Lipstick and mascara might seem essential to most women, but financial experts are constantly telling you that they’re luxury items. However, a team of Harvard researchers found recently that wearing a moderate amount of makeup makes your colleagues take you more seriously. Researchers showed subjects the same woman with varying degrees of makeup on, and the one with a moderate amount of makeup on (clean and professional looking but not overdone) was assumed to be the most “competent.” Read on for how to get that polished look…for less.
1. Master the transitions. Unless you have the fortune of living in a place that’s sunny year round, you probably go through several shades of foundation to wear throughout the year at different levels of tan. Invest in a good, clean powder in a neutral shade between your lightest and darkest foundations to ease the transition between, and avoid having to replace foundation every season.
2. Shop with a buddy. Let’s be honest, shopping alone isn’t nearly as fun as shopping with your gals anyway. Cosmetic counters and stores are big fans of the “buy one get one free” sale, and while you may not need two tubes of mascara you can bet that you and your friend need one of each. Bring along a friend for major savings – and to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
3. Make a beauty budget. Considering that a decent tube of lipstick costs around $8, makeup really is a small price to pay to make a good impression and tell people that you care about being presentable. Plus, it’s a quick and inexpensive way to glam up your wardrobe without buying new clothes or accessories. To create your budget, think about what you wear on your lightest makeup days. This is probably just the basics: moisturizer, foundation or powder, mascara, and maybe a sheer lip gloss. These staples are like what your white t-shirt and jeans are to your wardrobe. Invest in these items first. Not only will you get the most use out of them, but these are also the essentials you should spend the most money on — you don’t want to mess around with the quality of product that goes directly onto your skin or eyes, as these areas are sensitive and you don’t want to spend more down the road correcting breakouts or watery eyes!
4. Save vs. splurge. You can afford to skimp on the fun, occasional or event items like smoky eyeshadow, a bold lipstick, or falsies, as these won’t be worn day in and day out. And as tempting as it is when you’re out shopping, wait to buy these items when you actually have a reason for wearing them. Makeup has an expiration date, and many a tube of coral lipstick has been wasted on “I might wear this someday.”
5. Hit up the makeup counter. A great option for a special date or event, all you have to do is approach most makeup counters in department stores “looking” to buy something and they’ll offer a free touch-up. Show some interest in a new product — like shiny lip gloss — and they’re almost guaranteed to smack that on, too, and maybe even give you a free sample. Go fresh faced and you may even get a quickie skin consultation out of it. Then apologize profusely for having “forgotten your credit card at home” and hit the town!