Should I Save Money On Beauty Treatments, or Go to a Pro?

Keeping yourself beautiful (whether male or female) can be pricey. You can save money on beauty by doing some tasks yourself, but some things are best left to the professionals. There is no need to spend more than you should. However, if you attempt a procedure beyond your capabilities, you could wind up with an Oops! I Did It Again moment that will cost you far more to correct than you would have spent had you gone to a pro in the first place.

Exfoliation and Skin Care

What you do can safely:

Unless you have very sensitive skin, it’s almost always safe to exfoliate rough dry skin on most areas of your body with an oatmeal-based scrub or mask created from ingredients found in your kitchen. To remove dry, flaky skin from feet, try a pumice stone. A clean toothbrush is ideal for smoothing the skin on your lips. If you opt to or purchase an over-the-counter exfoliation kit or mask, look for products made with natural ingredients. Either way, do a patch test first.

Try this Oatmeal Coconut Cookie Body Scrub for yummy-DIY exfoliation!

What’s best left to the experts:

Resist the temptation to attempt to perform your own chemical peel. Likewise, those gadgets that promise to shave away rough dry skin on your heels should remain in the store. And it goes without saying that attempting to pop pimples – whether with your finger or an at-home extractor – is a bad idea.

Manicures and Pedicures

What you can do safely:

Women have been doing their own manicures and pedicures for decades. It’s even easier if you have one or more friends with whom you can trade the favor – she does your nails and you do hers. However, you should each use your own tools to prevent the possible spread of infection. Sharing nail polish is less tricky.

What’s best left to the experts:

You should not attempt complex procedures such as applying gel nails at home. There are just too many ways that things can go wrong. In extreme cases, you may need a dermatologist to correct the damage. Dermatologists = expensive.

Unwanted Hair Removal

What you can do safely:

Tweezing and waxing are each safe and effective (if painful!) means of dealing with overly bushy brows or for both men and women. Men shave their faces or shape mustaches and beards of course. Women also employ shaving and at-home depilatory treatments to remove unwanted leg and underarm hair, although depilatories are often loaded with smelly chemicals and don’t always work well.

What’s best left to the experts:

Although some women shave or wax away unwanted hair along the bikini line with no problems, razor bumps and irritation are a very common result. It’s really best to leave hair removal from this sensitive area to the experts, especially if you’re prone to scarring (which is expensive to. Movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin aside, men should leave body waxing to the pros. Likewise, neither men nor women who have not been trained should take on eyebrow threading.

Hair Color

What you can do safely:

It’s no secret that the pros really hate boxed home hair color kits. Still, many women (and an increasing number of men) use home hair color kits to cover their gray in a bid to look younger. As long as you’re not straying too far from your natural shade, in most cases, home hair color kits are fine – although patch tests are mandatory. Women who are pregnant or nursing or anyone whose hair is chemically processed (e.g. relaxers or curly perms) should consider holding off or at least opting for semi-permanent shades. Enlisting the help of a friend ensures an even color job and allows you to limit color to new growth – not your scalp or previously-colored strands.

What’s best left to the experts:

If you’re a blonde trapped under a mane of dark hair, the only way to realize your flaxen-haired ambitions is with a double-process hair color job. If you’re tempted to try this at home, remember the term “bottle blonde” exists for a reason. Likewise, if you’ve opted to go gray, a stylist can apply specially-formulated silver coloring to give your hair a silky sheen and eliminate the dull yellow cast that gray hair can have. If you have foolishly attempted your own drastic color job which resulted in brassy straw-like strands, get thee to a stylist ASAP. Don’t even think about trying those home hair color correcting kits or you may wind up with no hair at all.

Hair Styling

What you can do safely:

Yes, you can cut your own bangs or trim away split ends if you are a woman. Yes, you can have someone clean up the nape of your neck or your sideburns if you are a man. The key is to go slowly and clip conservatively when trimming your own hair.

Trying new styles that don’t involve lots of chemicals, cutting, or permanent color are always safe.

What’s best left to the experts:

If you’re old enough, you may remember infomercials for gadgets like the Flowbee that promised to produce professional style haircuts for men, women and children. There’s a reason those gadgets aren’t around anymore. Any substantial change in your hairstyle, specifically involving chemicals, really should be done by a pro. If you ignore this advice and wind up with a hack job – run, do not walk to a stylist and let him or her fix the mess and remind yourself your hair will eventually grow back.

Penny Wise or Pound Foolish?

If you have doubts about whether you can perform a proposed beauty or grooming ritual yourself, that’s probably a good indication that you shouldn’t try it. Some do-it-yourself procedures, such as hair coloring, work much better if you enlist the help of a second person. Even if you are confident of your ability to take on a specific task, it’s important to exercise patience and care to ensure the best possible results.