cleaning up my beauty routine & saving money while I’m at it

Image from Flickr.


When you create a budget, with the intent to get out debt, & you’re really getting ambitious & lofty, you can seem a little crazy to others.

But what people may not understand, is the intense desire you have to get out from under the weight of oppression (you know, that debt).

So you get hard core, &  you’re willing to do crazy things like, GO WITHOUT. 

It’s a concept to which a good majority of middle to upper class Americans are foreign. This idea that you’d give up something now so that you can have something better later. What an idea, I know.

I’ve been going without a few things, giving up even more as we go along this get-out of debt journey (I’m that motivated, I guess you could say).

So I made a little list.


5 ways to save (& go natural) on beauty

or in other words,

5 ways to be lazy,
save money,
help out the environment
& let your nat
ural beauty shine

I’m going without:

1) salon shampoo & conditioner & extra hair stuff
Currently, I’m trying the no-shampoo route. We’ll see if that works & how long it will last. I’m pretty sure this qualifies me as a dirty hippie.

I do a baking soda shampoo with an apple cider vingegar spray/rinse. To get chlorine out of my hair after swimming I use a lemon water spray. No straightening serum, hair spray, or leave-in conditioner. I’ve only been doing this for a few weeks, so I’ll let you know how it goes after a few months, & whether or not it’s worth it.

At present it works, since the humidity makes straightening my naturally wavy/frizzy hair pointless & it’s hot, so my hair’s pulled up most days anyway.

my savings: about $150 a year

2) salon hair cuts
I actually got up the courage & trimmed my hair myself a few weeks ago, thanks to this post by Anna.

I’m okay with less than stellar results (although I was surprised at how quick & easy it was) because a) it’s summertime & my hair is always pulled up into a messy top not so it doesn’t matter anyway & b) I’m trying to grow my hair out long so a simple trim to cut off the dead ends does the trick.

I spent $70 for German professional shears because I’d like to be able to cut my hair (for now) & my girls hair at least until they’re teenagers & I wanted a good, reliable set.

If you’re not feeling adventurous, or you have high maintenance cut, a cheaper route than the salon is beauty schools, where a hair cut will cost $8-$15. Ask for the senior students, & expect that it will take longer than a normal salon cut.

my savings: $150-$200 a year

3) new clothes
I have a hard time with this one.

I really would love some more current fashions than all the stuff I bought in 2011 & everything in my closet is more conducive for Utah weather (ie. cold), but I’m making do. I have several skirts & a few summery casual dresses that work well in this insane heat.

And who am I kidding? I have plenty of clothes to last me a few more years.

To make it easier, I stay away from Target & any malls, since I know it will only make feel bad. Not only that, I’m at home 90% of the time, & some days the only people who see what I wear is Joseph, my kids, & the people at their school, which makes having “the latest” fashions much less important.

Of course, you could say, well, I’m only going to get clothes from a second hand place, yard sales, or when it’s “on sale.” Unless you only have 2 t-shirts & a pair of shorts, most likely you have plenty of clothes & not shopping/spending money is much, much easier than trying to spend only a small amount.

my savings: Not sure. But not spending any money on clothes is definitely saving me money!


4) makeup
(My friend Gena, as an example, doesn’t wear makeup, & isn’t she gorgeous??)
Everything melts off my face in this heat . Or we’re in the pool where it washes off & gives me racoon eyes, so not wearing makeup is kinda really easy.
Since going naked face, my skin has completely cleared up. For awhile, my skin was breaking out constantly. I couldn’t figure it out. I stopped wearing makeup, aside from a bit of mineral wear on my eyes & some mascara on some days. I still have some blush & red lipstick for those fancy nights out (which don’t happen as often as I’d like).


You might surprise yourself by how much you like your skin & face if you let it be naked for awhile. Of course mascara & a bit of natural lip gloss look good on any woman, & don’t cost much, so I’m not going to shame anyone for sticking with these basics.

I still can’t say I’m at the point where I love my naked face, but I can say I’m definitely more comfortable with it now that I ever have been.

my savings: $200-$300 a year



5) face wash & lotions
Currently, I use Dr. Bronner’s soap & coconut oil to remove mascara. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer for my face & body. But this is Texas after all, & very humid, so there’s little to no chance of skin getting dry.

I have super sensitive skin, (even the “for sensitive skin” stuff often
irritates me) so this very simple straight forward routine is something to which my skin is responding quite well.

my savings: $100-$150 a year

Bottom line:

Simplifying my beauty routine, is saving me a minimum of $700 a year
(which doesn’t account for clothing).

You could save as much, or more, depending on your current routines.

Not only that, but something I’m realizing is how beauty products feed on beauty products, & I’m wondering if someone isn’t making a lot of money on the fact that we all want to be youthful, sexy, & beautiful & we’re willing to pay (a lot!) for it.

Think about it. Shampoo cleans your hair, yes, but it also drys out your hair too, so you’ll need a good conditioner for that. You buy some foundation, but it’s not just that, you’ll need a foundation brush, then powder to go over it & a powder brush to apply the powder. And then of course you’ll need a good makeup remover & cleanser to avoid build up & break outs.

Further, I’m not sure it’s in our best interest to be in a routine of applying a daily dose of toxic chemicals & carcinogens to our body & hair. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of great organic & “natural” beauty products out there, but a lot of it is snake oil &/or not as organic & wholesome as we’re led to believe.

You may think: “No way could I give up my MAC makeup, or my $40 haircuts. I have to have those things.”

I know, because I used to think that, too.

But the way that I look at it, is it’s a small sacrifice now, so I can have greater freedom & choices later.

I don’t want to be 40 years old, with 4 or 5 kids who are getting ready to go to college while we still have student loans, not a penny in savings, with a dazed look on face asking myself, “where did all my money go?”

Further reading: 10 Things the Beauty Industry Won’t Tell You


Do you have any natural beauty money saving tips or tricks?
Please share!



  1. lana
    on May 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm said:

    wow, you are gorgeous! if my skin looked as good as yours i would wear no makeup too!

    • Janae Wise
      on May 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm said:

      Thank you Lana!

      You’re very sweet to say so. Although I must say, my skin did NOT look this great when I was wearing makeup. I had breakouts all the time, & it was only about a month after cutting it cold turkey, my skin really began to clear up & glow. So you never know, you just may have very beautiful skin, too!

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  5. Gena
    on May 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm said:

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a few beauty indulgences, including makeup, but I am so glad you feel more comfortable “naked,” and if you have taken any inspiration from me, well then, I am delighted! You look beautiful and healthy any way you choose to be 🙂

    I’ve been “low makeup” (not quite makeup free — I do wear blush when I need a lift, and sometimes eyeliner for fancy stuff, but it’s not most days) for years now and very happy that way. I do agree that it can improve skin, too — mine improved dramatically when I made the change!

  6. dani
    on May 19, 2013 at 10:32 am said:

    I did the no ‘poo thing probably 10 years ago, and struggled through it for a whole 6 months before I finally gave back into shampoo. Many others I’ve heard have only made it to 6 months before their hair gets so straw like and funky that they can’t last much longer!

    • Janae Wise
      on May 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm said:

      What was your routine? Did you use the baking soda/ACV routine or just water? I know some women also add a once a week no-silicone conditioner to help with dryness. For now, dryness is not my problem! My hair is not super oily, but let’s just say it’s not wanting moisture, either :). I’d love to know more about the routine you were doing…

  7. SaraMM
    on May 19, 2013 at 6:52 am said:

    I love this post. I’ve gone without makeup for about 6 years now. Whenever I feel tempted by society to put makeup on I test some out and I feel like I look too fake because I’m so used to my real features now. Even tinted moisturizers make me feel like my face looks weird. I like my skin the way it is.

    I was recently bitten by the mascara bug but I’m trying to fend off the feelings and not buy a tube because I know I’ll just be wasting money and never wear it. I don’t know why I feel pressure sometimes to amp up my features. I feel like I really have to battle with myself sometimes and then I’ll go months not thinking about it.

    I’m trying to do the French 10 item wardrobe where I only have the best quality I can afford and clothes that I really love rather than stocking up on just random items that end up hanging useless in my closet. I make a wishlist and then as I can afford a piece I add the best one I can get rather than buying something for the sake of buying it when I’m out.

    I also use coconut oil to wash my face and that is the extent of my beauty routine. I rarely have breakouts now. My skin looks a million times better.

    My husband actually hates when I wear makeup so it works well for me and him. I also remind myself that my husband never feels pressure to extend his lashes so why do I?

    • Janae Wise
      on May 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm said:

      I agree, I like my skin a whole lot better now. Less gunked up, & it’s so clear now. It took awhile of going without foundation for it to really clear up, but now it’s the best it’s ever been.

      I love the idea of the French 10 item wardrobe–totally my kind of thing. I’ve always believed in buying the highest quality you can buy, but I’ve never thought about it in terms of only a certain amount of items in the wardrobe. But this makes sense–who needs 10 pairs of pants, 20 shirts, 10 skirts, etc.?

      My husband also hates it when I wear make up. I never listened to him, until now & he loves it! I still don’t quite understand it, but I’m beginning to comprehend it better than I used to. My young daughters don’t wear make up & they are gorgeous. Why not me, too? I think pushing back from a heavy make-up culture is difficult to do, but I’m happy to see that there are plenty of strong make-up free (or at least, very natural ware) examples.

      Thanks for your insightful comments, Sara.

  8. Ashlee @ Plant Infusions
    on May 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm said:

    Very pretty, Janae! You have gorgeous skin. I also love going without makeup as much as I possibly can. Usually I can just get away with only wearing it to church on Sundays.

    My sisters, however, who are in the beauty industry, get a little agitated with it because they can’t sell me as much stuff…I just had to tell them, “I get really tired of spending all this time putting it on in the morning just to spend all this time and money washing it off at night. It gets old.”

    My skin is also super-ultra-extremely sensitive and I can tell my skin is much happier when I just leave it alone. Stop smothering stuff all over it and then drying it out and irritating it too much by washing/scrubbing it all off at the end of the day.
    Question about the Bronner’s soap. You use that for your face? Do you like it for your sensitive skin? Is it really gentle, and does your face feel clean after you use it?

  9. Inkling
    on May 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm said:

    We started doing this when we made the firm decision that we would not allow parabens are a host of other bad ingredients into our home. I had to take it further when my favorite laundry detergent was permanently discontinued. A friend put me onto Mommypotamus’ blog, and I bought her DIY Beauty book to get me started. Her recipes are great, and I’ve really enjoyed most of them without any tweaking. It has morphed into so much more. Now I’m using essential oils for cleaning, for medicine, for beauty products, and use all food grade/therapeutic grade ingredients for what goes in or on our bodies. (Plain old grapeseed oil is my facial moisturizer of choice, since coconut oil makes it break out.)

    It feels awesome to have those nasty chemicals almost completely out of our house, and I love that I’m saving money. It took a bit to invest in good quality essential oils, Dr. Bronner’s soaps, and good coconut oil. But it lasts forever, so in the end it’s so much cheaper. It’s good for our bodies and good for our wallets. =)

    I used to be an Aveda girl before getting married. Now, well, I’m pretty much an all natural girl with a husband who will cut my long hair a couple times a year, and our bathroom cabinet is stocked with all sorts of fun ingredients for making all our toiletries. When I needed a certain plant-based medication that comes in a nasty paraben laden carrier lotion, my pharmacist agreed to put it in coconut oil for me so we could avoid the carrier lotion. It really has changed how we do all of life.

    p.s. If you mix up a bit of aloe vera gel or liquid (maybe 1-2 T), a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, 1 T. of baking soda, a few drops of your favorite Bronner’s soap, and then top it up with warm water to equal one cup measured, you’ll find a great shampoo that gets your hair clean, your scalp soothed, and gives you a tiny bit of lather. It’s super easy to use if you have a peri-bottle or another squirt bottle to help you apply it all over your scalp. A rinse with 1/2-1 T. ACV, warm water, and a drop of an essential oil to make 1 cup in a peri-bottle is good enough to get the pH back in balance and help with detangling. The only downside is that you have to make the shampoo fresh every day since baking soda loses it’s “umph” after a short while when it’s in liquid.

  10. Joys
    on May 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm said:

    Good for you! I use dr bronners and coconut oil as well. I absolutely love both. I can’t wait to hear how the no shampoo goes. I’ve been considering that lately as well. I don’t spend alot on products but the more natural,the better!

  11. Lauren @ Breathe & Nourish
    on May 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm said:

    I absolutely loved this post because in my trying to start saving more money and prepare for having less income, I was thinking about similar this this week! It’s so great that you are thinking through beauty costs and clothing too. It’s so difficult to cut back on things like that in this culture! But I’m all for it. Also, I think embracing natural beauty is a wonderful goal even without the budgeting!

  12. Katie
    on May 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm said:

    Make-up free scares me. A year ago I didn’t care. What’s happened to me? I think you’ve given me a boost to give up some of this stuff and be frugal about it.

    • Janae Wise
      on May 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm said:

      I don’t think you have to go entirely make-up free–mascara & lipgloss or your fave lipstick. Simple & frugal :). I used to spend so much money on makeup. I was addicted to different color eye shadows, nail polish, 12 different shades of lipstick, lip liner, shimmer powder, etc. etc. I don’t think this stuff is necessarily “bad” but I am left questioning the value of it all 🙂

  13. April
    on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm said:

    I have to say while you may save $700 a year I would save a fraction of that:
    1.Shampoo and Conditioner-I ONLY buy store brand. I *might* need 4 bottles each a year (probably closer to 2 bottles each). That puts me at $30 a year for shampoo and conditioner.
    2. Haircuts. I only go to Great Clips to get my hair cut. 2x a year. I just don’t have time or desire to go more often. $30 a year for haircuts.
    3. New clothes….that would get me. Still, I refuse to pay more than $20 for a shirt and more than $25 for a pair of pants. I shop Target, Khols and Goodwill almost exclusively for clothes.
    4. Make up. I stay home with the kiddos and only wear make up when I go out-so 2x a week max I am wearing make up. I only wear foundation, mascara and blush. Even if I replenished these every 3 months as advised for germ/health reasons, I still buy Cover Girl and other Target brand make up. So (even with replenishing them more often than I do) I would only spend about $60 a year on make up. (In reality, I don’t replenish and probably spend $10 bucks.)
    5. Finally face wash and lotions. I use KissMyFace Olive Oil bar. I can get a 3 pack on amazon that costs about $1.60 a bar. Each bar lasts about 6 weeks. Lotion I use $5 Clean and Clear and use maybe 4 bottles a year. So that puts my total at $35 for face wash and lotion.

    So you can save a lot just by buying more wisely. You saved $700 a year w/o adding in the clothes amount. I would only save $155 a year without the clothes budget.

    Hopefully some of what I mentioned above might work for others and help them save without having to give up things completely.

    • April
      on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm said:

      Ps. I am still LOVING these budgeting posts! I literally eat them up! Thank you so much for posting them! Just reading them makes me think about what I can change in my life for budgeting so I appreciate it so much!

    • Janae Wise
      on May 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm said:

      You my friend, are a wonderful example of frugal.

      I should explain myself a bit more. I’ve always had the mindset of buying quality stuff (organic, “natural,” & fair-trade), especially when it comes to putting stuff on my body.

      I have only bought professional hair products (at least since high school) because my hair is thick, wavy, & unmanageable & store brand stuff leaves nasty buildup I don’t like. So I would buy the shampoo, conditioner, the straightening solution, the leave-in conditioner, hairspray, texturizer, all of that. So for professional stuff, you can see how one could *easily* spend $100 or more on hair stuff.

      I used to get my hair cut at a beauty school. It only cost $10 or $15, which was awesome, but it always took FOREVER & it was so hit & miss. I’ve also cut my hair at Great Clips. But I don’t think these people are paid enough & they don’t do a very good job (or at least that’s been *my* experience), so I’d rather pay an extra $10 or $15 to get something I like & go to a salon where people are compensated better & overall do a better job. Also, I always tip well, so it’s at least $30. I have NO problem paying a professional for a job well done. In fact I think $30 is CHEAP for a haircut, but I’m seeing it from the hairdressers perspective who when all is said & done, only makes $10-20 an hour or thereabouts, for being good at what they do & standing on their feet all day. In the past, I had waited as long as 4 or 5 months to get a haircut, but I found that waiting that long (instead of the 6-8 weeks) does way more damage to my hair, & since I’m trying to grow it out & want it to be healthy, I need to get more frequent trims.

      About makeup. I also have extremely sensitive skin & I want to buy quality stuff. Department store stuff doesn’t usually cut it (except for mascara) & I’ve gotten rashes from cheaper brands. Also, I look for cruelty-free products that are organic/natural (I used to get stuff from the Body Shop), which can easily run a hundred dollars (or much more) for things like foundation, powder, eyeliner, blush, mascara, eyeshadow, etc.

      For skin care, I used to use a cleanser, toner, day lotion, night lotion, & a face serum. That amount of stuff coupled with the fact that I’m buying organic stuff made for sensitive skin w/ no funky ingredients, makes it very easy to spend lots of $$. I’ve realized I don’t need that amount of product, & a simple wash & moisturizer does the trick.

      While $700 a year for haircuts, hair care, skin care, & makeup may sound like a lot to you (but then again, realize that you’re extremely exceptional & frugal, so it would sound like a lot), I don’t think it’s far from what a good majority of women spend. I think most women don’t even REALIZE how much they’re spending. This stuff adds up quickly–I know I didn’t realize until I actually sat down & looked at the numbers & created our “get-out-of-debt” budget.

      I certainly don’t think everyone needs to do what I’m doing & go to the extreme of pretty much not buying any beauty products & cutting your own hair. But I’m sharing what I’m doing to get out of debt, & hopefully others can see that there are things they could live without to get into a better place financially. And as you said, it’s not necessary to cut out everything ($150 a year for beauty stuff is awesome, & if most women could do that, they’d save a ton of money) to save money.

      Thanks for sharing April, & as I said, I applaud you for your frugal habits!

  14. Aubree
    on May 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm said:

    I am really intrigued by the no shampoo thing. Please post how it goes for you. I would like to try something different this summer so that I don’t spend so much money and time on my hair, not to mention chemicals! (I am a school teacher so I have the summer off from work and it’s easy to experiment.) When I don’t wash my hair with expensive shampoos, not only is it greasy, it gets flaky and itchy. I wonder if that would go away If I avoided the chemicals…

    • Janae Wise
      on May 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm said:

      Aubree, I am too! The thing that fascinates me the most, is I didn’t realize that by using shampoo, you’re stripping your hair of natural oils, which makes you produce even more oil–creating a cycle of dependence on shampoo. Of course I’m completely in an experimental phase, so it remains to be seen if it’ll work, but based on what I’ve researched, a lot of women have had success with it. I’ll do a post once I have a more time with it, & more to share.

  15. alanna
    on May 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm said:

    Great points Janae! And way to post your make-up-free photo. Love it.

  16. MJ @parscaeli
    on May 17, 2013 at 11:26 am said:

    Such a natural beauty! xo, MJ