Tag Archives: beauty

Beauty Products I Splurge and Save On

Quality over quantity is my metric for beauty spending but that doesn’t always equate to price. There are so many other factors. I look to ingredients and formula when it comes to my skin care, and also try to check myself when I realize I’m paying for a luxury name. Take my Fall Beauty Wardrobe, for example. I was so excited for the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner but I’m quickly realizing that it isn’t all that. It’s fine, but I think it might smudge a bit. I don’t think it’s as longwearing as everyone says it to be AND it costs $57. I feel like I hustled myself. I do like Tom Ford beauty but it is unbelievably expensive. You’re paying for name and slick packaging, for sure.

Meg Biram tapped her panel of beauty experts (including yours truly) to dig into our beauty saves and splurges. I thought I’d share mine here and link you over to Meg’s post for the full dish. I was not surprised to see a few of the same saves … when something is that good, it’s not something to keep to yourself.

First and foremost, you can absolutely save on makeup brushes. Of all of the brushes I have, my most used are the face brushes from Real Techniques. They blend makeup so well, are easy to clean and don’t shed.  They all do multiple things, too. I use the Buffing Brush (maybe only available in sets?) to blend in cream bronzer or blushes as well as foundation and I also use the Setting Brush to apply highlighter and setting powder. Around this time of year, they release some great value sets for the holidays. I use a few from last year’s set with a black and white print.

Another save for me is mascara. While I will splurge here sometimes, I really don’t need to. It has such a short shelf life and there are many good formulas that perform just as well as their expensive counterparts. The one I can’t stop talking about it is Maybelline Lash Sensational. I love the curved wand that easily lifts lashes and it never smudges. Smudges are the worst! I’m also really into L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise, which just came out this year.

Lip balm is something I’m all for saving on, given the rate I go through it. But, I’m picky with it – I like a higher quality ingredient list that isn’t waxy or filled with artificial ingredients. I use John Masters Organics Lip Calm – only $6 – every night. You can find it at Whole Foods. I think it must be popular since it’s always sold out online but I never hear anyone talking about it. It’s like a buttery citrusy melt onto lips and it’s the best thing for overnight. Or if you like a lip balm in your winter coat pocket… this is the one to stash everywhere.

As for my splurges, definitely skin care. I think having a few high powered serums in your arsenal will do more for you in the long run than a shortcut with less effective ingredients. I’ve worked up to this though, I’m 35 now, I started with Clinique in my teen years. I will continue to buy the highly active Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Serum because I see the difference it makes in my skin. Clears up bumps, plumps, soothes. It’s intense and worth the splurge. That said, I try to ease the pain of plunking down the money by finding it on promo somewhere or with a GWP. The last refill I picked up was during one of Space NK’s promos.

I also tend to splurge on bronzer. I like a weighty compact and find the pigment to be more intense. Plus, think about how long it lasts, even if you use it every day. I think my last NARS Laguna lasted three years. Currently working on the Chanel Bronzing Base, too.

I also am a believer in splurging on tools you use every day. My Surratt Eyelash Curler is one of my most beloved items – it’s sleek with black matte and works better than anything I’ve tried in the nearly 20 year history I’ve been curling my lashes. It is VIB sale season, so you should probably get on that one.

If you’re curious about the rest of everyone’s splurges and saves, check out Meg’s post here. And share yours in the comments!

Fleeking in Progress

Anastasia Ulta Beauty

In my desk drawer at work, among the sprinkles of beauty products, is a kit with nail files, scissors, tweezers, etc. Absolute desk essential, I recognize that. One of my friends at work uses the tweezers in there probably twice a week. She has told me that she hates seeing a stray hair and has to get rid of it immediately. Imagine what she does when she gets home in her mirror close-up?! I adore her but I (not so) secretly want to see her beautifully coiffed brows get a little unruly. I think I might need to ween her off of the midday desk tweeze.

So, I was thinking, how about we all just stop grooming your brows, at least for a little bit? Let’s pause the tweezing, plucking and drop the perfectionist mentality. Think more controlled chaos.  Maintenance is welcome but not the kind that takes away precious hairs. Think about brow contact as you would eye contact – what do you want your brows to communicate?

I always want a strong brow and a bolder look. I tweeze maybe once a month and make a point to only go after the truly outlier hairs – like the tiny ones in that crook above my noise, square in the middle of my face. I’ll probably never get back what I lost in 1999-2000 but that’s manageable enough. I’ve been using Anastasia Beverly Hills for most of my grown woman life. I see Anastasia as the original brow master – she was helping us control our chaos long before we realized that we needed to be.

Anastasia Duo Highlighting Pencil

I’ve literally used her same angled spoolie brush for probably 8 years, though this one is a recent upgrade from Ulta Beauty! I use the spoolie to comb up my brows and rely on Brow Wiz to fill in the sparseness, which is especially prevalent on my right brow despite going on several grooming strikes. It’s really natural – looks exactly like my hair. The Clear Brow Gel keeps it all in place and volumizes, which is the key to bold brows. The trick is is to comb the wand up and through, vs. across and flat. And, the absolute VIP of face framing beauty products is this duo highlighter that actually pulls double duty as eyeliner. The soft pink matte side fakes eight hours of sleep and the shimmery side makes your arches pop.

Oh, and you know how I love an Ulta Beauty run while I’m running my Sunday errands? Well, something MAJOR happened while I was in Toronto. They opened a new location in Wicker Park, in a space that used to belong to Staples. It’s a sprawling 10,000 square feet and a good few of those belong to Anastasia. Well done, Ulta Beauty powers that be.