I stumbled across a couple of interesting stats the other day:

  • Canadians spend 5.3 billion dollars on cosmetics each year, according to Health Canada. Yep, you read right. BILLIONS.
  • The average Canadian woman uses 12 products every day. Twelve products, each of which has to be replaced monthly, every few months or yearly.

What I gather from these two stats is that beauty upkeep is expensive (surprise, surprise). So expensive that a U.S. study showed that five years' worth of a woman’s beauty and cosmetic product purchases is equal to one year of state university.

Believe it or not, I’m a beauty junkie. I love learning new beauty tips and trying out the latest products. Don’t even get me started on skincare and eye make-up! However, up until a few years ago, I also happened to be a broke student without the swag-filled inbox of a professional blogger. Therefore, I had to improvise.

Not only that, because my hair texture (curls galore) and skin tone are particularly unique, I found it increasingly difficult to find the products that worked well for me, even with my new disposal income. I kept the same budget beauty principles from my ramen noodle-eating student days that happen to be both frugal and effective. Read on, beauty lovers.

1.Go au naturel, hair-wise.
Did you know that some women spend $200 to $300 on their hair every month? I was quite surprised when I found out my friend spent about $250 to dye her beautiful chestnut hair a deeper brown. Plus with styling and highlights, that monthly stylist bill adds up! The quickest way to save you time and money is to go to an inexpensive hair stylist who will work with your natural hair colour and features to give you a low-maintenance style. Now your monthly hair bill is only a fraction of what it once was.

2. Use products that are au naturel.
To moisturize my skin, I switch between drugstore lotion and coconut oil and almond oil. Go ahead and search for all sorts of natural beauty recipes online, there are a multitude of tips, tricks and advice out there for your perusal. For sunscreen for the face, you don’t need to rely on fancy brands, many drugstore brands work just as well in terms of leaving your face protected from the sun, but without the oiliness and breakouts.

3. Do-It-Yourself.
Manicures and pedicures have become somewhat of a rare treat for me. Even $30 for an inexpensive manicure-pedicure combo impacts my monthly budget. Not to mention the comfort of doing my nails at home. If you’re underwhelmed by your own choice of nail polish colours, why not borrow or swap with a friend? Even better, why not have a spa night on a Friday or Saturday where you or one of your friends host a party and everyone brings provisions from their own cabinets (and fridges) to give each other spa treatments. Not only will you look great and bond with the girls, you’ll save money twice: once by skipping the salon and then a second time by not spending money for a night on the town.

4. Know thyself.
Go to your local makeup counter and get a consultation on what colours work best with your skin for day, night and dramatic occasions. Stick to those colour choices and you won’t have to worry about wasting money on a bad purchase you made just because your friend – who has completely different features – looks great in that fuchsia eye shadow.

5. Take care of thyself.
At the end of the day, exercise and eating healthy, along with my triple threat of sleep, daily sunscreen and eight glasses of water per day are the ultimate beauty boosters. Taking good care of yourself is just as much of an investment in your future as a financial one.

While we as Canadians do tend to spend and use a staggering amount of cosmetics and beauty services each year, by replacing just some of those products with natural ones, some of those services with DIY measures and taking great care of your health, your body and budget will thank you.

Written by Melissa M. Allen.