Frugal Luxe product of the week

I’ve been wanting to write about a luxurious yet frugal find I recently discovered for a while now, so I decided to use this as an opportunity to kick off a new department. Each week I’ll highlight a Frugal Luxe product that feels, looks and acts like a high end counterpart, but for much less coin.

I recently discovered Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Fortifying Hair Conditioner for dry damaged hair, $3.99 and I’m head over heels. As I mentioned in earlier hair-related posts, I have wavy, dry, frizzy locks that need all the moisture they can get and my strands just drink this creamy elixir of avocado, shea and olive oil up. I normally have to blow dry and straighten before my hair can look decent, but with this Garnier product my hair will air dry to a cascade of shiny, sleek waves. Once upon a time I splurged and tried Kerastase Nutritive Lait Vital Conditioner, $32 and I have to admit that I got much better results with this gem. Bonus: it doesn’t contain silicones.

It has mixed reviews on Makeup Alley so it may not be good for those with finer tresses but if you’re on the market for a new conditioner, I’d give it a go.


Hey, have you stumbled across any frugal luxe products lately?


the secret skincare companies don’t want you to know

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Want better skin? Forget pricey lotions, potions and treatments, because when it comes to your face, you really are what you eat. Even celebrity dermatologist Dr. Perricone, who has every reason to push his uber expensive skincare line, admits that at the end of the day, your diet plays a crucial role in the look of your skin.

 A few months ago, after years of frustration and getting nowhere with dermatologists, prescriptions and treatments for acne, I began to incorporate some of Dr. P’s good old-fashioned advice about diet and lifestyle which he discusses in a Goop newsletter.

After I made the simple dietary adjustments, it didn’t take long for me to notice huge changes in my skin. Gone were the painful cysts that would pop up on my neck and along my jawline every week. Ditto for the wasteland of brail-like bumps that used to live on the planes of my forehead.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my face is smooth. Friends ask me what I’m doing differently. So I tell them, and now I’ll tell you, because I believe these tips can save you hours of frustration and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars:

 1)    I started eating one green apple a day. Green apples contain the anti-inflammatory quercitin, which prevents acne, according to Dr. Perricone.

 2)    I boosted my Omega-3 intake, by eating fish (especially salmon) 3 times a week, purchasing Omega-3 eggs and taking an Omega 3 multivitamin. In her book The Natural Makeover Diet, Toronto dietician Joey Shulman raves about Omega-3s. She says they do wonders for hair, skin and nails, because they keep cells supple and help the body absorb nutrients from fruits and veggies. 

 3)    I replaced cow’s milk with almond milk. Studies show that reducing cow’s milk can help battle breakouts and almond milk is a great alternative, since the almonds provide extra Omega-3s. 

 4)    I stopped eating my daily afternoon snack of instant oatmeal. Dr. Perricone recommends eating the good old-fashioned slow cooked stuff instead, since instant oatmeal contributes to inflammation. 

 5)    I began eating more Vitamin A-rich leafy greens, especially spinach and collard greens. These help normalize oil production and help control acne, according to Dr. P.

So before you drop $60 on your next bottle of face cream, why not buy a bunch of spinach for $2? Or if you want to go all out, you can even try Dr. Perricone’s 3 Day Skincare Diet which has been called an at-home facelift. Or simply incorporate more skin-loving foods into your life. 

 What are your inexpensive beautiful skin secrets?

The Eastern Beauty Parlour

In Caramel (2007), Lebanese actress Nadine Labaki (left) is a Beirut esthetitian in a dead end relationship with a married man.

Staying fuzz free can be pricey – waxing services in salons often start at $20 per body part. Over the course of a year those bikini, underarm, eyebrow, and for boys – back and chest – waxes can really add up.

Years ago, when I was living back home in Vancouver, a friend of mine shared her little secret for staying beautiful without breaking the bank: Eastern beauty parlours. If you venture into your city’s Middle Eastern or Indian neighbourhoods, you can find great little esthetic shops that will take your from bushy Amazonian to groomed and glam for just a few bucks.

Here in Montreal, when I’m dangerously close to unibrow territory, I head to Dee’s in Little India. Here, for $3, I have my eyebrows threaded and biking line waxed for $10.

If you haven’t yet discovered threading, it’s a traditional Middle Eastern brow shaping technique where the esthetician wraps a double strand of thread around her fingers and pulls it taught along the unwanted hair, thus removing the hair from the follicle.

Threading takes about ten minutes, is surprisingly precise and doesn’t pull on the delicate skin around the eye area the way waxing does. This protects the skin from wrinkles and damage. Results last about six weeks.

Have you tried threading? How do you like it compared to waxing?