Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

How to look well groomed when you are poor

(60 Posts)
Chamomiletea Tue 11-Apr-17 23:39:01

We are on a very tight budget.

All the threads I see revolve around:

Simple but elegant clothes

All of these require money! I literally can't afford the hairdresser or to get my nails and eyebrows done.

How can I do this at home, cheaply but well?

Also I need a new pair of boots for winter I can only afford one pair, we live in the country I was thinking some short hunters? I would love some leather ankle boots has anyone seen any that are cheap but classic?

Any money we have is going to savings for my massive dentists bills sad

Starface Tue 11-Apr-17 23:48:10

I am not sure if I qualify to answer here. However here are some ideas:

Clark's do some serviceable ankle boots that are reasonably priced. Have done the same style for several years that have a good thick sole and lasted well. Not country though so may not withstand severe bashing.

Nails can be done at home. Gel nails totally unnecessary. A simple paint job kept in good nick does look good. Even just keeping them tidy and buffed is better than nothing.

Ditto eyebrows. Get them done once and well if you are unconfident, but you can stay on top of it yourself with a pair of tweezers.

With hair you want a style that isn't going to look too ratty with a bit of growth. Not sure what to suggest here. A long simple Bob perhaps?

Clothes - well you will have to spend something. But you can do quite well for little. Usual rules of shopping in sales etc. Go for simple and classic, and then things last for more seasons etc.

Good luck!

NeedABumChange Tue 11-Apr-17 23:53:56

You can get hair and nails done at local collage for minimal. Hair is £5 for cut and blow dry, £15 for any colour in London. Had some really good haircuts, they are all supervised fully. I often use very posh salon in Baker Street that has trainees. Eyebrows you can do yourself.

If no local collage then watch some YouTube and diy it. I love wilkinson nail polish, it's only £1something a bottle and chips less easily than my Chanel polishes. Rimmel top coat is good and cheap, get a pack of emery boards and you're good to go. Diy hair, for the just blow dryed look, shove some rollers in the top, you can get a pack for a quid. Box dyes are good these days and quite cheap when on offer.

Hunters aren't actually very good boots anymore, I have 3 pairs, so if you can only buy one pair, I'd get something else. They are very good for posing at festivals or dry dog walks

Kateallison16 Tue 11-Apr-17 23:55:43

File and paint your own nails.
Doesnt have to be fancy, just trimmed and painted. Peaches and pinks make for natural classy looking colours.

Make your own hair masks or use coconut oil to keep your hair healthy and swishy. Play around with different hair styles at home using irons and tongs with a pink of hairspray.

Supermarkets do own brand skincare and coconit oil is very good for the skin. Make your own sugar scrubs for exfoliation.

Buy neutral pieces that work with multiple outfits. Shop in the sales and grab bargains when you can. Lots of plain clothes can be dressed up with accessories.

ZilphasHatpin Tue 11-Apr-17 23:57:27

Nails: short and filed. Moisturise your hands every night before bed and rub it in round the cuticles. Very low maintenance and cheap. No need for fake nails or gels or even polish.

Hair: have your hair cut in the style that best suits your natural texture/curlyness. That way you don't have to spend ages blow drying and straightening. You want it as wash-and-go-able as possible. Coconut oil is also great for using as a serum. A little goes a looong way and it is cheap to buy. Keep a hair brush in your bag at all times.

Eyebrows: agree with getting them done once professionally and then just maintaining yourself with tweezers. Failing that watch YouTube tutorials. check for strays every couple of days.

Clothes: it's harder to advise without knowing your shape and proportions. What job do you do?

mymatemax Wed 12-Apr-17 00:03:19

Charity shops in posh towns, always good for a nearly new bargain

Chamomiletea Wed 12-Apr-17 00:16:45

Hi - how do I use rollers?

I am a SAHM with a 5,3 and another soon to be born.

I mostly hang around on the farm (don't care what I wear) do the school runs etc. everyone around me is very very well
groomed and I am only now realising how shit I am at it.

Also I am trying to grow my hair out from a terribly dye job - would I best to keep a semi on it to minimise regrow the? My natural colour was lovely I'm so annoyed I ruined it.

Do you use coconut oil after washing? (Hair)

Chamomiletea Wed 12-Apr-17 00:17:12

Holy spelling and typing errors

PragmaticWench Wed 12-Apr-17 00:22:20

For your hair, can you do a mid-colour between the dye and natural colour, then have the previous dye job cut off soon?

ZilphasHatpin Wed 12-Apr-17 00:27:30

Ok if you have people around you who are well groomed do a bit of people watching and see if you can pinpoint what you like about their look. It's easier to shop for clothes if you have an image in your head of what you are looking for. Keep a notepad of stuff as you see it or make. A note on your phone. Then try some charity shops or eBay. Don't be afraid to ask people where they got their jacket/shoes etc. You can lead with a compliment. "Oh I love your jacket, it really suits you. Where is it from?"

Hair rollers: If you want a super cheap version you can actually use toilet roll tubes! grin there are YouTube tutorials that show you how to use them or proper rollers if you prefer. Poundland do sets of foam/Velcro rollers that are just the same as more expensive ones. Best to use rollers after you have dried your hair until it is about 90% dry. Then put the rollers in and use the hairdryer on lowest setting to finish the drying. Spray with a light mist of hair spray and leave for as long as you can before taking out.

For your hair colour, there is a product called colourB4 that removes all hair dye from your hair so it will be the lightest colour that your hair was before the dye. Is the dye a dark one?

ninecoronas Wed 12-Apr-17 00:27:44

Superdrug eyebrow shapers waxing strips = £2. Love 'em, they last for loads of uses.

ZilphasHatpin Wed 12-Apr-17 00:27:57

ColourB4 is about £9/£10

Chamomiletea Wed 12-Apr-17 01:54:32

Thanks! I might invest in some rollers and a hair dryer! I have always been able to get away with the "natural" look and being slim etc never worried but now it's all catching up on me!

My hair was lightened so removing the colour wouldn't work would it?

Chamomiletea Wed 12-Apr-17 01:59:51

Also those clarks ankle boots are amazing

chanie44 Wed 12-Apr-17 05:48:02

As a bare minimum maker sure your clothes fit, get rid of anything old and tatty.

I know you said money is tight but when you can afford to get some new clothes, go for a natural fibres. Sainsburys are currently doing 25% off clothing and I've bought two pairs of cotton trousers for under £15 each

Hairq Wed 12-Apr-17 06:03:54

I think nails look classiest when they're just filed and painted with a clear polish (if you can find a clear one with an ultraviolet tint - I think Miss Sporty do one called Disco nails or something - it makes the white part of your nails look whiter and the pink part look pinker) so you can do that at home for practically nothing.

Use a semi permanent colour between the two colours to disguise the bad dye job. Get hair cut into a style that doesn't need cutting much. Mine is mid length, and I get anyone with a steady hand to trim the bottom of it to tidy up the ends every couple of months and only need to get it properly cut at the hairdressers every 6 months because of this.

The Babyliss Big Hair makes hair look expensively blow dried. Ask for one for your birthday.

Keep clothes neutral.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 12-Apr-17 06:43:20

I don't know how short of money you are.
But, I am skint and fat and naturally scruffy. When I have to look smart I wear:
Primark stretchy skirt (they always have these for £5 in various colours and styles)
Leggings (I HATE tights. I think I'm getting away with not wearing them)
Calf length boots (these are decent ones- cheap shoes are very hard to look good in)
Supermarket Jumper (I buy from the mens section- these are longer in the body and more flattering on me)
Suit jacket (M&S froma charity shop)

I don't know if I look "groomed". I reckon I look pleasant. I probably look like I've spent more than I have.

Chamomiletea Wed 12-Apr-17 06:56:16

When you say a semi between colours does this mean don't put the semi on the root? The roots don't look THAT bad - but my hair is so frizzy due to all this new hair growth I'm having.

Almahart Wed 12-Apr-17 07:01:48

Colourb4 will just bleach your hair to an orangey yelllow. It won't restore your natural colour.

I buy most of my clothes on eBay but I know exactly what i am after. Would recommend that when you have pinpointed what sort of thing you want

Hellofromme Wed 12-Apr-17 07:02:08

Do your nails yourself. I always do mine as when I had shellac a few years ago I thought it ruined my nails. You can get really cheap nail varnishes which are fine.

Go to a local salon. I go to one where the average customer is a pensioner so it's cheap and cheerful but does the job especially if I only need a trim. Some people come in for a dry cut.

I know you are not supposed to cut your own hair but I have occasionally done it when desperate. I did a lovely side fringe using a YouTube video to help.

I highlight my own hair using a kit from boots or Asda. £6 versus £70 + in a salon! I can't advise what you do with yours as I had a disaster when I did an all over colour and it went orange. Grow it out like you say.

Eyebrows, I do my own but depends what yours are like.

Don't spend a lot on make-up. There is no need. Just one mascara, one eyeshadow or eyeliner, foundation or concealer and a lipstick or gloss to start with. All the basic ranges in the supermarkets are good and Superdrug Mua is amazing. Lipsticks for £1!

Clothes is harder. Try supermarkets for basics or peacocks or new look if you want fashionable. My local charity shops are always packed out so worth a try for things like jackets and coats. I would start with one basic outfit eg black skinny jeans and everyday top. With your new boots you're sorted.

Good idea re birthdays. I always ask for smellies and hair stuff which lasts months and months.

Have you got any friends who could help you out and give you some advice? I am always clearing out my wardrobe and would love my stuff to go to a good home rather than a charity shop for £1.

ImYourWomanJonSnow Wed 12-Apr-17 08:58:26

Just came to say I noticed some lovely boots at HM website, from their premium quality range, some as cheap as £15. They are suede and obviously won't replace hunter wellies but will be brilliant for when you need a change.

Pistachiois50pmore Wed 12-Apr-17 09:04:18

How fast do everyone's eyebrows grow? I haven't had mine threaded since summer 2015 (trying to grow them out) and still they look fine - you have to be really close to my face to see the stragglers.

winewellies Wed 12-Apr-17 09:07:15

Find a charity shop in a wealthy area (doesn't always apply as some have central distribution centres) and go with an idea of what you are looking for ...I buy tops and little cardis etc that are quality brands ...our local posh charity shop sells these for about £3~4 ..I buy supermarket jeans or trawl EBay for out of season stuff..
Dye your hair with a semi permanent slightly darker shade and trim the ends yourself . And condition lots ..shiny hair always looks groomed

thethoughtfox Wed 12-Apr-17 09:15:21

Little Indian salons do eyebrow threading for a fiver. Once you get it done once there ( or even save up to go to a Benefit counter for £20) then you have the basic shape so you can tweeze the off hair that grows back in as they pop up so you can the shape. A nice coat, jacket, handbag or shoes makes all the difference. My wealthy friend wears Primark jeans which you would never know.

Runningissimple Wed 12-Apr-17 09:17:19

I get all my clothes from charity shops at the moment - partly to save money, partly as an up cycling sort of experiment.

If you shop in an area where there is a lot of money, it is incredible what people throw out. I'm really choosy about what I pick up - I go for high quality fabrics and brands and tend not to buy anything that looks old. I wear very plain clothes - spend on good shoes - though you can try TK Maxx for shoe bargains - a good haircut (£40 every 3-4 months) and makeup (I stock up on good foundation, blusher and eyeshadow at Xmas, get cheap mascara and eyeliner from Aldi) I home dye using Lush henna - it looks beautiful.

I get eyebrows done every couple of months and occasionally do my nails at home.

I'm in my early 40's, so I keep it all simple and unfussy. I'm not Kate Moss but I look pretty smart most days.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: