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Haus Hacks

I DIY’ed Myself and Saved $443

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This post is sorta off topic and I know I’m breaking a major blogging rule by doing so, but I can’t help but share this with you all. It’s relevant because it’s DIY, but it’s not relevant because I’m writing about the world of personal / beauty care versus home design.

Long story short – I’m in a wedding next weekend, for which I would typically undergo lots of expensive pre work like hair, tanning, nails, etc. Except I did it all myself this time and saved $443. $443! Here’s the full story.

As you all know, there’s a lot of effort (and CASH) that goes into lookin’ pretty for a big event, even if it’s just being a bridesmaid, or for prom or for a big party, etc. Ahh, to be a woman. And, I’m a girly girl who likes to primp and treat myself, so I wasn’t about to skimp on all of the totally necessary preparations. In comes the DIY…

I’ve been saving a ton of money DIYing home decor, like the chalkboard wall, my mega-shower curtain, Nicki, and very currently, my laundry room cabinets. Naturally, I thought “Why don’t I apply the same philosophy of house DIY to beauty prep as I’m getting ready for this wedding?” OK, it wasn’t that formal-sounding. It was more like “You’ve got to be shitting me there is no way I’m dropping this much dough.” Poor grammar and cussing, that’s me!

Let’s start with the basic preparation rules (and their associated cost) for any big event (again, these apply to girly girls so if you’re more au naturel try not to roll your eyes too much). And I’m not pulling these costs out of my butt. Let’s just say this isn’t my first beauty prep rodeo.  Here are the steps I take for each and every big event I attend:

Hair must be freshly colored/highlighted/refreshed – $120

Duh. And my roots are in bad shape. See below.

Emily Snuffer

Teeth must be freshly whitened – $100 (@ dentist’s office, 1 session)

This one is a no brainer. Not even just for weddings or big parties. Especially when people will be taking your picture!

Skin must be tanned – $70 (with tip)

I gave up on tanning beds two years ago, after reading enough articles to scare the living bajeezus out of me. I’m a spray tan girl now. This one is expensive for me because I was never happy with the spray tan booths, and I think they are so cheesy. I usually (before my big DIY beauty care challenge) would have a professional custom spray tan me. Sometimes I ask them to add ab muscles, which they typically refuse to do. Party poopers.

Pedicure and manicure – $70 (with tip)

Nicely manicured hands and pedicured feet are the icing on the cake for a big event. This is another “duh.”

Makeup Primer – $40 for one bottle (I use this)

Big events typically mean all-day events. There’s no point in even putting on make-up if you’re not using makeup primer as your first step. This stuff will keep your “face” on all day long and well into the night. Especially useful on summer days (like this wedding!)

Ok, we’re already at $410. You see how this can get a little expensive for me? Moving on…

There’s also some accessories needed for a big event. In my case, I had to purchase the following:

Shoes – $50

Hair Decoration / Pins – $10

Fake Pearl Necklace – $15 (the term “pearl necklace” makes me giggle)

Strapless Bra w/ Low Back – $70

Dress Tailored – $70

Get My Hair Did Up – $50 (with tip)

With everything added up, we are at $675. $675!

Let’s move on to the fun part. I DIY’ed the shiz out of the above list AND still will manage to pull off everything just as good looking, OR BETTER than what the professionals would do. It helps that I was blessed with some cosmetologist skills. Google skills help too.

Here we go:

Hair must be freshly colored/highlighted/refreshed – $9 (versus $120)

I’m a natural dirty blonde and really just needed root touch-up. In comes John Frieda and his awesome Go Blonder Lightening Spray which is brightening up my roots as I type this. It works so well, even adding sun-kissed natural-looking highlights. AND, it doesn’t use bleach, which means I can lighten things up without damaging my already-damaged hair.

Emily Snuffer

Teeth must be freshly whitened – Free (versus $100)

I’ve had two Crest White Strips kits rolling around in my vanity for a year or so. After 7 days of applying the sticky strips, I’ve got a sparkly new camera-ready grill. (And things are just as white as the dentist office could get them.)

Skin must be tanned – $10 (versus $70)

I spray tanned myself in my shower, using the exact same techniques as the custom spray lady would use. It was awkwardly awesome. And smelly. After trying a few different ones over the years, the best by far is L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze 360 Degrees spray.

Pedicure and manicure – FREE (versus $70)

I have a mega Essie nail polish collection, so trying to justify a trip to Ambiance (my favorite salon) for some nail love was getting harder and harder. I have the same tools they use and apply the same type of method. And, my polish stays on for almost 10 days with no chipping (unlike what the salons can do!) thanks to an easy trick I learned from my friend Lyndsey – apply your top coat every day! Here’s my polish on day #7 a few weeks ago:

Emily Snuffer

Makeup Primer – $8 (versus $40)

Here’s what I’m using now instead:

Emily Snuffer

This is when the DIY beauty prep challenge got a little crazy. I discovered (a long with lots of other Google mavens) that Monistat’s Soothing Care Anti-chafing Gel has exactly the same ingredients as the 400% more expensive Nars primer, or any makeup primer for that matter. Does it feel weird rubbing Monistat-branded cream on my face? YES. Does it work just as good / better than my previous make-up primer? YES. Proof here.

Shoes – $15 (versus $50)

I bought my shoes at Wal-Mart. They are not awesome, but they’ll do the trick and they’re pretty darn close to the color the bride wants. What do you think?

Emily Snuffer

Hair Decoration / Pins – FREE (versus $10)

I’m making cute little rosette hair pins out of the fabric left over from the tailoring job. Woo! I’ll post pictures later!

Fake Pearl Necklace – a FREE real pearl necklace (ha) versus a fake $15 one

Thanks Mom!

Strapless Bra w/ Low Back – $70 (sorry – couldn’t DIY this one)

Dress Tailored – $70 (sorry – couldn’t DIY this one)

As much as I considered it trying to tailor it myself (I figured it would just be too long), the dress came in a full size too big and needed tailoring on all sides – sides, top and bottom. Off to the professional tailor I went.

Get My Hair Did Up – $50 (sorry – couldn’t DIY this one)

Well, I could. I’m actually really good at doing my own up-do’s and my hair in general. But, I didn’t want to miss out on bonding time with my girls on the morning of the big day.

So that’s it! That’s how everything ended up.

Expected to spend (if I would have done all the things I normally do): $675

Because I DIY’ed it myself: $232

And, to be totally transparent, everything’s not peachy perfect in the DIY world. There are some downsides. A big one – it’s much less convenient and takes a lot of time going the DIY route. For example, to lighten my hair without bleach, I’m applying the solution, per the directions, once a day for 10 days. That’s a lot more time I’m taking to get ‘er done. The tanning process also takes a few days to get the desired shade (more of a Jennifer Aniston shade vs. a Snooki shade). And, not to mention, I’ve been doing lots of test runs to make sure the big day is picture perfect. But all of that extra time (ya know, because I have so much) is so worth the $443 I’m saving.

I’ll provide pics after the wedding to prove to y’all I’m not lying! Saving money + awesome best friend getting married makes Emily (and her savings account) a very happy lady.

– emily