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Wed, Nov. 13

PRACTICAL SAVER: Beauty remedies that don't break the bank

Looking good doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, there are a variety of simple tips and tricks that can save a significant amount of money. Here are some manicure, skin care, and hair care alternatives that not only make looking good easy and cheap, they will probably save some valuable time as well.

Keeping a manicure looking presentable can be challenging and expensive. One way to improve the longevity of even inexpensive nail polish is to use a high quality topcoat. When applied to most any nail polish a good topcoat, such as O-P-I brand, will prevent chipping for several days.

Gel nails can be professionally applied at a salon for around $30. A special gel polish is painted directly onto your own nails, and then cured under an LED light. This method provides a hard, shiny coating to the nail that lasts significantly longer than regular polish. As an alternative, a do-it-yourself kit can be purchased for approximately $50 at pharmacies and beauty supply stores. The typical kit includes an LED light and enough products to apply about 10 sets of nails. The DIY nails last up to two weeks and typically result in one to two minor chips and cracks per set. A set from a salon will last roughly three weeks, but will also have the tendency to require minor repairs. The DIY set is more economical, but another advantage of having the kit available at home is that you can make quick and easy repairs. Another way to save money with gel nails is to use regular, inexpensive nail polish under the gel topcoat rather than purchasing the colored gel nail polishes.

To pamper your skin and save money on shaving for women, apply an inexpensive hair conditioner on the legs. This will provide a smooth medium for shaving and it will moisturize the skin.

While we are on the subject of skin care, I'll mention a tip for people with sensitivity to metal. Earrings are beautiful accessories, but if the metal posts irritate the skin, an easy and effective way to stop the irritation is to coat the post with clear nail polish. This simple coating will provide a barrier and help keep your ears from becoming irritated.

Many people know that there are excellent health benefits from cooking with coconut oil, but it's also beneficial for the skin and hair. Routinely rub coconut on your face and neck before bed to nourish the skin and clear away blemishes. (Coconut oil is a natural antibiotic and is a wonderful healer of skin and acne.) For healthy hair, massage coconut oil into the roots and let it sit for several minutes. Coconut oil nourishes your hair and reduces protein loss. It will also help to prevent "the frizzies" in humid weather and reduce dandruff. This oil can be found in grocery stores and is odorless and slightly greasy.

Use body powder to keep your hair looking presentable on days when you do not plan to wash it. Ruffling a palm full of body powder through your hair helps to absorb excess oil and fluffs the hair into looking good. It is truly a great time saver.

Being my family's barber has been an enormous budget saver for our household. A typical set of hair clippers, which can be purchased for under $30, can save hundreds of dollars a year. I have given Ross, our two boys, and our daughter all of their haircuts for the past 12 years. To learn how, I asked professional hairdressers for advice, read books from the library, and watched "how-to" videos to get the information and confidence necessary to get started. I estimate that serving as the family's barber has saved us more than $6,000 over the years!

There are lots of ways to save on your beauty and hygiene routines. Give some of these a try, and if you have your own tips let me know so that I can share them with others.

Kara Rozendaal, a financial planner, wife and homeschool mother of three has lived in Prescott Valley for 16 years. Learn more about her classes and ways to save money at

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