Get the Look – How to Look Luxe for Less

Women of a certain income bracket (i.e. a very high one) and A-listers have a few common traits besides their enviable bank balances and walk-in closets: A thick, silky gorgeous mane, effortlessly clear, glowing skin and immaculately manicured tips.

No, these 1 percenters do not just pop out of bed looking so fabulously polished and understated chic every day. And yes, most of us don’t have unlimited funds to splash out on daily pricey primping sessions or an army of beauty pros. But hey, who said you can’t look a million bucks without breaking the bank? Moreover, when you look like the best version of yourself, you will feel and act the part. So embrace these tips upgrade your image and set yourself up for success.



A quartet of tress traits screams très cher: High shine, luxe volume, a chic classic cut, and lush natural colour…and it’s like that every day (think: Kate Middleton). The good news is, making your hair a wearable status symbol can be surprisingly easy on the wallet – if you master a few skills and put in the effort.

Rich-girl hair starts in the shower:

  • To build volume, use a basic formula shampoo and conditioner from the drug store that rinses away easily, instead of weighing down hair.
  • Trade weekly deep-conditioning salon treatments with home hair masks to maintain that healthy opulent shine.
  • Expensive hair is never frizzy. Dry your strands using a soft towel or thick kitchen paper towels to press out the water gently instead of rubbing your mane (like you’d do for your pet dog) so that you do not disturb the cuticle and kill the silky shine.
  •  When the hair is damp, spray a volumizer or use mousse at the roots before blow-drying for voluptuous fullness. Work on small sections of hair no wider than your brush (choose a thin round boar-bristle brush for fine hair and a medium-size one for thicker hair). Grabbing too much is a common rookie mistake.
  • Finally, glamorous hair should smell as luxurious as it looks. Finish up with a shine-booster with a light inviting perfume, like Kérastase Elixir Ultime Grand Crus, on the length of the hair (Tip: A little goes a long way and skip the roots).

Invest in a good professional cut and maintain with 6-weekly tiny trims at a budget neighborhood chain in between to stretch out your salon visits. By the way, “natural-looking colour” does not refer to the hue you were born with, but it’s the shade that looks so good on you, you should have been born with it (think: Beyonce). If you’re colouring at home, do not veer more than 3 shades from your genetic hair colour. If you want to really lighten or add more dimension to your locks, you’ll need to get highlights at a salon.

Bankrupt Your Style: Brassy red (a common disaster from an at-home colour kit) is the enemy of chic.



Just because you’ve got time and cash-strapped, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of spots and wrinkles. It’s all about paying attention to what’s important:

  • Don’t be a product snob. The local drug store is a treasure trove of affordable quality products. To fight aging, look out for actives such as retinol, peptides, antioxidants and AHAs (Try: RoC Retinol Correxion Max Wrinkle Resurfacing system is one of our new pet). Lighten pigmentation and brighten your complexion with products containing vitamin C, kojic acid, arbutin and AHAs. Combat breakouts with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
  • Clean up your diet to set a good foundation for a lifetime of  great skin and health. Keep yourself well-hydrated and stock foods that are low-glycaemic index, anti-inflammatory and contain lots of antioxidants (think: A variety of brilliantly-coloured veggies, berries, avocado, omega 3-rich wild salmon).
  • Foundation makeup is probably the eighth wonder of the world for most women. Besides finding your “skin twin” shade and right texture, using tools like a beauty blender or foundation brush can help you achieve seamless “perfection”.

Bankrupt Your Style:  Overly matte foundation that looks cakey or chalky.

Read More: 6 Secrets of “Lucky” People with Perfect Skin



Like a great hair or perfect skin, a set of healthy, well-manicured nails is an integral part of a pulled-together appearance – one that can work as an asset in both the social and the business world.

Pointers for Polished Tips:

  • Wearing jewel tones (We love: OPI Eurso Euro, a royal blue from their latest Euro Centrale 2013 collection) on your nails is one of the easiest and least costly accessories add bling to your entire look. While the rich-girl nudes (Try: OPI Samoan Sand) are a fool-proof classic and are making a comeback on many Spring Summer runways too. It doesn’t cost much to buy a delicious new colour or get your nails done once in awhile, but it always makes you look and feel polished.
  • Always remove your polish once it’s chipped and looking cheap. Your attentiveness to details is easily noticed by others through the condition of your hands.
  • Whether you get them professionally groomed or you are doing it yourself, go easy on your cuticles. Vicious cutting or pushing back of the cuticles breaches the natural protective barrier and is a common cause of nasty nail infections and possibly nail deformities (not sexy).
  • To whiten stained nails, lightly buff clean nails and soak them in a commercial denture cleaner like Polident for about 5 minutes. Alternatively, use a paste from mixing drops of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of baking soda from your kitchen. Lightly massage onto yellowed tips and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid keeping your nail polish on for too long to prevent yellowing.

Bankrupt Your Style: Talon-long nails with ’90s airbrush design

Read More: How to Make Your Nail Polish Last Longer


Time to put on a tailored outfit (fit – more than the price tag – is everything, so make friends with your alteration shop lady) and your designer bag (a blue chip style splurge that will transform any look instantly), and strut towards an upgraded life. Go get it, girl!

What are your favourite beauty tricks for looking a million bucks?


– By Emily Wong


*This article has been selected Editor’s Choice for Feb 2013*


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