1. Face. Speaking of face washes, Olay and other top labels have been making a big fuss about their cleansing systems - a powered scrub brush that sells for no less than $30. Ironically enough, today's Target Daily Deal is a whole set that, even at nearly half off, sells for $35.99. Here's my frugal alternative: for $1.99 you can pick up these little items at Target (by the cotton balls):
There are twelve sponges in here and about once or twice a week, use it when you wash your face with cleanser. Try it out before a big night out in case you experience some redness or flaking.
2. Nails. Nothing can replace a great pedicure at your little salon down the street. I just can't afford the $30-50 visit more than every couple of months so I've learned to do a great pedicure at home. (This also applies to manicures.) Consider taking half of what it would cost to get your toes done and invest in great products. OPI top coat, a good nail file & buffer, and two colors (one nude/neutral and one statement). The OPI top coat will make the color last days longer than most brands found at the drug store. Purchase from Ulta with a $3.50 off coupon and you'll get the supplies you need for under $20.
3. Hair. My favorite little secret relates to the hair washing habits of stay-at-home moms. I don't shower very often...really. All you women know that it's more than a ten-minute shower; it's a total reset that leads to at least 30-40 minutes of recovery. So while I don't shower very often, I kinda hate using expensive products when I'm just staying at home (who wants to waste great hair on an insignificant day?!). But I'm not always happy with the results of cheap products. So here's whatcha do: buy a set of cheap shampoo & conditioner (my choice: Suave Professionals Rosemary Mint, less than $2/bottle) and use those on regular washings.
Then on days you've got a hot date (or a play date!), use the good stuff. Ulta and Beauty Brands often have liter sales between $11-14 (match with a coupon for even more savings). The liter will last a looooong time; you can actually use Matrix or Biolage or Paul Mitchell, and not feel an ounce of guilt.
4. Make-Up. Finally, splurge on make-up from your favorite fancy department store...but only during Bonus Buys. You'll be amazed at how your stock will grow with useful stuff that you get.for.free. Like Clinique at Belk is having a huge Bonus that's FREE with a $23.50 purchase.
and a cute cosmetic bag
Not sure what to get? Let me recommend their Butter Shine Lipstick in Delovely ($15) and Touch Base for Eyes in Canvas or Up-Lighting.