It's time to get back to basics on what really makes you beautiful: good healthy both inside and out. You don't need an unlimited budget to make you beautiful, but here are ten investments that are sure to pay off:

1. Sunscreen. Nothing ages you faster than the sun, so you should make sure to wear this all-year long.  Look for one that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

2. Facial Moisturizer. Be sure to choose one that's formulated for your skin type and contains anti-oxidants, retinoids, or hydroxy acids that will help you fight premature aging. Some dermatologists say night creams are particularly effective because your skin regenerates as you sleep.

3. Refillable Water Bottle. Staying hydrated is good for your overall appearance and skin. If you carry water around with you, it will serve as a constant reminder to drink up. Keep it on your desk instead of the cup of coffee and you'll preserve even more moisture by cutting down on caffeine.

4. Dermatological Check-Up. Any untreated condition is only going to get worse, especially acne, varicose veins, or in the worst case scenario, early signs of skin cancer. Invest in regular checkups to stay ahead of any potential problems.

5. Good Haircut. A good haircut makes hair easier to maintain and won't require as many damaging styling products to make it look good.

6. Hand Lotion and Cuticle Cream. You don't need a specially formulated cream for your hands - any rich body lotion will work -- but you do need to make sure to moisturize your hands and cuticles often. Your hands give away even more about your age than your face.

7. Fresh Fruit & Vegetables. No matter how many vitamins and supplements you may take, nothing can replace the nutrients you can get from food. Try organic produce to ensure you're not eating additives you're not expecting. Plus, seasonal produce will not only taste better, but will ensure you're eating food at its height of freshness and nutritional value.

8. Gym Membership, Bicycle, or Fitness Equipment. Exercise not only keeps you fit and healthy, but relieves stress, the effects of which can take a huge toll on your skin and cause premature aging.  The Mayo Clinic recommends "30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week."

9. Comfortable Mattress and Pillow. The old adage about getting your beauty sleep is true; you should strive to get at least 7 hours each night. Since many of us have crazy schedules that make it hard to get your hours in, wasting an hour tossing and turning on an uncomfortable bed will only set you back.

10.  Smoking Cessation Products. If the health risks won't make you quit, see if your vanity will keep you from lighting up. Only a few years of smoking can permanently damage your skin and teeth and it's sure to make you look older. While some smoking cessation products or treatments can be costly, in the long run this is an investment that will truly pay off.


American Academy of Dermatology