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Maximizing Your Makeup – How Many Eye Shadows Does A Woman Really Need?

When it comes to cosmetics, in general, the more you pay, the more service you get. However, price does not always correlate to quality when it comes to makeup or skin care. There are many trendy brands that cost as much as tried and true brands to capitalize on their marketing, while quality suffers. Department stores and specialty cosmetics outlets offer more guidance than drugstores for these items, although some mass retailers now have very liberal return policies in case you make a faux pas. The best investment you can make is a session with a professional makeup artist to show you how to use the products you already have in your drawer, rather than just buying new ones.

Here are some tips to stretch your beauty budget:

Brushes – Brushes can be a good investment. If you care for them properly, they can last years. The right tool can make all the difference in the application, but you have to know how to use it. If you can’t buy a whole set of several brushes, purchase the absolute essentials: concealer brush, eye shadow brush, eyeliner brush, and blush brush. Choose brushes that are soft and full. Bristles that fall out easily are usually the sign of a poor quality brush.

Mini sizes – If you are not sure you are going to like a color of nail polish or eye shadow, buy the smallest size possible to try it out first. If you fall in love with that shade, then go back for a full size.

Beauty tools – The drugstore or your neighborhood grocery outlet store is the place to buy basics like cotton pads, sponges, cotton swabs in bulk inexpensively. Check out the baby department too.

Trendy colors – Stay away from high fashion, trendy colors that are sure to say last season quickly. If you are dying to try something fun, stick with drugstore brands for purchasing trendier colors so you don’t waste a lot of money on them.

Nail color – Shades that were a huge mistake for your hands may work great for your toes. Pedicures get less wear and tend to last better with less chipping. Another way to stretch your budget is buy your color from a brand you really love, and get your top coat at the drugstore from one of the cheap and cheerful ranges.

Eye Shadows – Even though you may have a rainbow of colors in your makeup bag, if you are list most women, you use the same one or two shades every day. Instead of buying many cheap products that you may like one day and not the next, buy one or two basic colors that suit your eye color and skin tone. A shadow duo with a dark gray, taupe or other neutral color for the lid with a darker shade for accents, evening and liner works best. Duos or quads of eye shadow are often a better investment than a single color, providing all the shades included are ones you would use. If you like three out of four shades in a set, you might be better off purchasing a duo with two key shades instead.

Blush – Blush is one thing you don’t need many of at all. Think multi-tasking. Look for color sticks like Nars Multiples and Bobbi Brown Cream Blush that can double as a shadow, lip color and highlighter. Stick with a natural shade that gives you sun-kissed cheeks that can be worn every day. You may want to change your blush with the season; a deeper shade for summer when you have a self-tan, and a softer shade for winter when your face has less color.

Mascara – Drugstore mascara has the great advantage of your being able to toss it after two or three months, before it dries out completely and before bacteria settles on the brush. L’Oreal makes absolutely fantastic mascara, which is very similar to its prestige department store sister brand.

Lip pencils and eye pencils – If you need to try on different lipsticks and would like professional advice, a department story makeup counter is the place to go. Be careful about using testers – always wipe them off with a tissue and use them on your hand or forearm, rather than on your lips and eyes for good hygiene.

Lipsticks – If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can try to find neutral shades at the drugstore. Neutral, beige or rosy shades are always safer than brights, dark colors which are more risky to buy without trying. If you buy a color that just won’t work for you, try mixing it with a sheer gloss or lighter shade.

Concealer, foundation and powder – Think of foundation as treatment that is worth the extra investment. This is one area where you should splurge to put your best face forward. Getting the right skin tone match is key, and you may need the help of a professional makeup artist or beauty consultant. It is also nice to be able to touch and feel the product before you make the investment.

Wendy Lewis