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02-09-09 | Posted by




Stretching your beauty budget is all about prioritizing. You can splurge on a few luxuries once in a while without breaking the bank – but you have to shop around.

Brushes -  Brushes make a good investment. If you care for them properly, they can last for years. The right tool can make all the difference in the application, but you have to know how to use it. If you can’t afford to buy a full set of several brushes, just get the absolute essentials: concealer brush, eye shadow brush, eyeliner brush, and blush brush. Choose brushes that are soft and full. Bristles that fall out easily are usually a sign of a poor quality brush.

Seek Out Small Sizes – If you are not sure you’ll like a color of nail polish or eye shadow, buy the smallest size possible to try it out first.  Or go for a manicure and choose the color you’re conteplating for a test drive before you fully commit to purchase. Most nail salons will let you try a few colors on before choosing one.

Beauty Basics – The drugstore or your grocery store is the place to buy basics like cotton pads, sponges, and cotton swabs in inexpensive bulk. Check out the baby department too!

Trendy Shades – Stay away from expensive, high fashion, trendy colors that are sure to scream “that’s sooo last season!” very quickly. If you are dying to try something fun, stick with bargain brands for trendier colors so you won’t waste a lot of money on something you probably won’t use for long.

Nail Color – Shades that prove to be a huge mistake for your hands may look lovely on your toes. Pedicures get less wear and tend to last better with less chipping.  Another way to stretch your budget is buy your color from a brand you really love, and get your top coat at the drugstore from one of the discount ranges.

Eye Shadows – Even though you may have a rainbow of colors in your makeup bag, if you are like most women, you use the same one or two shades every day. Instead of buying a slew of inexpensive products that you may like one day and tire of the next, buy one or two basics that suit your eye color and skin tone. A shadow duo with a dark gray, taupe or other neutral color for the lid with a darker shade for accents or evening, and liner works best. Duos or quads of eye shadow are often a better investment than a single color, but only if you plan to use all the shades included. If you like three out of four shades in a set, you might be better off purchasing a duo you love.

Blush – Blush is one beauty item you don’t need many of. Try a multi-purpose color stick which can double as a shadow, lip color, and highlighter. Stick with a natural shade that gives you sun-kissed cheeks that can be worn every day. You may want to change your blush with the season; a deeper shade for summer when you have a self-tan, and a softer shade for winter when your face has less color. Think Nars The Multiple.

Mascara – Drugstore mascara has the great advantage that you can toss it after two or three months without the guilt, before it dries out completely and bacteria settles into the brush. Maybelline Great Lash is still one of the best sellers on the planet! (The famous pink and green tube).  READ BEST OF THE LASH BRIGADE UNDER THE ARTICLES CATEGORY

Lip & Eye Pencils – If you feel the need to try on different lipsticks and would like professional advice, a department store makeup counter is the place to go. Be careful about using testers. I am a germie, so I never apply them directly to my skin, eyes, lips or face – for good hygiene, always wipe applicators off with a tissue and use them on your hand or forearm.

Lipsticks – If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can try to find neutral shades at the drugstore. Neutral, beige or rosy shades are always safer than bright or dark colors, which are a more risky purchase without trying first. If you buy a color that just won’t work for you, try mixing it with a sheer gloss or a lighter shade.

Concealer, foundation & powder – Think of foundation as a skin treatment – and worth the extra investment. This is one area where you can splurge. Getting the right skin tone match is key, and you may need the help of a professional makeup artist or beauty consultant. It is also nice to be able to touch and feel the product before you make the investment. For an accurate color read, wipe first and apply to the forearm.

In general, the more you pay, the more service you get. However, price does not always correlate to quality when it comes to makeup and skin care. There are many trendy brands that charge as much as tried and true brands to capitalize on their marketing, but quailty often pays the price. Department stores and specialty cosmetics outlets offer more guidance than drugstores for these items, although some mass retailers have very liberal return policies in case you make a makeup boo-boo.

The best investment you can make is a session with a professional makeup artist to teach you how to use the products you already have in your makeup bag, tell you which to toss (and which won’t work), and help you find a few key products you really need!

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