We all want to look our best, but with so many personal care items on the market, it can be hard to determine what we really need and what we could do without. Naturally, advertisers are out to sell their clients’ wares and they use every trick they know to make us believe we simply can’t live without the latest and greatest or the new and improved. As human beings, we are particularly drawn to what’s new.

Not so long ago, a shower, a shave, some nice-smelling aftershave and some deodorant were all men needed to be well-groomed and ready for the day. I’ll bet that most guys get by very nicely using that same simple formula but these days you’re told you need everything from skin care products to guy-specific shampoos and body washes.

The truth is that much of what we find on store shelves is “extra stuff” we could just as easily live without, thus saving ourselves a bunch of money in the process. Here are four personal grooming products you could probably live without.

Facial Cleansing Wipes

Whatever benefits a cleansing wipe offers can be accomplished with your favorite cleanser and a wash cloth. It seems obvious to me  that a wash cloth can exfoliate and remove makeup at least as well as a cleansing wipe that you use only once and throw away. In my opinion, you are also throwing money away when you buy facial cleansing wipes. They are a convenience product, like pop up cleaning wipes for the kitchen and, in the long run, bad for your budget as well as the environment.

Shaving Cream for Women

I’ve never seen the sense in buying shaving cream for women because most body washes I’ve used soften skin and produce lots of luxurious suds that make shaving legs easy and nick-free. Body washes these days contain moisturizers that leave your skin feeling great, too. A body wash I recently bought said that it was also good for shaving as if most of the brand name body washes they make today couldn’t do the same thing  just as easily.

The Latest Razor on the Market

This goes for both sexes. You might get a slightly better shave with the newest incarnation of razor and the razor itself may not be unreasonably expensive but the blades for it will always cost more than the ones that came before them. Manufacturers are counting on your need for replacement blades on a regular basis.

Among men, there’s been a renewed interest in safety razors. After the initial cost of the razor itself, (I saw two models on Amazon that cost under $40), the double-edged blades can be had much more cheaply than cartridge blades. You can buy 100 safety razor blades for $16.95 on Amazon whereas 10 Sensor Excel blades cost $20.96 at Walmart.

Gender-Specific Body Washes

As women, we gravitate to whatever smells nice and promises us soft skin. I’ve used many of the brand name body washes made specifically for women – everything from Olay to Nivea to Calgon – and liked them all. Then I bought some Zest with skin softeners and, guess what? I got clean and my skin feels good.

Clean is clean. What’s the difference between Irish Spring Body Wash and Nivea Men Body Wash? Not much, I’ll wager, except maybe how much product you get for the money. The same goes for shampoos. Unless you color your hair, most standard shampoos will do the job nicely.

You can cut back on spending for personal grooming items this year by reconsidering what it is you really need as opposed to what advertisers would have you believe you need.

Marlene Alexander

Marlene Alexander

Marlene is a freelance writer and blogger. She maintains a free budget decorating site called Dollar Store Style and writes content for client websites.