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Perfectly Imperfect Beauty: Beauty and The Beast (aka BUDGET)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beauty and The Beast (aka BUDGET)

One of these words is not like the other: Beauty, Buy, Budget, Bankruptcy.

The most persistent question that people ask me, regardless of whether they read my blog or not, is "How do you afford to buy all your makeup?" In comparison to other beauty bloggers, vloggers, and gurus, my collection is quite sensible, but still large by most standards. Bear in mind that this has been years of collecting, rationing, saving, and bargain hunting. How did I do it? Here are some words of wisdom for the budget saavy shopper:

1) Know which products are investment pieces and which can be substituted at a lower price range.

Typically I am willing to spend more on face products than eye and lip products. Finding a high quality, good coverage, long-lasting foundation can be very tricky at the drugstore (with the exception of my 'ole faithful Revlon Colourstay). Often drugstores don't have samples for you to colour match and the colour range is not as extensive as higher end beauty houses.

Also, when expensive products are high quality (because expensive does NOT always mean high quality), they tend to last longer and save you money. For example, NARS blushes are expensive but they last FOREVER so you won't be repurchasing for at least a year, if not more.

Conversely, high quality and pigmented eye shadows at low price ranges are getting easier and easier to find. To list a few of my favourites: Annabelle, NYX, L'oreal HIP, Coastal Scents, and Stars Makeup Haven. This is a similar case with lipsticks; yes, yes, yes-I know. You're all thinking "So says the girl addicted to Chanel lipsticks." But I have found some lovely lipsticks by Revlon, Rimmel,  and Marcelle.

Brushes can take a large chunk out of your beauty budget so I suggest buying two or three investment brushes and then supplementing them with more affordable brushes. Unless you are a professional makeup artist there is no need to dish out thousands of dollars on MAC brushes all at once. My MAC brush collection has taken me five years to accumulate and I still don't own every brush (nor do I need every brush). The brush market has been broadening lately as more companies are realizing that there is gap in the market between high-end and mainstream brands, and they are quickly filling it up with affordable, good quality brushes.

2a) Is it a "want" or a "need"?

This was my father's favourite phrase during my childhood whenever he took me shopping, especially for books in light of my growing library. Often I would cheekily respond "I want to need it." But the principle followed me into adulthood, and it is often a question I repeat to myself whilst standing in the queue at Sephora, arms ladden with beauty goodies.
When products are marketed as limited edition, they are accompanied by a sense of urgency to buy before it is gone forever. But, as most long time patrons of MAC know, the only thing limited edition is the packaging because most colours tend to reappear under another moniker in newer collections.

2b) Don't buy more than you need.

Makeup expires. This may come as a shocker to many, but in order to keep things hygenic and safe, you shouldn't keep certain products beyond their expiry date; if you are unsure, ask your local makeup counter for guidelines when you buy new products. If you buy more than you can use, it will go to waste.

3) Don't buy it just because everyone else is.

Ah, the curse of limited edition products continues from the aforementioned tip. I think my distaste for lipglosses (I don't like the sticky feeling or the fact that they are hair magnets) has saved me a lot of money in the long run. Most limited edition collections, especially from MAC, are weighted with new lipgloss colours and formulations; so while others are rushing out to buy, I am saving my money for something that I will use and enjoy much more. Maybe the opposite is true for you-you love lipglosses and hate lipsticks. In that case, inform yourself about upcoming collections being released and decided BEFORE you go to the store how much you are willing to spend or you will be blindsided by persuasive counter personnel.

Keep in mind that different products suit different lifestyles, personal style, and needs. What works for one does not work for all. In times of doubt, there is no shame in asking for a sample so that you do not waste money on a product that you are unsure of.

4) Take advantage of specials, Cosmetic Company Outlets (CCO), recyle programs, and points systems.

Back-to-MAC, Optimum Points at Murale and Pharmaprix (also known as Shoppers Drug Mart), Sephora Beauty Insider, Inglot Privilege Card....and the list goes on. When I began depotting my MAC eyeshadows and lipsticks I reaped the benefits in free products which in turn were depotted and, well, the cycle continues. I purchased several of my beloved Chanel lipsticks by redeeming my Optimum points at Murale and my HBC points at The Bay.



At July 4, 2010 at 12:27 PM , Blogger Justine @ Productrater said...

All great points. I always think to myself when I am out shopping, is this a need or a want. And MAC more than any other company definitely gets you with all the ltd ed stuff, like marine life! omg that was insane.


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