It’s not all about clothes. I heart beauty too. There’s no point going out dressed to the nines if you can’t get your slap right, is there? This is an article I wrote for Cult Beauty – a recessionista’s guide to beauty. Does anyone else have any fabulous crunch-busting beauty secrets they’d be willing to give up? Come on, be sisterly…
With the season of splurge now over and the recession biting back at bank balances, it’s time for those of us who ensured festive fabulousness by (self) indulging in expensive salon grooming to make some overdue cut backs.
But if the thought of cancelling your Bliss facial brings a sweat tear to your brow, fear not. Econo-chic is already cool; even the Shoreditch House crowd are hosting cocktail-cum-swap shop parties and ordering tap water instead of Voss. Save cash, save the planet – oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be so virtuous? What’s more, concocting your own products will give you that ‘not just a pretty face’ edge over the competition.
So it’s official: the time of the Recessionista is definitely now. But, for the busy beauty junkie who’s back at work to fund the next season of partying, there may not be time to source DIY treatment recipes or home styling tips from industry experts.
At Cult Beauty lash comes before cash, so while you’ve been worrying about the January credit card statement, we’ve come up with a short guide to staying fabulous through the crunch. It’ll make your beauty rivals indulging in £80-a-jar eye caviar seem positively vulgar.
Cutting back on beauty spending is not an excuse to get lazy and eliminate essential skin care steps. But why waste money on expensive creams and exfoliators when even top skin care experts are advocating everyday products found in the fridge?
Part company with your over-priced ‘miracle’ treatment and make a pot of natural bio yoghurt your new best friend. It can be used as an exfoliant thanks to the lactic acid found in it, which dissolves dead skin cells, and its skin-clearing, smoothing and soothing properties mean it’s a must for all skin types – make it full fat for dry complexions and low fat for oily.
Take 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 drops lemon juice, 3-4 drops pure vitamin E oil and mix well. Apply evenly over a cleansed face and neck and allow to dry completely. Remove with warm water. The result? A fresh face that’s softer to the touch.
Don’t forget to give your hair the attention it deserves. With winter on its way out, so too is the opportunity to hide tired locks under a girl’s-best-friend, the over-sized beanie.
Considering the price of some specialist hair products, you’d be forgiven for expecting something close to champagne to trickle from the bottle. Save your cash for the real deal and rinse your hair with ¼ cup vinegar mixed with ¾ cup warm water for glistening hair that boasts maximum shine and not a faddy product in sight. Tip: use flavoured vinegar (like raspberry) to avoid the ‘eau des frites’ fragrance.
Take at-home hairstyling to the next level and invest in a Charles Worthington Blow-Dry Masterclass, a one-on-one lesson that’ll help you achieve salon gorgeous hair every day of the week.
Cult Beauty decided to take the crash course in hot hair after resolving to adhere to our New Year beauty commandment: “Thou shalt not frazzle thy hair to within an inch of its life because thou art too lazy to style it properly”. Still, we arrived at the salon skeptical that anyone could yank us out of the styling iron rut we’ve been in since the advent of the ghd.
“Even absolute beginners shouldn’t be daunted by blow-drying at home,” assured Charles Worthington stylist Sophie Clare, as we sat down to a glass of Champers. But Sophie, we want, nay, need hair akin to Cheryl Cole’s. Surely we can’t recreate those locks ourselves?
Well, perhaps we underestimated ourselves, because during the Blow-Dry Masterclass we did just that. The key to our new-found skill was the step-by-step guidance given throughout the blow-drying process; having someone on hand to advise on and correct technique as you go allows the confidence needed to recreate styles yourself.
However, if your January budget is dictating more nights in than out then why not enjoy a girlie night and try improving your technique at home? Just follow Sophie’s simple rules for a blow-dry that’ll have your boyfriend hotter around the collar than an X-Factor episode. (Funny how he suddenly began watching the last series, no?)
1) Comb. Sectioning really is key.
2) Lift. It’s all about root lift baby; pull hair up rather than back when drying and treat the brush like a roller.
3) Cheat. If you’re having difficulty with the back concentrate on blow-drying the crown and sides, then create sexy smooth flicks at the back with styling irons.
Charles Worthington Blow-Dry Masterclass costs from £45.
Perfectly groomed eyebrows will draw the focus to the eyes and frame the entire face. Having brows professionally shaped after years of uneducated plucking can give the effects of a full makeover in just 15 minutes. It can often be expensive with prices for an appointment with a brow specialist starting at around £12, though thrifty Recessionistas need only follow our guide for a cash saving route to A-list arches.
Eyebrow stencils are a brilliant way to create the perfect brow shape with no mistakes. Cult Beauty recommends Shavata’s Eyebrow Shapers, a stencil kit that includes four different brow shapes. Simply choose the desired shape and use the stencil as a guide when tweezing.
1) Take a shower or keep a hot washcloth over your face for some time before tweezing as it will loosen up hair follicles and make plucking hairs easier and less painful.
2) Smooth brows with a little moisturiser to help hair slide out more easily.
3) Comb brows upwards with an eyelash comb and trim any hairs extending beyond the natural brow bone.
4) For those with time for a spot of relaxation after tweezing, soothe the area with cool, wet teabags.
Alternatively, if you can’t stomach all that self-inflicted pain, the Estee Lauder Brow Baroffers a fantastic grooming service where a trained aesthetician will trim, wax and tweeze your brows to achieve the perfect shape. The service is £15 redeemable against any Estee Lauder product, so visit when the old mascara is drying up and you’re getting a professional shape for free.
There’s nothing sexier than a bee-stung pout so finish your look by plumping up those lips and you’ll have men falling at your feet à la Ms Jolie. The Recessionista, however, frowns upon collagen injections. Costing around £200 a whack, they certainly aren’t for girls on a budget, but who wants to risk a grotesque trout pout anyway?
Keep it natural(ish) and try out Cult Beauty favourite DuWop LipVenom. A sumptuous gloss with moisturising Jojoba and Avocado oils, it instantly gets to work boosting lips for a fuller look with a sexy sheen. Although there is a slight sting after the first couple of applications, the tingling sensation of the gloss soon becomes inexplicably addictive. So get plumping and expect to be puckering up in time for Valentines.
Or employ another favourite trick if you’re on a super skinny budget: exfoliate your lips right before applying balm and lippy. The blood that rises to the surface of the skin after scrubbing them really plumps ’em up. The same goes with a good lip massage.
Now go forth and be beautiful without breaking the bank.
Images: Thanks to Jessica Gearhart (created for the original publication on the Cult Beauty blog)
Red lips: Thanks to Jimmie xx