Gray and Gorgeous—Frugal and Green Hair Care for Boomers


Gray Hair is Fabulous!

Gray hair has always gotten a bad rap. Women especially are led to believe that they need to spend a good deal of time and money covering it up. I know I did, until I went out to check out a band one night at a local club and met an absolutely stunning fifty something woman with an amazing gray mane. I asked her about it and she said she stopped coloring five years ago and never looked back. This made me envious, and got me thinking. A quick trip to ask mr. google told me that gray is the new black—for hair. The great fashion capitals of the world are seeing a huge spike in women going natural. And they ROCK!!

Besides being more natural and probably healthier, going gray is certainly the frugal choice. Colored hair needs to be retouched every six weeks or so, and each visit may run up to a hundred dollars or more. The only reason for this expense is misplaced aesthetics.

I have started down the path and am thrilled with the results. If you would like to do the same follow these steps:

  • Assess they hair you have. What percentage is gray? How much is showing? Is the shade to your liking? All gray hair is not the same color. It comes in many shades of silver, pewter, and steel. If you still have plenty of your original color you will be “salt and pepper” at least for awhile. If you have very short hair it will be pretty easy to make the switch. Just go a little shorter and keep trimming often. But if you just colored and you have long hair you want to keep, you need an exit strategy.
  • Consult your hairdresser if you need an interim strategy. She might have some suggestions to ease the transition. Maybe lowlights for blending. This sort of things needs the attention of a professional.
  • Take very good care of your beautiful, frugal, natural hair. Gray hair tends to be drier and may have a different texture from your “first” hair. Without proper care it can be dull. Look for products specially formulated to keep your gray hair soft and shiny. A clarifying shampoo and deep conditioner should do the trick.
  • Re-think your hairstyle. Gray hair looks best when combined with a meticulous style. You may want to go for something shorter and edgier. If you want to keep it long get a real style, not back in a bun.

Follow these steps and you to will soon be one of the most stylish women on the block. Be authentic and go gray today! And to inspire you, a link to some truly fabulous gray haired ladies:

And another helpful link:



Frugal Home Decorating-How to Make Your Home Comfortable and Beautiful without Breaking the Bank

Home Sweet Home!

To have a good life it is necessary to have a comfortable and inviting living space. Even travelers have to come home sooner or later. But the things that make a home into a haven can be expensive if you aren’t willing to invest the time. This is one of those things where the tradeoff of time and effort for money is most apparent. If you are willing to do the work of figuring out exactly what you want and then take the time to find alternatives to throwing money at the project, you will wake up one morning in love with your home.

Interior decoration, like fashion, is a place to really let your personality and spirit shine through. But, unlike clothes choices that are a relatively small expense and change with the seasons, your choice of home décor will stay with you for a long time. So take the time to really learn what you like. Go to the library and look at a bunch of magazines to see if your tastes run more to the antique, the modern, or something else. Take out a decorating book or two while you are there. Peruse the online home furnishing sites. You aren’t going to actually buy from these sources; that would be way too expensive. This is just to learn about your own tastes.

Once you get an idea what really makes your heart sing, it is time to start looking—in second hand stores, discount outlets, on Craigslist, even in the odd antique store for something really special. If there are built-in elements to the design you are looking for, such as cabinets, try a local cabinet maker. Sometimes they are really reasonable, and most would be happy to have your business. The same goes for all the fabric elements. If you fall in love with the comfort and style of an older chair, see about having it re-upholstered. A seamstress can also make window treatments, throw pillows, and much more. You may be able to trade with a skillful friend or join a time bank and trade that way. Of course if you are handy at either carpentry or sewing you could certainly do it yourself.

Paint is another really inexpensive way to add style to a room. Don’t be afraid of a little color. You would be amazed at how the right shade can change your mood. If you can paint at all do it yourself, otherwise have a paint party and buy everyone pizza.

By the time you have all the fabric and wooden elements created and installed you should have a stash of nice pieces from your second hand shopping expeditions. Try to get the bread and butter pieces for as little as possible to have some left over for a couple of really special things where it counts. Every room should have a focal point. You may want to save your splurge for that, or, if you can create an effect with something relatively inexpensive like paint, or if you can use something already in the room like a fireplace as your focal point that will free you up to get that great lamp or slightly pricy desk.

All of these ideas can be adjusted up or down to suit your budget. If you are voluntarily frugal and your environment is an important value don’t be afraid to spend a bit to get what you want. This is one area where spending is not wasting as long as you think it through.

If you are forcibly frugal, don’t give up hope. As long as you have a home at all you will be able to slowly improve it, as long as you keep focusing and looking for the things you need. You might have to rely on friends with too much stuff, curbside foraging, Craigslist freebies and But if you persist you will eventually be able to create tranquility, functionality, and beauty in your home no matter what you circumstances.

When You Buy Clothes the Color is Free—So Get it Right

The Power of Color

Before the Color Party

No matter what item of clothing you buy, it comes in at least one, probably many colors. You don’t pay extra for this; it is just part of the item of clothing. The interesting thing is that proper use of color is one of the easiest and most astoundingly powerful ways to really improve how you look. Yes, you can look younger, thinner, more confident, and healthier just by learning what works for you and wearing “your colors” consistently. What’s more you can even change your fortunes in love and business as you look more pulled together, causing others to feel more comfortable with you. I know, it’s not fair, but human beings are hard-wired to react to appearance.

How to do Your Own Colors

The good news is how easy this is to learn and to implement. First, get a whole bunch of paint chips or fabric samples, a book or two on color theory, and a few girlfriends. Set your get together for the afternoon when the light is natural and indirect. Make a big pot of tea (or whatever you gals like to drink…) and get to work. There are several good books on the subject of color typing. I just love The Color of Style by David Zyla. To work his system you have to use your eyes to decipher your personal palette, because his book has no color swatches, just a masterful knowledge of what works. If you want a more traditional approach, get Color Me Beautiful. Then get to work. In a few hours you will have a piece of knowledge that will stand you in good stead for a lifetime. If this seems like too much work, or you are unsure of your own judgment, you could go to a professional and get your colors done.

Next Steps

Once you know your palette, it is time to clean out your wardrobe. Toss all the cloths that are absolutely wrong for you in a box. Bring it to the next clothing exchange in your town or to charity. Take the absolute yes clothes and hang them up. Now evaluate the almost hits. Put them in a separate area to replace as possible. Now you have the power to look better and feel more put together without spending one penny more than you would have to look just “OK”

Here are links to some resources: The Color of Style David Zyla’s Site Color Me Beautiful Some General Info


Frugal Beauty: How to get Gorgeous on Less Money then you Believe Possible

We humans are social creatures and part of that condition is the imposition of cultural standards of beauty. Every culture has and has had them, and it matters little whether you like it or not. These standards have an effect on both our outer life, such as who pays attention to us, who asks us out, or even whether we get hired. But they also have an effect on our inner lives, our self image, even our self worth. It may not be fair, but there it is.

Bathing Beauty

The challenge for the frugal among us is how to play the beauty game without going broke in the process. The very wealthy have always had greater access to the beauty techniques of the time. I doubt many of Cleopatra’s subjects ever were able to take the milk baths she was famous for. These days a woman could get depressed just looking at the cutting edge treatments available for everything from crow’s feet to fat ankles that we read about in glossy magazines such as New Beauty and Allure. But there is some good news here. Modern technology has made it possible to mass produce and market beauty fixes that would blow away anything available to our great beauties of yesteryear. And they are not that expensive.

The first think to consider when trying to get gorgeous is (sadly) the weight thing. It isn’t fair, I know, but it really is the first thing other people notice about us. And then there is the health issue. I don’t believe it is necessary, desirable, or even possible to diet down to a stick figure. Being OK with your real life body type is attractive too. But if you need a little help in that area, try Weight Watchers. This does cost money, but you could join for awhile and then see how you do on your own. Or join the inexpensive online program.

The next biggest deal in the beauty world is the face of course. Now we are getting into the realm of pure fun. There is a great deal of hype in this arena, and lots of opportunity to blow your hard won cash on things that don’t quite work. For the basic face cleanse and moisturize one of the lovliest women I know swears by any product that has salicylic acid, Stridex for instance, and Lubriderm lotion. Another good frugal choice is the Olay line. The cost is reasonable when compared to most alternatives. And you can find it at the supermarket.

There are also many wonderful DIY formulas for organic beauty products, made mostly with easy to find ingredients. The wonderful thing with these recipes is the control you have over what goes in them. I have just begun reading Sophie Uliano’s book Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products available at and I will report back with my findings after I test some of the recipes.

As for make-up, I go bare at home but feel a bit naked going out that way. Playing with make-up is a joy, but buying it is another story. Every woman should know her color type and follow it carefully when buying make-up as well as clothes. There are several good guides to color typing, the classic Color Yourself Beautiful by Carole Jackson among them. But my favorite is David Zyla’s The Color of Style The man is a genius, though his method does take work. Get some friends together and have a color party, because it is very hard to see your own coloring. Then go to the make-up counter at an upscale store and study. Ask questions. If they are offering a free makeover, take it. Buy a lipstick if you feel guilty, but take the rest of the knowledge you have gained straight down to the drugstore or Kmart, and buy the same shades there at much more reasonable prices. If you are at a loss when it comes to make-up application, go ahead and get a professional to do it. Once. Ask her to slow down and tell you exactly what she did. Take notes. Then practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

Our hair is the next piece of the puzzle. I recommend going just once to the most high-end stylist you can possibly afford. Get them to explain your face shape and color options, as well as analyze your texture and thickness. Tell them you want something easy and inexpensive to maintain. Get them to write down the name of the cut and other specifics, as well as the color formula they used. Then go back to a stylist that is more affordable with your notes. One thing I’ve learned is to not be too much of a bargain hunter when it comes to hair stylists. The chain discount shops give very uneven results. If you want to give it a try go ahead, just realize you may have to go through an uncomfortable “growing out” period. As for color, the least expensive is natural. There are many beautiful women opting for gray these days. If you feel good about this look go for it!

Finally there are the nails. It is fairly easy  to give yourself a home manicure or pedicure. You need a cuticle cream, a cuticle trimmer, and some polish or a buffer. It is good to put avocado oil on your cuticles every day, and to push them back whenever you shower. Pretty simple. But, the mani/pedi is generally the least expensive service at a salon, so if you want to splurge, this is a good place to do it.

These are the basics of looking good for less. I also recommend drawing a warm bath, adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil and soaking all your cares away. This is almost free and the relaxing effects are magical. Then sit back and have a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) with someone you love. It will make you feel years younger.

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