How I Save on Beauty Products

Reigning in my Beauty Spending

I’m acknowledging that I’m fortunate to be in a place where I can spend money on what many would deem a completely frivolous hobby.

Actually Use the Damn Samples

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a drawer or bin full of sample products that went neglected for ages! So many retailers do free samples with purchase, not to mention Gift With Purchase (GWP) promotions. I’d toss them in a centralized location with the intention of using them when the occasion arose (traveling, feeling adventurous, etc) – but even the products I already knew I liked went unused. Stupid! I had accumulated 10 sample tubes of mascara at one point, then found myself replenishing my (favorite) drugstore one. Why?! I had at least six months (realistically more) of product there, even assuming I disliked half of them!

Granted, not all samples are going to be appropriate for you. Foil packs of foundation, for instance – I have what feels like a thousand and none are right for me. But the ones you will use? Use them!

  • Pre-pack a travel beauty bag. One less thing to check off the travel to-do list.
  • If you have a desk or locker at work, stash some samples there. Future you (or a teammate!) will thank you.

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False Lashes (for/by Dummies)

False Lashes

A friend came to visit over Memorial Day Weekend. During this visit, we decided out of basically nowhere to buy a pack of false lashes to try our hand at slapping them on. We weren’t going anywhere. It was the type of ridiculous, silly thing we’d have done as teenagers just because we could. It was fun!

Neither of us had worn false lashes before, but I do watch a hell of a lot of beauty gurus on YouTube. She was unfamiliar with the protocol, so I applied them first so I could be sure of how to do it, then I walked her through it.

What We Used

She picked up an dual pack of Ardell 120s for us to use. Probably a bit much for first timers but they are far from the most ludicrous option Ulta had.

I already had a tube of clear Duo lash glue that I bought a while ago with a pair of false lashes that I have yet to use. We used a pair of tweezers to help place and secure them – any non-pointed-tip ones will do.

The Procedure

First, I checked the width of the lash band against my own lashline. Too long! I trimmed it to fit, but made my first mistake:

I trimmed the inner (shorter!) lashes, rather than the outer (longer) ones. This meant the lashes closest to my nose were way longer than I needed. I should have trimmed from the outer edge.

Then, I re-checked length with my lashline. Without realizing it until later, I made my second mistake:

Seriously, curl your damn lashes before you proceed with this process. It is SO much easier to blend your real eyelashes with the false lashes this way, and the band is more-easily hidden, too!

Next, I grabbed my tube of lash glue and dispensed the thinnest line ever on the band.

Tip: Don’t squeeze the tube as you guide the tube along the lashes. Instead apply a light, consistent pressure on the tube so a tiny drop of glue appears at the tip. Then, glide the false lashes along that.

Wait 15-20 seconds for the glue to become tacky, then apply. How I applied to my first eye was my third mistake:

Rather than placing either the inner or outer corner, I went to the center first, then tried to realign the ends.

This is folly! Fortunately, I was able to get it realigned but fiddling with either side made the glue less adhesive, so the edges lifted pretty soon.

I learned from mistakes two and three, though; I curled the lashes on my other eye before applying, then pressed the lash band to the outer part of my eye. Then, I grabbed the inner corner and got it in place. The second set of false lashes was FAR closer to my natural lashline; because my lashes were curled, they blended in way easier.

On one eye, I tried to cover the band and blend further with Stila Stay All Day felt tip liquid liner. This liner is fantastic, but I am not deft with felt pen liners…so it looked foolish.

If you aren’t a wizard with felt tip liquid liner application isn’t going to be any easier with false lashes on!

I gave up with that and grabbed my trusty Maybelline gel liner (still adore it after all these years – and still buy it for $8 or so!) and slapped a wing on both. Done! For a first attempt, it was passable and I wouldn’t have been embarrassed wearing it out.

My friend then tried with my tips in mind and succeeded.

The Bottom Line

Applying false lashes is surprisingly way easier than it looks and sounds. Removal feels weird, but is not at all painful. I wish I had learned to apply them before my wedding because they definitely would have looked awesome! I definitely recommend for special occasions, particularly those involving photography.

Admittedly, I’m surprised people wear false lashes every day though. It isn’t hard, but it is a lot of steps – and the finished look, at least with the Ardell 120s is a bit strong for daytime. More-modest lashes, like Ardell 110s, are better-suited to a daytime look, but I still couldn’t imagine doing it every day. False lashes are definitely a, “sometimes,” cosmetic item for me, but some prefer them in place of mascara.

Worth it? Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Tarte Shape Tape

Tarte Shape Tape, $25

Holy heavily-promoted-on-YouTube, Batman! I eventually bought Shape Tape to weigh in on it to see if it was ridiculous YouTube sponsored hype or a legitimately good product. This cruelty-free, apparently vegan product is evidently sold once every twenty-six seconds according to Tarte’s site.

Availability

When Tarte Shape Tape came out, it was basically out of stock in all popular shades, including mine, for what seemed like months. I suspect this is due to a bit of manufactured scarcity to pump up demand and hype. Eventually, I got my hands on a tube during a Ulta 20% Platinum Perk sale.

I didn’t realize this at first, but Tarte Shape Tape is only sold on tarte.com and at Ulta. I learned that Tarte seems to offer 20% off promotions more often than Ulta does, but then you lose your point/perk earning potential. Pros and cons, people.

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Costco Beauty Finds – May 2017

I’ve been a Costco member for a few years now and have shared some beauty finds in the past. Costco Beauty is a veritable treasure trove of desirable products at even-more-desirable prices. Arguably, if you have a makeup/skincare/haircare habit, the savings on some of these finds alone more than pays for the membership if you were planning to buy them anyway.

Here are some neat things I came across recently. I haven’t purchased most of these items, but either want to at some point or think they’re probably interesting enough to some people to share.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Amope Pedi Perfect Wet & DryAmope Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry

The standard Amope Pedi Perfect is the recipient of several consumer awards as well as overwhelmingly positive reviews. Between 4.5 and 5 stars virtually everywhere, the Pedi Perfect typically retails for $30-36 for the device itself with only one head. Costco regularly carries the Wet & Dry variety, which is waterproof and therefore safe to use in the shower, for $40; the Wet & Dry variety typically goes for $50+ elsewhere. Costco’s package includes FIVE replacement rollers heads, which retail for $20 for a pack of two, plus a storage bag. Bonus: You DON’T have to be a member to order this from Costco.com, but there is a non-member surcharge of a couple dollars. This is the best value I’ve found via Costco Beauty to date.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumMurad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

This popular Murad serum goes for $65 at Sephora and Ulta in the same quantity. Even with a 20% off Platinum Perk or the November VIB sale, it drops to $52…so the $43 price tag Costco has it for is a steal. People have luck fading acne scars, sun spots, and age spots with this.

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April 2017 Favorites

April 2017 Favorites
GVP Compare to Clairol Shimmer Lights
, $10 / Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream, $5 /
Tarte Shape Tape, $25 / L’Oreal Sublime Glow, $9 / Febreze One, $6

I made a typo when I was writing out the title of this post – I accidentally wrote, “April 2015 Favorites.” Yeah, right.

I’ve moved on from Blond Brilliance. Priced similarly for way more product, Sally Beauty’s GVP line has what is apparently an excellent dupe of Clairol Shimmer Lights. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried Shimmer Lights, but what I do know is that this stuff is glorious for preservation of blonde.

It’s back! My cuticles are a mess since the manicure that blew my no buy. They did a fairly shoddy job, and now my fingers are worse off than before. This is the universe’s way of getting me back, ha. To help protect them, I’ve been slathering the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage cream into them a couple times a day. I’m almost all fixed up.

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Shape Tape is a really great concealer. It isn’t some godly ambrosia perfect for every situation as the masses on YouTube would have you believe, but it is pretty solid.

I’m using Cabana Tan on my legs, but my arms (which take color at a comically rapid rate and do not suffer aggressive exfoliation from shaving) are getting a gradual sunless tanner for now. I’ve used Jergens with success but wanted to try L’Oreal Sublime Glow for fun and bought it over the winter – I like how it smells a bit more than the Jergens, and it seems as effective. Bonus? This has a small bit of fun, non-distracting, non-tacky shimmer – just enough to highlight the skin ever-so-faintly and give it a bit more life. I use medium. Note: This isn’t Sublime BRONZE, which is their more aggressive sunless tanner. This is the gradual one!

I’ll be the first to admit I have a Febreze problem. I have since as long as I can remember. Back in the day, it was Meadows and Rain. Then, Thai Dragonfruit, Allergen Reducer (smells surprisingly nice and I still use it). Next (and also currently), the Tide scented one since that’s my husband’s laundry detergent preference. I’ve tried and liked many more. Then, Febreze came out with their refillable Febreze One product and I immediately purchased it. It’s a fabric refresher and air freshener in one. It’s non-aerosol, and you can buy refill cartridges rather than whole new bottles. The Bamboo scent reminds me of something between Tide and Meadows and Rain – it’s clean, but not nauseatingly so. There’s a distinct, crisp Ozone note that I can’t.get.enough.of (its what I love about Yankee’s Margaritaville Mother Ocean candles!) Anyway, then BzzAgent sent me the other two scents which are quite lovely as well. I love that they’re lower-waste and that it’s a multi-use product. Couch? Curtains? Bathroom? Office? Handled.