Trust me, I know that paying off debt can suck the life out of you. Even though sticking to a strict budget can feel super limiting sometimes, I have got 35 frugal beauty and fashion hacks to live by while you pay off debt. Most of these have become a part of my daily routine and are things I swear by. While I may not be an Instagram worthy beauty blogger, I have kind of nailed the whole beauty on a budget thing. So if you are smack dab in the middle of debt payoff but don’t totally want to give up your fashion, style or beauty, then you’re going to want to check these out.
*This post contains affiliate links. Although I may make a commission all recommendations are my own.
Greek yogurt and turmeric face mask
I have been struggling with mustache-itis for the last few years. What I mean is my upper lip darkens if I have too much heat exposure. Being a 30-something woman, this is always a good time. (This is sarcasm…in case you thought I was serious.)
Naturally, I started researching all the best ways to clear up this condition from the inside, outside or both. What I found was a super simple recipe of Greek yogurt and turmeric. Many people just use yogurt, but I found Greek yogurt stayed on my face better and made a bigger difference.
- Spoon a tablespoon sized amount of Greek yogurt into a dish
- Add a dash of turmeric
- Apply to entire face
- Leave on for 5-10 minutes
- Rinse off
- **Be aware of leftover turmeric as it can stain clothing or pillowcases**
I got in the habit of doing this mask every single night and it totally transformed my skin. While I can’t say for certain that it totally changed my mustache situation, it definitely smoothed out my skin and cleared up some blemished areas.
Panty liners in shoes to absorb sweat
If you struggle with stinky feet, this tip is gold! No one likes that embarrassing foot odor and you can totally avoid it if you slip some panty liners in to your shoes! Who knew!
Another beauty regime I adapted while trying to rid myself of a mustache (wow, I’m really putting it all out there, huh?) was using tinted sunscreen. Many people recommend using sunscreen on your face every day to protect from the harsh UV rays.
Because I’m not awesome at this whole makeup thing and I live life on a budget, I opted for some tinted sunscreen instead of expensive moisturizer. Instantly I was hooked. I have never been a concealer or cover-up wearer but this sunscreen gave the illusion that I actually made an effort. My skin looked glowing. I use Pacifica Bronzing Sunscreen but here are some other great suggestions.
Hairspray as makeup setter
One time I accidentally used hair spray instead of makeup setting on my face. Naturally, I shared it on Facebook. I was surprised when someone told me that this is actually a pretty “normal” hack for helping to keep makeup in place!
This tip gets bonus points for curled eyelashes to help keep them in place throughout the day!
Coconut oil makeup remover
I have made plenty of DIY makeup removers that have worked great. The thing is, coconut oil works really great too and I can be super low maintenance about it.
Instead of running to my kitchen every night to grab the coconut oil, I just use the $3 organic coconut oil at Brandless.com. It comes in the perfect size for bathroom use, is high quality and totally budget friendly. Use my link to get $6 off your Brandless purchase.
Because I mostly wear eye makeup, I will do a small scoop of coconut oil and massage it into my eyes and rinse off with water then finish up with a face wash.
No light required gel manicure
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I have been battling to find the perfect at home gel manicure kit. It might sound weird, but if I have nice looking nails I feel way better about my entire life. However, being a stay at home mom, scrubbing dishes, wiping counters and washing my hands all day usually doesn’t allow pretty nails to last very long.
I was trying to budget in nail salon money for a while but found it to be a waste of my time and finances. That didn’t mean I gave up! I have tried gel nails with lights, gel nail top coats and even just using the sunlight to harden the gel polish. Most of these work pretty great, but the day I tried Essie Gel Couture was probably the best day of my life.
The starter kit costs less than a single gel manicure at the salon and you get more than one use our of it! Here is what made this kit my absolute favorite:
- Easy to apply
- Quick dry time
- Removes easily with regular nail polish remover (other gel polishes have required a lot of soaking and scraping)
- Lasts for 1 week — considering that I could barely make it a day without chipped nails, this is a huge improvement!
- Comes in multiple colors
Most product boast a 2 week lasting polish. For me, this sounds nearly impossible. Even when I get them done professionally, they are warn out and over-grown by 2 weeks.
Coffee grounds for cellulite
If you have problem areas on your tummy, thighs or bum, make sure to hang on to your leftover coffee grounds. This budget friendly beauty hack is a quick to make body scrub. The caffeine in the coffee grounds is said to help smooth out rough patches and reduce cellulite. If nothing else, you’ll have a yummy smelling body scrub!
Teeth whitening at home (without the strips)
Okay, so teeth whitening might not be the most justifiable thing to do when you need to pay off debt but sometimes you gotta treat yo self. Am I right? The best part is, you can treat yourself for about $500 less than the cost of the actual dentist when you whiten your teeth at home!
I recently used the Smile Brilliant at home teeth whitening system, you can see how it went here. Their kits are crazy easy to use, are super affordable and they actually work! If you want to check out their kits at Smilebrilliant.com you can use my coupon code: heartsoulwhole15 to get 15% off your order too!
During my most recent hunt for quality lotion, I stocked my arms full of beautiful smelling, well packaged lotions that were around $20. My philosophy lately has been, “spend more for higher quality.” So if I wanted a good lotion, I knew I might have to spend a little more. Just as I got ready to leave with my new, fancy products I saw a tub of CeraVe lotion sitting next to all the other fancy lotions I was about to purchase.
Not only was this lotion cheaper, but I had also heard great things about it. Sure, it didn’t have a cute package and it didn’t boast about any beautiful smells but what I really needed was something that worked to hydrate and heal my skin. So I bought it.
Let me tell you, no regrets. Tom and I have both been using CeraVe for months now and it works great for both of our skin types. I put it on my face, hands, legs, you name it. So as tempting as it can be to go for the “foofier” stuff, I highly recommend getting more practical (and affordable) with a lotion like CeraVe.
Deodorant for chafing
No one likes chafing whether it’s under the “ladies” or between the legs. Whatever the case, you can easily avoid this discomfort by swiping a little deodorant in your chafe prone areas. This will help absorb moisture and prevent and rubbing.
I already mentioned Brandless.com when I was talking about coconut oil as a makeup remover, but the thing is, they have a ton of other great budget friendly beauty and fashion stuff for only $3!
Some of the budget friendly beauty Brandless offers:
- Body wash
- Shave creams
- Body scrub
- Nail care
- Personal toiletries
Every single one of these things is of good quality and only $3! Plus, you can get $6 off your order by using my link! That’s 2 items totally free!
I have loved using Brandless because of their affordable cost and total simplicity. My personal favorite beauty product has been their Grapefruit Facial Scrub!
Having tried to make my own sugar scrubs at home, I have got to say, the Brandless scrub is by far my favorite. It smooths my skin instantly. The best thing to do after using this face scrub is to accompany it with the Greek yogurt and turmeric mask!
The one thing I caution is not to use this scrub every day. It can cause skin to get dry when you exfoliate anything too much!
Brandless also has a great body scrub that I love using before shaving to help get off some dead skin. Doing this before shaving your legs or armpits is a great way to make sure you’re getting a closer shave and it helps prolong the life of your razor as well!
DIY tinted moisturizer
Just like my tinted sunscreen, you can also easily create a tinted lotion just by using your lotion and an inexpensive highlighter. All you have to do is combine the two for al little extra color anywhere you apply your lotion.
How annoying right? I’m coming at you with water as a budget friendly tip. As silly as it may seem, drinking your daily water will do wonders for your skin, hair, nails, stomach and overall health.
Make sure you are getting your daily dose of water and you don’t need to spend a single dime on fancy stuff from a bottle either!
Create a capsule wardrobe
Trying to stay fashionable on a budget can be tricky especially when you start to get sick of your same old clothes. That’s why trying a capsule wardrobe is a genius idea!
A capsule wardrobe is essentially putting away some of your clothes for 3 months and then doing it again and again. I love this idea because I think it forces you to appreciate what you have already got. Re-opening your wardrobe every three months is kind of like a mini-shopping spree without the cost. It can also encourage you to get creative with the pieces left in your closet and just may inspire some new outfit ideas!
Tennis ball massage
My yoga teacher over at Just Be Balanced started bringing tennis balls to class one day and since she is always coming up with new and fun ways to do yoga, I went with it.
She had us use our tennis balls to massage out some of the tight muscle areas that we had on our bodies. Because I am a total sucker for a good massage, I instantly went out and bought myself some tennis balls (which are crazy cheap.)
Taking the time to sit up in bed and rub out some kinks in my neck and/or back is one of the best times of my day. It might not be just as rewarding as a professional massage, but trust me, it has the ability to help relax tension that you’ve built up throughout the day. Checkout these tennis ball techniques at Yoga International.
Blow dry hair
Have you ever heard of a salon “blowout?” I had always heard of this and was crazy surprised to find the technique is basically how my mom always used to dry and style her hair. All you need is a few hair clips, a blow dryer, a round hair brush and maybe some styling products.
There is a super simple YouTube tutorial that teaches you how to do a salon worthy blowout from the comfort of your own home. While I have never had a professional blowout done, I can’t imagine why anyone would pay money for something they could easily do themselves?
Epsom salt and essential oil bath
The best way to totally recharge in a beneficial and pleasant smelling way is to combine a little epsom salt in a hot bath along with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Check out all the benefits of epsom salt.
The best oils for relaxation:
- Tea tree oil
Once a week baking soda and vinegar rinse
So I went through a phase a few years back where I always washed my hair with baking soda and rinsed with vinegar. It was amazing. My hair got so crazy smooth and gorgeous…and then it started getting really dry and brittle.
If you want to give your hair a quick refresher try!
- Mix baking soda and water at a 1:3 ratio
- Massage into hair and scalp
- Let sit for a few minutes
- Rinse with water and apple cider vinegar
This is such a quick, budget friendly beauty tip that not many people are taking full advantage of. Plus, there are so many additional uses for apple cider vinegar including trying to drink a small teaspoon a day mixed with water.
Reduce sugar intake
I know, this is probably up there with “drink water” but it’s true. If you can muster up the courage, I dare you to cut refined sugar from your diet for 2 weeks and pay full attention to your results.
This is a completely free beauty hack and actually could end up saving you money if you frequently purchase sugary products.
Other budget and beauty related posts:
- How to Stay Motivated When Debt Payoff Gets Hard
- 10 Smart Money Moves That Take 10 Minutes or Less
- 5 Ways Your Healthy Lifestyle is Making You Broke
- Set Health and Fitness Goals on a Budget
I mean, do I even need to say this one? It’s amazing how pampered you can feel in a dark room with some beautifully scented candles. There is a reason that everyone makes a run for Bed Bath & Beyond as soon as their new candle collections arrive.
Add candles to a bath with epsom salt and a face mask followed by an at home manicure and you have just treated yourself to a mini spa day my friend.
Green tea eyes
Green tea has so many crazy health benefits, but did you know it can actually help with those under-eye poofies? Yup, under eye poofies. It can actually help reduce swelling and tighten the skin around the eyes!
So when you’re done sipping your tea, hang onto your bags!
Whitening toothpaste for your nails
If your nails are off colored and you would love to freshen them up a little bit you can actually use whitening toothpaste for this! Just rub a little on your nails every night and it will help freshen them up!
Banana peel for tough skin spots
Here in good ol’ Minnesota, I had heard tell of banana peel being good for those pesky mosquito bites! Turns out your old banana peel has a lot of skin helping properties like:
- Reducing wrinkles
- Clearning pimples
- Fading rashes
- Teeth whitening
You can’t really get more budget friendly than this! After you eat your morning banana, do a quick face rub down with the peel, rinse off and start your day! Easy peasy.
Lipstick for dark spots
Back to that mustache prob. They have special color correcting sticks that you can buy to help hide dark spots on the face and under your eyes. A simple way to avoid purchasing any of these special tools is by using and red lipstick you might have on hand!
By lightly covering dark spots with lipstick or a red color corrector you can easily cover with your cover up to hide those dark spots.
*Warning* I have not been able to do this successfully because I don’t regularly wearing cover up. For those of you who have mastered this skill, I say, give it a try!
Dryer sheets for static hair
No matter what I do, I still have these tiny baby hairs that always pop up right on top of my head. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner, but the static cling fighting properties of dryer sheets can actually help this problem!
I would say rub them on your head before tossing them in the dryer to get the full effect, but to each their own!
Hot washcloth for pore cleansing
Talk about budget friendly. All you need is a washcloth and hot water for this one.
- Soak washcloth under hot water (you can even do 30 seconds in the microwave)
- Drape damp cloth across your face for 5 minutes. (You can repeat if you want to)
Doing this helps open your pores and allow your skin to breath. Now if you had any problem pimples or skin issues, this is a great time to address them since your skin is loose and relaxed.
Aspirin for pimples
Speaking of pimples did you know that the anti-inflammatory properties that aspirin has on your stomach can also reduce the inflammation and redness of your pimples?
- Crush up an aspirin
- Mix with a small amount of water (not enough to dissolve)
- Rub into problem areas
- Leave for 5 minutes
- Rinse off
This simple process can easily help clear up any blemishes you might have before a big day — or any day for that matter!
Flat iron for curls
You do not have to be a professional hair stylist to get some of the best curls in the world. Most if it you can do with a flat iron. Check out these Top 10 Ways to Curl Your Hair with a Flat Iron.
I no longer own a curling iron. I can straighten fly aways with a flat iron or create gorgeous curls!
Conditioner for shaving
I still remember this tip from 10th grade. We were all supposed to do a speech that taught our classmates how to do something. One girl did how to shave your legs and she said the best thing to use was actually conditioner!
Not only that but later in life I worked for a beauty line that had a shaving lotion that was huge and everyone loved. The secret — it was conditioner!
Because of this, I haven’t bought shaving cream or lotions in years. Whenever I buy conditioner I use it for my hair and for all of my shaving needs. This is kind of nice because my shampoo and conditioner actually runs out at the same time!
Nail polish for stocking runs
Maybe I’m dating myself with this one, because this is a trick I remember my mom teaching me when I was kid getting ready for church.
Using clear nail polish around a tight or stocking run can help stop the rip and prevent it from spreading further. This method will help save you from constantly buying news pairs of tights and can easily be done in a matter of minutes (just gotta let it dry.)
Black tea foot bath
Just like you can slap green tea bags on your eyes to help reduce puffiness, black tea has benefits all its own. The steps to get started are super simple too:
- Boil 3 tea bags in 3 cups water
- Pour into foot soaker or large bowl.
- Dilute with additional water
- Soak feet for 30 minutes
This mixture and the tannic acid in the black tea has great bacteria killing properties and will help close pores to reduce bad odors. You can add some vinegar to the soak as well to help with odor.
Clean white shoes with nail polish remover
Why, oh why didn’t I know this little tip sooner in life? I have always loved white sneakers but am an accident prone girl by nature. My shoes never stayed white for long.
If you have a spill or a stain on your white shoes, try dabbing it clean with some nail polish remover! This is a great budget friendly way to make your favorite shoes last a little longer and keep looking great!
Pool noodles for boot shape
Let’s talk about one of my biggest pet peeves: having my boots in my closet flop over on top of everything and ruin the order I am trying to create.
Naturally, someone else had a problem with the same thing and they came up with a solution! Pool noodles!
- Purchase a long, foam pool noodle
- Cut it in half
- Insert each half into one of your tall pairs of boots
- Boots will now stay crisp and upright
How simple is that and totally budget friendly!
Lemon hair lightening
I still remember this tip from elementary school. A friend of mine said her mom let her lighten her hair with lemon. Naturally I was super jealous and immediately went home to pester my mom into letting me do the same thing.
Then wouldn’t you know it, decades later I was helping one of our daughter’s lighten her hair the same way! It totally works too, I swear. The difference may not be as noticeable or work as quickly as getting highlights, but it definitely lightens the hair and gives it a sun-kissed look!
Peroxide mouth rinse
Last but not least, the magic that is peroxide. Not only can you clean your entire house, whiten your teeth, clean out your ears and clean cuts but you can also use this budget friendly tool as a mouth rinse.
Using peroxide to rinse out your mouth can do all of the following:
- Clear canker sores
- Get rid of bad breath
- Kill bacteria
- Whiten your smile
Just make sure you don’t drink any! Just a few swishes in your mouth every day aught to do the trick!
That’s all folks!
These are by far my 35 favorite budget friendly beauty hacks that you can use with things you probably already have on hand! Did I leave something out?! Feel free to share in the comments and let’s spread the word!