The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Money saving beauty tips.

This week I thought I'd do a little bit of an all round "saving money on beauty" post.  Beauty and clothing. 
Joan asked me to consider something on looking well groomed and well dressed on a small budget as she has admired someone who looks so stylish yet knows has a very small amount to actually spend. This reminds me of my Nan B who even at ninety was still always well dressed, smart and stylish. She was like this her whole life. It wasn't until after her death that I saw how little she owned. From memory she had three very good dresses, four pairs of shoes... lovely scarves... overall very little. She always looked so nice. She proved a few well chosen things are better than a crammed wardrobe any day.

Many of us have probably spent a fortune over the years trying different looks and in search of what suits us. It can be a never ending quest. I followed a fashion blogger for a long time that had great tips. She was funny and brutally honest. She often said some things from cheap shops and brands look cheap. But if you choose classic colours then they look expensive. This was her number one tip. It is true. Classic plain black, navy, caramel, burgundy etc look expensive and some colours and prints look cheap or dated. I notice this everywhere. Remember the movie Pretty Woman in which Richard Gere played the rich businessman? He wore black and tan/caramel. And he LOOKED rich. Yep, that is just a rich classic combination and if he had of worn lime green and orange he might not have looked so rich! It is that simple.
You may not want to look rich or care! But classics do look stylish and smart and mostly all go together too.

The other tip is most of us wear a fraction of our wardrobe. We develop favourites that we feel best in. We think something suits us best and feels the nicest. If we feel we know both what suits us best and what feels comfortable then just wearing those things is like being set free of all the other stuff!
The same with colours. If you feel you know what are your best colours and just wear them then mostly your wardrobe will all go together. No endless "what will go with what?" issues! Last week I mentioned a post about wearing and accessorising with the colours of your eyes and hair. You will always look wonderful. Things will always match since you are always wearing your eyes and your hair! My wardrobe is made up of four main colours and I don't really have to work out what goes with what. If I got dressed in the dark it would probably work out ok. This is so simple and shopping is simple too.
Simplifying your wardrobe and life is bliss. I would now never go shopping because I had an event. I would wear one of several basic black dresses or my red or blue dress. I have shoes and accessories to change these to just about any look.  That's it. I'm done! 

If you look around you will see that if you go out neat and tidy with clean and styled hair you are well ahead already. Being basically well groomed looks a million dollars!

Many of us own nice jewellery that we don't wear or don't clean. If you have lovely pearls that you inherited or a beautiful ring I would say wear them! Sparkling jewellery looks beautiful. Not counting pearls most jewellery and gems can be cleaned yourself at home very well. I use half windex(window cleaner) and half dish washing liquid plus a small soft toothbrush. Dip your jewellery in this and give it a good clean. With rings that are old or dirty take some time over this and do it over a bowl not the sink! Things come up just amazingly and look brand new in no time. Then you sparkle! Every now and then sit and do this and you will truly be amazed. It is like having new jewellery!
Similarly cleaning up your shoes and handbag will make them look like new! My leather bag and shoes I use vaseline which is  rubbed in and polished off. The difference is staggering!
A more recent trend is layered necklaces and twisted/chunky feature necklaces. Just wear several of your necklaces together and it looks the same. I really like this look.

You can make new and interesting pendants by taking odd bits and pieces and grouping them in clusters on a chain. I seem to be a bower bird and have a little things I like, many from other things that have broken... grouped on a chain they are really nice...  all of these I added to existing chains and had a change around. Sort of new jewellery for free! And personal. With a theme in mind these could be lovely gifts.

If you have ever had a manicure or pedicure this is a good thing as you know what the end result feels like. I think especially with a pedicure the results are pretty major and it feels so nice. These are things you can do so well at home. The main failure in this is we do a very quick version and wonder why the results are not the same. But if we put the same time into it they will be pretty much as good. At a salon a pedicure takes about an hour. It truly is the time that makes the difference. If you give yourself a pedicure while watching a movie you will have an hour and a half or so.... then you will get salon results! Beautiful painted toenails in sandals look so nice! For tough skin a tip is to soak cotton wool in Hydrogen Peroxide. Hold against the hard skin for a couple of minutes. It will then rub away like butter. The saving will probably be about $80!

Most things you can learn to do at home. From eyebrow shaping to lash tinting they are all easy to do as long as your eyesight is ok.
You can learn just about any skill on you tube or search tutorials and have a study up. Each thing you learn to do yourself is another saving. We have shops like Priceline and Price attack. Ask for DIY kits for anything from brow tinting to waxing. It is all easy and will save a fortune. The staff will usually happily explain how it's done to you as well and how easy it is. A brow tinting kit, for instance, will cost about $20 and give you several years worth!

In the world of skin care you can save so much money. A little snooping will reveal that many brands own other brands and in fact sell the same formula's in different packaging. The difference is the packaging and price but the formula is the same. This is not all products but many. Examples are Loreal is Lancome and Nivea is La Prairie. It gets very interesting when the ingredients are the same but the price difference is $300. It takes some close comparing to find which products are equal but there are quite a few! Others are so similar the difference is not worth worrying about.
Another one is makeup... the same as above applies. But you may have a total favourite colour in an expensive brand and love it so much... online you will find the world of "beauty dupes". If you want to find an equivalent that is cheaper to any favourite product in makeup or skin care search beauty dupes. Include the name of the shade if you are searching for a particular colour. You may find a match that is a faction of the cost of what you have been paying.

In the world of perfumes the price differences are huge. Providing  you know your favourite brand etc if you search online you will beat department store prices by so much you will be amazed. I have a perfume I just love and I used to buy it in a department store. Never again! Downstairs below the department store is a chemist warehouse and it costs 50% less there but I never knew this! 

Another trick is to identify what is the active ingredient in something that might be a good thing...  Many times there is some truth about a product and a good active ingredient but the cost of the product is just huge. An example I had a while ago was an expensive brand of cosmetics and their hero product was a small bottle of 100% organic rosehip oil for the price of $99. Now rosehip oil is a good ingredient so that bit was true. But you can go buy that same thing yourself for under $20. So why pay $99? 
Many times if you can find out the active ingredient you may be able to do better. 

Many products you can do without altogether! Lots of products have multiple uses. A lip gloss can be used as a highlighter on your cheeks, a lipstick can be used for cream blush... just go by the colour and consistency and use things however you want! 

If you have skin problems many times your doctor will be able to give you a prescription for a product that will make it much cheaper than buying something over the counter. For acne, scaring etc there are really effective things that can be prescribed. This is worth checking and can save you hundreds.

You can custom mix your products. If you have a foundation that is a little dark or too thick... blend it with some moisturiser or a lighter shade. You can alter things with mixing to pretty good effect. I think cream blush is much more flattering than powder blush but I was given so much powder blush! So I use it and dab a tiny amount of vaseline on my upper cheekbone. Then it looks glowly and dewy just the same as if it were a cream blush. 

We have covered making your own scrubs. It is also easy to make your own luxurious body powder. Scented body powders can be really expensive. So can lovely powder puffs. I LOVE powder and powder puffs. After having trouble getting anything other than a depressed powder puff I started making my own from fur. These make lovely gifts!

 Next,  powder is easy. In a sealed box or crystal container (think op shop) this is a beautiful gift too. You can use unscented powder or use cornflour or arrowroot as your base. Or a mix. Arrowroot it very silky and luxurious.
To this you can add any scent from essential oil to a luxury perfume. In an enclosed container three sprays of scent will perfume a whole container. Mine is Chanel No 5. It really works and is lovely! If you took a look at the price of a classic perfumed powder it is expensive! Provided you have a perfume on hand this is very economical!
To a body powder you can also add shimmer... or sparkle. 

This is really lovely and combined these two make a gorgeous gift that will all up cost a dollar or two.

At the end of the day we all end up with products that are duds for one reason or another! It happens to us all. Apart from re gifting new things there are some great uses for products...

Talcum powder is wonderful to de stink the inside of shoes. It makes great dry shampoo. A tiny fine sprinkle between your sheets re freshens them and makes them feel surprisingly wonderful. The most expensive hotels in the world sprinkle bed powder between the sheets. This might sound nuts but once you have tried it you will understand. If you are unwell or overtired this will give you one more day of fresh sheets. It is a tiny fine sprinkle...
Talcum powder will also refresh carpets instead of carpet powder.

Shampoo you don't like is good for handwahsing clothes. Also possibly for making bubble bath (see my Hollywood recipe) or filing up your hand wash containers.

Conditioner you don't like can be used as shaving cream on your legs or as fabric softener when washing knitwear.

A moisturiser you don't like might be fine for your hands or feet. Or add castor sugar and do a hand or foot scrub. (this works really well!)

Toothpaste you don't like can be a cleaning product with a little toothbrush. It is like Jiff cleaner or an abrasive cleaner. Will get anything off!

Lots of things can be used in other ways. My number one is wearing pearls which were once quite formal but now you can wear them with a t shirt to great effect!
Use tiny evening purses that are pretty but just too small as a makeup case or small kit in your handbag.
Use an evening clutch that is too small as a travel wallet.
A handbag you don't love will make a great bag to carry your hair drier and things on holiday. Or even a great knitting bag!
Use a brooch as a hair clasp or pinned to a purse.

Use your nice things. Polish them up. Shop your wardrobe and wear things differently. 

These are areas we can be inventive and save so much money. It is kind of mind boggling! 

So much of the beauty industry is about perceived effects. How it makes you FEEL. Cath was telling me about an ALDI moisturiser that is fantastic. I went on and did some research on this. I will post about it on an upcoming post. The bottom line is this product that costs just a few dollars rated in blind tests to beat a best seller anti wrinkle cream that is many times the price. This is ALDI Lacura range which I believe is $3.99 (we do not have an ALDI yet but I am counting the days).  This is just the perfect example. Price and quality do not necessarily have any relationship in the beauty world.
Information is power!

I also accept perceived luxury is important. I love things to look nice, feel nice and smell nice! While many inexpensive and effective things will work and be lovely lots of times the packaging is awful. For my own sake I use pretty containers and bottles. I just collect them in op shops. So a cheap shampoo that I might make into bubble bath ends up in a pretty bottle and the end result looks nice, smells nice and works! I will enjoy it and it FEELS luxurious. It is a bit like outwitting myself, honestly, but it works.

If you are like me in this then decanting things into lovely bottles and containers works well. I tend to do it even with dish washing detergent etc. as the bottles are usually horrible.
I have heard ladies say that their family would object to some brands, generic brands etc. and I always think 1. too bad and 2. why not change containers? They'll never know! 
Like perceived luxury expectations have a big effect. People can decide they don't like something long before they even try it! Lovely packaging convinces you it's wonderful and that is why expensive products are in fabulous containers!

I hope you have found some money saving ideas and maybe some gift ideas as well. Take the savings and add them to your pantry fund or your emergency fund! 

Have a wonderful week. I have been talking about how I have come to love the words "prudent" and "diligent". The other day Vicky wished me a prudent and diligent week. That was awesome I thought! Have a prudent and diligent week! xxx


  1. Annabel, I swear you read my mind sometimes! You've just encapsulated my next four blog posts in to one clever and beautiful list of advice. And you've done it beautifully as always. (I can see a revision of my posts coming!) All of this is so true, and it's an absolute revelation when you finally realise just what some products are. Liquid soap is liquid soap, as is shampoo, body wash, and hand choose one that's in a scent and colour you like, and use it for everything! If you don't like the colour, then add a little food colouring and make it prettier! My absolute favourite is a Molton Brown one that is about $40 a bottle BUT...I dilute it into recycled foam pump bottles that I've prettied up with decals and ribbon, and one bottle lasts me two years. Seriously! Your fashion and beauty advice is spot on too. I have very few shoes, and the ones I have are all expensive. But they are classic, stylish, comfortable and look great and are definitely different to what everyone else is wearing. I'll still be wearing them ten years from now. I think that's the key. Finding what you love to wear, and then sticking to it, no matter what fashion dictates. I agree with what you say about manis and pedis as well. I leave mine for a time when I know I have at least two hours for the polish to dry and cure. And I've recently discovered Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure which is a clear base and top coat, and her Triple Shine nail colours which are as good as the OPI ones for half the price. I find that if you do your nails with a base coat, two colour coats and a top coat, allowing at least ten minutes between coats, and two hours to dry (which lets face it, is what you do if you go 'out' for a manicure or pedicure by the time you factor travelling and shopping into the time frame), you will get a manicure that lasts at least a week. I do it all the time, and it really works. So your advice on just taking your time is good as well. Love the powder puffs, the advice on little purses and your pretty photos. Gorgeous post. Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, this is going to happen as we have many similar ideas, I was going to say sorry I hacked your computer lol.
      Sales Hansen complete manicure is awesome. They also now have a light free gel nail varnish... It's kind of a varnish meets gel with at least a two weeks life span. I haven't tried it yet....on toenails the slightly sparkly El cheaply top coat is indestructible , you know the cheap sparkly stuff in cheap shops? It withstands nuclear forces. Can be handy when toenails rub on sandals etc.
      All this leads me to it is time to do much own toenails...
      Have a good week and thank you! With love

  2. Some great tips Annabel!

    I have too many clothes and do not wear all of them. I have been going through my wardrobe and donating what I haven't worn for a long time. I have my favourites and just mix them up a bit. You are right about eye colour, when I wear blue, my eyes compliment the colour perfectly.

    Living in the country, and not going to the shops that often, I tend to wear comfortable clothes around home. I do dress up to go to the street though because that was something we always did growing up.

    I only wear makeup occasionally, so it doesn't cost me too much lol. My beauty routine is pretty basic. I clean my skin with plain water and my moisturiser of choice is sweet almond oil. My night time routine is water, followed by organic coconut oil. I have the driest skin and find most products make it worse. Since using the almond and coconut oil, my skin is now so soft.

    My shampoo and conditioner are the organic ones from Woolies. They suit my hair type and I always get a lovely shine, even on my curly locks. These are often on special so I when they are I stock up.

    I give up with my nails lol, too much wear and tear on them. I do paint my toe nails in summer for a prettier look.

    I love your pretty bottles, they would be a lovely gift to receive.

    I remember using Avon talc powders on my beds years ago. The smells were divine :)

    Lots of love,

    1. Dear Tania, Well you have great skin and great hair! Your hair is amazing and I agree it is harder to get good shine on curly hair but you have it. I wouldnt change a thing if I was you!
      I dress nicely to go to the street etc too. I think thats a good thing. It doesnt take much effort to look nice and head out the door.
      There was an Avon power I loved too except I cant remember the name... I might see if they still make it!
      Have a really good week, with some rain I hope! With love,

  3. Great ideas as always, I will have to try the hydrogen peroxide on my heals as the are always dry.. Have a good week Annabel xx

    1. Dear Debbie, I have dry heels too especially in summer.... you can also use warm water with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in it and soak your feet about ten minutes. I would say about 1 part HP and 2 parts water. Then use a foot file and file away. The healthy skin is not affected and the dead skin just comes of so easily. If you can stand the smell of it then cover your feet in Vicks and then socks. This works a miracle. Truly!
      Saying all this I need to take action! With love,

  4. Dear Annabel ...a wonderful post! I know the face cream from Aldi that I love. It's about $8 I think....and it's beautiful. It's a little while since I have bought it as it was so lovely I picked up a second one at the time.
    Love Helen

    1. Dear Helen, I will have to find out if yours is the same cream or different. I think there is a serum also?
      I will email you anyway...
      It is so good to know. I will also get you to share more about ALDI products before ours opens. I am so excited about this! With love,

  5. Thank you Annabel! Great post. Will go back and re-read later when my little ones are in bed and take notes ;)
    Love Heidi x

    1. Dear Heidi, When the girls were little my computer and craft times were after bed time too. I got so much done then!
      Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you find something useful and money saving! Love

  6. Annabel, some great tips there. Your beautiful powder puffs reminded me of your ebook and I wondered if you are going to put together another one this year before Christmas. It is a lot of work though so perhaps not.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Thanks for asking... I released to everyone the ebook to hopefully help them with this Christmas. I might have more ebooks but not this year. Also the Rose making tutorial was in an ebook format and I decided to just give it away in a series.
      My aim became to encourage everyone to stock their pantries and this series has taken up a lot of time and energy but I think its a worth while message.
      Have a great week. I loved the nettle soap! With love

  7. Oh Annabel your ideas come at the perfect time as always,
    I'm off work for another 4 weeks and will be confined to home as I'm having teeth removed and an effudex treatment on the skin / sun damage so I'm going to :
    1. shop at home and worm out the things I never wear
    2. sort out the bathroom cupboards and reuse repurpose powders and soaps
    3. sort out the crockery and glasses to enjoy the hidden treasures.
    you are so right Life's to short to not use our pretty things,
    Thankyou again for putting into words what I was thinking about and just needed a lightbulb moment - I can do this
    Cheers, Bevo xx

    1. Dear Bevo, It is really good to be looking at the time you will have as rest and recovery as well as a great chance to do all kinds of things you would never normally get time for!
      Can I suggest after the treatment to take vit c for healing and lots of great nutrition and look after yourself really well too. I hope it all goes well for you. Thank you so much for commenting! Love

  8. Hello Annabel, I'm new to your blog and loving it!
    This was so informative on the beauty products.
    And I am giving myself permission to get rid of clothes I don't wear and go back to my basics. I should just listen to my intuition more. Love the ideas for the decanters and bottles and the talc and puffs. Do you have instructions for those powder puffs?

    1. Dear Laurie, Welcome! I am glad to have you here!
      Yes here are the instructions... They are very simple to make it is all about nice soft fur and a lovely ribbon. They are very inexpensive and make lovely gifts. I hope that helps.
      Thank you so much for commenting! Love

  9. A wonderfully inspiring post, Annabel! I loved Avon's Soothing Seas talcum powder, but that was about 20 years ago. I doubt they still have it so I'll look for a suitable replacement. Love your powder puffs!

    1. Thank you Tracy! It looks like maybe the powder is still available as I just googled it to se if it is one I liked...and they are for sale! I too had forgotten about Avon powders so I am seeing if I can get Pearls and Lace as that was the one I loved!
      Thank you so much for commenting! Love

  10. Annabel,
    Another beautiful post! I have to admit that I feel bad because most of the time I am sporting my stunning hagwear! Lol. But when I do have to go somewhere important I am dressed to the nines and clean up well. A problem that I have with newer styles is I have to shop in the junior department and those looks are not cute when your over 40! I just can't see my self wearing booty shorts for pete's sake although a wedding I just attended I was surprised that many ladies were! I like classic looks. If you are giving yourself a manicure rub some olive or almond oil into your nails and cuticles before you soak them it works wonders! And when I don't have to cut mine all off I have really long nails.
    I love your powder puffs and pretty decanters they are so feminine and pretty. I will also have to check the Aldi's brands of skin creams I need a really good wrinkle cream!

    1. Dear Vicky, You will find a great wrinkle cream at Aldi. I love serums and they have it all!
      I love almond oil. It is wonderful stuff. That is a good nail tip thank you.
      Now to go publish your pantry pictures! Have a great day love

  11. Annabel, another lovely post chock full of lovely ideas. I still really don't know what sort of clothes I should have, and as for shoes, well don't get me started. Hate the damn things.
    I look forward to all your posts.
    Fi xx

  12. Thanks, Annabel, for the ideas. I have used many of these ideas and yet decanting things for the bath, I have not tried. My 5 daughters will love fancy bottles and powder puffs! We all still have a bit of princess in us don't we?

    Planning a prudent and diligent week!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      I laughed at what you said as its true! We all go ooh and ahh over pretty and gorgeous things! Truly a set of powders and fabulous powder puffs would make lovely presents. I do them in colours especially a person may love even leopard print and red once!
      I love that you are planning a prudent and diligent week!
      With love,

  13. Hi Annabel

    Another great post you have come up with. I have to admire the way you can write such great posts......each one uniquely different.

    I do have a question for you. Do you have any remedies (or your readers) that are cheap for cracked dry heels? I find here in the summer with the weather so harsh that I am in slip on shoes all the time and my feet do get unsightly.

    I inherited my Nan's pearls and like most people mine are tucked away in a drawer. I think I am just too frightened to wear them as I don't think I have much in my wardrobe that would go with pearls.

    I hope you have a wonderful week ahead

    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly, Thank you! I suffer from terrible heels. So yes I do. Firstly you have to get cracks healed up before you can do very much and have to be gentle until you do. Creams everyday will usually heal them up. Once you have no cracks that hurt or are open at all you want to get rid of dead dry skin. Get your equipment like foot files... if you can get a courser file like a ped egg and a finer one as well. Cheap shops had the ped egg like ones. The first time is the big job! Get two bottles of hydrogen peroxide from the supermarket, its in the beauty isle. You need a small container just big enough for both your feet... and you want fairly warm water so that when you pour the bottles of peroxide in you end up with warm water and about half peroxide and half water mix. Dont be scared of the peroxide. It will soften the dead skin and not affect your healthy skin. Sit your feet in this for about ten minutes. If it starts to feel ichy or burny thats enough time. Make sure the dry skin is well covered. Take one foot out and use your course file and you will find the dead skin comes off like butter! If you do a good job of this you are going to get rid of all the thick dead skin. The first time is quite an episode but it is so good! You need to be careful and not damage good skin and just get off all that thick stuff.
      If you can stand the smell of vicks this is the best treatment. Cover your feet with a thick layer concentrating on where you get dry and cracks. wrap in glad wrap and put on socks! Leave for an hour or so. After this the improvement is huge. Basically you wont believe how good it is.
      Now from now on every single night before your shower.bath use the fine file to quickly freshen up your feet and every night rub in cream. In summer once or twice a week rub in vicks or vaseline and put socks over the top. If you do this you will probably never have cracks again. Now and then repeat the whole process, paint your nails etc. This is cheap compared to pedicures etc and works really well.
      I am just about to do it myself to get my feet spring ready.
      Sleeping with vicks on your feet and socks on works a miracle too... good for a night on our own!
      I hope this helps.
      If you feel pearls suit you just wear them with anything ie pearls are great with jeans and t shirt or shirt. But if you dont feel they suit you save them for DD. Also check they dont need re threading as old pearls sometimes do, the pearls are good and possibly quite valuable but the string ages and weakens.I love pearls.
      WIth love Annabel.xxxx

    2. Hi Annabel

      Thanks for the reply and the information. I have all of these items in my cupboard, so this maybe done next week when I am alone and as a birthday treat to myself.

      As for the pearls well I have never tried them on. I have 3 sets and they are safely tucked away. I will be sure to dig them out and have a look to see if they need re threading.

      Aly xxx

  14. Annabel I can't use most beauty products due to my skin turning into a red inflamed mass if I do. Coconut oil and my skin also don't agree. The medicated creams I can use are in disgusting containers. I never thought about decanting them into something pretty. I'm about to go and do this and see just how much of a visual difference this makes. I am also going to get some arrowroot powder and play around with this and some essential oils for scent for body powder. Thanks again for some easy, thrifty ways to beautify the home and make me feel special all at the same time.

    1. Dear Jane, If you collect suitable lovely little containers over time you will have a pretty collection. Just clean them well and use a spoon to decant or pour it in. I think you will find it so much nicer!
      I have great success finding little crystal containers at op shops, also things like pretty Avon containers and re using them or tiny trinket containers. For bigger things pretty pump hand soap dispensers can be lovely. Im so glad this gave you an idea. With love

  15. Dearest Annabel, will you share this post at Five Star Frugal this week? It certainly fits the bill! Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Annabel, I'm so glad you shared this. Love, Mimi xxx

  16. Great ideas! I make the homemade powders but not the powder puffs. I love this idea as a pretty gift :) Thanks for another great read!

  17. Hi Annabel. Thanks again for sharing this at Five Star Frugal last week. I hope you'll link some of your pretty posts again this week. Mimi xxx

  18. This has been a fantastic post. I do all (I think) of what you mentioned here and more, I have been for years and it is very satisfying. I found the "follow by email" link and signed up. Bless you.

  19. Love your posts. My grandmother told me decades ago never to use anything with talcum in it as it would cause cancer. a group sued sucessfully against talcum powder makers because of this. Cornstarch works well instead.


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