March 17, 2009

Beauty on a Budget

I'm a lady who LOVES a bargain. Then again, who doesn't? I've been scouring the drugstores and retailers for the best deals on beauty products, and here are my current favorites.


I recently became convinced that I needed make-up brushes. Why, you ask? As I'm home more and applying make-up for an audience less and less, I seem to have developed a heavy hand in this department. Not in a foundation-orange-line-at-the-chin kind of way, but in an I-can't-be-bothered-to-be-precise kind of way.

In an attempt to rid myself of the too-heavy concealer, powder and blush routine, I set out to find an affordable set of brushes.

Little did I know, the cheapest set at Walgreen's would set me back $19.95, for five natural bristled and "eco-friendly" brushes of various usage. Well, not only do I not care about the eco-friendly part, but $20 is out of range for unemployed little ol' me.

Not to be discouraged, I kept looking. And looking. At Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, Meijer and everywhere else, finding only comparable styles and prices. But I don't give up until I find exactly what I want!

And find what I was looking for I did. We have a grocery chain here called Harding's, which suddenly decided to carry the e.l.f. (eyes, lips, face) line of beauty tools and make-up with small price tags. (Check out The bottom line is they offer small-sized products for only $1 each! Lip gloss, concealor, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, powder and... brushes!

So the wonderful blush/whole face brush which now aids me in looking shine- and pancake-look free that you see above cost $1. I haven't tested many of the other products, but for a decent travel-size set of the basics, this is a sure-fire wasy to go. Oh, and they don't test on animals, either, so all you eco-friendly people will be happy about that. :)

Available at and retailers near you.

Winter weather in the midwest inevitably leads me to have a winter-blah skin tone when spring finally rolls around. Then, in the summer, my face doesn't tan along with my body and I look rather silly! What's a cheap girl to do? Tan at a salon? Ha! Never again...

Instead, I recommend the MaryKate and Ashley (yes, the Olsen twins) Luminescent Finishing Creme pictured above. It comes in several different tints and leaves a slight shimmer when applied either with moisturizer (this is my method) or by itself before powder.

The creme leaves a shimmery finish with a slight tint, but is not a self-tanner so it washes off every time it is used. I find it gives my skin a dewy, fresh glow, due to its light-reflective properties. All this for under $3 a tube which, since you only use a tiny amount each time, has lasted me several months. Bonus!

Available at Wal-Mart!

Which brings me to my last product, White Rain Ocean Mist body wash. Don't get me wrong; I love my Bath and Body works Sensual Amber and Black Amethyst Body Creams (at $16.50 apiece! Alas, they were gifts.), but I'd rather save them for special occasions and use this completely utilitarian soap for everyday use.

The Ocean Mist scent is light and salty, and the ingredient list boasts sea kelp, algae and vitamin E for soft skin. It has a rich lather and, though it doesn't leave one super moisturized, if you use lotion you won't notice. I find it refreshing and useful.

The best part? The price tag on the bottle is correct- it's only $1 for 12 ounces!

Available at Walgreen's and Dollar Tree.



Parisienne Farmgirl asked, "Are there parabens in these products?"

Parabens are esters that are used to both inhibit microbacterial growth in and "preserve the integrity" of products like make-up and shampoo. Studies in 2004 found paraben levels in breast cancer tumors, which is probably why the question was asked about their presence!

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.

In December 2005, after considering the margins of safety for exposure to women and infants, the panel determined that there was no need to change its original conclusion that parabens are safe as used in cosmetics.

The luminescent creme does contain parabens, the body wash does not. However, the FDA has concluded as recently as 2005 that there is no determined causal effect of parabens and cancer.

Hope this helps!


Bonjour Madame said...

I love a good beauty bargain. I finally found a perfect moisturizer for my dry skin, Cerave, and it's $11 for a giant tub of product. It comes out to about .50 cents an ounce. I'm going to try the white rain bath wash. I go through bath wash like crazy. Now, if I could only find those brushes for $1! That's a crazy good deal.

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Gotta LOVE elf and NYC at Target - both, dirt dog cheap! I'm on a big Paraben those products have Parabens!
You're an artist - gotta have the brushes!

PS- I have NEVER thought you looked "heavy handed"


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