cheap ‘n easy beauty secrets for the lazy and incompetent

Welcome to the Weekly Guest Spotlight

Toby NealTonight’s guest is writer Toby Neal, author of Blood Orchids. For more about Toby, click on her photo to visit her website.

I’m the kind of woman who burns herself on curling irons and considers shaving my legs the height of party preparation. I’m not fussy, and the truth is, me and beauty products just don’t get along. In other words, I’m a Natural Beauty. (*cough*cough.* This really means I’m lazy, have a lot of allergies and can’t follow directions)

One of my sisters had a business making people over, consulting on everything from makeup to man-tailoring, and she tried hard with me. In return I tried hard to change, but after the makeover (like a diet boomerang) I ended up regressing worse than ever. I’ve tried all the usual beauty torments, from the infamous EpiLady (cue Scream soundtrack) to salon-made fake nails (woke up during the night with my fingers burning in white-hot agony. Apparently I was allergic to something.)

Still, being the resourceful type I’ve come up with a number of cheap n’ easy beauty secrets that would make my sister’s eyes roll and hair curl.

Hair Care:

I have a hair routine that lasts 3 days because if I wash my hair too often it turns to straw:

  • Day 1: Good Hair Day. Wash, condition, put in gel, comb and run out the door late for work. It dries by lunchtime.
  • Day 2: Semi-Good hair. Splash water on my hands in the shower, run ‘em through hair and scrunch it up, do a few Rock Star head tosses and call it good.
  • Day 3: Bad Hair Day. Ponytail. Nuff said.

Skin Care:

  • I’m still digesting the deeply ironic fact that the weird rash on my face is from becoming allergic to sunscreen (as a survivor of melanoma this is not good news) and my current face cream is a tube of prescription-strength Cortisone cream alternating with something called Imiquomod. This dubious and highly expensive goo comes in tiny one-use packets and is used to treat skin cancer and genital warts. (I’m using it for skin cancer.)
  • I have nothing useful to say on Skin Care except WEAR A HAT AND DON’T TAN.


  • If I was on Survivor and only got one beauty product to take it would be mascara. (I favor Maybelline Waterproof, because I’m a crier and wear contacts. However, I have to use the equivalent of paint thinner to get it off and I lose some lashes every evening, resulting in a piebald blink. The alternative is wearing nothing and looking like a rabbit. I have lived with this dilemma for many years.)
  • I recently discovered that if you get a slightly darker shade of powder than your actual skin tone, you can kind of blend your uneven, blotchy skin tones (like we redheads have) into something passing for a tan. At least that’s what I tell myself because I don’t want to spend another $6 on the right color of powder.
  • Wear something on your mouth. Due to my allergies, I wear Vaseline. Yep. Yummy. Also, it doesn’t add color to aforementioned freckly lips. Good thing my husband loves me and is visually impaired without his reading glasses.


  • Well made, comfortable, simple, in interesting colors with a minimum of shopping= catalogs.
  • After some experimentation, I buy from Land’s End once a year. (I spend my money on stuff like paying for a private editor, a new computer, and getting copies made of my manuscripts.) Clothes are fairly irrelevant but a necessary evil, to my mind.
  • Foundation Garments: I have succumbed to Spanx for special occasions and buy three new bras every year whether I need them or not. White, beige, and black. The black one has a bow. Hawtt!
  • I never thought I’d be this person but there you have it.


  • I still like to own shoes. I have more than I can wear here in Hawaii and they mostly grow mold and clutter my closet.
  • I have daily work shoes I LOVE and will recommend to anyone. They are like walking on a cloud, and the literature says I’m tightening my ass with every step!
  • Sketchers Shape-ups, you guessed it. In black, brown and beige, the Mary Jane style.


  • Here’s where I finally show a little personality and recommend you do too.
  • Scarves! Love em! All kinds, especially animal print.
  • Jewelry: I’m a collector and also make jewelry, so if I tried to wear a different set of something every day I couldn’t make it through my treasure trove in a year.
  • Watches—who says the cell phone has made ‘em obsolete?


  • The Hubby is allergic. Can’t wear anything with scent. It’s taken awhile to get used to this but I’m finally okay with it after about 5 years.
  • B.O. is still not good. Do something if you have it.

What are some of your beauty secrets? Is anyone else a “natural beauty” out of laziness or necessity?


Thanks Toby! If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’m famous for fashion disasters…especially of the waxing variety! It’s just about time for me to pull out the shears and get rid of my “winter coat” as they say.

Until the next time…I’ll be waiting for my husband to cook me something tasty!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on February 24, 2012 .