Tag Archives: beauty

Finding a luxurious (but frugal) splurge

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled on an amazing deal for a luxury that I wouldn’t normally pay for. A representative for an upscale spa in my city came into my office and left pamphlets for a promotion. The spa was offering four complete services in separate visits — a facial, massage, manicure, and haircut and style — for just $50 total.

Before I signed up for the promotion, I called the spa to get the details and make sure it wasn’t a scam. Sure enough, the promotion was a way to sign on new clients, and the services were pretty much full services. The only real difference was that the massage was 30 minutes, but the normal full-price massage is 60 minutes.

Now, I probably don’t have to tell you, but this deal is pretty amazing. For half the normal price of any one of those services, I was receiving all four in separate appointments. With all the stress of the move coming up, Tony convinced me to go ahead and treat myself. It’s unlikely I’ll ever have an opportunity to treat myself to spa services like this again at this price, so why not? I usually pay $35 for a haircut alone (it’s one of my few splurges a few times a year), so I’m paying an extra $15 plus gratuities for three extra services.

On Friday, I had my first massage, and I have to say, I definitely recommend it. It was relaxing, and the masseuse taught me some stretching techniques tailored to my specific muscle problems to help me fend off the neck and shoulder pay I’d been feeling at the end of my workouts.

Spa services are usually anything but frugal. It’s not uncommon for an upscale spa to charge $50-$100 for any one of the services included in my promotion.

It’s possible you can find a similar deal at a spa near you. Call around and see what kind of promotions local spas are offering new clients. In this economic climate, luxury service providers are taking a hit like everyone else. That’s why they’re likely to offer great deals to encourage people to try their services and hopefully return.

If you’re lucky enough to find a great discount, just make sure you give your provider a generous tip. They’re offering discounts because they’re facing tough economic times, so make sure you can afford to compensate them accordingly if you decide to take advantage of their discounts.

Photo by wanhoff

Vaseline Sheer Infusion giveaway winners

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Vaseline Sheer Infusion giveaway this week! Unfortunately, there can only be three winners. Here are the lucky commenters who were chosen randomly:

  • Bobbi, whose biggest winter beauty problem is dry feet. “They get pretty dry on the tops and around the heels,” she says.
  • Kara, who hates to wear tights in the winter. “There’s nothing that will ruin my mood more than having to put on scratchy tights,” she says.
  • And from the desk of … me, who gets itchy skin and cracked hands in the winter.

I’ve contacted all the winners by email. Hopefully this lotion will help them get through the winter!

Have any suggestions for their common winter beauty problems?

Giveaway: Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotion

Disclosure: I received three free sample bottles of Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotion for this review. Please view my Disclosure for more information on my review policies. In short, I do accept free products for review, but I do not guarantee a positive review. All product reviews reflect my honest opinion.

As the weather turns colder, I start to struggle with dry skin. So it was perfect timing when the nice people at Vaseline sent me two sample sets of their new Sheer Infusion lotion — one to review and one to send to my lucky readers!

According to Vaseline, this lotion is different because it penetrates below the surface of the skin to moisturize deep down. Obviously I can’t test that claim, but I can tell you that it made my normally dry skin very soft, and the three different scents are all pleasant and relaxing.

Vitamin Burst has kind a citrusy smell, Mountain Renewal is more perfumey, and Botanical Blend has a fruity, tropical scent. My favorite is Vitamin Burst.

Overall, I really liked the product, but I do have two complaints: Despite claims that the lotion immediately absorbs into the skin for a clean, non-greasy feeling, I felt like it took a little long to dry. Once the lotion had a chance to absorb into my skin, it didn’t feel greasy at all, but it took a few minutes to get there.

I’m also a little disappointed at the price. Vaseline typically offers great, budget-friendly products, but the retail price for Sheer Infusion is in the $7-$8 range for a 6.8-ounce bottle. It seems like they’re trying to cross over into the high-dollar market to line up with brands like Aveeno and Olay. To be honest, I’ve never found the pricier lotions to be better, so I kind of wish Vaseline would continue to offer their products at a more affordable price.

Now for the giveaway! I’m giving away one 6.8 ounce bottle to three readers. To enter, just comment on this post and tell me your biggest winter beauty problem. If you have a solution to offer, then go ahead! But if you haven’t figured out a solution, maybe someone else will comment and help you out!

Be sure to include your email address in the email box and your top two choices for scents (Vitamin Burst, Mineral Renewal, or Botanical Blend). The three winners will be selected at random on Friday night. First place will receive their top choice. Second place will receive their second choice if they requested the same scent as the first-place winner. Third place will receive what’s left. :)

Go here to learn more about Vaseline Sheer Infusion and print a $1.50 off coupon.

Beauty doesn’t have to be expensive

frugal beauty

One of the most frustrating things about the frugal world is while most people acknowledge that everyone is different when it comes to budgeting and spending, the approach to beauty is relatively one size fits all. The consensus seems to be that you don’t need to spend money on beauty products.

But personal appearance is an important part of living your best life. In order to be confident, it’s essential that you feel comfortable in your skin, whatever that means to you. Everyone is different, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to invest in your personal appearance to ensure your confidence.

That doesn’t mean beauty budgets don’t need limits, though. As I’ve said many times, the trick to living a full frugal life is balance. Here are some tips to ensure you look and feel your best without blowing your budget:


What is most important to you when it comes to appearance? Do you have sensitive skin that requires specialty makeup or lotion? Are you self conscious about your body and need certain clothes to feel comfortable? Figure out what it is that makes you feel your best, and focus your budget there.

My naturally curly hair is dry, frizzy, and requires a lot of effort to look nice. I spend a little more on shampoo and hair products, but I wash and style it less frequently to cut back on the products I’m using. Look for compromises to reduce the impact of your beauty  needs on your budget.

Try alternatives.

Don’t assume that the most expensive product is your only option. I spent years trying different hair care products to find a balance between quality and price. I’ve settled on some moderately priced hair care products bought in bulk to give me the results I want while spending the least amount possible. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other brands, generics, and even natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar. If you can get the desired effect without spending as much, it’s win-win.

Go for quality, not quantity.

Find makeup products that work for you, and stick with them. If you have a drawer full of cosmetics, really consider how often you’re using those products. Wouldn’t your money be better spent on a few high quality products that work well for you? Really consider how much you need to look your best. Try to limit yourself to cosmetics that you’ll use every day.

If stylish clothing is important to you, it’s okay to spend a little more on the latest styles, but if you’re buying expensive fashions you’ll have to get by with fewer clothing items. Try to stick with classic styles that are likely to be fashionable for longer than passing trends. You’ll look stylish without having to buy a new wardrobe every season.

Focus on you.

So much of fashion and beauty is based on other people deciding what’s trendy, fashionable, and acceptable for everyone. The problem is that the beauty and fashion industry is focused on convincing you that you have to spend a lot to be beautiful. Do your best to focus on what makes you feel comfortable. The point isn’t to impress the world with a large collection of clothing and shoes; the point is to make sure you feel comfortable and look your best.

Ignoring the world’s perception of beauty is a difficult habit to break, but it’s an important step in looking and feeling confident without putting yourself into debt.

Shave your grooming budget with a safety razor

This is a guest post from my wonderful husband, Tony. You can read more from him at his movie review blog, Screen Savour. But first read about his experiences with an old-fashioned safety razor.

When we began to live the frugal lifestyle, I started looking for a way to become a frugal shaver. Shaving is something that’s required of me (growing a beard isn’t currently an option in my world), and if I’m going to do it, I think my face should feel good afterward. But that doesn’t mean I’m willing to drop a fortune to do it.

When I began shaving as a teenager, my first razor of choice was the electric razor for its quickness. But the skin on my face has always been too sensitive, and the electric razor not only irritated my skin but it never gave me the smoothness I wanted. Furthermore, for an electric razor to function well, the mechanical blades inside need to be replaced at least annually. Depending on the make and model of your razor, those can set you back. It wasn’t worth it to me.

Bags of disposable razors are cheap. I’ve used them before, and believe me, the little torn-off pieces of toilet paper covering up my shredded face are proof enough that there’s a reason they’re so cheap. So they’re out, too.

Replacement cartridge razors were my choice for most of my life. I initially used the three-blade model, then upgraded once to the four-blade and again to the five-blade. As the number of blades increased, so did the price of replacing those cartridges.

Replacement cartridge packs for the last razor I used were running me more than $25 for eight cartridge heads. If one cartridge head lasts for two weeks, that means I’m still spending about $100 (depending on the deal) to buy enough cartridges to shave for one year. And that’s not even counting the cost of shaving cream and aftershave!

Earlier this year, I found the solution to my shaving problem in the unlikeliest of places: a pro-environmental lifestyle magazine. The magazine urged readers to abandon the replacement cartridges (which waste tons of plastic each year) and convert to using a safety razor.

The safety razor is the cast-iron skillet of the shaving world. If you buy one and properly care for it, you’ll never have to buy another.

It’s an old-school device that screws together and sandwiches a single sharp, steel blade between two layers of polished and brushed metal. All that is exposed is the thin edge of the steel blade. When the blade becomes dull, the safety razor unscrews and all you throw away is a thin piece of steel (which is completely recyclable).

The device is very retro in appearance, and although it takes a little while to get used to, the shaves have been unparalleled.

You pay up front for the safety razor. The actual handheld device cost me about $25, which is on the lower end of the spectrum. (Editor’s note: Price of one safety razor = price of 8 disposable cartridges. Just saying. :) )

The real savings come in the replacement blades. They’re very sharp and functional, but also thin and cheap. Amazon is selling a pack of 30 razor blades right now at less than $15. That’s 50 cents per blade, compared to over $3 each for replacement cartridges. Even if I changed the blade every week, I would only spend $26 a year on razors. If I changed the blade as often as I did replacement cartridges for my old razor (every other week), I would spend just $13 a year.

I can’t speak to how well a safety razor works on shaving legs, but my face and wallet have been thankful for the change.

So there you have it. If you’re tired of filling up landfills and spending a fortune on plastic replacement cartridges and you’re willing to try something new, the safety razor might be right for you. It would make a great gift for the frugal, environmentally conscious man in your life.

Buying time between haircuts

frugal haircutMy hair is trouble. Always has been. It’s naturally curly, oddly textured, and prone to breakage. If I don’t take good care of it, I end up looking a little like the Bride of Frankenstein.

Obviously, I try to cut costs on things when I can. When we first moved and money was even tighter than it is now, I thought haircuts could be one of those things. I went with my husband to the $8 hair cuttery where he gets his trimmed. Bad mistake. My hair looked like it had been butchered with a dull steak knife. I was self-conscious about it for months until it grew out and I could get it cut again and evened out.

So I’ve resigned myself to paying a little extra to a stylist I trust will make me look my best. Since I pay about $40 a haircut (a luxury to be sure), I have to limit myself to just a couple haircuts a year.

There are a few things I do to extend the time between haircuts without letting my hair look like a hot mess. Even if you don’t pay a lot for haircuts, these tips will keep your hair looking healthier for longer and extend the time between haircuts.

Use a good shampoo and conditioner.

I’ve written about how I get pricey salon haircare products for $3.25 a month. If your hair is no fuss, you might not notice a difference between salon products and more affordable brands. If you have dry, naturally curly, or damaged hair, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say it really can make a huge difference in the overall health and maintenance of your hair.

Take it easy on the heat styling.

I used to be a blow dry fanatic until a just a few weeks ago. Then I did the math and realized I was spending about 5 days a year styling my hair. Yikes. Now I’m wearing it curly more often. Even when I blow dried, though, I never did it more than twice a week. Heat styling damages hair and causes split ends faster. If you’re addicted to blow drying, limit yourself to a couple times a week.

Just trim your bangs.

Typically your bangs need trimming sooner than the rest of your hair. If you’re handy with scissors, keeping your bangs trimmed yourself can buy you a lot of time between cuts.

Personally, I don’t trust myself to cut my own hair. But my stylist will trim my bangs for $7. I can pop in for a trim every other month and extend the time between full cuts to 6 months or so.

Obviously, the easiest way to avoid the hassle and expense of maintaining bangs is to grow them out.

The easiest way to save money on haircuts is not to be so particular about them. I know many faithful frugals who swear by beauty school haircuts. Maybe some day I’ll get past my bad experiences and take the plunge. For now, I’ll continuing seeing the stylist I trust twice a year. :)