Friday, February 6, 2015

Beauty Budget

My name is Cherie, and I am powerless. I am at the mercy of retail price tags. I know this, because I am a full-time student with minimal cash flow and I'm on the receding end of a makeup obsession, which is plateauing to a moderate interest in beauty. (Sorry for the opening line. Don't worry- this is where the melodrama peters out.) I'm just sharing a couple of tips about managing money while maintaining higher-than-normal levels of interest in beauty shopping.

(1) Don't buy anything full-priced.
I have always regretted buying things at the full RRP. Whenever I do, they always seem to have a price reduction or sale immediately afterwards. This includes shopping online, which I did when the Aussie dollar was strong and I felt quite invincible wielding my bank account details after I'd changed the currency to AUD, because often browsing brands like Origins, Aesop, Laura Mercier and MAC on 'trusted' (as trustworthy as these sites get) sites like StrawberryNet can prove to be pricier than buying them from brick-and-mortar retailers.
This also applies to drugstore ranges! I've done the BeautyJoint thing, where they sell American drugstore brands like NYX, but with NYX in almost every Australian Target- and often at 25% off- there's no reason to wait for CherryCulture sales. These days browsing online ends in a sad sigh of resignation. Compare prices, and don't assume things are cheaper online. Keep an eye out for high-quality magazine freebies too- brands like Becca and Napoleon Perdis can often be found tacked to $8 magazines, which are fantastic bargains.

(2) Don't buy anything you already have.
 I have about a ten year supply of blusher and I don't need anymore. This makes me sad, because I know I won't allow myself to buy another until I've used up a considerable amount (I've set the bar high- I have to use up at least one). In retrospect, an in-and-out policy is best for building your beauty collection, because you won't amass too much. Be reasonable with the amount you spend on a product- I knew I couldn't afford to blow my money on a NARS blush for months and months and when I did indulge I chose a shade that I knew I would wear and one that I didn't already own- I've gotten amazing use out of NARS Deep Throat and I'm glad I bought it. This goes for all products except skincare- if you're targeting different needs, use targeting products but don't buy 9 different coral lipsticks when you don't even wear lipstick all that much.
Samples are also a great way to try things- it might be to see how it works for you, it might be to try something new to get out of a rut, or it might be to see if the product you want it is really what you want. Stores like Mecca Maxima, Mecca Cosmetica and Kit Cosmetics that stock big name brands are usually willing to let you try before you buy, and it gives you a good idea of the product you are angling at.

(3) Multi-task your products.
Lucas' Papaw Ointment, Korres Lip Butters and moisturiser are some examples of excellent multi-tasking products. I use the Papaw Ointment on cuts, nail beds and as a lip balm, and I think the Korres Lip Butter in Pomegranate makes an excellent cream blush in a pinch. I deter myself from buying hand cream and foot cream if I've got regular moisturiser at home because I don't need specially labelled potions that cost double or triple when moisturiser can do the job. Lip balms are fantastic on cuticles to soothe neglected nail beds and make a pretty manicure, so if you're eyeing a cuticle butter, try out a chapstick first.

Bonus tip: think hard before buying anything. Sometimes impulse purchases turn out to be great- but more often than not it's the decisions that you've perused long and hard that are the most fruitful and rewarding.

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