I won't go out since giving up Botox because I hate my wrinkly forehead – life's depressing enough without seeing it | The Sun

THE economic downturn has hit the beauty industry hard, with more than a quarter of women cutting back on cosmetic luxuries.

We meet three women who are going to extreme lengths to save money on self-care…

‘Making my own beauty products has saved me £800’ 

Lisa Marley, 48, is a plant-based chef and nutrition coach and lives in Whitstable, Kent, with her husband Nathan, 46, a care specialist.

Looking in the mirror, I carefully applied the home-made bronzer I’d just whipped up in my kitchen using arrowroot.

But no matter how much I tried to rub it into my face, it was just too gloopy, and by the end, I looked like a soldier in camouflage!

Like many people, my finances have been impacted by the rising of cost of everything from food to electricity, so I’ve been saving money by swapping high-end beauty products for home-made, natural versions – including a bronzing powder made out of cocoa powder and cornstarch.


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I’ve always had a good skincare routine, and my favourite brands were Pai and Ren, plus I loved Clarins and Charlotte Tilbury for make-up.

But in June 2021, I totted up what I spent and was shocked that my moisturiser, eye-brightening cream, face oil and cosmetics came to more than £150 a month.

I decided to try making my own products – as a chef, I was curious to see what I could create with natural ingredients. I started with avocado, oat and coconut oil face masks, and was impressed with how hydrated my skin felt afterwards.

Next, I mashed banana and coconut oil as a hair mask and made a lemon juice, cucumber and water toner, which was refreshing.

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Before long, I’d stopped using most of my shop-bought cosmetics.

My husband Nathan was pleased, as he doesn’t like heavy make-up, and my mum Margo, 72, asked me to make her hair and face masks, too.

A few weeks later, I was cooking a curry and spilled turmeric on the worktop.

The yellow pigment left a stain, but it was a lightbulb moment, as I realised if I added a small amount of turmeric to my moisturiser, it would give me a glow.

But make-up has proved harder. I tried to make mascara from coconut oil, aloe vera gel, grated soy wax and cacao powder.

It wasn’t the same, but I knew it was a case of trial and error. I ordered a huge tub of organic shea butter from Amazon for £6 and started using it as a base, because I’d seen it listed as an ingredient in various products and knew it was a fantastic emollient.

I discovered that if you heat it in a pan or microwave, mix it with a small amount of almond or coconut oil, then add cocoa powder, you can make a brow filler, as well as contouring cream.

You can also create foundation by adding it to vitamin E oil and cocoa powder. I love using natural mica (a stone mineral) pigments, too, as they have sparkle.

I discovered beetroot and blackberry juice gives a brilliant lip stain and you can add coconut oil for a glossy look.

Now, I use shea butter as a cleanser, followed by a spritz of cucumber water, before moisturising with vitamin E, which I warm in my hands. 

I also do an avocado face mask once a week and a lemon and sea salt body scrub every other day. The only shop-bought products I can’t give up are foundation and mascara. 

While I’ve saved around £800 so far, I still look at high-end beauty adverts and can’t wait to be able to buy them again when the financial situation allows. But for now, I’ll make do with my DIY alternatives – except the arrowroot bronzer!

'I let my husband cut and colour my hair'

Alex Howard, 32, is a development technologist and lives in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, with her husband James, 30, a warehouse operative, and their children Leo, five, and four-year-old twins Matilda and Max.

Perched on a chair in my kitchen, I took a deep breath as my husband James picked up a pair of scissors and began to hack at my long hair.

As it fell in clumps to the floor, I started to panic. ‘Don’t get carried away,’ I yelped. ‘I only want a few inches off!’

Was I crazy, letting my husband loose on my locks? 

It hadn’t always been this way. As James merrily snipped away, I thought back to the days 

I could afford to visit the salon for a cut every three months, as well as a colour two or three times a year.

But since the pandemic, followed by the cost-of-living crisis, James and I have had to cut back on non-essentials, including takeaways and family weekends away, to afford our ever-increasing mortgage, food and fuel bills.

James has given up nights out with mates, while having my hair professionally done – at £180 for a cut and colour – just wasn’t affordable any more. 

It was tough. Like lots of women, I used to feel like my dark-brown hair was my crowning glory.

A good hair day always put me in a better mood. while a bad hair day did the exact opposite.

Since the age of 13, I’d been dyeing my hair darker brunette in the winter, while, come summer, I’d get blonde highlights.

My salon trips were something I very much looked forward to, particularly as juggling full-time work and looking after three children meant I rarely got a minute to myself, so having a few hours of being pampered then leaving with shiny new hair always made me feel amazing. 

But when my last touch-up was due in March 2021, I just couldn’t afford to make an appointment.

James had been out of work during the pandemic and our finances still hadn’t recovered.

Weeks turned into months, my roots grew darker, with a few greys popping through, and my hair became a mess, which affected my self-esteem. For weeks on end, I moaned to James that my hair needed trimming. 

When he suggested that he do it, I immediately said: ‘No way.’ But eventually I thought: ‘Well, it can’t look any worse than it does now!’

James used to be a chef, so I reasoned he could be precise with a pair of scissors. But, still, I made him watch lots of YouTube tutorials before he got to work. By then, my hair was almost at my waist, but I was insistent that he only take 2in off.

Once he’d finished, it was a little uneven at the back and far from perfect, but I had to reluctantly admit that you could only really tell if you inspected it closely.

Needless to say, James was very proud of himself!

Four months later, he offered to colour my hair and I agreed as I’d never done a box dye before.

I even allowed him to choose the colour – a purply-red – and let him chop off a whopping 15in. 

This time, it was much straighter, too. 

My friends and family say it suits me much better, but no one can believe I let James do it – they all say I am incredibly brave!

Before James trained to be a chef, he actually wanted to be a hairdresser, so now we laugh at how he’s finally got to fulfil his ambition.

Since stopping my salon visits, I’ve saved over £500, which means the children can continue to go to their football and ballet clubs.

Don’t get me wrong – if we had the money, I’d be back at the hairdresser like a shot. But until then, James will continue to be my own personal hairstylist and colourist!

Changing beauty trends

19% of women have given up skincare products*

22% have ditched make-up*

26% of women have stopped buying perfume*

89% of women have given up non-essential items such as manicures*

'I avoid going out since having to give up Botox'

Natalie Ward, 36, is a managing director and lives in Woking, Surrey, with husband David, 41, and children Harper, four, and Ethan, three.

Watching a video on Instagram of my friends having a great time on a night out I’d been invited to, I felt a pang of jealousy that I wasn’t there.

But while I’d told my mates I had other plans, it was a lie.

The truth was, since I’d stopped having Botox in my forehead and on my frown line nine months earlier, in October 2021, I’d stopped going out, because I just didn’t like the way I looked without it. 

My love affair with Botox started in 2011, when I was 25, after the deep frown lines in my forehead and the line between my eyes chipped away at my confidence.

Several close friends were getting married that summer, and I just couldn’t face the photos.

A friend confessed she’d been having Botox for a couple of years, and I decided I was going to do the same.

I found a nurse trained in aesthetics and booked an appointment at her clinic.

Two weeks later, I had two areas done – the lines on my forehead and my frown line between my brows.

Afterwards, I was so pleased with the results, and it boosted my confidence no end. 

My now-husband David didn’t mind when I told him, but I didn’t tell friends or family in case they were against it.

Over the years, I continued to have Botox every few months at £200 a time, only taking a break while I was pregnant and breastfeeding my children.

As the Botox wore off, I didn’t like the way I looked, so I was delighted to resume it in December 2020 when I’d finished breastfeeding Ethan.

By then I’d started my own business selling activewear for pregnant and breastfeeding women. I had to do live videos daily, and when I watched them back, 

I was so relieved my lines had vanished again. 

But in 2021, my business took a hit due to the cost of living crisis.

At £200 a quarterly appointment, my Botox had to go, but the thought of not having it made me feel sick.

The wrinkles reappeared and my confidence plummeted. David told me I still looked beautiful, but I didn’t agree.

I stopped watching back my Instagram videos, and avoided looking at myself at all costs.

I even stopped going out as much, not wanting people to see how I looked.

Embarrassed, I didn’t tell anyone why – not even David.

It’s hard. Life is depressing enough at the moment without disliking my appearance and having low confidence.

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I have to go to an awards ceremony for work this month, but I won’t be going anywhere else over the festive period.

I just hope one day soon I’m in a position to have Botox again, but until then, I’ll avoid going out – and looking in mirrors.

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