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NOW READING Top Five Budget-Friendly Beauty Tips For An Instant Pick-Me-Up
September 29, 2020

Top Five Budget-Friendly Beauty Tips For An Instant Pick-Me-Up

Celebrity makeup artist, Mai Quynh, shares some of her most coveted tricks that won’t break the bank. 


On any given day, beauty lovers spend hours looking for new treasures. Whether scrolling through Instagram or browsing the offerings online or in brick-and-mortar stores – back when they were open – cosmetics are both a pleasure and a passion. Lately, though, throwing financial caution to the wind doesn’t rank high on anyone’s list.


Mai Quynh Celebrity Makeup Artist


Every beauty lover has products they’re devoted to despite the price tags, and knowing where best to spend your pennies can be difficult. If your beauty budget is on a COVID-related time-out, a little extra guidance can help you get more bang for your buck. 


Base Makeup With Benefits


Illamasqua Skin Base Concealer Pen ($29)


One way to ease the cash crunch while still satisfying your need for something shiny and new is to pick products with more than one purpose. Since foundation enjoys prolonged contact with your skin, scrutinize what goes into that bottle. Many base makeup products are formulated with sunscreen, but what about the rest of the ingredients? Giorgio Armani Beauty Makeup Artist Mai Quynh explains that “Consumers should also look for products with skincare benefits, especially hydration.” Armani’s Neo Nude Foundation, for example, is infused with skin-loving hyaluronic acid, which keeps skin plump, hydrated, and flawless for hours.


Pick A Better Contour Product Online Or Shop Your Stash


Illamasqua Gel Sculpt
Illamasqua Gel Sculpt Mini Silhouette ($32)


How many shades of foundation do you own? You probably have a few colors that either doesn’t work at all or are simply too dark for certain seasons. If you’re having a hard time justifying a standalone contouring product or can’t find one that doesn’t skew toward something found in a mortician’s tool kit, revisit your base makeup collection. Unlike some poorly-formulated contour products, “foundation doesn’t usually run gray, so you may get a more natural effect by using a slightly darker shade of foundation as a contouring product.” 


The Best Primer You Already Own


Illamasqua Beyond Veil Primer ($45)


Quynh is also a fan of layering powder over cream, be it eye shadow or blush. In the case of eye shadow, “A clear primer isn’t really necessary unless you have really oily lids.” Quynh applies concealer or cream eye shadow first and then “taps and presses” eye shadow in instead of sweeping color over it. “By pressing pigment into the cream eye shadow with a stiff brush, you’ll get better longevity.” 


Shop For Drugstore Deals



While you won’t necessarily find a bargain substitution for every item on your battle station, Quynh points out that drugstore eye shadow has come a long way in recent years. “Drugstore and online-only brands are competing with big-name companies more than ever,” and you’ll find better products than in years past. “Bright colors and pigment payoff” don’t necessarily require emptying your wallet, especially in terms of shadow and liner. 


Tips For Taking Care Of Your Tools



Makeup brushes are an investment, but caring for them doesn’t have to be. Use a gentle shampoo to clean your natural hair brushes, but don’t just grab any old shampoo. Quynh points out that, “Clarifying products can strip away essential oils,” and damage bristles. For synthetic brushes used for cream eye shadow or foundation, switch to bar soap to break down oils. “Even dishwashing soap works,” says Quynh, so there’s no need to invest in a separate cleanser just for your tools. 


So … how are you cutting corners on cosmetics these days?

Tracy is a "quality over quantity" word girl fascinated by eagles and life in a small SoCal mountain community. She believes in the now, has written professionally for 30+ years, and worships at the alters of serum and Sulwhasoo.




Verified Expert

For years my wonderful little brother would buy me the annual HUGE palette of make-up colors from the "S" palce. Problem was, I was in my 40's and really starting to downsize my kit, and wound up taking a six-year hiatus from doing make-up. Now in my 50's less truly is more, and I don't need "all that and a bag of chips." So, I choose products that do double duty (lip/cheek sticks, foundation with SPF etc). The great thing about Beautytap is they are here too, with something for every wallet, skin-type and issue.


Verified Expert

beautymarque, if you haven't tried the True Moringa Mystery Lip Whip 7ml as a cheek color, I highly recommend it. I'm 54, so I prefer cream-based products, and this little gem has the most gorgeous merlot color. My lips are too skinny to use it as a tint, but it's stunning on the cheeks.


Verified Expert

I will take you up on that little nugget Tracy. Much appreciation!


Verified Expert

Happy to help, pretty lady. I also blend it on a palette with Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter for extra glow. This is my top pick for autumn because of its versatility and price point.


Verified Expert

Great article! I've been cutting down my kit. One tip is using cream blush also as a natural lip tint.


Verified Expert

Great tips! it’s so important that if your tight on money to get that makeup that tackles skincare benefits . I have the Illamasqua primer which is like a foundation and primer in 1! Great product and make sure to always shop smart and look for high quality clean ingredients.


Verified Expert

Great tips!!


Verified Expert

Great tips and beautiful products!


Verified Expert

I usually buy a huge 32oz bottle of Palmolive dish soap to cleanse my brushes which might I add is antibacterial was only $4!! That’s a lot more appealing than spending $20 on an actual brush cleaner.
I also like taking advantage of makeup and skincare subscription boxes. They are usually at a low price especially for the amount of different products you get each month. This also challenges me to see if I’m able to use all the products sent to me within that month before I go out buying something else.


Verified Expert

Smart lady! I clean my natural hair brushes with Dr. Bronner's Castile Bar soap (the unscented version) and my synthetics with J&J baby shampoo. Much more cost effective than brush cleaner, although I do use Parian Spirit for daily spot cleansing on my synthetics.