I asked a bit ago if you'd like to hear some of my beauty secrets, and the whole world flipped out and assumed that I had lots. I'm flattered.
But, unfortunately, I don't have a lot of secrets. I only have a few. And I'm about to have none, because in 10 minutes you will have read this and they won't be secrets anymore.
Also, I'm going to preface this by saying I am not a girl who spends an outrageous amount of money on cosmetics, hair product & skin care.
I lived this lifestyle briefly, and it broke both my bank and my heart. Why? I found out pretty quickly that the more I bought, the more time it took me to get ready in the morning. I also found that it sabotaged my definition of beauty, and how comfortable I was in my own skin. So, long story short, I decided it wasn't worth dropping a couple hundred a month in order to sleep less in the mornings and be more discontent with myself.
I also want to challenge you, women, to build your beauty routine around your desired lifestyle.
What on EARTH do I mean by that.
Here's what I mean. I can tell you right now that I look "better" with darker hair, and that for me, this means getting a full color every 8 weeks. This also means I have to use Schwarzkopf Bonacure Repair Rescue Shampoo (but NOT the corresponding conditioner, it's too heavy - have to pair it with Brocato Vibracolor Conditioner) because it is the ONLY shampoo in the entire world that can keep the dye from fading and pulling my natural red out in a strange way. No really, I even tried Moroccan Oil products and that didn't work.
Girls, that's well over a thousand dollars a year on just my hair - in one paragraph. And that doesn't even include at least four different kinds of product to keep stocked when I use heat (flat irons/curling irons) to "protect my hair." If that didn't bite, do some more math. Spend an hour in front of a mirror every morning Monday-Friday, and even if your time is only worth minimum wage, that adds another $1850 to the annual bill. Plus, I would argue that you are worth more than $7 an hour.
I know that I'm a bit unusual, but my lifestyle has GOT to allow me to spend only 10 minutes getting ready, and I can't be lugging a bag of beauty supplies every time I leave town for the weekend or have to get ready in the morning at a rest stop. I also know that I can't be spending that kind of money on something that's a massive inconvenience for me. It doesn't matter if you already have this lifestyle, or if this is the lifestyle you want to be able to live. Someone told me once to dress for the life I want, and I'll get it. Shallow? Maybe, but so damn true.
Knowing all of this, I stopped coloring my hair altogether, and I also decided to adjust to whatever the hell it is that my hair does on it's own every day. And to just leave it alone. I use Aveeno shampoo & conditioner, get out of the shower, half-blow dry my hair and go. That costs me $12 about every 2 or 3 months. Also? Don't wash your hair every day unless you absolutely have to. Everyone's hair is different, I know - but I wear my hair long both because I love it that way, and because I can go 4 or 5 months without getting a cut.
If I'm being perfectly honest, sometimes it sucks. I don't feel put together all the time, some days my hair just flat out drives me absolutely insane. I miss the amazingness that is $40 shampoo. But, then I remember that I can roll out of bed and be showered, dressed, and make-upped in 15 minutes - and that my close friends still think I'm beautiful. It's a difficult mental shift to decide to care only what they think, but it's one well worth it. Also, once you make it a month in, your skin starts breathing again and you find out it's better than you thought it was, and your hair becomes more healthy and helps fight the battle for you!
Alright. Secret time.
Exfoliating: I used to use Origin's Modern Friction Dermabrasion. It's $37 for a small tube, and is the best you'll find, but you have to pair it with a ph balancer & lotion to not dry out your skin. Solution? Sea salt & olive oil. You can buy natural sea salt at the grocery store for less than $5, and the same with olive oil. Every couple days, pour some salt in your hand, mix it with olive oil, and scrub your face with it. Rinse, pat dry, and you'll freak out. The olive oil is a natural moisturizer, and you just bought about 6 months worth of skin care for $10.
Toner: Lemons. Lemons are amazing. If your skin is breaking out, or really dry, it's probably because your ph balance is off. Lemons naturally balance out your ph levels. Slice a piece of lemon and rub your face with it. It'll burn like hell the first couple times you do it, but hey, beauty is pain, right? And they're a lot cheaper than tiny bottles of Ph Balancing Toner.
Lotion: You know those bottles you pay like twenty bucks extra for because it has "real avocado oil" or "with all natural sesame seed oil extracts" about 25 ingredients down? Freaking just go by that AMAZING stuff and use it on it's own! Go to your local health food store and get either Avocado Oil or Sesame Seed Oil and use that as your lotion. It's incredible. It's gentle enough to use on your face if you need (you barely need any) and within 3 days of using it, you'll have people asking if you've been out in the sun and trying to figure out why you look so ALIVE. Oh, and it's also dirt cheap.
Face lift: Oh women you are about to adore me for this. Beat the hell out of some egg whites, and put them on your face! Yes! It's amazing for your skin and it's a 10 minute face lift. It strengthens, brightens and tightens your skin. For pretty much free.
Okay, this is where I spend money. I justify it with the previous paragraphs, and with the fact that I don't wear much makeup anyways. Most days it's just mascara & chapstick, but when I do...
Foundation: Foundation kills, please don't suffocate your face. Get MAC Studio Moisture Tint. It's $30 and lasts awhile - it covers/balances/protects/moisturizes without caking. It's great.
Mascara: MAC Opulash. Bad Gal sucks compared to Opulash, believe it or not. And MAC's Haute & Sexy is a nightmare. Just get Opulash.
Eyeliner: If you wear eyeliner a lot, go get MAC's Fluidline. You have to buy their brush for it too because it's potted gel, but holy crap it's incredible. And you can put it on as thick or thin as you want. It's also awesome for facepaint if you ever have ridiculous Halloween costumes like I do. You can spend money on it because it lasts FOREVER. I've been using it for six months & I'm not even halfway out.
Eye shadow: I don't really wear a lot of this, and I'll admit I'm not a pro. I really like MAC's four-palettes. I haven't had much luck with any department store brands because they don't last me throughout the day, or they smear. Suggestions? Let's hear 'em.
Blush/Bronzer: Easiest makeup category. I like Victoria's Secrets, but I've been using MAC's Powder Blush for awhile now and love it. Surprise, surprise.
Concealer: Okay if you listen to nothing else, just please go do this for me. If you ever use concealer, go buy MAC's Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer. It's $16 and has also lasted me a year, and I'm not out yet. You can skip out on dropping the $$ on the mascara & eyeliner, but not this.
Note: Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual sale ROCKS for makeup. I pick up most of my lip gloss, fun eyeliner (like white sparkly stuff!), eye shadows, etc here. I can get all of those items for $2-5 dollars, so I don't feel bad experimenting.
Make-up Application Note: BIG SECRET. Color is color, you guys! Don't limit your application of a product to it's intended use. If your bronzer is too pink that day, mix it with your gold eye shadow and brush it on your cheeks. If you want softer eyeliner, mix it with your foundation on your hand, and apply THAT. Want some intense eyeshadow but don't want to buy it? Use your lipstick color and mix it with some foundation and anything else you've got. If you're gonna paint your face, have fun, and see everything as paint and your face as canvas.
Disclaimer: This is just based on experience, and my own personal research. Feel free to disagree with me. And pleeeeeeease do not take offense if you are able to spend some extra time in front of the mirror to get hot and gorgeous, or if you spoil yourself with great haircuts and colors. Trust me, I know how amazing it is - and you deserve it. I have periods of my life where I fall back into this, and it's 100% fine. I'm a firm believer in spoiling yourself when it's needed, and if this is your way of doing it, be sexy and be blessed. These are just thoughts/suggestions based on where I am in my life!