Making Beauty Affordable

A new website rates bath and beauty products for women.

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Dear Alpha Consumer,

The area where I tend to struggle a bit is health and beauty items. I'm not a manicure/pedicure girl, but I do like to indulge in nice lotions, shampoos, and soaps, especially the trendy organic stuff. Is it just me, or have these items skyrocketed in price over the past few years? Is there a way to get quality products without breaking the bank? Or resorting to Ivory soap?

First, let me say, there is nothing wrong with Ivory soap—even a traditional company like that one now offers lavender- and aloe-infused products. But I hear what you're saying. Sometimes it feels good to indulge in upscale bath products.

A new website, TotalBeauty.com, is a great new resource for comparing prices and quality. It focuses on cosmetics but includes information on soaps and shampoos, too. (Unfortunately for the exfoliant-loving men out there, this site focuses on women's products.)

In addition to product reviews, TotalBeauty.com offers beauty advice, blogs, and contests. The site's founder and chief executive, Emrah Kovacoglu, who spent 10 years with Procter & Gamble, says he started the company because consumers are overwhelmed by beauty products and need a place to "help them figure out what products are right for them."

So that's one option to help you get your bearings in what is now a mega-industry. But don't get sidetracked by the expensive name brands. Stores like CVS Caremark are also catering to women's interest in relaxing bath products. A small splurge there won't break the bank.