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Share Your Cheap Beauty Tricks

7 November 2009 9 Comments

Women & Finances is a new series written by a 20-something about her financial journey. Her columns will be appearing weekly here at 20smoney.com. You can read her other articles by visiting the Women & Finances category.

One way I have tried to cut back my spending recently is in the make-up department. I am an expensive make-up junkie that has not exactly been rehabilitated, but has been on the search for what make up and skin care products it’s okay to skimp and go cheap with. I am going to need reader input and advice on this one, but will share my failures and discoveries.

In the skin-care realm I have found that the inexpensive Cetaphil cleanser works great as a gentle cleanser, but it still needs to be supplemented with a good exfoliator a few times each week. I have tried and tested a multitude of cheap facial exfoliants and none work better than the expensive Kiehl’s Epidermal Retexturing Micro-Dermabrasion. This exfoliant is truly awesome and I know it’s superiority is more than just psychological. It only takes a tiny dot to give a deep scrub and the tube lasts forever. It is worth the $40.00. Now with moisturizers and eye-creams, it’s important to note that I come from the womb of a woman who swears by Creme De La Mer and spends hundreds on their creams. I have gone drug store with these products and find no difference in my skin. As long as they don’t clog pores, they do the trick. My Neutrogena moisturizer and eye cream have worked fine. A great trick I have adopted is using Johnson’s Baby Oil as an eye make-up remover. It works great and keeps the sensitive under-eye area moist.

Make-up has been a trickier animal. I have bought many types of make up at the drug store only to throw them away and end up spending even more money at the mall on the expensive brands. There is less pigment in cheap eye shadow and blush, a significant difference in mascara quality and cheap foundation doesn’t even come close to Dior AirBrush Foundation and Mac Studio Fix. Dermablend Concealer is the best at covering blemishes and under-eye circles and has a lot more pigment and quality coverage than cheap concealers. But with lip liners, glosses and lipstick I have found cheap drug store substitutes that work great. Do you need one Chanel Glossimer? Sure. But there is no need to have four of them when there are cheaper glosses out there and you can mix them with liners and lipsticks to achieve various effects. Bourjois 3D Lipgloss ($15.00) is half the price of a Chanel Glossimer ($27.00) and looks great. I get them at Ulta. I have also picked up a few great cheap and long lasting Rimmel lipliners at Ulta. There really is no gloss that stays on as long as Smashbox Limitless Long Wear Gloss, but it is $21.00 which is a bit steep and is not recommended for kissing with. For kissing, I go middle school all over again with the inexpensive drug store brand Lipsmackers but I am open to input on this.

When it comes to eyeliner, mascara and bronzer I am truly an Estee Lauder fan on all three accounts and have trouble deviating. I love Bronze Goddess and have done back to it after looking horrible with drug store bronzers that can make you look dirty or too sparkly. Bronze Goddess is truly a good median of both and the large palette is great for a large bronzer brush. Their Automatic Eye Pencil Duo is great for smudging with the sponge on the other end and I love that the sponge is capped to keep it sanitary. Estee Lauder Projectionist Mascara ($19.50) has been my favorite for a while. Even with the hype about Maybelline Great Lash and other drug store brands, I find no comparison. Projectionist makes my lashes look awesome. And has anyone found a cheap nail polish that stays on as long as OPI? I have yet to.

I would love to hear what your favorite beauty products are–especially if they save money!

Kevin says: Wow, now that is some different advice than the usual 20smoney.com content!  I hope there are some female readers out there that enjoy this article and this series!


  • april said:

    I try to keep my make up to a minimum since I only wear it for going out in the evenings, and if I want to make a really good first impression (like a job interview). There is a fine line that professional women have to walk in order to make sure that we look pretty, but that people also take us seriously. There is a limit to how beautiful a girl can look and still have people believe she knows what she's saying. All of that being said, my moisturizer of choice at the moment is cocoa butter, the big cheap bottle from wal-mart. Cocoa butter is good for wrinkles (crows feet), stretch marks, smells ok, and it doesn't leave that weird flaky white stuff on your hands like cheap hand lotion does. As far as make up goes, my philosophy is less is more. I wear at most eye shadow, lip gloss or lipstick, foundation, and concealer. Much more than that and in my opinion you start to get diminishing returns for your efforts. There is a good chance that someone will notice eyeshadow. There is a much smaller chance that anyone will notice the eye liner. As far as actual make- up brands go, the only one that I have any preference for are those from Avon. They are affordable, feel good, and are a definite step above most wal-mart products.

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  • Lea Co said:

    To save on my makeup cost, I became a Mark Cosmetics representative! It's $20 to become a rep, but you get free make up as a sign up gift. I received 2 blushes, 4 eyeshadows, 1 lipstick and 5 lipglosses. I haven't actually sold anything to anyone, but as a rep, you can buy their cosmetics at a 30-50% discount. The most expense item they have is the perfume $24… but the quality is great, and I prefer it over MAC!

  • denise said:

    i am just reading your blog for the first time. anyway, i find covergirl to be the best makeup especially there eyeliner pencil. and coverstick concealer. for moisturerizers i think nothing beats our shea butter from african stores and also vaseline.t

  • MCL said:

    There is this great blog that I always look at: http://www.mygiftwithpurchase.com. It will tell you what department stores and websites have deals if you purchase a minimum amount. I just old off on buying any beauty products unless I see a deal listed so I get the most for my money. Sometimes you get extraneous items like mascara each time you buy something. If you save a few, you can resell them on ebay for a but of money

  • Sarah said:

    I love Almay TLC foundation…before them I couldn't find any foundation I was satisfied with, but their formula matches well, goes on great, and stays on well. When it comes to eyeliner/eyebrow pencil I have been happy with Covergirl. I haven't found any nail polish that is quite as good as OPI, but Revlon and (surprisingly) I Love my Nails nail polish do pretty well…and I Love my Nails is about $1, so it's a great cheap thrill.

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