I think one of the very difficult parts, for me, about being frugal is that I have an instinctual desire to buy every sort of beauty product that promises any sort of result that I want. Soft skin? Shiny hair? Pretty nails? GET IN MY CART.
(This is precisely why I have to avoid advertisements; I fall for everything)
On one hand I want to save my money and not buy these things. But on the other hand, I just wanna live my life! I enjoy trying new products and want to buy them.
So I've come up with a compromise (with myself).
The compromise --> I must research things before I buy.
This has a two-fold effect: First, I can't make impulse purchases, which MAJORLY helps in avoiding dumb spending. Second, it forces me to learn new things.
For example, a few months ago I needed new shampoo and conditioner and I wanted to find something that would make my hair less frizzy. So I started researching causes of frizzy hair, and that opened up the world of sulfate-free shampoos, which opened up the world of silicone-free hair products, and ended in me learning a lot about hair care science that I never knew! (I ended up getting this shampoo and this conditioner and really like them so far- I have greatly increased the time I can go in-between shampooing, WIN)
Here are some of the resources I've started utilizing:
For hair stuff - the Haircare Science and Curly Hair subreddits (I don't have curly hair but they have good hair tips in general), specifically the Basic Haircare Guide to get started educating myself.
For skin stuff - the Skincare Addiction subreddit, specifically "The SCA Routine" and "Evaluating your Routine" to get started.
(Yes, if you can’t tell, I just discovered Reddit and I'm hooked!! I love getting so many points of view about topics. I have started google-ing things like "[product name] reddit" just to find what people on Reddit said about it)
Buying as cheap as possible
Additionally, part of my research process is finding the cheapest place to buy an item. If I'm buying online, I use ebates to search the item name to see where it's being sold and then I'll check those prices and see if any of those retailers are having a big ebates cash back percentage. (that's an affiliate link to ebates - if you sign up through that link you get a $10 bonus after making a purchase of $25 and I get $5!). I also check ebay to see if it's being sold there, or poshmark if it's a clothing item, etc.
It takes a bit longer to make purchases when I have to thoroughly research like this, but I feel so much better knowing that I'm picking a product based on my research rather than advertisements. And I still get to try new products! It's just more of a deliberate process.