Epilate for Smoother Skin While Saving Money


Epilate? What is that? When I tell people that I use an epilator, most give me a questioning look. I’m surprised at how many women have not heard of this amazing device. Since we are still in the middle of summer, epilating can be a useful option for those hoping to maintain a smooth, bikini-ready body.

An epilator is a small, mechanical item that uses a series of tiny, rotating tweezers to grasp multiple hairs from their roots. It is also known as an electric tweezer. Epilating is similar to waxing, in that hairs are pulled out from the roots to provide for longer-lasting results (around 2-4 weeks) without needing to shave. Similarly to waxing, it can be painful, but the temporary pain is worth the results!

If you’ve ever waxed, you know the smooth feeling that results from it, contrasting to surface removal techniques such as shaving or using hair removal creams. The hairs take longer to grow back and when they do grow back, they are typically finer and softer than before. Epilators are not just built for your legs; they commonly have several attachments that can be used for more sensitive or difficult to reach areas (such as armpits and bikini). Epilating is also different from waxing in that it is better for the skin, since waxing tends to remove epithelial cells in the process.

In addition to providing smoother skin, epilating can also be a good choice if you’re looking to save money. The average cost of an epilator is around $40 (and simply needs to be recharged for the next use), while the average cost of one waxing session varies but runs about $20-$100 for a full bikini and around the same price for full legs. That usually doesn’t include the cost of tip and also does not include the cost of gas to drive to the salon. Let’s say that you spend $50 per month (a very modest estimate, considering that would be around one body part and waxing also tends to be needed more than once a month) on waxing. You would be spending $600 per year on waxing, compared to the $40 that you spent on an epilator. Shaving cream and razors also add up. Let’s say that you buy a cheaper set of disposable razors at 10 for $10 and use a new razor two times per week, so 104 razors per year or $104 per year. You will also need to purchase shaving cream, which costs about $3 a can, which lasts about one month (so $36 a year). Combined with the cost of razors, that is $140 a year, though most women purchase higher quality razors for more than that. Laser hair removal, though more permanent, comes with a hefty price tag (a couple thousand dollars) and requires at least 6 sessions for best results.

You can use an epilator on many areas of the body and in the long run, it can save you time since waxing requires a visit to the salon along with an appointment and shaving must be done every couple of days in order to maintain a smooth appearance (according to an article listed at the bottom of this post, the average woman spends about 72 days shaving over the course of a lifetime). Epilating can be done on your own time, or even while multi-tasking (you can watch TV or read a magazine while epilating).



Image credit and more info: http://beautysaloon.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/proper-use-of-epilator/



Air Dry Hair When Possible


Blow drying your hair frequently can lead to dry, damaged hair and can fade your hair color more quickly. Hair that is chemically treated is especially prone to hair dryer damage, since the health of the hair has already been compromised. While air drying may take longer, the benefits are definitely worth it if you can find the time. Air drying is easy as it requires no special tools or time. You can multitask while waiting for your hair to dry; I typically apply my makeup as my hair is drying, for example. If you are still somewhat pressed for time, consider air drying your hair for most of the time and then finishing it with a blow dryer. If you do continue to blow dry your hair, be sure to apply a thermal protective spray before using any heating tools and consider keeping the hair dryer on a cooler setting.

Air drying is also more environmentally friendly and can save you money on your electricity bill (especially if you use multiple tools such as a blow dryer, straightener, and/or curling iron). According to a poll (summarized here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2250701/How-time-really-spend-doing-hair-ladies-Answer-Ten-days-year.html), women spent about 15 minutes blow drying their hair each day and another 15 minutes styling the hair. For blow drying alone, that is 5475 minutes per year, or about 91 hours (3.8 days). In addition to saving money on electricity, you might also save money by making fewer visits to the salon by improving the health of your hair (less blow drying = fewer split ends = fewer trims).

I used to blow dry and straighten my hair every day when I was in high school, and the health of my hair definitely suffered from it. In college, I decided that I enjoyed having the extra 15-30 minutes of sleep or study time and typically resorted to air drying my hair on my way to class. Now, I usually shower at night and let my hair dry overnight in a satin head cap. Sometimes I end up with really nice waves in my hair when I wake up by doing it that way!

Use Less of Your Toiletries


Ever notice while you’re washing your hair that you end up with a lathered excess of product? Yet each day you use the same amount of said product with the same result? It may be common sense, but you can minimize the amount that you use in order to save a lot of money. For many items, we only need a small amount of product for best results; the rest is just wasted. While washing your hair, for example, try using about half of what you normally use. It’s actually better for the health of your hair anyway — you only need to shampoo the roots with a nickel- to quarter-sized portion and the water will rinse the rest of your hair. Try this for other items as well (toothpaste, hand soap, body wash, shaving cream). While brushing my teeth, I tend to squeeze out too much toothpaste. Every. Single. Time. I finally decided to consciously put about half the amount onto my toothbrush, which will extend the lifetime of my toothpaste container. Advertisers actually show a large glob of toothpaste covering the entire toothbrush head in their commercials on purpose, in order to trick you into thinking that you need more toothpaste, which results in more purchases (clever, huh?). A pea-size portion is about what you need. If you think about it, by using half of what you normally use, you will extend the product’s lifetime by about two. That means that you won’t need to purchase the product as much, which will save you plenty of money in the long run. Try to also use your products until they run out, rather than throwing out the bottles or containers when they still have plenty of product within them. Common sense concepts, but things that we may not normally think about!

Wear Sunscreen This Summer


I’ll admit it. This is something that I need to work on. I rarely burn and I love the warm feeling of the sun on my skin coupled with the bronzed look that results from laying out for a couple of hours. If I do apply sunscreen, I typically apply somewhere around SPF 8. Applying more sunscreen is number one on my list of health-related changes that I’d like to make. Though I workout regularly, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol/drugs/cigarettes, eat a healthy diet, and engage in stress-relieving activities, a lot of that can be negated due to my love of the sun. While I do advocate getting outside more often (see my previous post), it’s essential to apply sunscreen to preserve the health and look of your skin.

According to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who apply sunscreen daily show about 24% less skin aging than those who do not. With repeated exposure to the sun, skin appears more dry, wrinkled, and leathery. In addition, sun exposure increases the likelihood of skin cancer, which has become the most common form of cancer, accounting for about half of all cancers. A person’s risk of melanoma (the most dangerous of skin cancers) doubles after 5 sunburns, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Around 9,000 people die of melanoma each year. However, if caught early, the odds of surviving melanoma are over 90%. Be sure to visit your physician or dermatologist each year and have them look over your skin for any abnormalities. If you have kids, be sure to cover them with plenty of sunscreen, since burns during our early childhood increase our risk of melanoma as adults. Do not worry about applying sunscreen higher than SPF 50, since there are insignificant differences in sun protection after that point. However, make sure that your sunscreen is “broad spectrum” and protects against both UVB and UVA radiation. Reapply at least every two hours.

And while sunlight has its many benefits, most of them can be enjoyed just as easily if you are wearing sunscreen!

For more advice on protecting your skin from sun damage, check out: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/skin_care/hic_protecting_yourself_from_sun_damage.aspx

Perform Manicures and Pedicures at Home


The average cost of a manicure at the salon is about $20, while the average bottle of nail polish costs around $8 and lasts around 40 two-coat uses (according to NAILS Magazine). The average cost of a pedicure at the salon is around $30. Salon manicures do tend to last a few days longer than at-home manicures and the end product is usually noticeably superior, but the savings definitely add up if you practice doing some of them on your own. If you get your nails manicured at the salon once a week, the cost adds up to $1040 a year, or $41,600 over 40 years (excluding interest)!

I personally like to get my nails done in the salon about once every two months and maintain them on my own in-between that time. I haven’t quite mastered the salon manicure and pedicure look and I trust salon employees with my cuticles more than I trust myself. Shellac manicures, while more expensive, last much longer and can be useful for big events, so I tend to splurge on those about three times a year (examples from this last year: job interview, friend’s wedding, my birthday). I would love to improve my own manicure skills to have even less visits to the nail salon each year! I’m just not very good at them…

For tips on giving yourself a manicure, check out: http://beauty.about.com/od/manicures/a/manicures_how_to_give_yourself_a_manicure.htm

For tips on saving money on manicures, check out: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/07/26/savings-experiment-how-to-nail-a-manicure-deal/

Trim Your Own Hair

A simple way to save money each year is to trim your own hair. It’s actually very easy! Hair grows at a rate of about a half-inch per month and should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks depending on the growth and health of the hair. Trims should remove about a quarter of an inch of hair if the hair is being trimmed regularly. I have been trying to grow out my hair, so I avoid cutting it, but find it necessary to trim it every few weeks to remove the split ends and even the style out. If you are looking for a major cut or style change, I would suggest seeking the care of a salon specialist (perhaps you can save money by finding a friend who knows how to properly cut and style hair, or you can attempt to be more adventurous and try it out yourself). If you do decide to trim or cut your own hair, be sure to purchase a set of salon scissors; regular scissors can actually damage the hair. I found a pair of hair shears at Sally’s Beauty Supply for about $10. The average hair trim/cut costs about $20-$40, so the scissors have already more than paid for themselves. If you trim your hair every 6-8 weeks and switch to doing it yourself, you can save around $140-$280 each year. It may not sound like much, but can add up over a lifetime. It also removes the hassle of trying to fit an appointment into your schedule.

For instructions on trimming your own hair, check out: http://feyeselftrim.livejournal.com/


Sleep on Satin

In my quest for better hair awhile ago, I stumbled across many websites suggesting sleeping on a satin pillowcase, so I figured that I would try it out. My hair is naturally prone to a lot of tangling, especially at night, so when I would wake up in the morning it would be a complete disaster. I invested in an inexpensive satin pillowcase (<$10) on Amazon and definitely noticed a difference in the look of my hair upon waking. Satin allows your hair to move more freely along the pillowcase and prevents rubbing; this can assist in preventing split ends and other damage. Cotton pillowcases (which are highly absorbent) can dry out your hair by robbing moisture from it at night, while satin helps your hair to retain moisture. Some websites also suggest that sleeping on satin is better for preventing facial wrinkles since cotton may cause crease marks. By sleeping on satin, you might improve the look of your hair and your skin!