Having worked on a wedding magazine for a fair few years, I was lucky enough to try out a lot of beauty products and believe me – the most expensive ones aren’t always the best. OK, some of them are – La Prairie’s Cellular 3-minute Peel (£153) literally gives you a new face of skin – but others really aren’t worth the overdraft. With celebs like Kim Kardashian and Miranda Kerr Instagramming pics of their at-home face masks, and my need to save money for our new house, I started thinking about how I could cut back a bit. Here are a few tried-and-tested tips for slashing your beauty budget without reaching for the mashed avocado…
Primer that’s worth the spend
If you prep your skin the right way, your make-up will stay on for longer – meaning you will use less of it. I love No.7’s Instant Illusions Airbrush Away Primer (£16.50) – it smooths lines and helps your foundation cling to your skin. Plus you can save up your Boots points to buy it.
The £7.99 foundation
I’m a huge Clarins fan and have used their Skin Illusion Natural Radiance (£28) for years now, but I recently tried a sample of Rimmel’s Lasting Finish 25 hour Foundation with Comfort Serum (£7.99) and I have to admit – I’m a convert. Every time I wear it I get complements on how good my skin looks. Rather than ditching my Clarins foundation though, I mix the two together.
The facial wipe trick
Unfortunately my skin is just too sensitive for face wipes, but having two kids means I use a lot of wet wipes. A friend told me that if the top one dries out when the pack is left open, she simply pushes it to the bottom to soak up moisture again! Savvy or what?
This is one area I hate scrimping on – I am yet to find a mascara under £10 that I like. However, if I do need to cut back I’ll buy a cheaper brand (No.7, Maybelline, L’oreal…) and then use eyelash curlers afterwards to add impact.
If, like I used to, you get the fear when you enter the beauty department of Debenhams, John Lewis or House of Fraser, just remember those make-up clad girls in white aren’t there to guard the products, they’re there to sell them! Don’t be afraid to talk through your needs and request samples to take home and try. There’s nothing worse than spending £30 on a cream that isn’t right. If you’re buying foundation, ask for a few samples in the shades closest to your skin tone and try them out in different lights over the course of a week or two. Samples of your regular foundation and moisturiser are also handy for weekends away.
Natural teeth whitening
Even if you’re not planning to go for professional teeth whitening, the at-home kits aren’t cheap. I recently tried ‘oil pulling’ – a technique that promises whiter teeth, better breath and healthier gums (hey – it’s even supposed to help hangovers, so I had to give it a go). The idea is that you ‘push’ and ‘pull’ a vegetable-based oil (I used coconut) through your teeth for 20 minutes each morning, so that it gathers up all the toxins which you then spit out into the sink. I found 20 minutes hard going (and got jaw ache), but even after five minutes my teeth looked more glossy and appeared a tad whiter.
Kitchen cupboard body scrub
I’ve tried loads of body scrubs over the years, all of which promise to make my skin sparkle and none of which do (I just don’t have very glowy skin, it’s kinda pale and freckly). However, as a prolific user of fake tan, it’s not something I’m prepared to do without as I need a nice even surface to work with. Cue the DIY beauty trick – yeah, I’m just like those Instagram celebs *ahem*. Grab that coconut oil, mix it with a fine grain like caster sugar (larger grains will be too scratchy), add a few drops of your favourite aromatherapy oil (tea tree will wake you up, jasmine will send you to sleep) and scrub away.
The awesome £4 fake tan
I struggle to go without fake tan. I apply it from head to toe every Friday ALL. YEAR. ROUND. If I was using St Tropez or Fake Bake, the kids would have to live on baked beans. Back in the day when I had no dependants and a bigger bank balance, I loved using Xen Tan as it stayed on for almost a week. Now, I use St Moritz Instant Self Tanning Mousse (£4) and I can’t recommend it enough. Apply it to a mitt and rub it in fast – it will keep you looking tanned for at least three-four days, give you an even colour and IT’S ONLY £4!
Got any budget beauty tips? I’d love to hear them @hollywriter