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  • Works for Me: Moisturize while washing dishes (plus a deal on rubber gloves)

    Since I’m spending more time at home now, I’ve been washing my hands and dishes with greater frequency, and my poor hands were paying a heavy price – cracked, dry skin that was painful. I don’t remember where I first read this tip a few years ago, but it really works: put on a thick moisturizer before washing dishes with rubber gloves. There’s just something about the skin being encased while bathed in hot water that speeds healing and moisturizing.

    Walgreens has the gloves pictured to the right for 50 cents per pair this week. Even if you’ve never shopped at Walgreens before, you could do two transactions for cheap gloves:

    Transaction #1:
    1 Fullbar Fit Appetite Control Bar $1.99

    Pay: $1.99 + tax
    Receive: $2 Register Rewards (a coupon you can use on your next purchase)

    Transaction #2:
    4 pairs of Homecenter Gloves 50 cents each with in-ad coupon

    Use $2 RR from previous purchase

    Pay: tax only

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We are THAT Family.

    Works for me: Shave in multiple directions

    I first read this tip years ago in a book of beauty tips, and I was reminded of it the other day in the shower. It was such a big revelation for me that I thought it was worth sharing: Shave your underarms in multiple directions. Apparently underarm hair grows in more than one direction, so the general guideline of shaving in just one direction doesn’t quite get the job done.

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We are THAT Family.

    I got my hair cut – and gladly paid $44 more than the last time

    You might recall that the last time I got my hair cut, I went to the Paul Mitchell school and paid $22, including tip. At the time, I was pretty happy with it. For the money, at least, it was a pretty decent cut. I noticed that the stylist didn’t use the techniques I was used to when she added the layers to my hair, but I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

    As my hair grew out, however, I realized that it appeared to be one length and simply didn’t maintain the shape I would have expected. The layers were indiscernible, and fluffy at the end. To put it simply, my hair looked very blah.

    And I realized that I didn’t want to go back to the school. My hair is my favorite feature. Despite the increasing number of white hairs, it’s still the one thing about my appearance that I’m happiest about. That makes it worth spending some money on.

    I looked up the salons at the closest mall, and picked one that was upscale but reasonably priced. I ended up with a junior stylist who charged the starting price of $55. (I paid $66 with tip.) Even a junior stylist at an upscale salon is far better than one coming out of beauty school, of course, and I ended up with the exact cut I wanted and a fabulous blowout.

    I don’t get my hair cut very often, and I should be able to go at least four months before I need another cut. So I’m very willing to pay an extra $44 if it means I spend the next four months feeling good about my hair.

    Works for Me: Minimalist Skin Care

    I had stereotypical skin as a teenager, including acne so bad that I successfully begged my mother to take me to the dermatologist, who prescribed an antibiotic called tetracycline. It didn’t do all that much for me, though, and by the time I was in my first year of law school, I had a few pits and scars on my poor cheeks.

    That was about the time that ProActiv infomercials started airing, and I couldn’t resist. The amazing thing was, the stuff really worked. I had to experiment with the regimen for a while, and I discovered that the Repairing Lotion was so intense, it actually bleached my sheets and blankets where my face came into contact with them during the night.

    A few years later, I started seeing my current dermatologist, who diagnosed rosacea, which caused redness and lots of small bumps. My dermatologist advised me to wash only with the mildest soap (Dove or Aveeno bar soap) and use a moisturizer called DML Forte.

    I realized, though, that the bar soap was insufficient to keep the acne at bay, at least when I wasn’t pregnant. (I have to say, my skin was never better than when I was pregnant. I feel it’s only fair, since my pregnancies were rough in other ways.)

    So here’s the regimen I now follow:

    Morning – Wash with Dove bar soap, moisturize with DML Forte
    Evening – Wash with a benzoyl peroxide cleanser (like ProActiv Renewing Cleanser), moisturize with DML Forte

    And that’s it! It really works for me. I actually get compliments on my skin now (and I’m not even pregnant)!

    Of course, my skin care regimen won’t work for everyone. But since there are so many products out there, I wanted to point out that sometimes less is more. And, I worry that as I get older, a regimen this simple won’t continue to work for me. So I’d love to hear from you: What’s your skincare regimen like?

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at Rocks in My Dryer.

    Money Saving Tip: Get your hair cut at a beauty school

    See the end of this post for an update.

    I’ve never seen a study on the average price for a hair cut, but I’d wager that prices here in Los Angeles are higher than almost anywhere else. I could easily find a salon in Beverly Hills that charges over $400, and even a relatively inexpensive salon charges over $60. My last hair cut was supposed to be a bargain, but after tip it came to $85. And I wasn’t even that happy with it.

    Between the cost and the time, I’ve been getting my hair cut every 9 to 12 months since Alex was born. The last time I cut my hair was last November, when I lopped off a 10-inch ponytail and donated it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program.

    I thought about donating my hair again, but I just couldn’t wait for my hair to grow any longer this time. Like I said, I wasn’t thrilled with my last cut, and I hated the way it was growing out. And I definitely wasn’t going back to the same salon.

    Because I get my hair cut so infrequently, I haven’t had a regular stylist in years. So this time, I decided to act on a frugal tip I’ve come across multiple times: go to a beauty school. It just so happens that there’s a conveniently located Paul Mitchell School, where cuts by a “Phase 2″ stylist are a mere $17. I learned that Phase 2 stylists are in the top 5% of their class and have at least 1000 hours of experience on the floor. Phase 1 stylists are everyone else at the school, and they charge $12.

    I decided to pay the extra $5 for a Phase 2 stylist, and my hair was cut by a woman who graduates this month. She was a little bit slow on the cutting, and didn’t have the deftness that I’m used to seeing. But she made up the time blow-drying my hair, which took a lot less time than it usually does, probably because she didn’t try to do anything fancy. I appreciate that she really listened to what I asked for (no short layers that irritate my cheeks) and I’m as satisfied with my $22 cut (I tipped her $5) as I was with the $85 cut I got in November. And, I’m a lot happier than I was when I tried Super Cuts for the first and last time, where the stylist decided that I needed bangs even though I hadn’t asked for them and lopped off inches in front before I could stop her.

    I do think I would be a little bit more cautious if I wanted a perm or color treatment, but even then, I think a Phase 2 stylist would probably be okay. I could see the “Color Bar” where they mix colors from where I was sitting, but everyone around me was getting a cut or just a blow out. I couldn’t see the back of the salon where they must have been doing perms and color, so I don’t really know how that went for the customers who wanted it. But during the hour that I was there, I didn’t hear anyone complaining about their hair or see anyone whose hair looked, well, wrong.

    I don’t know when I’ll cut my hair again, but since it’s a little longer than usual after a cut, my next hair cut will be sooner rather than later. And I’m definitely going back to the Paul Mitchell School for it.

    Update Feb. 2009: I got a hair cut this month and didn’t go back to the Paul Mitchell School. As it grew out, the cut didn’t maintain the shape I would have expected, and I decided that a truly good hair cut is worth spending money on.