Favorite beauty bargains?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by graceupongrace, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    Susiestar has posted about the eyeslipsface line of cosmetics, which got me thinking... Like many others, I have had to cut my expenses drastically. Along the way, I have found some beauty products that are very inexpensive but honestly, just as good as the high-end brands I used to buy. Here are some of my faves:

    Rimmel eyebrow pencil. Costs $3 and I like it as much as Chanel's $28 pencil.

    Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer. Packaged like a lip balm, but wears like a lipstick. They have a good range of colors with a lot of pigment, and they stay on well. I have a couple of colors that match the Bobbi Brown line, which is very good, but costs $22 vs. $5 for Burt's Bees.

    Pantene NatureFusion Smooth Vitality shampoo and conditioner. Great products -- they keep long hair soft and shiny.

    Ulta single eyeshadow. Good range of colors, and they often offer specials that make the prices even lower. I got a really pretty golden plum color after Christmas last year for 99 cents!

    So, what are your favorite beauty bargains?
  2. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    I have had such a terrible time with dry, sensitive skin. After watching all those Olay commercials, I decided to try it. (I had been using Crisco as a cleanser, and Nivea cream, baby, or olive oil as a moisturizer. These were the only things I could use without breaking out ~ even at my age!)

    Even with these products, my skin was still incredibly dry.

    So, I bought the generic (Equate brand) of Olay Regenerating facial cleanser (around $6), and the brand name moisturizer for sensitive skin. (Olay active hydrating lotion for sensitive skin. Around $11.)

    The difference these products have made in my skin is phenomenal. The cleanser has little grains in it. (No more breakouts or white heads!) And the sensitive skin moisturizer truly moisturizes with no oily, shiny residue AND NO WHITEHEADS.

    After about three weeks, my skin looks so much softer and smoother, and my skin tone has evened so much that even my husband noticed.

    I can't recommend these products highly enough.

    If you have sensitive skin like mine though, I recommend staying with the brand name moisturizer ~ and be sure to get the one that says "sensitive skin".

  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Our dermatologist has recommended ONLY using Dove sensitive skin body wash. DF has psoriasis and I can get dry ashy skin in the winter.

    Since we've been using this soap? Neither of us has had problems.

    But ....it's expensive. Sams Club USED to have 3 bottles for nearly the price of one at Walmart. But then discontinued carrying it. (Completely angry about that)

    So then we went to Kroger and bought their brand of the same soap. It's not as thick coming out of the bottle but it works just as well.

    I'm a firm believer in the Olay line.....I'm 45 and get guessed at 35 all the time. I think partly because of how I behave. :tongue:
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I love the cover girl waterproof professional mascara. It stays on without giving the raccoon eye effect that even the really expensive mascaras give me, and it comes off fairly easily without taking my eyelashes with it.
  5. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    It's hard to find a good waterproof mascara! And I know what you mean about taking it off without losing half your lashes. Of course, then you'd need less mascara, and it would last longer -- LOL!

    For everyday, I like the Maybelline Define-a-lash mascara. Tried it just out of curiosity, and it works even better than Lancome Definicils, which I wore for years. It's not so fiber-y. (Is that a word?!)
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, here we run into differences between countries, because what is allowed in one country can often have a different formulation in another.

    My mother in law and sis-in-law have sensitive skin that can rfeact to a lot of cosmetics. Years ago I tried to introduce sis-in-law especially to my herbal preparations as a safe and inexpensive alternative, but I suspect she prefers the cachet of having skin so sensitive and delicate that she just HAS to buy the really expensive name brands for sensitive skin.
    (Aggrieved tone: "darling, my skin is so sensitive, I have no choice but to use this ultra-exclusive imported French brand made exclusively from mountain spring water fed by the purest glaciers from the Matterhorn. I really wish my skin wouldn't be so reactive, but there it is...")
    And then about two years ago, both of them (on opposite sides of the country) developed skin reactions to their favourite cosmetics. mother in law is convinced the problem is Vitamin E - convinced because it was a Vitamin E preparation that she first reacted to, so therefore it must be the Vitamin.
    I tried to tell her that it was almost certainly another ingredient (or many) that was the culprit since the Vitamin E cream would have had otherv things in it besides Vitamin E.

    Finally we worked out the problem (we're fairly sure) - about the time they developed the reactions, Aussie cosmetics were forced to add preservatives. Since then I've searched for sources of creams that don't have preservatives - the only ones really are the minimal technology ones that cut back as much as they can legally but who warn that their cosmetics have to be kept in the fridge and need to be thrown out after a few months even so. mother in law doesn't react to those as much as to her other cosmetics. I've also tested her with natural vegetable oils which are high natural sources of Vitamin E - and no reaction to those.

    so back to budget cosmetics (as distinct from those expensive options) - it depends on your skin and on what you value in terms of your 'look'. But I've had to 'slim down' in the cosmetics department not only for stuff that doesn't cause a reaction, but also for stuff I can carry easily (including going away on holidays while carrying a minimum of make-up for maximum visual impact). I've also learned what to carry when doing makeup touch-ups for the girls' dance school performances.

    So here's the summary -

    1) moisturiser - depends on your skin. You can get sorbolene and use that instead of soap. A small amount only. You can water it down (in your hand) or mix it with liquid foundation to make a tinted moisturiser.
    I use good vegetable oil as moisturiser especially in the eye area. Use it the night before, don't use it immediately before wearing makeup. Vegetable oil and sorbolene also make good make-up remover. So does soap and water. Vegetable oil is also great for oiling crevices on your body that are prone to rashes, chafing, heat rash etc. If the smell of vegetbale oil bothers you, hunt around for one that smells OK. Only get a small bottle and keep it in the dark because the oils go rancid and smell bad (no preservatives!). Or you can add a few drops of essential oil (such as lavender) to make it smell good.

    2) Soap - home-made oatmeal soap is good for sensitive skin prone to breakouts, but better if your skin tends to be oily.

    3) My favourite body scrub, I've checked the ingredients and it really is very similar to stuff that comes with a $50 price tag. Put some table salt into a jar, pour over some vegetable oil (such as olive oil or sweet almond oil). Add a little essential oil for perfume. make sure the oil covers the salt.
    To use - put a small amount into your hand and scrub your body with it. I often use it to clean my hands after gardening or heavy dirty work. I have also used it on my face. You scrub yourself with a small amount then rinse it off. Initially even after rinsing your skin will feel really gluggy and oily, then you dry yourself on a soft cloth. Pat dry and excess oil will be gone. What is left gets rapidly absorbed by your skin and feels wonderful. Remember, boutiques sell this for $50 or more. You can make it for a hundredth of this.
    If you make some, be careful how you transport it because the oil will leak. Also, jars with metal lids will eventually rust the lid away.

    4) Skin toner - if you have really sensitive skin, make a strong cup of chamomile tea then chill it in the fridge. Use it cold form the fridge to tone your skin and tighten the pores. If you have oily or combination skin, buy a bottle of witchhazel from the pharmacy and add some to your chamomile tea. The amount you add varies depending on your own assessment of what works best for your skin (trial and error).

    Cosmetics - remember that the original kohl was made from soot mixed with lard. Not that I recommend you do this - these days the soot has been carefully graded to make sure there are no sharp bits.

    I carry a kohl pencil for my eyes, a small eyeshadow and an old lipstick. Use a lip brush to get the last bit out of the tube, it also helps get a really good line and replaces the need for a lip pencil. A clear gloss can change the look of a lipstick too; if you put a lipstick on very thinly then cover it with gloss, it adds a hint of colour and can look very different to the look of the lipstick put on more heavily.
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 carries a very small chisel paint brush to put on eyeshadow as an eyeliner. It's cheaper to buy the paint brush as a paint brush, make up brushes are generally more expensive. Get a teflon brush.

    Another cute trick - get a bronzer and use it for a blush, for eyeshadow and for lipstick (especially with clear gloss). It also coordinates your look, colour-wise. If you find the bronzer not quite dark enough for eyeshadow, use it with a darker eyeshadow to keep the look coordinated.
    You can also use a bronzer on your nails and then give them a clear coat.

    I've also used lipstick as blush (much to my kids' disgust) but it's an old trick I was taught by make-up artists.

    I don't wear mascara - if you have pale eyelashes it's cheaper and looks better to get your lashes tinted. If you have dark lashes you only need to colour the ends and sometimes not even then - kohl eyeliner makes your lashes look longer without having to worry about how to get the stuff off later on. I sometimes wear contact lenses and mascara is not good for them, bits get under the lenses and hurt.

    With brands, you use what works for you but recognise that most expensive lines have the same ingredients as cheaper ones. The difference in price is usually the perfumes. Cheaper perfumes use more chemicals and cheaper essential oils, such as geraniol instead of pure rose essential oil. Cheap essential oils include lavender, geraniol, lemon. Rose is one of the world's most expensive essential oils which is why you won't get a bottle of the pure stuff.

    Eucalyptus oil is really good for antibacterial or antifungal treatments but it smells very strong. Ti-tree oil (aka melaleuca oil) doesn't smell as strong but works even better. They are both relatively cheap. Lavender oil is also very good as antifungal/antibacterial. Use them sparingly, preferably broken down.

    I buy cheap brands which I know I don't react to, as and when they are on special. I currently get a lot of Avon stuff especially the propelling pencils and the mineral make-up, but only when on special.

    As for chucking out makeup when it's old - I know they say you should, but if it looks OK and still smells OK, I still use it. My favourite eyeshadow is an old one of my sister's that she used when she was 15. I would have been 8 years old.

    Not recommended but it works for me...

  7. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    What great tips, Marg!

    I love the additional use for chamomile tea. We have always used it as a remedy for conjunctivitis (pinkeye). You brew the tea and let it cool, then soak a cotton ball or pad in it and place the cotton balls on the eyes for about 10 or 15 minutes every few hours. It's very soothing.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Some great ideas Marg!

    I react so strongly to smells that many products cannot even come into the house. I buy rose water (NOT at bath and body works - their "triple" rose water is far weaker than the stuff I buy at the health food store) and use it for many things.

    I spritz it all over as a perfume. If my hair gel is not working after a few hours (sometimes my hair is just determined to misbehave) then I spray a bit of rose water on instead of water. It makes the gel work again. It is also nice on fresh sheets. We don't use scented dryer sheets so this makes the bed smell nice.

    Jessie talked husband into buying special shaving cream for her legs. Scented stuff. No way would the stench even wash off. Strong fake fruit scent. Ick. Now we use the store brand of cetaphil wash. The stuff you can rinse off or tissue off. It is MUCH better for the skin, has no real smell, and almost eliminates razor burn. Razors last longer too. If she is out of that I have her use conditioner. husband uses the cetaphil stuff too.

    I make a WONDERFUL skin cream. It has helped my scars a lot, and my aunt swears by it for her wrinkles. I make it in small batches because a little goes a LONG way and it can go bad. I use vitamin E in it to help preserve it. It mixes shea butter, emu oil, pumpkin seed oil and macadamia nut oil with a tiny amount of Vit. E. I just warm the shea butter until it is liquid, add the other ingredients and then put the bowl in a larger container of ice water. I whisk the cream until it is thickening and everything is well mixed. The pumpkin seed oil gives it a "funny" color, but it has many many benefits for skin. I just don't put the cream into clear jars, LOL!

    I used to swear by estee lauder's double wear lip stick. It had the color and a clear gloss. Now I use cover girl lipstain and whatever gloss I have handy. It lasts longer and doesn't dry out my lips the way the brand name stuff does.

    I don't use salt scrubs the way Marg described. I use sugar instead. Same method, but sugar doesn't sting little cuts. My fave is to use lemon oil with it.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You can use sugar, it means the metal in the lid won't rust. But you do need to worry about ants.

  10. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Gosh. Makes me think I need to wear makeup. I'm too lazy.

    The only thing I ever had that I really liked was some sort of under eye stuff that I was given as a gift from a parent. (Maybe that was a hint.) I don't remember the name, but it did take bags out from under your eyes. Tiny bottle that was nearly $30. And no, I did not buy another when it was gone.

    Now, give me a hair color that lasts more than 2 weeks these days and I'd be happy. I think I've tried them all.

  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I tried the eye stuff a couple of monthsago, they were demonstrating it in the mall. And my eyes reacted. I did ask if there were preservatives in it, they couldn't tell me what was in it (which I tihnk is illegal in Australia - contents should be known).

    Generally the more complex the ingredients, the happier they are to list them. So I take failure to disclose contents to mean - it is too easy to duplicate it at home. Also the under-eye stuff gets advertised on advertorial TV shows here, and the stuff that generally gets sold on these shows has to pay for the advertising somewhow - generally there's little to it.

    I went home and showed husband. By then the stuff was beginning to crumble and look obvious. I explained how the stuff goes on - they dab it on very sparingly and lightly and while it dries you MUST NOT MOVE YOUR EYES or the change in shape makes the area under your eyes leave a wrinkle in this stuff.

    Now, husband is a chemist. Not drug-store type, but chemistry chemist. So he looked closely and listend to my description, noted the shape of crystal formation and said, "I'm sure it's just magnesium sulfate..." (I think he said) "...which is epsom salts."
    From my observation, it was in a cream base, a very light one. So if you made a moderately weak solution of epsom salts and mixed it with watered-down sorbolene (or some other inexpensive moisturiser) then applied it following the same directions, you could come close. Of course you must not get it in your eyes (same rules as the commercial stuff). But I'm going to have a try - and by doing it myself, I won't have to add preservatives.

    Any home-made cosmetics without perservatives need to be kept refrigerated and also discarded as soon as they begin to go off. Monitor them for change in colour, smell or texture. Some need to be made fairly fresh, fairly frequently. But doing it this way should be inexpensive and be possible to make tiny amounts at a time. I mean - how long do you need to hang on to cucumber slices?

    You know - I have seen, for sale, plastic circles made to look like slices of cucumber. The plastic ic impregnated with cucumber fragrance (artificial, not quite as good as the real thing). They are filled with a layer of antifreeze (or similar) so you put these in the fridge to chill, then put them on your eyes.
    In other words - you buy some plastic stuff (which takes up space in the fridge and isn't real) which costs say, $5 a piece, instead of merely reaching into the fridge and slicing a fresh cucumber.

    So may I suggest - using the expensive plastic substitute is not as effective and doesn't feel half so good, as using the real thing.

    We tend to think of expensive spa treatents and professional make-up staff to be the ants pants, to set the benchmark. But what do they use? The real thing. Or some cobbled-together very effective alternative. When easy child 2/difficult child 2 & difficult child 1 were playing convicts in a TV mini-series, they had the best make-up team working on them, using all the tricks. Did they use prosthetic scabs, warts and scars on them? No. They used rice bubbles, glued on and squashed, for scabs. Absolutely brilliant.

    Use the real stuff where you can. Just because it's inexpensive, doesn't mean it's cheap.

  12. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    Any good products for keeping fine hair from frizzing in humidity? I LOVE the Living Proof No-Frizz styling spray -- it really does work a lot better than the silicone-based products, but it costs a fortune.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The Fijians use coconut oil. I've bouht bottles of it (really cheap) which I use as a moisturiser (I have heavy-duty skin!). They perfume it with sandalwood, rose or jsmine.

    If you want to do this cheaply yourself, buy a block of copha and add your own essential oil (or not, as you choose).

    Something I realised I use last night as an alternative to body butter - soy wax melts. I'm still investigating this stuff, if it is possible to buy pure soy wax and add my own essential oils, that would be the cheapest option. Just afrer easy child 2/difficult child 2's wedding, husband, difficult child 3 & I took a steam train trip to the Southern Highlands where there were a lot of craft sellers at a market, I bought some soy wax melts there. One lot I bought were coffee-scented, and I've been using that as a body rub/moisturiser. husband loves the fragrance!

    As it's sold to be used as a room fragrance thing (or added to candles) it is really cheap, but I love how it feels on the skin.

  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My hair is very fine and very very curly. Imagine a Portuguese Water dog and you kind of get the idea. To keep it curly rather than frizzy, I use olive oil. The tiniest dab, and I just work it gently through the hair. Too much and you get what my husband calls "bacon face". A little goes a very long way. And it's not perfumey, so it doens't make me dizzy.