Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for saving money on beauty products and treatments to spend on travel.

It might be hard to believe but I was once the kind of person who had monthly massages, bi-weekly mani-pedis, and regular facials. After leaving full-time employment and switching to a more nomadic lifestyle, I could no longer afford this kind of luxury.

If you are saving money for your next adventure, then cutting back on beauty products and treatments could really help. But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out completely. There are ways that you can still enjoy a little bit of luxury for a fraction of the price.

Here are my recommendations on how you can save money on beauty products and treatments.

For more budget tips, read 7 ways to save money on clothes to spend on travel and achieving your travel goals in 4 easy stages.

Eliminate the unessential

How much do you currently spend on beauty treatments and products per month? You might be surprised with the amount.

First, make a list and calculate the total cost. Now imagine, what else you could do with that money. Maybe eating your way around Riga, Latvia or staying in a jumbo jet that was converted into a hostel in Stockholm, Sweden.

Second, go through the list and start crossing out anything that isn’t essential. Do you really need that monthly facial? Is the leg waxing really necessary?

For me, it meant giving up my Thai massages, Indian eyebrow threading, and spa mani-pedis. But it was a small sacrifice to make to help afford the lifestyle that I now have and love.

The other thing I gave up? Makeup. Not only can makeup be terrible for your skin but it also doesn’t travel really well. After finding eye shadow smashed at the bottom of my suitcase on my first few trips, I stopped packing it. Now I don’t even wear it from day to day. The only thing I have is one stick of mascara that I use for going out.


Discount spas and treatments

Even though I don’t go to the spa as often as I used to, doesn’t mean that I don’t still love it. Instead of going monthly for massages and mani-pedis, I have reduced to visits to 6 monthly and when I do go, I look for deals.

Most salons and spas will have deals and packages available, usually displayed at the front of the shop window or on their website. Websites like Group-on can also be great for finding discounts. A friend and I visited a spa in Asturias, Spain for a 2-for-1 package including sauna, hot tub, and massage.

Visit destinations with inexpensive spa treatments

For those who really adore spa treatments (like me!) why not plan your next trip to a destination that has low-cost spas. In Bangkok, Thailand I was going for daily massages for less than USD $10 per hour. Granada, Nicaragua has a chocolate spa where you can get a chocolate mani-pedi for a fraction of the price compared to western countries.


Collect complimentary toiletries

When staying at a hotel, don’t forget to take the complimentary soaps and shampoos that you don’t use. The mini sizes are also perfect for carry-on baggage and handy to have ready for your next trip.

Wash your hair less

If you want to get super low maintenance, consider reducing the number of times that you wash your hair per week. The savings to your shampoo and conditioner bill might not be astronomical, however, it will save you time. Also, washing your hair too frequently can actually make it more oily.

I used to wash every second night and now only wash every 4-5 days. The first week that I switched was the hardest because I felt like my hair was a big greasy mess but I just tied it up in a bun and persevered. After that, my scalp balanced itself out and I haven’t looked back since.

Some days it might look little oily before it is due for a wash, so I will try to wash only with water and that usually does the trick.


DIY or low-maintenance haircuts and color

I have a lot of friends who cut their own hair, both long and short. For the shorter styles (and for those with beards) it can be fairly easy to manage with an electric razor. For those with longer hair, a pair of scissor and a steady hand is needed to trim the ends.

As for coloring, if you have one solid color you can save money on trips to the hairdresser by switching to box hair dye. For those with highlights, there are even box dyes that include these. When I was younger and changing my hair color every other month, I used these hair dyes, saved a fortune, and would still get complimented on my hair color.

After almost destroying my hair from going dark and then coming back to my natural blonde, I tend to stay away from dyes. I am also a disaster at cutting hair, so these days I stick to a low maintenance haircut and style. This reduces the amount of visits and money that I need to spend at the hairdresser.

In fact, now I only go once a year for a trim. I also get some highlights (we all need a little fancy in our lives) but ask for a quarter head of foils, with half light blonde and half dark blonde, so that when it grows it blends in with my natural sandy blonde color.

DIY beauty products

Once you have a list of your must-have products, why not consider making them yourself?

The Mademoiselle Organic website has a number of recipes and tips for making organic, DIY beauty products and cosmetics in your own home.

They also offer online courses on DIY Skincare including the basic principles, ingredients required, and where you can find them. I took the free introduction to DIY Skincare course and found it to be really easy to follow.

If you are based in Melbourne, Australia, you can sign up for one of their hands-on DIY Beauty Workshops.


Mademoiselle Organic DIY Beauty Workshops. Image via Mademoiselle Organic by Lily Shena

Low-cost beauty products

So after you have eliminated what you don’t need and identified what you can make at home, you might still have a few beauty products on your list. But that still doesn’t mean that you need to spend a ton on them.

Research has shown that cheap moisturizers work just as well as those expensive little jars. And I feel the same way about most beauty products. I have simplified my beauty routine to washing my face with water and moisturizing daily with a cheap bottle. I always wear sunscreen when heading to the beach (I just switched from 30+ to 50+ SPF) and try not to stay in the direct sun for too long.

This might be a little extreme for you but I am sure that you can still find savings by switching to more inexpensive brands.


DIY manicures, pedicures, and hair removal

While you are saving up for your spa vacation or waiting for the next deal on Group-on, you can invest in a few tools to keep up your maintenance, for a small cost.

I always travel with a manicure set (nail clippers, nail file, and tweezers) to handle any nail breakages on the go. I have had the nail file and clippers taken away by airport security once but most of the time it is no problem. Nail scissors are a whole other story and I wouldn’t even both trying.

Personally, I have stopped bothering with nail polish (unless it’s treat day and I go for a mani-pedi) but it is pretty inexpensive to buy a few colors, a bag of cotton wool balls, and nail polish remover. I also have a foot scrubber to keep them nice and smooth.

The tweezers will also come in handy for your eyebrows (I have stopped doing mine – I told you I was a little extreme), so you can save money on waxing or threading. For all my other hair removal needs, I use a razor (cheap brand of course) and hair removal cream.

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Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for saving money on beauty products and treatments to spend on travel.

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