Personal Care on a Budget

So some call it "self care", some call it maintenance, but I call it expensive. Being a girl is super expensive. From hair, nails, toes, highlights, makeup, "flawless bodies", eyebrows, Brazilians, etc. Being a girl is expensiveeeee. Don't get me wrong, I know these are choices, but I also know it's expected to have these things done, so here's my guide to staying fly while on the low...well semi low.

Color, cut, and style by Kyndra
Let's start from the top and work our way down. First off hair.... Hair is expensive. I feel like if you rock wigs, weaves, braids, or any type of extension it's extra expensive. I normally only wear extensions with braids. When I wore my hair straight, I invested in quality hair products, and a quality flat iron, and did my hair myself. Here are the throwback & updated routines of my straight hair. I would get a trim every 6-8 weeks from Great Clips for $5 during a hair cut sale or max of $15 during regular pricing, and getting my hair professionally done was limited for the most part. Special occasions or when I wanted color in my hair. So color, also expensive. I had my hair colored this past April, and it cost me $215(including tip) for a bomb QUALITY color that didn't break off my hair. If you're in the Charlotte/Winston Salem area, check out Kyndra. I was strategic with my color. I chose nice ombre style color, which means it's a grown out look, and does not require upkeep like highlights or full color to scalp. If I wouldn't have gotten a Devacut in December, I wouldn't need my hair re-colored but once a year. Kyndra did an excellent job starting the color off pretty high on my hair, so even with regular trims, it takes a while before recoloring is needed.

DevaCut after 1 month
Curly hair is only expensive while figuring out hair products and the cut. DevaCuts can cost anything from $100-$250. My stylist, Sabrina starts off at $120 with tip. She does a great job on my hair, and recommended great products. She books up months at a time, but if you're in the NC/SC area, get on her schedule, and tell her I sent you :). Sabrina also offers color as well specializing in curly hair. For products I get free samples, and recommendations and was able to find products that work well with my hair quickly and maintenance for a DevaCut is every 3-4 months. Also when trying a new product out, I buy places where I can return. A great example of this is buying the DevaCurl SuperCream that was $30, it didn't work on my hair, and I promptly returned.

With braids, I look for less popular people on Instagram. I've had my hair braided by @BraidBarbie, and she was bomb and my style was $100, and I've had my hair braided in Atlanta, @byMEKDE, a less popular braider and she was bomb, and my style was $60, and I've had my hair put in triangle box braids after a last minute appointment with @slayedby_r4y, and she was bomb, and my style was $120. Now one thing I'll never do again is individual faux locs. Took eight hours, was very costly, and so thank you. Look at their work and not just their name. I'll say all of those ladies are definitely worth every penny.

2014 ombre color by Preston, cut by Preston, styled by me.

Sooo to sum it up, hair wise. Master what you're asking someone to do to your hair on a regular basis: invest in a quality flat iron, blow dryer, shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner. At first will it look like you got it professionally done, probably not. Over time, people used to ask me did I get my hair done every week. Maintain your color and trims strategically. Look for braiders who may be just as talented, but less known for braiding styles.

On this visit, I did both a Facial + Massage so I got to wear a robe :) 
Next up, face. I have a membership at Hand & Stone Facial and Massage Spa. I get either a massage or facial once a month. I pay $50/month for a credit towards one or the other. This is my "extra" self care thing. I do it for me. I signed up when I was in Florida working because it was $15 less per month than Charlotte, and I can still use my membership at any Hand and Stone in the United States. Also I received $100 in gift cards for signing up. Check out deals before you commit, and max out. There will be a video and full post about my facial experience and benefits coming soon.
My first visit with Sabrina on my brow journey

For eyebrows, one of my old coworkers told me about her brow artist, and she literally changed my life and my eyebrow game. I was paying $20 every two weeks for crappy brows. I switched to Sandra, she revamped and helped me grow my brows back out, and I only go once a month for $36 including tip. If you're in the Charlotte, NC area, check her out. I like to remove any additional hair from my face, and I do that using a face trimmer from Target. One time investment of $13, and I just get my face super smooth once a week.

For makeup, I hit Sephora Rouge last year which meant I spent $1000+. OMG. Yeah, I won't be doing that this year. For the most part, I only buy products from Sephora when they are on sale. Sephora does bi-annual sells that offer at least 15% off for everyone and 20% off if you are rouge. I rack up during that time period on my high quality makeup. I also tried out some "drug store" brands. Colourpop, Morphie, and NYX brand stuff are bomb. Don't sleep on them just because they aren't in Sephora....they are in Ulta and Target.

So if you've read my previous post, you know 2018 was all about self improvement for me. I lost 40+ pounds. I mentally became a better person. I went to church more, started using my gym membership, and got a nutritionist. My gym membership was $20/month until I started traveling for work, then it jumped to $42/month. I found out my insurance offers a gym membership discount for $25/month and I have access to 9000 locations nationwide. I saved $17/month by just looking at my health insurance's website about discounts. A couple of my friends that work for different companies had the option as well. Check it out, and save the coin. For gym shoes, I bought my favorite shoes at Foot Locker, now it's time to replace, and I went straight to the Nike outlet, and got another pair in a different color for half off. SAVE. THE. COIN.

Waxing is next. So one of the most uncomfortable things that are worth the investment. Tip 1..After you start, don't stop. I started getting Brazilians a couple years ago. The recommended time was every 4 weeks...well that's a scam. Over time, you hair growth slows down, and doesn't grow back in certain areas, so I push my Brazilian out to every 6 weeks. I also invested in a wax pass. I pay $240 for 6 visits, vs $288 dollars without a wax pass. That essentially is two free Brazilians per year. 6 passes with a use every 6 weeks covers me for 36 weeks. If you're in Charlotte, check out Chrystal at Nue Brows + Brazilians. I also have been to European Wax Center(EWC), and if you bring your ID, your first Brazilian is $25. Make sure wherever you go that they use hard wax vs strips for Brazilians. You will think me later :) . The first few brazilians hurt, don't believe the lies. But after that, they are still uncomfortable, but hurt way less. Last but not least, if you have to go on a stretch where you can't get waxed, DO NOT SHAVE. Just wait it out...your hair is thinner with waxing then with shaving. Once you shave, you start the process and pain all over again.

Nails by Tiffany Sems
Last but not least, nails and toes. I used to get a fill and pedicure every two weeks. That would be $100 a month. I switched nail techs because I found out my old nail tech was using fake acrylic on my nails. A good thing to look up if you're getting your nails done are MMA acrylic and ask questions. It is very bad for your nails and body. Strong nail smells in a salon are more likely MMA acrylic. Anyways, I switched to a nail tech that really does a great fill and takes care of my cuticles, and now I only have to get my nails done once a month. For pedicures, I now do a pedicure once a month and a polish change every two weeks. Cut my monthly investment from $100 to $70. If you're in Charlotte, check out my girl Tiffany for nails.

So overall...

Yearly Personal Care Cost:

$215-Hair Color
$500-Deva Cuts
$105 for straight hair trims @ Great clips every 8 weeks.
$200-Braids at twice a year
$300-Hair Products

Monthly Personal Care Costs:

$50-massage or facial
$70-nails + toes
$25-gym membership

Total Year Personal Care: $4267.

Seems crazy when it's all in your face, but it's $355/month, and honestly...that's a steal.

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