Thankfully I'm surrounded by talented and savvy people who have great ideas... so today we have an amazing guest column from Andi... great tips for the ladies (and great tips for men looking to buy presents for the women in their life!
The Bougie Baller shared her wisdom on dressing your best while keeping your finances in check. I’ve seen faaar too many chicas with great shoes, fly ‘fits and terrible-- I mean horrendous makeup. But polishing your look doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget.
Recession? Depression? No problem. Your portfolio may have taken a hit, but you don’t have to look like the economy slapped your face. If you are looking for simple daytime makeup, full on black tie glamor, or a look for standing in a breadline-- don’t worry. Let’s explore how ballers on a budget get glammed up without paying department store cosmetics prices.
I. Big Events : Seek Smart Professional Help
For big events such as black tie affairs, professional photographs, being honored at an awards dinner, prom, etc.; budget ballers seek professional help.
Yes, yes, you may wonder how a makeup artist will save you dough. It sounds luxurious. It can be. But don’t sleep:
For makeup, hair and skin, students work wonders at a fraction of the cost. I’m talking hair cuts, color, facials, peels, microdermabrasion….the list goes on. And because their grades depend on how well they help you, they may just care more than a random stylist. Don’t worry, teacher/overseers won’t let you leave looking crazy. Make sure you book in advance, and allow plenty of time in case there is a wait the day of your service. That said, pack your patience.
Bonus: top notch style at a fraction of the cost. Where to find them: try Aveda Institutes in your area.
**The Makeup counter
Department stores are great places to have full makeup done for free, or for a nominal fee. You’ll likely pay $50 with the ability to redeem the cost in product! Hiring a pro makeup artist starts at $100, plus an hourly fee. On top of that you WON’T get the ability to redeem the cost in product with a hired artist. So for your next big event, professional photograph that will last a lifetime- why not trust your face to a pro? Many artists at the counter see and work with all types of people every day. As a result, they are some of the most versatile and talented artists.
- Call a couple of days ahead to schedule an appointment.
- Communication is important. A good artist will have a chat with you before getting started. When you go, walk in ready to explain to the artist why you are there. If it is for a photograph, let it be known! Your artist will customize your look for black and white photography, color photography, etc.
- If you don’t exactly know what you want, take a few magazine clippings of looks you find attractive.
- Use your time wisely. Ask questions and pick up tips while you’re in the chair. It’s your time, so find out how the artist achieves your look so that you can re-create it later! (then practice practice practice the next day)
- Shower before you go and wear a button down shirt. This helps prevent wardrobe change accidents. Pulling a shirt over your head can be fatal.
II. Every day: do- it- yourself (and do it well)
Most days and weekends you’re not going to go to the makeup counter. If you’re like me, you aren’t even inclined to wear makeup daily. Okay. That’s fine. But you can still look just as good doing your own makeup without spending unnecessary amounts of money on products from department stores.
The premise is simple: save money by eliminating excess.
How? Do your homework, make products work for you by pulling double duty, practice proper technique, and when all else fails: fake it ‘till you make it.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Before you spend one dime- do a self- assessment.
I believe it when people say makeup doesn’t give you anything you don’t already have. It just enhances what you do have. With that in mind, what would you like to enhance? Love your eyes and want to bring them out more? Love your bone structure? Your Lips? Figure out what you’d like to highlight. This will tell you what your essential products are. Make these the basics for a great look- and add other features from there for fun.
For example, if I want to highlight my eyes this season, I don’t necessarily need to purchase a new, trendy lipstick color. I’ll take that attitude with me to the store, so I wont be tempted to purchase something I don’t need.
What are your essential products? Decide for yourself what you need the most.
Lips: seek a great lip liner, and gloss and/or lipstick.
Bone structure: highlighter / bronzer / blush.
Eyes: mascara, liner.
Skin: moisturizer, foundation, concealer.
What are you willing to compromise?
Some people can live with drug store mascara. Some people can live with drug store moisturizer. Bargain with yourself.
I personally think Maybelline mascara works just as well as any department store brand I’ve tried. But you’ll have to pry my LaMer moisturizer out of my cold, dead hands!
It’s not a fault- it’s a preference, honey. What’s yours?
Cosmetic counters and stores give samples! And they give enough samples to live off of sometimes. My travel mascaras are samples. Want to try a new foundation? Ask for samples first! Try it out in daylight, at home, during the day, at night—really test drive it. Don’t drop $ on foundation that doesn’t work for you outside of the store.
2. DOUBLE DUTY
The most aggressive approach you can take to cutting costs is to choose products that pull ‘double duty’. That means each product is great for multiple purposes, so you don’t have to purchase so many items. A few suggestions follow, but you can certainly get creative with this concept.
A) Pigments – The hardest working product in the biz
MAC and Loreal HIP make excellent pigments! However, HIP is about ½ the price of MAC.
Pigments are sold as vials of powdered color and can be used anywhere on the face, décolleté, cheeks, eyes, lips, nails and hair. They can be used as a blush, contour, highlight, to enhance, whatever you want - anything, anywhere. But, make sure you read the packaging because different colors are not appropriate for use on eyes, or lips.
To pull double (or more) duty with pigments, use them dry for blush, or for eye color you can place them on top of a cream eyeshadow base. If you’d like to use them alone for eye color just add them to a mixing medium such as saline solution *the stuff for your contact lenses*, and use as a paint. Press them into wet clear nail polish for a change of nail color.
B) Makeup Primer
Makeup primer is a great way to help foundation stay put all day, and it really smooths out the skin before application. I love Smashbox Photofinish. But it is not exactly the easiest on my wallet. That’s where Anti-Chafing Gel comes in. Both products are dimethicone based and have nearly the same ingredients. But the anti-chafing gel costs 75% less!!
The downside is that the maker is Monistat, which may make some people believe it is for ‘personal’ use. However, the product is meant to be used between knees and thighs for those who chafe there, for example: runners.
Bonus: 75% savings for the same product; easy to purchase at any drugstore; regularly goes on sale bogo.
C) Foundation/Moisturizer = Tinted Moisturizer
Why buy foundation, tinted moisturizer and moisturizer?
On a normal weekday you may not like to wear foundation. Especially if you just don’t need that much coverage. So why not purchase foundation, and blend with your moisturizer to make tinted moisturizer? You’ll save the cost of buying an extra product, and you can customize the blend to get the exact amount of coverage you need at the time.
D) Natural Oils
Coconut and grapeseed oil are two of the most useful tools in your arsenal. They both do so much!
Unrefined Coconut oil (found in the grocery store!) can be used for Cooking your food. It’s been shown to raise metabolism (hello skinny jeans), and fight heart disease. But did you also know it’s one of the best hair conditioners around? That’s because it is one of the few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft and not just sit on top. Try it as a pre-shampoo treatment. Let it sit on your hair for an hour before shampooing and enjoy the difference.
Coconut oil is also great for dry skin. Apply directly, or add to a warm bath.
Grapeseed oil can be used to remove makeup, without harsh chemicals. To use as a remover, simply massage your face with grapeseed oil before washing as usual. Easy!
E) Tend Skin
It’s getting cold outside, and unless you’re fortunate enough to be beach bound, you’ve probably put those bikinis in winter storage—and the Tend Skin along with them. Tend Skin is the razor-bump solution with a cult-like following. It’s just that good. But good doesn’t come cheap. So what else can it be used for?
According to Estheticians at Georgette Klinger, guys and girls can use Tend Skin as a great facial toner. Now you can cross Toner off your list of things to buy. Simply swipe Tend Skin on with a cotton ball. Follow up with a good moisturizer.
Now, if you want to save even more, you can make your own with this easy recipe. Just make sure to shake it up before each use.
18 tablets uncoated aspirin, crushed
5 oz. rubbing alcohol
8 tablets uncoated aspirin, crushed
2.5 oz. witch hazel
Combine the two solutions. the aspirin will settle a bit, so shake it before use. It can also be used to spot treat blemishes. (aspirin is acetic and salicylic acids.)
3. TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING
Makeup application technique is important. It will save you product over the long run, which saves you money. Less product is necessary when it is applied properly. Also, it will look better if it is applied as intended, so you’ll be less inclined to run out searching for something ‘better’.
Ways to improve your technique:
- Watch youtube tutorials. There are a TON of them.
- Take advice from people you admire.
- Ask questions of professionals when you have the chance (like when you’re at the counter)
4. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
Tools are very important for getting the look you want, but are an investment. Makeup brushes can easily cost $40 each. But Bougie Ballers know to shop in the local craft store for artists brushes at a fraction of the cost. Pro makeup artists love LOEW-CORNELL brushes from Michael’s craft store. Budget fashionistas also rave about the Sonia Kashuk line from Target.
Invest in good eyelash curler. It will save you from using so much mascara, and as a one time purchase, It’s a wise choice.
Makeup removing wipes are convenient on the run or at work, when you don’t have time to break out the coconut or grapeseed oil. But at around $25 for 100 sheets, they must contain the tears of babies born on February 29th.
Speaking of babies, you can use baby wipes to remove makeup for about $4 for 77 sheets. And they work just as well. Really.
Last suggestion for today is that you can always fake an expensive color combination. Rich color combinations are key. Bronze and gold is hitting the runways hard this season. Interpret the trend without going overboard by using a light hand, and the proper tools.
Check out makeup pallets designers release for color combination ideas. They typically coincide with current runway trends. Then head to the nearest drugstore and re-create the look for less. Want to know which drugstore color is equivalent to your favorite designer hue? Print this list to take with you.
Now get out there and look great this holiday season! Enjoy!