Smile - it's the best and cheapest beauty treatment

Just because we are in the midst of a recession it doesn't mean we have to skip over our beauty essentials. A new lipstick won't break the bank (Oops, I forgot someone else already did that!) Beauty is skin deep and lifestyle plays a very important part. Healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, keeping stress levels at bay and drinking water are a must for good skin. As a self-confessed beauty junkie, I believe skin-care is a must. If you have a good canvas the paint will go on much easier.

So what we need is a beauty strategy. first we need to prioritize our beauty needs. If waxing is a necessity check to see does your salon do specials early in the week. Usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays there is a discount of 10 - 15% ,so book in advance to avail of the special offers. Also ask your salon or spa to put you on their mailing and text service and this way you will be in the know of all upcoming events and special offers.

Sign up for loyalty cards in salons and pharmacies as those points can really add up and sometimes when you most need it. If you have your eye on a particular product, read beauty bloggers' reviews to see does it live up to your expectations. If payday is a long way off and you just ran out of your favourite moisturiser try a travel size to keep you going. Look out for promotional events as there usually is 10% off products on such nights. Another great saving is when your perfume or product comes in a gift set, normally two extra products come free!

Next - Nigella Lawson eat your heart out - our kitchen cupboards can give us many beauty remedies.

Brown sugar and honey make a great body scrub. Brown sugar exfoliates dead skin and honey is naturally anti-bacterial. Vodka can be used to tighten your pores, get rid of grime and refresh your skin. Apply with damp cotton wool if you run out of toner, also a shot of vodka into your shampoo helps cleanse your hair and scalp.

Baking soda has been used in beauty forever. Remove residue that styling products and shampoo may leave behind, add a half a tsp of baking soda to your shampoo, rinse and condition as usual. It can also can be used to clean your finger and toe nails. Apply baking soda to your nail brush then scrub your nails and cuticles to soften cuticles and for great looking nails.

The Welsh beauty Catherine Zeta Jones believes in natural beauty. She says we should pay heed to whatever we hear from our mothers about how we can preserve our youthful appearance because, more often than not, it's true.

After a meal Catherine likes to eat an apple to cleanse her teeth . If there is no apple she uses the juice or pulp of a strawberry as the acid from the strawberry can lighten surface stains. As for her beautiful hair, she uses a mixture of beer and honey as a conditioner. Apparently it is the protein in the malt and the hops that repair and replenish hair making it soft and shiny.

Also look out for products that multitask. Burt's Bees have a lip balm but it's also great for unruly eyebrows. Elizabeth Arden eight-hour cream is great for healing cracked skin as well as moisturising. Benefit has bene tint, gives your cheeks and lips a long lasting pop of colour. The right colour lipstick can double as cream blush. Lacome 's new foundation has four-in-one, a foundation, a serum, sun protection and concealer.

Essence have a great new range called Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful. The eye pencils are bright purple and intensive green. The lip balm changes as soon as it comes in contact with your lips. Comes in 01 Glinda the Good and 02 Master of Magic. Nails will look dramatic with their new cracking top coat, used over previously polished nails to reveal a work of art.

Catrice have a limited edition make-up range called Candy Shock. Eye shadows are light and delicate when applied dry and when applied moist have a metallic effect. A new treatment from Catrice is called lip peeling, with real sugar crystals for softer lips. My favourite in the range is their eyebrow set that includes two shades of brow powder, a brush and tweezers - great value for money.

Gosh is another choice for the savvy customer. I love their primers, which are used to prepare the skin for foundation. New to the range is a BB skin perfecting kit. It is a concealer and highlighter in one product, for dark circles and cover for small imperfections. If you want longer and thicker lashes try growth serum - it gives a visible effect in two weeks.

Kate Browne runs a beauty salon in the Dublin suburb of Kimmage. Her mother was Margaret Brown, a former housewife of the year and also a familiar voice on RTE's radio 1's Mooney show, where she is known as his Domestic Goddess. In 2006 Kate opened her beauty salon and soon was awarded 5-stars by the Good Salon Guide.

During the Celtic tiger business was good. Kate's mum did the books but then Margaret got ovarian cancer. Kate traveled to America with her mum for treatment but sadly she passed away. The business struggled as Kate was away and the paperwork went on the back burner. Her vat bill mounted, she moved in with her aunt to save money. Kate was adamant not to let the revenue or government stop us looking beautiful, so she opened Beauty By The Bit, which allows you to pay what you can, when you can, and build up a balance so that when it comes to special occasions-you will not be faced with a big bill.

Kerry salons and spas take note innovative Kate Browne has something there.

My last beauty tip is smile - it's free and apparently when you do it the whole world does it with you.

• Next week beauty for all ages.