Recession Living 101: A new face for $50

Kerstin Gupilan

An example of a variety of makeup you can buy for under $50. Photo Credit: Kerstin Gupilan / Staff Photographer
An example of a variety of makeup you can buy for under $50. Photo Credit: Kerstin Gupilan / Staff Photographer

Textbooks. Check. Parking permit. Check. Tuitions and fees. Unfortunately, check. The new semester is upon us and we all have the empty bank accounts to prove it. With today’s dwindling economy it’s difficult for anyone not to crave the finer things in life, especially for the average college student. Welcome to Recession Living 101. This column is designed to answer one question: Does a pathetic excuse for a checking account have to mean settling for the bottom of the barrel? Well, not for this girl it doesn’t, and this is especially true when it comes to beauty supplies.

I was given the task of finding all the essentials of a make up bag for under $50. This would seem easy enough; I figured everything could be found at a drugstore or Wal-Mart. But then I was told that I had to start from scratch. In addition to the basics: foundation, eye shadow, blush, and so on, I also had to find the tools used to apply these products as well as the bag to store everything in.

It was difficult to decide where to start on my mission, but as it is popularly believed, a strong foundation is a good foundation. What I discovered was Cover Girl’s Clean Makeup liquid foundation ($4.34). This particular liquid foundation was also featured in Glamour magazine as a less expensive alternative to high-end foundation Bare Minerals SPF 15 foundation. Sticking with a liquid foundation is also less expensive than powder because of disposable sponge applicators. For concealer, I would recommend Maybelline Mineral Powder concealer ($6.94) because of its smooth texture. And to give a girl red-carpet worthy cheeks Glamour magazine also recommends Cover Girl Cheekers blush ($4.50), a five time winner. For a sun-kissed look try Rimmel’s Natural Bronzer ($4.28).

Eye enhancers were next on my list, which presented more of a problem because of the wide spectrum of colors offered. Thankfully, more makeup manufacturers are creating palettes that include all the colors needed to create one complete look. This is very fortunate for young adults who lack sufficient funds to purchase individual colors. A single eye shadow from M.A.C cosmetics can cost $14.00. But, thanks to drug stores nation wide, a girl can buy a set of Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadows with four different shades for $4.94, along with Maybelline New York Great Lash Big mascara for $4.48 and Loreal Infallible eyeliner ($5.50) for just a little more. Everyone says the eyes are the window to the soul, and makeup should be considered the frames and drapes.

Last on my list of makeup products was lipstick, and as someone who relies heavily on Chapstick I really didn’t know where to start. I turned to the Allure magazine Web site and their Best of Beauty section. Under “long-wearing lipstick”, I found Revlon’s Colorstay Soft & Smooth lipstick ($8.48). Revlon offers a plethora of trend-setting colors sure to satisfy any girl’s taste.

To pull all these products together a girl needs the right tools. But good brushes, the basis of exceptional makeup application, can be rather pricey. A powder foundation brush alone can run upwards of $50, I should know having paid as much for my own. Target, however, has teamed with Sophia Kashuk to produce a line of high quality brushes for reasonable prices. Kashuk’s line of brushes is made with all-natural hair and range in price from $7.99-$17.99. While Sephora beauty stores offer a wider variety of brands including Sephora, Chanel and Dior, their prices also leave much to be desired. Brushes from Sephora range from $8-$65; this includes face brushes and eye brushes.

If you’ve been following along, adding up all the prices that I’ve presented, then you may have noticed that I have just about reached my $50 limit, before taxes. A good rule to follow when purchasing makeup is to remember that keeping it simple is usually the best way to go. Only buy what is absolutely necessary, and take care of the make up products and tools you already have. By doing so, your supplies will last much longer and you’ll get more use out of them. Make up doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; it just has to make you look good. And looking and feeling good is priceless.