'I get my haircut for free.' 7 Women share their cost-of-living beauty hacks.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about my dire need to get my eyebrows waxed and tinted – a routine that I've happily submitted to every few months for about ten years now. My friend raised her (lovely, manicured) eyebrows at me and asked why I would spend money on that when I could – really quite simply – do it at home. 

This conversation only happened about three days ago and yet, I am already fondly referring to it in my head as 'the moment everything changed'. 

I don't even dare imagine how much money I have spent on my eyebrows at professional waxers. As I admitted recently on Mamamia Out Loud (an admission which I have to say was met by quite a lot of outrage) I have been paying about $100 every time I get my eyebrows done, which amounts to about three or four times a year. So that is easily $300 a year on...*checks notes*...eyebrows. The trail of hair that keeps water out of my eyes. 

What my friend revealed to me was that I could just, you know, buy the tint and do this all myself. And about an hour after I got home with my little box of 1000HOUR tint, I had successfully painted on both my eyebrows and eyelashes and approximated looking like a rather put-together human woman. 

No matter how absurd it might sound, I cannot stress enough what an enormous difference this will make to my life. No more booking appointments online and taking an hour out of my day to go and have a lady paint on bits of my face for way too much money. I feel like part of a secret club. Maybe this is how I will save for a house deposit. 

All of this made me reflect on the beauty hacks that can save a lot of cash in the cost-of-living crisis. If I can drop the ladies in Sydney's eastern suburbs who meticulously measure out my eyebrows with little bits of string, what other corners can be cut here? 

So, I asked the Mamamia team to spill their own secrets. 


Cutting your own hair - Laura. 

"Okay, so I cut and dye my own hair now lol. It saves a damn fortune but not sure I fully recommend the 'tie your hair in pigtails, cut, and hope for the best method." 

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Also cutting your own hair - Isabella. 

"I cut my own hair! The hair salon chain I was going to really upped their prices recently, and I figured I could give it a go with cutting my own hair. To be fair, I naturally have very curly hair, so if my cut isn't perfectly straight it isn't the end of the world. But I've managed to trim my split ends quite well and keep my hair looking find over the past five months." 

Finding somebody who actually knows what they're doing to cut your hair - Polly. 

"My best friend cuts and styles my hair for free. Luckily my friend is a professional and also lives one street away, saving on travel to a salon as well as the haircut." 

Finding strangers to cut your hair for free - Katie. 

"I joined Hair Models Sydney Facebook group, which hairdressers post on when they do training cuts and discounted chops for portfolio pics. Doesn't actually involve you being a model – just happy to have a photo taken of the back of your head. I've paid $30 total for all my haircuts in the last four years thanks to this group." 

Setting up a home nail salon - Tara. 

"I do my own nails at home with a gel/UV light setup. It's super cheap but I buy everything on AliExpress, so the polishes are $1 and the UV light was like $5. Every time I do it, it lasts three weeks, so it's very efficient." 

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Home facials - Isabella. 

"I adore those sheet masks you can get from Go-To skincare. You get six for $55. I use those now instead of having a facial every two months or so. The facial place I would go to was over $90 per facial. 

At the time, I was mainly going there to clear up breakouts, but now that my skin has calmed down, I figured I may as well save some money and do sheet masks at home. I know they aren't the same but I find it so relaxing, plus the sheet masks I use make my skin feel and look nice and plump/glowy." 

Giving up paying for leg waxing - Claire. 

"I bought an epilator, which is torture but I don't have to wax my legs at the salon anymore (before you ask, I've been told my hair is 'too fair' to respond to laser.' It was just $76 for the unit." 

Eyelash tint - Isabella's mum. 

"I dye my eyelashes myself. I get my dye kit from Priceline, it's pretty cheap and I get the black or dark brown option. It makes my lashes pop, the instructions and guidelines are easy to use, and I have no need for mascara then usually." 

Setting up a home spa (with some shortcuts). 

"I once set up a spa in my spare room for my mum. This was due to COVID, when spas weren't open but you could visit friends and family. I put candles around the room, found a Spotify spa playlist and wrote out a menu for her to choose the facial she fancied most. (They were all the same really, 'cos I had no idea what I was doing, but wanted it to seem fancy!)

She said it was not as relaxing as a legit spa but was much funnier and she asked to rebook for the next Mother's Day." 

Do you have any cheap beauty hacks you'd like to share? Comment below to let the Mamamia team know about it. 

Elfy Scott is an executive editor at Mamamia. 

Image: Canva. 

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