The Macklemore post you all have been waiting for is currently in the final stages (just a bit of editing and it’s a-ready to post!), but in the meantime, I asked my fellow fashionista and thrift shop enthusiast, Torey Jackson, to write a bit about what she knows best. Torey is a beauty and one of my William & Mary classmates, so expect to see lots of posts involving her in the future– she’s the bomb!
Without further ado, here are Torey’s Five Essential Truths to Beauty on a Budget:
Don’t write off drugstore beauty products.
While I realize that this post is about beauty on a budget, and that some of the most affordable beauty products are found in drugstores, I’d really like to talk about this point! I am a self-proclaimed beauty know-it-all, and I’ve spent hours, days, and months researching, comparing, and testing products that will help me in any way with my morning and nightly routines. These products range from designer mascaras to generic facewashes, and after a good run, I can honestly and truthfully tell you that you aren’t missing out on much if you buy your mascara and eyeliner at CVS or Walgreens. Consider these points as to why:
- One excellent drugstore brand I will always go back to is L’Oreal. Why? Not only does L’Oreal make very high-quality makeup, they are also apart of the same company as the higher-end lines Lancome and Kerastase. Often times, I have found that some blushes, lipsticks, and mascaras from L’Oreal are uncannily similar to Lancome for a fraction of the price. The same applies to L’Oreal’s hair products, which are often cited as “dupes” (the term in the makeup world for a cheaper product exactly like a more pricier one) for Kerastase, one of the most amazing haircare lines.
- Can beauty products really do all that much? Have you ever bought a $40 facewash promising everything that it possibly could, only for it to disappoint? Have you ever dropped a good $25 on a designer mascara, only for it to clump up and flake like a $2 Wet & Wild mascara you used in Middle School? Me too! Seriously, beauty products can only truly do so much. While I will say there are some great investments to make in the beauty world, sometimes, the $5 mascara is all you really need.
Shop the sales.
Many times a year, makeup goes on sale at stores across the country. Often times, a company will change the formula for something like a mascara or a shampoo, and they want that new product on the shelves, so any old formulas will be marked down to super low prices. Also, during the major season switchovers, companies will be marketing new products: in the spring, blushes, in the winter, moisturizers, and they too want those new products out. This New Year period is a great time to go hunting in your local Rite-Aid, CVS, or any store that sells makeup or hair products. I have come away with some really great finds, like a St. Ives facial scrub for $1.74, as well as a skincare line that I absolutely love marked 75% (I bought the whole stock), a massive tub of Carmex healing balm for $1.50, and Revlon mascaras and eyeliners for just under $2 each. My tip to hitting the jackpot? LOOK DOWN! The products that are at eye level on a shelf are often the “chosen one” for the season, meaning it’s a new product or one a company wants to push. Meanwhile, perfectly good products are lonely below, where many people don’t often look when browsing. That’s where you’ll find the golden ticket…er, tag saying “50%!” “75!”
Beauty products are multi purpose things of wonder!
Seriously, there are so many drugstore products that exist for multi purpose tasks. I’m going to list a few of my favorites, all of which you can get for $3 or less at your local drugstore or Wal-Mart!
- Aloe vera gel: I use a colorless, alchol-free aloe vera gel for pretty much everything. I mix it with water and spray it in my hair as a curl refresher (which usually costs anywhere from $8-$30). People with curly hair also use this as a moisturizing hair gel. I also use it as a light skin moisturizer that sinks in quickly. It’s also great to give a light, fresh scent to your skin. And I’m sure we’re all familiar with the common use of aloe vera gel: sunburn! All of this for $2.78!
- Vaseline: Vaseline is great for a body moisturizer, but I also use it nightly on my eyelashes and undereye area to help retain moisture there. I have pretty long lashes, and I find applying Vaseline to my eyelashes helps keep them moist, healthy, and long! Also, your skin around the eyes is very thin, meaning it can wrinkle easily. Vaseline also helps keep this area hydrated and fresh. I also use Vaseline in making a good lip scrub, by mixing gritty sugar and Vaseline, then applying and rubbing off my lips to exfoliate. All of this for $1!
- Conditioner: Ah, conditioner. Because my hair is curly and dry, I wash my hair only with conditioner. I highly recommend this method, where I use a runny conditioner to scrub, massage, and remove dirt from my scalp, and then a thicker one to deep condition. I have also used hair conditioner as a replacement for my leave-in on many an occasion. However, I have also used conditioner as a shaving cream. Think about it: it’s designed to soften hair, so it’s a win-win situation for shaving. I have also used extra-thick conditioners for dry skin patches, like on my elbows. All of this for any price range of $1.50 to $7.50!
- Disposable razors: I have used a disposable razor or two not only in the shower, but also when I’m de-pilling an old sweater I thrifted, or a pair of denim I want to destroy. All of this for anywhere between $1-$2!
Research, research, research.
It’s a rainy day, and you’ve ran out of mascara. You didn’t like that one a lot anyway, so you want to try a new one. You waltz into your local Rite-Aid like the goddess you are. You look at the rows and rows of beauty products. After reading ambiguous terms like “Volumizing!” “Lengthening!” “Cat-eye!” “Ultra carbon black black soot!” you realize that your life is a joke and promptly walk out, mascara-less and frustrated with the makeup industry (why can’t black just be black? Seriously, my biggest problem with drugstore mascaras…I digress). My tip to avoid the confusion is to product research. There are hundreds of products at the drugstore making promises, and if it’s your money, spend it on the right things! My favorite website is http://www.makeupalley.com. Here, thousands of women rate millions of beauty products. If you’re thinking about a certain mascara, but not sure, look it up! Why waste $10 on what could be bottled crap? The same goes for ingredients. Do you know what retinol or ceramide or sodium lauryl sulfate is? Do you know what’s lurking in your face cream or shampoo? Research the ingredients, and READ the ingredients! Remember the entire generic product backlash a few years ago? Well, a good way to tell if a generic is a good substitute is to read and compare the ingredients of the two. Look at them side by side; if the first five ingredients are the same in each one, the generic is exactly the same as the name-brand. Save those extra dollars. You can thank me later!
And finally: do you.
Remember when I questioned what beauty products can actually do? Think about it. Oh, a little pencil that makes your lashline black! Cool! Oh, some sticky goo that magically makes your eyelashes look longer? Great. What are all of these little pots of eyeshadow or bottles of conditioners doing? They’re merely small enhancements. Honestly though, makeup is all about enhancement, not covering up or radical change. That’s my philosophy on makeup: it’s to enhance your natural beauty. If you feel sexy in mascara, go for it. If you only leave the house in cherry Chapstick and sunscreen (PROTECT YA SELF) then you go girl! This is why I love makeup. It’s for experimenting and test running new aspects of your creative self. If you feel like wearing a lime green eyeshadow to your next party, DO IT. If you want to test run that purple metallic eyeliner on a coffee date, why not? Trying a new hairstyle with some cool texturing paste? Go for it. But remember, DO YOU. No mascara is going to make you interesting or have a great personality. No eyeliner is going to replace intelligence and social skills. No lipstick is going to change who you truly are. If you remember nothing about this article, I beg you to remember this. As a girl who has struggled and continues to struggle with self-perception and image of beauty, I ask that you view makeup as a tool to enhance what beauty you already have and a great way to express and try your hand at some serious creativity, but that no matter what you spend on mascara or eyeliner or face cream, these things will never change what is intrinsic and unique to you. For me, makeup is not a way to make myself into someone I’m not, physically or otherwise. It’s just a way to enhance what I already got on the outside- NOT on the inside.
I hope you enjoyed my article and that you learned something from it! Being a beauty goddess on a budget really is doable.