Going broke for beauty just wouldn't be pretty

Going broke for beauty just wouldn't be pretty
SEATTLE -- In these tough economic times, it's imperative to save money any way we can.

Budgeting beauty products is a good place to start, as pricier doesn't always equal prettier.

Beauty is a $40 billion business trying to suck you in with every pretty package and promise of luscious lips and Hollywood hair. What's a girl to do?

"Cosmetics cop" and best-selling author Paula Begoun has researched cosmetic industry claims and ingredients since the 1980s. In one afternoon, she saved us more than $100.

Begoun says it's ridiculous to spend more than $6 on a hair care product. In her book, "Don't Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me," she rates products for quality and price.

Begoun ranks Loreal Vive Pro shampoo among the best values. She works up a lather when learning women spend 10 times that at the salon for a bottle of Kerastase shampoo.

"The notion that expensive is better is just strange, not to mention Loreal owns Kerastase so this $5 shampoo is virtually identical," Begoun said.

You can get a can of Kerastase hairspray for about $37 and for that same price, you can buy seven cans of Garnier Fructise and it's the same parent company.

Begoun says you can sometimes find great deals in the drugstore aisles. For example, after testing tons of hair conditioners, Begoun says Tresemme is at the top of her list.

On this day, in what she said was one of the best finds of her career, she found a 32 oz. bottle of Tresemme conditioner for $2.99 -- at least $30 less than salon conditioners of the same size.

"There isn't a formulary difference between the hair care products between expensive and inexpensive," says Begoun.

When it comes to mineral makeup, Begoun considers the $12.99 Neutrogena as silky and smooth as the $25 bare minerals foundation by Bare Escentuals.

"What's good is good," says Begoun. "But when it's good and less money, Why spend extra? For what purpose? You're not gonna be $12 bucks prettier."

If you're in the market for mascara, Begoun puts her $5 on Maybelline Colossal Volume Express -- four times less than Lancome, owned by the same mother company.

Today's tips totaled $137 in savings.

"Be beautiful and have money left over to pay rent, mortgage, groceries," she half-joked.

She adds going broke for beauty wouldn't be pretty.

For more information on products you're using or considering, you can check out Begoun's web site at www.cosmeticscop.com