Beauty on a Budget

on June 1, 2009

Beauty has a price but who says you have to pay it? We don't. Here's how to look great for less.

Shop at the drugstore. Premium products often have high price tags because you're paying for packaging and marketing. "But today it's easier than ever to find quality products with effective ingredients at drugstores and mass merchandisers," says Francesca Fusco M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Stick to well known and respected brands such as Neutrogena, Johnson & Johnson and L'Oreal, among others, who put a lot of money behind researching and developing their products." Ingredients to look for include retinol, antioxidants (like vitamin C) and peptides to fight aging, glucosamine to lighten discoloration and hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate skin. Money saved: Antiwrinkle cream Neutrogena vs. Clinique $28 difference; Sunscreen difference same brands about $6.

Spice up your lips. Forget buying a lip plumper. Instead, exaggerate your pucker by mixing half a pinch of cinnamon into your lip gloss. (Do so on the back of your hand or on a makeup palette and then apply to lips.) "This natural warming effect will temporarily rush the blood to the surface therefore plumping," says Debbie Bondar, president and founder of the cosmetic line FACE atelier. Money saved: $7.21 – $23.21 Drugstore Sally Hansen lip plumper is $8; high end Lip Venom or Stila is $16-$24; 3.25 ounce of cinnamon is 79 cents.

Extend the life of your manicure. No need to spend up to $25 for a weekly manicure; just use these tricks to buy time between appointments. "Keep nails moist by using a cuticle cream or oil (dry nails don't hold polish as well) but make sure nails are grease-free before applying polish so it adheres better," suggests Natasha Londer, head manicurist at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City. Apply a basecoat before polish to help it stay put and prevent discoloration and choose light colors since chips on dark shades are more obvious. Try cheap but effective Sally Hansen products like their Quick Care Cuticle Treatment ($9.95) and Insta-Dri Nail Color ($4.95). Money saved by going from weekly to monthly salon manicures: up to $75.

Found in: Beauty/Skincare