Less is More: Money-Saving Tips on Beauty and Health

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Pretty picture of me in high school

I was washing my hair the other day, and I was thinking about Kelly from Fitness Blender because she washes her hair the same amount that I do. It really heartens me when I go online and see a person I respect does something the same as me, because it’s a sort of proof that I’m doing things right. It got me thinking – because what else are you going to do in a shower besides sing – about all the other things I do that simplify my life that marketers like me usually try to sell a product for. So, here are a few of those things in a handy-dandy list. (BTW, click on links highlighted in blue to see what I’m referencing).

Hair

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Me and my hair when a couple friends and I chopped it off to donate. 

As I mentioned before, Kelly (whom I’ve never met, but I think she’s awesome!) has the same hair regime that I do. It is simple and sounds disgusting, but it really does work. We simply don’t wash it very often. You see, what happens when you wash your hair, regardless of how “gentle” your shampoo is, you strip your hair of its natural oils and nutrients and conditioner doesn’t actually return that to your hair. When you regularly strip your hair of its natural health it reacts in one of two ways: it either dries up and frizzes or your scalp starts to over-produce natural oils to compensate, making your hair look like Severus Snape’s. It took a while for my hair to adjust to infrequent washes, but now my scalp is mostly clear of acne, my dandruff is under control, and as long as I don’t sleep in my wet hair, it doesn’t look so flat anymore.

I still was my hair about once ever three or four days, and I do shampoo it twice and condition it once. But, because I am only washing my hair twice a week instead of 4-7 times, I find that I don’t run through my shampoo or conditioner nearly as often. That means that one set lasts twice as long, saving me about $8 whenever I don’t need to buy it.

Further, I’ve found that getting a good haircut saves me a fortune in hair products. Most women don’t realize it, but if you wear your hair up in ponytails or buns all the time, you will actually look good with short hair because short hair frames your face in exactly the same way. Short hair uses far less shampoo, and you don’t need to use any moose or hair ties because a good cut means your hair naturally falls into place easily. Even if you still choose to go longer, taking your hair’s natural waves/curls/lack thereof and your face’s shape into account will mean that your hair becomes much easier to manage while requiring fewer products. And we all know how much fancy hair products can cost us.

Skin

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Soft hands!

Much like hair, skin also gets stripped of its natural oils when washed, and lotion rarely puts much back. That’s why I also shower fairly infrequently: whenever I wash my hair. This doesn’t mean that I sit around in my own filth like Pig Pen because I do wash up in the sink more often and reapply deodorant, but you don’t need to use soap every day. In fact, most sweat and grime we pick up on a regular day that doesn’t involve sick people is water soluble and rinses off pretty well.

If you have acne, you actually don’t want to use a lot of harsh chemicals or exfoliates on your skin because that will likely make it worse. Instead, rinse your face with plain water once a day, and at night take off your makeup and wash with a regular cleanser. Most acne cleansers have a specific harsh chemical that over dries your skin (benzo…. something…. I forgot and can’t find the article I read it from in my Facebook feed since I may not have re-posted it). This facial wash doesn’t have the chemical in it, and it is a generally good cleanser. But, the best thing to keep skin healthy and clear is to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and drinking plenty of water, since most of the acne-causing action happens under the skin.

Makeup is another thing that can be saved on. I have a friend who won’t go out without makeup on because she feels she needs to cover up her acne and bad skin. The thing is, by not wearing foundation and only putting on a minimum on makeup (most of us can get away with mascara and lipstick and nothing else) she would probably be able to clear up a lot of the skin problems that make her feel insecure. It’s a horrible cycle – wear makeup, get acne, wear more makeup to cover up acne – and it is completely preventable.

But, the thing you should put on your skin is SPF. According to my friend Carla with BeautiControl, SPF is extremely important in protecting your skin from the damage of UV radiation, both for skin quality and cancerous reasons (we kind of all knew that already). Carla also said that you want to get a good quality sunscreen that absorbs into your skin, because that film that stays on your skin actually gunks up your pores and causes a ton of problems. More importantly, getting more than 30 SPF is redundant because that’s as much as your skin can absorb at a time. So, this is the one where you want to spend a little more now so you can to save yourself some major medical costs in the future. But, you don’t need two products for this: if you already use lotion on your face that has SPF, you don’t need to apply sunscreen on top of it. Don’t buy two products if you don’t have to!

Multi-Use Products

Deoderant
Deoderant: not just the pits!

The biggest way to save money, though, is to just not buy as much stuff. Single-use products like garlic presses, slap-it mincers can easily be replaced by a really good knife, and there’s so much more where that came from.

You can get rid of all your special cleaners and replace them with four simple products: vinegar, ammonia, baking soda, and bleach. Vinegar and baking soda is a volcanic combo that can clean any tub or sink. Baking soda can be sprinkled on carpet and upholstery and then vacuumed up to eliminate pet odors and help get rid of fleas. Windex is basically ammonia mixed with water with blue food coloring added, and using it as your mop water does the same thing to your floors. Bleach soaking in the toilet will sanitize it and, with a quick scrub, gets rid of brown stains. Vinegar cleans coffee pots. If you run out of toothpaste, just mix up a little baking soda with a few drops of water to make a paste and brush with that, and swishing with it after eating acetic foods will protect your tooth enamel from decay. Best yet, each of these products costs less than $5, and you can also cook with two of them!

But, my favorite and most underutilized multi-tool, is deodorant. Not only does it kill bacteria and help prevent perspiration in your armpits, but it does it anywhere you sweat too much including, but not limited to, between fat folds, under breasts, and even the bottoms of your feet! You can also slide on a layer anywhere that you chafe, because chafing happens when skin becomes moist – usually from sweat – it grabs onto things, and when it grabs onto something that is constantly rubbing the other way, such as your other leg, your skin eventually starts to rub itself raw and create micro-tears that are prone to infections like yeast. Deodorant keeps that area dry so none of that happens.

I hope this helped you out. What are some other ways that you manage to save money while doing things that are healthier for you???

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