My Epically Frugal Beauty Routine

Beauty is a big business, but I’m glad I never got in on the ground floor. It’s expensive, and being a Frugal Momster for almost the past decade it would’ve been a huge cost that didn’t fit our lifestyle. Since I never was into beauty products, luckily, I had no hard cuts removing it.

While I have always had a keen interest in playing with make-up since my younger years, I never liked the feeling of it on my skin. The last time I wore make-up, and even a light amount at that, was my wedding day almost 10 years ago.

Since then, I’ve attempted mascara or a simple lipstick w hen attending a wedding or two, but never embraced it and usually washed it off before even walking out the door.

I’ll never forget a day in high school that turned me from a hopeful makeup enthusiast to an anti-makeup proponent.

I had a friend who wore makeup daily. She covered her face in the most beautiful colors. I was envious of her pro-cosmetologist ways, while I just couldn’t get makeup to look or feel right.

Then one day, she showed up to school without putting her “face on.” She looked unwell and everyone told her so. All day long, she was asked if she was sick. I was shocked by how much different she looked, and also surprised by the rude reactions of others.

That day forward, I decided I was against mainstream makeup and, well, purses, too. Because, why not. I hated carrying things.

My refusal to use large purses held strong well through college, with a random high end bag purchase here or there, until I had children. I never use more than a 6-8 inch size purse on a regular basis. Prior to children, I had a wallet attached to my keys and that was pretty much it.

I was the queen of the early ID zipper coin cases which became my only “purse.” Everyone sells them now, but back then I could only get them at Fossil. Sometimes, I had to search the men’s section, too.

Now, with two children, I use a small purse that barely holds a diaper, but typically I take my small ID wallet coin purse out, clip it to my keys, and go on my merry way.

Fancy high heeled shoes and clothing took much longer to remove from my beauty consumption diet, but I have avoided any high heeled shoes since my foray into barefoot running back in 2009. That changed my entire perspective on cramming my feet into those uncomfortable things. While I still love the beauty of fashion, I am just not a fashionista and probably never will be unless it’s of the frugal style.

As of today, I have no make-up in my house. I have mostly small purses, well worn over, and a few other larger bags given to me as gifts. Those are great for outings with the kids where I don’t need a diaper bag, but I need to carry a few extra things. And I have no high heeled shoes to speak of. None of them fit well throughout the years of two pregnancies, so I donated them.

So, how do I look so absolutely amazing on a daily basis?

That’s sarcasm, but I truly feel great about how my face looks and always have; my belly is another story! I never have to worry about Chris seeing me “undone” because I live in a state of perpetual undone-ness which I think he quite enjoys.


When it comes to taking care of my longer growing mane, I switched to Dr. Bronner’s Sugar Soaps back in early December. I use their Baby Unscented Organic Sugar Soap to wash, and their Citrus Rinse mixed with a cup of water to rinse my hair.

I’ve been failing for years to either make my own shampoo with Dr. Bronner’s regular Castile soap, do no-pooing, or find the right shampoo that didn’t dry out my hair, cause dandruff, or irritate my skin.

After a month of this new routine, my hair doesn’t need to be washed daily, unless I workout, and it has a lot more curl, moisture, and shine to it. It’s all natural and doesn’t bother my skin, which is amazing, too.

I don’t blow dry my hair often, but when I do, I’ll use a heat spray just to protect it. I have tried coconut oil and other natural products, but they don’t work as well.

And really, that’s it. I wash it, air dry it, and go. I don’t often use creams, sprays, or gels, but I have a few in my closet I’ve used from time to time.

The cost per year for this soap and rinse I’ve estimated to be around $80 since it has lasted me well over 2 1/2 months with more to go. I figure the smaller bottles will get me to around 4 months of use. In the future, since this is working well, I’ll buy the larger refill bottles at a lower cost.

I also don’t get my haircut regularly, as I am growing it out. I haven’t had a hair cut in over a year, and plan to get a trim sometime soon. I am actually thinking about learning to do it myself or having Chris help me. If anything, this might be a $20 annual expenditure or less because I use a coupon.


For over a decade, to keep my eczema and face irritation at bay, I used to use Eucerin face moisturizer with sunscreen which is pretty expensive for a small 4 ounce bottle. This winter, when I decided to try Dr. Bronner’s sugar soaps I ordered their whole body moisturizer in lavender.

It’s worked out very nicely on my face and with coconut oil there is a natural sun protection factor of 8. It’s around the same price for double the contents and a lighter natural skincare routine. It absorbs so much better and feels so much better, too.

Lib balm

The only splurge I’d say I make with my beauty routine is natural lip balm at a whopping $3.79 per balm.

Years ago, if you’ve followed my story that long ago, I attempted to go lip balm free and break my lips of the habit. After months of distress and bleeding lips, I ended up using plain coconut oil and over time my lips healed and my constant addiction to lip balm was broken.

Now, I use a natural coconut oil lip balm, Hurraw.

I don’t think I rely on it as heavily as I used to rely on other brands I’ve used. Through my personal experiment, I found I may have even developed a skin allergy to beeswax (which I haven’t put on my skin since 2013 maybe?).

I believe a lot of companies design their balms to dry your lips making you need to use them more often. As I changed my lip balm habit, I became less addicted to it, and now I focus on getting more water when my lips are dry. It was not an easy personal experiment to go through, but I’m better for it.

I typically use Hurraw’s mint or unscented versions and found I have an allergic skin reaction to anything containing citrus.

I keep one in my night stand for a once a night use, and I use one in my bag a few times throughout the day. I used to use other brands on an hourly basis, but now a lip balm probably lasts me up to two months.

I also usually don’t freak out anymore if I forget it at home or it’s not on my person. I just drink more water if I feel dry.

What started my frugal beauty routine?

Having sensitive skin must have been the catalyst for my natural foray into a frugal beauty routine. I could’ve found countless lotions and creams to battle my skin irritations, but instead I chose to go as simple as possible and as natural as possible which has resulted in a fair amount of savings. It took time to find the right natural products, but the time was well spent.

How much annually? $120-$160

I venture to guess this year I’ll spend the following on beauty and skincare:

hair wash and rinse ($8.49 & $9.99) every 2 months = $110.88

face and body lotion ($7.49) every 3 months = $29.96

lip balm ($3.79) every 2 months = $22.74

total spent annually = $163.58

Now, I probably will not buy the citrus hair rinse again after I use the next bottle I purchased, as I can make my own lemon rinse with lemon juice to use instead at a much cheaper rate which will save an additional $40 this year bringing my total down to a whopping $123.58.

I do like Dr. Bronner’s sugar soap for washing though, so I will not be going back to my homemade Castile shampoo. With lip balms, I could use coconut oil as well to save, but I enjoy the convenience of Hurraw.

Compared to The Average Woman

Overall, I have nothing to compare this number to in my personal life, but there are countless articles that show the high amount the average woman spends on beauty care.

I mean, who needs to spend $300 per month on beauty products?

What I apparently spend in a year, other’s spend in a little over a week. And $20,000 on beauty care in a year? That could fund early retirement.

Let’s start a Make-up Free Movement!

I say, embrace your natural beauty, age gracefully, own it, and put your money into paying down debt or investing in low-fee index funds. We’re marketed to in a strong way to tell us we’re never good enough or beautiful enough.

“Newsstands in every country are cluttered with magazines targeting people of different ages, gender, and sexual preference, counseling their readers on methods to improve their looks.” The Economics of Beauty

Show them how beautiful you really are.

In my opinion, a natural sunscreen is all you need. Even acne can be kept at bay with a simple solution of Castile soap, tea tree oil, and distilled water (which is a simple face wash I make every few months that costs pennies).

If you have no idea what you spend on your beauty care, take stock for a month and track your spending. You might be surprised as I was to find out how much money is actually going to this industry that tells you you’re never enough.

Going make-up free too scary? Try make-up free weekends and slowly embrace the you beneath the layers.