April is one of those months in which it seems like there are more bills than normal. Between taxes on the 15th and other quarterly bills, budgets are a little tight for everyone. However, this doesn't mean your beauty regimen has to go out the door. There are often low-cost alternatives to expensive cosmetic or beauty-related products. You may have some of these items in your cupboard already. Here are some of my favorite dollar-stretching beauty tips worth trying!

1. Baking soda beauties

Most of you have probably heard of the multiple uses of baking soda around the house for everything from cleaning bathtubs to opening drains to deodorizing carpets, fridges, and more. This alkaline-based product has many beauty uses as well. To start, its grease-absorbing properties make for a great dry shampoo if you're in a pinch. Simply rub some through your hair, then blow dry. Baking soda can be mixed with your favorite shampoo to create a clarifying shampoo or mixed with apple cider vinegar for a rinse.

For skin, use it as an exfoliator, or mix with honey to create an acne mask that won't disrupt your skin's PH balance. One teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 ½ teaspoons of honey used once a week with help clear your skin by preventing bacteria growth. Baking soda can also be added to Epsom salts with a couple dashes of essential oils to create a soothing detoxifying soak.

2. The eyes have it

It’s possible to make mascara go a little farther, even after it's dried out. This can be done one of two ways. First, you can stick the entire tube in hot water for a few minutes to soften the product; simply use the wand to mix the clumps away. Alternatively, you can add just a few drops of saline solution and swirl. Remember, however, that eye makeup should be used within six months or tossed as the bacteria in these products grows rapidly.

Old mascara brushes can be cleaned and re-used for eyebrow brushes, root touch-ups, or even for cleaning small places, such as sink taps. Sticking with the eyes theme, if you want fuller, longer lashes, you don't have to get extensions. Try brushing baby powder on them with a Q-Tip in-between mascara coats to simulate the effect of false lashes.

Another hack involves warming your eyelash curler with your hair dryer before use to achieve a tighter lift. This works in place of purchasing a heated eyelash curler.

Related: Make Your Own Mineral Makeup!

3. Makeup remover that won't leave you crying over the price

Tear-free baby shampoo isn't just for the little ones. You can use it to remove your makeup for $1.10 less per ounce than name brand oil-free makeup removers. Mix one cup of water with 1 ½ tablespoons of the shampoo and 1/8 teaspoon of baby oil. Baby shampoo also works great for gently cleaning makeup brushes. It will remove the oil and grime but leave the brushes themselves soft. Speaking of brushes, you can buy new paint brushes found in art supply stores for less than makeup brushes.

4. More cosmetic stretches

Unscented lotions and moisturizers are another savings boon, as they can be customized for multiple uses. Do you have a favorite scent and would love to have a lotion to match? Rather than spending thirty or forty dollars for a bottle of perfume-scented lotion, simply add a few drops to an unscented generic brand and achieve the same effect. An unscented moisturizer mixed with a foundation a shade or two darker than your skin tone can help you extend the product longer.

You can also mix moisturizer with a lipstick shade to get a cream blush. It's also not taboo to mix products, such as lipsticks. If you have two shades that you'd like to blend together (for example, from free samples or gifts with purchase), simply scoop them out of their respective tubes, microwave them until they're soft enough to mix, then put them into a small makeup tin and apply with a brush. Now you'll have a custom shade you can call your very own.

5. Test market appeal

Before you buy a product, it's possible to determine from reviews and blogs how it will work for you. From a professional perspective, Brittany Lo, founder of Beautini who has worked with top brands such as L’Oreal, Redken 5th Ave, and StriVectin, indicates that "you should do your research before splurging. Many brands pour millions of dollars into advertising their products. It’s important to judge products on their performance and not how they are being promoted. Finding a blogger or beauty influencer that you can relate to in terms of skin completion, facial features, etc. allows you to read their reviews on several products and have an idea of how well it would work for you."

It's possible to save money, stretch products, and even determine how well a product will work for you. You can gain the same effects of higher-priced products and extend the use of what you already have with these simple techniques.

Do you have any special money-saving beauty tips?

This is a guest post by Colleen L from Niagara Falls, NY.


5 Budget Beauty Tips That Will Change Your Life