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Budget Beauty Shopping

Updated on January 15, 2014

Want to look good, but don't have much cash?

You've come to the right place!

This lens is about making the most of what you already own, using up products that are just hanging around gathering dust, sourcing good quality, low-cost products and what you *don't* need to spend your hard earning money on in order to look good!

I hope it's helpful to you and that you'll let me know your own ideas in the comments section at the bottom.

Budget beauty IS possible!

To be honest, it bothers me when I see things like YouTube make-up gurus' make-up collection videos and I see a HUGE collection of products, many of which are really quite expensive and most of which will never get used much. Why? Well, not because of envy, let me assure you of that straight away! Seriously, I don't mind not being rich. What I do mind is that there may be some impressionable viewers, especially those who are quite young and relatively inexperienced, who think that it's actually *necessary* to have so many mostly high-end products that you need a new set of drawers, or even a separate room, to store them in order to look good. That's just not true. Nor are many of the claims made by slick advertisers that you NEED their products in order to be happy, attractive and successful.

Not only are some budget ranges really good quality and value, but you don't need a vast quantity of them and you may even have a number of things that could be used up or turned into products you *do* want quite easily, thus saving you money.

Don't misunderstand me, I don't think there's anything morally wrong with people who have a good income spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds (or dollars) each year on products they'll rarely touch. If they can afford it and want to, then it's not necessrily bad. I just don't want people to feel if they can't afford all that better-off people have and that advertisers constantly put under our noses, then they're doomed to look plain and feel cheated.=) That doesn't have to be the case. Read on and see!

Make the most of what you already have

This is a great way to save money starting right now! if you maximise the potential of what's already in your make-up bag and your bathroom cabinet, then you don't need to buy new products just yet and that represents a real saving that you can feel at once. When I realised that we were likely to be moving abroad within the next couple of years, I made up my mind to use up as many things as I could. Within about a year, I'd finished off over 100 products. Yes, you read that correctly: more than ONE HUNDRED things! They were of all sizes and some were just odds and ends of discontinued products that I'd been keeping onto as 'I couldn't ever get another one', but I realised that wasn't a sound idea and used them up.

So, how do you do that, especially if there are items that you don't really like or that you rarely use? Here are some suggestions that have worked for me:

- Can you use the product up by alternating with one you do like? Use the shampoo that was disappointing and you wish you hadn't bought one day with your favourite the next. It might be more bearable this way and it won't take long to use up most things.

- Maybe the item can double up as something else. Some examples of the doubling up could be using up a shampoo or foam bath as shower gel and/or liquid hand wash (they're all much the same thing), a face cream that doesn't suit you might be OK as a hand cream or body lotion and I use up hair conditioners that don't satisfy my thirsty hair as pre-wash treatments. I put some on my dry hair, clip it out of the way and let it soak in whist I brush my teeth, then get in the shower and, after rinsing off, wash and condition as normal. Works a treat! I'm also using up some old lip colour pencils with nice glosses (that I also want to use up) on top to make a new and more up to date shade. See how creative you can get with those products that are hanging around.

If there are things you really can't use then maybe one of these suggestions may help:

- If it's whole or very nearly so (and esp. if it's a good quality item) you can try to sell it on e-bay. You probably won't get your full money's worth back, but you could get something.

- Have a swap shop with your friends and family. You all bring your unwanted products and take away what you can use of others'.

- If a product is *really* old and obviously past its best - bin it. It's no sin to throw out something that's no good! Try and recycle the packaging though...=)

Time to 'fess up: how many unused products have you got hanging around? - Go and count, I dare you!LOL!=)

My number of unused products is about:

See results

How to get decent products at budget prices

Try a few of these ideas:

- You might find someone selling something you'd love on e-bay or similar sites, so keep an eye out there.

- Look out for special offers in supermarkets, local pharmacies and chain stores like Boots and Superdrug. A caution here though is to make sure that you only buy things that you *will* use. A 3 for 2 deal is no bargain if you won't really use or don't need the product.

- Shop in the sales. This is especially good just after Christmas when the Boxing Day sales start. Gift sets are often quite good value anyway, but you can pick them up for half price from 26th December onwards! I get several months worth of shower and bodycare products in one go then - and get Boots Advantage points (often with bonuses) at the same time, thus leading to more goodies later.

- Look in pound shops/dollar stores and other bargain emporia that often stock well-known brands at discount prices.

- Sign up for loyalty cards. Some of them are great and you can get totally free or discounted products with them.

- Take 5 clean black tubs back to Lush and get a free Fresh face mask. As my chemical-sensitive facial skin can't take 'regular' products anymore, I have to use Lush and so accumulate quite a few of these tubs. I must have used a couple of dozen of their Fresh face masks thus far and never yet paid for one! Not only that, but the tub it came in counts towards the next set of 5.

- Check charity shops which sometimes sell gift sets etc that have been donated.

- If you like fashion and beauty books but find them too expensive to buy, why not check to see what's in your local library?

Good budget brands

- Supermarket own ranges. I use quite a few things made by my main supermarket, Morissons. Many things are as little as £1 each (that'll be about $1.50 US) and the quality is really quite high!

- Budget and value ranges. Boots Essentials are quite helpful here and have a good range of products.

- Beauty store own ranges, such as Superdrug's own, Boots Natural Collection make-up, MUA (Make-up Academy), 2true and others from Superdrup

- Unbranded palettes. If you look on e-bay for things like the well-known 88 colour eyeshadow, 10 blusher or 66 lip colour palettes, you'll notice that the same product is available under many names and no name at all for a wide range of prices. These palettes are made in the same factories and are, essentially, the self same product, so there's no need to pay 3 times as much for one with a name on than for one without. NB: Some of the 180 palettes are sold under 'MAC' and the seller manages to get several times as much for them just because the company name has been put on the box lid. These are exactly the same sets as those sold under different names or unbranded ones and are not made by MAC. They're fakes and you'd only be paying for someone dishonest having forged the MAC logo..=(

Things you do NOT need to buy

..although there's nothing wrong with doing so, if you have the $£$

- High end brands. Low to mid-priced brands are often just as good, sometimes better. What you're paying for with famous names is, not necessarily higher quality, just high-profile advertising, beauty consultants' salaries, special stands in department stores and so on. Many big names have high street brands that are made in the same factories: Bourjois is made by Chanel, L'Oreal by Lancôme and so on. I have one or two high-end products, most of which I've had for a long time and/or were bought from discounters or duty-free sales. I don't own a single MAC product!LOL!

- A large number of make-up brushes. A few will be enough. Some people seem to have literally dozens, most of which are not used. Take a careful and critical look through what you own and see what you really use and, if you need something new, try to source a brush that is both good value and will serve your needs.

- Specialist brush cleanser. Just use your regular hair shampoo. If you use make-up daily, try to wash your brushes about once a week. More often isn't really needed and, unless you have a skin condition that requires it, you won't need a clean brush every day.

- High-end specialist make-up remover wipes. Ordinary brands do just the same job, as does your regular cleanser, so you may decide you don't need this product type at all. (I don't...)

- Make-up setting/finishing spray. Unlikely to be really a necessity and often pricey. If you do want to use it, then you could try making your own out of water with a few drops of essential oil in a clean pump dispenser. Otherwise, just patting over your face with your still-damp foundation sponge can do the job of removing any chalky appearance from your powder etc.

- The whole new season product range. Chances are you that, in your collection already, you may have the colours that are being featured . Have a good look at what you own before dashing to buy that latest palette and x and y and z to go with it.

- The whole collection made by a certain brand. Many colours won't work for you anyway, and whilst it's nice to have plenty of choice, you may already have more than enough. Well, I know I do, anyway!!=) You don't need your dressing table/vanity unit to look like a MAC sales display.=)

- Specialised shaving products. A fancy razor with umpteen directional blades isn't really needed. I just the basic twin blade product by Boots, which I get in whichever multi-pack is the best value when I need them. Special shaving foam and after-shaving skincare lotions are not needed either. You can just use your shower gel, soap or shampoo as a lubricant whilst shaving and your body lotion afterwards. If, like me, you have sensitive skin, you might want to keep a bottle of unscented shower gel just for shaving and I also use Morrison's very runny cetrimide antiseptic cream, which is £1.39, afterwards.

- High-tech oral care products. What really matters here is that you brush well twice a day and don't eat or drink sugary things (which may include your regular cuppa) more than 5 times a day. Your habits are far more key to dental health than which products you buy. Also, don't bother buying mouthwash. If you want to use one, try a little salt dissolved in water. It's a great anti-septic, it's free and doesn't contain alcohol as most commercial washes do. Oral cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK today and I personally feel that, alcohol being a known carcinogen (= cancer causing substance), mouthwashes could be contributing to the problem in a big way!

- "The Real Thing". You don't necessarily need the original article in order to enjoy a scent. For instance, I'm very keen on Yves Saint Laurent's classic scent 'Paris', but at pushing £50 per bottle, it's off the menu for me. However, there are plenty of copies around that sell for just a few pounds for a useful sized bottle of scented oil. What matters is, not being able to show off the real thing, but that you enjoy a scent.

- Specialised feminine hygiene products. Some of the wash products can be useful if you suffer from intimate irritation and itching, but a bar of unscented or Savlon soap can do just as well. Feminine talcs and deodorants are implicated in cases of thrush and may not be worth the money. As for other sanitary products, remember that they're designed to be thrown away and budget accordingly!!=)

Books on budget beauty - be it shopping, general beauty tips or other ideas

Who Knew? Beauty on a Budget: Save Money on Clothing, Make-Up, and Other Beauty Supplies with Do-It-Yourself Tips (Who Knew Tips)
Who Knew? Beauty on a Budget: Save Money on Clothing, Make-Up, and Other Beauty Supplies with Do-It-Yourself Tips (Who Knew Tips)

Who on earth could tell how much your good looks cost? Here's how to look a million dollars for very few.


Enjoy looking good, feeling great and saving some pennies in the process!

Share what works best for you with the rest of us too!

Share your budget beauty shopping tips here:

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    • Elizabeth Braun profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Braun 

      4 years ago from Sheffiled, UK

      I'd been wanting to make this as a YouTube video, but I don't own a video camera, so am happy to present it as a Squidoo lens!=)


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