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beauty hacks

Beauty can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be! There are dozens of ways to up your beauty quotient without breaking the bank. And when beauty costs less, you can afford to experiment a bit, have fun, and find new looks you love.

Salon Services for Less

My husband cut all three of our kids’ hair as they were growing up, and he still cuts his own hair. But most people (including our now-grown kids) would prefer to visit a hair salon or barber. Here’s a huge money-saver: Visit a beauty school!

beauty hacks - sprakly eye shadow

Get it on Tophatter for around $10

Yes, a student will cut your hair, do your nails, or give you a facial, all under the supervision of an instructor, and you’ll save a lot of money! At Oliver Finley Academy, a school near my home, a haircut and style is $8, coloring is $28, and extensions cost $25 per hour. Those prices are about 75 percent less than retail! How about a full set of acrylic nails for $23, instead of the $60 most salons charge? Or $30 for a facial that usually costs over $100? I recently took an expensive wig to Oliver Finley to have feathery bangs cut into it. They did a great job and I only paid $5!

Beauty schools abound across America, including Avalon School of Cosmetology, Empire Beauty Schools, Paul Mitchell Schools and Aveda Institute. Just conduct an internet search for beauty school salon services or guest services to find a school near you.

Home-Grown Hacks

Home-grown hacks will save you tons of money over a lifetime. Theresa Wardlow, an instructor at Oliver Findley, has fun with her makeup by applying sparkly eye shadow to her lips and then layering a clear gloss on top. “It’s a do-it-yourself lip gloss!” she exclaims. For nails, she says, “Press-on nails have gotten so much better over the last few years, and you can find them with all sorts of intricate designs. They’re easy to apply, they stay on, and are easy to remove.” For a home-grown treatment mask, Wardlow recommends applying raw honey to wet, clean skin.  “It’s antibacterial, exfoliating, and naturally hydrating,” she said. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse and follow with your regular moisturizer.

beauty hacks - lemon essential oil

Get it on Tophatter for around $2

Winter skin is dry skin. In winter, when my daughter’s lips feel dry, she uses a homemade scrub of coconut oil and sugar. When my mascara starts to dry up, I add one drop of Burt’s Bees lemon oil or lemon essential oil to the tube and mix it around with the brush. This should make your mascara last another week or two.

Luxury Samples

Yes, luxury makeup by companies like Lancôme or Clinique costs more. But I do have just a few beauty products I love from those companies. The trick with these is to sign up for an online account with the company, along with department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales, and wait until they email you about their “gift with purchase” specials. I only use Lancôme mascara and Clinique powder base, but with the samples I get with my order once or twice a year, I never need to buy lipstick, perfume, or moisturizers.

beauty hacks - temporary hair dye

Get it on Tophatter for around $12

Did you get a free lipstick sample that’s not your color? Try putting on a too-dark lipstick first and then layer a too-light one over. It might just look perfect!

Online Samplers

Many women love changing their look monthly, and they love You fill out an online form to choose your personalized glam preferences. These include your hair and skin tone and color, for example, and what kinds of brand-name beauty products you’d like to try more often or less often. Then you can choose to receive five to 15 products a month, tailored to your preferences, for $12 to $37.

beauty hacks - press on nails

Get it on Tophatter for around $11

Amazon has beauty subscriptions, too, with products for tweens, redheads, and many other specialties.


beauty hacks - eyeliners

Get it on Tophatter for around $7

Some of the most fun beauty buys can be had on Tophatter. The prices are so low you can experiment. How about 12 wild eyeliners for $7? Or 13 different temporary hair dye colors for $10? Do-it-yourselfers can get a 10-piece nail and pedicure set for just $6. Long, curly hairpieces are $18. A Khroma Beauty complete face palette for eyes and cheeks by Kourtney Kim Khloe also goes for just $18. Have fun playing with your new looks!

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Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.


Crista Worthy writes about aviation, travel, wildlife, and more from her home in Idaho.

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