With all of us feeling the pinch of the economy these days, it's smart to find ways to cut back. I asked some of my closet friends and beauty pros to come up with some easy at-home ways to save a buck or two when it comes to your beauty routine. Know that you are not alone -- almost all of us are dealing with these tough times -- but we can still look gorgeous while going through it.
The first lovely lady I spoke with is my good friend and top manicurist Myrdith Leon-McCormack. She has polished the hands and feet of the worlds most glamorous women like Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker. Doing your own manicure/pedicure can save you a ton of money. Everything you need to do your own nails can be found in your kitchen and a drugstore.
Here is her perfect step-by-step way to do it yourself:
1. Start off by scrubbing your hands and feet with a little brown sugar mixed with olive oil and then use a pumice stone to buff off extra dead skin on dry heels.
2. Pull out some alcohol from your medicine cabinet and put it into a plastic spray bottle. Spritz your hands and feet then gently file your nails into their desired shape. Use a white buffer to buff over nails to eliminate any stains and then spray the nails again to remove the debris.
3. Clean under the nails with an orange wood stick and then apply olive oil to the cuticles and let it soak in and soften for about two minutes. Then, using the orange wood stick again, push back cuticles lightly.
4. Clip any hangnails from the edges and then scrub again with the brown sugar and olive oil mixture.
5. Spray the hands and feet again with the alcohol to remove all the oil and now apply a base coat, two coats of your favorite color and a topcoat for a flawless mani/pedi.
The gorgeous dermatologist Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton gave me a few of her favorite tips -- and, as one of my BFF's, I trust anything she says about skin. I've tried many of her favorite products and at-home remedies and they totally work.
The cleanser she recommends is Cethaphil, which, at $7.99, fits into most of our budgets. I have been washing my face with it for years. She swears by plain Greek yogurt as the ultimate hydrating facial and makes oatmeal paste as a remedy for most of summer's woes, from insect bites to sunburns. She also loves using cheap wine as a foot soak for severely dry skin, as the fruit acids can help exfoliate the skin.
The exercise guru who keeps my body in tip top condition is the fabulous Ms. Lauren Goldberg -- and a personal trainer is one of the first things that tends to go when the budget gets cut back. She swears with the right amount of self-discipline you can keep yourself in shape all on your own. Besides regular cardio workouts like running, biking and walking, using your own body weight can keep muscles tight and toned.
She recommends using your couch as a squat block. Sit on the couch and then stand squeezing your glutes together. Then sit back down repeating until you feel the burn. You can also use a kitchen chair to do tricep dips off the end, doing enough reps to make it challenging. Anyone has enough space in their home to drop down to the floor and do basic stomach crunches and push-ups. Alternating the sets will keep your tummy flat and your arms toned.
Cooking at home is a major way you can save money and also control your diet by using healthy ingredients and portion control. Surf low cal cooking websites and blogs for new ideas on cutting back on calories.
As for my beauty two cents, you never need to spend a fortune on expensive products. I co-created the Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired By Carmindy line with quality and affordability in mind. Everything you need for beauty these days can be found at a drugstore. And there are a few ways to even extend the life of the products that you do have.
If your mascara has dried out too quickly, simply run it under hot water for five minutes to re-liquefy it. It will sweep on like new. If you drop a powder eyeshadow or blush on the tile floor and it shatters, just put the broken powder into a small plastic container and crush it up a bit more to create a loose powder. If you have a bunch of half-used lipsticks, scoop them out of their tubes and into the squares of a plastic pillbox. You can mix and blend up new colors to create your own professional lipstick palette. If you add a little Vaseline in the mix, you have yourself a tinted gloss.
Now you know the secrets of the top beauty experts -- so be your own penny pinching pro and look fab doing it!