Loud Budgeting? Try These Bright Ideas For Your Beauty Routine

By Lucy Slight
LED light therapy can be done at home thanks to a new generation of LED light masks. Photo / Getty Images

As we look at budget-friendly alternatives, including Viva Beauty editor Ashleigh Cometti’s recent supermarket trial (which yielded a surprising outcome), what other swaps are there to scale back costs? Lucy Slight considers how 2024′s loud budgeting trend can be applied to the beauty category without sacrificing self-care completely, sharing some DIY options to help you save on salon appointments.

In case you missed it, loud budgeting is 2024′s most talked about money-saving trend — at least it is on TikTok. The idea behind loud budgeting is precisely what it sounds like: being vocal about your financial choices with friends and family, setting boundaries around your spending, and even saying no to social activities that don’t positively serve your money-saving agenda.

Rather than feeling embarrassed about being strapped for cash or keeping quiet about your need to adhere to a budget, the notion of loud budgeting encourages transparency and openness about your funds (or lack thereof) to empower you to stick with your goals.

When crafting a personal budget, it can be easy to forget to set money aside for self-care. If you’re someone who regularly spends $80 a month on gel manicures or has a standing appointment to get your eyebrows tinted every six weeks, the thought of having to sacrifice these is a bit of a downer, but the money you’ll save by switching to a DIY option will no doubt make a big impact on your bank account.

According to research by AfterPay, which monitored the spending habits of New Zealanders in 2023, the most popular beauty treatments of the past year were skin needling, meso needling and lip and chin filler, all of which must be administered by a professional. The most popular at-home beauty tools included the ghd original hair straightener and viral teeth whitening product Hismile v34 Teeth Colour Corrector Serum. Perhaps the popularity of Hismile’s product shows a willingness to experiment with DIY solutions in a bid to keep money aside for those special clinic-only treatments.

Bring the salon to your home

LED light therapy, a popular treatment that targets skin concerns such as acne, fine lines and wrinkles and encourages cell turnover for brighter, clearer skin, costs around $100-$120 per session in salon. Appointments are generally recommended around twice per week to begin, then once a month for maintenance.

However, many fans of the treatment have turned to at-home solutions, purchasing LED light masks for anywhere from $70 to $800. In general, it’s advised that at-home LED masks be worn for around 10 minutes per day, three to five times per week with results apparent in around four weeks. Whether you’re saving or splurging on your at-home LED, this certainly ticks the loud budgeting box if you put your high-tech tool to regular use.

OXX LED Face Mask
OXX LED Face Mask

As for the nail-obsessed among us, a new innovation in semi-cured gel wraps is a wallet-friendly option for anyone who loves the longevity of a gel manicure without having to make a trip to the salon for application and removal.

Semi-cured gel wraps, like the ones below from Frnka, are flexible nail polish stickers that adhere to your natural nails and last between two to three weeks without causing damage to the nails. All you need to do is stick them on, cure them using the LED light provided, cut them and file to fit, and there are no toxic fumes or chemicals to contend with either.

A gel manicure application and removal will set you back around $80 on average. A starter pack from Frnka is $72 with two sets of nail wraps and all the tools you need, and nail wraps are available to purchase on their own for $25.

If you’re someone who loves a hair pampering session, set aside some spending money to invest in a few key products. Consider a nourishing mask like this $22 treatment from Ogx, a scalp scrub (A’kin’s Deep Clean scrub, $22 is fantastic) and a scalp massager (this one is $16 from Farmers) to help recreate the salon experience at home.

A treatment in salon costs upwards of $45 per visit, however, if you create a DIY routine tailored to your hair type, you could be looking at six months’ worth of weekly sessions for less than $100.

The trend towards au natural

Speaking of lush locks, you may have noticed Hailey Bieber and Taylor Swift, who have been known for their blonde highlights in the past, transitioning back to their natural tones of late. Post-pandemic, it’s a trend we’re seeing on us regular folk too as a continuation of lockdowns forcing us to go back to our roots (literally) and a cost of living crisis making regular salon visits that much harder to justify.

Being conscious of what you’re spending your money on now is a way of honouring your future self, and thinking about how you want to look and feel further down the track is part of this process too. A return to your natural hair colour and not always wanting what you haven’t got is actually a form of self-care too, if you think about it. Could you save $400 every quarter.

What you decide to spend your money on shouldn’t be dictated by anyone but you, but when sticking to a budget is your goal, there are myriad ways to stay within the parameters you have set while still being able to treat yourself when you need to.

As Lukas Battle, the writer and comedian who coined the term loud budgeting on TikTok said in his original post on the subject, “Loud budgeting has the same feeling as sneaking candy into a movie theatre … you feel like you’re coming out of the situation winning.”

In a world of pricey salon products and TikTok-trending treatments, you can’t say discovering a budget-friendly beauty hack or piece of tech that saves you time and money (and still delivers results) isn’t an absolute self-care home run.

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