Beauty in college can be a huge hassle. Time is short with classes, homework, a job, and friends. Then there's always the issue of money. Do I really want to spend my cash on makeup or would I rather go out with my friends? Nine times out of ten, I say friends. The tenth time, I'm either sick or stuck with even more homework than usual. The point is that I have better things to spend all my money on than makeup.
That said, makeup is a lot of fun. It can perk up a tired face, give a little boost o' confidence, and be a great creative outlet. I love colorful things, and I love putting color on my face. I'm not artist with paintbrushes, but I can have a lot of fun with makeup brushes. What's a girl to do when she always wants to try new things but her wallet says no? Here are a few tips I've compiled for the beauty queen on a budget.
Look for sales. This is tip number one for a reason: it's the most obvious one. Coupons and sales can go a long way when it comes to makeup and other beauty supplies. My personal favorite store for discounts is Walgreens- they're always doing a two-for-one sale with brands such as Revlon, Covergirl, and Almay, as well as others. CVS also has a lot of sales, though most of theirs fall into the buy one, get one 1/2 territory and you have to have a card. Online stores often run specials too. Thinking about trying something new but not sure about the cost? Wait to see if it goes on sale. If it does, and chances are it will, then you just saved yourself some cash for something you didn't need immediately anyway.
Everyday discounts. Places such as Ulta often run discounted cosmetics of the higher-end variety. These aren't going to be huge discounts, but 20-30% can go a long way when you add it all up.
Department store specials. Whenever I'm heading to a department store such as Macys, I ALWAYS check their websites for beauty steals. Often lines such as Chanel or Lancome will be running specials, or you can get gifts with a minimum purchase. Stocking up on samples is a fun way to try out new things without blowing the bank, and this is especially good if you occasionally splurge on higher-end things because you can try to make your purchase whenver they're giving out samples or gifts.
Be brave, go cheap. Cheap cosmetics are not always that bad. While I would never trust my sensitive oily skin to $1 foundation, I do have some lower-end products that I absolutely love. ELF makes an all-over shimmer stick in a sheer pink that I love to use and it retails for $1 at Target. They also have good lip gloss. Wet 'n Wild makes great nail polish in the $2-3 range that doesn't chip easily and comes in a variety of fun colors. I just got a pretty rose polish for spring and with careful application, it lasted about a week without chipping (and I use my hands a LOT). They also make decent liquid liner. Some things, especially "fad" products that you're not going to use as staples and just want to have fun with, are perfectly fine in cheap brands. Just play around and find out what works. If it doesn't, you're down a dollar and not that much worse off than before.
Make it, don't buy it. There are all sorts of beauty products that can be created at home. For example, once a week I douse my hair (the ends, NOT the roots) in olive oil and wrap it in a towel for 10-15 minutes and when I wash it out, it leaves my hair super shiny. I also use toothpaste on my pimples, just let it dry there and keep it on overnight (the white toothpaste works best). There are all sorts of tips that can be found on the internet for your specific beauty needs, and making things is pretty much always cheaper than buying them, plus finding double uses for products (like using shine serum and bronzer to perk up my legs if they're going to be bare) means less waste.
Samples. Who doesn't love a beauty product when it's free? Samples are all over the place. Sephora hands them out as you purchase things, as does Body Shop. Sometimes a purchase isn't even necessary. I get samples from Walmart.com all the time (just go to the websites and search for "free samples". Sometimes the samples are no fun (who wants sample diet pills?), but I just got a small sample of Jergens Natural Glow that I love and some other fun things. It's worth a look-see now and then, and it's a great way to "try on" products you might not be sure about before plunking down money for them.
Know when to splurge. Okay, this might sound counterproductive, but some things are just worth splurging on. Like for me, my skin is oily and very sensitive and likes to break out a lot. So I spend a little bit more on foundation that I like because I'll be wearing it all day. I also love playing up my eyes and they water a lot, so I'll shell out a little extra on mascara that won't run and will really play up my lashes. The trick is to know what's worth splurging on and what isn't. For me, a shimmer stick isn't worth the money, but a great bottle of mascara is. And also, don't be afraid to have fun. I'll spend a little extra on some unnecessary items now and then (like NARS the Multiple or Dior Nail Laquer) just to have a little fun- but only after I've got the essentails and I've stabalized my bank account. And if I splurge in one area (like nail polish), I have to cut back in another (like blush). That's just basic money management.
Use it or SWAP it. What're friends for if not for taking their stuff? If you're not going to use all of a product (because, say, it's the wrong color or not right for your skin type), check with your friends to see if they want it. They can do the same for you. You can swap make up like clothes. I do NOT reccommend swapping eye makeup and, in some cases, lip product with friends though, because that increases your chances of getting an infection or just plain sharing nasty germs. Also, try to use all of a product but do throw it out when it's old because otherwise, it won't do you any good. If you're constantly throwing out product before it's done, it might be time to reassess your consumerism. Just saying- I do it too.