It’s a universal truth: when you look good, you feel good. Paying attention to your appearance is far from shallow. There’s even a term for it – appearance self-esteem. When we think we look good to others, we feel better about ourselves. This can be used for a quick mood lift, or even to get ahead in your career.
I have never personally been a fashionista or a beauty queen. I’m a jeans-and-t-shirt, no-makeup kind of gal. Five years after graduating, I still rock my college tees. I’ve never been drawn to the beauty world, and when I was paying off my debt, I cut out all non-essentials.
I could barely be convinced to shell out for a haircut, never mind set foot in a beauty salon.
While I am, in large part, happy with my minimal beauty regime, there is a line between “minimal” and “outright frumpy.” Chipped nails or dead ends in need of a cut aren’t a good look on anyone.
In my never-ending quest to save money, I’ve found a few ways to cut the cost of some basic beauty procedures. You don’t have to pay $600 for highlights to look good! Here’s how I get myself to de-frump on a budget.
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1. Get Your Haircut at a Beauty School
I live about seven minutes from an Aveda Institute campus, where students learn how to be hair and makeup stylists. And you can get your hair cut by the students for just a fraction of the price at a salon. I recently went and chopped off three inches of hair and got layers. At Aveda, they include a wash, cut, and style – all for just $18. They even include a short neck massage before your cut, which is amazing!
While a student cuts your hair, they have trained professionals circling the salon as students work. The teachers check in and make sure you leave happy.
You can’t beat a price tag of less than $20!
2. All hail Groupon
Jump on Groupon and you’ll find beauty deals for days. You can get deals on everything from laser hair removal to massages to facials. No matter what your beauty need is, Groupon is almost sure to have a deal for you. I’ve bought 60-minute massages for $45 this way.
A quick peek at my local Group shows me teeth whitening for $31, botox for $150, and a sauna session for $40. The deals range far and wide, and you can get anywhere from 20 to 80 percent off on some services.
3. Try the Travel Size
I have curly hair that frizzes easily. The slightest bit of humidity and I’m a puffball. I like to try different products that promise me frizz-free days, but of course I don’t want to shell out for a full bottle that might not be for me.
I’ve discovered the best way to try to tame my mane is to shop the travel aisle.
I can try out a variety of products without paying more than $3 for them.
Target, as well as many grocery stores, has the cheapest travel-size products. You can also usually pick up sample sizes at salons for much less than a whole bottle of the same stuff.
4. Rewards Points
I am a sucker for a rewards program with companies that I love. I’m a loyal customer, so why not save with things I’ll be buying anyway?
One beauty company with an incredible rewards program is Sephora. You earn points on all purchases. Come redemption time, you can save big on beauty purchases. I like to save my points and splurge on one high-ticket item that I would never pay cash for. (The right blush makes all the difference for my face!)
If a favorite company offers a reward program, also ask if there are special sales for members. Stores usually run sales around the holidays and the changes of season, and members sometimes score extra discounts!
5. Become a Model
I might not ever make it to Gisele status, but I was a model for just a day once.
Your best bet to live the glamorous life for a day? Beauty schools and photographers.
Beauty schools need people to practice on. Sometimes the makeup style is high fashion, so you’ll spend the day walking around with winged eyeliner and bright red lips. Sometimes it’s beachy fun, and you leave with tousled hair and flushed cheeks. You receive a free lesson in makeup application, learn which products look best on you, and get free makeup for a day!
Photographers are also a good bet for free makeup. Local photographers often can’t afford to hire professional models and will turn to Facebook or Craigslist to enlist the public’s help. You might be able to pick up a little cash and get your makeup done for free!