It seems every where you look online and in magazines, you see so much ooohing and ahhhing about each and every luxury beauty treatment and product out there. The harsh reality of the matter is, that these are things you and I - your every day, average working woman (or man) honestly can't afford or in most cases, even have access to locally. As a single mom, I'm not about to spend $50 on a tube of lipstick that I may or may not wear a lot because I know it will blow my budget to do such a thing.
First of all you have to note that your skin is the foundation for how great a beauty product will look on you. So put your best skin out there first before putting your best face forward.
Skin care is the ultimate beauty treatment you can give yourself.
Witch Hazel - it's inexpensive and it works especially for acne. You can buy it by the bottle ($1-$3) or you can find it in a towelette form ($5). Sweat causes bacteria to build up - and witch hazel will break it up and help stop acne from forming. In 30 days you should see an improvement in your skin with daily use.
Sleep - yes a good night's sleep is the best skin healing time ever. Women need more sleep per several studies done recently. If you use your night creams with retinols and moisture you will see a vast improvement in 30-60 days. ROC has great products for night time use.
Wash your face! Cleaning your face doesn't mean scrubbing the skin - often those irritate and cause more breakouts. Use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil ($15). It's gentle for every skin type. If you're using other products for hyperpigmentation and brightening your skin, this will be your best facial wash. HOWEVER, IF you have DRY flaky skin on your face - STOP! Using your rinse-off cleanser immediately. While it sounds crazy, water can actually dry out your already flaky skin. Use a cleanser that you wipe off (not rinse off) which limits the amount of water on your skin. Use a cleanser that has micellar water (Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover, $20) or an oil cleanser for added hydration. Do this at night and skip the morning wash. Spritz rosewater toner (Younique has a great one) before you moisturize.
- Scars - generally speaking Bio-Oil ($20) is your go to all around skin care product from FACE to TOES. It claims it can diminish scars, stretch marks, and uneven skin tone, as well as signs of aging and dehydrated skin. Honestly, this stuff is more effective than many products twice its price and that's the word from so many of my friends that I'm grabbing a bottle this weekend and will update on how well it works on my different skin issues.
- Acne Scars. While the only permanent ways to eradicate are to have treatments with lasers and Retin-A but let's be realistic here - that's very costly! However, you can use some at home products that do a really damn good job of minimizing them! Clean & Clear uses a well known acne-fighting ingredient called salicylic acid to help treat break outs and lessen their marks ($9).
- Acne. Don't touch your face! Cell phones and fingers contribute to acne prone skin because they're generally dirty. You don't even think about how much you touch things and then your face depositing that bacteria and dirt right on your skin. Same with your cell phone - your dirty little fingers texting away and scrolling the screen then a call comes in or your call someone and bam! That nasty phone screen is touching your face! Don't exfoliate when you have acne as you only aggravate the skin even more. Use a topical serum for exfoliation with clean fingers, which allows cellular turnover to happen without scrubbing off your skin.
- Purifying your skin doesn't take extensive trips to the spa. You can purchase Purifying Bio Enzymes Mask, $12 (1 packet per box) and let it do its magic while you sleep. Note that there is usually some serum in the packet so save that in an airtight small container or place in a storage baggy in it's original packet. When you have enough saved up - you can create your own mask with the round peel apart cotton pads. Just press (not rub) the serum into your face and cover with the cotton pads (if you want a little boost - a light light spritz of witch hazel or rosewater toner on the pads before applying over serum).
- Wrinkles - Sunscreen! Can't say it enough - sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscree - even in winter - all year round - will help improve the elasticity and help ward off sun damage. Believe it or not, the sun is magnified through your car windows so even in winter it can damage and age your skin!
- Oily skin - Avoid any product for your hair or face that contains sulfates, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, PEGs, and synthetic fragrances. Sulfates can strip your skin of oil which will cause your skin to overproduce oil making your skin even oilier and more acne prone.
- Dry Skin - use something thick and moisturizing to help calm your skin after exfoliating to give it some extra hydration. A good and reasonably priced one is called Moisturizing Moon Mask, $22
- Fine Lines - There are three (3) things skin with fine lines need - Moisturize, Peptides and retinol. Oil of Olay will moisturize and contains peptides. It will take roughly 8 weeks to notice any difference in your skin with 2x daily uses.
- Swimming - chlorine will dry your skin out. Make sure you WASH your skin thoroughly with a mild cleanser to remove all traces of chlorine. Apply a good moisturizer after.
- Facial Tools - CLEAN your beauty brushes and sponges! Especially your foundation and concealer brushes to remove dirty, grime and bacteria and old make-up. Your foundation brushes should be cleaned after each use.
- Dermarolling. You can do this at home IF you know what size gauge micro needle you need for your skin. You can get a Professional Derma Roller in various needle sizes at Flawless Beauty & Skin (Professional 540 Needle Derma Roller & Micro Needling Therapy System-For Fine Lines, Wrinkles & Acne Scars $22).*
Beauty Box Monthlies! These allow us all to enjoy samples (many in full size bottles) without the actual commitment of spending a lot of money upfront. Subscription prices range from $10 a month and up. There are various ones you can sign up for - including Wal-Mart and Target!
- Beauty Box 5 - has monthly subscription for $12, quarterly subscription for $30 or an annual subscription for $99. The appealing mix of luxury, drugstore, and vegan brands, such as Rosebud Perfume Co., Supergoop, and Priti NYC.
- Birch Box - has monthly subscription for $10 or an annual subscription for $110. Four or five deluxe samples from an eclectic mix of luxury and niche brands, like Nars, Stila, and Weleda, plus one nonbeauty product, all delivered monthly in a recyclable brown box (the website offers clever tips for how to reuse it).
- Look Fantastic - has monthly subscription of $22.50, quarterly subscription for $60, 6 month subscription for $111 or an annual subscription for $204
- Sample Society by Beauty Bar - has a monthly subscription for $15. This kit has deluxe-size samples from high-end brands, such as StriVectin, Erno Laszlo, DDF, Deborah Lippmann, Oscar de la Renta, and more, delivered in a reusable charcoal gray box each month. Plus, it includes a booklet of beauty tips from Allure editors (a.k.a. us), a subscription to Allure, and a $15 coupon for beautybar.com, good if you spend $50 and at least one of your purchases is from a brand in your kit.
- Glossy Box - has monthly subscription for $21, six months for $115 or an annual subscription for $220. NOTE: No cancellations allowed - you pay for six months or a year. Deluxe samples from brands like Illamasqua, Caswell-Massey, and Figs & Rouge, an organic beauty line from the U.K., with occasional non-cosmetic bonus products, delivered in a stylish box.
- IPSY - has monthly subscription for $10 or an annual one for $110. A reusable makeup bag with four or five deluxe samples and full-size products from companies such as Urban Decay, Tarte, and Philosophy every month. Each kit has a theme—nighttime, holiday—and the products are chosen so they go together; that look is demonstrated in a video, some of which feature makeup artist Michelle Phan.
- Beauty Army - has monthly subscription for $12 or an annual for $132. You can skip a month if you like as well as cancel any time. Every month, you choose six samples from a menu of nine hard-to-find brands, like Skyn Iceland, Lucy B. organic makeup, and Lipsi cosmetics.
- Boxy Charm - a monthly subscription of $21. You will get 5-6 beauty items that will include nail care, skin care, makeup, haircare, fragrance and more. (At least 4 of those items will be full-sized).
- Target Beauty Box - $5 and sells out very quickly. Each box comes with an info card and a Target coupon good for $3 off a beauty purchase of $15 or more. (Tip: Save these when you can to use on future Target Beauty Boxes!) I've gotten in on 2 of these deals as I often forget.
- Essence Beauty Box - is geared toward women of color. Monthly subscription is $15, Six months is $75 and an annual is $150 (paid up front at once). You get 5 products handpicked by Essence which range from hair care, beauty, and lifestyle products.
- Mash Maven - is dedicated to just facial masks. A monthly subscription is $15 + $3.95 ($18.95) but you can save with 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions. Each box has 9 to 11 masks of all kinds from Korea. Most are sheet masks but you often get a mask for your hair, hand, feet, eyes or lips as well.
- BB Bag - is dedicated to Asian beauty products. A monthly subscription is $24 but you can save with 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions. Each box has 6 to 8 full size products: make-up, skincare, beauty tools, body care, hair care and lifestyle products. Retail ranges from $65-$90 per BB Bag.
- Square Hue - is a monthly nail polish subscription box averaging $16 to $21 per month. You receive 2 to 2 bottles per month. They create their own colors in-house for every box, donate a portion of their sales to charity, and give each box a theme.
- Gentleman's Box - Yes, we have a beauty box just for MEN! $25 per month or $275 annually (use MSATRY10 to get the first box for $10). This box provides essential elements suited for today's man. You receive 4 to 6 hand-selected products, accompanied by a one year subscription to GQ magazine (US & Canada only). Products range from grooming supplies to wardrobe accessories.
- Net-A-Porter Beauty - This is a bit more upscale but a splurge once a year even is worth this awesome box. It's not a monthly box or even a quarterly box. It's just whenever they put one together. $55 per kit and comes with 12 products from their skincare, haircare, nail and make-up edition. Includes rejuvenating face mask to glamorous lipstick in a convenient travel-size box.
- Walmart Beauty Box - $5 per box - you're only paying for the shipping. It's only 4x a year (Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter). The products you get are more than the costs as you get full size or small (not sample) size products. I just ordered mine today.
- TestTube Box - $29.99 per box and they ship only (6) times a year. You will receive a TestTube filled with deluxe and full-size products from the hottest beauty brands. You will also receive a subscription to NewBeauty magazine, delivered quarterly.
- Eco-Emi Box - $15 per month. You receive 5 to 8 samples of natural, organic, green, eco-friendly, cruelty free, vegan, vegetarian or Fair Trade products to your door wrapped in chic earth friendly packaging.
- Julep Maven - one of the easiest. most flexible subscriptions ever. You can personally customize your monthly box, send it to a friend, or even skip a month. $19.99 per month.
- Beauty Fix - monthly subscriptions are $25 but if you just want one box without the subscription it's $35. You'll receive 4-6 full or deluxe travel size samples, all curated by skin experts in professional grade and hard to find spa exclusives. Value of the box is $100+ and you get free shipping.
- Klutch Club - a monthly subscription is $20, quarterly is $54, six months is $114 and an annual subscription is $192. You get 7 to 10 of the best healthy snacks, beverages, and lifestyle items straight to your door. Every product we feature is carefully selected by our team of experts led by nutritionist Heather Bauer.
- Good Being - subscriptions are monthly ($21), three months ($60), six months ($114) and annual ($216). Good Being is a premium discovery & trial service providing expertly curated, healthy beauty products, non-toxic cosmetics, natural wellness & sustainable, toxin-free living goods. Members receive 6-7 trial sized, healthy beauty, beauty related wellness & personal care products that range in size from 1-2 use packets to several use travel size.
- Curl Box - $20 per month - cancel any time. This is for curly haired gals! You get between 4 to 7 samples of the top hair products for curly hair.
*The rage right now is having spa treatments of "Micro Needling or dermarolling to the tune of $300-$600 a treatment - and it takes more than one treatment to even see any results. What is dermarolling you ask? Dermarolling uses a small roller with fine micro needles rolled over the skin. This causes micro punctures which more than not leads to a puffy (sometimes swollen) red face. It is supposed to help with acne scarring and general skin damage. Once pricked, new collagen rushes to the damaged areas and creams/serums that are applied to the area are able to be more easily absorbed which in turn is meant to help you get a better skin tone. Many with thin skin consider it an alternative to the expensive laser treatments or harsh peels that they can't have.