Women’s magazines and advert breaks are littered with products promising to strip your skin of decades of damage; to hide flaws; even to ‘resurface’ your entire visage. Revolutionary facials and new pioneering pampering treatments emerge endlessly. However, all of these luxury creams come at a price more inflated than the perfect plumped-up skin they promise. So is it possible to get a clear complexion without splashing the cash?
According to The Telegraph reporter Lesley Thomas, it’s usually those affordable stalwarts at the grocery store that people swear by. In her article on budget skin care, Lesley says “the extraordinarily cheap Astral moisturiser (from £1.49) has an army of fans who could afford to pay at least 10 times more for an everyday cream.” Comprised of mainly glycerin and lanolin, Lesley adds that, “Joanna Lumley, Kate Beckinsale and Emma Thompson love it.” Lesley also claims that Palmer’s Cocoa Butter which retails for a mere £3.28 is apparently used by “Diana Ross, Jennifer Lopez and the reigning queen of shiny thighs, Beyoncé.” Discover some of these skin-savvy secrets and judge for yourself.
You’ve got the remedy – in your kitchen
The Daily Green believes that harmful chemicals should be kept off your skin and that “homemade creams, soaps and other products can be just as luxurious and fragrant as their commercial counterparts but you can avoid artificial chemicals.” Before you head to the shops, check out the products you could whip up in your own bathroom or kitchen. Yogurt is ideal for soothing stressed skin, and who doesn’t know the trick of putting a couple of cucumber slices or chilled teaspoons on your eyes to reduce puffiness? Make a simple, effective skin scrub with oats and hot water – massage the paste over your skin, leave for 15 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
Test products for sites
Sign up with market research sites like Litmus and Toluna and beauty brands like Boots and Montagne Jeunesse and benefit from being sent cosmetics, skin and beauty products for at-home trials in return for your feedback. You won’t be able to pick and choose, and might end up with items you don’t really need or use, but nevertheless it’s a gamble worth taking for anyone addicted to beauty products but without the money to buy them. You might well discover a new product that’s perfect for you and, if you don’t you’ve lost nothing by simply giving it a go.
Mini free makeovers
Hit the high street and visit beauty counters in chemists and department stores for free makeovers. You’ll usually leave with a few free samples and the offer of a discount on any purchases along with your new look. Use the free expertise on offer to inspire a new you, or to solve dilemmas like tracking down the perfect foundation for your skin type and skin tone. It’s a great chance to try expensive brands with no cash commitment, and you’ll discover which products work for you and are actually worth spending on.
Get in touch with local vocational training colleges and enquire about becoming a model for treatments carried out my students. Facials, micro-dermabrasion, fillers and the like are all on offer for nominal charges – sometimes even free if you’re the subject for a student’s assessment. Treatments often involve cutting-edge techniques whose costs would be astronomical at high-end salons, and fear not – all are overseen by qualified beauticians. If you can’t find a college, find out whether salons offer treatments by juniors and apprentices at reduced rates.
Diet and Exercise
The beauty bloggers at Healthmeup.com believe that “just as food filled with loads of oil and calories can cause acne flares and jeopardise your waistline, unhealthy food can also cause damage to your healthy hair and scalp.” When you’re getting your skin into shape on the cheap, don’t underestimate the power of a sensible diet and regular exercise regime. Getting out of breath every now and again won’t only work wonders for blood flow, it’s essential to healthy skin and will also give you that ‘rosy glow’.
Staying well-hydrated helps flush toxins from your body and plumps up the skin, which makes it appear youthful. Foods rich in antioxidants will stand you in good stead – look to dark green leafy veggies in particular … with a little bit of dark chocolate as beauty-boosting treat. Choose healthy fats and pack in plenty of lean protein – oily fish like mackerel tick both boxes.
Get into a routine
We’ve all heard it before; ‘cleanse, tone, moisturise’. It may be boring, but your skin will thank you for implementing a little bit of routine to your regime, however rigorous or simple. Use gentle products that won’t strip skin, and slather it with an inexpensive moisturiser that won’t cause sensitivity – baby products are great, and lip salve can double up for a more intensive moisturiser.
A daily dose of sunscreen will prevent aging and visible sun damage like pigmentation. Look out for moisturiser, foundation and lipbalm with added SPF. Always remove your make up before bed, no matter how tired you are… and a good night’s shut-eye will show up on your skin, too.
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Whether it’s cooking, parenting, fashion or beauty, Jessica Bourne loves to share tips about how to get the best out of your budget, however limited it might be. She frequently writes for the Eccount Money Blog, where you’ll find more of her tips and advice on budgeting and family finances.