Staying beautiful on a budget can sometimes feel like an impossible task, so I’ve comprised a list of some of the best beauty alternatives to ensure you can maintain your regime without splurging on expensive products and treatments. By Alexandra Twohey
1. Zap away spots with garlic and full-fat greek yogurt
We’ve all been there. Waking up in the morning of a big event with a zit the size of London lurking somewhere on the end of your nose – it’s petrifying. But fear not, because rather than splashing out on an expensive remedy that is likely to do nothing more than dry out your skin, the answer is probably already lying somewhere in your kitchen. To drastically reduce the size and redness of a spot in minutes, simply crush a whole clove of garlic (using the back of a spoon is a good method) and mix it together with a teaspoon of full fat Greek yogurt. Place the mixture onto the affected area, leave for 15-20 minutes and wa-lah! The yogurt, acting as a gentle natural cleanser, is full of antibacterial properties and pro-biotics to help calm the skin, while the Allicin content in the garlic gets to work reducing redness and swelling. N.B. If you have super sensitive skin, using garlic to reduce spots may cause more harm than good, so be sure to test a little on the back of your hand first to check that it won’t cause any irritation.
2. Next-to-nothing Manicure
Fake nails used to have a really bad rep, but they’ve come a long way since their 80’s heyday and you’ll be surprised at how realistic they can now look. If you’re lusting after the latest nail trend but can’t afford the expensive price tag, just pop into Primark and you’ll be in for a real treat… they have an enormous range of nails covering all shapes, styles, colours and patterns, and the best part is that they’re only £1 a pack (or splash out on their PRO range for £2) – absolute bargain.
3. Almond oil to strengthen nails and soften cuticles
If you’re anything like me and suffer from dry/chapped skin around your nail folds, you’ll understand how irritating, unsightly and painful it can be. A miracle treatment can cost well into the £20-£30 price range, which seems extortionate for what is usually such a tiny bottle! Instead, invest in some almond oil from your local supermarket for around £5 – it contains large amounts of monounsaturated fats which promote healthy cell membranes in the skin*, preventing brittle nails and keeping nail folds hydrated for healthy, happy hands. *This also gives it great anti-ageing qualities – so you can add it to your skincare regime too!
4. Pump up the volume with baby powder
Why waste your money on expensive lash fibres when you have something just as good already sitting in your bathroom cabinet? Simply coat your lashes in a layer or two of mascara, sprinkle (or dab with a cotton bud) some talc onto them before they dry, and leave for a minute or two before layering some more mascara on top. Just in the way fibres work, the second coat of mascara will cling onto the powder giving you thicker, fuller and more volumised lashes!
5. …and again for bigger, more bouncy hair!
Out of dry shampoo? Not a problem! Shake some talc onto your hands, hold your head upside down and ruffle it into your roots – you can use as much or as little as necessary (just make sure you fully massage it in!) Not only will it pick up any excess grease, but your hair will be left with plenty of volume too. Little trick: if you have brunette hair, cocoa powder will work to the same effect.
6. Plump up your pout with peppermint oil
Forget ludicrously expensive bee venom or painful injections – simply add a few drops of peppermint oil to your gloss for Kardashian-esq lips in seconds! The peppermint causes them to swell resulting in a plump, pouty appearance, and by adding it to your favourite gloss you can keep topping up hassle free. Pick up a bottle from Holland & Barrett for as little as £2.79!
7. Twist and trim to keep split ends at bay
Keep your mane looking sleek between trips to the salon with a DIY treatment that goes a little further than your average homemade hair mask. Tightly twist sections of your hair and carefully snip off any flyaways with razor-sharp scissors. It may be nerve-wracking letting loose on your own locks, but it will keep your hair from looking frizzy and neglected, so it’s well worth it.
8. A salty solution to smashed blusher
Dropping your makeup bag and watching your blusher smash into smithereens (or any powder for that matter) is literally soul destroying. But you can save yourself a few pennies by fixing it yourself! Mix in a few drops of salty water to your blush until it forms a paste and then smooth over with the back of a spoon or a knife, once dry it will be as good as new.
9. Fairy clever
Okay so it might not be saving you any money, but seeing as time is money, this tip is deserving of a place on the list. When it feels like half your adult life is spent painting nails with a frustrating level of precision, it’s time to throw away the rule book. Polish away as shoddily as you like, wait until the paint is completely dry… and then do the washing up! As well as ticking something off your to-do list, the washing up liquid will soften the paint left on your fingers, helping it to effortlessly peel away from your skin when towelling your hands dry. Give yourself a 10/10 for productivity.
10. Budget Bronzer
They say that good things come in three’s, so take a bow baby powder! For this nifty budget tip, all you need to do is purchase yourself a cheap compact or find an empty jar and honestly, you’re all set. Mix cocoa powder and talc together, adding more or less of the brown stuff depending on your desired shade, and you’re done. Adding an essential oil or salt water will turn your powder into a handy compact, but why stop there? Put your purse away and get creative by experimenting with different ingredients, for example adding nutmeg or cinnamon to achieve a sunkissed glow. You’ll look good enough to eat!
11. 2 in 1 Mascara
Running out of eyeliner can be an absolute mare, but believe it or not, it isn’t actually a necessity when it comes to creating your signature flicks – all you need is mascara and a small flat makeup brush. Simply drag the brush up and down your mascara wand before applying the product in the same way you would a gel liner.
Which one will you try?