October 31, 2012

How To Look Like A Million Bucks When You’re Broke As Hell

Hair

Having worked in the hair industry for about three years, I know that a bitch’s (or a bro’s) hair is like, mega important. But if you’re legitimately broke, it’s hard to maintain any upkeep unless it comes from a peroxide bottle. Here are some experimental things I’ve done (or heard of) in the effort of looking chic while my bank account is looking ugly.

1. Lighten your color. Everyone deserves a little makeover, broke or not, and my suggestion here is definitely the most cost-effective. You can lighten your hair with two household items you most likely have already (especially if your broke ass is living with your parents): lemon juice and water. (Why do parents always have lemon juice in their fridge? Do they know something we don’t?) Find an empty spray bottle, combine the two about 50/50, spray the mixture and get some sunshine for an hour or so before washing your hair. You’ll need a deep conditioner afterward (the acidity of the lemon juice will dry your hair out if not), but really a deep conditioning treatment is just leaving your regular conditioner on for a really, really long time. The more frequently you do this, the lighter your hair will get, so be forewarned. But hey baby, that shit looks more natural than a salon job and it’s like 99% less expensive than pretty much every other option.

2. Don’t get trims, get ‘dustings.’ LOL, so bougie right? “Will you just dust the ends, plebe?” But seriously, a dusting just removes the very tips of the hair and will cost closer to a bang trim than to an actual trim. If you play your dusting cards right, your hair will grow longer and you’ll only need a legitimate trim every three months or so. (Trims are also less expensive than haircuts, be forewarned before making an appointment.)

3. Check the ‘free’ section on Craigslist. This place is a treasure trove of free blow outs, highlights, cuts, you name it. Bumble and Bumble gives free cuts to ‘hair models’ on the regular– only catch is, you have to be willing to let them get all experimental on your head. Most postings I’ve seen have been for pixie cuts, so if you’re in the middle of an identity and financial crisis, this might be the best way to go.

4. If you’ve got a little cash to burn (I mean, real little), head to a beauty school and let them do your cuts. I highly recommend Aveda Institutes. I got a beautiful cut and blow out for like… $18. In New York City. I know, gurl. This is a real thing that’s happening. (Also, I checked in on Foursquare and they gave me a free sampling of some of their products. Double win!

5. Wash your hair with beer or eggs. The hops in beer are known to soften your hair, and eggs contain all the vitamins and proteins that the expensive shampoos brag about on their packaging. Warnings: Don’t discard the egg yolk, that’s where all the action’s at. You hair isn’t on a diet, hon. No egg whites today. Also, don’t use too-hot water when rinsing or the eggs will scramble in your hair. Not very appetizing.

6. Grow out them highlights. Don’t you know ombre-style is totally IN? OK, so it was in like a year ago, but I still think it’s adorable.

7. Make your own hair mask with avocado and mayonnaise. Sounds like the beginning of a killer sandwich, but it’s a quick and simple recipe that makes for a great encore following your adventures with DIY highlights.

Clothes

Clothes are so depressing sometimes. What’s their deal? Why are they constantly screwing us over? I don’t know as much about clothing as I do about hair, but some of these tips are REAL. Especially this first one.

1. I have a solution for fixing zippers that keep unzipping. I KNOW. SOMEONE GET ME A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR THIS SHIT. So, if you’re a broke gal or guy, you probably have both of these things: a pair of pants that can’t stay zipped for more than three minutes, and some sort of cheap ass aerosol hairspray. You will XYZ nevermore. (Examine Your Zipper, if that expression got lost somewhere in the 90s.) Take some of that 99 cent store spray and give your zipper a quick squirt. Don’t worry about unzipping it again to go the bathroom — the force of the Aquanet is stronger than the pants you’ve probably considered burning in protest for all the times they’ve let you down.

2. STOP BUYING CLOTHES, YOU SICK FREAK. Look. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: just because something looks pretty hanging in your closet doesn’t mean it looks pretty on you. You know it. I know it. Take that jam to a thrift store and trade it in for something that fits the “you” now and not the “you who has gained 20 pounds/ lost 20 pounds/ is too damn old to be wearing overalls.” I know it’s hard to part with the clothing you love (by the way, inanimate objects, guys. They will never love you back. Especially when you’re practically painting them onto your suddenly mammoth ass.) Feeling good about yourself is usually the missing link when it comes to feeling attractive, so I’m not trying to shame people who love a good shopping moment — lord knows I do — but be smarter about it. Trade your things in and buy secondhand. There is no shame in the secondhand game. It’s a barter system, like Oregon Trail! Take the opportunity to experiment with your style — you might find something new that you would’ve never considered wearing before, and if that’s not the case, you can likely sell it back. I’ve probably spent less than $200 on new clothes in the last year because I’m mostly just trading and selling back on the reg. My favorite stores of the moment are Crossroads Trading and Buffalo Exchange. I feel less judged there.

3. Host a clothing swap. When some of your items get rejected from the thrift stores (and oh, they will), get a bunch of your other rejected friends together and host a clothing swap. And make it a potluck, ’cause free dinner and leftovers, hayyy.

4. And y’know, once the clothing swap is over, you’re going to be stuck with a bunch of clothes no one wanted. A sad, lonely pile of clothes that didn’t make the cut. Unfortunately, hurricane victims who were hit hardest aren’t in the position to receive packages of clothing at this point, but those clothes can still be useful if you’re strategic about it. Red Cross suggests money donations over canned goods and clothing right now, so get off your broke ass and throw a yard sale. Get rid of all the other things you don’t need. Make some money. Kick some back to charity. Be attractive inside and out, homie.

Skin & Nails & Other Stuff

Who could forget skin, nails, and other stuff?

1. When it comes down to nails, I say go natural. Short, clean nails are not to be feared. This has nothing to do with some secret feminist agenda I have, I just really believe that a short clean nail is almost unheard of, or like, ‘wrong,’ thus making them avant-garde and like, way chicer than um… newspaper print nails or whatever’s trendy now. You can’t go wrong with the classics, you know? Unpolished nails are the new french manicure. You heard it here first. (Now excuse me while I vomit in my mouth for a hot second).

2. Speaking of nails, garlic is the way to go. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a bulb of garlic sitting in your refrigerator screaming “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE, EVEN?” The answer, my friends, is your nails. Garlic juice makes your nails shiny and strong. Peel a clove of garlic, pierce it, and let its sweet, sweet juices flow over your nails for all eternity. Or, until you can’t stand the smell any longer. Then wash your hands, freak.

3. Make a homemade face mask. There are tons of recipes to get your skin game on point, but my recommendation is mashing up a banana into a paste and putting it on your face for 20 minutes, then rinsing it off with cool water. (You can also add plain yogurt and a dash of honey into the mix if you’re in the mood for breakfast and multitasking.) I think the banana mask is particularly efficient because who has time to eat a bunch of bananas before they start devolving into — not to be crude — the flaccid penis of the fruit world? Not this girl.

4. Stop waxing your eyebrows. While we’re on that natural tip, can we just stop waxing our eyebrows? You’re broke, hon. Don’t do this to yourself. Maybe whip out some tweezers if you’re dangerously close to Unibrow City, but other than that, be you. Your big eyebrows probably just need a little trim, if that. Some people have to pencil in their sparse eyebrows, and here you are committing genocide on yours for being too… what? Interesting? Natural? You? In case you forgot, a full eyebrow can be sexy. Brooke Shields, Audrey Hepburn, byeee.

5. Make some friends who work in beauty PR. Do you know how many free products these ladies get? Well I do. I was once one of them. I will not have to purchase makeup for the next 15 years (or however long it takes for makeup to expire).

6. Cover your hands in vaseline and put on some rubber gloves for a few hours. Don’t know if this actually works, but Miranda on Sex and the City mentioned doing it once so IT MUST BE TRUE.

Feel free to share your broke bitch fixes in the comments. TC mark

Stephanie Georgopulos

Steph is a former editor at Thought Catalog and a current writer at Studio@Gawker. Her work has appeared on Glamour, …