Splurge vs. Save: Beauty Essentials
While we’re all beautiful without it, a little help from beauty tools and makeup never hurts. With so many products out there, it’s hard to know what to get and how much money you should spend on beauty supplies. I’m not much of a makeup person, but I have friends who waste hundreds of dollars on tools they don’t even need or could get at a far better price, just because someone on YouTube used them.
If you’re like my friends and you don’t know where to put your money, here’s a list of which beauty tools you should invest in vs. which you should hold back on.
Splurge: Makeup Bag
You need to have something to hold all the makeup you’re going to buy, and because your makeup’s extremely important, you should keep it in something that won’t break or damage anything—so a makeup bag (or makeup case) is definitely worth the splurge. That being said, you don’t have to spend a hundred dollars on a makeup bag to get something that’s going to last; you can get a good one for around $10-$30.
Get one that has a durable fabric so that it won’t rip or tear easily. Also, I would recommend getting something that has plastic on the inside because something is bound to spill or open inside your bag at some point, and you want to be able to wash it out easily.
Save: Makeup Remover and Wipes
If you’re like me and have sensitive skin, you probably feel like you have to invest in pricier makeup remover—which I personally don’t mind doing, because I don’t like it when my face swells up like a balloon. But even if you don’t have that problem, you should still choose your remover wisely. Cheap remover can often contain harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your skin (or health in general)—and that’s something we should all be conscious of.
That being said, not everyone wants to splurge on something they’ll run out of quickly because they’re using it literally every day. For those of you who don’t want to spend a little extra on oils, there’s always makeup wipes. Makeup wipes are a lot more convenient, but they’re often worse for your skin—so make sure that you read reviews online and look at the labels to make sure you’re not using anything that’s going to damage your skin.
ESL Pick: Olay Daily Gentle Wet Cleansing Cloths, $4.69
Save: Eyebrow-Trimming Scissors
There’s no use in buying expensive scissors to trim your eyebrows when you can use regular scissors at home. Now, I do recognize the need for eyebrow scissors because they’re smaller and finer to keep you from literally cutting off half of your eyebrow hair, but I’m just saying if worse comes to worst there’s always an alternative.
You can find inexpensive eyebrow scissors at Walgreens and even Target, which means you don’t have to go to Sephora or Ulta and pay $5 more than you have to. Or you can use the little scissors from nail kits or tiny, cheap sewing kits you can pick up at the dollar store. (Bonus: You also get thread, needles, pins, and a cute thimble.)
Save: Face Exfoliator Brush
These things are expensive enough already; you don’t need to buy one for $200. You can find a perfectly good face exfoliating brush at Target for way less than half that price. Look for a good electric exfoliator; the manual brushes just don’t allow for the same deep cleaning that the electric ones do—and it’s less work for you. A good electric exfoliator starts around $30.
ESL Pick: Conair True Glow Cleaning Skin Beauty Treatment, $79.99
Tweezers are like eyelash curlers, they all work the same way. I haven’t met a pair of tweezers that were superior to another pair, so there’s no use in buying pricey ones. You do want to make sure that your tweezers are sharp, and I personally like the ones that are slanted a little.
There are different sizes for certain areas of the brow, and because they’re so cheap, I would recommend getting a variety of them—smaller tweezers for the tough hairs and touchups in-between waxes and larger tweezers for longer and deeper hairs.
Save: Eyelash Curler
All eyelash curlers do the same thing, no matter how expensive they are. You don’t need a heated lash curler; it’s all in how you use it. You can go practically anywhere—Target, Walmart, Walgreens—and get a lash curler under $10 that you can use every day. However, you should be careful because extremely cheap eyelash curlers often catch your lashes and can rip them out (ouch!).
ESL Pick: Revlon Gold Series – Lash Curler, $8.79
Save: Lash and Brow Combs
Personally, I don’t even think these are a necessary beauty tool. Mascara, when applied correctly, does a good job of spreading out your lashes, making them look full and thick—and in the event that you do want to spread your lashes even more you can just use your fingers or a toothbrush.
But if you feel like you need this tool, I would say save your money and get one that includes both. You kill two birds with one stone, and oftentimes the two-sided comb isn’t much more expensive than they would be by themselves.
If you don’t have a good mirror, it’s going to be harder to do your makeup well—especially if you’re not in a well-lit room. To solve this problem, get yourself a stand-up magnifying mirror with its own lights. They usually come with one side that’s magnifying and another that’s regular. The light will help you see the color of your face better and be able to tell if your eyeshadow and liner match. You can also use your mirror for popping those pesky blackheads or pimples—but I’ll warn you, the magnified mirror shows every little blemish.
ESL Pick: Jerdon Lighted Table Top Mirror Brushed Brass, $59.99
Splurge: Hair Straightener
When it comes to a straightener, you want something that’s going actually make your hair straight and not pull it out of your head (which is no easy or cheap feat). Because of this, you’re going to have to pay more money for a quality straightener. This is a good investment, especially if you straighten your hair multiple times a week and you want it to last a few years. My personal favorite long-lasting brands are CHI and Conair. You can also get straighteners in different sizes, so if you have shorter hair you don’t have to use a big, clunky straightener.
ESL Pick: CHI Air Classic Iron, $99.99
Save: Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo will save you from horrible hair days, and I truly believe it was sent from heaven to bless the greasy haired. But you shouldn’t have to pay a ton for a bottle of it. For the most part, all dry shampoo has the same ingredients and work the same, so the pricier ones are just a rip off. If you have sensitivities and can’t use certain products, that’s different—but for the vast majority of us, dry shampoo shouldn’t be expensive.
Everyone should have dry shampoo either in their bathroom or purse (or both, just in case), so don’t be that person who buys a $30 bottle just because you can.
Blow dryers, like straighteners, are something that most of us use frequently. We want our blowdryer to be able to dry out hair quickly and dry it fully. With a cheap blow dryer, you’ll often have to spend much more time on your hair because they don’t have as much power, which means they don’t dry as quickly. On the other hand, you don’t want a dryer that’s going to be too hot and fry your hair. To get everything you want in a blowdryer, you’re going to have to pay a little more (and that’s ok). Make a mental list of all the things you want your blowdryer to include (especially if you have curly hair, then you’ll need a diffuser), that way when you go to buy it’ll be a quick and painless process.
ESL Pick: Revlon Style Expert Ultimate Performance Hair Dryer, $39.99
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