Survival in the Garrett—Grooming Tips for Frugal Students

Survival in the Garrett—Grooming Tips for Frugal Students

Once again, the bohemian community extends a helping hand to students struggling to survive on a shoestring.  And really, who can better provide you with sound money management advice than those chronically low on funds? And who better to teach you about grooming than vain artists, always striving to appear interesting and appealing, developing their personal “brands” on next to no money? Here’s today’s advice:

  • We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating—just let your hair grow. You’ll save a heap on salons and barbers, and you’ll need never waste another minute worrying about how you’re going to fit your next haircut into a crammed schedule.  And whenever you need a neat, professional look, you can just put it in a bun or a ponytail.
  • If long hair just isn’t your look, search for one of those small, cramped, dirty shops where the proprietor does everything from answering the phone to cutting hair and sweeping up afterwards. The price will always be lower.  Explain clearly what you want.  If they get it right the first time, that’s your man.  Or gal.
    Even better, get a “haircut buddy” and give each other regular free haircuts.
  • Want your hair to look shiny and full? Deep condition with an egg yolk, two tablespoons of olive oil, and two tablespoons of honey. Mix well and spread lightly through your hair, leaving it for at least an hour (one batch is good for three or four shampoos).  Wash it out with shampoo or with dishwashing liquid diluted with lemon juice.
  • For smooth, clean skin ignore the fancy schmancy personal cleaning products. Pick up the cheapest soaps and a pair of exfoliating gloves (just be careful where you use them).  For some reason liquid hand soap is substantially cheaper than liquid shower gel, but soap is soap, so if you’re a liquid soap person, buy hand soap in bulk.
  • Make sure you pick the right deodorant, because “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” the offensive quality of a deadbeat deodorant. If they don’t give you a rash, crystal deodorants—really just blocks of mineral salts—are highly effective.  An expensive investment at first, but they last so long they end up practically paying for themselves.
  • If you have any togs that need ironing, fold them carefully and weight them down under heavy items like suitcases filled with old encyclopedia volumes.

  • The cosmetic industry makes millions selling us on creams and lotions that are supposed to keep us young. Don’t be one of those suckers born every minute.  The only cream that prevents aging is sunscreen, and the only sunscreens that work properly are those that contain either zinc oxide, titanium oxide, or both.  Get in the habit of wearing sunscreen on your face every day, even in winter, and keep that smooth complexion into your sixties and even beyond.
  • Shaving? The beauty business also manages to make a lot of money from exfoliating products, but where did the idea for exfoliating originate? Someone noticing how baby’s-butt smooth a man’s face feels after a razor shave.  So, gents, if you do decide to let go of that cute little hedgehog growing on your chin, don’t invest in an electric shaver.  Use razors, and your skin will thank you.Ladies can also benefit from an old-fashioned exfoliating every so often.  Just lather your face up well and shave the lather off.  (But don’t get caught or people might start saying you’re secretly a troll.) And don’t forget to moisturise.
  • As for moisturiser, petroleum jelly works wonders for very little cost, but if you don’t like the idea of smearing a petroleum product on your face, fork out a little extra for shea butter. You don’t need much.
  • If you use scent, use it on clothing items that don’t get washed as often as you wash yourself.
  • A well made-up face can make plain clothes look posh. If you visit the cosmetics counter remember that if you purchase the more expensive items you’re just paying for fancy packaging and upscale marketing.  Get to know the less expensive brands.  Also, a wonderful business in New York, e.l.f.,  is dedicated to selling good makeup online at rock-bottom prices.
  • Don’t waste a thing. Remember that toothpaste need not be applied to the brush in an amount any larger than a pea.

  • Ignore the shampoo-makers mandate to wash twice. One lather is enough.  Just rinse well afterwards.
  • For those paying for their own electricity, showering with cold water all summer will cut down on your bills. May also help frisky types control their wayward urges.


[I always appreciate sly and dry humour, so the “Survival in the Garrett” series is a favorite of mine. This one, from early March was probably picked by students for the combination of solid advice juxtaposed with the quiet humour of the photos.]