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A Modern Girl’s Guide to Beauty on a Budget

Remember the Suave commercials where two gorgeous women with long, flowing hair are laughing and walking arm in arm?

One friend uses Suave and the other—gasp!—pays full price for the salon brand. But which one? Enter the famous line: “If you can’t tell, why should we?

Although they were cheesy, these commercials actually got a few things right. First, you can look like a million bucks on a tight budget. And second, no one will know the difference.

Still not convinced? Here are seven beauty bargains that might just change your mind.

1. Haircuts and Manicures

Women know a good haircut can cost upwards of $50. Add some dye and suddenly you’re into the hundreds! Instead, why not book an appointment at your local cosmetology school? If you’re nervous about a first-day student butchering your locks, ask for a more experienced stylist—and make sure he or she is being supervised. Also, check out their prices on manicures, pedicures and eyebrow shaping before you go.

2. Shampoos and Conditioners

Shop the discount stores! We’re not talking about dollar stores here. We mean “off-price” stores like Ross, T.J.Maxx and Marshalls. The only downside is that the selection constantly changes. So buy your favorite products when you see them because the next time may be too late.

3. Hair Styling Tools

You can snag high-quality hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons for a fraction of the retail price by shopping online. For example, we found a refurbished CHI straightener from for half off! Talk about a beauty bargain.

4. Hairsprays and Lotions.

Take a look through the travel-size bins at your local big box store or drugstore. You’ll find brand-name hairsprays, self-tanning lotions and styling crèmes in perfect trial-size bottles. This is a great way to test new products without committing to a $10 or $12 purchase.

5. Updated Eyewear

If your specs are stuck in the past, no one will notice your flawless hair and makeup. Update your eyewear using online optical shops like Zenni or Warby Parker. And since the frames come right to your door, it’s both affordable and convenient.

6. Massages and Facials

You don’t have to wait for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day to hit the spa. If you have a massage school in town, you can snag a quick shiatsu for $20–$30. Or check with your local cosmetology school for deals on a professional-quality facial.

7. Free Samples

Last but not least, don’t overlook free stuff. Certain websites like round up lists of free cosmetic and health samples for you. Or you can land free beauty gifts on your birthday from big brands like Sephora, Julep and Aveda after signing up for their rewards programs.


Budget with more confidence. Start with a free trial of Ramsey+ today!

You don’t have to turn into a cavewoman just because your beauty budget is tight. There are plenty of wallet-friendly ways to maintain your image for less. And the best part is, no one has to know.

Now that you have beauty bargain tips, learn how Rachel Cruze stays fashionable on a budget!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

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