6 simple (and cheap) hacks to get more from your beauty products

As you might have read from my review on Revlon’s Color Corrextion foundation, the money you drop doesn’t always equate to what works or what is best for your skin. There are some wonderfully easy and cheap hacks that I use on the regular to customize my skincare and make my existing stash as multi-purpose as possible.

Pour some sugar on me

While research has shown that sugar isn’t the best for our diets or our skin when we ingest it, there are some great ways to use sugar which can help you use up that giant tub you’ve had forever and tempt you to make that batch of cookies. These hacks will make your other products even more of a sweet deal.

  1. Add sugar to your shampoo. Dump some of those sweet crystals in your hand and pour your favorite shampoo, mix and rub in. This helps to provide a gentle yet effective exfoliant to cleanse and clarify the scalp. Just don’t wait too long or it will fully dissolve before you get the benefit.
  2. Dollop your favorite body wash into a hand full of sugar. Mix your own exfoliating body wash on the fly! The gentle crystals help exfoliate dry skin and dissolve fully (unlike beads that are polluting our waters).
  3. Mix some sugar with your favorite lip hydrator. Want a cheap and easy lip exfoliant? Mix some sugar with your favorite hydrator like Vaseline, Aquaphor or lip mask. For extra oomph you can use a GENTLE manipulation of a clean, dry soft-bristled toothbrush. This is great before bed or before applying a lip color to make sure you’ve got a hydrated and smooth surface. Just make sure to wash it off.

One note is that bacteria also loves sugar. Be especially careful to rinse all sugar from the body, including areas prone to warmth and moisture. This includes the scalp, in skin folds or anywhere ahem, things can get musty.

Put some muscle in your lotion with lactic acid

Another great way to help clear dead skin and help with keratosis pilaris (a very common skin condition which causes rough texture usually found on the arms and legs) is to use a chemical exfoliant like lactic, salicylic or glycolic acids. There are plenty of great exfoliating lotions already formulated out there, but sometimes they don’t smell like the beautiful flower you are or can be pricey. Lactic acid, in particular, is derived from milk and can smell somewhat sour.

Wouldn’t it be great if you already have a favorite lotion and could make your own whenever you wanted? Well ta-dah! You can. Purchase your favorite acid that is appropriate for your skin (glycolic is the strongest, lactic is more gentle and salicylic helps with clogged pores). I happen to like The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid because it is darn cheap, effective and has hyaluronic acid for additional moisturizing properties. I mix my favorite body lotion with one dropper-full of lactic acid per area (e.g. one dropper mixed with lotion for legs, another dropper for arms, etc.) and let the gentle exfoliation do the job throughout the day. The trick here is to go with a cheap and effective acid. You don’t need to splurge for a small bottle of something expensive with 20 different ingredients. Let your lotion do the work it’s meant to, and boost it with what you need. This can also be the case with adding an oil or extra hyaluronic acid. Be your own mixologist!

*Sunburn alert. Using exfoliants requires proper sun protection. Using acids can make you more prone to sun burn and should be discontinued before sun exposure or harsh skin treatments.

Use acids for an overnight scalp clarifier

If you’re like me and have extremely thick hair, or perhaps you use a lot of products that can build up over time, the scalp can get a little dicey. I like to use one of my cheap acids (10% or less) on my scalp overnight to help loosen up any dead skin and debris. The goal is to use something gentle and effective. You don’t want to burn the scalp and cause another issue. Be careful of anything that is colored (like The Ordinary Lactic Acid) that may stain blonde hair. This may also strip some hair color so I’d wait to use it until you’re out of your fresh dye job. Be sure to stop this at least two weeks before your next dye visit to limit scalp irritation and potential burning.

Add an antioxidant with oily properties to your lotion (or on its own) to make your skin shine

I love to use The Ordinary’s Ferulic Acid + Resveratol (I swear I don’t rep them nor do I love all of their products, but I’m beginning to think they should owe me a referral fee!) on my whole body because it’s cheap and gives an oil-like sheen. Especially in areas like the decollate, on the legs and arms, adding this reflective glow gives a healthy and hydrated look while doing the job it’s meant to do. Any hydrating oil works. If you want extra hydration put your lotion on first, let it sit, then follow by patting on oil. This helps to create a barrier to lock in moisture. Try this out before wearing your favorite garment to make sure you don’t leave an oily trace behind.

Switch to using your dry shampoo at night

We all have those moments in the morning when we are running late and reach for the dry shampoo. Dry shampoo works best when it is dispersed throughout the hair, and has time to work. Try using dry shampoo at night and giving it time to soak up the extra oils so you’ll be fresh and volumized in the AM.

Keep your de-puffing products in the refridgerator

This one is as old as time, but is a simple change to make sure you get the most from your products. Keep your eye creams and even your facial creams if you tend to be puffy in the AM, in the fridge. The cooling sensation will constrict blood vessels and help your eyes look brighter and tighter. Give yourself a nice facial massage of pushing up, out towards the ears, and down the side of the face to wake up the lymphatic system and drain excess fluid in the face.

These are just a few hacks I use that are practical, come from ingredients you may already be using, and work. The magic here is that you can add these in whenever you want. You don’t HAVE to have separate products for every little thing. This helps your dollar go further, and streamline your beauty routine for what works with YOUR skin.

Have a favorite hack? Drop us a line in the comments.

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