Budgeting Beauty Without an Excel Sheet

The excitement of finally splurging on a lipstick or a luxurious jade roller is one every beauty enthusiast has. But when the harsh reality of spending hits, we’re left awaiting pay day. Let’s face it, nailing the right beauty routine requires a trial and error process that fulfills our beauty wishes but not our wallets.

This is where beauty on a budget pops up. When the “b words” are put together, there’s a presumption that quality is sacrificed for low cost. Though not entirely true, it can make some weary of mixing drugstore products with those more high-end. But peaceful coexistence between the two is possible. Here are four ways your routine can stay on budget without an excel sheet.

Do I really need this?

The answer is most likely not. When it comes to beauty products, it’s easy to fall into spontaneous shopping. One way to avoid this is research. Advice can come from the people you know, customer reviews, or reading articles from your favorite platforms. Kiersten Wittmann, sophomore and Advertising and Marketing Communications (AMC) major at FIT, sees research “not only as entertaining [to] learn more about beauty but also eye-opening and interesting to see what other people are using.” Getting your hands on free samples doesn’t hurt either and lets you test a product before making a full commitment. Brands like Soko Glam and Peach & Lily provide samples with purchase while Lush gives mini travel-size tubs of face masks—all you have to do is ask.

Drugstore makeup isn’t bad

The myth that affordable makeup means lower quality can have you hastily reaching for high-end brands. But drugstore products can perform just as well as expensive ones. Vanessa Funes, third year AMC major and makeup artist of Instagram account @cutcreaser, doesn’t shy away from drugstore beauty. Since she was 14-years-old, she’s turned to sources like Instagram account @dupethat and “drugstore vs. high-end” reviews on YouTube as a way of finding cheaper alternatives. “The term ‘beauty on a budget’ is actually something that means a lot to me and is very important to me as an artist, makeup enthusiast, and student with a part-time job,” she said.

Youtube video

Incorporating drugstore products can start by choosing something you want to get experimental with or are hesitant to spend money on like a bold lipstick or glittery eyeshadow. Another approach is to start with the most affordable makeup on the spectrum like Vanessa, who starts with lipsticks then works her way to other products.

Get creative

Is there ever a time when makeup isn’t turned into all-purpose life savers? Using products in “ways that weren’t their intended purpose such as using lipstick as blush and even eyeshadow”, as Kiersten puts it, keeps things minimal and affordable. With this technique, you can even get creative with monotone looks, like the (magical) one-tone makeup seen at Rihanna’s SavagexFenty show. To make things easier, there are products that are specifically made to be multi-purpose, as seen on Refinery29, or formed into all-in-one palettes.

Knowing what works for you

Sometimes it’s worth spending a little more on high-end products, and other times on drugstore. This all depends on preference and what each person finds worth it. For Vanessa, who focuses on colorful looks, it’s eyeshadow, while for Kiersten, who is conscious of her skin and prioritizes products she uses daily, it’s skincare. Everyone has a different idea of where beauty money should be spent; narrowing down what you want in a product will keep you on your budget and shape a simple routine.

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