When it comes to shaving our budgets, most ladies put beauty products in the "need" category. A study commissioned by Mintel validates this assumption, reporting consumers spent $2.32 billion on shampoo and $1.71 billion on conditioner in 2010 alone.
So what's the best way to save on essentials without resorting to dollar-store cosmetics? Here are nine tips to keep both your beauty and your budget intact.
1. Hair Products
Consider extending the life of your shampoo (and hair color) by using dry shampoo or baby powder in between washes. When using shampoo and conditioner, check out these great tips and best bargain buys from DailyFinance.com.
2. Hand Soap
Foam hand soap is all the rage these days, and one of the easier beauty products to DIY. Refer to EHow.com's recipe for specific instructions, but ultimately all you need is a lot of water, a bit of soap and a few drops of essential oil.
3. Makeup Brushes
In addition to extending the life on pricey makeup applicators, regularly cleaning your brushes is just the sanitary thing to do. And if you really need replacements, consider a tip given to me by a MAC Cosmetics artist; buy art brushes at craft stores for a fraction of the price!
Whether you're a liquid, powder or mineral foundation girl, you can use less of this beauty staple by applying a base before application. The Magic Perfecting Base by L'Oreal is a favorite among top fashion magazines, and is available for less than $12 from Walmart and Target.
Let's be honest -- designer fragrances are among the most expensive beauty purchases, with $80 buying less than 6 ounces of product. If you can't part with your signature Chanel scent, buy gift cards at a discounted rate for retailers selling your fragrance and enjoy immediate savings.
6. Body Lotion
Moisturizing is a must for anyone who wants to avoid the shar pei-look at 50, but lotion gets pricey when you see the words "illuminating," "firming" or "age-defying" on the label. Unless you have a serious skin issue, consistent use of most drugstore moisturizers is sufficient.
7. Hair Color
Prolong your color-treated hair between salon visits using household ingredients. Brunettes can use a strong pot of cooled coffee and blonds can use a lemon juice-water mixture. Apply the treatment after shampooing, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse, condition and style as usual.
8. Hair Accessories
Today's trendy hair accessories can be homemade for a fraction of salon and department store prices. Channel your inner domestic goddess and create one-of-a-kind hair candy with beads, feathers and artificial flowers found in craft stores.
9. Less is More
There's no need to wear your entire cosmetics collection every day of the week. Consider giving your wallet a break by opting for the basics during mellow workdays or lazy weekends. For tips on how to pull off the "au natural" look, refer to Real Simple's step-by-step instructions.