Beauty On A Budget: Saving Money On Make-up

by Lauren Pettit

One secret to saving money on make-up without going barefaced is to learn to be creative with it. You can get double-duty out of many products, and you can salvage many of those purchasing mistakes that have collected in that bottom drawer by learning to adjust products to your liking.

  • If you already have mascara, you don't need to buy liquid eyeliner too. You can line your eyes using your mascara and a fine eyeliner brush. This works best with thin-formula mascaras. If you don't have a brush, recycle one from an old tube of eyeliner.
  • Lipstick can double as cream blush. If you like to have at least several lipstick colors, you won't have to buy a blush to match each one, and you will always be color-coordinated
  • You don't need to buy a special brush for your eyebrows or a product to hold them in place. Spray a bit of hairspray or use a dab of hairstyling gel on a recycled toothbrush.
  • Mascara can also be used to color your eyebrows and keep them in place. Just wipe the wand off with a tissue first. You can also use eyeshadow and a brush to fill in your eyebrows or an eyeliner pencil can double for both eyes and brows.
  • It is a money-waster to buy separate, special frosted products just for nighttime/special occasion use. Instead, you can get by with just one inexpensive light colored frosted eyeshadow and a highlighting powder, or use the light frosted half of one of those blush duos if you have one. Use this one frosted powder on your eyes as shadow or over a matte shadow to make it frosted, brush it over your blush, or pat a small amount with your fingertip over your lipstick on the center of your bottom lip. Cheapest and most sophisticated option: skip frosted make-up altogether and wear the same matte colors day and night.
  • You don't need to buy a special eyeshadow primer. Your regular foundation or any liquid concealer will work great. If you have oily lids and your eyeshadow tends to crease, prime your eyelids instead with face powder, baby powder or a light colored eyeshadow.
  • Consider buying an inexpensive brown blush instead of a brown eyeshadow. You get much more product for your money, and you may even be able to use it as blush too.
  • Make your own inexpensive loose powder. In a plastic container with a screw -top lid, mash up the cheapest powder compact you can find (buy a color a little darker than your skin) and mix in approximately twice as much baby powder.
  • Powder blush too dark? Mash it up in a plastic container, and mix in baby powder a little at a time until it is as light as you want it. You can turn it into a pretty, light wash of color, and the new mixture will last you a very long time.
  • Powder blush too bright? Mash it up and mix in a little brown brush, matte brown eyeshadow, or matte powdered bronzer.
  • Have a too-bright lipstick you'd like to salvage? Apply a medium-brown lipstick or lip liner pencil over it. If you don't already own a brown lipstick, I suggest you purchase one from Wet 'n' Wild (#549). It will set you back a whole dollar.
  • Lipstick too dark? Apply a light beige or nude lipstick over it.
  • Foundation too dark? Buy a cheap brand of ivory foundation (make sure it is the same type of formula) and mix in a little at a time until it matches your skin. Ideally, you should mix them in a separate bottle just a little bit at a time to minimize the risk of error.
  • Is your oil-free foundation too drying for your skin in cool weather? Mix a quarter-size dollop of foundation in your palm with 1-3 drops of baby oil. Mix well with a finger and apply.

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Of course, if you don't make a habit of purchasing the really low-cost drugstore brands you can defeat the money-saving power of these tips. Don't worry, a higher price tag rarely means better quality. When you get more advanced, you can also learn to custom-mix your own lipstick, blush and foundation shades from very inexpensive drugstore make-up so you are no longer tempted to splurge at the department store to get the exact shade you want. I explain custom mixing in detail and have many more money-saving tips on my web site, The Frugal Face.

Take the Next Step

  • Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
  • Stop forgoing your favorite beauty treatments just because you're on a tight budget. Check out the TDS Guide to Beauty on a Budget and learn the tricks to pampering yourself for pennies.

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