Might as well start with the basics. I hate to pay lots of money for beauty products, partly because I'm cheap, partly because I'm poor, and partly because for many years I didn't have to pay full price for anything except mascara (too many swollen eyes resulting from cheap mascara. Great Lash was one of the worst. So much for the most popular mascara in the world). I got all my products wholesale. I've let my cosmetology license lapse, so for the last couple of years, I've had to resort to my savant like ability to sniff out a bargain.
Smith's Rosebud Salve is my favorite new product. I put it on my hands every night before I go to bed. It's also a nice lip balm, and it heals small cuts and burns. I put it on my upper lip immediately after waxing, and massage it into my nails to keep them flexible. It also calms small amounts of the frizzies. You only need the tiniest bit for most uses. I've had mine since last March, and the surface was barely cracked until someone in my house discovered it.
It's apparently difficult to find in stores, but is very easy to find on line. It generally costs anywhere from $4.99 - $6.00. I just ordered several tins from drugstore. com for $5.59/tin, with no tax and free shipping. Sephora has it for $6.00, but they send lots of samples too. However, they only provide free shipping for orders over $75.00.
I found Cream of Nature hair color at Big Lots. It's $3.00 a box there, but even the price at GMBShair.com is pretty cheap - $6.99, a few bucks less than what you pay for most drugstore hair colors.
I realize it seems weird that an Irish/Italian girl who's whiter than the Queen would use hair color marketed to women of color, but I like a lot of pigment in the hair color I use. It's nigh unto impossible for me to find hair color at the retail level with a high enough pigment content to make me happy. Cream of Nature comes very close. The colors are intense, and the reds don't get brassy when they fade. The only complaint I have is, instead of including one of those heavier than hell conditioners that most hair color provides, it includes a conditioning shampoo. It's nice, but any woman who buys hair color at the drug store knows how valuable those conditioners are; also that you shouldn't use the entire tube in one shot. That's even too much for my hair, which I pretend is like Kim Basinger's circa 9 1/2 Weeks, but is probably closer to Janis Joplin's after a concert.
CVS' version of Neutrogena's Alcohol Free Toner. I'm generally skeptical of drugstore brands, but there is absolutely no difference between Neutrogena's toner and CVS', except the difference in price. I was paying $7.99 for Neutrogena's toner at the store; the CVS version is $5.59. A nice, cheap alcohol-free toner is a necessity for me. Besides its normal use - applying after face washing and before applying moisturizer - it's also good for calming irritated skin, a mid-day freshening, and removing a light layer of make-up (although washing your face again is the best way to go). I use only alcohol free because there's no reason to put alcohol on your skin. If your skin is dry, it will just dry it out more. If it's oily, it will over-activate your sebaceous glands, making your skin more oily.
If you want to go even cheaper, witch hazel is great.
Dep styling gels. I know, they're totally 1960s, for those of you who are old like I am. I picked up a sample size (2 oz.) of the Dep Endurance Intense Hold gel for $1 at CVS, and, as you can see, even the full sized containers are really cheap. The Intense Hold works as well as the Rusk gel I used to use, and treated like gold. They both give me hair that's as close to Kim Basinger's as I'll ever get.
Speaking of Big Lots, which I was a moment ago, it's the place to go for good stuff cheap (just in case there's anyone here who doesn't know that). Like most clearing houses for overstocked products, it's full of crappy stuff, so you have to devote some time and be willing to dig. But I've gotten everything from Mitchum's Smart Solid Antiperspirant for $2.00 to Johnson's Baby Wash for $1.00 (nice for bathing and for washing your face). Forget Target. Big Lots rocks.