Tips for the Cheap and/or Lazy

Do you have champagne and caviar tastes on a beer and chunk light tuna budget? Come with me.

This post will be a few parts DIY, a dash of We Try It, and a bit of Ways to Make Your Life Easier.

OPI James Bond 18 Karat Gold Top Coat DIY

I like pretty things. I like looking at them, fondly caressing them, carrying them around the store so I can pretend I am going to buy them, but then I remember I am cheap as hell and put them back. One of my very favorite things is nail polish. I have way too many, and I can get caught up in the polish aisle of any store for much too long. The other day, while browsing the local beauty supply, I came across this sexy bastard-

Shiny gold OPI nail polish inside black box (The Man with the Golden Gun)
Image courtesy of

18 karat gold top coat that dries like gold fleck? Seriously, that shit is bananas. Even more ridiculous? It costs $30. Fuck. That. The lovely young woman at the store was trying to sell me on being, “One of the only people around with real gold on my nails!” Yeah, I don’t care. Still, I’m not going to lie to you all; I wanted that shit. Wanted it bad. But I pick my nail polish off regularly, so buying a $30 bottle of polish wasn’t going to happen. I knew I could figure out a way to fashion my own. Behold:

Kym's toes painted dark brown with gold flecks on the big toe. Note- Kym's toes are pretty ugly
Please excuse my gnarly toes. I swear they aren’t that hideous from farther away.

I had to head over to San Juan Bautista last weekend, a quaint little town with nothing much besides the Mission and some adorable little downtown shops. At the gem store – because all quaint little downtowns have a gem store –  I bought one of those vials of gold flakes for $2.95. You can find them online here: Gold Flake Vials Lot of 2 Great for Crafting by LuxMeaChristus. I painted my toes, then added another layer of top coat. While it was still wet, I took little chunks of the flakes and carefully stuck them to the polish. You can use tweezers, but I found it easier to lick my finger, grab up a few flecks, then gently apply them. Another quick tip: turn off the ceiling fan before you do this or your pile of gold will strew itself about the living room. Not that anyone would be that dumb. Ahem.

I think one could probably dump the vial into a bottle of clear polish and get a similar effect, but I am waiting for back-up bottles of flecks before I waste the one I bought. Total savings: $27.05.

Glitter Polish Remover

Who out there loves glitter polish but refuses to use it because trying to get it off requires a sand blaster? No more, my friends, no more. Meet my new friend, the Seche Vite Quick Dry Top Coat:

bottle of clear Seche Vite Top Coat Nail Polish
Image courtesy of

But Kym, you may be wondering, how on earth does a quick dry top coat make it easier to get glitter polish off? By using it as a base coat, that’s how. I don’t know why, I’m sure the more science-minded among us could explain, but when used as a base coat, this polish makes peeling off nail polish a snap. No more wrestling with harsh remover and cotton pads. Simply peel it off. Like magic. It is also a great, fast drying top coat. One caveat: on occasion, you will find yourself with one nail completely bare because your shoes rubbed the nail just right and peeled the polish off for you in one sheet. That is a risk I am willing to take because I love glitter polish almost as much as I love my mother. You can purchase this online at head2toebeauty, though I will warn you in advance that you might end up with a cart full of cheap, awesome polish.

BB Cream

I had read about this new magical make-up product, BB Cream, a few months ago. It is a moisturizer, SPF, and lightly tinted foundation all in one. As you may know, I am super hairy, which means I have a bunch of very fine, very light hair on my face as well as the abundance on the rest of my body. As such, tinted moisturizers do nothing for me but stain the hairs on my face and give me a visible beard. It isn’t pretty. I have been hesitant to try anything similar since that realization, but I was at Target the other day and saw that Cover Girl has a BB Cream for $6.99. One of the things I despise about my skin is the little dry flakes it gets when I try to use foundation to even it out. Even if I super lotion up beforehand, I still get those little noticeable flakes of skin. Not anymore, my friends, not anymore. I am in love with my BB Cream. It provides a really light coverage that evens out your skin tone and doesn’t look at all “foundation-y.” Since I like my morning routine to be as quick and painless as possible, this stuff is the bee’s knees. It totally fulfills the cheap and lazy sides of my life.

cover girl BB Cream packaged and hanging on a store hook
Image courtesy of

Eyelash Tinting

Okay, bear with me here. This is going to sound insane to many people, but I swear, I love it. Eyelash tinting is amazing. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. You go to the salon and they dye your eyelashes just like they would dye your hair. I read quite a few fashion magazines and beauty blogs, and I see a number of quizzes where, when people are asked what the one item of make-up they don’t leave the house without wearing is, they respond  “mascara.” I personally HATE mascara because I rub my eyes too much throughout the day and end up looking like a raccoon by mid-day. On the other hand, my eyelashes are many different colors, so they look sparse without a quick brush of the wand. With dyed eyelashes, you always have black lashes, whether it is 2 a.m. at the club or first thing in the morning, without the requisite smudges everywhere if you forget (or are too lazy) to wash your face the night before. It’s magical and awesome.

This does not fall into the “cheap” category, unfortunately. It is usually around $20-$25 per appointment, and the results last for about 2 months. If you have the funds, I would highly recommend it. The responses people have to recently dyed lashes are interesting. They know that something is different, but they can’t put their finger on it. It really does make your eyes pop. I know, I know, some people will think it is ridiculous that I would allow someone to put dye that close to my eyes all for the sake of vanity, but hey, I like the way it looks. We all run the risk of crazy fungal infections at manicure and pedicure places that don’t clean properly and my hairstylist could stab me in the eye while trimming my bangs. I just keep my eyes closed tight and hope for the best. It really does burn like a son of a gun if it gets in there, but I haven’t been blinded yet. Finger’s crossed.

What are your tips for expediting a morning routine? Do you do make-up, or prefer to go bare-faced? Is their one item of makeup you can’t live without? Who’s going to try the gold flake????

15 replies on “Tips for the Cheap and/or Lazy”

I wish I had cheaper hair products. I use the Curly Girl Method, so I use two organic conditioners, Giovanni ($8) and Aubrey ($11.50). And my styling product, Kinky Curly, is like $17. The best deal I found for Giovanni Conditioners is to buy the big bottles from Marshall or TJ Maxx for like $10, but I think they only sometimes have it.

I have very pale body hair, including my eyelashes and eyebrows. I’m going to check out the eyelash tinting you mention, but my biggest problem has always been my eyebrows. If I didn’t fill them in with pencil/powder/gel you’d hardly see them. But I rub my face too much, so I was always rubbing my eyebrows off! On a trip to WalMart a while ago, I found Bigen Hair Dye, which is a powder you can mix as you need it (just add water). One little bottle cost about $3. I use an old, thoroughly cleaned, mascara wand to swipe the dye onto my eyebrows. About once every 2 weeks I mix up a little Bigen in a small dish, swipe it on, let it set for about 5 minutes (this stuff works fast) and now I have eyebrows that pop and won’t wipe off. I’ve had the same bottle for months, so I have defiantly saved money on eyebrow make-up. And on more mid-day touch-ups!

That stuff sounds awesome! I had never thought of dying my brows until I nannied for an aesthetician in college, and she would wax & dye my brows and tiny my lashes for free. It was seriously like looking at a whole new face. Makes such a big difference. I am going to get myself some Bigin’s. thanks for the tip!

My current favourite thing is solid shampoo from Lush. Yes, a bit pricier than my usual bottle of whatever’s on special in Boots, but with the amount I’ve used so far (washing my hair at least once every 2 days) it should last months. And no plastic, and no 250ml fluid allowance when flying.

LUSH! I love Lush so much. I once spent a week in there just so I would smell like it (which is a lie). I pissed off the staff by asking for a sample of, like, everything since I have no money.

The solid shampoo sounds like a stroke of genius, I’ll definitely check that one out.

I’ve been cautious to jump on the solid shampoo band wagon. My biggest concern is that it wouldn’t last as long as I’ve read. I have a really oily scalp, but can’t stand sulfates, so with most non-sulfate shampoos I usually have to shampoo twice (every other day). So I guess I’m asking – does it really last long enough to merit the price?

I’ve barely made a dent in it so far, but I’d have to come back to you on that. What I’ve found is that I’m using only what I need – I run the bar over my hair, lather it up, rinse, and repeat if needed – instead of guessing how much I need and pouring varying amounts into my hand.

I have issues with strong smells, and am around chemical sensitive people periodically. (I use borax to wash my clothes at my mom’s and scent free detergent at the laundromat, and use scent free extra strength deodorant.) Every time I’ve gone to the door of a Lush, the smell has made me feel ill- it’s too much, and too overpowering.

Leave a Reply