When money is tight, "experts" say luxuries such as beauty products and new clothes are the first things to go.
But no style-conscious woman is going to stop coloring her hair, waxing her bikini line or resign herself to wearing last season's looks just to save a buck. Skip your morning Starbucks if you must, but when the going gets tough, looking great is the best way to keep a bounce in your step.
This week, I've rounded up the top ways to save big on beauty and style in Tampa Bay.
From discounted haircuts to complimentary cosmetics, beauty bargains abound for those who know where to look.
Head to the ultra-chic Salon Jack (salonjack.com) in South Tampa and book a "Model Cut" with this upscale salon's newest stylists for just $25. Cuts there normally run $40 and up. At the Aveda Institute (avedaflorida.com) in St. Petersburg, consumers can book cut-rate services with students in training under the supervision of licensed Aveda educators. Offerings include pedicures for $17, manicures for $12 and haircuts for $12.
No round up of beauty deals would be complete without mentioning my own site, TampaBayBeauty.com, where consumers can log on to read dozens of spa and salon reviews and print savings invitations. Current deals include 50 percent off a spa relaxation facial at Simply Injectable Med Spa in Clearwater and 50 percent off a salt glow treatment at The Salon & Spa at Mystic Hair in North Tampa.
Fatima Mehdikarim, a.k.a. The Shopping Queen (shoppingqueen.com), recommends taking advantage of free gifts from your favorite brand at local department stores, as well as heading to Costco for bargains on both drugstore and prestige brands. Costco even carries a signature line called Kirkland Signature by Borghese, created by the Italian beauty house. The collection boasts highbrow offerings at low-rent prices — think $14.99 for a two-pack of lash defining mascara or $12.99 for a bronzing powder and retractable brush.
It's a great time to shop and save. A sluggish economy paired with the ease of Internet price comparisons has created a bull market for purveyors of style.
Internet shopping can save you big bucks. Once you find something you love at a specific Web site, sign up for that site's newsletter and hold off purchasing until you receive an e-mail with a special savings code. Or dig up deals at your preferred e-tailer by Googling "promo code" plus the Web site name. Sites such as topbutton.com offer daily doses of online sample sales and other shopping events.
If shopping on the concrete runway is more your style, don't be afraid to ask for a discount at your favorite boutique or retailer. If you're not comfortable haggling outright, try saying you have a set budget and asking if the item can be discounted to fit within your financial guidelines. This tactic works best if you are prepared to walk away if the store can't offer you some incentive to buy. Or ask the sales person if they have any special promos or coupon codes they can apply to your purchase.
Those who frequent the same spots should befriend the salesperson at their favorite fashion haunts. At a certain upscale department store, I was treated to a stockpile of high-end shoes (think Manolo and Jimmy) that were marked down 70 percent or more and secretly stashed in the back room for loyal clients.
Proof that even in tough times, it pays to look great.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBayBeauty.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.