[By Alicia Lui]

With big shopping bills chalked up over the festivities from Christmas through Chinese New Year and worldwide economy forecasted to be less than rosy in our days ahead, we’re all forced to tighten up as recessionistas right now. When your credit card begins to groan with online beauty purchases, budgeting tips to stretch your dollar can save both your face and finances. But watching your wallet and skimping a bit here and there doesn’t mean having to cramp your style. If you re-think your usual beauty regime and habits with these 5 suggested tips, you’ll come to realize that looking great does not necessary have to be expensive, time consuming or a hassle.

Budgeting Tip #1: Quality over quantity

For anyone putting together a professional working wardrobe, the general consensus from experts all round is to go for quality key pieces such as the LBD, a crisp white shirt and a pair of tailored dark denims. Likewise, always remember to choose quality over quantity when it comes to your skincare and beauty arsenal. Cheaper products and product lines can offer you more for your dollar, but when you consider how long the product lasts or how well it does its job, you’re probably losing money and getting short-changed for it. Instead of run-of-the-mill drugstore paper masks that relied heavily on cutesy packaging and celebrity endorsement, be savvy and opt for spa quality DIY offerings such as the SW1 OPPOSITES ATTRACT Detoxifying & Purging Mask, an energizing hydro-magnetic mask that uses magnetic minerals for deep pore cleansing, as well as magnetic currents to zap away visible signs of skin aging. Infused with iron magnetic particles, it “magically” draws out impurities and daily residue trapped on the skin’s surface, while electromagnetic interactions create a “force-field effect” that lends skin a tighter feeling over time. Active Ingredient black Tourmaline boosts skin’s energy for enhanced radiance, while added peptides smoothen the look of wrinkles and visibly firm skin, prepping skin to a luxuriously luminous finish to bring out its full potential on any given day.

Read More: 15-Minute Remedies for Dry Skin, Hair, Lips and Eyes

Budgeting Tip #2: When 2 is better than 1

Besides being a godsend lifeline for busy individuals such as working moms, multi-tasking beauty products are great time and money savers for those on a shoestring budget. With the added bonus of reducing clutter and freeing up much needed space on your vanity top, there are always at least a few awesome 2 in 1 products worth checking out.

One of my best makeup score got to be Clinique Fresh Bloom Allover Color Almond Blossom. Gorgeously presented with a flower imprint, the lighter part of this wonderfully textured cake accents the eyes perfectly while a swirly mix of both shades gives a natural sun-kissed boost reminiscent of last summer’s glow.

CHAI CRYSTAL HEALING Oxygenating Crystal Scrub when mixed with water forms a mask paste ready to be applied onto cleansed skin, doubling up as a facial mask to nourish the skin before you scrub away the grit. Upon removal after 10 mins or so, use damp fingertips to activate crystal scrub particles and proceed with a gentle massage for thorough exfoliation. This dual-phasic mask+scrub combo harnessed the cell renewal power from champagne extracts, using active polyphenols with protective and antioxidant properties together with trace elements extracted from grapes for effective deep pore cleansing. Micro-ionized pearls further stimulate microcirculation with special oxygen-releasing formulation giving neglected skins a much needed O2 boost for glow, making you a shoo-in beauty champ even if you only have a shoestring budget to play with.

Read more: My Top 5 Beauty Hacks

Budgeting Tip #3: Splurging versus saving

Beauty comes with a price tag and there are some treatments that are very costly and can add up quickly. It’s all about stratification to decide what you got to have, and what you can do without. For instance, I’ve got no qualms about sacrificing a fancy color job, but I’ll never compromise on a good haircut. When it comes to regular facials for maintenance, there are no shortage of frills free options to stretch your beauty budget to a mile. Whether you’re hard pressed for cash or sniffing out a good deal, the Ultrasonic Deep Cleansing is arguably one of THE best budget beauty finds in the span of my blogging career. Utilizing ultrasonic wave motion to send out vibratory movements to loosen stubborn whiteheads and blackheads that are clogging up pores, this exceedingly gentle procedure works perfectly for deep pore purging without the much dreaded pain and risk of scarring associated with manual extraction. Vitamin C serum is then infused and “pushed” into the deeper layer of the skin for its anti-inflammatory, skin brightening and anti-ageing effects, rounding up with an oxygen treatment mask to give you bang for your buck. With numerous accolades from the industry under her belt, having this fuss free beauty treat at the swanky upmarket SW1 Spa is very much like a pocket-friendly luncheon deal at one of the top tables worthy of her place on the Michelin Restaurant Guide.

Read More: 5 Beauty Tricks That Make Your Face Look Thinner

Budgeting Tip #4: Avoid trending crazes

When a new product is launched or a certain famous face (read any of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters) is endorsing it, things can run out of hand as it goes viral as a must-have trend. From Facebook to YouTube and flooding every single image posted on IG, it’s hard not to fall prey to what’s trending. Play it smart and be skeptical especially with products that promise extraordinary results. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. If you’re still tempted, wait a while for the craze to fizzle out before giving it a go. Always read reviews and ask for feedback from those with prior experience and this can certainly sieve out the bad and save you a bit of money on your beauty budget.

From getting highlights and trims at the salon to shampooing, blow drying and styling at home, women invest a lot of money and time into their hair. According to a new survey conducted the average American woman will drop $55,000 in a lifetime on hair products and treatments. It is little wonder therefore that the hair loss market is a lucrative business that often leverages on trending crazes with empty, exaggerated promises.

Laser light therapy has gained recognition and became increasingly popular as a modality in the prevention and treatment of premature hair loss. The FDA approved Revage 670 Laser engaged in the Keramax Scalp Program is widely recognized as the gold standard to your follicular woes, rejuvenating thinning hair back to its former glory. With a total of 30 laser diodes, this Rotational Phototherapy (RPT) system provides critical coherent beams as a direct source of laser light in a hood that goes over the scalp to ensure maximum laser energy contact over the area(s) to be treated, setting its reliability and efficacy way above that of traditional hand-held lasers.

“Revage 670 is a low-level laser energy system that is safe and painless with absolutely no downtime.” Explains Dr. Toby Hui, senior consultant with the SW1 Clinic (formerly from The Sloane Clinic). “It works by thickening fine, miniaturized hair, and is therefore highly suitable for women with diffuse thinning or general weakening; equally effective as a preventive measure to maintain the lushness of one’s crowning glory.”

Read more: 10 Reasons Your Hair Look Thin

Budgeting Tip #5: Give up your vices

To get the most out of your budget-friendly skin care routine, avoid partaking in bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking and prolonged sun exposure. Smoking literally sucks the life out of your skin and alcoholic binges can lead to dilated blood vessels with increased broken capillaries marring a good complexion. Both of these habits are expensive anyway so by culling your habit to light up and cutting back on that extra pint of two, your skin and coffers will certainly be heading towards the favorable direction and thanking you!

Read more: Choosing The Best Sunscreen That Works with Makeup


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