Here’s one of the most useful lessons I learned as a beauty editor: you don’t need to spend big bucks to look expensive. Trust me, it’s nigh on impossible to tell if you’re lips are sporting designer label gloss or a bargain bin find. Good things do come in budget packaging too. If you’re short on cash or time (and who isn’t?), here’s a few clever beauty hacks for busy mums to save you time and money:

  • A good lip balm does so much more than soften your pout. It’s brilliant for banishing dry skin wherever it may appear (cuticles, elbows, heels…) and it can work wonders as a natural-looking highlighter if you dab a little on top of the cheekbones or centre of the eyelid (best done with a shimmer-free gloss unless you’re heading out to party. I’m not a fan of petroleum products but Vaseline does this well).
  • A moisture-rich lipstick doubles as a great cream blush. Choose a pretty pink shade and you’ve got lips and cheeks covered with one product.
  • If you have zero time for makeup in the morning, mix a teensy drop of fake tan (for face) with your moisturiser at night and you’ll slowly build up a fresh, healthy glow within days. It’s amazing how a little sun-kissed colour can make eyes brighter and teeth whiter. Just remember to take it right down to your boobs so your face is the same shade as your chest.
  • Make your moisturiser go further. A pea-sized amount is all you need if your skin is dampened with a spritz of facial mist first.
  • Dry shampoo is more than a no-time-to-wash saviour. Not only does it refresh oily hair, it also adds oodles of volume to flat hair. If your hair is clean and dry but limp, work some into the roots for an instant lift.
  • Oils are wondrous things. Choose your fave (coconut, jojoba, rose hip, argan, whatever oil you fancy) because they can all be multitasked to high heaven. Eye makeup? Gone with a quick swipe of oil. Frizzy hair? Rub some oil between your palms and hover over your crown to smooth away fuzzies in a flash. Dry scalp? Massage oil on the scalp and let it soak for as long as you can (it’ll make your locks super soft too). Oil is also the ideal base for a DIY body scrub (mix it with sugar. Salt can be a bit rough).
  • Make your products do double duty beauty wherever possible. A light brown eyeshadow can work just as well on brows as it does on eyelids. Apply with an angled brush to fill out any sparseness. Choose one that’s more taupe than reddish-brown for a more natural finish.
  • Some soft brow pencils can also double as a nifty eyeliner (just make sure it really is a soft one. Brow pencils are sometimes harder than eyeliners and so can be too scratchy for sensitive lids).
  • Once mascara has passed its use-by date, save the wand. Give it a good wash with shampoo and you’ve got yourself a brilliant lash de-clumper or brow comb. While we’re on mascara, make a note not to pump the wand – it dries the formula out much faster if air gets in. Spin the brush to get rid of clumps.
  • Brow gel is handy for taming unruly arches, but you can make do without it. Try spritzing a little hairspray on a clean mascara wand (lucky you kept it, right?!) and gently comb it over brows. Or use hair gel and smooth brows into place with the clean wand.
  • Make your perfume go the distance (without smelling like an overpowering chemical cocktail). Spritz fragrance just on your pulse points – in the elbows and behind your knees, or do the old walk-through-it trick. Just don’t spray it on wrists and rub – expert noses say it bruises the fragrance.
  • If you love swimming, save your hair the trauma of pool chemicals or salt by wetting it with tap water first. Each strand can only hold so much moisture, so there won’t be much room left for soaking up chlorine or sea salt. A must-do for blondes to avoid going green.
  • Don’t reach for soap if you’ve run out of shaving cream – reach for conditioner instead, and your pins are guaranteed a super smooth shave without irritation.

Have you tried any of these beauty hacks? Want to learn more? I’ll show you the ropes in a Beauty Masterclass.