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Feeling Beautiful On A Budget

Jennifer Beam


It is estimated that over one billion dollars are spent on beauty products each year. That's not such an alarming statistic, when you really think about it. It would cost approximately .00 to replace the make-up and styling products that any one woman uses on a daily basis. This estimate is based on the assumption that most—or all—of these products are regularly purchased at a drug or discount store, and not a department store. Additionally, this estimate does not take into account the items that aren't replaced as frequently, such as hairbrushes, curling irons, or blow dryers, nor the retail cost of a favorite perfume. The truth is, we put a lot of money into looking our best. But can you save without skimping? The answer is yes!

While I do agree that some makeup is of better quality than others, I do not think it is necessary, or even beneficial, to spend .00 for a bottle of liquid foundation from a department store makeup counter. Additionally, it is common knowledge that when you do approach the women behind these counters for advice on purchasing makeup, what you are really getting is a sales pitch. There is no reason why the less expensive drug store counterparts won't work just as well as the expensive brands. Granted, you won't find anyone dressed in white lab coats roaming the cosmetic isle at the local discount store, trying to convince you to drop 0.00 on a complete cleanse, tone and moisturize regimen to enhance your new foundation—but I think most of us can get by without that luxury. Certain skin types, especially sensitive, may benefit from the more expensive facial products, but it's important to experiment. There is a wide range of hypoallergenic products available, in an even wider price range.

As we add color to our facial palette, we should remember that no matter how much we pay for lipstick, it will never last all day. With that said, eyeliner, mascara, shadow and blush are all available at discount drug stores, and are just as functional at .00 as they are at .00. Use caution when paying less than .00 for a product like mascara or eyeliner. Anything cheaper than that is likely to smudge easily, be thrown away, and replaced—which ends up costing you more in the long run. However, it's not unheard of to spend around .00 for an eye shadow duo, and like it. My suggestion is to purchase makeup at a local drug store, as some may offer a satisfaction guarantee on their makeup. If you buy it, try it, and hate it, you can return it for a refund or exchange, if you've saved the receipt.

What about expensive salon products for hair? In most cases, if you purchase them from a salon, you're getting what you pay for. Invest your money in the styling products—not shampoos and conditioners. Most shampoos will adequately clean your hair. Conditioners also typically do what they are intended to, regardless of the brand. Your choice in styling products however, can make or break a bad hair day. To save even more, look into Generic (brand name) styling products. Sold at Sally's Beauty Supply, Generic products have comparisons to nearly every professional product. They aren't identical in fragrance, but performance isn't lacking. Most of them are as good as the product they claim to simulate, and are available at a fraction of the price. National brands such as Salon Selectives and Suave have tried to keep up with the professional salon brands, and done a relatively good job. When you can buy an effective shampoo and conditioner for .00 each, you can easily justify spending more on your finishing products. However, if you see a professional brand product at a local grocery or drug store, don't buy it. Oftentimes, the price tag is higher at a grocery store than at the salon itself. It's likely that it was a black market purchase, and the quality of the product may be compromised—so you may not be getting what you pay for anyway.

In general, we tend to gravitate towards high-priced, name brand beauty products, simply because of the association with the name and looking good. When you consider that you have probably filled many medical prescriptions with a generic equivalent—without a second thought—it makes you wonder why you would shell out twice as much as you need to for a skin balancing toner and a new shade of blush; especially when there's a half-priced equivalent just waiting to be discovered. Experiment with several brands, read the product labels and performance claims carefully, and you're sure to find a way to cut the costs of looking good. Consider ways you could invest those savings into feeling good, such as yoga or aerobics classes, or a membership to the gym!

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