Budget Beauty: A Guide
I am not one of those girls who gets excited over beauty products. I’m in awe of those 50s rockabilly chicks with impeccably curled hair, painted fingernails, and false eyelashes. Working women who get up early to blow-dry their hair. Nightclubbing girls with rainbow eyelids and perky eyeliner flicks. This will never be me.
A typical morning at chez Dreadful: After hitting snooze five times, I slowly prise my eyes open and growl at Mr Dreadful until he gets up and makes me a cup of lemon tea. I then loaf about in bed slurping my tea and browsing through picture books. Mr D gets ready and leaves. I am still loafing. A chance glimpse of the time and it is suddenly FRANTIC PANDEMONIUM: leaping across the room, hauling on clothes, throwing discards on bed to ensure a constantly messy house, cramming on shoes, brushing teeth, packing lunch, scraping comb through hair (pinning down when it inevitably goes all Wham! on me). A smear of blush, splodge of eyeshadow, two spritzes of perfume, and I hurtle out the door power walking to the station.
If you, too, wish to refine your morning routine to such a finely tuned machine (I know, try to contain your envy), decent skin is essential. There is no time to go faffing about with concealers and foundations and powders: it would ruin the entire system! However, any spare cash of mine goes towards books, dresses and food, and I am unwilling to spend big on skin-cream. These are my favourite budget buys.
1. Baby lotion. Any brand. This is great as an all-over moisturiser, smells fresh and lovely, and soaks in beautifully. And it is cheaper than almost anything else out there.
2. Boots cucumber face wash (UK only). This isn’t on their website surprisingly, but I bought a bottle last week for £1.63. It will last for the next four months at least.
3. Olay Complete Care Moisturising Fluid. Again, this is light on the skin and has an SPF (only 15, so if you are fair I would go for something heftier). I have tried cheaper day creams but nothing quite matches up to the Olay.
4. Superdrug Natural High Radiance Balm. This essentially does the same job as Clarins Flash Balm, but for over £20 less per bottle. I layer it on after the Olay when my morgue-like morning pallor needs a lift.
5. Superdrug Natural High Night Cream. Smells great, does a good job. I think perhaps I could improve on the night cream though, does anyone have any recommendations?
6. Exfoliating gloves. Any brand. Cost about £2-3 and last for yonks. I have never tried a body scrub yet which a) worked b) didn’t make a huge mess. Use the mitts with your normal body wash, they do a fab job.
A few more tips:
Conditioner can be used in place of shaving cream for your legs. I have found this also works for men – Mr D ran out of foam a few weeks ago, used the conditioner as a stop gap and hasn’t bought foam since.
When random pimples crop up, I dab on a bit of perfume or aftershave. Either one is very alcoholic so they work as an antiseptic and dry out the area. I’ve used plenty of other ‘spot-busters’ and this does just as decent a job as anything.
Oatmeal makes an effective facial scrub. You don’t need anything else, just water to mix into a paste. You could add a few drops of essential oil, and keep it in a sealed container in the bathroom.
Kate of Make Do Style recommends rubbing olive oil into your nails and cuticles to get rid of ridges and keep the skin soft. A million Italian grandmothers also use it as an all-over general moisturiser, but I haven’t tried this as I like my clean bed-sheets too much.
Update: Vintage Vixen has suggested another top buy: “My ultimate favourite product is baby oil – in the bath, after the bath, as an eyemake-up remover or as a shaving oil. Lasts for ever.”
The most important tips for long-term skin-care though, are really very simple indeed and hardly cost a thing:
Take off your make-up in the evening
Eat your fruit and veg
Clark Gable shows Claudette Colbert how it is done in It Happened One Night