Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The cost of good grooming

You reminded me to set a grooming budget for this trip.

Then I wandered into the bathroom to prepare for my 16-week doctor visit.

And fantasy met reality.

It's a sad day when you clean up more carefully for acquaintances than you do for your husband.(When a mother of 9 shaves daily, I have no excuse!)


  • I trim and buff my nails because I care more about my garden than my hands.
  • I do the same with my toes because a pedicure once gave me a raging infection.
  • I wax my eyebrows, but not as quickly as they grow back.
I see the difference expensive spa treatments make for my relatives. How am I supposed to accomplish the same look with fewer resources?

I'd like to improve my daily grooming from simply adequate to simply, well, slightly-better-than-adequate.

What are your beauty tradeoffs? What do you consider essential, and what can you accomplish successfully at home?

80 comments:

Tessa said...

I can do waxing, manicures, pedicures, teeth bleaching, and general skin maintenance at home. Some of this stuff has taken a BUNCH of practice, but it definitely makes me look more polished. The only thing that I can't/won't do myself is a decent haircut. That I pay $22+ tip for. I have yet to enter the world of hair dye, but I would probably pay to have that done at least once until I could learn to do it myself.

Janette said...

I pay - it is part of an "old lady" budget-BUT I do it for me and my hubby. My own extended family is the one always working to impress....so be it....That is why I live 2,000 miles away and both of my children are HAPPY.
My dh told me a few years ago- it is about committment not nail polish:>)

simplybrandy said...

I only pay for hair cuts. Everything else is done at home and it's not much. ;-) Pedicures scare me, too.

P.S. You and I are both 16 weeks! Yay!

Anonymous said...

I leave waxing, hair cut and color to the pro's. I do manicure (which consists of cleaning and shaping) and pedicure (with polish) at home. I dont do teeth whitening bc I had a painful experience with that once and occassionally when given a gift certificate I'll go get a facial at a spa. I do a lot of at home facials too in the form of masks - Mario Badesku, Body Shoppe, nothing too expensive but it does seem to make a differenc.e

One more thing - from time to time I do try to get a professional take on my makeup and then in the interim I try to apply what I've learned. I feel foundation and concealer cannot be bought at a drugstore but pretty much everything else can.


Fun topic - I can't wait to see the answers!

Marsha said...

Sunscreen and moisturizer are musts for me, as are trimmed nails and a light blush color polish (chips don't show), which I regard as much more polished than a screaming-mimi red or pink. I like pedis, but save them for superspecial events. In between at home I try keep the cuticles in shape and things looking nice. I figure no one gets close enough to my feet to do a good inspection, you know?

Shaving is...uh, once a quarter or so, but I'm trying to do better. I have only two children so I guess I need to throw my shaving excuse book away. I have brow waxes about twice a year and pluck in between. Daily make-up is just powder, mascara and gloss and I don't tend to shampoo (don't freak out - I do clean my scalp, but my hair doesn't take well to the detergents and I do condition well).

Pretty low-maintenance, I think.

TracyMichele said...

I get my brows waxed (cheap!) at the local school 3 times a year and I pluck in between to keep up. I color my own hair and my brother cuts it (used to have his license). I have a buffer to keep my nails looking polished without nail polish and the same with my toes. I keep my nails clipped to a sport length so they (usually) look presentable. I find trying to keep long nails is counter productive when you are responsible for cleaning the house and caring for 2 small children. I am a lover of the pedicure and if I could afford it, would do it weekly. LOL. I only make those appointments for our summer vacations. Oh, and I shave every other day. *giggle*

Jane said...

for weddings and special events I might get my hair/nails done. But, ordinarily, I go to Super Cuts for super hair cuts (really they are good!) and color my hair at home. The root touch up kits have changed my hair care life! $6 and no fumes!

Caroline said...

Pssst! Here's a secret...Hubby doesn't like me to tell our friends, but he won't know about this: My husband does my pedicures for me! He started when I was pregnant and I found out I liked it a lot so he still does my toes for me. And by pedicure, I mean trimming toenails, applying red polish, with occasional lotion and massage.

I never bother with a manicure. I just keep my fingernails trimmed with a coat of clear polish.

I get a perm once a year and get my hair colored once a year--these cost $85 each. For a special occasion I would get my hair trimmed (I have really long hair) for about $20. I desperately need an eyebrow wax. I've only had one at the salon and I don't know how much it costs b/c my mom paid for it. I will definitely go back to the salon for this.

I'll be interested to see if anyone includes "tanning" in their grooming. I prefer the lily-white look myself but around here we have a lot of women who start looking oddly dark in March.

Michelle Smiles said...

I've never been particularly girlie or high maintenance in the beauty department - even when I had the time and money. I've had 1 pedicure in my life and she trimmed my nails so short I couldn't wear closed toed shoes for a week. I've had 1 manicure in my life - 10 years ago. I've never had anything waxed or peeled. I pay for a good haircut and usually get highlights once or twice a year (in the winter when everything gets dark and dreary). My only other "beauty" thing used to be going to the gym to work out - made me look and feel a bit better. As a SAHM, shaving my legs may happen with a little less frequency and I may not tweeze as often as I should but not a lot has changed. I should probably make the effort to put on make up every day but only tend to do so when we are leaving the house (fortunately that is more days than not). I feel triumphant that I dress and shower every day - guess I've set the bar rather low.

Cyndi Lewis said...

Hmmm... grooming is not my forte'. I put it rather low on my list. I only wear make up if I'm going somewhere. (Grocery stores, the library and local parks don't count.) I get my hair cut once a year and usually wear it in a pony tail or a bun. Pedicures and manicures come from my eleven year old daughter. I do pluck my eyebrows and shave as needed. As a homeschooling, mother of 4 (soon to be five- I'm thirteen weeks)our budget needed trimming and beauty products seemed something I could do without. I may not looked "polished" but I look presentable. I save "polished" for special occasions only.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are talking with the former spa queen! Before a drastic turn in my finances (company downsized and my position was eliminated - now make 1/3 of former salary), I went to a destination spa once a year and had regular spa services such as facials, pedicures, etc. I only go now for hair care and do spa treatments at home. I think pedicures are difficult to do, but I manage. Being pregnant, I would ask a friend to help if I were you (feet are hard to reach any time!) And if you get a professional pedicure, make sure that they are SUPER clean - watch them clean the bowl and instruments. If I had ever got an infection, I think I would bring my own tools for them to use. Do NOT buy drugstore nail polish. The colors do not look as expensive as brands such as OPI, Bobbi Brown, Dior, etc. (Dior makes a ridge filler that is great under polish. I usually find mine on eBay) OPI can easily be found and is affordable (they even make cute tiny bottles so the big bottle doesn't dry out before you can use it). Keihl's moisturizing cuticle treatment is great. Use it every night around finger and toenails and it will make a huge difference. It is about $18 but lasts a long time (way less than one pedicure!) Also moisturize your feet every single night. I like moisturizing cream (Cetaphil is a good one that compares to dept. store stuff)compared to lotion. I admit I still buy way more upscale skin care products and makeup than I care to admit, but have found if you know what you want, you can often buy it on eBay for much less than at Saks or Neimans or any dept store. Use some kind of exfoliator for your skin and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. And, ALWAYS ask for samples at dept. store costmetic counters and never buy unless a gift with purchase is involved. Sunscreen is a must. I also recommend exfoliating your legs really well, moisturizing the heck out of them and use a self tanner. I know it sound daunting, but go on a mission for the "event". Show them that just because you are frugal and stay at home, you are NOT FRUMPY! Do all this in your spare time of course!! LOL

Emily said...

About twice a year, I actually get my eyebrows waxed to shape them up because they lose definition and I am afraid of going so far I am stuck drawing them on. I pay for haircuts. An occasional pedicure on vacation. That's it. I rarely wear makeup even.

Jan/lost-strayed-or-stolen.blogspot.com said...

I recommend getting a pedicure and manicure just before the trip, but between now and then slather on the lotion/moisturizer. Pay for a good hair cut--it is worth it. I do my own facials at home, with stuff like egg white and oatmeal, but it needs to be done weekly for best results. Caring for your skin may take a little time, but it is an investment in keeping your skin healthy and smooth for years to come. I am almost 59 and people consistently guess my age as early 40s; I feel it is due to taking care of my skin every day.
Shop CVS sales and use the ECBs for makeup and skin care products. For an updated look for your makeup, go to one of the big department store makeup counters and ask for a demo makeup session. Watch carefully--don't let her turn you away from the mirror--you want to see what she does and how she does it. Or call a Mary Kay representative. They do free makeovers, with no obligation to buy.

Queen of Carrots said...

I feel somewhat triumphant because at 31 weeks pregnant with twins I can still shave my own legs! :-P

Other than that I don't do much at all besides stay clean. I cut my own hair (it works because it's curly and hides any mistakes). I keep my fingernails and toenails trimmed short and have used polish a grand total of once in my life (and that was a joke). I pluck my eyebrows when I think of it. I wear a little makeup to church and major events. I wear sunscreen if I'm going to be out in the sun for a long time. I wash my face with plain water and use vegetable glycerin or coconut oil if I get dry skin in the winter.

I think having grown up on the west coast I tend to find a natural look more attractive than the very put-together look more popular in the East and South. Also I'm a little paranoid about the ingredients in cosmetics, and too cheap to use the natural stuff, so I compromise by using as little as possible.

Anonymous said...

Make-up is a big deal for me. I don't wear a lot, but I put on eye make-up, brush-on powder and blush and a little lipstick every day. I even do it when I'm sick, because it makes me feel better, to look better.

If I can't take a shower every morning, I don't feel human!

mama k said...

I love my mineral make up and wear it almost daily. Add some lip balm and natural mascara and it takes me less than 5 minutes to "put on my face"
I "outsource" pedicures and brow waxing a couple times a year. In between those salon visits I maintain w/ tweezing and repolishing at home. I could do the pedicures at home, but they really know what they are doing w/ the wax.
I just keep my fingernails clean and buff/file them. I don't bother w/ polish as it can't keep up with my cooking/cleaning/handwashing etc.
I keep my hair long now too so I can put it up in simple updos. I just get it trimmed a couple times a year.
I'd say my day-to-day style is pretty casual, but I do splurge on some self care things. I think it's important to look presentable for my hubby and my son.

Sara said...

I get a pedicure at a spa once a year and it is SO worth it - I call it a working pedicure cause it's so much more than just polish - all the dead stuff comes flying off (it's quite gross to watch) and it gets my feet looking good for sandal season. I highly recommend it, from a good place, not a strip mall nail place. I pluck eyebrows at home and get my hair cut at Great Clips - once you find someone who is good at a "cheaper" place like that, it doesn't pay to go somewhere expensive. Also, I have short-ish hair so it needs to be cut every 6 weeks. I use regular drug store make up - revlon, cover girl etc. and get it all for pennies on the dollar at CVS and Walgreens using coupons and rebates. I wear make up every day cause I work, although I can't say the same about shaving. :)

Anonymous said...

No matter what you wear to this wedding, the most important thing is to be perfectly groomed from head to toe. Perfect haircut, teeth whitened, nails done, waxed and buffed and spit shined! A simple, nondescript dress will be fine with good accessories and your looking oh-so-polished. I would buy a non patterned dress and spent my money and my energy on me. Start the grooming process now and you will feel like a movie star by July!!

ness said...

I guess it's like anything else...you pick up tips here and there and just be yourself. I am a super-practical girl, so clean, happy, and classic are my guidelines. I don't fuss with my skin much and I wear either eye or lip make-up but not both at the same time. I wear black or pink nail polish, which protects my nails from all of the terrible things I do to them in the garden, cleaning, and with my artwork. They are a good visual to remind me to take a few minutes and care for myself. I cut my own hair with a couple of yearly fix-ups. And I color it myself for a fun change sometimes. I pluck, wax and bleach at home for fun, but with no expectation of keeping it perfect. I do enough to feel pretty and that's it!

Shannon@Idylwild said...

I'm working on this myself lately. I love the metal pedegg type things (I got a pretty good one at walamrt for 6 or 7 bucks) - my heels are in much better shape. And I love the Jergens daily self-tanning lotion. You may want to check with your doctor though, mine didn't recommend them for use while pregnant. ALthough he said haircoloring was fine as long as the room was well ventilated.
Planning a trip to the dentist for a cleaning just before hand might be as good as whitening.
I love mineral makeup, too, and it might stay on better in the heat. EVeryday minerals offers a free sample kit (s/h is about $4) so you can try before you buy. This is the link
http://www.everydayminerals.com/g?t=kits

Maj said...

I wear makeup everyday, mineral concealer and foundation, eyeshadow, blush, a little bronze eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss.

I have an angle cut, so I have my hair cut every 6 weeks.

I do my own manicures, I keep my nails relatively short so this isn't hard. I usually use a beige polish. Pedicures on the other hand, I have done at the salon once every other week (only in "sandal weather" though).

I make my own "sugar" for doing my eyebrows about once every 2 weeks, with an occasional pluck here and there.

I shave when I can, my underarms much more frequently than my poor legs. My legs are lucky if they get shaved once a week.

I wash my face and moisturize twice a day and use a clay mask about once a month.

Loral said...

Yikes, shaving daily, that would be pretty high standard to maintain around here ;)

Ditto the everyday minerals. Great sample offer and I've been very happy with my purchase. They last forever!

Sandy said...

You are funny! Red nails and a cleaning lady ...
Hair color is essential for me! An occ. pedicure (cheap kind) in the summer time. The rest - all done in my little ol' bathroom. Jump in the hottub, then get out and push my cuticles back and do my nails, my hubby gives me back massages ... Who needs to pay big bucks with a great hubby? HA HA

Funny lady - frugal frump!! :)

Sandy said...

Oh, and I run and do pushups/situps at home - so no gym membership either. I always tell my husband I'm not high maintenance! LOL! But I DO have to have my hair colored professionally ...

Anonymous said...

Well, I am older than most of you ladies. (I am 56) I wish I had taken my grandmother's advice a long time ago and stayed out of the sun, but NO, not me. I used to rub baby oil and iodine on my skin and lay out in the hot Texas sun. Now my skin is paying a big price. I go to the doctor twice a year for skin cancer check ups and prescription creams for the brown spots on my face.
I get good hair cuts, salon colors a couple of times a year. (I touch up between times)
I use good creams on my face, (Mary Kay) mineral make up, and lip stick. I keep my nails short and buffed. I do my nails at home.
I have a 'bad toe' and I do not want to get pedicures. (I pulled a chair while vacuuming over the top of my bare foot and ripped the toe nail off, when it grew back it did not grow in 'right' so I went to the doctor again and the doctor removed the nail again (very painful) and it grew back bad again. So now shoes are sometimes painful, and the idea of anyone messing with that toe sends shivers up my spine. The doctor tells me the only thing to do is remove the nail yet again and fix the 'toe bed' etc...no, I can live with this, it is just not pretty. So no pretty sandals for me.
I do get my brows waxed about 4-6 times a year. (when I get a cut) I shave 3-4 times a week. I use body lotion after every shower. My skin is soft. Roxie

The Nester said...

My husband once told me that he wants me to be pampered. I had a facial one time--at his prompting and hated it. Had nails put on--he got me a gift certificat-- once and when I went to have their check up or whatever you call it two weeks later the people cut my finger and drew blood.

I cut my own hair. I shop at Old Navy, Goodwill, and TJ Maxx. But, I try to stay on trend and accentuate the positive with good fitting jeans, heels and wearing my hair long because my honey loves it that way!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I don't bother. This is actually a bit of a soapbox for me. My husband loves the fact that I don't wear makeup and spend hours in the bathroom. I think we are beautiful the way we are, and I like to think that people are accepting me for the way I really am, and not for the mask that I have put on.

That said, I'm okay with other people doing stuff to look cute. It's just not something I choose to worry about.

And, on the other hand, I still think it's important to take good care of yourself and keep yourself looking respectable.

howiesgal said...

I do my own pedicures and manicures at home. This makes me feel better and I know huby likes it. Lotion. Lots of lotion, especially on my legs. So even if I miss a day of shaving they are still soft. I do the hair removal cream for facial hair. The more you do it now the less you will have to do it in the future. Ask your hubby what he likes and stick with that for starters :o) Maybe he doesn't want your nails painting or maybe he does. But I would ask him what he likes before chaning anything.

annacoumos said...

I don't paint my fingernails because they just get scratched, but my feet I do! Once a week on the weekend I soak my feet with some nice scented foot soak in a basin of warm water. I use a pumas sponge to scrub my heals. I trim my toe nails, and give them a nice fresh coat of paint. It feels nice to see my clean well kept feet. I have a friend that cuts my hair once a year (I live in Mozambique, so when I go home every year to visit, she comes and cuts it!). I try to get rid of clothes that I don't feel good in, or that don't look good on me. And I thrift shop and get great deals on clothes that last a few years!

Anonymous said...

I don't use polish but I do buff my nails so they shine. Use a good hand creme everyday and buy cheap cotton gloves from the drugstore to put on over the moisturiser at night.
Similar for me feet, once a week or every 2 weeks I fill a basin with warm water ans epsom salts and soak my feet. Every night I apply a foot cream (many drugstore brands are as good as high end) and wear cotton socks. Not the most attractive look but worth it.
If you are going to get your brows waxed I recommend an eyelash tint- equals about 6 weeks of no mascara, very handy for trips (be sure and get them to test the dye behind your ear 24 hours before your appt if you've never had it done before)

Heather W. said...

I splurge on a good haircut every 3-4 months (at Heads Up in Green Hills - they're really great). I'm lucky that my mother is a Mary Kay consultant (she does very light business and used the funds to send my sister and I to private schools, and now uses it for Filipino missionaries) so I've never had to pay for makeup. Which makes for good motivation to keep that part of myself up. :-) Otherwise I just keep my nails short and bare and try to keep the cuticles in check with Heath & Henry cuticle cream. There's not much room for glamour in a physics lab. :-)

AnnMarie said...

I think just about nothing is essential. I cut my nails and file them over 10 days or so (toenails are only trimmed). Depending on what I'm doing with hair (some times grow it out, sometimes keep it short), I may get a haircut every 6 weeks or every 6 years. I shave my armpits 1x a week. I wash my face each night and rinse it in the morning. I put on an anti-acne gel (Rx) and oil-free lotion each morning and night. I put on hand or body lotion when they are dry. I wear sunscreen when outside more than 20 minutes.

I don't wear makeup or nail polish. I don't shave my legs. I don't wax any hair of any kind. My hair in the morning consists of spritzing it with water, combing it out, and putting in gel (somewhat curly hair that gets frizzy) or putting it up if long.

I see no point in turning myself into something I'm not (or why others do). The only times I've worn makeup in the last 10 years were my own wedding (7.5 years ago) and my brother's wedding (3 weeks ago, I was the bridesmaid and they had a makeup lady come in for us).

Let's get back to people being beautiful for who they naturally are.

Jordana said...

I shave my legs almost daily and usually put on at least a little makeup. I do not do manicures or pedicures, although I do paint my own toenails sometimes. My hands are usually kind of a wreck, but actually my husband seems to prefer a woman who works with her hands and gardens and things of that sort to one with perfect nails and soft, smooth skin. So he says, anyway.

artgirlATL said...

I can't give any advice on this area. My nails are always splattered with paint from working on paintings, my toes are most often in need of love from spending free time... you guessed it, painting.

Jen said...

Great topic Meredith....
As a former trainer for a mainline cosmetic leader in the industry, I love all the girlie stuff. As a frugal steward, I cut corners wherever and whenever possible. The process has become quite streamlined since our three children arrived. *grin* Cleanse and moisturize twice a day (no mineral oil of any sort allowed on this skin!) Sunscreen during the summer. Makeup consists of Bare Minerals powder, bronzer and mineral veil. I carry the Physicians Formula brand compact from Walmart for touch ups. Great product! (Bare Minerals doesn't have a compact, and I don't like messing with loose powder in my micro bag) Some lip gloss, brow pencil and gel and I'm set. For evenings, I use a lip liner, and fill it in with lip gloss. No need for lipsticks. Pencils are smaller, more economical, and work great for me. I have two that I alternate between, a nude one and a darker burgundish shade.
Pedicures professionally during the summer, and occassionally during the winter if I'm restless and need a lift. I do all the family hair cutting, so do allow myself a great cut and color twice a year. I wear my hair long, so that is sufficient. My favorite nail secret ever is this: Neutrogena Daily Nail Enhancer in pearl. Fabulous!! I can slip it on quickly in the parking lot if need be. This appreciated faithful product has a permanent residence in my microbag. Looks natural, yet polished, not too much, just enough. Cuticles pushed back daily as a habit, with a towel during exit from shower, and nails kept with a minimal free edge. I am a pianist, so try to keep my hands looking decent. A challenge for this gardening Mama!
Lots of lotion on the hands. Jergens self tanning too. I use scented lotions instead of the coordinating, more expensive eau de parfums. Soft and delicate. That's it!

Erica said...

lip & brow waxing are done at the beauty college once a month for $14 plus tip. Haircuts are $60 (including tip) but I only get a cut every 3 months at the most. Everything else is at home. We are single income, 2 kids in an expensive west coast city. I have to look polished for my job and I also want to feel good about how I look personally but I have to do it on the cheap. So far so good!

suzof7 said...

I really couldn't stand not getting my hair cut and highlighted. But perhaps I am making up for many years of going around without any hairstyle at all. Plus, it helps tremendously that my stylist charges me very little, less than she charges her other clients. I am truly grateful for this.

$5 for waxing once every six weeks or so and my eyebrows are perfect!

The rest, I do at home. Just the basic upkeep for my hands (no polish), but I do polish my toes.

And heaven forbid I refuse to shave! Thank God most emphatically for technology that allows us to groom ourselves.

Sarah Rose said...

When I was still working, I paid for... well, everything. Now that the budget is much tighter, everything but the haircut is at home -- and the haircut happens every 6 weeks. I find that few things make me feel better than easy and attractive hair!

Also pregnant, I'm pretty particular about chemical-stuff; that said, I slather on Jergen's Natural Glow for moisture and some natural-looking color. I also LOVE Cetaphil moisturizing cream for face and feet. Because I'm terribly uncoordinated, my husband is my manicurist/pedicurist -- but I will never turn down the offer of a professional pedicure! It's one of the most relaxing, wonderful ways to spend an hour!

lizzykristine said...

I'm a very very low maintenance gal, and even more of a frugal gal! Free makeup from Walgreens and my husband cuts my hair. :) I've never had anything done by a pro.

But -- I have learned that if I am going to a formal event where all the other women are dolled up, I need to go the extra mile, too. I've gone to two formal weddings recently and spent weeks afterward kicking myself for looking so... natural... compared to everyone else. :)

For a special occasions with the inlaws -- go the extra mile or half-mile!

Anonymous said...

I get my hair cut and colored at an upscale beauty academie that uses high end products. It takes a while, but the cost savings is worth it. I also shave everyday and try to smell really good. My best beauty secret is copious amounts of exercise.

Nancy said...

I don't consider myself high maintenance and my husband would tell you the same thing. I do my own nails at home (hands & toes - a good hand cream is a must!), a professional pedicure about 1x a year for special occasion, professional haircut a must and I've recently started coloring my own hair (gotta hide the bit of gray that's coming through). I shave daily in warm weather months as I hate to wear pantyhose to work with skirts and I use body lotion after every shower. My hubby says I have silky soft skin. I make sure I take care of my face as well; wash 2x daily and use a good moisturizer.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned grooming under your skirt :) About 2x in summer I splurge for a bikini wax. No red bumps or razorburn and I can put on a swimsuit and not have to rush to the bathroom for a quick shave. For $20, it's worth it for me (& hubby) -Melissa

Carrien said...

Okay. Is this whole grooming bit a southern thang? Just curious, I"m not on that page at all.

My idea of getting dressed up to take my husband out to dinner for his birthday went like this. I painted my toenails, usually I just clip them and push back the cuticles. (Okay, I loofah them in the shower too.)
I never put polish on my finger nails. TO many baby mouths to put fingers in, BUt I do keep them trimmed, filed, and clean. And I do buff them from time to time.

I also put on, get ready for it, MASCARA!!! and EYLINER!!!! and a bit of burt's bee's cream blusher. and burt's bee's LIP GLOSS!!!!

Yes, that is my "fancy regimen". I don't usually wear makeup at all, just moisturizer. MY husband generally prefers what I look like without makeup to what I look like with it. SO do I.

Once in a while I used to get my lashes tinted so I didn't have to wear mascara.

Oh yeah, and I shaved showered and borrowed a friend's dress with a plunging neckline, that I'd never normally wear, but he was quite happy with the result ;)

My SIL cuts my hair. SHe's never had formal training, but she's pretty good. Every so often I"ll do it myself. Tying it back into a loose ponytail right at the nape of my neck and cutting it of looks like a really cute bob, with fringe layers and everything. I usually get a ton of compliments, which makes me laugh.

I don't mess with hair color any more.

So the daily routine for me is wash and apply moisturizer.
And deodorant. And brush my teeth

I wash my hair every second day and let it air dry. That's when I scrape my feet off with a loofa.

I shave about once a week and moisturize my legs. I am picky about razors. Nothing less than a triple blade. It's so much faster and smoother.

I do pluck a few stray eyebrow hairs every day.

And once a month or so I do some intimate grooming.

I have had one pedicure in my life. I've never had a manicure.

Does that make you feel better? [grin]

Heather W. said...

Meredith,
I'm just kind of flabbergasted by the amount of commenters who think that working on grooming = loads of products and hours in the bathroom! So confusing to me.

Anonymous said...

One fun thing that I recently discovered is glue-on nails. You can get them at your local drugstore for under $5 and they come in all styles and colors. They make me feel less like a frumpy SAHM...lol!

Mrs. Gunning said...

I do not pay anyone to do anything for me. I do everything at home including trimming my hair (I do layering). I simply wanted to educate myself on it to save money, and did. It's actually really easy. Unfortunately, I was able to learn before convicted about home keeping, and I spent 4 months at a local cosmetology school. But I can tell you it's easy to learn on your own, too. :)
I have a lot of beauty recipes on my blog, including the most lovely face cream I've ever used - it takes a pea size amount or less, and takes 15 seconds to apply, but I have seen my face improve from occasional acne, red patchy cheeks and greasiness. I have other recipes as well, that I did not include on the blog for one reason or another, but a lot of the ones I use either daily or occasionally are here: http://dancingamonginfiniteloveyahwehs.blogspot.com/2008/04/sharing-week-my-body-care-recipes.html

I also don't shave my legs every day. Though my calves have the thickest, darkest hair and it is noticeable, I only do it once a week, if not longer. Occasionally, I use a sugar wax (homemade) for fun. :)

Ewokgirl said...

I'm probably the only woman in American who has never had a professional manicure or pedicure. Even my youth-group girls go in for them frequently! I just don't get the point. I can exfoliate, moisturize, trim, buff, and paint all on my own, so I can't see paying someone to do it for me. It's just not that important to me, and my husband certainly doesn't care if my nails are painted or not!

I do my own eyebrows, too. I think people are too obsessed with eyebrows anyway. It's getting ridiculous just how much women supposedly MUST do to be beautiful.

I do pay for professional haircuts. I wouldn't want to attempt to do that myself.

Occasionally, I'll have a professional massage. As a migraine sufferer, they really are a Godsend at times. Worth every penny.

Unfortunately, I have acne rosacea. I have several expensive prescriptions for my face. I tried to get along without them, but vanity took over. I feel so much prettier and confident when the skin problems are under control. Again, worth every penny.

I shave every day or every other day. (Usually the latter.) Occasionally, I'll have a professional waxing, but I found a product that works well at home, so that's what I usually do.

I don't have to color my hair. Yet. Actually, my current plan is not to color at all. However, with my dark hair, the grays will show more and more as they come in faster. If I start to look older than my husband, then I'll start coloring. And I think I'll probably have that done professionally because hair is way too obvious if it's done badly.

I do wear makeup daily, unless I'm cleaning house.

Amiyrah said...

I tend to not get my brows done as much in the winter and I tell my DH that I'm trying to keep my face warm lol. I do maintain them by plucking stray hairs. When spring rolls around, I start going to get them done at least once a month again. I do my own pedicures, and genetics has blessed me with great finger nails that grow fast, so just as long as I use a cuticle oil from time to time, I don't need manicures. The one thing that I hate having to spend money on is my hair. I have coarse hair so I need to go see my hair dresser every 6 weeks to 2 months(but I don't lol). I try to maintain what he does to it and put off seeing him for about 4 to 5 months if I can. Most of the time DH gets angry that I don't treat myself to something nice, like getting my hair done, that he makes me go. Shaving is something that I put off too, until the hair(all over lol) becomes too unruly and I have to spend time "dealing" with them. So, basically, I only take care of myself when its down to the wire and I look a wreck all over lol.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see... I have really short hair, so I have to get a good, precise cut every 5 weeks. And I wear MaryKay, which has great long-lasting products but not so frugal. I also like a summer pedicure or two. My solution these splurges is that I ask for products and beauty services for birthday or holiday gifts or in exchange for my sewing skills. I can't remember the last time I bought my own make-up with this arrangement. And with a short and sassy haircut, I save tons of time in the morning, though I'm loathe to leave the house w/o at least some make-up. Another timesaver is a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen from MK, and one tube lasts me well over a year! I do bikini and facial waxing at home about once a month, but my nails get no attention at all aside from occasional clipping.
Grace in Nashville

SK and Family said...

Pedicures are my favorite--I get one about once a month. Sometimes I get a manicure, too, but only have them polish my fingers if we are going out or something (polish doesn't last long on my fingers, LOL!).

Occasionally, I get a European facial. I bought a few products from the spa so I could do more at home.

Makeup--if I know I am not going anywhere or my dh is out of town working, I do not wear makeup that day.

I bathe daily, but only wash my hair every other night. I shave about every other night, too. I pluck my own eyebrows...
:)

TJ said...

Great topic Meredith. I'm not the best at this. I buy makeup at Target, they have a few brands that are nice and inexpensive (NYC and ELF both are perfectly priced and sometimes on clearance). I dye my hair at home, always waiting for a good price and then stocking up. I had about 8 packages at one point in my cupboard. So that is typically just $1.50-3.00 per bottle and I dye it about every 5 weeks.

I also do not like pedicures. They are always too rough for me. The result is some very nasty feet, especially since I"m barefoot in the garden often.

Today though, I'm treating myself to acrylic nails. Only $25 to put on, 15 to fill. My nails are fairly slow growing, so I hope not to have to fill often. I will have to take better care of my hands now though.

Do you (or any of your readers) have a suggestion for Mother's Day lunch? We are doing this right after church, and we have to attend a birthday party at 3 p.m. So I'm thinking I'll need to prep ahead of time. My brother suggested chili dogs, but I don't think any of us moms want to eat those on our day, or worse have our husbands and children eat them.

Anonymous said...

I feel like a frump if I don't take care of myself (cosmetically speaking) regularly. I shower each morning and I do shave my legs and pits daily -- well, almost daily! I then put on lotion, moisturize my face, fix my hair, and put on my make up. I don't use expensive cosmetics -- usually BOGO make up from Walgreens! I get my hair cut/trimmed every 8 weeks and at that time get my brows, lip waxed and have a pedicure. I feel like I owe it to myself to look the best I possible can. This doesn't mean that I am constantly looking in the mirror and reapply lipstick and primping my hair -- with 4 kids and a home based business who has time? But if I start the day out with a good basis then I'm usually feeling pretty good about the day. These might not be the most frugal habits but I work hard to be frugal in other areas, keep a clean home, take good care of my kids and husband, I don't drink or smoke and don't have any other nasty expensive habits so I feel like I can deserve this every 2 months! Life is too short to be frugal about every single thing! Just my humble opinion -- Kristina

Donna said...

On an average day I shave and shampoo/condition hair (it's short), never more than four products on my face at once, and all of those come from the drugstore, bought on sale and with coupons.

I do splurge on a good cut and an eyebrow wax ($35 including tip) every 6 weeks at a salon, and a pedicure about every quarter or so, maybe more often during the summer.

If I have a "formal" event like a wedding or an interview I will spend the money on the whole shebang, but it's rare.

I do, however, have a significant collection of body creams and body sprays from various and sundry mall stores (bought on sale and with coupon, natch). I love smelling purdy for my Baboo.

To me, the real question is what makes YOU feel beautiful, Meredith -- and, similarly, what kinds of things does your husband find important in your grooming? For example, my fiance doesn't care for face makeup so he likes my granola girl face, but loves that I have smooth skin and smell good, so that's where I expend my grooming energy and money.

Your mileage may vary, of course. But happy grooming!

Working on it said...

Meredith, I love you. You are on the pulse of my issues all the time!

Since the kids came I have let myself go somewhat. I can tell a difference from my husband in his level of appreciation for how I look. He's not ugly about it - I just know he's not loving the new look (gained weight, no shower, sweats - you know everything I loathed about women who had children when i was single in my 20's and working)

So I'm starting small - I went from me coloring my own hair to going to a salon every 6 weeks. Baby steps. Working on the weight - not as successful there so far but eating healthier.

I've decided to amp up the wardrobe a bit too - I've bought several outfits that were on sale at Steinmart that fit well and look good. And I got some good chunky necklaces, that sort of thing.

The manicure/pedicure thing - I need to have it done. But I can't justify the expense even though it looks not the hottest when I do it myself. But I figure the investment in how I look is an investment in my marriage - that is priceless to me. :)

Elizabeth Sue said...

I abosutely will not go with out waxing my eyebrows and mustache (groan!) I am blessed with a nice tan, dark curly hair, and a lovely mustache....some things are worth spending $16.00 at supercuts to not look like a she-man...

Darla said...

Class....you've got class Meredith. More than most can say.

Honest to Ya~Ya said...

I do my own hair color with the new 10 minute stuff...works great!

I do my own nails...sometimes...when I'm going somewhere nice....not often...OK?

I love your blog!♥

Anonymous said...

A good haircut does wonders, and keeping eyebrows plucked (do it myself) also helps. I figure if I look clean and neat to begin with, the rest of it is easier to take care of.

Cat said...

Well, I'm not a mom to 9 (I have only 4 but dh is deployed for year which adds another twist), but shaving regularly is essential, as well as keeping my toenails polished and eyebrows waxed. The eyebrows I have done professionally. Also, a couple of times a year I have my professionally colored; otherwise I do it myself. I also garden and don't do manicures. Don't wear makeup everyday either. Usually lipstick or gloss and light eyeliner suffice and keep me eeling pulled-together.

Tammy L said...

I am probably completely the "odd one out" here, since I maintain a very... natural... appearance. ;) I shower and wash and brush my hair... I brush and floss my teeth... I think that's about it. I'm very blessed with a husband who encourages me to keep things simple and natural since that's his preference, as well. :) It's certainly easier and more affordable, and with my husband's blessing on my appearance, I can be happy with being plain and simple. :D

chickadee said...

i do almost everything at home except my hair cut and color.

Bethany said...

This post and all the comments have really inspired me. I jumped right up and shaved my legs (a much needed grooming act, then organized my(very seldom used) makeup and cleaned up in the bathroom. I found my Mary Kay hand and foot treatment cream, and I'm soaking my feet as I type. Thank you ladies for reminding me that consistency is an important part of personal grooming!

And to answer the question, I'm a nail biter, so I've only had a manicure once when I managed to conquer my anxiety and grow them longer for a short time. I found that the professional manicure dried them and made them break, so I'm much happier filing and using Sally Hansen nail strenthener (it's so shiny!) when I can stop nibbling. When I make the time, I get my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed at the salon. But in between, I use nair wax strips and plucking to control my eyebrows. They're awesome. I use nair lip cream for the mustache.

And, since it's just us ladies, I'll admit to having to shave my chin at least every other day, usually every day. Don't jump all over me about shaving causing thicker hair growth! I've got PCOS which causes way too much hair growth, and there's way too many for plucking, and waxing is not nearly as convinient. I've been shaving my chin for almost ten years now, and there has been no change at all in the amount of hair. It's heavy, but it's always been heavy. That's why I had to start shaving it.

Anyway, now that I've given the internet way too much information ;), I hope you find your way through the whole attending a fancy wedding you don't really want to go to ordeal. I've been there and know it can be difficult. Good luck, I'll be praying for you!

Jenni said...

I make a homemade brown sugar scrub which I use about once a week. And I paint my toenails per my husband's request. Other than that, I am a beauty loser! I haven't had my hair professionally cut in almost 20 years and I have never had a manicure or pedicure! But I'm way to cheap to pay for them anyway!

April said...

I read your last post on Google reader and just want to tell you that I appreciate your vulnerability...and wisdom. These conversations are indeed a great help to many of us. Don't be deterred. You are doing God's work and I, one of many, am very grateful.

Raquel said...

I just read your last post on reader and though i am usually a lurker but i had to say i love your blog, i love your honesty and i love the fact that you try to spend the money that God has intusted you with wisely. i dont think that is stingy at all!!!! keep doing what you are doing. oh and if you couldnt tell i love your blog!

The Spaids said...

My "can't live without item" is Almay Truly Lasting Color lipsick/gloss combo. I put it on after breakfast and that stuff stays put ALL DAY LONG. It is well worth $9.99 regular price at Walgreens (it's like I've won the lottery when I find a coupon for it) because it actually stays on all day and one tube lasts me months and months. I do wear eyeshadow, liner and mascara daily. I break out the foundation and powder for church and special events. I stopped getting professional color & highlights because my conscience and wallet were killing me - and ironically I get more compliments now on my "Kroger Aisle 5" home color jobby and my Great Clips haircut than I ever got with the expensive services. Part of that is probably because I've found a style and color that suit me really well... I MUST shave armpits every day; legs get it every other day in warm weather, 1x a week in the winter. Poor hubs, he likes to think he notices when I don't shave my legs, but he doesn't. =) I will say that one thing I have really liked was getting electrolysis on my eyebrows. My MIL treated me to it, and it worked wonders - a year later and there is very little grow-back. I want to get it done one more time and zap the unwanteds permanently!

thehomespunheart said...

I haven't read all the comments, but will just say that I do everything at home - I do get my brows waxed a few times a year, because plucking just doesn't always cut it!

I cut my own hair, etc...

Now, I will say that I L-O-V-E having a pedicure! I never had one until after Emily was born and oh. my. I try to have a couple a year now.

This is so hard - it can be such a huge expense if we go all out, and if we do it all at home (like I do) I know the results are not as good.

Anonymous said...

American women shave every day - European ones wax every months, that is what I was brought up to believe, strange... the very best grooming investment I ever made was laser hair removal( I am of Mediterranean descent e.g. used to have very dark thick hair) spread over many years as it is quite costly - but now I only need to quicky shave once in a (long) while to have the smoothest skin and can wear skirts any day.
As for the rest, I have always been pretty low maintenance, but I realize that the older you get, the more polished you need to look: I found a great hairdresser and have a professional cut and color whenever needed, I do not wear any makeup at all, but take extremely good care of my teeth and gums, clean my skin and mosturize every night and wear sunscreen every day (reapplying it often - I have been told by my gynecologist that brown spots were appearing because I was working at the computer without wearing sunscreen - applying it every 2-3 hours every time I spent time on the computer for one month straight did indeed reduce my brown spots (together with idroquinine cream I put on at night whenever I remenbered). I wear (cheap) earrings and (expensive) perfume every day. To that, I try to only wear clothes that flatter my body, even if this means wearing the same pants 3 times a week
Gio

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like Gio has some good common sense advice that we all could take to heart. If you take care of the basics and have good skin and good haircuts and color and know what clothes flatter you, then you could add some makeup for special occasions and look fabulous indeed! P

Anonymous said...

My dh loves me without makeup--so he always says!--but I find he compliments me most often when I am actually wearing a small amount of "natural" makeup. :-)

I am of scandinavian descent, so I don't have a much of a problem with facial or body hair. I do *very* quickly shave my legs and underarms every day, using only soap; it is honestly easiest for me to do it every day in the shower, instead of making a big deal of it once a week. I pluck under my brows once a week or whenever I think of it.

I wash my face and use a rich cream in the evening. I just rinse with water in the morning and apply sunscreen. I blend in a little cream blush and slap on some pink lip gloss--that is it most days.

For church and special events, I use a sheer base and powder, the same cream blush, lipstick, and perhaps a bit of eye shadow and mascara. I spend no more than 10 minutes on my makeup ever!

I keep my fingernails clean and filed short--almost never polish them--and in the winter I basically just trim my toenails. In the summer, I give myself slightly slapdash home pedicures with polish for sandal presentability . . .

I get Clinique samples or hand-me-downs whenever I can! Other than that, I buy all my grooming supplies at the drug store or Target.

I have a $22 haircut every eight weeks or so; I've paid double that at certain times in my life, but no more--my current fellow does a nice job without breaking the bank. Every day, I wash and massage in a little mousse; after it's air-dried, I comb it out and rub in a little hair cream. It is brainless and takes me about 30 seconds to do. I don't color my hair, although I did when I was younger. I got away from it during my first pregnancy--and good riddance. It was expensive and a lot of trouble.

I like to wear nice-smelling body sprays (summer) and perfumes (winter), but I never spend a bundle on these. Tiny travel sizes last me a year or more! I also use good body lotions, mostly purchased at TJ Maxx.

I am comfortable with how I look most of the time. Every once in a while--at a fancy wedding or evening event, most often--I feel as if maybe I should try a bit harder. Not even sure what to do, though--maybe something a bit more feminine with my hair??

My best to all of you lovely ladies!

Anonymous said...

My secret to making a "DOLLER HOLLER" is to check out the local Beauty School - They have trainees all the time who charge me only 10 bucks for a wash, conditioner, and roller set - Beauty Schools also have manicurists in training - and are actually pretty good - They only charge 10 bucks for a mani/pedicures are 15 - Can't beat it! Facials are usually 5 bucks - The students get tips - but they are not allowed to raise their prices- My daughter is 7 and I am sending her for the first time next week!
For a fam on a budget it works well!
Try it, Meredith - You might actually find it's worth it! C'mon, you deserve it!

Karen said...

I keep my fingernails short and unpolished. This summer I want to get a salon pedicure *soon* for a nice smooth start, and then just keep it up throughout the rest of the summer.

A facial is a real treat, and maybe a once a year luxury. I don't consider it part of my beauty regimen as much as a chance to escape and relax.

I get hair cuts maybe every 6-8 weeks.

I think that good makeup makes a big difference and one of the best things I did was get a professional makeup lesson once. Being good with makeup really can make a difference in how a person looks, but.... honestly I don't bother with makeup much. I know it works, but I don't invest the time. If I were to do more, I think that is the best area to put your time and effort into.

That, and some time hair styling / with the blow dryer and round brush, but really your face is the most important focus.

Amanda on Maui said...

I have a 100 dollar budget every month to either save or spend on whatever I need or want. I usually buy MAC makeup which can seem expensive, but it lasts for a long time because I don't have to use much to get the desired coverage.
I let my boyfriend's mom trim my hair, which I don't do often enough.
I wash my hair every other day (shampoo, condition) and I shave at least once a month. I'm a fair haired blonde so the hairy legs aren't noticeable to other people.
I like getting my eyebrows waxed, but I haven't had that done in around 5 years. I just pluck them.
I have a face mask and scrub from Origins. They're nice, though costly at first. I used to do them once a week when I first got them, then it dwindled and I haven't used them for a while (though I may start again because I have a trip to visit family coming up).
Garnier Nutrise face lotion at night and the one with spf 15 for day. Put on some chapstick, and I'm usually pretty good.
I have bleached my hair myself, and my sister used to do the box kits on me, but I haven't dyed my hair in 4 years. Now that my hair is nice and long and healthy I may want to dye it, but I think I'll trust my hair to a salon this time.
Oh, and a nail buffer and ceramic file are my friends.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I am definitely inspired to go and pamper myself -- my legs and feet definitely need some attention.

I have a pet peeve about people with ugly cracked heels wearing sandals in the summer. It is so easy to give yourself a footbath and exfoliate your heels, there is no excuse -- except maybe pregnancy, but surely one has friends or kids one can press into service? I need to do this for myself, though, especially because I just bought this year's flip-flops.

I work in nursing, so I am not allowed to have long fingernails, wear nail-polish, or jewelry on my hands or wrists because of hygiene concerns. (I wear my wedding ring on a necklace when I am at work.) I do keep my nails clipped and filed, though -- also because it is not nice for the patients to be scratched by a ragged nail.

I think I last got my hair cut some time in the autumn, but I cut my own bangs with varying levels of success. It was really expensive last time, but she was very good -- I'm debating whether to go back or get my sister-in-law to do it (not as good but probably adequate, especially since it just wants a trim).

I also have dark facial hair -- I pluck my own eyebrows and this has never posed a problem for me, I don't have trouble following the arch of the brow at all and usually get compliments on my eyebrows. I wax my little moustache and sideburns (might also have PCOS) although probably not as regularly as I should -- and pluck any strays.

I don't wear make-up because I break out from it, the only way I have been able to keep my skin calm is to wash and moisturise with products I buy at the pharmacy (I use A'Derma face soap and Ceridal face cream -- these are European brands) and then no make-up. I will occasionally wear mascara, but the only one I can tolerate (that does not make my eyelashes fall out) is Clinique's gentle waterproof mascara.

I can't wear perfume either, because of allergies, although I can wear blends of essential oils.

My husband misses the look with make-up and such but agrees that the consequences are too much. Otherwise, as long as I keep myself clean and neat and relatively hairless he is ok with it.

I have found that if you have a tendency to get infected hair follicles when shaving, it helps to exfoliate before shaving and wash with chlorhexidine surgical soap afterwards to avoid the red bumps. This REALLY helps. (Also if you have a tendency to skin abscesses.)

Mrs. Bonnie said...

I so feel the need to go take a shower right now!
I try to makeup everyday, as I have very dark under eye circles
(I look like I haven't slept in months w/o make up). A friend cuts my hair, (which has not been done since July), and while I LOVE a styled cut, I can never get it to look as good, and I just get frusterated with it after a week. Instead, I keep it longer with layers, and to give it some oomph, I use the largest of my hot rollers,(using squares of toilet paper as curl papers- really ladies, some kind of curl paper makes all the differnce, it keeps uneven ends togther, and eliminates those unsightly kinks that sometimes occur)keep them in for about 5 minutes, and then take them out. A good shake and a spritz of hair spray, and I'm good. And the best part, is it usually still looks good the next day, since I rarely get to shower everyday.
Shave very time I shower, my nurse when I had my second baby was so impressed "Well bless your heart you even shaved your legs before you came!"

Amanda on Maui said...

A great after shave that is somewhat expensive, but worth it when it comes to not having ingrown hairs or razor burn, is called Follique. I order it online. A friend suggested it a few years ago. A bottle lasts me about a year, but if you shave every day you'll probably go through it quickly. I don't really use it on my legs unless I've nicked myself well. I use it on those most sensitive areas.

Sara said...

Wow, I am amazed at what everybody does. I don't know if it was because I grew up without much money, or because everyone is more casual in California, but I never heard of anybody doing any of these things except a manicure. I always though that spa treatment type things were for the rich, the vain, or the pretentious. It saddens me that some people might look down on others because they don't do those things.

When I went to school I knew tons of people with dry or cracked feet; I never thought anything of it and never heard anyone ever say anything about it. Every time I have tried even mildly exfoliating my feet, it was painful to walk for several days.

Anonymous said...

Dear Meredith,
I love your blog! You might want to try electrolysis for permanent hair removal. It is about 15/half hour and you could easily get your brow hair done once or twice and poof gone forever!!I did it on my upper lip and it has stayed away for 25 years. It works and is less hassle and expense than waxing in the long run.
Laura

Sara Inneun said...

If you're not used to shaving your legs frequently, I'd suggest sticking with the current schedule (except for when wearing a bathing suit). The longer you go without shaving, the more time it takes for the hair to grow in next time.

Michelle said...

I shave my legs every other day, wear makeup every day, all the way to the lipstick, and I enjoy experimenting with my hair, so it's usually styled nicely. I have never had a manicure or pedicure in my life. I trim my nails when one breaks, and I rarely wear fingernail polish (probably 2-3 times in the last 5 years.) I sometimes paint my toenails in the summers because it lasts longer. I never had my teeth whitened, and I don't pluck or wax eyebrows, nor do I have anyone else do this to me (OUCH!) I cut my own hair and do the same for everyone in my family.