Less Makeup, More Confidence: My Frugal Beauty Manifesto

Me rocking it on a mountaintop (not wearing make-up)

Me rocking it on a mountaintop (not wearing makeup)

I’ve stopped wearing makeup entirely. Well almost entirely–I still don mascara and the occasional lip gloss, but otherwise, my face is makeup free. While undeniable that it’s frugal not to buy makeup, this decision wasn’t solely motivated by my desire for the extreme frugality lifestyle. This choice is more about my drive for a simpler, less stressful existence that’s centered on what brings me joy–not on things I think I “should” be doing.

For years, I felt that in order to make a superb impression, succeed, and be well-liked, I needed to wear makeup, style my hair, and spend a fairly righteous amount of time and money on my appearance. I cringe when I think of just how much of those two precious resources–time and money–I wasted on something as insignificant as my physical appearance. My devotion to how I look was spurred on in equal parts by insecurity and the pressures that our culture mercilessly levies on women to reach increasingly unattainable levels of perfection.

Surrendering To The Acne Battle

I used to stare in the mirror and categorize my flaws: too much fat here, not enough there, oddly long arms and fingers, long feet and toes, a really sharp jawline, moles!, body hair, and of course, the bane of my visage since age 13: acne. At 31, I thought I would’ve outgrown it by this point, but it seems my acne is here to stay–an indefinite, uninvited parasite.

There's acne under that cupcake face. I guarantee it.

There’s acne under that cupcake face. I guarantee it.

I’ve taken no less than 11 different prescription medications (topical and oral) in my battle against the oily menace and used countless over-the-counter/herbal/essential oil remedies–not to mention altered my diet in every conceivable way (no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, no caffeine, etc). I’ll spare you the details and simply state: nothing has worked. Actually, one medication was effective, but guess what? I’m not allowed to take it while pregnant or nursing, so it’s back to the acne for me.

For nearly two decades, the second weapon in my acne arsenal was cover-up: concealer sticks, gels, powders, solids–I made the rotation of commodities created to mask blemishes on women (notably, these are not marketed to men). And then last year, I gave up. Who was I kidding? You could still see the acne under the concealer–it looked like a zit with some gross paste packed on top.

After this revelation, I decided to follow the most effective course of treatment: I stopped thinking about my acne. Instead of tormenting myself over each new spot and maniacally categorizing them, I just stopped caring. I took on a new perspective and asked myself: am I really here on earth to waste time fretting over something so superficial as acne? Nope.

And so I began challenging myself to stop looking in the mirror to think belittling thoughts about my acne, and by extension, the rest of my body too. I decreased the amount of time I spend getting ready each day and slowly, I eliminated beauty products and regimens from my life. As each new routine fell by the wayside, an interesting thing happened: I began to like myself more. Gone was the self-inflicted misery of pinching fat and scanning my skin for breakouts. It was replaced by a newfound sense of confidence, pride, and integrity about who I am as a person–and notably, I’ve discovered I’m not a problematic bag of cosmetic issues.

Thinking Of Those Around Me

Us as a family not valuing appearances

Us as a family not valuing appearances (in our hand-me-down clothes and trash find shirt no less)

It was actually Mr. Frugalwoods who took me to task about my habit of self-berating mirror-gazing. He pointed out that when I criticize my figure, I’m projecting negativity onto everyone around me. By pinching my stomach and whining that “I look fat,” I was by default, making him feel insecure too. And anyone else in the vicinity. This message really resonated once we got pregnant, and even more so when we found out we’re having a girl.

The last thing I want is for Babywoods to grow up hearing me preach disapproval about my body. I’ve vowed never to do that. Instead, I now look in the mirror and say “hey, I look great!” And then I move on to more important things. It’s my fervent hope that by diminishing our preoccupation with appearances as a family, Babywoods will instead value traits that’ll facilitate her longterm success: intelligence, creativity, fearlessness, humor, and compassion. I want her to grow up hearing me talk about the projects I’m working on, the books I’m writing, and the ideas I have–not about the way I look.

Focus on Health, Not Superficiality

I'm thankful to be healthy enough to do yoga

I’m thankful to be healthy enough to do yoga

Rather than wasting time on efforts that yield no intrinsic dividends (like wearing makeup or blow drying my hair), my focus has shifted to substantive, nourishing, and enriching activities. The quest of health became my outlet for how I think about my body and how I perceive myself.

So much of my self-worth was wrapped up in the frivolity of my appearance and once I set that aside, I had a wealth of energy to pour into more fulfilling and meaningful pursuits. Hence, I’m not advocating total disavowal of caring for oneself, rather, I now concentrate on things that make me feel good–not just on things that make me look good.

I invested this displaced energy into eating healthy foods and exercising. I added muscle, I lost fat. I take my vitamins. Funny how that works–as soon as I stopped exerting my attention towards the superficial, I started doing better things for my body.

Pregnant on a mountaintop: definitely not worried about how I look

Pregnant on a mountaintop: definitely not worried about how I look

For me, yoga is a crucial basis for how I rejuvenate and exercise. It enables me to workout while meditating. As a born multi-tasker, this is the finest combination of activities ever! I’ve continued on with my yoga practice during pregnancy and at 5.5 months, I’m still able to do almost everything I could pre-pregnancy. Mr. Frugalwoods and I also hike regularly, which I’ve kept up throughout pregnancy. On Saturday we scaled another 4,000-footer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire–Mt. Liberty.

And the best part about both of these exercise methods is that they’re completely free. I receive free yoga classes in exchange for working at the studio’s front desk for 30 minutes a week and then taking out their trash on Monday nights. The synchronization of free entertainment with exercise is an ideal marriage for me–I enjoy the exercise I do, it doesn’t cost me money, and my body thanks me.

Eating healthy foods!

Eating healthy foods!

I’ve heard of women who stop exercising in pregnancy and I can’t think of a worse decision (unless a doctor specifically directs the cessation or it’s otherwise unsafe to exercise). I’m committed to keeping myself as healthy as possible for my baby, for her birth, and for myself postpartum. I can’t think of a greater gift to give myself during this time of tumult for my body.

It strikes me that many of the so-called “health and beauty” items hawked for women aren’t really all that healthy for us. Plastering our faces with artificial makeup, dying our hair with chemicals, painting our nails with other chemicals, using still other chemicals to remove “unsightly” hair is all pretty harsh on our constitutions. I’ve done every single one of these things (and, full disclosure, I still wear makeup and nail polish for special occasions), and its been nothing short of liberating for me to stop. The irony of these products is that they don’t in fact make us better or healthier–they merely gloss over our external shells. I’m a much happier and more secure person now that I’ve dismissed the almighty import of outward appearance in my life.

Marketers Want Women To Feel Badly About Themselves

Frankly, it’s how they make money. The more they can convince us we’re riddled with flaws, the more they’ll sell to us. Almost every ad for beauty paraphernalia starts from the premise that there’s something wrong with how we appear naturally. We’re told we have undesirable wrinkles, spots, flab, grey hair, too much hair, too little hair, oily hair, dry hair, brittle hair, the wrong color hair… and that there’s a solution–for the right price.

5 months pregnant on the summit of Mt. Pierce

5 months pregnant on the summit of Mt. Pierce

Of course these ads tell us we look bad! No one who thinks their hair is inherently awesome would shell out $30 for a bottle of shampoo! Thus, we’re taught to fear our natural state, to hate our natural bodies, and to incessantly seek out our defects. And this fear-mongering haunts women their entire lives.

It begins in adolescence with acne and migrates all the way to wrinkles and grey hair. In this way, manufacturers keep women as rapt consumers for their entire adults lives. Think about it. That’s thousands of dollars spent per woman over the course of her lifetime all in service of the notion that there’s something wrong with us.

I think there’s a frightening feedback loop associated with obsessing over appearances and buying into what cosmetics ads tell us. The more we believe we need to “fix” ourselves, the more we reinforce our insecurity about our bodies. Perfection–physical or otherwise–is a false idol we’ll never reach. If we internalize what marketers tell us, we’ll spend into oblivion in its useless pursuit. We’re told that the key to becoming beautiful is to buy and use a plethora of supplies. But I don’t need to spend money in order to feel good about myself or to be beautiful.

My Beauty Regime

For me, this journey to appreciating my body and reducing the number of products I spend money on is about simplification and elimination. Just for fun, here’s a list of things I don’t do anymore, all of which are considered fairly standard practice in the care and maintenance of a lady:

  1. Wear makeup. My daily routine is mascara, sunscreen, and lip gloss. I do wear makeup for rare special occasions, such as weddings.
  2. Paint my fingernails and toenails. I rock bare nails 99% of the time. I do paint my nails for special events, because it’s fun to do every once in awhile. And it goes without saying that I’d never pay for a manicure or pedicure.
  3. The hair that Mr. FW cut

    The hair that Mr. FW cut

    Get a fancy haircut. Mr. FW cuts my hair for $0 at home. He does a fantastic job too!

  4. Dye my hair. My hair is its natural color: mouse brown. Hey, there’s even some grey sprinkled in there!
  5. Wax any part of my body. I employ my razor for, uh, any hair that I’d prefer wasn’t there. Works like a charm and is super cheap.
  6. Buy expensive or fancy supplies. Here’s what I use to clean and groom my frugal self: shampoo, conditioner, a bar of soap, face wash, a razor, sunscreen, mascara, chap stick, deodorant, toothpaste, floss, and fragrance-free gentle lotion for my face/hands/growing pregnant belly.
  7. Blow dry my hair. I let it dry of its own accord (except in the wintertime when I could be in danger of freezing myself). I’ve frittered away too much time and electricity with a blow dryer in hand.
  8. Curl my hair. My hair does its own thing. I do curl it for special occasions, but not on a regular basis.
  9. Have my eyebrows done. It’s just me, a tweezers, and a pair of scissors. And you know what? I think they look fabulous.
  10. Treat myself with cosmetics or clothes. I dislike this concept as it seems to me like teaching oneself that buying something new automatically makes you more confident. No, actually, it just makes you automatically have less money at the end of the month.

What you might’ve noticed throughout this list is how much money I’m saving by not doing these things. In fact, I spend so little on “beauty care” that it doesn’t even merit its own line item on our monthly expense reports–I lump it in with the likes of dish detergent and dog food under “household supplies.” This is yet another instance where frugality has facilitated positive changes in my life as a whole, beyond merely saving me money. Now that’s some frugal weirdo action.

I Like To Look Good! And I Do!

Hey! I think I look good at 22 wks pregnant with my wet hair and no make-up!

Hey! I think I look good at 22 wks pregnant with my wet hair and no makeup!

Often when I broach the sacrilegious topic of “not wearing makeup,” women reflexively recoil and assume I’m implying we should all wear burlap sacks, toss out our mirrors, cease combing our hair, and start slouching around like slobs. Far from it. What I’m talking about is taking back ownership of our bodies and our self-worth. I’m talking about concentrating on what matters in our appearances: our health and our well-being. Not what clever marketing tell us we should be correcting in our images.

I like to look nice, but it’s in the same way that I like to be clean, well-rested, happy, eating healthy foods, and enjoying my life. It’s not an obsession and it’s not an all-encompassing endeavor. I wear clothes that suit my figure, but I don’t fret over the latest fashions. The fact that I haven’t purchased any clothing in over 17 months certainly helps on that front. I wear dresses and skirts most of the time and I have fun accessorizing with funky, second-hand jewelry.

I’m required to look presentable for my job every weekday, and I do. I twist my hair up into buns or braids and coordinate my shoes. And I regularly tweeze my furry, Italian eyebrows (and unibrow) into manageable lines, but it’s not something I spend money on, nor something I view as a defect in myself. In other words, none of this takes over my life. I think it’s possible to strike a balance between disavowing our consumer culture’s constant stream of negativity towards women’s bodies and a complete absence of caring for one’s appearance.

I Also Really Don’t Care

Me and Frugal Hound really not caring what anyone thinks of us

Me and Frugal Hound really not caring what anyone thinks of us

Another aspect of freeing myself from the shackles of our culture’s restrictive view of how women “should” look is my determination that I live for myself, my goals, and my family. I really don’t care if people judge me. Pursuing a lifestyle of extreme frugality to enable our dream of retiring at age 33 to a homestead in the woods is fairly counter-culture, and so is not following the beauty product herd.

And in both instances, I’m adhering to what I value. Also, let’s be honest, if someone judges me harshly for not wearing makeup, it’s pretty unlikely we’d be lifelong friends. My time and my money are my own–I don’t use them in ways that other people dictate (except for the nagging fact that I still have a 9-5 job… but that’ll be gone soon enough 😉 ).

Just Say No

Rather than search for tips on “frugal beauty care” or strategies for getting discounts on makeup, I say we collectively screw it and ask the question, “what’s wrong with how we look naturally?!” And the answer is, absolutely nothing. Let’s target the root of this issue and stop the spending at its source: how we’re taught by the consumer machine to perceive ourselves. If you’re struggling to maintain a regimen of “expected” beauty practices, I encourage you to just say no and join me in feeling confident, secure, and at peace with our bodies.

My makeup-free, natural face and hair

My makeup-free, natural face and hair

7/31/15 updateAfter putting it all out there in this post, I wanted to illustrate that I practice what I preach. And so, I shared this photo of my blemished, makeup-free face and untreated natural hair on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you too feel that confidence is the best beauty product out there, I encourage you to join me in posting your own awesome, genuine selfie.

I’ve heard that the latest trend is to heavily edit, re-touch, and otherwise falsify one’s selfie, so I thought it would be fun to fight the norm in typical frugal weirdo fashion and instead celebrate our real faces. Mention me in your tweet/post so that I can join in the fun, and if you want, you can use this hashtag: 

How have your beauty rituals evolved over the years? Does your frugality impact them?

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245 Responses

  1. Aw I LOVED this post! And you look fabulous, lady! 🙂

    My beauty routine has definitely changed over the years, and ultimately has led me to really not care that much either. I also struggle with acne (still well into my 20s), and it can be pretty annoying at times but I find myself caring less and less about it through the years. I find growing older to be pretty liberating in that sense.

    At the end of our lives, I can guarantee we won’t give a damn about if we wore makeup or not, we’ll be more fixated on the more important stuff like the families we’ve created, the love we’ve shown others, and the change we’ve hopefully made in this world.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Why thank you! Gotta love the adult acne ;). And, I’m with you, the older I get, the less I care about how I look. You’re so spot on–we’re not going to care about our appearances when we’re reflecting on our lives. Very well said!

  2. Mrs. PoP says:

    I’ve never worn makeup as a daily thing and never really understood the drive some women feel to do so. I’ve also never owned a blow dryer or done anything more with my “everyday” hair than brush it and pull it back into a bun, ponytail, or simple braid. As I told my beauty-school dropout cousin, “My give-a-f*** doesn’t go that high.”
    Mr PoP actually hates it when I wear the small bit of makeup (mascara, foundation, and a tiny bit of eye shadow is all I own) I do put on if we’re at a fancy-picture taking event, which is just another confirmation that he’s my perfect guy.

    • The Roamer says:

      That’s awesome Mrs.Pop

      I’m in that same boat. I just was never a big believer. Once I had the chance. In my family we had to reach a certain age to wear make up and I have an older sister so I do recall thinking how great it would be once I could but once I could I just didn’t care anymore. I reach my highest maintenance beauty peak in middle school. Where I did spend time painting and decorating my nails. But facial make up has just never been big. My eye are usually the only place I play with. And by that i mean the use of eyeliner.

      My problem is that unlike mr. Pop my husband does enjoy when I do myself up. (Which means painted nails and eyeliner so still nothing crazy). So I do still do it once in a while.

      The one time I do fully love to wear make up is……. For Halloween ! Hahahha I think I use it for its original purpose to make myself something I’m not! And it’s always lots of fun then.

      Mrs. Frugalwoods this is twice now I feel like you are reading my mind. I have been. Taking notes about beauty stuff because I want to write a post about it to my daughter. But you have slightly scooped me… 🙂 its great you are feeling more comfortable with your body.

    • I’m the same way – I wore makeup in High school because I was on the dance team and we all had to wear matching makeup (to make it even more hilarious, I was the only non-hispanic girl on the team, guess who got to wear colors that were not flattering?) When we put stuff in storage, I just threw out my (probably 10 year old) makeup and said I’m never even going to bother buying it again.

    • Amy K says:

      I do have a dinky little hairdryer – I think I was on a “I want curly hair” kick and thought I could dry it a certain way to be curly. In reality I think it saw much more use defrosting my refrigerator when the thermostat went kaput.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        You ladies rock! I love all this empowered, confident action! We don’t need make-up to be beautiful or to feel good about ourselves and it warms my heart to hear ya’ll talk about it. Mr. FW is in the same boat as Mr. PoP–he prefers the no make-up look (and philosophy). Amy K–funny enough, we used my hairdryer to warm a nearly-frozen pipe in our basement this winter. So, hey, they do have some use ;)!

  3. Great post!! You’re so right about companies making millions by making us feel like there’s something wrong with us.

    My beauty routine is somewhat similar to yours, but I typically do wear a little foundation – mixed with sunscreen this time of year. But where I would never go out without my hair and makeup done in the past, I’m now much more willing to run an errand with wet hair and no make-up. (I do often blow-dry my curly, mouse brown hair, though. I read magazines while I do that and brush/floss my teeth, so it doesn’t feel like completely wasted time.)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you! Yeah, I’m really not a fan of how the media tries to make us feel like we’re flawed when in reality, we’re just human and natural :). I’m impressed with the brush/floss multi-tasking–that takes some skill!

  4. To be honest when I saw the title I was cynical because I also still have acne at almost 30, and thought, who wants to hear about beauty from someone with perfect skin? So I appreciate this post so much! I’ve never been very into hair, make-up, and nails, in part because I’m just not good at it, but I’ve also done these things because I felt like it was expected of me. Now I save it mainly for special occasions, and find the occasional nature is what makes extra beauty rituals fun and special. Your conviction to pass healthy image values on to your daughter is beautiful!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hooray for adult acne :)! Isn’t it great?! I do feel strongly about ensuring that I do everything I can to foster a healthy body image for Babywoods and I figured the place to start was with myself. Also, I agree with you on the special occasion fun of make-up–a few times a year, I can get down with some lipstick :).

  5. Marcia says:

    I don’t wear makeup either. I went through a brief time of it in HS, college, and my first job. Because that’s what you were supposed to do.

    But then I got a job in semiconductors and I’m free!! Really, makeup will contaminate your devices so it’s not allowed in a cleanroom.

    I still wear it for weddings and such. 1 to 3 times a year. Same with painting the toenails.
    Don’t blow dry my hair
    Don’t wax (though I have a few times. I swim, so it was nice to be done with hair removal for 6 weeks at a time. Then I decided to buy a swimsuit with bike short bottoms. Then I stopped caring.)
    I gave up contacts a few years ago, just wear glasses.

    I hear you on the acne. I’m 45 with wrinkles, graying hair, and pimples. Seems wrong somehow.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh man, adult acne is such a funny thing. Hey, at least we know we’re in good company :)! I love that your job doesn’t allow make-up–that’s perfect. I’m with you on the 1-3 times per year for make-up and nails—that I can handle ;).

  6. Mrs. Budgets says:

    I’ve embraced more of my flaws and stopped trying to cover them up as much as I’ve gotten older. I must admit being married to someone who loves you for you and doesn’t care about your appearance (well too an extent, I’m sure he would say something if I started dressing in burlap sacks) definitely helps.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’ve noticed the same correlation with age–the older I get, the less I care about how I look. And, it certainly helps to be married to an enlightened man! Mr. FW prefers the no make-up look (and philosophy), which just reinforces for me that he’s the guy for me. That’s wonderful your husband is similarly awesome!

  7. Linda says:

    Regarding acne: I have noticed that the more wine I drink the more breakouts I get. No wine, no breakouts. (And coincidentally, no wine is a big money saver, as well.) I suspect American wine is contaminated by something in the preservatives required by our government, and it doesn’t taste nearly as good as the wine in countries where such preservatives are not required. So no more wine for me. Just a thought for whoever that might help!

    • Jackie says:

      Wow…I never made that connection! I recently started taking better care of myself by cutting back on alcohol, and I’ve noticed my skin is much clearer. I just didn’t associate the two! I’ll have to keep and eye on the correlation going forward.

    • Kelly says:

      I’m a winemaker for a fairly high volume producer and the government doesn’t require any use of “preservatives” and anything a winemaker might use to treat their product here, a winemaker is just as likely to use anywhere else in the world. You might be reacting to the sugar levels as American wine tends to be overall sweeter on average especially for bulk producers. 🙂

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Bummer! Ladies, I haven’t had any alcohol in all 6 months of my pregnancy and there’s been no improvement to my acne! That would be a great side benefit for me right about now ;). Glad to hear it works for ya’ll though!

      • Linda says:

        Or maybe it is some kind of allergy to the tannins? Red wine has a much worse effect on me than white. Interesting about the preservatives–I had been told otherwise. Thanks!

  8. Tarynkay says:

    I love this post! I love that you have embraced your naked face, which I am sure is beautiful anyhow.

    When I was 20, my best friend and I were sitting around lamenting our many flaws. Her older sister came in. She was about 10 years older and had just had a baby. She laughed at us and said, “Look, this is as good as it gets. Appreciate how beautiful you are right now bc its all downhill from here.” That really stuck with me, bc certainly from the point of view of the beauty industry, she was right. 20 is the pinnacle of female beauty. And that started seeming ridiculous to me.

    When I got married, one day I asked my husband if he thought my toes were too long and weird to wear sandals. He picked up the Vogue I was reading, flipped through it and said, “What is this garbage? Why would anyone read this? It’s like being in an abusive relationship.” I stopped reading women’s magazines and realized that my thighs were actually just fine and I could totally wear shorts in the summer.

    I discovered that the more I do with my body, the more I love it. I am hardly a serious exerciser, I am really only talking about things like toting my son everywhere for the first several months, now chasing him everywhere, doing house projects, now this pregnancy.

    The other thing that I learned just recently is makeup related. For whatever reason, I developed a serious aversion to eye makeup during pregnancy. Putting on mascara made me feel sicker and then I would fumble and get it everywhere and have to start over. I don’t know, that makes no sense. But I had to stop wearing it. You know the crazy thing? Not a single person has commented on this. Maybe people notice, maybe they don’t. But the world has failed to end. No one has kicked me out of church or refused to sell me groceries or declined to be my friend. And my eyelashes are thin and blond and mostly invisible. I guess nobody else spends their time thinking about my eyelashes?? This has been oddly liberating. Maybe I will wear makeup again in the future. Makeup can be fun! But I want it to be fun, not something I *have* to do before I leave the house.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yes, yes, yes! I love your husband’s comment that fashion magazines are “like being in an abusive relationship”–that’s so apt. And, our thighs are totally fine for shorts!

      I also completely agree with you on the appreciation for our bodies that stems from doing physical activity–it’s pretty neat what we can do as humans (something I find only compounding with my pregnancy–it’s such an amazing process!). Haha, love your eyelash liberation :)! I had the same realization when I stopped wearing makeup… no one cares. Keep rocking it, my friend!

  9. Mrs SSC says:

    Luckily I’ve never been a make-up wearer, but I am blessed with a good complexion. My issues have always been more body-size related, and I still deal with them, but like you, I realized I needed to become more comfortable and less critical of it all when I had a baby girl… there is no way I want her growing up with thoughts like I have.
    I have made one frugal mistake lately – I had always cut my own hair since the turn of the century… but a few months ago I decided to chop it down to a pixie, thinking it would make life simpler. And it does — except it needs to get trimmed almost monthly…. and I can’t trim it myself! And Mr. SSC won’t come near me with scissors -so now I have to shell out money for a haircut! The horror!!!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love that you had that same realization when you had a little girl. It really hit home for me when we found out we’re having a girl–I do not want to give her any negative messages about women, our bodies, or our appearances.

      Good luck with the hair! I’ve read some tutorials on how to cut short hair at home, but it does seem more complicated than long hair.

    • Gira says:

      I have had short hair for years because I love that it is so easy to wash, dries easily on its own, and I don’t have to worry much about it during exercise. I have recently started growing my hair longer because I am tired of spending $$ for a haircut every 1-2 months, which I had to do with my short hair otherwise it starts to look really unkept.
      I am still getting used to having hair growing down my neck (especially in the summer when its so dang hot), but I like the freedom of not needing a haircut. Its almost long enough for a ponytail!

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Woohoo for ponytails! I do really like that about my long hair–I can sweep it all up and out of my face anytime I want.

  10. Linda says:

    You look beautiful!

  11. Jen says:

    Great post! Two things that helped me break the beauty product cycle were knowing that 1. Men are not ever expected to wear makeup to look polished at work, and 2. All beauty ads are photoshopped. Confidence is a hundred times better for your appearance than anything bought at Sephora!

    Also, I hear ya on the acne battle. Mine did not even begin until grad school, and has stuck around through 32. Oh, the horror.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Totally! Love your two points, Jen! I think the double standard for women with regard to beauty products is nothing short of absurd. And, gotta love the adult acne…. haha 😉

  12. Pat says:

    Well, four months ago I decided that I wanted to see what my natural hair color was. I had dyed my hair for over 30 years…I am 60 years old now.

    The first comment was from my 37 year old daughter, “Mom, how will you find a husband?”. It shows how powerful our culture is on looking young by dyeing your hair.

    I bike 18 miles a day at least five days a week and when I am not biking I hike up and down the trails. My 37 and 38 year old daughters can’t even keep up for five miles.

    I look forward to being a senior citizen with a healthy mane of gray (?) hair, a gorgeous body, and tons of energy to have fun!

    p.s. not to mention the money I will save on highlight, lowlights, and color

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Huge congrats for embracing your natural grey, Pat! I think that’s awesome. I love seeing women with grey hair–I think it’s empowering and dignified. And, for what it’s worth, I doubt you’d want to marry someone who didn’t embrace your grey hair! That’s wonderful you bike and hike so much–that’s where the real “beauty care” comes in! Thank you for sharing this perspective, I really appreciate and admire it.

    • Gira says:

      I recently tried to grow out my grey hair in an effort to simplify my life (I was 39 and have been dying my hair for about 5 years already). I was told by a good friend AND my sister that it looks terrible and I should wait until I am at least 50 before going natural. I have to admit every time I color it (and my loving husband does this for me at home) I love that it makes me look 5-10 years younger than I do with all the grey showing, but I hate that I have to do this. I feel like I am chained to some arbitrary standard of female beauty, and I cannot break free. My husband’s hair is mostly grey and no one has taken him aside to tell him he needs to do something about it. Ugh.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        That’s such a great point about the double standard for grey hair on women. No one expects dudes to dye their hair! I, for one, bet you look rockin’ with the natural grey.

        • Cheryl says:

          my guy looks hot with his salt and pepper hair. He keeps his beard trimmed, no lord of the rings character, and I think he is sexier than the guys who are doing the bad hair dye job. He said he is glad he didn’t go bald, so he is fine with the gray. His brother’s secretary told him she would smack him in the head if she saw him dye his hair. Like you, I rarely wear makeup, don’t do my nails, and my fancy haircut consists of having my guy trim my hair every other month. He gives a great haircut and he can give me a French braid in under two minutes. I was at a renaissance fair last year and saw women and girls were lined up to pay $25 and up just to get their hair braided at a shop. So that is a luxury that I get for free:)

  13. Hello, I’m a frugal weirdo too! I recently tried going “no poo” for a few reasons, one of them being the savings on hair products. Have you considered doing this? Basically you replace shampoo and conditioner with baking soda for a few weeks, and then eventually you stop using anything. The natural oils in your hair should be able to do a good job at conditioning it, especially if you brush the oils down to the ends every few days. I tried it and had incredible success EXCEPT I have very bad (clinically so) dandruff, so I had to go back to using my dandruff shampoo after a few months. Before going back, my hair felt better, looked better, and dried faster. I loved the results, and wish I could be “no poo” forever.

    I hope you try it out! I’ve been reading for a month or two and you seem like a gal willing to try most things in the name of savings.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Victoria! I haven’t tried “no poo” before, but I’ve read about it. Definitely something I should test out :)!

  14. I wear a lot less makeup than I used to, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable completely bare-faced. I’m happy that you are though 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It was a process for me to get to this point, but once I embraced it, I realized how much I loved it :)!

  15. Rebecca says:

    I definitely recommend that you keep exercising for as long as you can while pregnant. I had a challenge to walk 10,000 steps a day until 7 months pregnant, then I allowed myself to do 5000 a day . It really made me feel great, helped with the stress of being pregnant and helped with my overall health. I hope that it works out just as well for you and that you can keep doing your hikes and yoga!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s awesome, Rebecca! I bet you felt great! I’m so thankful I’ve been able to keep exercising–I haven’t really had to change my routine at all, which is wonderful. Hoping to stay as healthy as possible throughout 🙂

  16. Tim says:

    I myself have dealt with cupcake face for many years. The kids at school would tease me…hey someone blow out the candle…so and so’s gonna lick the frosting off. Whatever. I grew to love my cupcake face and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  17. This is really great, and I think the focusing on health and not superficiality is incredibly important! The more I exercise and maintain my strength, the more confidence that projects throughout the rest of life. As far as beauty products go – I grew up training as a dancer in a studio environment where hours of make-up & hair prep was inevitable for each performance. That alone taught me that I barely wanted to wear make-up outside of that! My morning routine of getting ready consists heavily of reading, writing & catching up on news which I would rather focus on than outward appearance. Just say no is the way to go! 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Love that your morning routine is reading and writing instead of makeup–that’s my routine too :)! Such a better use of our time! And, I totally agree on the confidence and strength that comes from physical activity–it really is the true “beauty product.”

  18. Kelly says:

    Love your blog. Love this post. Glad to know other people are fine with not wearing makeup. I used to get makeup and hair shamed by anther girl in our office, for not wearing any our doing my hair. She doesnt work here anymore. Just me and the boys and they never say anything about it.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ugh, I hate that another woman shamed you over makeup and hair! That’s exactly the kind of thing I hope we can change in our culture. Glad to hear you’re happily makeup-free :)!

  19. Brittan says:

    I really enjoy how you say you’ve become more focused on the health of your body and food choices, sounds like a great direction! I think a lot of issues women have with acne, oily skin etc. have a lot to do with hormone imbalance! Taking the focus off of a bandaid like makeup and putting energy into balancing your delicate hormone system will benefit any woman in the long run! That said, I really enjoy the process of putting on minimal makeup in the morning and fun makeup for the evening. I’m slowly switching my beauty products to more natural ones with less chemicals that interrupt hormone imbalance!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Natural beauty products seem like a great idea if you’re going to go the makeup route. Kudos to you for making the switch! I wish my acne had cleared up once I stopped wearing makeup, but alas, no such luck… 😉

  20. brookst says:

    I think the important focus of this post is accepting who you are and seeing your beauty. I do colour my hair (it is so much fun to go from cool blond to mysterious redhead). I wear make up. Not everyday. I don’t need it to feel good but I have fun with it. It is about acceptance and confidence. I have that and my dashes of colour and war paint are just part of who I am. I have had makeup free friends tell me I don’t need makeup and that’s the thing, I don’t…but I sure do like it.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Totally agree! It’s definitely about accepting who you are and appreciating your beauty. And, if you enjoy makeup, then I say go for it :). It’s that underlying base of confidence, which you have, that’s so vital. Thank you for sharing this perspective!

  21. You are so right that we have better things to do, rather than worry about our flaws. I have had terrible adult acne myself. One thing that I have found that works is to use coconut oil to cleanse my face. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but it actually keeps your skin from over-producing oil. It takes a bit getting used to, but people tell me that my skin has never looked better! I’ve also heard people online using ‘the caveman method’ to rid themselves of acne. If you do an internet search, you will see what it is. I’m not sure I could do it though.

    I can’t even remember the last time I blow dried or curled my hair. It has been years. I’m fortunate to have really nice thick hair that has a natural wave to it. I do highlight it though, but I have cut back on that. I used to go every 2 months and now I go about every 2 years.

    I personally think women that have natural beauty, like you, are way prettier than those that do themselves up. I definitely consider myself a hippie chick, but I also turn a few heads! 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m with you–I’m a big fan of the natural look :). Thanks for the coconut oil suggestion–I’ll have to try that out!

  22. Hannah says:

    I’ve had to learn to focus on accepting my body and my face flaws and all too. I love cutting my own hair and dyeing it, so I’ve definitely had my share of mishaps which require letting it grow out. I also gain and lose weight really easily depending on the specific type of exercise I’m into at the time. I know I have a particular body that I like the best, but it doesn’t correspond with my favorite workout routine right now. That’s fine though, because I can be healthy at a shockingly wide variety of sizes.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think that’s awesome you accept your body and do the exercise that feels good for you. It’s definitely all about doing what’s right for you. Keep rocking it!

  23. Tawcan says:

    Mrs. T doesn’t wear any makeup unless it’s a special occasion. Makes life easier.

  24. Anne says:

    The stars have aligned, it’s clearly makeup week in the blogosphere (My Life, I Guess has a post too!).
    I am lucky in that I work in a place where makeup really isn’t a thing. Like you, I only wear it for special occasions, like weddings and Christmas parties or fancy gala dinners. I shudder to think how much women spend on such things, who can afford that?!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Seriously! I’m personally glad not to have it in my budget. And, I’m with you on special occasion makeup–that’s how I roll too. Love that you’re rocking the makeup-free look :)!

    • brookst says:

      That is the nice thing about makeup free when you do put some on for a special occasion, it really seems special.

  25. Katie says:

    Great post! I hardly ever wear makeup anymore (I’m 36), although I did in my 20’s. I also don’t blow dry my hair, ever. I think it’s more from laziness than anything, although after a while, I just didn’t like the feeling of a “mask” on me anymore. Now, it’s just moisturizer, lip balm and crazy waves or a ponytail for me – much simpler and saves lots of time in the morning!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love your routine, Katie! I find I really dislike the feeling of makeup on my skin now too. Hey, laziness or no, I like all the time I save :).

  26. LDF says:

    I truly enjoy your blog! Thank you for putting it all “out there”! FYI – A family member of mine has had similar issues with acne, and over the past decade used assorted OTC and prescription meds – nothing really worked. Not even the low-dose birth control pills that were prescribed with a promise that they would definitely clear everything up! At age 28, she has found that a mixture of cider vinegar and water is working wonderfully! She mixes it in a little spray bottle and uses with a wash cloth. I believe it is equal parts cider vinegar and the water. Worth a try!

  27. Maggie says:

    I only wore makeup for a brief period of time in college. When I started dating my husband, I wore it on one date, didn’t on the next, and asked if he noticed a difference. He did not. I never wore it again. (And I married him, obviously.) 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like you definitely married the right guy ;)! Mr. FW similarly isn’t a fan of makeup–he prefers the natural look.

  28. LDF says:

    Correction – 1 part cider vinegar, 2 parts water

  29. I can’t believe I never stopped to think about the fact that makeup and cover up is not marketed to men, and they get acne too! I have quite a stash of makeup, but plan to not replace items as I use them up. Except maybe mascara. Early this year my eyes developed some allergic reaction and so I couldn’t wear eye make up for over a week. Not even mascara. It was a really interesting experience! I was feeling a lot more ok with it by the end of the week! Now if only I could learn to take care of my eyebrows on my own….

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, the fact that men aren’t told to wear makeup really irks me–what’s wrong with women’s natural faces? Nothing :)! I like your plan of not replacing makeup–that’s a great way to ease into it. For eyebrows (mine are quite bushy), I just use a tweezers to shape them and then I use a small scissors to cut them shorter (they’re realllllllly bushy 🙂 ).

  30. Mel F. says:

    Apple cider vinegar has so many health & beauty uses… I use it on my skin as a toner (mixed with water to dilute) to help with my acne, and I also use it 1-2 times a week as a rinse for my hair. Just rinse with a mixture of half vinegar/half water after you shampoo, then rinse again with plain water. The vinegar helps with tangles, dandruff, and dry scalp. Makes your hair shiny, too 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good to know! You’re the second person to recommend cider vinegar so I’m going to have to try it out! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jill says:

      For migraine sufferers, vinegar can be a trigger. Just an FYI; For me, both apple cider & white vinegar. I used to use vinegar as a cleaning supply, works amazing on kitchen floor, etc. was disappointed when I made the migraine connection, I can’t even have my hands in water with it but was really happy about figuring out one of my major triggers–and saves me money otherwise spent on medicine to alleviate the pain.

      Love your blog Mrs FW!

  31. Awesome post. Such a good message, and well written, too.

    Random connection, but do you remember Naomi Watts coming to terms with corporate ideals of beauty? (NSFW language at the end.)


  32. Meghan says:

    I love this post! I have very sensitive skin so I never really started wearing make up. I do wear mascara to highlight my otherwise translucent eyelashes, but go totally makeup free on the weekends. I also tried going no ‘poo for about 6 months, but had to go back to using shampoo/conditioner about once or twice a week because my scalp didn’t produce enough oils for my incredibly thick and long hair. I also have adult acne and am in my late 20s but I have learned to live with it. With a young daughter and being pregnant and working full time, I don’t have the time or energy to barely look at myself in the mirror in the morning so I just don’t worry about it. My morning routine consists of getting dressed, brushing my teeth and throwing my hair up in a messy bun before running out of the house.

    One thing I have found that has helped my skin tremendously is eating “Paleo”, which seems to be this trendy diet, but I have really noticed a difference in my skin and my energy levels. For me I eat essentially meat, vegetables and fruits with a dash of dark chocolate. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but I have noticed a night and day difference in my acne. I think the main key to this is eliminating processed foods, excess sugars and gluten. I think as long as we are striving to do things that make us feel better and to be healthier we will be increasing the quality of our lives. Keep striving for health!

    • gwen says:

      I concur on paleo. No more acne once I went paleo. Now I’m pregnant I’ve eased up on paleo. Still no grain but more fruit and honey dates etc. Fries (canola oil) and I have broken out.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Thanks for the thoughts, ladies! Mr. FW and I actually did Paleo for awhile for this very reason (and the general health benefits) and unfortunately, it didn’t improve my acne at all :(. And, even off of Paleo, we eat very little sugar and gluten as it is. Oh well, I’m with you Meghan, better just not to worry about it!
        P.S. Congrats to you both on your pregnancies :)!

  33. Ali says:

    Ha, I feel like I could have written this post. Well, apart from the pregnancy bit.

    If I had £1 each time people have asked me if I had done this or that, or had tried this pill or that cream, for my acne, I would be retired by now. I’ve had acne for over 15 years, so just assume I’ve tried everything you are about to suggest.

    Someone at work once told me I’d look so much prettier if I just wore more makeup. Just as I was about to go on a massive rant, another colleague, who happened to be passing, said ‘I think Ali looks great just as she is.’ I could have kissed him as it shut bitchy colleague right up.

    From what we can see of you through the cupcakes, you look bloody great too.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Rock on, Ali! I love that you’re owning your natural look! Yeah, adult acne is so fun, isn’t it ;)! Ahh well, who really cares anyway. Not me or you :)! Love that your colleague stood up for your makeup-free face–nice!!!

  34. JH says:

    I was never THAT into make-up – having the “skating moms” pin me down and cover me in cheap drugstore make-up before every ice show grossed me out so much at a young age that I’ve never been able to wear lipstick or foundation without wanting to barf. From my late teens to early 40s, I did wear some eye makeup (originally, shadow, liner and mascara, then just liner and mascara) and now I wear nothing. My eyes feel a whole lot better. I do have a few pairs of glasses in different colors and shapes – that’s how I have fun decorating my face.

    As for hair, I’m a quasi-minimalist. I’ve had the same haircut for about 40 years (pixie cut), so I don’t have to think about it much. And I hate the feeling of products in my fine hair, so I just use shampoo (and it’s often the cheap stuff). I’ve never dyed my hair because I didn’t feel the need to plus I hate other people mucking with my hair. I lucked out in the grey hair genes department – I’m over 50 and am only about 20% (or less) grey and am looking forward to going grey naturally. (My mother had gorgeous grey hair and I’m hoping that I inherited that trait.) However, I do get a good (and moderately expensive) haircut every 6-8 weeks and I blow dry my hair – it takes about 15 seconds and it feels so much better, even if it looks the same as if I didn’t dry it.

    The main change in my beauty practices in the past year has been to eliminate products that incorporate animal products or that are tested on animals. I’m not throwing anything out but I am replacing what I’ve used with cruelty-free options. If your readers haven’t considered this issue, I encourage you to do so. Not only are we being taught that we have to spend a lot of $ to look like someone else’s ideal of beauty, we’re expected to use products that were produced in a way that commoditizes and inflicts cruelty on other living beings.

    My (borrowed) slogan these days is “Nothing looks as good as kindness feels.” And that means kindness to yourself and all living beings.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love your outlook, JH! I’m with you 100% on the beauty of natural grey hair. Every time I see a woman with grey hair, I think wow, she is confident, dignified and awesome! And, I agree with your sentiments on seeking out cruelty-free options. I think you bring up a great point there.

  35. Kelley says:

    Hi, Just thought maybe the Frugalwoods (Mrs. in particular) could maybe comment on the people who sell personal care products like Avon, Mary Kay, Arbonne, etc., and how to deal with those sorts of sales, especially since they’re usually from friends looking to make extra income for themselves. It’s hard to say no without going into a full-blown explanation of why you don’t wish to buy.
    Thanks, Kelley

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s an interesting question, Kelley, thank you for bringing it up. I actually don’t have personal experience with friends selling those products, but that would certainly present a challenge. I suppose one option could be to buy an item that you could give as a gift. Or, perhaps kindly explaining that you just don’t wear makeup might work. Or perhaps you could offer to help them in another way–maybe by supporting their efforts in some other way? Like perhaps by baking cookies for them to serve at a makeup party they’re hosting? But, I must say it’s not something I’ve encountered personally.

  36. As I have moved toward a more frugal lifestyle, I have definitely made lots of adjustments where my beauty routine is concerned. I now color my hair less frequently and wash with cheaper shampoo and conditioner. The results are almost exactly the same but at half the cost as before. I also wear less makeup since I work from home more. I keep thinking that I will give up makeup entirely, but it’s just not something I see myself fully embracing. I have never upgraded as far as face wash and moisturizer are concerned. I have been using Oil of Olay moisturizer since I was in high school and I love it not only for it’s results but for it’s cost.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s great that you’ve found the results to be the same with your cheaper shampoo and conditioner–I’ve experienced the same thing. And, I think we all have to do what works best for us with regard to makeup, etc. I probably won’t ever give it up entirely either. I like my daily mascara and I do enjoy putting on the full works for special events :).

  37. KF says:

    I love this post! For years I tried many different lotions, potions, sprays, cream, etc. to ward off wrinkles, dark spots, blemishes while trying to achieve baby smooth skin and glossy, flowy hair. Now in my mid-30s, I’ve matured and know it’s all a manufactured and marketed lie. I went from a counter full of bottles to a simply beauty routine. I shouldn’t even call it beauty, it’s more of a hygiene routine. I now only use shampoo ( no conditioner), a simple drugstore face wash, facial lotion, coconut oil, floss, toothpaste/toothbrush, and razor. My routine is the same all year round and I’m not loyal to any brand. I just buy whatever is on sale when I need it. I shampoo once every 3 days and wash my face every other day. Other days I splash some cold water and pat dry with a towel. I supplement my current routine with eating plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, drink plenty of water, and exercising every day. Sleep is also very important. I find the more simpler my routine is the better the outcome and more beautiful I feel.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I like “hygiene routine”! That’s what I have too :). And, sounds like you’re focusing on the stuff that’s really important: good food, exercise, water, and sleep. You speak the truth, my friend!

  38. Raina says:

    As part of the “don’t just replace things” mantra on our new road to fabulous frugality, when I ran out of make up I just didn’t buy anymore. I told myself I’d give it one month. It’s been one month. I thought I’d feel self conscious….but I’ve felt so liberated!
    I asked my husband last night “hey, have you noticed I haven’t been wearing make up the last month?”. He looked sheepish like he was in trouble and said “No”. I gave him a big hug! He had no idea what was going on, lol.
    Just another example of how it’s our own expectations of what we’ve been told we need to do to look our “best”, when we let them go, no one else really cares either! Amazing!
    Now I discovered some lip gloss still makes me happy, so I’m keeping that. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Woohoo–that’s awesome, Raina! I love that you gave yourself a month to try it out. That timeframe has worked well for me too anytime I’m trying to change a habit. And, I love that your husband didn’t notice! Shows he knows where real beauty’s at :)!

  39. Eileen says:

    +1000. I jettisoned 90% of “required” female grooming things years ago, and am much happier for it. Free home haircuts, homemade deodorant, makeup only for special occasions, no shaving at all (sensitive skin = week-long rashes and lots of ingrown hair), basic ponytails, bare nails. My beauty routine is basically sunblock, moisturizer with sunblock, and chapstick. I’m also finally starting to get a grey streak, which is super exciting.

    Also, I actually think companies have been trying to expand marketing of cosmetic and grooming products to men a lot in the past ten years. Just think about the concept of manscaping, the burly male-gendered soaps right next to the pink female-gendered soaps, the influx of heavily scented body sprays, the increase in salon services aimed at men. They certainly want women’s money, but really, they want everyone’s money!

    • The Roamer says:

      Wow awesome on so many accounts. I have also seen the increase to market to men. It’s ridiculous. It’s so sad that they are trying to pollute another set of people with body image issues.

      And +1000 to you for no shaving. I think that is super confident of you

      I say white hairs. 🙂 some one once told me whites are healthier then grays true or not I lached on to it. And say I’m getting whites not grays 😉

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Nicely done, Eileen! I’m impressed! I like that you’ve given up shaving! That can be a future frugal adventure for me :). And, good point on the man beauty product market–I guess there is a lot more out there for dudes now. It’s a shame our culture keeps trying to tell us all that there’s something wrong with how we look naturally. Ugh.

        And, rock on with the natural grey/white, ladies! I’m a huge fan of ladies with grey hair. It’s confident, dignified, and beautiful.

  40. Ugh, dreaded adult acne. I, too, have struggled with it since I was a teenager. And nothing’s worked for me except for oral medication (a testosterone blocker). I’ll be in the exact same boat as you if I ever get pregnant. But you’re totally right! Who cares? I also don’t wear any makeup and I spend the bare minimum on products. I’m in complete agreement with you about the beauty industry!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hooray for adult acne! Isn’t it great ;)?! Haha, but yeah, who cares. Not me! Love that you’re rocking the natural face too!

  41. I’ve just spent 2 months completely makeup and blow dryer free and it is an amazing feeling. I like the way I look, so why should I change it! For my professional life, I feel like blow drying is essential (kinda unprofessional to show up at work with wet hair) but I am seriously considering implementing a no makeup policy. I don’t think I need blush to do a good job!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s awesome, Ali! Nicely done! So what I do is wash my hair early enough in the morning that by the time I get to work, it’s mostly dry. And I agree with you–blush is not required to be a good employee :)!

  42. tammy says:

    After having 2 children, the thing that changed most for me was that I was really proud of my body for working just as it was intended. Getting pregnant, carrying and birthing 2 healthy babes made me feel awesome. I don’t mind little muffin tops at all now (of course the irony that comes with these discoveries is that when I was younger I spent too much time worrying about my ‘imaginary’ muffin tops that turned out just to be the skin that covers hips!)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      100% agree! It’s incredible what our bodies can do as women and I’m grateful and thrilled every day to see Babywoods growing. I love that you’ve embraced your hard-working, amazing body!

  43. Cornelia @ Small Hour Books says:

    Hi Frugalwoods family! Longtime reader/lurker, first time commenter. This topic makes me sad in some ways. I completely agree with many of your points, and feel the same way many, many times (i.e., a good run, 8 hours of sleep, healthy food, and surrounding myself with people who are loving and kind, 9.99 times out of 10, make me feel more beautiful than any product or shaved body part ever, ever could).

    At the same time, my skincare/haircare and makeup routine are part of how I send back appreciation and love to myself, my body, and my family. I enjoy looking at products, reading about how science is doing all sorts of weird and wonderful (and sometimes completely bonkers and unrealistic) things, and I take pleasure in using only a few terrific products (after sampling). I manage those things in my budget not because they’re more important than saving for retirement, or paying for food, rent, or insurance, but because learning, researching, and just plain old checking things out without spending a dime bring me joy. For me, frugal beauty (and shampoo, and soap) can be as lovely as “conventional” “mass” beauty.

    Are beauty standards absolutely, outrageously unrealistic? Yes. Should women be held to certain standards? No! They are, and I try my best to ignore them and do “me” the way only I can. I firmly believe that every person can and should dress and/or groom themselves as they so choose – and happily! That’s my two cents, from another frugal weirdo 🙂

    • Raina says:

      I like the philosophy here Cornelia. If you figure out there’s something that really adds to your life then that equals value. Each person is in charge of what brings the most joy and value to their life, and that’s part of the point of being a frugal weiro right? I think the key and your point here is realizing you are choosing to define that for yourself vs. because of cultural pressures/norms/marketing. More power to you!

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Raina said exactly what I would say :). I totally agree that it’s all about figuring out what matters to you and what works for your personal circumstance. We’re all unique individuals and should chart the paths that are most meaningful to us. There’s no one right way in this life :). Thank you both for sharing!

  44. KiwiSonya says:

    Hi Mrs Fw, just found you through MMM. Love this post. Since having kids and leaving the work world I have gradually shed my beauty routine altogether. Except for special occasions my daily routine is brush teeth, run fingers through self cut hair and sunscreen. I have even reduced to 2 showers a week and find my skin isn’t as dry. My mother always told me your smile is your best asset and if I ever feel dowdy a big smile always seems to attract positive comments. I think everyone is too busy worrying about themselves and their appearance to give any notice to what I’m doing.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love your approach :)! That’s fabulous! And, I completely agree that a confident smile is more beautiful than anything that’s sold in stores. Kudos to your mom for espousing that philosophy!

  45. Judy says:

    I don’t have the acne problem, so I can’t vouch for whether this will work for you, but I wash my face with honey now, instead of soap! http://www.crunchybetty.com/honey-challenge If that doesn’t work for you, she’s got plenty of other things you could try, if you want to eliminate another product (facial cleanser) from your routine. 🙂 And I don’t need lotion on my face anymore, either, since the honey doesn’t dry it out. Plus, my face looks brighter, so I suspect it exfoliates a bit as well.

  46. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the post. I quit wearing make up most the time because of laziness, I would rather sleep that 10 minutes. Also I found that no matter the quality of make up and my skin care regimen the make up made acne worse. And then there was the cost of it all. So now I wear it cause I want to and when I want to wear fun colors of eye shadow. I paint my toenails most of the time, but its cause I want to. Fingernails happen more often now, but I was raised with livestock and there is no point in looking dressed up there. (Funny story to go along, I had a horse who would like make up off your face. It only took once and I didn’t wear it much more.)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahah, a makeup-licking horse! Yeah, agreed on makeup making acne worse–I noticed that too. Definitely easier and cheaper to scrap it altogether :). Plus, you make a great point about the time it saves! It’s a win all around.

  47. Mindy says:

    Absolutely love this post! I totally respect how you have been able to minimize your beauty routine and feel confident and amazing about it. I have tried this many times, but unfortunately have not been successful. The main obstacle is how it seems this sort of change is frowned upon in the workplace. It’s almost intangible, but I can’t help but notice how those women who have the polished (albeit expensive to maintain) appearance seem to be held in higher regard. I continue to see it make a difference. These types of women seem to automatically be treated as more knowledgeable , more successful, etc. How does everyone else deal with this? It is a catch 22 for those of us trying to lead a frugal lifestyle /obtain financial independence. Obviously while you are still working, the higher your earnings/career success, the easier it will be to obtain these goals. Yet it seems there is a certain pressure to present the “high maintenance” appearance in order to advance and obtain the career success/higher earnings which will inevitably assist with the goal of financial independence. What’s a girl to do??

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s an interesting point, Mindy, thank you for bringing it up. What I’ve found with work is that I continue to dress nicely (although in used clothes) and pull my hair back in a polished-looking bun. For me, that seems sufficient and I haven’t noticed being treated any differently due to the fact that I no longer wear makeup.

      However, I realize my experience might not be the same for everyone. It really is too bad that our culture has such a focus on external, artificial appearances. I’d be curious to hear what other women have encountered in the workplace in this regard. I think you’re right that it’s a catch 22.

  48. Kirsten says:

    I’ve never really had a ton of confidence about the way I look, and its worse now with the post-baby weight that will not go away. However, I am careful with what I say around the girls. I also don’t swing the other end of the spectrum and tell them how beautiful they are ALL the time. I tell them, but I also emphasize how smart or sweet they are. I don’t want praise to be completely wrapped up in looks.

    When I lived in Florida and was finishing up college, for whatever reason, I felt comfortable enough to leave the house with no makeup. I generally put on eyeliner, maybe mascara, but only because I liked the look – not because it felt like a must to me. The confidence left because I convinced myself that it was “professional” to wear make-up, so here I am 10+ years later, feeling naked without the stuff. But that’s OK, I’ll be at home all the time soon – bet that makeup routine changes!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You make a great point about praise for your girls not being all about their looks–that’s definitely something I want to keep in mind with Babywoods too.
      P.S. So excited to hear that you’ll be home full-time soon!!!

  49. Aussie frugaler says:

    I am heartened to read how many non makeup wearers there are out there. I very rarely wear makeup, I never really have. I think it had a little to do with growing up through the 80’s makeup was a little extreme in those days, bright blue eyeshadow anyone? Although my mum was never a big wearer of much past her lippy. I have to admit that the last few years I have been paying exorbitant amounts to have someone colour my hair though. But I agree with one of the previous posts time to let the grey come out, what’s the big issue. So I’m resisting going back to the chemicals, it is sure not going to do my hair any harm and why should I be concerned about something that happens to pretty much everybody.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love that you’re going to embrace your grey hair! That is seriously awesome. I’m a huge fan of women with grey hair. I think it’s empowering, dignified, and gorgeous. Rock on!

  50. I also have an acne problem and nothing has really worked long term. I never had pretty skin except when I was pregnant a year and a half ago. I glowed and no acne (which only partially made up for horrible all-day sickness the first five months). Unfortunately, it didnt last and when I was nursing the acne came back.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh adult acne… such a joy ;)! That’s awesome yours vanished in pregnancy. Mine hasn’t, but hey, I’m just thankful to have a healthy pregnancy!

  51. Emily says:

    Hooray! Couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look our best, but that should come from a place of confidence and well being. And thanks for noting the gendered aspect of all of this. So true, so frustrating.

  52. Kristen says:

    Yay for being natural and loving the skin, with it’s flaws, we are in!
    On work days (so 3-4 days per week) my entire getting ready takes 15-20 minutes. I wear a little foundation and occasionally mascara, and sunscreen. I also live with acne. I have decided not to add more chemicals to my body to get rid of it. I take 3-5 minutes to straighten my hair. I only blow-dry my hair in the winter too or for a special event. I never wear nail polish (I hate it). I also do my own eye brows and shave other unwanted hair. I do colour my hair and have it cut. That is my vanity, but at 40 I would be 100% grey and I am not ready for that. My skin and body are not perfect, but I am NOT going to let others say I must be. That is impossible. The older I get, the less I care although my goal is just to look neat, clean and professional at work. (I work face to face with clients, so that is important). I think we women all need to support each other and our natural beauty and not get caught up in the great quest for perfection.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Three cheers for caring less as we get older! I’ve definitely noticed that trend in myself. I love that you embrace your body and don’t let anyone tell you how you should look–that’s awesome!

  53. Leah says:

    Another gal with you here! I think I’ve worn makeup less than once a year for the past decade or so. The most makeup I wore in that time was for our wedding (because of the pictures). It’s fun to get gussied up on rare occasions, but I have always resented the time making myself up takes. My mom bought me mineral makeup prior to our wedding, and that doesn’t go bad, so I’m pretty sure I now have a lifetime supply.

    My daily routine is wash face, put on a sunscreen facial lotion. Done! I can be out the door in under 10 minutes from waking up (5 if I _really_ have to). My husband says it was one of the early things that attracted him to me. Plus, faces with no make up have nothing to get in the way of kissing 🙂

    I will say that I have nothing against people who wear make up. I know some people really love it. I just know it is not for me, and I want other women to know that they’re fine to make whichever decision works better for them.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love how quick it is to get ready too! It’s pretty awesome to be able to sail out the door almost as fast as Mr. FW :). And I agree with you–everyone’s got to make the decision that works best for them with regard to makeup. We’re all unique individuals and there’s certainly no one right way.

  54. MEL810 says:

    I enjoy wearing makeup. I guess it is the art-fart in me that enjoys ‘painting’. And I am blonde so my very long, heavy lashes don’t show unless I use mascara. I do wear stuff I get mostly on sale. I don’t use the expensive stuff.
    On the other hand, I can’t fathom the people who are getting multiple tattoos. I can remove my makeup at the end of the day but gosh, those tattoos are permanent and expensive! And tattoos can bring infections and blood borne diseases (sepsis, AIDS, HEP B &C, etc.) if not done in a sanitary environment using disposable needles. I also worry that the dye might cause skin cancers but then that is just my worry and nothing I have heard of actually happening.
    I don’t dye my hair but I have used natural henna in the past. I fear hair dye is bad for your health and it is costly to upkeep. And it is long lasting. I guess I just don’t like anything I can’t change at will. As I am blonde with youthful genes, I have almost no grey at 65! What little I have I brush into my other hair and it blends in.
    I don’t do nail polish very often but when I do I get a slightly more expensive but more healthy brand. Regular nail enamels contain some really toxic crap! I get my nail enamel from the health food store beauty section or from similar online vendors.
    Never mind the nail salons. Those places are hotbeds of toxic fumes. NY has bans on some of them because the workers were getting as sick as if they worked in a coal mine.
    And doing regular manicures costs the earth. I overheard someone at work complaining about a co-worker who just HAD to do their nails and would shirk work just to go get their nails done. How silly!
    Are people aware how the expensive nail work is heavily promoted in poor, inner city, primarily minority communities that can least afford this type of treatment? It is and that is outrageous.
    As to body image: Yes, body images for women are unrealistic. Most women are not and should not be model thin.
    Healthy should be the goal. A moderate weight is good. Too much weight is unhealthy and brings on ailments like diabetes.
    My skin is well past the acne stage. I use Basis soap, CVS makeup remover and a skin crème I buy 2 jars for $4.95 at Dollar General Store. It is an all natural brand made in the U.S.A. and works very well. I will be 65 this coming month and I look 40! Most of it is probably good genes and a youthful attitude but I think the crème helps! I have no wrinkles.
    As we age, appearance becomes less of an issue. Being relatively neat and clean seems to suffice for most of us.
    However, people will notice if you have a crappy disposition!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I totally agree–healthy should be the goal. That’s where the real “beauty” work comes in. And, good point about having a good attitude–definitely far more important :)!

  55. Irene says:

    I really liked this post! I’m the lone one among friends that doesn’t get nails done, hair done, facials, treatments, etc. And I think it’s good to not focus on it. This way you don’t tell yourself that you have an expiration date and that you are only valuable so long as you fit within absurb beauty standards.

    I struggle with acne as well, and this is the one thing I disagree on. I think sometimes acne can signal that there is something off balance in the body and that you may not be entirely at optimum health. I really recommend this article by Dawn from minimalist beauty. She’s got some science behind her methods that I really appreciate. And her advice has been instrumental in clearing my hormonal/cystic acne at 28.


    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I like the concept of not having an “expiration date”–I think women are beautiful for their entire lives, not just in their 20s! Thanks for sharing what has worked for your acne!

  56. One thing to be aware of is that acne is weird in pregnancy and afterwards. You may have beautiful blemish-free skin while pregnant, then afterwards break-out constantly. Stuff that may have worked in the past won’t work any more. It’s all a new game of finding what works for you. You might be a lucky one who is acne-free after pregnancy!

    I very rarely wear makeup – I think the last time might have been our wedding (over 7 years ago). I never liked the feeling of stuff on my face – even sunscreen. I shower in the morning, using shampoo, conditioner (because if I don’t, it takes too long to brush!), and soap. Then brush/floss my teeth, brush my hair, get dressed and out the door (yes, really, I can go from in bed to ready – showered! – and out the door in 5 minutes if I need to).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I wish I had blemish-free skin in pregnancy! Seems being pregnant hasn’t had any impact on my acne–I think it’s just here to stay ;). Hey, but I’d be all about no acne post-pregnancy. I love your morning routine–the time savings is a fabulous aspect of a simplified beauty routine!

  57. Devan says:

    Mrs. FW, I often feel like cheering when I finish reading one of your posts 🙂 I am so with you on all of this. Several years ago I went on a mission to rid our house of all weird, nasty chemicals, etc. and now I only use products on my body and in my home that are super pure and natural. I ended up ditching most of my make-up, and now use just a few items that truly nourish my skin and that I feel awesome about. (Most I either buy on etsy or make myself). I wear a bit of make-up to work most days, but I’m totally fine with going out bare-faced, and I love that freedom. So many women I know are slaves to the ritual of “getting ready” — spending literally hours and hours every week just preparing to go out into the world. I don’t have the patience for that, I need to get out there now! Because I have thick, unruly hair that requires great effort to tame when it’s long, I’ve worn it quite short since my early 20’s. Yes, I pay to have it cut regularly (although I’m working on transitioning to DIY!), but it’s worth it to me that I spend literally zero time beyond that on my hair, other than washing it, but I always look professional and put together. I enjoy looking good and rockin’ my own personal style, but I do it from a place of self-love and self-care, not from the standpoint of “fixing” all the flaws that advertisers want me to believe are plaguing me.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You’re so sweet–thank you, Devan! I love your approach. I think coming from a place of self-love and self-care is awesome and ideal. And, I like that you’ve coupled this approach with eliminating chemicals–that’s a great way to do it. Thank you for sharing :)!

  58. Maureen says:

    I am so happy you wrote this post! I have been wondering how in all this frugalizing cosmetics hadn’t been mentioned! This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I agree with you. If it’s something I want to do because I like doing it and can afford it and have the time, great. If I’m just putting on makeup because I feel like other women expect me to, well, I have realized I have more important things to do!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Perfectly said! I think that’s spot on, Maureen. If you enjoy doing it, go for it, but if you feel like you have to, then forget about it :)!

  59. Ha well you know I am so on board with this. I am still using the same tube of foundation that I bought right before my kids were born 16 months ago. I rarely wear makeup and when I do it’s when I go out the house or have something special going on. For example, I probably will wear it at FinCon but I’ll also be wearing business casual clothes there which I never do. Usually it’s just me, wet hair, yoga pants, and like you, some mascara. I started going with way less makeup when I lived in the Caribbean and couldn’t really buy makeup down there and it melted off anyway and I’ve just never gone back. Simple is beautiful!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      And you are beautiful with no makeup, my friend! I think I’ll probably wear makeup at the FinCon formal dinner thingy–I’m with you, it’s fun for special occasions.

  60. Liz says:

    Wow I love this post. I’ve been seriously thinking of dropping make up completely, but my acne (sadly I never grew out of it either) is horrible I don’t care too much about running errands or going out. But I do still wear make up when meeting with customers, if only because my acne makes me look younger than I am and I’m worried I might not be taken seriously in my workspace without it. I hate wearing it, I’m hoping to get my skin healthier and then dropping the make up routine (or at least the cover up routine). Fortunately since I so rarely wear make up it lasts a long time and since my Mom, just gave me all her expired mary kay make up that she couldn’t sell I should be set for a while. As for other frugal beauty habits, I’m about to dye my hair one last time, to match my roots so that I don’t have to dye my hair anymore, but I do it myself with a coupon for the hair dye. Honestly with the other things, it’s not so much the money (though I don’t want to spend that either) but I don’t want to be scheduling my precious time to have someone “do my eyebrows”, driving there, waiting, getting it done, paying, and going home, ya I can accomplish the same thing in 5 minutes at home with a pair of tweezers that costs $0.97.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great point about the time it saves to either eliminate or do these beauty routines ourselves. It takes Mr. FW about 15 minutes to cut my hair versus the 1.5 hour ordeal it was before with getting to the salon, waiting for my appointment, etc. So many better ways to use that time!

      I feel your pain on the acne–I came to the decision that I didn’t feel like the cover-up did a great job of concealing it anyway, so might as well eliminate it and let my skin breathe and be natural. I haven’t noticed anyone treating me any differently at work since I stopped wearing make-up. I think I’m a much more assertive, confident person now anyway, so the lack of make-up hasn’t really mattered.

      That’s awesome you’re going to stop dying your hair :)! Rock on!

  61. MandalayVA says:

    The only makeup I own right now is a tube of concealer, which I only purchased recently after a faceplant marked up my face. Everything’s healing so hopefully in a couple of months I can stop using it. I also have rosacea but found out years ago that makeup just makes it worse. I’m starting to use a new OTC treatment that seems to be making a difference. My one concession to vanity is getting my hair colored–I’ve had gray hair since I was sixteen and now that I’m on the cusp of 49 there’s a lot more. However, family history tells me I’ll be totally silver by the time I’m 60 or so, then I’m going to let it stay that way because it looks kind of cool. 😀

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I love grey/silver hair! Kudos to you for embracing it! Every time I see a woman with grey hair I think she looks so confident, elegant, and dignified. Hope your face is healing well–take care of yourself :)!

  62. Amy K says:

    On yoga during pregnancy: do it! I took a prenatal yoga class through the hospital where I gave birth, it focused more on strengthening/stretching the muscles you’d use in labor and delivery and kept us off our backs and avoided inversions (both supposedly bad in pregnancy, if I recall). I loved it all. I took the class on a drop-in basis up until the end – my last class was a week after my due date, 2 days before she was born.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Congrats to you for keeping up your yoga practice in pregnancy! That’s awesome! I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to continue mine as well. I feel great and my doctor said that I’ll probably have an easier time with labor/delivery/breathing thanks to my years of consistent yoga practice. Woohoo for healthy pregnancies :)!

  63. Miranda says:

    No amount of makeup can hide the fact that someone is unhealthy. The best things you can do for your appearance is eat healthy, exercise, and be confident.

  64. I never had a beauty regimen to speak of! I have never regularly worn makeup (I dunno, maybe when I was 13-ish) but I do own some for special occasions (job interviews, weddings). I pay for good haircuts because I look best with short hair–a very tricky cut–but then I spend no money or time on it daily. I usually remember to brush. No products, no blow-drying. I have no skill with hair and my hair does not reward my efforts, so I gave up many years ago.

    I make my own sugar wax from an about.com recipe. I am not patient enough to tweeze my caterpillar eyebrows. Also good for going to the beach, if you take my meaning. Bonus: it smells delicious. Some people can do some fancy strip-less thing, but I just use it like wax.

    Still washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar rinse (except on vacation, which I am now). No chemicals and squeaky clean!

    I have very fond memories of exercising during pregnancy. I used to go to an aerobics class (Body Vive) when was pregnant with Little Brother. It being morning hours, there were a lot of retired ladies in the class who liked to speculate on whether baby had dropped and so on. I just waddled around doing my best. And I insisted that now I was in my third trimester, I was entitled to a spot under a ceiling fan!

  65. Louisa says:

    I have never understood why women are so gullible to advertising and cultural pressures to look beautiful and to assume that the way we naturally look is not good enough. I feel fortunate that my mother, who was the ‘brainy’ one in her family, did not enjoy making up, and rarely did it. I know this will sound judgmental, but I really think a lot of women are not very intelligent when they buy so unthinkingly into all the BS–the time, the money, and the belief system that says, we must create a false look in order to be acceptable. Ironically, when women don’t wear make-up, it is not men who notice, it’s other women, who notice — and can judge mercilessly.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You make a good point that women are often the harshest critics of other women. I really wish we could change that approach of shaming each other–so not cool! We should be supporting other women, not cutting them down!

  66. PJ Ryan says:

    This is awesome and I am *so close* to pulling the trigger myself on a lot of these things. It’s hard because I’ve come to realize I’m extremely vain about my hair (heh… Gonna have to work on that).

    I can sympathize so much with the acne thing. Name a prescription or diet, and I’ve tried it. I’ve battled acne unsuccessfully for over a decade. A year ago, I finally found something that works for me, and thankfully my budget can support it even though it’s fairly expensive (about $30 – $40 or month). It’s Hourglass foundation coupled with Clarisonic acne fighting face wash. I agonized over how expensive it was for so long and then finally just accepted it. My acne was so painful, and I would never have asked my husband go through that experience, do why would I subject myself to it?

    Anyway, I think it’s awesome what you’re doing. I’ve bookmarked this page and plan to come back to it later to do some soul searching…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh adult acne… so much fun ;)! That’s great you found something that works for yours! I had a prescription med that worked like a charm, but I can’t take it while pregnant, so I’ll just chill with my pimples for now :). Thanks for reading and sharing!

  67. Bracken_Joy says:

    I was very much reminded of this post on Wait But Why:


  68. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    Great post, Mrs. FW!
    My beauty routine is almost nonexistent-however I’ve noticed decreasing my face washing has helped my breakouts in the morning I just wash with warm water. At night I’ll use a very gentle soap. I’ve figured out that even gentle cleaners strip oil, which encourages our bodies to produce more oil in response- a vicious cycle.
    I also stopped using shampoos with sodium laurel sulfate- it strips oil from hair but then the hair follicles produce more oil in response. Currently I use Trader Joes mint tingle shampoo- and my dandruff improved and my hair is much less oily. Now I wash it every other day and it’s much happier.
    Just some thoughts!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Kim :)! I actually only wash my hair twice a week, but I do wash my face twice a day. Hmmm, maybe I should revisit that!

  69. macombsnc says:

    you look great! you are inspiring. I wear less than ever now and I did go totally without yesterday.The only thing is my eyebrows lightened/grayed/disappeared at menopause and my once thick lashes thinned. Obviously a common thing with aging that no one talks about (remember the ladies everyone made fun of who drew the heavy eyebrows on?) I figured it out one day – the vision and the eyebrows go at the same time. an ah-ha moment. I totally related to those ladies. So I just found a great eyebrow pencil and will be drawing on the eyebrows each day – not beauty as much as necessity because you just look weird with no eyebrows ( light/dark brown hair) Maybe tatoo them on one day but for now no. I bet with your dark hair, you’ll never have this problem. I can live with wimpy lashes but I do miss how the used to grow thick and long as I applied mascara. No biggies if you’re healthy so no complaining. 🙂 Great post as always.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it :). Good luck with the eyebrows–I wish I could give you some of mine (they’re super duper bushy!).

  70. diana says:

    you remain an inspiration. Currently I do Vinyasa, but I have babies on the brain and I am terribly excited to go to prenatal yoga. Partly for the making your body ready for this big undertaking, but also to meet other women to be new-mom friends with. : )

    Makeup is quite the battle. My makeup routine only happens about 2x a week, and is of the concealer/mascara/tinted moisturizer variety. I buy high end stuff but maybe replace one item ever 6 months or so? And get the item during “free gift with purchase” week so it’s actually like 10 items? Anywho, probably spend MAYBE $75/yr on makeup and I think I have quite the deluxe setup. When people spend large amounts of money on this I’m always a bit baffled- how could you possibly go through it that fast?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yay for babies on the brain! I’ll be honest, I went to one prenatal yoga class a few weeks ago and found it just wasn’t challenging enough. I’m sticking with my regular Vinyasa flow classes for now (unheated though) and I imagine I will transition to the prenatal classes late in pregnancy when I can’t chaturanga anymore ;). But, it was definitely fun to meet other moms-to-be! $75/year sounds like a pretty frugal set-up to me–nicely done :).

      • Diana says:

        ha, i can totally see that happening. “YAY i get to go to SPECIAL yoga cause I’m a momma goddess warrior!” and then getting through it and being like, huh- that was boring! I’m betting it’s just the ticket through when you’re really far along.

  71. Gira says:

    I love love love this article! You are so inspiring to me in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and to all the readers who leave comments. I wish you all lived in my city so we can set a new standard of natural beauty! But I guess I should just start with me. I have a long way to go, but I find comfort in knowing I am not alone.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you, Gira! You inspire me with your empowering comment about how we women should set a new standard of beauty! Woohoo! I wish we all lived in the same city too. Want to move to the woods of Vermont ;)?

  72. Catherine says:

    Guess what’s awesome to have for doing yoga…”oddly long arms and fingers, long feet and toes”. Clearly you were built for it! What beautiful alignment in that picture!

  73. That flexibility of yours is incredible Frugalwoods. How long have you been doing yoga?

  74. Lindsay says:

    Great stuff, Mrs. Frugalwoods! You’ve really been rocking it lately. The overwhelming message of advertising, especially for women, is that we’re not good enough. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that for me, simpler grooming routines are better and my “beauty regime” is very similar to yours. By the way, would you tell me what gentle fragrance free lotion you use? I am using up old Bath & Body Works lotions that someone gave me as gifts, and while I’m grateful for the gift, the smell is overpowering to me. So I’m looking for a good, frugal fragrance free lotion before next winter. 🙂 Thanks – keep up the good work!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much, Lindsay! Glad you enjoyed the read :). I use Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream on my face and hands. It’s fragrance-free and very gentle, plus Costco sells it for cheap!

  75. Juzpeachy says:

    What an absolutely outstanding read! I’ve been following you for quite some time, and this post really resonated with me. Thanks for your inspiration in simplicity and joy you’ve brought to my table! 😊

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words! I’m so glad to hear it–warms my heart :)!

  76. Rob Masters says:

    I just read an article at Forbes which lead me here. I love your story. I am a hippy political conservative in San Diego. (Yes, we do exist and dont believe the stereotypes) I am trying to do the exact same thing as you but by 35. I have two kids and the expenses for their future is more tricky. But I plan to be semi retired and continue to work online to make up the cost for my children.

    It seems you have a wonderful following. I suggest you redesign your site and supplement your blog with ad revenue. Maybe have a youtube channel to show how you live. You’ll be retired by then so your free to do as you please and make money on the way. I am sure you both have thought of this but I thought I would give my input.

    Anyhow – Good Luck and have a wonderful life.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much for reading! We’re glad you found us :). Funny enough, we’ve definitely thrown around the idea of doing a YouTube channel in the future. Congrats to you for mapping a plan to retire by 35–that’s awesome! Frugal on!

  77. Annette F says:

    I love this post – really refreshing.
    I stopped wearing makeup when I developed Bell’s Palsy (at 33 weeks pregnant) because I couldn’t close my right eye and it meant mascara running down my face! My little boy is now 8 months (and my Bell’s Palsy is getting better all the time) but I still rarely wear makeup now. It was something that was forced upon me – but I really don’t miss wearing it at all…moisturiser and lip balm is about all I do each day.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m sorry to hear you developed Bell’s Palsy! But, glad that it’s now getting better. And, I’m with you, I really don’t miss wearing makeup either. So much easier to go without :)!

  78. middle class says:

    As a fellow sufferer of adult acne until my mid-30s, I totally feel your past pain. I tried everything, too and spent thousands on dermatologist, facials, etc… However, I had to tell you what finally worked for me. It was Proactiv!. I didn’t use their whole system. I only used the oil-control spot gel. It would literally make the pimple feel less painful immediately and disappear by day 2, without any scarring. Now I’m in my 40s and acne is finally gone (mostly). I still use this for the occasional pimple. It’s a miracle.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I found makeup on my own at a later age. It’s something I wear for fun– I like adding a splash of red lipstick the way people might wear a color pair of shoes. It seems some commenters here don’t understand why someone would like to spend money on that, but it’s an activity I enjoy and it’s surely not hurting anyone else 😉 I don’t have a lot of products, goos, or what-have-not scattered around the house, but what i do have is well loved and enjoyed. Maybe it’s odd, but on another beauty note I like getting waxed; it makes me feel fresh and the process is relaxing, which is why I switched from shaving (along with saving time); same with the rare trips to get my hair cut (definitely not trusting my loving husband with the scissors, ha ha!). I love the feeling of someone massaging shampoo into my hair and making me squeaky clean. My husband compliments me when I’m barefaced or when I’m wearing purple eyeshadow, though those aren’t the only reasons I feel lucky to count him mine. I know I’m blathering a bit, but while I felt the post and many comments are well meaning, maybe another perspective is in order. I still exercise, eat healthy– despite my sweet tooth, and I love myself no matter what. So maybe there’s more to makeup wearers than meets the eye 🙂 …pun not intended

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Rock on! I think it’s wonderful you enjoy wearing makeup for you! For me, I always felt like I had to wear it, which really brought me down. But, I know that some folks enjoy makeup and so I say, more power to you. I think the crucial difference is coming to it from a place of wanting to wear it (as you do) vs. feeling societal pressure to do so (as I did). Thank you for sharing this perspective :)!

  80. Good on yah! I’m a big fan of no makeup. In fact, I tell that to my love whenever she attempts to hide anything on her face 🙂

    Besides, makeup tasts bad!

  81. TVRodriguez says:

    A few things:
    1. Nice post, nice blog, nice goals. Overall, good stuff. Found you through a post about the Forbes article on simplelivingforum.net
    2. I go back and forth on the makeup thing. Was a no-wearer through most of high school, college and law school. Started wearing more upon moving to Miami and entering my 30s. Feel more polished with it, but don’t use much and almost never on weekends. Except for the lash curler, which I really like to use (I skip the mascara in favor of a curled lash). Curled lashes and a bit of lipstick is my minimum at work.
    3. I tried the baking soda instead of shampoo thing–it didn’t work for me, but I didn’t use the vinegar rinse. I may try again with that.
    4. I enjoy yoga, and I enjoyed prenatal yoga with all three of my pregnancies. I made friends during my second pregnancy that I have kept as friends for almost 7 years now. I learned a lot from others’ experiences (we had a chat session each time), and I loved hearing the birth stories (our instructor was a doula for some of the women in class, including me). Highly recommend, IF you find a group that includes time to chat each time. I visited two studios, and only one of them included time to chat. The other one was strictly for the yoga, and that was less useful–a regular class would have been better.

    Keep it up!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much for reading–glad you found us :)! Glad to hear you enjoyed yoga through all of your pregnancies–that’s wonderful. I’m really thankful that I’ve been able to keep up my practice through pregnancy. It’s a wonderful outlet for me and fabulous exercise. I feel so much better after practicing each and every time.

  82. Heather says:

    Love this!! My routine is coconut oil and a hot wash cloth, green clay mask 1x a week, Thayer’s witch hazel for toner and my makeup is mascara, a little cream blush and lip balm. I hit 40 and gave away a huge box of makeup. I have found eating healthy, working out and be happy the best “makeup” to wear. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Awesome! I totally agree–eating well and exercising are the true best things we can do for our beauty!

  83. Leigh says:

    I’m so excited you are confident. I think I’m the opposite :/ I never wore much make up but perhaps eye liner and mascara, occasionally eye shadow if it was important. But last year when pregnant, I flipped and had to own All The Things! I think I felt so fat that maybe if my face was pretty, it would be okay? I don’t know why now at 9 months of age, I’m still putting on lots of make-up (seriously I never owned a foundation until this year, and I have 5 now).
    Great job on the yoga! I kept up my regular class, and most of my running routine and I think it helped for an easier birth 😊

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, the confidence thing took awhile for me to embrace, but I must say I feel so much more at peace now that I have. I still have my moments, but on the whole, its been a great change for me. And, that’s awesome you kept up your yoga and running routine during pregnancy! I definitely want to stay as healthy as I possibly can.

  84. Leigh says:

    I forgot to add I think you’re incredibly beautiful and I can’t believe you ever have moments where you don’t feel gorgeous. 💕

  85. Lisa Hong says:

    This is a great post and represents my sentiments exactly! I had a baby 7 months ago. So, I stopped wearing makeup, or even washing my face (who has the time?). I also do not have the energy to apply typical lotions and creams. Plus, I think the smell might be too strong for the baby. Instead, I rub excess coconut oil and aquaphor on my face after rubbing it on my son! And guess what? My skin has never been better!

    When I do want a beauty splurge, I turn to Daiso – a Japanese version of the Dollar Store, except in the US it’s $1.50. Amazing products!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Coconut oil and aquaphor sound great to me! Plus, I love the idea of products that are safe for baby too. Thanks for the tip on Daiso–good to know :)!

  86. donna says:

    Sorry don’t normally post but I too have acne, I was still getting it at 35 when I came across a blog recommending Jojoba Oil. Apparently acne is just the extreme reaction of your skin producing huge excesses of oil in an attempt to balance the PH level. Jojoba Oil is cheap and it lasts a lot longer than a cream, it’s also very close to the natural PH balance of skin (coconut oil and olive oil are too oily if you are prone to acne).

    I have used it now for 5 years and only wash my face with plain soap and water. I finally have clear skin.. All that money on non-oily products since I was a teenager, but in the last 5 years I’ve only used 4 x 500ml bottles of jojoba oil (£8 per year). I only really moisturise my face most of the time, but you can use it all over so it would be handy during pregnancy too. Best advice I ever got on skincare, thought I’d pass it on.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Huh, good to know! Thank you so much for the tip–I’ll have to check it out. I can’t use any acne prescriptions or over-the-counter chemicals during pregnancy, but I bet jojoba oil would be fine. Thank you :)!

  87. Donna says:

    Comment from a different Donna ;-> I don’t usually post to blogs either, but on the subject of acne I thought I would share just one tip that does help, after living with it for years. Keep what is called an “acid mantle” on your skin at all times day/night by using a 2% salicylic acid product. I know, I know, you don’t want to buy anything. But if you’re going to buy one product, this is the one to buy. The trick is to use it after every time you wash you skin to maintain that acid mantle at all times, even (and especially) before bedtime. This is the product that nowadays is usually advertised as a pore cleanser/minimizer, and that sort of thing. But its been around for years and you can get cheaper store brands of the stuff — just check to make sure it contains 2% SA. There is a 1% version but unless you’re really sensitive to the product it is not worth the money. The cheapest is the clear liquid kind, or for travel the pre-soaked pads. I’ve had friends try lemon juice and other make at home acidic products, but they can be awfully harsh. There are soaps that incorporate salicylic acid too, but they can be kind of harsh, and the clear liquid stuff you put on after washing is more economical and will stay on the skin better in my experience. Your skin will tell you how much you need — back off if your skin gets irritated or downgrade to the 1% solution. You can put moisturizers and makeup on over the acid mantle, but I think it is less effective that way. Just make sure the salicylic acid product goes on first. Stay away from those expensive little brand name tubes of salicylic acid products — that is a waste of money. And if anyone knows how to safely make a DIY version of a weak SA solution, do post. SA works prophylactically — think of it like a pre-emergent weed killer. Other harsh products like benzoyl peroxide are for spot treatments for after a breakout — you’ll need a lot less of BP if you use SA regularly. Good luck!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the advice! Really appreciate you sharing your experience, hopefully it can help some folks!

  88. Lisa says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog from the boston globe article. I love this post on ‘less make up, more beauty’. Thank you for taking the time to share such powerful words!

  89. Natalyn Yu says:

    Thank you for this post. I recently went to the hair salon, and the stylist examined my hair noting, Ah, I can tell you don’t blowdry your hair or add much product to it.. And it instantly made me feel bad, as if I was supposed to be doing these things, but the thing is that I actually have STRONGER/better quality hair, because I don’t add heat or spray chemicals onto it. Even the hair stylist said that it was good that I didn’t do these things to my hair.

    I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with how we look – I myself have stopped wearing makeup and am sitting here with my glasses (no contacts on) and no makeup whatsoever. I struggle with feeling like this is OK, but reading your post makes me think, hm, maybe it IS okay that I don’t put on makeup today, or when I don’t feel like it.. It’s hard not to feel ugly when I don’t wear makeup or put on my contact lenses, but I’m working on realizing that people who don’t want to be my friend because of my not putting on makeup/contacts are not worth my time and energy. Thanks for the post.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience! And, I think it’s awesome and empowering that you’re chilling in your glasses with no makeup on. I’m a big fan of the natural look, so I bet you’re rocking it :). I don’t like how our culture tells women that they’re not beautiful on their own–I happen to think we’re very beautiful just as we are.

  90. Zarla says:

    Have you ever used or heard of an epilator?? I started using one last year for leg hair removal (and bikini area!) It’s around $60 at Target, but I have saved a TON in razor costs. I used to use Venus razor and just found the replacements to be so costly.

  91. Jason says:

    The one acne medication that worked for you… is it Accutane? I tried it in my younger days, and thought it did more harm than good. Congrats on going makeup free!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I never did take Accutane. The medication that worked for me was Spironolactone, but alas, not allowed to take it during pregnancy :). But that’s ok, it’s just acne!

  92. komal says:

    This was an off-beat post! A girl saying no to make up. Well I was always in an odd spot in my circle for not putting on make up regularly. So I enjoyed reading this.
    My regular items for a workday includes only Kajal & gloss. At the moment I think I cannot dare to let my bf handle my hair 😀 I spend a decent amount every 4 to 6 months to get my hairdo right. And instead of pampering myself by spending crazily in a parlour, I believe in eating the right food to look beautiful. So I eat lots of fruits and also use them for cleansing and keeping the skin glowing. So I enjoy good health & beauty at minimal cost. That’s my frugal way 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Rock on, Komal! I totally agree with you that eating well is a key part of looking your best. It’s really the greatest gift you can give yourself for the long term. Kudos to you for going makeup free and loving it :)!

  93. mister worms says:

    Bravo! I am so with you on this topic. I’ve been cutting my own hair for over 15 years. I haven’t painted my nails since my wedding day 10 years ago. I enjoy them cut super short. Simple eyeliner and concealer is reserved for infrequent client meetings and special occasions. I wash my hair only once a week – using less shampoo allows me to need less shampoo, imagine that. The only other products I use are non-soap cleanser and deodorant out of kindness to others. And of course toothpaste is well worth the investment.

    I’m loving your blog, btw! I married a Spender so living the frugal life is challenging. We did drop cable in favor of SlingTV after 5 years of my nagging so there is progress, however slow 😉

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Very cool! I like your routine, my frugal friend! I’m with you on short nails–I like keeping mine clipped and trim. I wash my hair usually just twice a week, but I’m impressed you get away with once–that’s ideal. And, congrats on dropping cable, that’s awesome :)!!

  94. Stephanie Volkert says:

    Being comfortable with yourself is important. I wish more people were.
    That said, I don’t think I could go makeup free. Makeup/skincare and nice clothing are important to me. I have more than one chronic illness. I live with pain and fatigue every single day. I can no longer work. My life span is a lot shorter than the average person. In other words, being me can get pretty depressing.
    Looking nice (by my standards) cheers me up. I can look in the mirror and have, at the least, covered up the many scars and discolorations on my face, and look more awake and less sick and tired (thanks, undereye circles and droopy lids). It makes me feel good to look good, because knowing I can no longer do so many things that other people get to do when I’m only 33 (running, riding a bike, walking up more than one flight of stairs) is depressing, but I don’t have to let that stop me from getting up, showering, getting dressed in real clothes (not yoga pants), and putting on my makeup, even if I’m not sure I’ll leave the house. That lets me be more human. That lets me feel like I’m still doing something for myself. It helps me to not give up entirely, which is probably the most important part. I can’t change my health, but I can let my face be a canvas that I paint a new work of art on every day.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s beautifully said, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your perspective here. I really appreciate it. I think makeup means something different to all of us and it makes me happy to hear that it makes you happy. I love the idea of your face as a canvas for art–that’s an awesome thought. Take care of yourself and keep being you!
      P.S. your dog in your photo looks super cute :)!

  95. Dryheat says:

    Thanks for your inspiration. My husband and I love Mr. Money Mustache, and we just found your blog. I love how it’s similar to his but a little kinder 🙂 It’s wonderful to hear more from the female perspective.
    Kudos to you for going makeup-free. I tried it but also have adult acne and couldn’t go without concealer. I did fortuitously discover that NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen, even at low doses, are super-effective for some people. They’re probably best avoided while pregnant, but they’re less expensive and safer than a lot of the prescription options.
    Again, thanks for doing what we do. I’m so glad we got to *meet* you.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for reading! I’m so glad you found us :). And, it’s great to meet you too! Interesting to know about the ibuprofen and naproxen. I can’t take either while pregnant, but that’s definitely worth trying in the future!

  96. karen says:

    Hi, I just discovered your blog and I can totally relate to it. I was raised by my frugal mom so I was never really materialistic. However, when I started earning money, I started buying items that I don’t really need. Anyway, I think it was just a phase because I’m back to my old self again.

    Going back to beauty regimen, I used to straighten my curly hair. That costs around 400$ a year, plus other hair care products. I was doing this for more than a decade. Four years ago, I decided to go natural, and oh my, I was getting complements with how my hair is so healthy and beautiful. That they wish their hair is just like mine. Though I still have to cut my hair professionally.

    I am so really happy I came across your blog. Its not my target to retire anytime soon because I REALLY enjoy my job. But I like practicing being frugal as a lifestyle. Baby steps.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi Karen! Thanks so much for reading and for saying hi! That’s awesome you eliminated the hair straightening routine–that’s a great amount saved every year. And, I definitely think frugality yields a fabulous lifestyle, whether you plan to retire early or not. Through frugality, you have all sorts of options open to you. Congrats to you for enjoying the journey :)!

  97. Julie says:

    I love this frugal beauty and confidence post. I am working in theatre and movies as an actress, which I came to late in my 40’s. As you can imagine, the pressure to be pretty is immense. I am very fair, have strawberry blonde hair, and blonde eyelashes and eyebrows. Do I wear makeup? Heck yes, it’s a necessity for the field I’m in. I wear foundation, blush, mascara, eyeliner, and brow pencil, just not every day. I save them for shooting and networking events. When I’m not doing anything film oriented, I go au natural. I might wash my face if it gets dirty but mostly I don’t wash at all really. I remove makeup by rubbing in an oil of some sort with my fingertips then removing with a very warm washcloth. I might follow up with a chemical exfoliator or not depending if I feel like it. I would really love to not wear makeup, but I’ve discerned that I am just not as noticeable or attractive to the opposite sex when I don’t. I look like an albino. A simple fact for me. Anyway really enjoying your website. Have been binge reading.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much for reading, Julie. And, thank you for sharing your experience. I think we all have to find the approach to makeup that we’re most comfortable with. There’s certainly no ‘one right way’ that works for everyone. And, like you said, makeup is a job requirement in your field!

  98. Absolutely love this, Mrs. FW. I too have been free of the above beauty routines for some time. My CeraVe cleanser and moisturizer (Walmart, roughly $12 and lasts me about 6 months) do me just fine, as does my Great Lash mascara. My skin has actually improved since I went makeup free, I think because it can breathe now. Before, I would NEVER leave the house sans makeup – what would people think? Now I’ve learned to love the real me and it is SO freeing (and it rocks the budget!). The local Great Clips here had a sale this week for $7.99 haircuts, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. My at-home haircuts serve me just fine. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Love it! Your routine sounds exactly like mine :). I completely agree that it’s wonderfully liberating to go without makeup. I look the way I look :)! And I’m with you on the at-home haircuts–once we realized Mr. FW could cut my hair just fine, I’ll never go back to a salon!

  99. Jo says:

    As someone who also follows a low-expense and low-maintenance ‘beauty’ routine, I do love the message here. One expense I fret about and maybe you found a solution –what razor do you buy? I loathe the idea of disposable razors and the blade refills for the plastic women’s razors are so darn expensive. I was looking into the Dollar Shave Club. Sorry if I missed this in the comments or another blog post.

  100. Jessica says:

    “That’s thousands of dollars spent per woman over the course of her lifetime all in service of the notion that there’s something wrong with us.”

    This really resonated with me. You are absolutely right, but it takes a lot of confidence to get to the point where you can ignore those marketing messages. Kudos to you, you are an inspiration!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much! It definitely took me awhile to get to this place of confidence–I certainly haven’t always felt this way. But, I’m grateful to be here now–it’s so liberating for me to enjoy my natural skin :).

  101. I think this is wonderful! I have been wearing less and less makeup over the years, which my husband prefers anyways, but still haven’t made the leap to go without completely. Hopefully, someday I will have the confidence to do so. I have though completely stopped using shampoo and conditioner and the results were actually amazing as I am able to go without anti-frizz products now and is saving me a boatload of money. I do believe it is healthier for your body to not slather all sorts of chemicals on your scalp and skin so maybe over time your skin will adjust and your acne will naturally go away. Also, have you tried using coconut oil? I use it to moisturize (a little goes a long way) but it apparently is also good for acne. Might be worth a shot. Keep it up!

  102. Cary Fortin says:

    Mrs. FW!

    Thank you SO much for this post! I was introduced to your blog a few weeks ago by my best friend (she and her husband and my husband and I all embarked on frugal lifestyles in the past few years) and am digging in the archives because you have written SO MUCH amazing stuff! (btw, sorry for the exclamation points, except I really mean them all:)

    I too have struggled with acne from my early teens through my early 30s and so resonated with your story of medications/herbal and holistic remedies/complete diet overhauls/painful extractions. All of which is to say I appreciate your story and transparency. And you have totally inspired me to way reduce (my already reduced) make-up to just mascara and a spot concealer only on work days for the biggest and baddest of my acne (since I work very up close and personal with clients).

    Thank you for being you, your writing and story and honesty are a massive inspiration!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much, Cary! I really appreciate your kind words :). And, many congrats to you for embracing the frugal life–that’s awesome! Isn’t adult acne so fun ;)?

  103. Holly says:

    I loved this post. I was curious at first if this was another I don’t wear makeup post from someone with “nice” skin. I’ve struggled with the makeup thing for a long time, especially now with rosacia (but mostly due to growing up with a very judgmental mother). There are so many activities I’ve wanted to participate in but because of either being obese or feeling like I had to put makeup on to do them (which is a chore when you are chronically tired from medical issues) I did nothing instead. This is something I’m still working on, including letting my gray hair come in and my now not so blonde hair turn brown. Due to pcos I’ve lost quite of bit of my “one true beauty”…naturally curly blonde hair. I now have some balding spots in the front and back of my scalp and I feel the blonde conceals this, but it is a chore to color my hair every 3 months. At least I’ve always done it myself as well as my own haircuts! I also have to paint my toenails because I live in Florida and live in sandals but I have toenail fungus that has made my toes freaky looking. Not sure I should make others deal with it. I really appreciate all the things you’ve said in this post about letting woman just look like the human beings they are. I find I’m having to avoid certain places to not feel I have to participate in this beauty makeover society, but more so I realize the influence I’ve had on my 9 year old daughter. I’m very careful not to talk about my body in front of her, as my very small mother did this to me, but I’ve always worn makeup before we go out of the house and now she’s wanting to wear it before we go to the park. ;-/

  104. Rita says:

    Dear Mrs Frugalwoods. I’ve only recently discovered your blog and I’m hooked! You are both SO INSPIRING! Thank you for all that you do! I have so many questions but instead of bombarding you with them I’ll just ask one now pertaining to this post. You mention you use a “fragrance-free gentle lotion for my face/hands/growing pregnant belly”. Would you mind sharing which one it is that you use? Once again thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us, you are both amazing!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi Rita! Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words :). I use Cetaphil fragrance-free moisturizing cream on my face and hands and then I’ve been putting Palmer’s Cocoa Butter lotion on my (now 37 weeks) pregnant belly, which has kept stretch marks and dry/itchy skin at bay. Not sure if these are the best products out there, but they seem to work well for me and they’re not too expensive (I get both on Amazon–seems to be cheaper there than at Costco or even the dollar store). Hope this helps :)!

  105. Caroline says:

    I think that even if one does want to wear a bit of makeup (like mascara and lip gloss for example), the budget brands are very, very often just as good as the ultra- expensive, supposedly luxury ones. There are exceptions of course, but a plain and short-ingredient-list cleanser of a generic type gets your face clean… right? So why pay literally hundreds for a nice smell? I have been very fortunate not to suffer with skin issues, so all that I habitually wear is tinted moisturiser with built-in sunblock (with extra sun block on hot or sunny days), which walks the line between zero makeup and a tiny bit of evening out and brightening of an otherwise super-pale and sometimes blotchy face, mascara and MAYBE eyeliner / lip gloss if I think of it or have time. I do go a bit more extravagant for special occasions, but in general, that’s that, and sometimes it’s just the tinted moisturiser and that’s all. Ditto for expensive hair products; supermarket shampoo, nice simple moisturising soap bar, floss, toothpaste of a standard, inexpensive brand… etcetera. The one area where I do actually spend a lot and it is the big exception… is on hair cuts / colour. Unlike you, I have hair that is… unfortunate. None of this gorgeous thick chestnut mane you have, oh dear… no. Deep mouse, almost grey in hue (not actually greying, just a dirty colour), very fine, extremely limp and flyaway. No at home haircut, it genuinely does take the services of a trained professional to get it into a style of any description, and he puts some highlights in as well, which make a remarkable difference! But woweee…. the price in terms of money and time is high! I accept it though since it makes a really major and significant improvement to my appearance. Totally vain, totally unrelated to health… but… really… there are limits!

  106. Tera says:

    I agree completely with your post: I’ve never grasped the fine art of proper maquillage and I don’t really care. My overall morning routine is very fast and I’ve also found out that my skin is a lot better since I skipped the few beauty products I was forcing myself to use because – you know – “you have to follow a certain beauty routine once you’re past 30”.
    Now I only use coconut oil and a bar of soap to clean my face at night and just bar soap in the morning and my skin has improved so much.
    I use a light cream to mosturize and I’ve stopped wearing foundation and just use powder. If I wake up with a pimple then …I don’t mind, it will go with few drops of tea tree oil and a bit of patience. Now my make up bag has only a black kajal, a red lipstick, 1 nail polish, a chapstick and powder and I’m ok like this. Twice a month I have a face mask with all natural ingredients like avocado, cucumber etc…and my skin is 10 times better than it used to be. Also, I’ve started to value my overall wellbeing: getting more active physically and trying to eat clean (still working on this ‘though) and having fun in general. So much better than obsessing over my imperfections.

  107. Nora says:

    I love your post – I wish I could apply it but I think it’s part of taking some luxuries and applying others. I love hair, nails, and makeup so that’s my luxury! I try to save what I can on it, knowing that it would be more frugal to forgo, but it makes me happy. I love that you explain your reasoning but don’t bash the other side.

    If you’re ever feeling completely unfrugal, Viriditas Skin Therapy in Providence is my acne saving grace. Bimonthly facials and a manageable skincare routine have basically cured my adult acne. Which in turn saves me from spending too much money on makeup. Probably too far of a drive but just thought I’d add it!

    My main reason for commenting is to comment you on considering Babywoods. My mother never utters negative self talk unless it’s something obvious (oh these are too tight) and it was very gratifying as a child. She’s also very low maintenance which helps inspire me. I think it’s made me a little more high maintenance (loving to play with makeup since I never did) but it’s good to see a confident alternative.

  108. Toria says:

    Your skin sounds just like mine! The second I stop taking the oral contraceptive pill, I break out in red, painful, cystic acne. I too was hooked on the makeup merry-go-round of applying makeup to cover pimples, many of which were invariably caused by the application of the makeup I was using to hide them. *groan*
    I’m grateful to the pill for the help it’s given me, but I still pretty much always have at least 1 pimple on my face (I should mention that I’m 35). I’ve come to accept it in a way and I’ve even started not wearing makeup (gasp!) on weekends.
    It might be a while before I am as confident as you, but being free from the socially imposed regimen feels so good, I’m well on the way.

  109. I’ll play devil’s advocate and throw a question out there:
    Does it matter more to keep up with beauty expectations if you are still single and looking for a mate?

    I wear comfortable, cheap clothing to work, and my female coworkers wear nice clothing and do their make-up and hair differently.
    Not only do they get more male attention, I feel like this could be potentially helping them with corporate politics.
    They are noticed, which allows whatever good work they do to be acknowledged.

    Just a thought!

  110. Katherine Saunders says:

    Dear Mrs. Frugalwoods,
    Your blog was recommended to my this very day, and I’ve spent some time tonight reading a variety of past postings. A little over 5 years ago I drastically altered my beauty routine in an effort to be more frugal and natural. I was in school and dirt poor. A great time to be innovative! My first step was to eliminate the use of shampoo and conditioner. I switched to baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinses. This past fall I advanced my frugality by making gallons of ACV using apples given to me by friends with apple trees. YAY FREE! I have also stopped using lotions and moisturizers and use olive oil and coconut oil instead, which I always keep on hand for cooking. I also learned how to make soap from a friend of mine and have enough bars to keep me in soap for years!
    A couple of years ago I went on a year long makeup fast. I wore nothing on my face except on special occasions. This was more of a lesson in vanity than in frugality. I have very light eyelashes and never thought I could look beautiful or feminine without mascara on (I’ve never been a foundation wearer). After a year I came to terms with my face and its natural beauty. I began to wear mascara and eye shadow again, but without the anxious dependence attached to it. These days it’s mostly just mascara in order to achieve “le no-makeup look”.
    Lately I’ve been making my own cosmetics using ingredients I have in my kitchen. This saves me a ton of money and I also get to feel like a scientist doing experiments in my laboratory. I make masks, and scrubs, and eye shadow, and mascara, and toothpaste, and face wash, and today I made eyebrow “pommade” to give my brows a bit of a tint. And it’s all chemical free!
    I’ll stop raving now. Although I COULD go on! I’m so glad to know I’m not the only weirdo out there! Thanks for sharing.


  111. Sharon says:

    Oh my goodness this is a tough one for me… Just as I am an emotional shopper I am also getting a bit long in the tooth and therefore worried about wrinkles etc. it’s a shaker road to give up consumerism when it’s tied to how you feel about yourself… Bad day? Shop online for a new pair of shoes. Bad day? Eat a sundae! Must give up both and am relying on this blog to help me to healthier spending! For so long when the kids were young, frugality was a way of life…. Then in the blink of an eye, they were grown and we had more ready cash. Man, I need to rethink!!!

  112. Dawn says:

    It is so nice to hear from someone who has given up make-up and doesn’t feel like they’ve lost all confidence! I never wear make up day to day, and I rarely even use skincare products (pure laziness on my part). I’ve been thinking about replacing all my make up with cruelty free 100% vegan versions, but then I had this amazing thought… why bother? The reason it needs replacing is because its all 5 years old and unused.. so why spend $300 or so replacing it when I probably won’t end up wearing it anyways. I do wear it once or twice a year on special occasions, but even then I use very little. I also never wear nail polish, never have fake nails and never do anything with my hair but run a brush through it. I use to worry about my looks, but as I’ve gotten older I realised I just don’t care how I look, as look as I’m hygienic 🙂 I think I’m going to follow your example and put the effort into my health rather than my looks.

    P.S I also have horrible acne, it’s the one thing I can’t handle because I like to pick at it and give myself huge scars. I tried Accuntane, which did work as long as I was on the pills but has horrible side effects, and as soon as I stop the pills the acne comes right back. I’ve now found a cream from my doctor which works just as well, without the nasty side effects. It’s called EpiDuo.

  113. Potimarron says:

    I wear makeup but no foundation (apart from for Big Occasions like weddings and my dancing competitions). I’m a bit concerned that if I start wearing base every day it’ll start to feel like something I MUST do just to go out for a bottle of milk (either because I’ll forget what my natural face looks like and be horrified by it (like Dorian Gray seeing his portrait) or because it’ll make my skin worse and then make me more likely to trowel it on).

    Come to think of it, I suspect a lot of hair and beauty stuff is self re-inforcing. I use a hairdryer or straightening/curling irons about twice a year and my hairdresser always comments on how good the condition of my hair is. I’m sure this is because I don’t dry it out with styling.

    Just found your blog and I think it’s great- keep it up!

  114. Jamie says:

    I love this! I don’t wear makeup except for weddings, so these days about 2-4 times a year. Needless to say, I spend next to nothing on makeup – I’ll often get ready with friends and borrow products. I do like having my nails done for special occasions – I really need to start practicing so I can do this myself. It’s a really unnecessary expense!

  115. Annie says:

    Mrs FW, this post has resonated with me since you posted it more than a year ago. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic and inspiring me to think differently.

  116. Sukhi says:

    Can I make a recommendation for saving money on shaving? I use a little device called Blade Buddy to help replenish the razor on my disposable razors. I buy a pack of razors in bulk from my local wholesale store (usually Gillette Venus razors). Each time I shave, I simply run the razor over the blade buddy, and the razor is sharpened. It is amazing. I have only bought a replacement for my pack of razors once a year since using Blade Buddy. And I have been doing this for several years now. Hope it helps!

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