Tried and True Beauty Swaps That’ll Save You A Fortune

The beauty industry is a H U G E industry full of ways to make you feel like you must buy crazy expensive stuff in order to be beautiful. This is simply not true. Let me show you some tried and true beauty swaps that have made my beauty routine much more affordable.

First, let’s just get this out of the way… You are beautiful just exactly as you are. 🙂

I also, by no means, want to sell your beauty routine short. I think it’s important that if you like doing your makeup, hair, having nice skin, etc… you should be able to! But just let me save you and your bank account from some of the mistakes I’ve made myself.

Through my years of buying ridiculously priced items to “drug store” cost items, I’ve realized that a lot of the cheaper items are actually on the same level if not better than their expensive counterparts. I actually end up using a majority of the cheaper beauty products specifically because I like them better.

This is all stuff that I actually use myself so they are tried and true! 🙂

For Your Face

Your face is important, I know. Like the ultimately important thing of all importants. I care about my face a lot. So here’s a couple things I use that are extremely cost-effective.

Coconut Oil for Face Wash

Coconut Oil as a face wash. You’ve probably heard of this before, but now you’ve found someone who actually does it. I love this stuff! I have combination skin – my “T” zone is super oily and most of the other parts of my face get really dry.

When washing your face, take a small amount of coconut oil in your hands and warm it up so it becomes liquid. Massage it onto your face, careful not to get it in your eyes (my eyes become dry/irritated if I get it into my eyeballs). Then, take a warm washcloth and put it over your face for about 30 seconds. Wipe the oil off and you’re good to go! It’s really relaxing and smells soooo goood.

Why I love it:

  1. Balances your skin – oil attracts oil, therefore it cleanses the oil away but it moisturizes at the same time.
  2. Antibacterial and antifungal (think acne!)
  3. Super affordable and lasts for a really long time

For me, coconut oil has actually reduced my breakouts but for some people, it can have the opposite effect. Just so you’re aware!

I get mine from Trader Joe’s – “Organic Virgin Coconut Oil” but here is a similar one. This is probably around $10 per jar and lasts for months. I do rotate in some regular face wash after using coconut oil very infrequently (maybe about twice a week). This all in all cuts my face wash expenses wayyyyy down and I am loving the results!!

Coconut Oil Face Scrub

This is another coconut oil thing, I know. I promise this whole thing isn’t about coconut oil. Can you tell I like the stuff? Add some sugar to your coconut oil once a week and make it into a face scrub! Make sure you are super gentle when scrubbing it on and then wash it off just like you do the face wash. Don’t forget about your lips, too!

In place of the countless face masks you probably have in your bathroom vanity, this is so much cheaper!! Those masks can be $2 a piece, maybe even more if they’re in single packaging. That’s a lot to spend on a face mask when you use them often.


I really do love makeup. I enjoy applying it, I enjoy wearing it. It’s a lot of fun. Generally speaking, a lot of my makeup lasts me a long time because I don’t go full-out most days and I don’t wear it every day either. Here are some cheap beauty swaps I’ve found in the makeup department and the stuff that I actually use right now.


I’ve never been a liquid foundation girl. I LITERALLY spent like $100 one time on foundation and a brush from Ulta because some lady told me to buy it and I was like “well it’s expensive so it must be great.” NOPE. Terrible, terrible stuff. Made my face look like it was the surface of the moon.

Then I discovered BB Cream!!! I use this Maybelline BB Cream and it’s awesome. It’s basically tinted moisturizer with SPF which is an added bonus (side note – ALWAYS wear your sunscreen, especially on your face!). And it’s only $7.00. Anyways. I love this cream – it goes on just like face lotion, it doesn’t make me super greasy, and it evens out my face color a little bit. It’s simple and it’s great.

I also use Maybelline Fit Me face powder. This stuff is about $6.00. It keeps the oil on my forehead and my nose under control. I have used this stuff for a few years and I’ve always liked it a million times better than any other foundation/face powder/etc.

These two products are extremely affordable and again, last me a long time.


So, let me say this first – I only use concealer about 25% of the time (if even), generally when I have a breakout or when I want to make my under eyes a lil brighter. I use Maybelline Master Concealer. It’s only $7.00 and it works like a charm!

Aaaaand I’ve just realized all my face products are Maybelline… they must be good LOL I did not have a bias or even probably notice the brand when picking out products. I generally find stuff by the number of good reviews a product has and then keep using it if it works well for me.


Now I’m no makeup artist, but I have a set of makeup brushes from Amazon that are right here by the company called Real Techniques. I, again, have made poor decisions with buying more expensive brushes but honestly, I may sound like a noob but I cannot tell the difference. They’re around $20 for the set and I don’t see the sense in getting a more expensive set of brushes.


My brows are important to me. They need to look on POINT. That’s why I want you to really see this one. I have made a great discovery.

Let me start by saying that since I really value my brows looking exceptional I have spent a lot of money and time trying out different brow things. Expensive pencils, expensive gels, cheap ones, long ones, short ones, ya know, everything. Here’s what I use after all that.

Ready for it… drumroll please…

I literally use an e.l.f brow pencil. And NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel. That’s it.

So the e.l.f brow pencil is a steal. It’s $9.50 for a pack of three. That’s $3.16 per pencil. You best belieeeeve I’m using that!! It stays in place all day (even on my greasy face) and I never have to worry about it smudging. The brush that comes with it is big and fluffy and amazing and I’m obsessed with this entire package. Isn’t it hilarious that I’ve used a $25 pencil that runs out in a month and THIS is what I sincerely prefer?

The NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel is a great product because it keeps your brows in place without looking too chunky or getting all gobbed up. I’ve used a lot of brow gels as well because my brows can get a little wild and this is definitely the superior product. For $3.00 you can’t really beat it.


Okay, here’s another exciting beauty swap discovery I’ve made. I used to buy Kat Von D’s Tattoo eyeliner because I like the liquid eyeliner and it’s the only thing that doesn’t smudge for me. I was spending $20.00 about every 2-3 months on this stuff. It works amazingly but it does seem to dry out fast.

Discouraged by this issue, I decided to try something else. NYX Matte Liquid Liner is the winner! It’s $4.00 and mine has lasted much longer than 3 months already. It stays all day, doesn’t smudge, and washes off easily. The only downfall of this one is that you do have to be slightly skilled at putting on a liquid liner otherwise it could get frustrating.


I actually switch up my mascara from time to time, but I will say that I’ve never really found an excellent expensive mascara. I generally buy drug store mascara and it works perfectly for me. Right now I use L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise and it works like a charm.

Other Makeup That I Use

So these are NOT cheaper beauty swaps, but I don’t use “drug store” type EVERYTHING for makeup, so I thought I’d add in the products that use that are on the pricier side. All of this makeup is stuff that lasts me a very long time (generally at least 9 months to a year) so I don’t mind spending the extra money because the quality is worth it.

  1. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – keeps your eyeshadow in place all day
  2. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray – keep your makeup right and tight all day long
  3. Ulta brand bronzer and blush – still very affordable (each $10), simple, and they work great.
  4. Lipsense lipstick – this stuff stays on LITERALLY ALL DAY and I love it. I never wore lipstick before I had this because I found myself reapplying ten times in two hours. I think this is very much worth the money because I actually use it!


Hair Dye

You already know I’m gonna say try and embrace your natural color. But for real, try to! Your natural color is beautiful and it’s actually kind of fun to realize how awesome your hair is with no other colors messing with it.

If you really have it in your mind that you MUST get it done, try one that can grow out – such as a shadow root. This will give you more time in between getting it dyed so you do it less, therefore less cost.

Another fun thing to do – and I know every single hairstylist is absolutely CRINGING at this – dye it yourself!! A box of dye is generally about $3.00 and I’m gonna be honest – every time I’ve done my own hair with box dye it looks great. The only time I had an issue is when I dyed it black and then I wanted a change and I could not get it out of my hair. Never dye your hair black. Do the darkest brown, sure, but never black. Listen to me on this one!


Alright so if you are going to a salon and paying $80.00 to cut your hair for just a lil trim you should probably rethink that. For just trims, try going to somewhere like Fantastic Sams. It’s about 75% cheaper, and they do just fine especially when it’s a super simple “oh, my ends are a little frayed type of cut”. Now, when you want to cut your bangs or make a big change I would recommend a higher end salon. Shop around for one with decent prices and you can get an excellent place for much less than $100 per hair cut.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Number one way to save money here is to wash your hair less! I have pretty oily hair but now that it’s gotten used to being washed less, it’s not so bad. Washing less is really good for your hair, too.

When it comes to shampoo and conditioner you always hear that you should avoid Sulfates. There are really affordable brands that don’t have sulfates and they’re available now at most stores. I use Hask Monoi Coconut Oil for shampoo and conditioner. On Amazon, it’s $15.00 for the set which is much cheaper than salon grade hair products. I have used a lot of different salon-type shampoo and conditioner and this is just as good as any of them.

Another Couple Tidbits to Save You Some Mulah

Do your own nails at home. Skip the salon and save yourself a TON of money. I use a home “gel” polish and it works great. Invest in a foot scrubber, cuticle cutter, and some decent nail stuff. For the small price of those items, doing it yourself will definitely save you a butt load of money in the long run.

Do your own brows at home. I want my eyebrows as fleeky as the next chick, but I have learned how to trim, pluck, and I’ve even waxed my own brows at home. And I actually get a lot of compliments on them. Again, take a little time to pamper yourself and save a LOT of money!

Don’t go to a makeup store just for fun. Because… you know why.

Do not go to tanning salons. Well, first off, skin cancer. Speeding up the aging process of your skin: wrinkles, moles, spots, speckles, whatever. I am by no means hating on freckles because I love me some good spots that give you some character. But tanning is all around real bad for you and it costs a fortune. Even the LOTION costs an arm and a leg! So probs just stay away and you’ll be better off for it.

Utilize the Internetz. If you’re thinking, well Bri! That’s nice for you because you know how to do your own brows and stuff! How do you think I learned?! Youtube. Youtube has countless countless videos on beauty how – to’s. There is no reason you can’t learn for yourself… and then teach your friends, too!

You Can Pay a Fraction Of the Price And Not Miss Out On A Thing

I realize that everything I’ve listed is not going to work for everyone. I want you to see that there are alternatives out there though! You really don’t have to spend as much as you think on beauty supplies. Try it out for yourself. Sometimes it takes a little messing around to find out what works for you, but believe me, there are affordable beauty swaps for just about anything you need. You may even like some better, too! 😉

Let me know if you have any great beauty swaps in the comments below!

17 Replies to “Tried and True Beauty Swaps That’ll Save You A Fortune”

  1. Love the post. I’m def gonna change my makeup.

    I think you should consider going shampooless entirely. My hair is shampoo’d only when I get it cut, and otherwise I use conditioner only. I have your same super oily hair, after an uncomfortable 4-5 weeks of oiliness while my scalp adjusted, my hair is way nicer than it ever used to be.

    I haven’t bought shampoo in years.

    I just cut your hair washing cost in half!

    Also, on the conditioner front: Suave naturals/essentials are sulfate free, and are lovely. They condition nice without any buildup.

    1. Oh man!!! I just need like two months off of work and I would attempt to go Poo – free!! It scares me. If I ever have this, I will definitely try it……..

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