Makeup is the best, isn’t it? Unlike clothes, lipstick will never make you look as bloated as you feel, and eyeshadow will never remind you of the waking nightmare that is trying on jeans.
You know what isn’t the best? Spending an exorbitant amount of money on said makeup and not getting the results you want anyway. Luckily, the Internet — and my own expensive, expensive experiences — are here to help. These simple tips, tricks, and money-saving hacks will protect your face and your bank account from a world of hurt.
1. Use translucent powder to elongate your lashes.
If you don’t have an extra $50 in your budget for some insane new mascara, grab a cotton swab and your favorite translucent setting powder. Dampen the cotton swab ever so slightly, pick up some powder with it, and dab it along the tips of your lashes. Apply mascara immediately after that. All you have left to do now is brag to no end.
2. Fix lipstick mistakes with concealer.
One second, you’re applying your favorite matte lipstick, and the next, you’re wondering why you didn’t learn to color inside the lines years ago. We’ve all been there. To cover up a little bit of rogue lipstick without completely starting over and cursing the day you were born, put concealer that matches your skin tone on a precision brush, trace around your lip line, and act like it never happened.
3. Bring thin hair to life with some lemon and aloe.
Add a bit of lemon juice and aloe vera to your regular shampoo, wash hair, condition, style, and sashay around all day with your newfound volume.
4. Use activated charcoal to whiten teeth.
It’s easy to find activated charcoal in caplet form, so buy a bottle and bust a caplet open when your teeth need a little pick-me-up. With a toothbrush that you don’t really care about, pick up some of the activated charcoal and brush away. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for any extended period of time, but doing it once a day for a few days in a row should be enough to make a difference! Follow up with a rinse or a regular brushing session so you don’t look like a black-toothed crazy person.
5. Stop spending $20 on lip scrub and make your own.
Lip scrub is perhaps the biggest waste of money that the beauty industry has to offer. To prep your pout for lipstick, add some sugar, salt, or even baking soda to a teaspoon of honey, mix, and rub on lips as you would with any other scrub. It might not smell like cotton candy or anything, but it will do the job.
6. Give any lipstick a matte finish with translucent powder and a tissue.
Don’t be like me and buy your favorite shades of lipstick in every finish under the sun. Just don’t. A great way to give your favorite glossy lipstick a matte finish is to lay a tissue over your lips, pick up some translucent setting powder with a fluffy brush, and dust it onto your lips through the tissue.
7. Grow your lashes naturally with a few simple ingredients.
If your lashes need a little help in the volume department, this concoction should help. Mix a few drops of castor oil, vitamin E oil, and aloe gel together to create a natural lash serum that you can apply to the base of your lashes every night before bed. A great way to store it is to thoroughly clean an empty nail polish bottle and brush so that you can apply the serum that way. Keeping it in a little tub and using a thin eyeliner brush works, too!
8. Sick of patchy, sparse brows? Use henna to fill them in.
If there’s one part of the beauty routine that gets old real quick, it’s filling in brows. If you want to avoid having to do that every day without committing to eyebrow tattoos, grab a henna kit in the color that best suits your brows. Follow the instructions on the box, distribute the ink evenly throughout the brow, let it set, and rinse away. You could also do this with hair dye, but because henna is meant to be used on skin, the ingredients aren’t nearly as harsh.
9. Let coconut oil save you tons of money on makeup remover.
Shelling out cash on makeup remover every few weeks is a drag, so opt for some coconut oil instead. Scoop out a tiny amount, warm it up in your hands to liquify it, and pick it up with a tissue or cotton pad. The coconut oil will break down stubborn eye makeup and liquid lipsticks that won’t seem to budge. One jar should last you a few months, so you’ll save money, and you’ll avoid putting more chemicals on your face.
10. Clean makeup brushes with baby shampoo.
Have you ever walked around Ulta and wondered why you apparently have to refinance your house to afford brush cleaner? Same. Just use baby shampoo instead. It’s cheap, it’s gentle, and it lasts way longer.
11. Kick it old school when applying shimmery eyeshadow.
You’ve spent a small fortune on amazing makeup brushes, but you can’t seem to pick up enough pigment when using shimmery eyeshadow. The solution? Relive seventh grade and use your finger. It might seem like a weird thing to do as a fully grown human being, but you’ll get way more color payoff if you ditch the brush.
12. Get two foundations for the price of one by adding facial oil to the mix.
Our skin has different needs depending on the season, but buying a bunch of different foundations to accommodate those needs is never fun. If you have a matte foundation that you love to use in the summer, but it’s typically too drying to use in the winter, add one or two drops of your favorite facial oil before you apply it! It’ll add a little extra moisture without changing the pigmentation. If you want to go for sheer coverage, add a few more drops to make your foundation behave like a BB cream.
13. Pump up the power of your lash curler with a little heat.
Eyelash curlers might look like torture devices, but they usually get the job done. If you’re still not getting enough oomph out of your eyelash curler, heat it up for a few seconds with your hairdryer. Don’t go crazy, though. A little bit of warmth goes a long way.
14. Do your under-eye bags have zero chill? Calm them down with some chamomile tea.
Concealer is great and all, but if you really want to take care of dark circles and bags, run some chamomile tea bags under cold water and let them hang out on your under-eye luggage for a few minutes.
15. If your lips are naturally pigmented and they screw with your lipstick shades, grab some concealer.
Listen. I love a good vampy lipstick, but what I don’t love is the fact that my lips are naturally very pigmented and turn even my lightest, most natural shades into something Morticia would love. If you’re in the same boat, all you have to do is pat some concealer onto your lips before you apply lipstick and liner. The ones that come in little tubs are typically too thick for this purpose, so stick to lighter formulas.
The only thing better than putting on some makeup and generally killing it is taking a few shortcuts along the way. While it’s easy to go into Sephora and deplete your future child’s college fund with reckless abandon, there are great ways to achieve the looks you want without going into crippling debt.
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