5 Ways to Save BIG on Makeup and Still Get a GREAT Look
I’ve got to admit, I’m a total “product junkie”. Whether it’s skin care serums, cosmetics and makeup brushes, or bath and body products – I am hooked. Working in the skin care industry only serves to further my product addiction, so I have to be diligent about not letting myself overstock on makeup I will a) never use, b) not use frequently enough, or c) spend WAY too much money on when there was an equally great product for a fraction of the cost.
I believe it is best to invest the main portion of a beauty budget in products that create a true physiological or functional change in the skin. When we can save on the “enhancers” (products that play a smaller role in the overall appearance of the skin), we can invest more of our budgets into products that actually improve the health of our skin.
I believe it is best to invest the main portion of a beauty budget in products that create a true physiological or functional change in the skin.
Today, I am going to share with you 5 key areas in your makeup application that can likely be tweaked to save you a considerable amount of money. Over many years of working as a makeup artist and esthetician, I can testify to the fact that expensive is not always better. I believe in investing in the critical component of a beautiful makeup application: the foundation. Whether you like liquids, creams, or powders – the quality of your foundation does make a huge difference, and in fact, the most difference in the appearance of your final look. Put your money in quality foundation and skin care formulas – and try to avoid over-investing in the enhancers (mascara, lip liner, eye liner, lip gloss, etc.).
Enhancer #1: Mascara
I have tried so many brands and formulas of mascara over the years – it’s impossible to count. I have always been on the hunt for the “next best” mascara. I have purchased cheap mascara, expensive mascara, special wands, fancy packages – you name it. Though there are some high-end mascaras that perform nicely, they just aren’t enough better to warrant the cost difference. Unless you want all your packaging to match and insist on pretty tubes – mascara is one of the easiest items to save a ton of money on! What’s more: Mascara is one of the quickest products to degrade. Every time you remove the wand and push air back in when re-inserting the wand, the mascara changes in texture just a bit. This repeated (and unavoidable) activity is the reason why it seems your mascara isn’t nearly as nice two weeks into use as it was the day you bought it.
Product to Try: CoverGirl LashBlast Volume
From Lancome’s famous mascaras to MAC, to the often bragged upon Benefit mascara… I find nothing about them better than this CoverGirl mascara! I have no troubles with clumping, I get beautiful coverage and lots of thickness with this drugstore brand mascara.
At around $8.00 this little orange tube is a steal compared to the $28 you’ll spend on a leading Lancome mascara!
Enhancer #2: Eye Liner
Eye liner is the second biggest money pit in my personal beauty budget. I have tried nearly as many eye pencils as I have mascara – always looking for that perfect black liner. In the end, I do not find that designer makeup brands perform any better than many of the drugstore brands. Sure, there will be the good performers and poor performers whether you spend a little or a lot, but I’ve come across several drugstore brands that give me a lovely eye liner application for so much less than their designer counterparts.
Product to Try: Revlon ColorStay Eye Liner
I have found this automatic pencil to be one of the best eye liners for staying power. Because it is a ColorStay product, and is intended to do just that (stay), it can seem a little stiff during application. The work around is to simply warm your “point” between your fingers and a tissue for a second or two before applying. This pencil does a great job of staying in place even when lining the upper and lower inner rims of your lids. If you like to do any sort of winged application at the corners of your eyes, this pencil will keep wings in place all day. If you prefer a softer application and a pencil that smudges more easily with a more velvety feel, try CoverGirl’s Perfect Point Plus (about $5).
At $7, this great liner is less than half the cost of leading designer brands!
Put your money in quality foundation and skin care formulas – and try to avoid over-investing in the enhancers.
Enhancer #3: Lip Liner
Lip liner formulas abound, but you’ll find that the ingredient decks to these liners are all very similar regardless of brand – costly or cheap. One thing I love to do is find products that can function as more than one product. I have found an awesome little eye pencil that has actually become my go-to lip liner. Being in a taupe shade, it blends naturally along the mauvey-tone of my natural lip color nicely, and can be used as a very soft addition to my eye lining routine when I’m going for a barely-there makeup look. Now, even if you’re not interested in trying a taupe eye liner as a lip liner, you can still find wonderful lip pencils for just a few dollars (Rimmel London has some beautiful options at about $4 each). Keep those extra dollars and invest them in a fabulous face powder, foundation, or skin care serum!
Product to Try: Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof EYE Liner
Yes, EYE liner on the lips. Depending on your skin tone, and especially if you have mauve-toned lips – and love a natural looking lip… TRY this EYE-liner for your lip liner!
Should you decide to give it a try, be sure to use light pressure and just dot it along your lip line, then gently smudge/blend it with your finger. If you press too hard, it won’t look lovely. 🙂
Finish with your favorite natural lip color or a beautiful nude toned gloss, and you’ll have gorgeous, natural looking lips with liner that is NOT going anywhere all day long!
This pencil runs $4 compared to the $23 you’ll spend on a popular Estee Lauder lip liner, you’ll be getting a product you can use two ways with money leftover for Starbucks.
Enhancer #4: Lip Gloss
Now, I love lip gloss, and I own a lot of the stuff, but I am absolutely blown away by the insanely inflated pricing on tubes full of goop that wear off quickly and don’t contain much pigment. You see, pigment is what gives color to products, and pigments are often the most expensive ingredients in a cosmetic formula. The bases of most lip glosses are extremely cheap ingredients and the transparent nature of most glosses mean they aren’t heavily pigmented. So, as you can see, there is NO reason for a lip gloss to cost $15, $16 or even $20. There are loads of inexpensive gloss brands that will do all you need them to do: look pretty.
Product to Try: Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm
One evening while performing a facial on one of my dearest clients at my studio, I happened to ask her what products she uses on her lips – as they are always gorgeous – just enough color to show up, but so beautifully natural. She mentioned this Almay product, and I quickly went to pick up my own tube at my local Walgreens. Well, it has become a definitive part of my makeup collection. I have one at my vanity and one in my purse. It is the perfect sheer pink, is not overly sticky, and keeps your lips lusciously hydrated! If you prefer non-pink glosses, they’ve got several shades to choose from!
Spend $5 on a gloss like this and say goodbye to glosses that cost 3 times the money without providing 3 times the performance.
Enhancer #5: Eyeshadow
I’ve already mentioned that I firmly believe in investing in quality foundations and skin care formulas. I am as picky about eyeshadow as I am foundation, and for this particular enhancement, I prefer higher end brands -BUT- there’s an addendum here that is the money saver: I spend on higher end eyeshadow palettes that can be used in multiple ways.
If I consider one of my favorite brands of eyeshadow (Too Faced) I can grab a palette of rich, beautiful colors that go on true-to-color for around $36 (usually 9 shades). Of these shades, I will almost always use ALL of them in some way or another, so I am not throwing away color later on. I could spend about $20 on a Loreal palette and come away with 10 shades, all of which I might use – but I’d end up applying them more times to get the same effect as I would get with one layer of Too Faced. The more pigment in your eyeshadows, the truer to color they are when applied. Since I do invest in high performance eyeshadow, I always make sure to grab a palette I can use in multiple ways. Below, you’ll see an example of my most recent palette purchase and why I think it was worth the money I spent on it – and ultimately, saved me money in the long run.
Product to Try: Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eyeshadows Collection
This was my most recent palette purchase. I paid $49 for the cute pink case (SEE we are so driven by pretty packages), and the 16 shades of color. Keep in mind, I’ve saved so much on my mascara, eye liner, lip liner, and lip gloss to totally offset the cost of this palette!
I can create a ton of awesome looks for my eyes with this palette, but there are a myriad of other uses! See the sweet pink shade, middle row, second from the left? I’ve tapped that over my lips, added a layer of gloss, and voila! Perfect lips. I’ve used the bottom right shade for highlighting various facial features, and several colors can blend beautifully on the bottom edge of your blush to create a gorgeous contour. I use the top, far-right brown shadow as my brow color – every single day.
Don’t buy palettes (especially if there are only 4 shades) that contain colors you know you won’t use! Keep shopping!
I have used this palette as eye shadow, facial contour, facial highlight, lip color, and brow color. Those are a LOT of uses that would require a number of different products to purchase separately – and a lot more MONEY.
In the end, the $49 you might spend on a quality shadow palette could actually save you money. Try before you buy. Look for shades that go on true-to-color and buy palettes with colors you know you’ll use most, if not all, of. Get creative, play with your colors, and find uses beyond your eyes, and you’ll really be saving then!
I hope these tips and product highlights have given you some ideas on how you can makeover your makeup budget. If so, I’d love to hear what you try and how it works for you. Do you have a favorite drugstore brand you’ve found to be as good as the designer competitors? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’m always looking for new things to try when it’s replacement time!
Could your eyebrows use some help? Check out my article Brow Tools I Can’t Live Without to get some great tips on tools and products that can transform your brow routine!