How to Budget for Beauty

How to buy beauty on a budget / nicolemcaruso.com

In my recent Q&A video, one of you asked how to budget for beauty items (see my answer here). I thought I would share the specifics of how to spend and save on skincare, makeup, body, and hair products. 

SKINCARE

DEPARTMENT STORE

  • Enzyme Exfoliators -- a hi-tech blend that melts away dead skin. 
  • Serum -- designed to sink deeply into the skin to renew and repair.
  • Night Cream -- hydrates the skin overnight and keeps it from inflammation.
  • Eye cream -- firming, moisturizing, and not too heavy for the delicate skin around the eyes.

DRUGSTORE

  • Clay -- for DIY face masks. Mix a teaspoon with raw honey or jojoba oil for a quick detox mask.
  • Witch Hazel -- a gentle toner that removes dead skin and excess oils that is also safe for all skin types. 
  • Jojoba Oil -- nature's luxurious oil that soothes, plumps, and instantly hydrates (use it on the tips of hair too!). 
  • Gritty scrub -- a good old fashioned gritty scrub for those times when nothing else works.
  • Epsom salts -- for a relaxing, detox bath. 
  • Remover wipes -- look for a brand with little to no fragrance or alcohol for quick, gentle makeup removal. 

MAKEUP

DEPARTMENT STORE

  • Base colors -- concealer and foundation are hard to find in skin-like finishes with wide color ranges just anywhere. Get pro help at places like Sephora, Nordstrom, Saks, or Bergdorf Goodman to personalize your look. 
  • Powders -- eyeshadow, blush, bronzer, and setting powders that are finely milled and made with incredible pigments make for easy application and long-lasting finishes. 
  • Brow products -- gels, shadows, and pencils have better staying power, true-to-life shades, and don't go flaky. 

DRUGSTORE

  • Brushes -- find high quality synthetic brushes from my favorite brand Real Techniques.
  • Mascara -- since it needs frequent replacement and dries out quickly. 
  • Lip products -- because they are usually very similar formulas and finishes to most high-end lines. 
  • Gel eyeshadow pots -- to wear under eyeshadow as a base, or alone for a sheer wash of color, and they tend to dry out quickly so it's not worth paying too much. 

BODY

    DEPARTMENT STORE

    • Self tanning -- trust the sunless tanners flying off shelves of the high-end stores for the most subtle, even tan. 
    • Fragrance -- for higher oil content and richer scents, which makes the smell linger longer. 

    DRUGSTORE

    • Dry brush -- to slough off dead skin and increase circulation, which detoxifies the body and smoothes skin at the same time. 
    • Tools -- nail clippers, tweezers, cotton pads, etc.

    HAIR

    DEPARTMENT STORE

    • Setting sprays -- for that supermodel hair, stick to the brands that actually do hair backstage at the runway shows. 
    • Hair treatments -- leave in conditioners, masks, scalp treatments, and serums are worth paying the extra buck. 
    • Dry shampoo -- for sheer, volumized, touseled hair that doesn't have white roots stick to the department store brands. 

    DRUGSTORE

    • Shampoo and conditioner -- because our hair can "get used to" certain formulas, it's good to change it up on a dime. 
    • Gel -- for sleek looks, drugstore gel is where it's at.
    • Accessories -- elastics, bobby pins, clips are so easy to lose and cheap to replace. 

    Nicole M. Caruso

    I was born in Manhattan to two native New Yorkers who met working in the Garment Industry. Fashion was the family business. Suburban Connecticut is where I grew up and often daydreamed about someday attending New York Fashion Week.

    When I was in college studying Communication & Media, I met the man of my dreams. We married nearly one year after our first date, and have been adventuring together ever since. While we moved around the country for his job, I freelanced as a makeup artist, worked in retail, and blogged about style & beauty as a creative outlet. 

    Moving back to New York led to serendipitously working for two major fashion houses, where I learned the ins and outs of the industry, and attended Fashion Week both backstage and in the tents. Soon after, Verily Magazine brought me on as Beauty Editor, which was my dream job. It combined all of my passions and hobbies into one, and granted me a deeper understanding of print and digital media. One year after that, I had my daughter and experienced true fulfillment in motherhood. 

    Everywhere I have traveled, I have met incredible women who inspired me to be the best version of myself; to wake up every day feeling confident and ready to Carpe Diem. I want to inspire women to explore their feminine genius by investing in their self-worth. This lifestyle blog is the place where I can share my worldview, my experiences, and my tips and tricks to live a more fulfilling life, which include expert style and beauty advice, tips for healthy living, and reflections on marriage and motherhood.