Summer is officially here, and with it comes the desire to load up on beauty essentials for warm-weather destinations. While the longest day of the year may offer some additional time for shopping, you don't want to blow your budget on overpriced items.
Thankfully, you won't need a celebrity-sized bank account to feel glamorous this summer. Save on the following must-haves and put the extra money toward snowcones and seafood.
1. Self Tanners
No summer physique is complete without that sun-kissed glow. However, it takes some trial and error to find the right lotion for your skin tone and lifestyle. Ultimately, there are a couple options universally liked by beauty experts. You can save $3.50 off the popular Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel at Ulta, or opt for Jergens Natural Glow lotion at less than $10 a bottle at most drugstores.
Everyone knows not to leave the house without protection from the sun's harmful rays. However, not all sunscreen is created equal and you needn't splurge on name-brand lotion for the best protection. According to a recent segment on "FOX & Friends," you can opt for generic or store-brand sunscreen as long as it has avobenzone in the ingredient list. This essential component protects against both UVB and UVA rays.
3. Hair Extensions
If you yearn for the trendy fishtail braid but are cursed with cropped locks, think twice before dropping a wad on professional extensions. In addition to being high-maintenance, extensions that are professionally "installed" can run upwards of $500. Take the low-cost route by purchasing clip extensions from Sally Beauty Supply for $130. You get the same effect without the expense, plus you can easily apply them yourself.
Though you don't need much in the way of accessories when you're trolling the beach, a few key pieces can really heat up your look. Find fedoras or floppy hats for less at such accessory shops as Claire's or Charming Charlie. Designer cover-ups are great on the eye but killer to the budget, so opt for a simple white linen button-up or chiffon number from Ross or TJMaxx.
The summer isn't complete without the swimsuit, but even the barely-there two pieces can cost over $100. Mismatched bikinis are all the rage among celebrities, so consider buying just one piece to complement what you already own. For example, a recent trip to the river made my once yellow bikini bottoms black, so I purchased an orange version for less than $15 to add some color splash to my yellow-and-white striped top.
Like most girls, I would happily live in sundresses all summer long if my budget could manage it. In addition to offering the ultimate cover-up for swimwear, soft cotton and jersey-knit dresses are the best garment to slip into after a long day in the sun. Try Target and Kohl's for the latest in low-cost styles, or check out consignment shops for great deals on designer duds.
7. Bikini Waxes
Not everything about summer is sunshine and roses; sometimes, the practical is necessary and downright painful. Despite the fleeting sting associated with bikini waxes, the feeling doesn't have to extend to your bank account. Check out daily deal sites for heavy discounts on this summer beauty option, but be sure to read user reviews to ensure quality service.
I've been jonesing for a bright pair of espadrilles for the last two summers, and finally gifted myself with a pair of Bandolino coral cork wedges from DSW. Since I couldn't find them at my local store, I hit up FreeShipping.org to save $7.95 in shipping on these $50 beauties, and received a $5 coupon for my next purchase.
After a season of opaque tights and ankle boots, you may be dying for a biweekly pedicure to keep your toes sparkling. However, with packages ranging from $30 to $60, its best to balance mani-pedi sessions with at-home pampering. Right now, you can score Sephora's Formula X The Power Couples - 4 Mani/Pedi Duos for $39, providing you with several shades and color combos to keep you stylish all summer.
Nothing beats a light, citrusy scent during date night, but designer fragrances can put a serious damper on your budget. To avoid spending $80 on less than three ounces of product, I load up on my favorite body spray scents from Bath & Body Works during sale time. I scored three summer-inspired scents for under $20, saving a boatload for date night.
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on July 18, 2012; it has since been updated.
Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the marketing coordinator for Kinoli Inc., she has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as CNN Money, TIME Moneyland, FOX, ABC, NPR and Kiplinger Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com.