When I think of all the money I’ve given to beauty companies over the years, it makes me a little sick. But then I look at how white my teeth are and I’m kind of OK with it. However, as I’ve gotten older and realized that I need to spend wisely, I’ve had to readjust my beauty budget.
I got an e-mail last night from a reader who reminded me of this. She said,
Help! I’m a beauty junkie on a budget. One day I will be able to brush with a diamond-encrusted toothbrush and fill up my gas tank with liquid gold, but for now I must resort to scrounging coupons out of my purse in the aisles of CVS (and Wal-Mart when I’m desperate). Anyway…my question is about razors. I can’t keep buying Venus Embrace replacement cartridges anymore ($30??) but I don’t want to litter the earth with disposables (I’m also a semi-hippie, you could say). Should I buy those $9 three packs of disposables? Or the cheap0 ones? I want something that will do the job and not break the bank. Any suggestions, O Wise One?
OK, this obviously made my day on a few levels, but what I told her was that I agree that $30 razors are ridic. I ask for them for Christmas and my mom usually gives me enough in my stocking to keep me set for a while. And then…
“Maybe you only use the pricey Venus embrace on days when it REALLY matters. For example, you’re going to the beach, have a big date, etc. Then you use the disposables to do your underarms (can’t really mess that up) or just when you want a quick shave before you wear shorts but you know it doesn’t REALLY matter but you just feel sort of gross and hairy.”
And this goes back to a lesson that I learned a few months ago: I could buy pricey make-up, but I had to use it less often.
Sometimes we put on make-up for a big night out or even for a day at work and we want to look immaculate. We want our eyes to sparkle and our complexions to look rosy and glowy. I call this the “Point Me Toward the Red Carpet Face.”
Other times we put on make-up because we just don’t want to look dead. We are just running errands or maybe hitting the gym and we just want to put on a face that doesn’t leave people asking, “Hey…are you OK?” I call this the “I Won’t Recoil in Horror if I Catch Sight of my Reflection Face.”
(I mean, I’m all for inner beauty and loving yourself as you are but I’ve done the recoil too many times to count.)
Anyway, one day I was brushing on $30 mascara and I realized I was only doing it so that the UPS man wouldn’t recoil. And then I realized that that made no sense. I decided I needed a separate, “Won’t Recoil in Horror” make-up kit and a “Walking the Red Carpet” make-up kit.
(And in regards to the e-mail, there are “I Could Shoot a Sex Tape With This Bikini Line” razors and “Will Keep Me From Worrying I’ll Die in an Accident and Everyone Will See My Hairy Legs” razors. And we both agreed that in the latter case, the Schick Quattro disposables are boss.)
Because even if you swear that there’s nothing better than an expensive mascara or foundation or razor, there are probably days when you just don’t need it…but you still want something. So you can really extend the life of the expensive products by using cheap-but-good products when it doesn’t matter so much. If I’m running errands and know I’m going to take a full-shower/put on the Red Carpet Face later, then I’m not going to use my expensive mascara in the morning. Does the pharmacist at Rite Aid really need to think my eyes sparkle? And there’s nothing worse than wiping my face during spinning and realizing I’ve left Make-Up Forever all over the towel. That’s some seriously expensive sweat.
The moral of the story: It’s OK to be a beauty junkie; it’s not OK to miss a student loan payment because you insist on wearing Mac eyeshadow to the gym.