Skin Deep: Money-saving, homemade ways to achieve good looks without spending a lot on beauty products.
Compared to a new dress or handbag, most beauty products are modest indulgences. Still, these are recessionary times. With that in mind, here’s a guide to achieving brand-name results at wallet-friendly prices, so you can look great this summer even if you’re feeling pinched.
CHARLOTTE RONSON A PERFECT MESS BEACH HAIR
($20 for 4 ounces) A styling spray to create tousled hair that looks as if you spent an afternoon swimming in the ocean or playing paddle ball on the beach.
ON THE CHEAP — Swim in the ocean or play paddle ball on the beach (free). Alternatively, Michael Duenas, the stylist who has worked with Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Kim Cattrall, said you can create a surf spray and get that “beachy texture” with items from the supermarket. Mix one part sea salt to three parts water in a spray bottle; then, for a lovely subtle scent, add a vanilla bean or a few drops of lavender oil. For an inexpensive detangler, Duenas, the founder of Hair Room Service, which offers at-home or in-room beauty appointments in New York and Los Angeles, recommends coconut oil. Add it to an atomizer and spray on damp hair, he said, or apply liberally with a brush. (About $2 for 26 ounces of sea salt, which can be used to season your dinner, too.)
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KLORANE DRY SHAMPOO
($17.99 for about 3.2 ounces) An aerosol spray that cleans and freshens hair in minutes without water.
ON THE CHEAP — For the benefits of a dry shampoo without the cost, add baby powder into an olive oil spray, Duenas said. On days when you want a deep conditioner before washing with water, try peanut oil. “Peanuts are an incredible source of protein,” Duenas said. “Apply liberally and process under heat.” And when you need a cleanser, consider pineapple juice. “The acidity of the juice will strip unnecessary oils,” he said. (About $7 to $10 for 25 ounces of olive oil, depending on the brand and quality; about $3 for 15 ounces of baby powder, which you can use to freshen your old sneakers, too.)
KATE SOMERVILLE NECK TISSUE REPAIR CREAM WITH PEPTIDE K8
($150 for 1.7 ounces) Billed as an anti-aging cream to soften and smooth wrinkles at the neck.
ON THE CHEAP — There’s little difference, if any, between body creams and neck creams, according to many makeup artists. Save money and space in your medicine cabinet by paring down to one all-purpose lotion. Do that, and you just may be able to splurge on your favorite brand name.
CLINIQUE TAKE THE DAY OFF MAKEUP REMOVER FOR LIDS, LASHES & LIPS
($18 for 4.2 ounces) Designed to dissolve makeup by using cotton balls or tissues without irritating or stinging eyes and skin.
ON THE CHEAP — Beauty forum members routinely share money-saving tricks, and this one keeps turning up year after year: swapping eye-makeup remover for Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. You can use it in the shower or simply dab a bit onto a cotton ball and rinse well. (About $3.50 for 15 ounces, enough to also clean your hair.)
BOBBI BROWN CRYSTAL LIP GLOSS
($17 for 0.5 ounces) A clear gloss.
ON THE CHEAP — Vaseline can soften and highlight lips as well as feet (about $4.50 for 13 ounces, or if you prefer a tube, about $2 for 0.35 ounces). If you find Vaseline too greasy, try Wet n Wild Glassy Gloss Lip Gel Through the Looking Glass (about $3 for0.4ounces), which promises a shiny wet look.
EVIAN MINERAL WATER SPRAY
($16.50 for 10 ounces) This aerosol can of mineral water propelled by nitrogen is supposed to rehydrate and soothe skin, as well as remove sweat, salt and chlorine.
ON THE CHEAP — Admittedly, Evian’s spray is an invigorating summer treat. Nonetheless, you can save more than $15, not to mention the environment, by filling a 99-cent mister from the dollar store with tap water (or Evian, if you’re so inclined) and stashing it in the freezer. (About $1.)
FRESH SUGAR LIP POLISH
($22.50 for 0.6 ounces) A scrub meant to be used a few times a week to soften and smooth your smacker.
ON THE CHEAP — Emily Kate Warren, a New York and Los Angeles makeup artist whose work has appeared in Allure and Lucky magazines, said you can slough off dead skin by scrubbing lips with a sugar paste from your pantry. Mix a quarter-teaspoon of any food oil (vegetable, olive, canola) with a quarter-teaspoon of sugar (peppermint oil and coconut oil are a bonus, she said, because they smell good). Dip your finger in the paste (if it’s dry, add more oil, she said, and if it’s too oily, add more sugar) and gently rub it across your lips until any dry skin rolls off. It may satisfy dessert cravings, too. (About $3 or $4 for 48 ounces of canola oil; about $2 for a pound of sugar.)
BENEFIT COSMETICS BENETINT
($29 for 0.42 ounces) This sheer waterproof stain is meant to give cheeks and lips a rosy glow.
ON THE CHEAP — “Forgo the expensive stains at Sephora and buy a beet,” Warren said, explaining that the vegetable “ekes out the most beautiful stain.” Roast some for dinner, she advised, then sop up the juice and swipe it across your lips for a deep pinkish red. Use it for blush, too, she said, but be quick. If you don’t swiftly blend it over the apples of your cheeks, it may dry patchy. “Stick with lips if you are practicing for the first time,” she said. (About $1 a pound.)