Monday, March 8, 2010

Makeup tips - when to save and when to splurge

I've always been a devotee of high end cosmetics and skincare.  In years past, I probably could have taken myself on a fancy spa vacation for the amount of money I spent in a year on makeup and skincare!!  But now money is tight.  So I'm trying to find less expensive solutions for my daily beauty routine.

I read magazines, asked friends and even strangers and tried a lot of different products.  And I have been successful in replacing most of my daily beauty routine with less expensive products, many of which are nearly as good (and sometimes better!) than the expensive department store brands and premium lines of makeup and skincare that I've used in the past.

A few of my favorites:

1.  Moisturizer:  Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, SPF 15.

This is actually one of the best moisturizers I've ever used.  And its the only moisturizer with sunscreen that I've ever tried that doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy.

2.   Cleanser:  Olay Gentle Foaming Face Wash

OK, my favorite cleanser of all time is Purity by Philosophy.  Nothing beats that cleanser for gentle but deep cleaning!  But this inexpensive cleanser from Olay is a close second.  Its not too drying yet leaves my skin clean and removes makeup, including mascara (assuming its not waterproof mascara).

 3.  Face Scrub:  Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

Another great product from Aveeno.  This scrub is gentle enough to use daily, even for my occasionally fickle and sensitive skin.  If your skin is super sensitive, you can still use this gentle scrub.  Just limit use to 1-2 times per week.

 4.  Makeup:  Revlon, Cover Girl, Sonia Kushuk (or whatever your favorite drugstore brand is!)

Here's where you can really save some money.  High-end makeup brands often offer innovative new technologies and ingredients.  But eventually, most of these innovations reach the less expensive drug-store brands too.  And for things like eye shadow, blush, eye liner and even mascara, you really can't see that much of a difference between high end and drugstore brands.

But there are a few steps in your beauty routine where I think its really worth spending more money for quality products.

1.  Foundation:  In my opinion, the best product to spend a little extra money on.

If your skin looks gorgeous, you will look gorgeous and all the rest of your makeup will look better.  Whether you use tinted moisturizer, powder, liquid foundation or some other version, spend more money on your foundation.  The higher end brands tend to have better color options, blend more naturally into your skin and give better coverage while maintaining a light and natural feel.  Stila is my all-time favorite for foundation.

2.  Makeup brushes:  A little investment that will last a lifetime.

Ok, maybe not a lifetime.  But many, many years.  I've had most of my makeup brushes for over 15 years and they are still in perfect condition.  Good makeup brushes can make even the cheapest cosmetics look more expensive and professionally applied.  Don't be intimidated - they really aren't that hard to use!  Just remember, you're not painting a masterpiece.  You're just putting on your makeup.

This is a great set with all the basic brushes you need for just $65.  Its available at Sephora.  And bonus - these brushes are cruelty free and do not use animal fur like many other high-end brushes.

Remember to wash your makeup brushes at least monthly with a gentle shampoo.  I actually do not recommend baby shampoo, at least not J&J which is very drying.  I have used my girls organic baby shampoo.  But really, any regular shampoo is fine as long as its not a clarifying shampoo.  I've even used conditioner on my powder brush before since it gets more use and therefore more washings!


  1. Great blog. Enjoyed your insight into affordable but quality products. I've seen many tv ads for Aveeno products but have never given them a try; the next time I'm at my local drug store I'll have to check out their products.

  2. love the aveeno moisturizer myself! I'll have to try the foundation, I'm always on the hunt for a good one.

  3. i love aveeno moisturizer for my face. i use the anti-aging one though. don't judge.