Department store vs. drugstore makeup

03.13.12 Collection of makeup products

Anyone who loves beauty products and isn’t an heir to some kind of fortune is going to, at some point or another, realize she has to set a budget for her products. But how? How can I honestly walk into Sephora and say no to all of that lovely?

I finally found a way to set a budget: I still buy pricey make-up, but I have to use it less often. Well, one day I was brushing on $30 mascara and I realized I was only doing it so that the UPS man wouldn’t think I was wearing some sort of zombie Halloween mask. And then I realized that that made no sense.

And suddenly, I knew how to set a budget.

Here’s how it works:

 Sometimes we put on make-up for a big night out or even for a day at work and we want to look immaculate. We want our eyes to sparkle and our complexions to look rosy and glowy. I call this the “Point Me Toward the Red Carpet” Face.

Other times we put on make-up because we just don’t want to look dead. We’re running errands or maybe hitting the gym and we just want to put on a face that doesn’t leave people asking, “Hey…are you OK?” I call this the “I Won’t Recoil in Horror if I Catch Sight of my Reflection” Face.

(I mean, I’m all for inner beauty and loving yourself as you are but I’ve done the recoil too many times to count.)

So I decided I needed a “Won’t Recoil in Horror” make-up kit and a separate “Walking the Red Carpet” make-up kit. Because even if you swear that there’s nothing better than your favorite expensive mascara or foundation or razor, there are probably days when you just don’t need it…but you still want something. So you can really extend the life of the expensive products by using cheap-but-good products when it doesn’t matter so much. If I’m running errands and know I’m going to take a shower/put on the Red Carpet Face later, then I’m not going to use my expensive mascara in the morning. Does the pharmacist at Rite Aid really need to think my eyes sparkle? No And there’s nothing worse than wiping my face during spinning and realizing I’ve left Make-Up Forever all over the towel. That’s some seriously expensive sweat.

It’s OK to be a beauty junkie; it’s not OK to miss a student loan payment because you insist on wearing Mac eyeshadow to the gym. But separate drugstore and department make-up kits can be the way to have your Red Carpet Face when it counts.

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Rachel Wilkerson
By: Rachel Wilkerson

Rachel Wilkerson writes the blog The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson, where she covers those "getting it" moments when a light bulb goes off and suddenly everything makes sense. Whether it's a new way to get motivated to work out or the new gadget she never knew she always wanted, she loves sharing her lessons with other people in a straight-up, no-BS kinda way. Her work has been featured on Shape.com and she is a panelist for U by Kotex's Real Answers. When she's not writing, downward dogging, drinking tequila, or writing about downward dogging and drinking tequila, she works full-time as a community manager for a hip little online entertainment company in Houston. She and her boyfriend recently bought a juicer and are officially addicted.