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Penny Wise: Stretch Your Beauty Buck

stretch your beauty buck, great budget beauty buys
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Coined to refer to a fashionista with mad bargain-hunting skills, the term “recessionista” now includes the smart shopper who knows how to stretch her beauty buck.

Armed with clever ways to extend the time between salon/spa visits, she judiciously swaps prestige for mass, and looks as fabulous as ever without letting on she’s pinching beauty pennies. The key, of course, is knowing where to spend and where to save.

For instance, for hair that looks as polished as it does when you leave the salon, you have to spend on quality tools and brushes. Happily, Toni & Guy provides a way to save with new-to-drugstores pro hairdryers and flatirons starting at just $69. To get that shiny smooth finish, you still need to hit a salon or beauty supply store for good boar-bristle brushes, which can cost around $20 or more, but for volume styling, you can pick up Goody velcro-type rollers in various sizes at $3.99 per package.

And guess what? You can save on hair care products. In the U.S., Pantene did a huge salon challenge in which 3,600 salon-brand consumers did a blind comparison of hair-type specific professional formulas versus the Pantene collections, and 68 per cent of the participants agreed that the drugstore brand was as good or better than the salon products they were using.

Space out those $100 spa facial appointments with daily exfoliation help from Aveeno Positively Radiant Dual Textured Cleansing Pads ($11.99 for 28 pads) or a face cream such as RoC Retin-OL + Day SPF 30 ($50.99). In a pinch, try a kit such as Neutrogena Ageless Intensives 14-Day Skin Rescue ($30.99), which promises a younger-looking complexion in 14 days.

While you might like to spend a bit more on your makeup, don’t discount drugstore brands. Think two-in-one skincare plus makeup, such as Olay Total Effects with a Touch of Foundation ($24.99).

If you’re thinking green, try earth-friendly packaged Physicians Formula Organic Wear, which contains certified organic ingredients, is free of harsh chemicals, synthetic colour, fragrance and preservatives, and ranges from $11.99 to $21.99. As for maintaining your $25 manicure, keep polish fresh with home applications of protective top coat, such as Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat ($6.50), and, advises Debbie Trigilidas at Concepts Day Spa Salon in Toronto, wear rubber gloves to do dishes and chores. You know you can get rubber gloves at the dollar store, right?

Hair hue maintenance is another regular beauty expense — don’t even think of suggesting that women who colour should give it up to save a few bucks. But saving here is possible too:

• At-home root touch-up kits stretch the time between salon appointments.

• For the DIY woman, 10-minute colour kits, such as Clairol Nice ‘n’ Easy Perfect 10 ($15.99) and L’Oréal Paris Excellence-to-Go ($13.99), make the home process easier, faster and safer for hair with technology that colours without stripping the cuticle.

• Colour-lock products, such as TRESemmé ColorThrive ($6.49 each), helps keep fresh colour vibrant longer.

• Colour-reviving shampoos and conditioners, such as Pantene Pro-V Expressions ($9.99 each), boost vibrancy and sheen without tinting the towels, and in-shower shine treatments crank up the gleam if you’re feeling a little dull.

• Blonds can brighten up with new John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening shampoo and conditioner, or banish brassiness with Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone-Restoring shampoo and conditioner ($12.99 each).

• Even straightening gets a pro-touch at home with Nexxus Sleek Memory Straightening Smoothing Spray ($13), which works with your dryer and flatiron for easier styling, better hold, and, with continued use, actually makes hair significantly straighter and smoother even after washing.

Photo: Darren Whear. Model: Alexis Jardin. These stories appeared in the Metro Newshere and here.