5 Tips for Finding the Best in Bargain Beauty

Maybe you're just getting into cosmetics and you're building your collection. Or, perhaps you are bored with what you have or want to update your cosmetics for spring. Either way, most likely your beauty funds aren't infinite and it would be beneficial to know what cosmetics items are worth splurging on and what you can find of fantastic quality, but at drug store prices.

Today's post is all about how to find the best of bargain beauty products and save money overall when adding to your cosmetics collection. I have 5 tips that I believe you'll be able to put to use right away - that I use when shopping for cosmetics myself. Here we go!

1. Don't scrimp when it comes to your skin
Color products such as eye shadow, blush and lipstick can be purchased inexpensively and look beautiful with a great base beneath them. Find products that work for your skin type and give you the smoothest, most even & clear skin tone and stick with them. Inexpensive face products may work, but are often short-wearing. If you have to reapply multiple times a day, you may not actually be saving money. If you're going to splurge somewhere, my personal opinion is that it is most worth it to do so on skin care, foundation and a good concealer.

2. Shop at the right places
When shopping for a product you've never tried before, stick to Ulta, CVS or Walgreens. All three stores will allow you to return open cosmetics items for any reason - including "the color just didn't work for me." However, when shopping for products you KNOW you love, stick to places you can get the best deal or use coupons. Target, Ulta, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid all allow you to use a manufacturers coupon in addition to a store coupon or promotion.
3. Shop with your smart phone

If you can't open and test a product you are debating purchasing try Google image searching "Swatches of {product}{shade}" and see if others have posted photos that may help you. If you find multiple images by multiple people, search for the one who's skin most closely matches your own to ensure the color is a fit for you. Download the app and sign up for a free Make Up Alley account. Make Up Alley (MUA) offers 1,000s of reviews for beauty products - most often I look for the overall rating regarding whether people would repurchase a product when making my purchase decisions.

4. Consult the beauty gurus
Check out YouTube for informative videos created by Beauty Vloggers who happily go out and purchase just about every new item that comes out so they can test it and review it for you! These gurus discuss all elements from value (price/oz), packaging durability, product longevity, texture, color payoff, fragrance and more. Two great ones to start with are Emily of the Beauty Broadcast and Beauty Broadcast Express and Tati from Glam Life Guru.

5. Test for yourself
Once you have your products, look for products that offer a high color payoff, smooth, consistent texture and powders that are finely milled. Products that don't transfer much color with one to two swipes are usually high in fillers, low in pigmentation. They're worse for your skin and will require you to use a LOT more product to get the desired result (therefore, not really saving you money). Coarse powders will cause fall-out and cause under-eye areas to get dark and raccoon like.

As a starting point, the following products have proven themselves worthy, at least in my personal experience.
  • Milani Baked Blushes and Eye Tech Extreme Eyeliner
  • Revlon Photo Ready shadows, blushes and bronzers
  • Wet n' Wild shadows in Comfort Zone (8 pan palette) & Walking on Eggshells (color trio)
  • Maybelline Age Rewind Under Eye Concealer (I like the Neutralizer shade)
  • Maybelline mascaras, especially "The Falsies" and "Great Lash - Lots of Lashes" formulas
  • Hard Candy baked shadow duos
  • NYX Stay Matte Not Flat powder foundation
  • Maybelline Master Glaze blush sticks
  • ELF HD Cream Blushes (apply with their awesome $3 small stipple brush)
Watch my segment on this topic from March 13th's episode of Central Valley Today here.

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