If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to stop “playing it safe” with the same old skincare products and cosmetics, the transition from winter to spring is a great time to experiment with the wide array of beauty options available. Read on to find out how to create a new look while staying within your budget.
Let’s face it – experimenting with beauty products can be a costly endeavor, especially if you’re not sure where to start. But this season, instead of shelling out all of your money for a couple pricey products from those big-name cosmetic companies, make it your mission to do your homework and find formulas based on ingredients and performance. In this article, you’ll learn how to narrow down your beauty needs, what to look for when you’re trying out new products and some tips for how to take advantage of budget-friendly bargains.
Budget tip #1: Create your beauty profile
One of the worst things you can do is show up at your local department store counter without knowing what you’re looking for. Between aggressive salespeople and shelves stocked full of enticing packages, you’ll likely end up with purchases you don’t want or need. Instead, start by creating a beauty profile.
- Skin type. Is your current regimen right for your particular skin type? According to expert Valerie Monroe from O, The Oprah Magazine, an easy way to determine your skin type is to wash with a basic facial cleanser meant for normal skin, wait about an hour and see how your skin feels. If your skin is tight or dehydrated, you probably have dry skin. Combination skin will be oily in the t-zone, while oily skin types will notice oiliness all over. See this article for more information: Sidestep Stale Skin Care: How to Reconsider Your Routine (Skincare Monthly Series - January).
- Skin concerns. Whether it’s acne or aging, make a list of any concerns you’d like to address in your daily regimen. What products have you tried that didn’t work? Are there any specific ingredients you’d like to find in a new formula? Bring these concerns up when you’re asking a salesperson about new brands to try.
- Your color palette. Shopping for cosmetics is a lot easier – and less frustrating – if you know what shades will be most flattering for your complexion. You can read about colors designed for warm skin tones here and cool skin tones here.
- Back to basics. Just need some beauty staples? This article will help you create a shopping list of must-have products for any beauty bag: Skin Care Essentials: 7 Beauty Must-Haves for Home.
Budget tip #2: Ask a pro
Once you know what you need, write down some specific questions to ask while you’re shopping around. If you’re looking for new makeup shades, ask someone at a department store beauty counter to help out – it’s a great way to try on new looks before you buy. Make sure to ask lots of questions, and if you don’t like the colors, don’t feel pressured to purchase anything.
If you’re concerned about skincare conditions, on the other hand, an esthetician or dermatologist might be a better place to start. Problems that are more medical in nature require a more experienced professional. Find out how to prepare for a dermatologist visit here: 5 Key Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist.
Budget tip #3: Start with a clean slate
One of the best ways to stay on a budget is to avoid purchasing things you don’t need. So before you buy anything new, take inventory of what you already own. You might find that you already have a great shade of lipstick for a night out on the town, or a barely-used anti-aging serum that you didn’t give a fair trial.
A word of caution: beauty products do expire, even if you’ve rarely or never used them. Allure explains that active ingredients in everything from acne treatments to wrinkle treatments will eventually expire: “It's only a matter of time until oxygen and heat render them useless.” If you’re not sure when to toss something, learn more here: A Comprehensive Guide to Expired Products.
Budget tip #4: Take advantage of multi-taskers
- Skin care. Two-in-one products save time, money and space in your cupboard or shower. You can find cleansers that also tone and exfoliate, moisturizers with broad-spectrum sun protection or shower products designed to cleanse both the body and hair.
- Cosmetics. Palettes and starter sets are a smart way to approach buying new beauty products. Many companies offer sets of trial-sized formulas as an introduction to their product line. You can also look for all-in-one cosmetic palettes that include a variety of eye shadow shades, blushes, lipsticks, highlighters and more. Not only will you save money, but this also takes the guesswork out of finding shades that complement each other.
Budget tip #5: Smart shopping
Just like shopping the sale rack at your favorite clothing store, you can get great buys if you’re willing to put a little more time and effort into shopping for beauty products.
You can often find discounted or free products available if you buy a full-sized item from a company. You can also look for deals like free shipping, a certain percentage off your entire purchase or seasonal clearances. Check in regularly if you know you like a particular brand, or visit online retailers and experiment with new brands that offer good deals.
Budget tip #6: Visit your local drugstore
You don’t have to buy from high-end companies to find quality products; today’s drugstore shelves offer many of the same advanced ingredients as their more expensive counterparts. This is especially true for more basic items like facial cleansers, sunscreen, bath products and no-frills moisturizers.
Find out more about when to spend and when to splurge here.
Budget tip #7: Try online
Many companies offer far more options at their online vendors, while other companies sell their products online exclusively. If you’ve hesitated to buy online in the past because you can’t try the products first, just make sure that returns or exchanges are simple. Read customer reviews when they’re available so you can have a good idea of what you’re buying first.
Budget tip #8: Have patience!
Once you’ve purchased your new products, don’t be too hasty in deciding whether you like them or not. It can take up to a month for a new skincare product to work its magic, so give your new formulas a fair try before moving on to something different. Dermatologist Jeanie Leddon from Boulder, Colorado, tells WebMD that it’s best to use up that new product before deciding whether it works for you or not.
Shopping smart takes a bit more time and patience than impulse buys and splurges, but will maximize your beauty budget in the long run. With a little planning, you can easily create a new look this year without breaking the bank.
The Professional Woman’s Pre-Meeting Beauty Makeover
Men’s Essential Fashion & Grooming Tips
Fashion-forward on a Dime: 20 Beauty Products Under $10