Recession Proof Beauty

In order to help women look their best without spending a boatload of money, Annie Tomlin, editor of has developed a series of Recession-Proof Beauty Tips including do-it-yourself treatments, cheap-chic products and general advice for looking like a million bucks.

Do It Yourself Treatments

At-home versions of your favorite beauty treatments will provide you with the overall results you need at a fraction of the cost of costly spas. Some of our favorite examples are:

Ginger-Mint Body Scrub

· Honey
· Freshly grated ginger root
· Chopped fresh mint leaves
· Olive oil
· sugar, light or dark

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl -- it's up to you to decide how much ginger and mint you'd like, but a ratio of 1/3 olive oil to 2/3 brown sugar will provide a good base for the scrub. About a tablespoon of honey will provide an antiseptic quality to the scrub.

2. The best way to use this scrub is on dry skin; it's particularly good on hands and feet. After buffing your skin, rinse with warm water. You'll have incredibly softer skin for a small fraction of a name-brand scrub!

The Aspirin Mask

· Four or five aspirin pills. They must be uncoated, plain aspirin; Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, and the like won't work.
· A tablespoon or two of lukewarm water
· Honey or plain yogurt (optional)

1. Mix the aspirin with just enough water to make a paste. If you want a thicker mask, add a dollop of honey; if you prefer a more soothing mask, some plain yogurt can do the trick. Apply the mask in a thin layer on your face, then allow it to dry. Remove it by rubbing in gentle circular motions.

2. Please note: Some people are allergic to aspirin, so try a patch test on your forearm before spreading this all over your face.

Sugar Lips

· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 1 teaspoon of honey
· 2 teaspoons of white granulated sugar
· A dash of lemon juice

1. Mix ingredients together to make a sugary paste.

2. Then use your finger or a toothbrush to gently sweep the mixture back and forth on your lips.

3. The result: Softer, smoother lips for not a lot of money.

Other ways to recession-proof your beauty routine:

Beauty Swap Meets -- Though some people may be skeptical of such an idea, if you follow a few guidelines, it's a great way to purge unused products from your stash and pick up a few goodies at the same time. The biggest community for doing so is Makeup Alley,, which has 236,830 items up for swap today. As you can imagine, you can find just about anything there.

What to swap: Most people prefer to swap new or barely-used products. There are some exceptions, of course -- especially if you have a hard-to-find or discontinued product -- but in general, leave the half-used shampoo out of your offerings. (Avoid mascara and lip gloss unless they're brand-new, since they can't be sanitized.)

What to look for: You can find almost any kind of beauty product on Makeup Alley, from perfume to foundation to hair dryers. Many have been sampled once or twice, but most people are up front about the condition. Some even add pictures! If you have questions, go ahead and ask away.

How to make an offer: Read the swapper's profile. Some swappers are willing to swap for all kinds of items, but others only want to swap for items on their wish list. Then, make contact, and be realistic in your offer.

Ship the goods! This part is easy -- just wrap and mail your swap item promptly. To be sure that your item arrives in one piece, wrap it with bubble wrap so it isn't broken in transit. After you've received your swap, leave feedback in the form of a token. From there, you can enjoy a new-to-you beauty product -- and all you've had to pay is the cost of shipping.

For more information on swapping, visit

Free Samples -- Many department store brands rely on free samples to entice shoppers to buy their products. Two brands in particular are known for their generosity when it comes to samples -- Mario Badescu and Keihl's.

At Mario Badescu, the spa where celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Natalie Portman have their pores purged, the spa offers complimentary skin consultations through its web site. You just have to fill out an online questionnaire, and in a few weeks, you'll get free samples of products customized to your skin situation. At Kiehl's counters nationwide, the sales help will gladly provide you with generously-sized samples of almost any of their hundreds of products.

Using Gift Cards Wisely - Instead of charging that splurge item, go with a creative kind of installment plan. Purchase gift cards with cash when you can afford it, then save them until you have enough money to buy the item. Yes, you'll have to wait a little while before putting your hands on that Clarisonic or T3 dryer, but it's better than paying interest on a credit card balance.

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