At Home Beauty Vs. Salon Services: Can You Get the Same Results for Less?

If you're spending less on beauty treatments at home, will they look like a beauty pro did it? Beauty expert Mickey Williams weighs in on this debate and gives us the deets on how to do it right.
-Mickey WIlliams

Whether we struggle with blemishes, dark spots, stained teeth or unruly nails, we all have those pesky little "flaws" that we fixate on and would like to change. With all the latest professional treatments out there, a quick fix may seem only an appointment away. But those results come at a premium price, and who has time for regular in-office or salon visits for maintenance? Luckily, DIY options are getting more sophisticated, meaning you can get the results you want with the conveniences and price tag you need. Wonder what really works? Before you shell out big bucks for a professional service try these economical, effective at-home solutions that have been tried, tested and loved by me and my clients.

Blast blemishes

Blue light treatments and cortisone injections administered by a dermatologist have long been the go-to for both long and short-term acne eradication. There's no denying their efficacy, but the cost can add up, especially since multiple blue light treatments are needed to truly see results. Now you can harness the blemish blasting power of the blue light at home with the TRIA Skin Perfecting Blue Light ($245, prescription medications or products made with bleaching agents like benzoyl peroxide, the TRIA Blue Light is gentle enough for daily use without long-term side effects or skin irritation. You pay a bit up front for this device, but over time you'll see the savings and a smoother, clearer complexion.

Gel Nails

We all love the look and durability of a gel manicure, but who has time for the upkeep?SensatioNail offers an amazing at-home gel kit that allows you to produce your own long-lasting gel mani in 30 minutes flat. Thanks to the UV light included in the kit, polish is rock-hard instantly and lasts for two full weeks. At $60, the kit is just over the price of a single salon gel set and good for 10 uses!

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Whitening teeth

A whiter smile is one of the easiest ways to quickly perk up your look and take years off. Professional whitening trays and lasers are great, but can end up causing sensitivity and draining your shopping budget. Luckily for us, the latest home-use whitening treatments to hit the market are more effective than ever. I like to use REMBRANDT® INTENSE STAIN® Stain Dissolving Strips ($22.99, when watching TV to get rid of surface stains. They're a bargain when you think how much it costs to do this at a dentist's office! The strips dissolve within 5 to 10 minutes, so you don't have to worry about falling asleep with them in. They are perfect to stick on when you're on-the-go. Plus, they noticeably whiten your teeth in just two weeks when used twice daily.

Even out your skin tone

Age spots and hyper-pigmentation caused by sun exposure can be one of the most stubborn skin conditions to correct. You need something that is going to act fast and is powerful enough to penetrate deep into skin to deliver perceptible results. Unlike the pricier, more invasive procedures like the much-hyped CO2 laser therapy, Elure products topically break down melanin to lighten age spots. The collection prices range from $35 for a wash face to $150 for their day or night creams. No downtime required! An editor favorite, Elure is the first scientifically proven enzymatic topical skin lightening product that breaks down melanin to reveal a visibly brighter, more radiant and exceptionally luminous skin appearance.

Plump your pout

Restylane is a sure fire way to get a standout pout. If you're not a fan of injections or their price tags and temporary plumpers are a bit too stimulating for you, you can still have that lush lip look. Use a nude liner like Becca Nude Lip Liner in Fondant ($23, right above your cupids bow and under your bottom lip to create more pronounced, voluminous lip. Smoke and mirrors for the kisser.

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Sunless tanning

Personal airbrush tanning and salon spray tanning machines can get extremely pricey when keeping up a summer glow. If a quick glow is needed or just a bit to even out where the spray has faded, try a quick tan-in-a-bottle that washes off like Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup in Medium Glow ($12.49, They have four shades (light, medium, tan and deep), the colors are opaque with a slight shimmer, so it's perfect for nighttime. Make sure to spray outdoors or over a tub. The glow sticks in place on dry non-lotioned skin.

Mickey Williams is a globetrotting beauty and lifestyle expert with extensive experience both behind-the-scenes and on camera. As an on-air expert, Mickey frequently appears on a wide range of local and national broadcast segments including The Today Show, ET!, Extra, Good Morning America, QVC and HSN where she shares her beauty tips and advice with audiences across America.