortunately, these FAQs offer alternatives to pricey treatments. Learn how to splurge wisely on effective products, find an affordable anti-aging regimen and cut costs on holiday gifts.
» Q: I’m trying to choose my splurges wisely, so is it better to splurge on an at-home product or a professional facial?
A: Splurge on a mask, peel or cream that you can use at home, which will help you maintain healthy skin for months to come. Facials actually may not be that helpful after all, writes dermatologist Leslie Baumann, M.D., on her Yahoo! Health blog, The Skin Guru. She says that studies show that as many as 80 percent of people break out post facial and “there are really no long-term benefits to facials.”
» Q: I don’t have a lot of money to spend on skincare, but I’d like to invest in several high-end products. What are the best items to splurge on?
A: Save on basic cleansers, toners and makeup removers, and instead invest in a high-quality serum or night cream. A higher price tag often means a higher concentration of active ingredients. Since you'll leave the product on all night to soak into your skin, these pricier products will provide great benefits.
» Q: I’d like to treat myself but I’m on a tight budget. Any ideas?
A: You can treat yourself by creating a DIY mask for your face. Also, remember that small splurges can feel luxurious. If you’ve got $10, splurge on vegan nail polish. SpaRitual is free of DBP, formaldehyde and toluene and offers an extensive line of lacquers. Depending on where you live, you can score a manicure — that even includes a mini-massage — for under $10. (Usually, these are bigger cities, but it doesn’t hurt to call around and ask about the specials.) Got $20? Splurge on an ultra-moisturizing hand cream or foot cream.
Hands are regularly exposed to environmental assaults like UV rays and chilly, windy weather, and feet take a beating on a daily basis. So pampering them is a great way to relax. For $30 or $40, consider a lip gloss that also plumps your pout or an entire set of plumpers.
» Q: What’s a cost-effective anti-aging treatment for your 20s?
A: Sunscreen! You can find sunscreen with SPF 30 and broad-spectrum protection for under $10. Sunscreen helps to prevent premature aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and uneven skin tone — and it protects your skin from cancer!
» Q: I’m looking for an affordable anti-aging regimen. What products can I save on and what’s worth the splurge?
A: It’s OK to be thrifty when it comes to your facial cleanser, as long as it’s gentle and doesn’t dry out your skin. Look for a formula specially suited to your skin type. With night cream, however, it pays to spend a little extra. Choose a product that contains beneficial ingredients like retinol, emollients and antioxidants. You can also choose combination products that work double duty, such as a cleanser with exfoliating or toning properties or a high-end moisturizer that can also function as a night cream. Another product that’s worth the splurge is an antioxidant serum, which is “a good way to deliver the concentrated antioxidants…for wrinkle treatment and prevention,” writes dermatologist Leslie Baumann, M.D. in her book, The Skin Type Solution. If you’re looking for more dramatic results, a dermatologist can prescribe a retinoid cream, such as Retin-A.
» Q: My friend loves natural products. Can you offer some budget-friendly options?
A: Absolutely! Infused with a variety of natural ingredients, including vitamin C-rich wild rose oil, Korres Wild Rose Regimen Kit provides everything she’ll need to take care of her skin — without breaking your budget. Also, Juice Beauty Organics To Go is a 5-piece organic skincare set with cleansing milk, antioxidant serum, green apple peel, oil-free moisturizer and hydrating mist. If your friend loves doing her nails, SpaRitual is a vegan line of pretty nail polishes. SpaRitual Spice of Life Nail Lacquer Duo features a deep garnet shimmer nail polish and a metallic gold shimmer polish . Another idea is to create a custom gift. Make one of these DIY beauty treatments and put it inside a glass jar, which you can find at home (such as a jar from jelly), at the dollar store or in a craft shop. Then just put some ribbon around it and attach the recipe on pretty paper along with instructions on how to use the treatment. And voila! You have a beautiful, homemade gift well under $5 to $10.
» Q: Any ideas for homemade holiday gifts?
A: Writer Tieman McKay includes some fantastic homemade gift ideas on SheKnows: To create a sugar scrub for the body, combine brown sugar with coconut, olive or safflower oil — enough so the sugar spreads. Then, try adding lavender, ground coffee, vanilla or lemon zest, depending on your preference. To create bath salts, mix Epsom Salt with an essential oil. Just a few drops will do. To give it some oomph, McKay suggests sprinkling dried lavender, small roses or lilacs. Put the mixture into canvas bags and tie with a festive ribbon. You can also include a handwritten note with instructions, such as “pour into warm bath, dim the lights and light a candle and soak for 15 minutes.”
» Q: I’m on a tight budget this holiday season. Can you talk about some cost-cutting tips?
A: To help you stay on budget this season, first set a budget before you start shopping. Also, shop with cash. A bonus of using cash is that you can see your stash swiftly shrinking, and so you’re more aware of how much you’re spending. In addition, buy in bulk. You can purchase gift sets and split up the products. And always shop around for the best prices before you buy.
Whether you’re working within a tight budget or simply want to learn ways to save some extra cash, you have a variety of options for creating a cost-conscious beauty routine. Give your skin all the pampering it deserves without the buyer’s remorse.
Stay tuned for more installments of our complete Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook.
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 5: Body & Spa
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 4: Pregnancy, Babies & Kids
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 3: Anti-Aging
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 2: Acne
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook - Part 1: Skin Type & Seasonal Skincare