School has long been underway, and if you’re like most other students, you definitely feel the budget-crunch. Meanwhile, morning make-up routines have become more extensive to hide the regular late nights spent hanging out with friends or studying in the library. Every used-up beauty item acts as a reminder of the money you don’t have to replace it. However, cheap alternatives to our fancy favorites are often overlooked. That’s why we’re bringing you five beauty must-haves for under $5 so you won’t feel the money pinch. Plus, if you like to experiment with make-up, buying cheap items first is a fool-proof method of finding combinations you like!
1. Rimmel Extra Wow Lash Mascara, $3.99 at Ulta: For a mascara that only costs $3.99, this item is magical. The smudge-proof formula promises no clumps and thicker, longer lashes. The brush is also voluminous without looking unnatural, making application a one-swipe wonder. At the end of the day, the mascara comes off very easily, aiding the make-up removal process. The price for this gem is hard to beat, and the product itself is sold at almost any drugstore. For those that swear by waterproof formulas, this mascara would not meet your standards. However, you can still use it as a base-coat. You won’t have to waste your more expensive top-coat formula by layering it on twice!
2. Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Trio in Walking on Eggshells, $2.99 at Walgreen’s: At $2.99 a piece, this mini-eyeshadow palette is an attractive alternative to high-end brands like Urban Decay and M.A.C. The most popular and versatile combination, pictured above, is “Walking on Eggshells,” a mixture of warm browns and light beige. An issue we always have with select drugstore eyeshadows is the under-pigmentation of the colors. We prefer bold shades that layer very well on top of other selections. This trio boasts a high-pigment formula, while the colors are soft and easy-to-wear. For those that need eyeshadows that stay on all day, this trio is definitely the way to go. The palette squares are also carved with words such as “crease”, “browbone”, and “eyelid” to help direct you. The nude browbone shade could additionally act as a highlight for your inner corners. All three colors are versatile, making this a must-buy.
3. E.L.F. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen, $1 at Fresh Grocer: This beauty product just cannot get any cheaper at the $1 original price. E.L.F. is known to make wonderful items at low costs and is typically known for its wide selection of make-up brushes. However, the eyeliner pen is another creation that cannot be overlooked. The pen has a felt tip with a smooth applicator. The formula is also very consistent, gliding onto your lid without any resistance. Although there is not as much product as you would expect a regular eyeliner to contain, the formula is easily replaceable. The current rule of thumb is to throw out eyeliners after three months anyway. In eight different shades ranging from black to teal, this item is well-suited for make-up junkies who love experimenting with different looks. Make sure you pick up one (or all eight!) the next time you hit Fresh Grocer (yes, there’s an E.L.F. shelf near the cash registers!).
4. Palladio Rice Powder Blotting Papers, $3.99 at Sally Beauty Supply: Although the weather has cooled down since the beginning of the school year, the sheen that accumulates throughout the day on our faces still has not decreased. One item we always carry is blotting paper. But a thorough blotting process can eat up 3-4 sheets each time… and leave your wallet skinny. Palladio Rice Powder Blotting Papers is the best of both worlds: the $3.99 steal has sheets that are both effective and accessible. The sheets are also friendly for all face types, preventing break-outs and allergic reactions. Use as many as necessary (with no guilt) to absorb the oils and dirt that collects on your face by the middle of the day.
5. Wet ‘n’ Wild Lipstick in Bare It All, $1.99 at Drugstore.com: This $1.99 beauty product is a necessity, especially in the shade Bare It All, a beautiful nude with warm brown undertones, perfect for the fall atmosphere. The color is versatile, matching any outfit. The matte consistency also allows for layering, so wear a lip balm to protect your lips from the harsh weather to come or a lip gloss to add extra shine. Although the formula is not long lasting, you can afford to apply this lipstick multiple times per day, especially after meals and coffee breaks. Wet ‘n’ Wild has produced this item in a whopping 26 shades so feel free to take advantage of the price and purchase colors you would normally not wear. Be adventurous and try Cinnamon Spice, a deep plum color perfect for the season.
Many of us have already established brands and products we swear by, but by doing so, we often overlook cheaper alternatives that are more attractive to the average college student. Next time you run out of one of your favorite beauty items, try one of these affordable gems!
– Cindy Yuan