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How you can save money on beauty and hair products

Published 24 November 2014 by

We all know it can cost a lot to stay looking good, as beauty treatments and products don’t always come cheap. Recent research* for us found that more than two-thirds of respondents spend money on getting their hair done every month, while six in 10 revealed they bought beauty and grooming products monthly.

The cost of looking good can start to add up fast, so here are our top tips on how to save money on these products:

Be the model customer: if you volunteer to be a hair model, you could get your hair cut for a few quid or even for free by trainees at some salons. You may need to be flexible about what you’re willing to have done to your hair – the trainees might need to work on just colouring or blow dries, for example. Set aside extra time as well, as hairdressing students will need to take longer to cut your hair while they’re still learning.

DIY beauty: you don’t always have to shell out for expensive beauty products; you can make some of them yourself. DIY a quick body scrub by mixing a tablespoon of olive oil with two tablespoons of brown sugar, and replace costly shaving foam with a cheaper hair conditioner.

Make it last: you can spend less on beauty products if you make them last longer by using less each time. Apply your body lotion when you’ve just got out of the shower as it will go further on wet skin. Read the back of bottles to see how much product you should be using, because you might be wasting too much. You can also make liquid foundation last longer by buying a slightly darker shade than usual, and adding a little face moisturiser to pad it out.

Use it up: make your products work right to the end of the bottle or tub so nothing goes to waste! If your mascara or liquid eyeliner has dried up, stand the tube up in a mug full of warm water for a few minutes to loosen it up again. Make sure you close the lids tightly every time you use a product, and it will be less likely to dry up. Cut open plastic bottles of foundation when they’re nearly empty to make sure you get those last few drops.

Re-use mascara brushes: if you buy cheap mascara from the drugstore or supermarket, you can make it look like a much more expensive brand. Save the brushes from any pricey mascaras you buy, and use them to apply the cheaper mascara. The formula for mascaras doesn’t differ much between brands, so it’ll look like you’re using salon-quality make-up.

Stay away from sponges: don’t apply liquid foundation with a sponge, as it soaks up most of what you put on, meaning you’ll waste more. Use a brush to apply it instead, so you won’t have to use as much product each time.

Look for the ‘dupes’: if you can’t live without your favourite nail polish or lipstick colour from a pricey beauty brand, this could quickly start to cost you a lot of money, especially if you buy it every month. Search for the name of the lipstick online and you could find a cheaper ‘dupe’ – a budget product in almost the same colour.

Do the maths: foundation or bronzer is often sold in different sizes, and it can be tricky to work out which one is better value. See how much it costs per ml or gram, so you’ll be able to work out which size is cost-effective.

Keep it cool: liquid make-up or nail varnish can go off after a few months, meaning you could waste some if you don’t use it quickly enough. Store it in the fridge, as the lower temperature should make it last longer.

Be the coupon queen: before you buy any make-up, search online to see if there are any vouchers or discount codes available. It might not be much, but any discount off what you were already going to buy will be welcome. Beware signing up to discount code mailing lists though: you could be more likely to spend on beauty products you didn’t intend to buy if there’s a great deal on.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 24th September and 3rd October 2014. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.