13 Beauty Tricks That Will Save You Money

still life of zero waste beauty products, complete with wooden hair brushes and soap bar

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Learn some key beauty budget secrets so that looking good doesn't have to break the bank.

Cosmetics and skin care products can be very expensive, especially if you’re an avid collector or like to buy high quality items. By embracing a few key tricks and strategies, however, you can save money and reduce the overall number of products you use.

Decide what matters most to you. Do you like having a fancy hair routine, or do you prefer getting manicures? By figuring out what you’d like to focus on most, you can then simplify the routines for other parts of your body.

It’s better to choose pure, high-quality products and buy fewer of them, than it is to load up on cheap cosmetics and skin care treatments. Your skin will thank you; your chemical body burden will decrease; and you won’t wash nasty ingredients down the drain on a daily basis.

1. Baking soda should be your best friend

Baking soda in a measuring spoon spilling onto a table.

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You can use it to wash your hair (followed with apple cider vinegar as conditioner). Mix with water to exfoliate your face a few times per week. (Don’t overdo, or your skin could get too dry.)

2. Use lipstick as an eye shadow

A white woman in red sweater applies lipstick to her face looking in mirror.

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It may sound weird, but if you apply it with a brush to your eyelid, it goes on just like a cream eyeshadow. Blend with a finger. You can also apply powdered blush as lipstick and seal with a gloss or coconut oil.

3. Buy bar soap instead of liquid soap

A hand picking up a bar of soap on a wood dish.

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It’s far cheaper and works just as well, if not better. It’s a greener option, particularly if it comes without packaging. Choose a mild variety, such as chamomile or olive oil, for facial cleansing.

4. Shave your legs with bar soap, hair conditioner, body wash, or coconut oil

Coconut oil on a measuring spoon on a wood table.

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Basically, anything that makes your legs a bit more slippery will do fine.

5. Don’t waste money on expensive moisturizers

A woman applying lotion on her hands.

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If there’s a nice, good-quality hand lotion you love that comes in larger quantities at a better price, use it on your face. Or ditch the lotion completely and use pure oil on your face. (See post about this method here.)

6. Always keep coconut oil in your bathroom!

A jar of coconut oil on sitting on a window sill.

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Use it to moisturizer, to remove makeup, to wash your face, to substitute for lip gloss, to deep-condition your hair. Try oil pulling to cleanse your mouth and teeth (if you believe it works). Olive oil can also be used for most of these things.

7. Don’t spend money on disposable items like cotton swabs, cotton balls, makeup removal pads or wipes

Flannel clothes folded and stacked.

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It’s far cheaper to use reusables, usually in the form of washcloths or old cotton flannel fabric cut into squares.

8. Try the “highlight-only” makeup routine

A black woman applies highlighter to her face in the mirror.

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Go barefaced, with only a swipe of shimmery, glowing highlighter powder on your cheeks. Alternatively, wear makeup only on your eyes to make them stand out, or apply just lipstick. Too often women think they need to put on their entire ‘face’, when just a subtle touch can make a big difference.

9. Control frizzy hair with a little bit of lotion

A man braids his long hair in a workshop.

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De-grease with cornstarch or rice flour (better when scented with a couple drops of lavender essential oil). Learn a few specific hairdos, i.e. sock bun, braids, hairband, etc. that work well with slightly oily hair and can buy you some extra time before having to wash again.

10. Use a few drops of essential oil, or a fragrant natural oil moisturizer, in place of perfume or body spray

A woman in a pink shirt holding essential oil.

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Just rub into your arms and neck and the scent will stay with you for hours. (I adore the Youth Infusion serum from Celtic Complexion; it has become my favorite scent, with its rich sandalwood oil.)

11. Makeup brushes will last longer if you rinse and dry them after each use

Brushes being washed in a sink.

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Wash makeup brushes with Dr. Bronner’s soap every 1-2 weeks and let air-dry fully.

12. Learn how to make your own products

A woman makes homemade cosmetics on a wood table.

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Coconut Mama has 25 short tutorials on how to make homemade, all-natural makeup.

13. Do you really need that manicure?

An Asian woman files her nails.

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Learn how to care for your nails at home, getting great results at a much lower cost.

What budget beauty tricks do you have up your sleeve?