As you can probably tell, I was not born in a Sephora with a no-limit credit card in my hands (that’s my dream reincarnation scenario, fyi). At age 17, I moved to a whole new country trying to figure out how to manage my pocket money while still enjoying my teenage life. On top of that, I fell back in love with makeup after years of being distracted by nail art! I know, great timing, and such an appropriate time to be obsessed with a hobby that comes with crazy price tags. But I survived, thank the dear Lord! And because I know a lot of you are still in school/university, so let me share with you how I fed my makeup hunger on a student budget:
1. Forget about buying cheap makeup brush sets!
I know how tempting it is to buy loads of makeup brushes for only $10 or so, but you’re only wasting your money there, girlie. One, brush sets are always lower in quality than individually sold brushes. Two, you don’t need 15 different brushes to start your kit. You only need a good sponge for your cream products, a couple of powder brushes for setting powder and bronzer/blush and a couple of nice eyeshadow brushes. I highly recommend RealTechniques and Ecotools brushes for these. For me, these brands have some of the best quality brushes for the student budget price range (except for RealTechniques’ special editions) and you can easily find them in drugstores!
2. Stay far, far away from Sephora (at least until pay day)
Yes, I just told you to run away from makeup paradise. That’s because even though I love Sephora with all my heart, they don’t have a wide array of budget makeup brands for student budget. AND, Sephora stores are always laid out to persuade you into buying higher end products. Instead, go to the nearest drugstore where hidden gems are tucked away in piles and piles of cheap makeup. Do careful research on what products you actually need and don’t buy anything else. My recommendation is to always invest on good complexion products like primer, foundation, concealer and setting powder. You can even start an entire full-face makeup kit for only US$50!
3. Only buy multifunctional products and let them do magic!
Have a blush quad? There’s your additional eye shadows for a pop of colour. Need a darker eyeshadow colour for your crease? Use your bronzer, girl. Want a sheer flush of colour on your cheeks? Reach for your favourite lipsticks!
And my favourite trick? Use matte eye shadows to turn any lipstick matte! It’s super simple: put on a lipstick and find a similar coloured matte shadow. Pick up the shadow using your finger and pat it on your lips. Then, put a ply of facial tissue over your lips and apply setting powder over it. Et voila! Seriously, it works.
4. Mascara > Falsies. Always.
I too love the look of falsies but I find that they are not really cost-efficient and the ones in the student budget price range don’t usually look as good as the pricier ones. My suggestion is to invest on a good mascara that gives you falsies effect for months instead of buying a new pair of falsies every week. Also, falsies just take too much time and a girl like me just don’t have the time and money for them. Who’s with me? Personally, I love Maybelline mascaras and I think Maybelline has some of the best drugstore mascaras in the market!
5. There’s a dupe for everything!
You can always go online lookout for the eyeshadow palette dupes and read others’ reviews on the products. Buying makeup dupes is not like buying a knockoff designer handbag, there’s no shame in doing it. Everyone wants cheaper makeup with the same high quality, you feel me?! One of my favourite resources for dupes is an Instagram account called @dupethat which literally compares high end and dupe products side by side so you can feast your eyes and marvel at the equal beauty of the two price points!
What other budget makeup hacks do you know? Share with us in the comments below!