Well-groomed doesn't necessarily mean high-maintenance. There are lots of things you can do to make your hair shine, or your skin soft, that take more time than money. Some women love pampering themselves, and some don't. It's all down to personal preference, and if it's really not your thing then don't change yourself for anybody!
Keep it clean
Depending on how thick your hair is, wash your hair every 2-3 days. Don't wash your hair every day, because it can wash all of the natural oils out of your hair and leave it dry and easy to break. If your hair is super thick, you might get away with 3-4 days.
Get the shine!
Argan oil hair treatments are wonderful for making your hair soft and shiny. The longer you leave them on, the better. The best one I've found I've linked below - I normally wash my hair, then leave the hair treatment on for about half an hour. You can pick a pot up from Primark for about £6.
Use conditioner! I can't stress how important this is for hair softness and to get those tangles out easier. Nobody likes pulling half a head of head out when you try to comb it. I usually apply conditioner from the ears down - around the roots and my hair gets a bit greasy.
Keep it pruned
You don't have to be down the hairdressers every week, but do get the ends chopped every couple of months or so. Split ends are a no-no, and rat's tails aren't what anyone is after! Getting a good haircut can leave your hair feeling light and soft. If you have some extra cash, why not have a professional hair treatment while you're there?
Be careful with hair dye
If you've changed your fair colour artificially, your hair is more likely to be dry and break easily. This is particularly true if you've bleached it lighter. The more times you change your hair colour, the less healthy your hair will be.
Try and treat your hair a couple of times a week, and get conditioner specially for coloured hair. Don't be fooled by do-it-yourself dyes that leave your hair feeling amazing - all they do is coat your hair in silicon, and it doesn't last for long.
Straighten it, curl it, do what you like but remember to use heat protectant, and don't subject it to too much heat. You can style your hair without heat - use sleep-in hair curlers, or dry it using mousse and a diffuser. Leave your hair to try naturally before you style it to cut out the hairdryer. You can let it dry plaited or tied up - I sleep with my hair up in a messy bun, and it gives me nice natural curls in the morning.
It's very easy to get soft skin. The best time to moisturise is when you get out of the shower or bath and you've just dried off. I personally really like cocoa butter or spray-on vaseline moisturiser. It's best to do your whole body at least daily, and I do my face with specially designed face moisturiser twice a day.
If you have scars, stretch marks or uneven pigmentation, bio-oil with repeated use helps fade their appearance. You have to stick at it though - it won't happen within a week.
You could get a nice smelling body scrub and exfoliate by running it in gentle circular motions, followed by moisturiser. You don't have to do this everyday - maybe 2-3 times a week. I use a particular exfoliator for my face about 4 nights a week.
You can wax, shave, veet, get electrolysis or one of those high-tech devices out today (Nono?). The disadvantages to waxing are that it hurts, expensive if done professionally and can cause ingrown hairs. But, your hair is softer and your skin is hairless for longer. Shaving is quicker and painless, but needs to be done every couple of days and makes your hair thicker. Either way you choose, that hair needs to be gone!
Tanning - beware of the sun
There's nothing wrong with wanting a bit of colour, but you don't need to bake your skin under the sun or in a sun bed, because once you start ageing it'll come back to bite you. I have to recommend St Tropez Bronzing Mousse with the tanning mitt. Flawless, good tan. I have to apply one layer, let it dry, then another one to get the colour I like. Quite difficult to screw it up and get streaks with the mitt!
Clip them and shape them
Square with rounded corners is the most flattering nail shape. Keep them shorter to prevent breakage.
Keep them clean
Nobody likes dirt under nails! Get a nail scrub and get it out of there...
Polish them, if you like
You could just buffer your nails to get a shine, or if you like painted nails then OPI is a really good polish brand. Remember a base coat to prevent nail discolouration, and a top coat to prevent chipping. If you have the cash and the inclination, get your nails professionally done with gel or shellac for a lasting look.
Don't forget your toenails!
Matching nails and toenails is a nice look. Make sure you keep your feet in a nice condition - that's getting rid of hard skin, hair on your feet (eeeeek) and keeping fungal infections at bay.
Eyebrows make such a different to a face! You can shape them yourself with tweezers, but this can go very wrong...
Eyebrow threading only costs about £5 a go, and given the right shape can make a real difference. It's a bit painful the first time, but after that you only need a tidy up.
Some women wear more makeup than others. I know one girl who looks fantastic without makeup! But, for most of us, a bit of slap is natural.
If you have skin that isn't perfect, a good concealer or foundation is ideal. You can also get primer for a more even application. I personally use a MaxFactor foundation and powder, and I think they're just as good as MAC products that I've had.
Mascara can really bring out eyes, but we don't like clumped together lashes!
A bit of lippy goes a long way, but a good rule of thumb to not overdo your makeup is to remember - lips or eyes? If you have strikingly dramatic eyes with eyeliner and eyeshadow and false lashes or anything else you can think of, lips of a more neutral colour will focus someone's attention when they look at you.
Makeup lessons are a really good idea. There are always deals on Wowcher for MAC makeup lessons for about £50 for three hours!
If you don't have this kind of cash, stroll into Boots or Debenhams in the makeup section and get some professional advice.
The wrong makeup, either badly applied or way too over the top, and completely overshadow your other efforts to look fab. A nice neutral look during the day is what most people go for, with a bit more effort for the evenings.
Keep your teeth clean and flossed with your breath smelling fresh! Make sure you floss at least a few times a week and use a fluoride mouthwash everyday.
Avoid drinking tea and coffee and eating foods that can stain your teeth if you want naturally whiter teeth. You can always use a teeth whitening kit (these are often available on wowcher), whitening toothpaste or get your dentist to whiten them professionally.
Of course, it's common sense to keep oneself clean and wearing clean clothes. Whatever your style, it's easy to look after yourself and look awesome!