Growing up, my sister and I shared a bathroom. She loves toiletries and beauty products, so our cabinets looked like the health and beauty section of a supermarket. She had straightening shampoo for curly hair, deep conditioners for dyed hair, and frizz control serum for humid days, in addition to creams, lotions, powders, and boxes of makeup.
When I went to college, and eventually found an apartment for rent, I realized that I had to find ways to save money on beauty products and maximize space in my tiny bathroom. I found that I could get the most value by using multi-purpose products.
Here are four products you can easily substitute for those higher priced beauty items in your bathroom.
1. Use Hair Conditioner, Not Shaving Gel
Women’s Health Magazine reports that 96% of American women shave at least once a week. If you buy specialty products and use them weekly, the expense can really add up. Shaving gel and cream is pricey. Luckily, I don’t have very sensitive skin, so I don’t need these products to shave my legs. Instead, I use my generic brand hair conditioner. The conditioner is great for a close shave, and it moisturizes my skin too. I save money and reduce the number of products taking up space in my shower by buying in bulk. Let’s compare:
- Suave Naturals Juicy Green Apple Conditioner, 16 oz: $1.46
- Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel 7 oz: $3.19
2. Use Moisturizing Lotion, Not Hair Serum
I’m jealous of women who can go completely product-free. The minute humidity strikes, my hair starts to frizz. I’ve found that using a simple hand lotion provides basically the same results as expensive hair serum. After towel drying, I just rub a dime sized amount of product into my palms and apply it to the ends of my hair. I don’t go near the roots, or else it would look oily. I just like to seal the tips with lotion so I don’t get split ends. Professional products do work a bit better, but when I’m on a tight budget, daily moisturizer does the trick. Check out the price comparison:
- CVS Daily Moisturizing Lotion, 12 oz: $5.99
- John Frieda Extra Strength Frizz-Ease Hair Serum, 1.69 oz: $8.99
3. Use Body Mist, Not Perfume
My sister and I used to have rows upon rows of body sprays, eau de toilettes, and perfume bottles in our bathroom. Now, I just use one signature fragrance until it runs out to conserve space in my cabinet, and to reduce waste. I also switched to body mist, which is cheaper and lighter than perfume, but still does the job. According to Cosmopolitan, you can even customize your body lotion with a few drops of perfume. If you can’t part with your favorite fragrance, most perfume lines also offer body wash, lotion, and body sprays for less than the actual perfume. Here is the savings breakdown:
- Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Body Mist, 8.4 oz: $25.00
- Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Perfume, 3.4 oz: $65.00
4. Use Diluted Vinegar, Not Specialty Bathroom Cleaners
I used to buy special cleaning wipes for the sink, a different cleaning spray for the bathtub, and a separate product for the toilet bowl. Now, I just use vinegar. Instead of wasting money on expensive chemicals for household cleaning, you can mix one part water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle to clean your toilet, tub and sink. This a cheap, all-purpose cleaning product not only neutralizes odor, it also gets rid of grime. The best part is, vinegar is an all-natural cleaner that’s environmentally friendly, and safe around pets and children. To compare:
- Heinz Distilled White Vinegar, 32 oz: $2.19
- Clorox Fresh Scent Cleaner Spray, 32 oz: $5.99
Streamlining products by using them for multiple purposes can save you the trouble and expense of buying specialized items. You’ll stay within budget when you buy in bulk, and you’ll also have less to organize in the bathroom. As an added bonus, you will produce less waste by buying fewer packaged products.
These product substitutions aren’t for everyone. The expensive, hair salon-quality conditioner I used to buy would make my hair a lot softer and bouncier than the cheaper brand I use now. However, these are beauty sacrifices I’m willing to make if it means I can save money. To me, beauty products are luxury items that don’t make the cut when I’m on a tight budget.
Have any of these strategies worked for you? Let us know how you deal with the products in your bathroom by leaving a comment below.