Style & Decor

15 Women On Their Best-Kept Budget Beauty Secrets

By | Thursday, September 22, 2016


I was never one for makeup or beauty products in general in my high school years, but a few years ago, I went on a bit of a kick. I was a full-time nanny and hella bored with my lifestyle, and my search for a hobby I could focus on at the kitchen island while the kids did their homework led me to YouTube. There were so many videos of makeup tutorials and product reviews, and I got sucked right into the madness.

I think in that one year, I spent a solid $100 or more on lipstick, although if I’m being entirely honest, I wear lipstick maybe one day out of the 365 in any given year. Eventually, I realized that the “hobby” of collecting (and religiously wearing) makeup was one that really meant nothing to me, and I purged my collection (mostly giving it away to the makeup junkies in my life who would actually use the stuff) and creating a simple and easy budget beauty routine. I’ve since simplified my beauty routine even more (focusing mostly on skincare at this point), and have gotten to the point where I only use a small handful of products for my entire routine. This has not only simplified my life and my getting-ready process, but for me, it has cut out a lot of the unnecessary spending that I was messing with before.

Even so, there is nothing I love more than a good budget-beauty tip. Anything to make my beauty routine easier or cheaper elicits a genuine exclamation of “yasssssss” from my excited little coconut-oiled lips. My biggest beauty secret recently has been to adopt a highlight-only­ makeup routine, meaning that I go completely bare-faced besides a swipe of highlighter on my cheekbones. (I’ve been using this one, which literally costs $4. Can I get another “yaaassssss”?) It is the cheapest makeup routine I’ve ever had on rotation in my entire life, but it makes me feel fresher and prettier than anything else I’ve ever done.

To find out what some other lovely ladies in my life were keeping secret in their beauty routines, I asked 15 women to tell me their best-kept budget beauty secrets. Here’s what they all had to say. (P.S. I’ll be testing probably every single one of these –- I’ll let you know how each works out.)

1. “Cutting way down on shampoo has changed my budget for hair products/appliances so much I can’t even tell you. I used to wash/condition every day, and then my hair was always so limp, so I’d put product in it and curl it for volume. Or it was dry and frizzy, so I’d flat iron it. Now, I spend a considerable amount less on in-shower products since I’m only washing at the most twice a week, and I don’t use any other products or appliances. It actually has changed my hair. I haven’t given up coloring yet, but that’s an expense I hope to cut out someday soon.” – Kathryn

2. “I pretty much refuse to buy a good-smelling lotion or body cream from Bath & Body Works or other stores like that. Not that they don’t smell amazing, because they totally do. But a) they’re not always entirely effective moisturizers, especially compared to cheaper alternatives, and b) they’re soooo expensive, $13 for a tiny bottle of fruit scented lotion that hardly keeps your skin from getting dry is a waste to me. Once in a while when they have a big sale I’ll grab one from the $5, but even that feels steep for the quality.” – Christine

3. “Ordering products that don’t expire and that I always always need in bulk on Amazon. Like cotton pads/balls/swabs, makeup sponges, bars of soap, facial tissues, even shampoo and conditioner.”– Kim

4. Coconut oil! You can literally use it for everything! Conditioner, lip balm, and you can make homemade soap and exfoliating scrubs with it!” – Rebecca

5. “I buy all of my beauty products at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. They have a huge selection, and I know people question the quality of the products, but they all function just fine for me. I bought a blush palette with six huge pans of really pretty colors for three bucks the other day. A similar product from Sephora or Ulta or even a drugstore would cost at least $10, but maybe even up to $40.” – Jackie

6. “I got realistic. I was a beauty junkie, addicted to Ulta. I go nearly bare-faced now, which changed my confidence and the amount I spend on products so much. This isn’t realistic for everyone but it worked for me. Power to you if makeup is something you like -– this isn’t a statement, I just wanted to stop feeling like I had to spend so much to feel okay, and it has ended up saving me a lot.” – Ashely

7. Baby wipes. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Makeup removing wipes are outrageously expensive. I have really sensitive skin so baby wipes work great for cleaning my face at the end of the night instead of actual makeup removing wipes.” – Kayla

8. “My best beauty tip is to use lipstick as eyeshadow. Which sounds like it will be super ugly, but it isn’t. I always was so into lip products, so I have so many different shades and colors and finishes. They apply just like cream eyeshadows with a brush, but I often just dip a finger lightly into one and pat it on to my lid and blend it that way. It is very natural looking actually, usually gives a light sheen and looks surprisingly good and not match-y match-y when you wear the same shade on your lips and eyes. They just complement each other.” – Becca

9. “Switching from liquid to bar soap worked really well for me. I love makeup and have a pricey beauty routine, so anything to get the more basic stuff for cheap helps me make extra wiggle room in my budget for the fun products I like to splurge on. Bar soap just lasts longer and is cheaper to buy.” – Shannon

10. “My little beauty secret is that I’ve pretty much cut perfume out of my life because I started to buy spray deodorant that smells so good that I don’t need to wear any other scent. And the spray deodorant works so much better than stick, for me at least. And it seems to last longer too.” – Crystal

11. “My best budget beauty tip would be to master some braids, if you have long hair. I always just wore my hair down because I wasn’t into styling it, but that means it always needs to look really clean and presentable. Eventually I went hard on Pinterest for some braid tutorials and practiced a few until I got really good at them. Now I have some go-to hairstyles for second, third, or fourth day hair. It makes my hair feel so versatile, and literally requires nothing besides a few hair ties, or maybe some dry shampoo.” – Hannah

12. “Lots of people don’t believe in it, but oil pulling is doing a lot for my oral health. I feel like my teeth and gums look way better, and I definitely feel better. And buying coconut oil is pretty cheap!”– Michelle

13. “I’m all about DIY hair care. I do vinegar rinses, which makes my hair clean and shiny. I condition with olive oil or coconut oil, which makes it soft and thick. Shampoos and conditioners that you buy at the store are some of the worst things you could probably put near your body. I hate all of those chemicals, especially because showering (and hair-washing) are things you have to do so often. Adopting an all-natural hair routine has put my hair in such good shape, and it is cheaper than most drugstore hair products.” – Elise

14. “I used to get such bad breakouts, and I spent so much on products, but I read that baking soda mixed with water is a good mask for skin problems and exfoliating. I now use no face products besides baking soda and a moisturizer that I buy at the store. And baking soda is like, insanely cheap. Usually under a dollar. I can spend 80 cents on a huge box of it that will last me an entire year of daily face cleansing and a twice-weekly face mask with it. 80 freaking cents!” – Rachel

15. “Make cheap drugstore eyeshadows work better by applying a white cream eyeshadow, or a very light shade of concealer on the lid before applying the shadow. It makes the colors show up better, especially on dark skin (unfortunately a lot of beauty products are geared toward white women and either don’t show up well or the color looks different on dark skin, especially the drugstore brands which tend to not be super pigmented).” – Hailey

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at!

Image via Unsplash

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