Beauty On A Budget

Money-saving hacks that are great for your skin and wallet

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Streamline your routine, declutter your dresser, and save money – look great on a budget with this collection of tips and tricks.

1 Find The Perfect Substitute

Don’t have everything you need to ace a new look? Hold off on your beauty shopping. Here are some tricks to lighten your shopping basket.

TINTED MOISTURISER: Mix a drop of serum with your favourite liquid foundation to create your own dewyfinish tinted moisturiser. For a more lustrous finish, mix a drop of facial oil with your foundation.

EYE PRIMER: Lightly dab on concealer on your upper eyelid to replace an eye primer before sweeping on eyeshadow. Alternatively, for colours that really pop, use a white eyeliner on your upper eyelid before laying on any eyeshadow.

LASH PRIMER: After your first coat of mascara, dust your lashes with some baby powder or translucent powder before applying a second coat. This will give you fuller lashes.

MATTE LIPSTICK: Don’t rush out to buy matte versions of your favourite shades. Try applying concealer onto your lips before applying lipstick, and mix the two together on your lip. This will mute your lipstick for a subtle matte finish.

BRUSH CLEANSER: A gentle drugstore facial wash can remove bacteria, makeup residue and oil from brushes.

BODY SCRUB: Use a washcloth to exfoliate your body.

2 Make Products Last

Applying and reapplying products is not just tiresome; it is unnecessarily wasteful. Here’s how to give your products more staying power.

FOR A POWER POUT: After applying lipstick, lay a single ply of tissue over your lips, and dust on a translucent setting powder so that your lipstick will last longer.

FOR LONG-LASTING FRAGRANCE: Rub some Vaseline or unscented oilbased moisturiser on your pulse points before spraying on perfume. The oil on your skin helps to lock in the scent for longer than on dry skin.

3 Zero-waste Beauty

Running out of your favourite makeup or skincare? Before you zip off to the store to restock, here’s how to get more out of your products.

MASCARA: Add a few drops of saline solution to dried-up mascara to revive it. But, if your mascara has dried up because it has been opened for more than six months, it’s better to just toss it out as bacteria build-up can lead to an eye infection.

LIPSTICK: Even after you get to the end of your lipstick, you may still find 10 to 20 per cent of product stuck in the tube. Use a lip brush to reach this remaining lipstick. Or, scoop it into a little container and mix it with Vaseline to make your own lip gloss.

MAKEUP OR SKINCARE: Can’t squeeze out any product from tubes? Cut the tube open and use a spatula to scrape every last drop into a small container or a contact lens case.

SHEET MASK: After your face has soaked in all the skincare actives from your sheet mask, rub your used sheet mask and apply any remaining product onto your neck, chest, arms and legs.

4 Invest In Super- Multitaskers

Don’t want a graveyard of products that expire before you are halfway through the bottle? Multitaskers are a budget beautyphile’s best friend. Add these two affordable staples to your collection.

JOJOBA OIL: An oil-like wax extracted from seeds of a shrub, it is very similar to your skin’s own sebum and so versatile that it can be used on almost every part of your body. It is also packed full of antioxidants to fight free-radical damage.

Apply it to your face after your moisturiser, or on your body to boost the skin’s protective barrier, and seal in moisture. You can also use it to remove light makeup.

If you’re out of hair conditioner, apply hot jojoba oil to your hair before showering to condition it and prevent harsh ingredients in shampoo from stripping strands of their natural oils. Alternatively, use it as a hair oil after towel-drying hair to nourish hair and seal in moisture. Jojoba oil can even double up as cuticle oil to soften the skin around your nails.

VASELINE: Invented in 1859, this 100 per cent pure petroleum jelly is the most versatile beauty product ever. On mascara-free days, lightly coat your lashes with this to give them a lovely, glossy finish. You can also use this as an eyebrow gel to tame unruly arches or a balm for dry lips or skin.

For a strobing effect, swipe a little on your cheekbones to give them a soft sheen. Apply a little to tame flyaway hair, or slather it on dry heels before wearing a sock to bed for overnight repair. And, if you are colouring your hair on your own at home, apply Vaseline along your hairline and ears before applying the at-home hair dyes to protect your skin from staining.

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Here’s how to make any product work harder for you.

Buff And Glow

Dead skin cells prevent your skin from adequately absorbing skincare products. Exfoliate once or twice a week to maximise the efficacy of skincare products.

Order Please

As a rule of thumb, apply toner or lotion first, followed by serum, moisturiser, facial oil and sunscreen. Lightweight products penetrate better and should be used first, followed by heavier products and oils to seal moisture and active ingredients in.

Skip The Applicator

A lot of expensive product can be wasted on makeup brushes, blenders or sponge. So for liquid makeup products such as liquid foundations and blushers, simply use your fingers to apply to reduce the amount of product used.

Pick Your Battles

“Your skin is in repair mode while you sleep, so this is the perfect time to address specific concerns such as dullness, breakouts or hyperpigmentation,” says David Khoo, Principal Scientist and Global Scientific Communications Leader for Olay. Since there is only so much you can apply on your skin at any one point, pick potent ingredients that work well at night.

RETINOL: This powerhouse ingredient softens wrinkles and rough patches, evens out your skin tone and gives you a healthy glow. “It can increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays during the day, even indoors or on a cloudy day. Night-time is perfect for retinol application,” explains David.

“There is no need to spend a lot of money on retinol products,” he adds. Do a little research to pick products that maximise the bioavailability of retinol. It should be stabilised so that it will not degrade from exposure to air. It should also be in high-enough concentrations to make a noticeable difference, and formulated to be readily absorbed and converted into its active form at the right depth in your skin.

NIACINAMIDE: This form of vitamin B3 improves pore size and skin texture, balances oil production and builds up the skin’s barrier. “It works best when it is on your skin for an extended period, which is why it’s great when used at night. You will wake up to hydrated and replenished skin in the morning,” adds David.

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Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Serum, $54.90 (30ml), offers a high concentration of a stable and less irritating from of retinoid for overnight skin rejuvenation.
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Home Spa

Cutting down on your spa sessions? These at-home spa tips will help you keep your glow on.

At-Home Facial Massage

A simple facial massage not only relaxes you; it boosts lymphatic drainage and reduces puffiness. It also enhances blood circulation, revitalising skin cells with oxygen and skincare actives for youthful looking skin. Try the five steps below, repeating each step five times.

STEP 1: After cleansing and exfoliating, apply your favourite facial oil or cream to your face and neck, avoiding the eye area. With your middle and ring finger, massage your forehead in a gentle zig-zag motion from one side of your forehead to the other.

STEP 2: With all four fingers, massage with a lifting motion from your chin to your temple.

STEP 3: Close your eyes and press the hollows just below the brow bone at start of your eyebrows with your ring fingers, and glide them around both eyes. End at the temples and press on the pressure points.

STEP 4: With your index and middle finger, massage your temples in circular motions for a minute.

STEP 5: Give yourself a neck massage. Starting from the base of the neck, use your palms, sweeping in upward motions towards the chin.

Replace A Massage Session With Yin Yoga

While it’ll be hard to give yourself a full-body massage, a yin yoga session can replicate the effects of a deeptissue massage. Unlike Hatha or flow yoga, yin yoga is restorative, and involves holding postures for two to five minutes for a deep stretch. There are many free classes online; check out The Yoga School’s YouTube page.

Set The Mood

Scented candles and essential oils give your home a spa-like ambience. Some floral essential oils like lavender and geranium reduce stress and ease you into deep relaxation; citrusy oils like bergamot and lemongrass are uplifting; and eucalyptus and peppermint can help clear a stuffy nose. Use them on their own with a burner or diffuser, or mix them to create your own blend. You can even add any 12 drops of essential oil to 30ml of carrier oil, such as jojoba, grapeseed or coconut oil, to create your own bespoke massage oil.

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From left: • Hysses Lemongrass Essential Oil, $21.90 (10ml) • Huxley Candle Morrocan Gardener, $75 (230g)
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Raid The Kitchen

Mix up your own DIY beauty products with these pantry staples.

Teabag Eye Compress

Don’t dump used tea bags – use them to perk peepers up. Green and black teas are rich in antioxidants to reduce oxidative skin damage. They also contain caffeine to narrow blood vessels and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Place lukewarm tea bags on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes for a spa-like treat, or use them as a cold compress to reduce swelling and puffiness after a late night.

Sugar Lip Scrub

Dead skin makes lips look rough and dry. But there is no need to splash out on a fancy-schmancy scrub. Create your own batch with some sugar and olive oil, and massage this onto lips in circular motions to gently buff away dead cells. Both white and brown sugar work for this recipe, though the latter is softer and contains molasses that is high in vitamin B for added antioxidant benefits.

Coffee Body Scrub

For smooth and glowing skin, mix a little ground coffee with white sugar, and just enough coconut oil to moisten it. Voila, you have a divine smelling scrub. Another bonus: caffeine is believed to dilate blood vessels and reduce the appearance of orange-peel skin. This anti-cellulite effect is enhanced by scrubbing and massaging motions, which boost blood circulation.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask

This super skin food moisturises hair and gives then a healthy lustre. For dry, damaged hair, heat up coconut oil and honey. Also, a powerful moisturiser, apply to hair and scalp, and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

Avocado Face Mask

Avocado is a free-radical fighter, and stimulates elastin and collagen production for skin-rejuvenating benefits. So while preparing your avocado toast or shake, save a quarter of this for your skin. Mash it up, and mix it well with one teaspoon of plain yoghurt to exfoliate dead skin cells, and half teaspoon of honey to hydrate skin. Leave this delicious mask on for 15 minutes and wash it off after it dries out.

Turmeric Face Mask

A bright orange spice commonly used in Indian food, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and antiseptic. Curcumin, a chemical compound, promotes skin repair, treats acne scarring and inflammation, and unveils skin’s natural radiance. Cook up your superhealer by heating a teaspoon of honey in the microwave for 10 seconds. Add a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of milk. Apply this on your face for 20 minutes. Give your face a gentle scrub while rinsing it off to exfoliate skin. Then, remove any yellow turmeric residue with a facial toner.