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I love MAC make-up.

There. I said it. And now you know.

MAC make-up is my one beauty product weakness. Although I’m pretty specific about what I use on my face and body, I’ve found some relatively inexpensive drug store brands that are just as effective as the expensive brands. But I cannot, and will not, compromise on my make-up. Why? Well, to tell you that, I need to go back about 10 years.

I was outside at Greek Games day at my college (think Revenge of the Nerds, just with better clothes and no bicycles). It was a relatively cool day but very sunny. So I wore sunglasses. Of course, I did not think that on such a cool day I would acquire a massive sunburn. But I did. I looked like a red raccoon; my entire face, save for the area blocked by my sunglasses, had turned tomato red.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have cared. However, because I am spectacular at good timing, I was leaving for a professional conference 2 days later AND I was a panelist. Terrific. As if I wasn’t already terrified of people thinking I was an idiot, now I was going to have them look at me like I was disfigured.

Enter MAC.

I am fortunate enough to live within 10 minutes of a mall with a MAC store. I figured that since all the celebrities use MAC, this was as good a time as any to try it out. The guy who helped me was phenomenal. Not only did he manage to cover my entire sunburn and make me look normal again, he took the time to show me what to do (side note, this gentleman also did my wedding make-up 2 years later. He was that good). I was so happy I didn’t care about the $125 or so I had dropped on their products. I could show my face in public!

But an addiction was born.

To this day, I still buy MAC foundation, blush, eye shadow and lip gloss. Occasionally, I’ll splurge on the eyeliner as well. Why do I continue to do it? Because it’s the one luxury that I allow myself to feel good about my appearance. Not only that, the make-up lasts so long (both on my face and in the tubes/containers) that the money spent is worth it.  Instead of having to replace drug store brands every 2-3 months, I can easily go 3-4, sometimes 5 months, without having to replace my make-up. And since I know how much it costs, I can save up for it. Besides, make-up is one thing women can to do feel rich, even if we’re not. There’s just something about good make-up that makes you feel like you have money (or is that just me?)

So how can you afford a premium brand make-up if you don’ have a lot of money? Here are a few ways:

  • Buy one thing. If you don’t have sensitive skin, you can probably use most drug store brands. I can’t. So, if I had to give up my MAC and could only buy one product, I would buy their foundation. Or maybe you have a problem with eye shadow staying on your lids. I highly suggest buying MAC eye shadow; it lasts all day and only needs to be replaced about 3-4 times per year.
  • Make the most of free samples. A lot of times, stores like Sephora or Ulta will have a free gift if you purchase a certain amount of product. At Ulta, you can buy drug store brands and I’m pretty sure you can use coupons. Stack all that together to get the amount needed for the free gift (just make sure they’re items you need) and viola! You have premium make-up for a non-premium price.
  • Gifts. When I was deep in debt and had no money, I would ask for a MAC gift card twice a year—on my birthday and at Christmas. Since they’re 6 months apart, this worked out well for me. I was able to spread my purchases out and the amount was usually enough to get foundation and eye shadow, the two items that are most important to me. I would save some money to buy the others but the gift cards offset the rest of the cost. You can do this and buy your premium make-up basically for free!

Another tactic is something that I don’t necessarily advocate but it’s not illegal either. Armed with just enough money to buy the least expensive thing, head to the counter or store and wander around, looking helpless. When you’re asked if you need help, say yes but say you’re not sure what you want. One thing will lead to another and you will wind up in a chair, getting a makeover. You know that you’re only going to spend $10 or $15 but they don’t know that (or maybe they do). Allow them to take their time on you and make sure you ask for hints and tips about what they’re doing. Store this knowledge for future use. Make your intended purchase and hightail it out of the store.

If you’re going to do this, please make sure that you do buy at least one item from the store. If they’ve taken the time to give you a makeover that might have ordinarily cost $100 (or more!), you can spend $10 or $12 on lip gloss.

Make-up can be a woman’s best friend or sworn enemy. Whichever it is for you, you can at least keep the costs down.

This is part 1 of 2 on how to afford make-up on a budget. In part 2, we’ll discuss how to stretch the life of our make-up to keep costs down even more. 

Article publié pour la première fois le 30/01/2012

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