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Three (Nearly) Free Holiday Gifts

Stretched a bit thin this holiday season?  Try spreading some cheer by making gifts for your loved ones.

1) Sugar Scrub

Use whatever oil you have on hand (olive, coconut, etc) to make a deliciously exfoliating scrub.  Make a large batch and divide into mason jars for a nice finishing touch.

Recipe Link

2) Lipstick

Use an empty mini altoid tin or a sanitized lip balm tube to house a wonderful lipstick made from crayons(!) and coconut (or other) oil.  Perfect for those on your list with aversions to chemicals and other irritants.

Recipe Link

3. Fancy Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion, etc

Buy a large bottle of your favorite generic, unscented beauty product, add essential oils and/or other ingredients to spice it up (like moisturizing oils, fragrances, etc) and pour into a cute container (like a mason jar or a dollar store tin) and voila! A perfect, customized gift without all the mixing and matching hassle.  

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Last-Minute Christmas Gifts from Amazon.com (for Prime Members) under $25

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This post might have better been titled last-second gift ideas, because time is certainly fast approaching Christmas!  But, for those who are amazon.com prime members, you need not despair.  Amazon has a treasure chest of low-cost gift options still available for free 2-day shipping, and approaching availability for $4 overnight shipping that will make in the nick of time (no pun intended!).  The ideas below should cover everyone left on your list.  (Note, these ideas are not restricted to beauty items only–check out our complied post of last-minute, frugal homemade gifts here.)

For Her

1. Comfy Cable-Knit Sweater, $22

2.  Shea Butter Foot Treatment, $13

3. 78-Color Makeup Kit, $17

4. Professional Brush Kit, $13

5. Philosophy Pure Grace 3-in-1 Body Wash, $22

6. Fountain Pen & Stationary, $22

For Him

1. Crank Flashlight, $12

2. The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil. $21

3. Portable Speaker, $19

4. Roadside Emergency Kit, $20

5. Wool Gloves, $20

6. Snow-Prevention Windshield Cover, $7

For Kids

1. Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set Vol 1, $13

2. Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set Vol 2, $13

3. Snuggly Blanket, $15

4. Rory’s Story-Telling Cubes, $7

5. Angry Birds Hot Wheels, $13

6. Coin-Counting Piggy Bank, $13

7. Walkie Talkie, $25

8. The Biggest Baddest Boy Book Ever, $10


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Last-Minute, Low-Cost Homemade Christmas Gifts for under $5

This is the next installment of a continuing series of frugal, non-cheesy, DIY gifts (see here and here) you can make for the friends and family in your life who appreciate personal care items.  Feel free to add your own ideas!

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With Christmas fast approaching, the time for last-minute gifts has arrived.  Instead of rushing to the nearest store in a frenzy (and spending loads of cash in the process), why not create a personalized gift for your loved one?  Cheap jars, bottles, and other decorative containers round out gifts that truly capture the spiring of the Holidays: caring for those you love.

I’ve given a very broad estimation of the cost of each gift listed below, but your results may vary.  The cost does not include containers in which to house the beauty product.

1. Facial Scrubs: These facial scrubs range from pennies (baking soda + water) to about $2.  It’s probably a better idea to give each of these items separately along with a recipe card instead of premixing the ingredients (can we all say days-old milk mixed with mashed  banana?)

2. Lip Balm: This gift requires some specific ingredients that you may not have on hand, but if you do (or can get them easily at a local store), you’ll end up with with an amazing, giftable (or keepable!) lip balm for about $1.15 per tin.

3. Tasty Lip Stain: The trickiest thing about this gift is finding a suitable container for it.  For  about $0.50 a pop (or less!), you can give your friend sweet, colorful lips for an incredible price.

4. Olive Oil Facial Cleanser: This fantastic recipe doubles as a makeup remover and cleanser in one.  A small batch (1-month supply) will cost you about $1-$2.

5. Hair Treatment:  Luxurious locks don’t happen overnight, unless you use this hair treatment.  It requires only one ingredient, Olive Oil, but adding essential oils or other natural oils (like coconut or argan) will improve this treatment’s scent and efficacy.  Cost?  $1-$3 (depending on size and other ingredients added)

6. Bath Fizzies: These delectable-looking bath treatments will provide your friend a luxuriant, stress-relieving treat.   Hint: substitue lemon Kool Aid for citric acid to save time and money!  These babies will cost you about $3-$5 a batch.

7. Bath Salts: Epsom salt is the main ingredient in this recipe, and it is exceedingly cheap.  You can make a sizable batch of this recipe for $2-$3.

8. Natural Body Moisturizer:  This recipe does call for an ingredient that may not be readily available, but if you can find beeswax, you’ll be able to make a heavenly moisturizer for about $2.

9. Lotion Bar: If, like the previous post, you can get your hands on some beeswax, creating lotion bars will provide a very unique and useful gift for about $2-$3.

10. Translucent Face Powder: Help your friend’s skin remain oil-free this year by making a batch of sheer powder.  This will cost about $1-$2.


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Beauty Emergency Kit ~ The Perfect Last-Minute Homemade Gift

Everyone’s been there–you’re in the middle of school or work and your bra strap fails.  You’re boogying in a sleek little black number when, to your horror, you see deodorant stains nearly crying out for attention.  A botton on your blouse loosens then falls to the floor.  You catch a glimpse at yourself in the mirror and find your face has transformed into an oil slick.  Chances are, your friend has been there too!

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The solution?  A Beauty Emergency Kit, created by you!  This idea has been mainstreamed recently.  Products like this Hollywood Fashion Secrets collection and Minimergency kit are great in concept, but hefty in price.  Make your own emergency kit for a fraction of the cost of a prefab one, and you’ll save not only money, but your friend some embarrassment down the line.  (Best of all?  It’s more cost-effective to make multiple kits, allowing you to give several friends the gift of preparedness.)

To get started, you’ll need a cute cosmetics bag to store all the goodies you plan to include.  You can find great ones for $1-2 at stores like Target and CVS.  Plan which items you’d like to include before purchasing the bag to ensure everything will fit.  (In fact, it may be better to buy the bag last.)

Here are some items that you may consider putting inside.  This list is extensive (and you’ll be hard-pressed to cram everything below into something portable), but you should get some great ideas of what to include.  (Many, if not all, of these items can be found in your local grocery, dollar, or drug store.)

Beauty

– Oil-absorbing sheets

– Bobby pins

– Hair tie

– lip balm/gloss

– Q-tips

– Nail file

– Concealer

– Gel or Hairspray

– Small mirror

– Travel hairbrush (with small mirror if possible)

Fashion

– Safety pins

– Stain removing wipes

– Mini sewing kit

– Earring backs

– Clear nail polish (for stocking runs)

– Blister patch

Hygiene

– Mini body splash or perfume (samples or small rollerballs are great for this)

– Lysterine strips, gum, or mints

– Intimate wipes (for her ahem-area)

– Single-use deodorant wipe (or an extra ahem-wipe)

– Hand sanitizer

– Tampon and/or pad

– Dental floss or floss picks

– Wisps mini tooth cleaner

– Travel tissue pack

First Aid

– Bandaids

– Single wipe of alcohol to disinfect minor wounds

– Single packet of antibiotic ointment (or pretreated bandaids)

– Pain Relievers

– Aspirin! (in case, heaven forbid, she or someone nearby has a heart attack)

Mini first aid card

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Inexpensive And Luxurious Gifts To Make This Holiday!

Heavenly Hand Cream
I don’t know about you but my hands seem to suffer from the winter’s drying air. Why not make a batch of hand lotion, put it in a pretty jar, and give it to a friend? Homemade gifts are awesome because they are made personally by you! Try out this recipe in the link below.
Cupcake Soap
It’ll be tempting but don’t eat this one! Smell like a bakery without all the hard work.
Candy Cane Body Scrub
Perfect for winter and a great gift for anyone!
Luxurious Lip Balm
Lips also suffer the horrendous dry air in winter. Try out this homemade lip balm and reap the natural benefits!


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The Essentialness of Oils

Essential oils are nearly a necessity for achieving the balance between frugality and beauty.  They are powerful additions to many homemade beauty products (as I wrote about here and here).  Various scents have the power to affect mood and neutralize stress; they make great additions to baths, homemade candles, and other fragrances.  Essential oils are also used in a variety of recipes to replace or amplify home cleaning products you use (such as dishwasher detergent, window wash, and hand soap).

Perhaps the trickiest thing about these oils is their (relative) scarcity.  They’re not something you can normally find in a grocery store.  For that reason, when I’m shopping for essential oils, I usually hit an online retails and buy a set like this.  While plunking down $20 for a starter set may seem pricey, these oils will last you a very long time.  A little truly goes a long way in this case.  I still have the tiny bottle of lemongrass oil I bought last year!

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Having essential oils on hand give you the flexibility of creating a slew of homemade gifts and household items to both give to others and use yourself, ultimately saving you money (and perhaps more importantly, time).


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Five Frugal Beauty Gifts That Will Save Your Friends Money

In the spirit of frugality, why not give you gal-pals beauty gifts that will save them money?  My favorites are:

1. Beautyblender: $20 for 2, Amazon.com

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This soft, teardrop sponge does a fantastic job of applying foundation (especially liquid).  I used to spend a pretty penny (i.e. $40 or so!) on foundation because only the expensive brands came close to giving me the coverage I needed.  But, when I tried out the beauty blender, I was delighted to find that not only did it work well with drugstore foundations, it also took less foundation to achieve the desired effect.  Finally, its unique shape allows for both general and precise application of foundation/concealer.  So, you don’t need a separate brush to apply concealer to blemishes and dark under-eye circles.  It’s an all in one tool!

2. Precision Pore Cleansing Pad: $5, Sephora.com

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It’s been a year since I first began using this scrubber as part of my nightly facial cleansing routine.  The pad is made of silicone which gently exfoliates and freshens your skin, allowing you not only to avoid using toner, but also requiring less cleanser than you would normally use. I’m still using the scrubber I bought last year.  For $5, this is a great and frugal gift.

3. Pack of Six Mini Bath Sponges: $5, Amazon.com

While a bath sponge may not be the most original idea, a pack of mini bath sponges promotes not only better hygiene (by encouraging your friend to trash old sponges), it also saves the user money by requiring less soap.  As I have noted, I used to dollop a whopping dose of body wash onto my sponge without realizing that I needed much less to clean as well.  A mini sponge “tricks” you into using a smaller amount of soap, because the sponge itself is smaller.  This gift is perfect when paired with your favorite body wash.

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4. Razorpit Razor Cleaner: $22, Amazon.com

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This nifty little gadget extends the life of your razor by removing dirt and grime from the blades.  Instead of constantly paying a premium for new blades, this product allows you to get more uses out of your current blade.  Depending on your shaving habits, it will pay for itself in as little a month!  An old leather belt works well too, but is not as aesthetically appealing as the Razorpit. 🙂

5. Accu-Massage: $25, Amazon

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I know what you’re probably thinking–what does this product have to do with beauty or frugality?  Let me explain.  The accu-massage is, put simply, the single most effective self-massage tool I have ever used (and, I’ve run the gamut of do-it-yourself massages).  It gets down to business in the hard-to-reach areas like your next and shoulders, lower back, and more.  I consider this the perfect beauty tool because it helps me to relieve stress (which has been shown to cause all sorts of beauty woes).

Furthermore, this tool is actually frugal in a few ways.  First, it is much cheaper than many of the “at home” massagers.  But, it also helps to thwart frequent masseur and chiropractor visits, can prevent headaches, and help you sleep better, have better circulation and flexibility, and a whole host of other benefits.

This gift is on my own list for several people this year (men and women alike!) and I heartily recommend it.