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Stretch your beauty budget

The dollar's most recent rally has been making news, but for those of us still in need of more bang for our beauty buck, I've rounded up some tips to recession-proof your beauty routine.

Rumors swirl around the ownership of e.l.f. cosmetics, a New York makeup and skin-care collection priced at $1 and up.

And while savvy consumers won't put stock in the (false) rumors that the brand was snapped up by Nordstrom or Bloomingdale's, it is true that consumers can stock-up year-round on beauty products such as mascara, powder and lip gloss for just one buck.

Cash out

Save on the mainstays of your grooming routine by buying in bulk. Whether it's a monthly trip to the esthetician or weekly manicures, buying a package of spa or salon services can save you 15 to 25 percent. Inquire about packages at your favorite spa or salon, and if they don't offer them, see if they'll create a custom package for you. One caveat; you'll have to be willing to pay up front to get a deal.

Don't even think of charging those prepaid services to your high interest credit card — you'll eat up your savings by racking up ugly finance charges.

Beauty bond

Consumers who purchased makeup or skin care from brands such as M.A.C., Clinique, Prescriptives and even fragrances like CK Be, Eternity, and Chanel No. 5 between May 29, 1994, and July 16, 2003, may have bought themselves a beauty bond of sorts.

That's because a class-action lawsuit for price-fixing was filed against major department stores including Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Lord & Taylor, among others. The suit was settled way back in 2004 but shortly consumers will receive $175 million worth of cosmetics (beginning in January 2009). To claim your goods, $25 in free products per person, you'll be asked to fill out a claim form stating that you purchased the covered products during the specified time frame and that you are a U.S. resident. Those eligible will receive $25 in free products on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, log on to

Splitting hairs

While I can't in good conscience tell you to scrimp on your regular haircut and color, you can save big and look beautiful with a new product line for hair called Organix ( The collection retails for $6 to $16 at local drugstores as well as retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.

Organix features sulfate-free, organic ingredients while boasting results similar to those of much pricier brands. I love the Reviving White Tea Grapeseed Shampoo and Conditioner ($6.99 at Walgreens).

Loyalty pays

You can also stretch your beauty budget by simply sticking with what works, skipping impulse beauty buys, and when purchasing new skin-care products, consider only those you can try before you buy (think free samples). Yup, when it comes to beauty, my money is on monogamy.

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of E-mail her at [email protected]

Stretch your beauty budget 08/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:57pm]
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