As America tightens its collective belt, women are sacrificing indulgences for the sake of the family budget. Among the list of luxuries whittled out of your budget might be a monthly facial or mani/pedi. If so, you can achieve spa-worthy skin with these budget-friendly products and tips from our beauty experts.
Do it Yourself Facial
Getting a professional facial can do wonders for your skin. Facials improve your circulation, skin tone and overall complexion as well as boost moisture, unclog pores and extract blackheads. However, facials are a luxury that might not fit into your budget or busy schedule. Lucky for us, there are great at-home products to achieve glowing skin without the heavy price tag.
"Think of skin as part of your body--healthy skin is a reflection of a healthy body," says Dr. Naila malik, a texas-based dermatologist and founder of Naila malik mD Skin Systems. When treating your skin at home, your regimen should "depend on your individual skin type. Dry skin needs a hydrating product like ceramides; oily, acne-prone skin needs a product with salicylic acid to clean and reduce pores," malik says.
When searching for a mask that best suits your skin type, malik suggests reading the label. Look for natural ingredients and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Ole Henriksen Feel The Difference Perfecting Mask With African Red Tea ($35, olehenriksen.com) firms and hydrates skin with algae, vitamin e and pomegranate. For oily skin, try a clay or mud mask such as P?R Minerals Mineral Mudd Masque ($26, purminerals.com), which draws out impurities using a form of calcium bentonite clay. Combination skin will benefit from Pangea Organics Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask ($40, pangeaorganics.com), a multitasking cleanser, exfoliator, toner and moisturizer. Most masks take up to 15 minutes to work their magic--we suggest using this time for a quick meditation. If you have the chance to recline, apply Earth Therapeutics Cucumber Eye Pads ($7, drugstores) to tired lids (they're even more soothing when chilled in the fridge). No time to rest? Try Yes to Cucumbers Eye Love Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel ($15, drugstores).
Perhaps the most luxurious aspect of a spa facial is the facial massage, which is intended to stimulate blood flow and circulation. Wake up skin with the vibrating Dove SkinVitalizer ($11, drugstores) and Energy Glow Facial Cleansing Pillows ($3, drugstores). The gentle vibration provides a deep clean while massaging and exfoliating skin. Use daily with an antioxidant-rich face cream such as JASON Natural 25,000 IU Vitamin E Age Renewal Moisturizing Cr?me ($12, jason-natural.com). Apply in small circles, starting at your cheekbones, moving up your temples, across your forehead and down your nose to your chin.
If you need a quick spa treatment, try Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub ($8, drugstores) in the shower. This fine exfoliator heats up when you start to rub it into your skin. "Women with oily skin can use a mild exfoliant one to four days a week, while those with dry skin may need an exfoliant only once a month," Malik says. Professional pore extractions can be pricey--and painful--at spas. Bior? Deep Cleansing Pore Strips Combo Pack ($10, drugstores) offers face and nose strips that literally pull impurities out of the skin (just look at the used strip for proof).
While most of us fight the signs of aging on our face daily, how often do we take care of our hands? Hands are almost always exposed to the elements. As a result, they can show your age more than your face. Even if you don't have the funds for a bimonthly salon manicure, you can look like you do.