Google "Budget Beauty Products" and you'll get 664 million hits, most listing low-cost drugstore beauty brands. While there is something to be said for $5 mascara that really works, a perfect-match foundation, and lipgloss that looks like MAC but costs the same as a pack of gum, there is an even better beauty deal lurking but a few aisles away.
Meet the hidden beauty products in the grocery aisle. Not the egg hair treatment (yuck!) or cucumber eye pads (who has time to sit with veggies on your eyelids?), but actual beauty solutions you can use on a daily basis with little effort. More than just great money-savers, natural beauty products are often better for your skin than the many chemicals in standard beauty buys.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This old-wives' cure has a plethora of beauty uses. Use it in the shower after shampoo and conditioner to deep cleanse your hair and increase body and shine. Take it as a daily shot -- or mix one ounce of ACV with 16 ounces of water and sip with a straw -- and it acts as a weight-loss supplement, improves skin tone, and balances feminine PH. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar $2.67 for 16 ounces vs. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Deep Cleansing Shampoo $5.29 for 6 ounces, HerbalSlim Weightloss Supplements $20 for 60 capsules, CVS Hair Skin and Nails Supplements $7.49 for 60 tablets, RePHresh Feminine Balancing Kit $8.99 for one use .
Lemon & Honey: Cut a lemon in half and put a teaspoon of honey on the exposed portion. Rub across your face, giving extra attention to your T-Zone. The acid in the lemon is a great cure for blackheads! An extra hint: Cut your lemon into 3 sections instead of two. You'll get an extra use out of each lemon! Lemons about 3 (9 treatments) for $1 (price varies) vs. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit $7.99 (approx 30 treatments).
Cornstarch: A personal favorite, cornstarch is the best and most natural mattefying/finishing powder for the money. A small tub of cornstarch runs about $2 for 16 ounces. Compare that to BareMinerals Mineral Veil at $20 for .3 ounces! The real kicker? On their website, Bare Escentuals lists the ingredients of Mineral Veil: "Zea Mays (Corn Starch), Corn Starch Modified, Zinc Stearate, Magnesium Stearate. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)". Use an old compact to hold a small amount of cornstarch and throw it in your makeup bag. Buff it onto your face after your foundation and/or concealer to set your makeup and prevent shine for the day. $1.75 for Argo Cornstarch 16 ounces vs. $20 for BareMinerals Mineral Veil .3 ounces.
Cinnamon Oil: The active ingredient in most lip-plumping glosses, cinnamon is a great way to kick up your kisser. Add some cinnamon to your regular gloss, or pick up cinnamon oil at a health-food store and use in place of gloss for a supple pout. $3.49 for LorAnn Cinnamon Oil .25 ounces vs. $16 for DuWop Lip Venom .16 ounces.
Each of the above options requires little effort with little or no preparation. Kick off the new year with a new natural and affordable beauty regimen while you do your grocery shopping!
Lemons, cornstarch, and apple cider vinegar are available at all 26 Boston-area Stop & Shop locations, and at Trader Joe's in Back Bay, Cambridge, Brookline, and Saugus. Cinnamon oil is available at Whole Foods Markets in Charles River Plaza, Symphony, Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Brighton and Medford.