Sunday, March 19, 2017

How To Be A Budget Beauty: Ten Ways to Save

Money may be tight sometimes, we've all been there. But if you're like me (aka obsessed with makeup), being broke doesn't mean you can't have a blast with beauty. It just takes some creativity, some cleverness, and some luck. Here are my top tricks and lessons learned on how to be a Budget Beauty.

How To Be A Budget Beauty: Ten Ways to Save - CKellyBlush

1) Don't be afraid to ask for samples. Sephora, MAC and many other stores will give samples of some products. Foundation can be a huge investment, so I will always ask for a sample before taking the plunge. I used to be embarrassed since some employees can tend to give attitude when asked for samples, but who cares?! I don't want to go wasting my money on something I'm going to hate. Bonus- the samples they give will usually last at least a few days of application so it's like a few days of free makeup!

2) Don't be scared to return something that doesn't work. I hate returning things, I seriously do. But if something doesn't work as advertised, or if it's the wrong shade, don't waste your money by throwing it in a drawer for it to never see the light of day again. Most retailers now will accept returns of makeup with no questions asked, and will often give a refund or at least an exchange. Again, I used to be embarrassed to return things, but it's my hard-earned money at stake! Just don't make a habit of returning things- see tip #1.

3) Bargain stores can be a fantastic source of makeup. In 2016, Wet N Wild repackaged their Fergie line of makeup just to take the Fergie label off and put it all under the general Wet N Wild collection. The entire line of perfectly good "Fergie" makeup (which was a decent line in general) was sent to Dollar Trees across the country. I literally drove to all the Dollar Trees in a thirty mile radius to stock up on the Fergie translucent powder because it is one of my favorites. So I was able to pay $1 for each "discontinued" powder compact when the exact same powder was repackaged and in stores for $4.99. Needless to say I won't have to buy that full price powder for a long time. I was also able to grab $10 eyeshadow palettes...for a buck. $3.99 whole dollar. I adore the Dollar Tree.

How To Be A Budget Beauty: Ten Ways to Save - CKellyBlush

Five Below also has a great beauty section, filled with Wet N Wild, City Color, and Beauty Treats. There are some diamonds in this section, all for $5 or less (oftentimes less). This Beauty Treats palette is a great starter set of neutral shades, and also nice to beef up any collection!

At bargain stores, just remember the adage "Buyer Beware." Not everything you get at discount stores is going to be wonderful- accept it. Do some research, take a chance, and hopefully score big.

4) Look for multitasking products. This is where creativity comes to play. When considering a purchase, or when looking through your collection, see if a particular item can be a multitasker. One of my favorite tricks is that a matte bronzer can double as a great eyeshadow color in the crease! BB and CC creams can double as your only moisturizer. The right shade of lipstick can work as a cream blush. A shimmery, pale eyeshadow can usually be used as a highlight. A blush can also work as a beautiful eyeshadow color. Bonus- use these tricks when you are traveling and you'll save space in your makeup bag!

5) Wait for a sale. This may sound like a no-brainer, but in the makeup game impulse buying is a constant threat. That pretty packaging, those pretty colors, all the new products- they all add up to less money in my bank account. Try and remember that at some point, that item your lusting after will be cheaper than it is now! If it's a drugstore item especially, there is no reason to buy it at full price- ever. Be patient and wait for a BOGO sale, or a coupon (or both!). If it's a high end item, wait for Ulta and Sephora to offer a prestige coupon. Sign up for email alerts for sites like MAC to be aware of their sales (rare, but they DO happen!). High end items are also constantly changing, so that eyeshadow palette you want will eventually go on clearance to make way for newer ones! #5 is all about patience, my friends, and this virtue will save you major dough in the long run. Bonus- Always check your email and also for coupons before buying anything online! Sometimes I forget to check for any coupon codes in my inbox before completing my order, and I miss out on savings.

6) The holidays (and after) are the best time to buy. In November and December, beauty brands start to release their holiday sets. These are where you are going to get the most bang for your buck. These value sets will usually offer several products at below retail price, so take advantage of these deals. Check to see if the set is offering full size or travel size products, as this will often determine its value for me. I'm more likely to consider it a deal if the set offers more full size than travel or trial size items, and its therefore worth the money. If you're feeling lucky, as it gets closer to the holidays, and immediately following, these value sets will sometimes go on sale since the stores want to get rid of their holiday stock to make room for new products. Just keep in mind, the longer you wait for a set, the higher the risk that what you want will be out of stock.

7) Have a beauty swap. If you have friends who are as obsessed with makeup as you are, hold a beauty swap and trade! This is a great way to try new things, get rid of things you no longer want, and satisfy that craving for new-to-you makeup. This works great for products such as foundation, blush, bronzers, highlighters, and nail polish. ***** Disclaimer: Keep sanitizing in mind when you are swapping. For example, for things like eyeshadow palettes or brushes, you HAVE TO sterilize them first (check out Google for how to do it). I would never swap things that cannot be sterilized- mascara, lip gloss, loose pigments, etc. Just don't, it's not worth the risk. Please keep this in mind, safety first!!! *****

8) Some things never need to be high end. Sometimes, I get caught by the high end trap. A company has a great reputation, it's fancy, it's packaging is impeccable, the celebrities use it- these are all things that the prestige companies use to lure you in. Don't fall for it. For every high end product, there are most likely ten drugstore items that work just as well. Check out Pinterest for dupe lists and save some green by buying the cheaper alternative. There are some items that never, ever have to be high end. Mascara, for example, is generally a waste at the prestige level. It might have a long list of claims and swanky packaging, but I guarantee that you'd be able to find something at the drugstore that will make you just as happy. Why spend major cash on mascara that you'll have to throw away in three months? Maybelline has some of the best mascaras in the business that are under $10 and can easily be gotten on sale.

9) Reward programs are your friend. If you haven't already, go sign up for the reward programs at Ulta, Sephora, CVS, and Walgreens. Even MAC has a rewards program (go sign up, it's okay, I'll wait). 

I am a proud Platinum member of Ulta's reward program, and it has paid off through coupons, free gifts, exclusive discounts, and occasional free shipping (although I wish it was always free shipping, pay attention Ulta execs!). I know what you're thinking- didn't you have to spend money to earn Platinum status? Yes, I did. However, since I was going to spend the money anyway, I made the conscious decision to concentrate my spending at Ulta to reach Platinum and therefore receive all those perks. These programs are free to join, so why not?

10) Shop your stash. When your paychecks don't match your caviar dreams, shop your stash. Dig through your beauty bins and rediscover those hidden gems that you forgot you had. Make the effort to use an entire bottle of foundation before you spend money to get the latest and greatest. Check out hashtags on Instagram such as #shopmystash and #projectpan for inspiration. I challenge you to create a "Top Drawer," where each week you go through your makeup and choose the products you are going to use for that week. Be sure to rotate products each week, because if you don't you risk becoming bored and giving in to your shopping urges. By shopping your stash and saving money longterm, you'll be using up your collection, and you won't feel any buyer's remorse when the time comes to start spending again to replace what you've used.

Bonus tip: If you can, put a little money aside occasionally. This will start to add up, so use this little nest egg to treat yourself. Splurge a bit on a new product, go get your nails done, get a facial, whatever you want. A budget doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself sometimes. You'll also be more inclined to stick to being a Budget Beauty when you don't deny yourself all the time.

What are your favorite ways to save money on makeup and be a Budget Beauty? Comment below! Also, be sure you are following me on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook so you are always up to date!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!)

With the holidays quickly approaching, and my bank account just as quickly shrinking, I love when I can find an affordable yet quality gift. My savvy shopper radar is always on the hunt for great gifts at fantastic prices. I want to use my powers for good and show you my Top 10 choices for great gifts under $10! Many of these are great to go along with larger gifts, or for those folks you're just not sure what to get (teachers, coworkers, neighbors, etc). All of the Top 10 are of my own opinion (and gift giving), I have not been sponsored to include anything. If you're friends with me in "real-life" stop reading, no spoilers!

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

1) Lip Balm Sets

I love the gift sets of lip balms and glosses that come out during the holidays. Everyone's got chapped lips during the winter, so it's a universally welcome gift! Nivea, for example, has a great Hydrating Holiday Collection at Target that includes two Lip Care balms, and one iconic Creme tub, and comes in at the bargain price of $4.99. 

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

Lip Smackers also has adorable gift sets, many featuring classic and beloved flavors in festive collectible tins. This soda flavored collection retailed at $4.99, and I can't wait to give it to my soda-addicted coworker!

2) Journals/Planners

Give the gift of inspiration this season! If the person is organized, a cute planner is the way to go. That writer in your life will appreciate a journal, since there's nothing better than a fresh, unused piece of paper (so much potential!). Try Michaels craft stores as they often have very nice, affordable planners and journals, just use a coupon. Give it with a nice pen, and that's a pretty sweet gift. I also found several cute journals in Bullseye's Playground (aka the $1, $3, and $5 section of Target).

3) L.A. Colors Shine v. Matte Eyeshadow Palettes

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

I could not believe my eyes when I saw that these beautiful palettes were only $2 each at Walgreens. The shades look amazing, and they have at least six different color schemes to choose from so there's something for everybody. I bought three just to try, and I was particularly drawn to the Simply Charming collection (look at those teal shades!). 

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

I've swatched several of the shades, and for $2, I am really impressed. Picking up a few of these palettes for a friend would make for an amazing gift.

4) Tony Moly Sheet Masks

I love Tony Moly sheet masks. Not only are they high quality but also very affordable. Tony Moly also features a mask for practically any skin type or ailment out there. As sheet masks are still relatively unknown in the US, for a unique gift create your own spa basket by purchasing a few masks from Ulta for as low as $3.75 each (use a coupon and save some dough!). My favorite is the I'm Real Red Wine mask from Ulta that helps with pores.

5) Essence Gift Sets

I'm pretty new to Essence cosmetics, but they've come out with a few holiday gift sets at Ulta and Target for $9.99 that would not only be a great intro to the brand, but also a wonderful collection to gift to a friend. In particular, the Stand Out Eyes collection at Target which has a brow gel mascara, a jumbo eyeliner, a cream eyeshadow base, and two velvet finish eyeshadows. This is a nice set, especially for that friend who loves trying new makeup and loves eyeshadow.

6) Wet N Wild Gift Sets

Over the past couple years, Wet N Wild has certainly stepped up their game. I remember back a million years ago that Wet N Wild used to be only great for the dollar nail polish, and their cosmetics were basically dried out lipsticks and that's it. Now, with a huge line ranging from foundations to highlighters, Wet N Wild is one of my HG drugstore brands. Their holiday collections this year reflect that quality, and make a really sweet gift for that special someone. 

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

Although several are over $10, there are plenty $10 or less that are great! My particular favorite would be the set of Wet N Wild's famous brushes. I own each of these brushes individually and love them. It comes in a cute plastic tube that can also probably be used for storage.

7) Soap and Glory Gift Sets

I think these would be absolutely perfect for a Secret Santa exchange at the office! Soap and Glory, the UK beauty brand that's begun infiltrating the states, has the cutest branding that is so inviting and irresistable. Their gift sets are no exception! 

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

The Merry Kiss Much gift set, available at Walgreens, struck me immediately as a great value. The set includes a nude, pink, and purple shade of their Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick 3D Volume Lip Shines. Each retail for $6, so this is an $18 value for only $10, and will cater to every shade whim of the lucky person getting this set. Or, try the Irresistibubble Gift Set, featuring a mini body wash and body butter in the mouth-watering Sugar Crush scent (think sugar coated margarita). At $7, this is such a steal!

8) Nail Polish

If you know someone who loves painting their nails, there are plenty of great, affordable options of nail polishes to create your own gift set. I enjoy LA Colors Color Craze nail polish, and I find that although only a dollar a piece, they are just as good as higher-priced polishes.

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

Although the display at my Dollar Tree is a mess, look at how many colors there are to choose from (and the polishes themselves are fine)! You can get several bottles for your $10, and maybe buy a cute basket or gift bag to put them in. Mix and match colors for that special someone depending on what types of colors they like or their personalities. If someone is adventurous, go for bright neons or even dark colors like black (my personal favorite). If they are traditional, soft pinks and other pastels may be the way to go. LA Colors also makes a good Rapid Dry top coat, so be sure to include that in your bundle as well.


I don't think anyone can walk past the LUSH store, smell the delicious scents, and keep on walking. I'm pretty sure it's impossible! Although usually on the pricey side, there are still great bargains awaiting inside. 

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

One of my go-to gifts is a small size Charity Pot lotion for $7.95. Not only does it smell wonderful, but it's for a good cause so it's a double bonus. All proceeds go to small organizations that can put the money to good use, you can read more here. The scent is also very clean, so if you're worried the person may not like a strong or adventurous scent, this is more of a neutral option. 

Top 10 Gifts Under $10 (Beauty and Otherwise!) - CKellyBlush

Some other giftable finds for under $10 are the Bubble Bars, especially Snowie (for any David Bowie fans this would be perfect!). Just be sure that the person who is getting the gift has a bathtub! I've also never seen these Hot Hand Masks before, but I think this would be an amazing gift for $4.95 each. I know how dry my hands get, especially in the winter, so these moisturizing masks are sure to be appreciated. Plus, they are so different from the typical hand lotion!

10) Local Craft Fairs and Shops

When in doubt, shop local! I am a huge proponent of supporting small businesses, and the holidays are the perfect time to discover what your town has to offer. Look for craft and holiday fairs around your town, often put on by religious organizations, senior centers, and Chambers of Commerce. Small businesses and independent vendors are sure to offer unique finds usually at great prices. Not only are you going to get gifts that are "outside the box" but you're also supporting the dreams of local entrepreneurs (double gift!). I've found some of my best gifts at holiday fairs, such as handmade soap, candles, and knitwear.

I hope that this Top 10 Gifts Under $10 has given you some inspiration to finish up that holiday shopping list! Let me know of some more affordable gift options in the comments below, I want to know what you're giving this year (or perhaps gifting yourself!).

Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Awesome Autumn Makeup Trends

The air is getting crisper, the leaves have turned golden, and it's time to break out all that makeup that wasn't "summer friendly." That's right, get your liquid foundations, your darkest lippies, and your boldest eyeliner out, because it's time to play. Fall is one of my most favorite times of year, primarily because I'm no longer sweating the second I step outside, but also because I get to use all my favorite makeup without fear of it melting off my face. Out of everything the fall brings, however, my favorite fall makeup trend has to be deeper eye looks. While summer is all about light and natural, anything goes in the fall!

Awesome Autumn Makeup Trends - CKellyBlush

In the spring and summer, I feel like strong eyeliner and vivid eyeshadow is generally too heavy for everyday. It's about the natural, sun-loving look: some nice neutral eyeshadows, some mascara, and you're good to go. During the fall, not only can you still rock the natural eye, but a more intense look is just as appropriate.

This fall, I've been experimenting a lot with tightlining my waterline, something I've never done before! I'm using black eyeliner on the waterline, and it really defines the shape of my eyes and creates a more full-looking lash line. It also takes all of five seconds to accomplish, so since I'm perpetually late this is a plus. I have gotten so many compliments, so I'm a bit addicted to the technique. It's easy to have fun with different color eyeliners in the waterline, as it can change the effect completely (navy, for example, not only makes for a softer look, but also accentuates the green in my hazel eyes). Eyeliner in the waterline also makes winged liner look extra fierce (try Kat Von D's Tattoo liquid liner, it's my favorite for creating a cat eye).

I'm on a quest to find that one HG eyeliner that will not run or wear off that difficult waterline area (if you have any suggestions, leave it in the comments below!). Right now my favorite is BareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner in Absolute Black. I've tried so many, but I find that this one lasts the longest for me.
Awesome Autumn Makeup Trends - CKellyBlush

Autumn is known for bright and vibrant colors, so this season I want my eyes to be just as colorful! For eyeshadow this fall, I'm really digging not only the colors that reflect the season (oranges, browns, greens, golds...), but also loving plums. I'm loving the matte Plum in Lorac's Pro 2 palette in the crease. It is such a beautiful shade that creates a sexy, smoky, yet work-appropriate look. Gem tones are also so much fun to play with as the weather gets colder.

I love when the fall comes and we start to get the coats, jeans, and boots out of the closet. With bold eyes and the perfect outfit, I feel so confident walking down the street like I'm on my own personal catwalk. Clothes that are comfortable, cozy, but flattering is what I look for. To match my Autumnal eye makeup, shirts like Adore Me's Sapphira is absolutely perfect. It's versatile enough for relaxing around the house but the lace details makes it fashionable for a day out as well. I love a dark eye with dark clothes also, the two just fit together so well.

And at the end of the day (or a lazy Sunday!), nothing beats wiping off the makeup and hanging around the house in comfy PJs, curled up under a blanket watching Netflix. Adore Me has a great selection of sleepwear also, I especially love the Sarah pajama set since it's fashionable yet cozy. Bingeing on TV is always better in comfortable clothes!

What's your favorite makeup or fashion trend in the fall? Let me know below! And make sure you're following me on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Concealer Routine

Hello, lovelies! Concealer is an incredibly important part of my makeup routine each morning. Not only do I suffer from acne, but I have dark circles under my eyes. What a wonderful combination! Foundation doesn't always do the trick, so that's where my hero, concealer, comes in to play.

My Concealer Routine - CKellyBlush

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New Favorite Foundation? Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder

Hello, loves! I'm a huge foundation addict, I have a ton already and I'm constantly buying more. There's a definite sense of excitement when I buy and try a new foundation: could THIS foundation be the perfect one? Is this the magic foundation that makes my skin look perfect? More often than not, the answers are no, continuing the vicious cycle where I keep buying new foundations. All makeup has its pros and cons, and different foundations will work for different people. Half the fun of makeup is trying new things and figuring out what's perfect for you, hence my huge collection! Did I find my new favorite foundation in the Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder? Keep reading.

New Favorite Foundation? Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Powder - CKellyBlush

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Favorite Summer Blushes

It's getting so dang hot! Summer is definitely upon us once again, which means it's time to look at our makeup collections and switch things up! The heavier foundations are hibernating until winter, the deep berry lipstick will wait until November, and the just-in-from-the-snow look is traded for just-back-from-the-beach. The three blushes I've been reaching for as the weather heats up all remind me of the juicy strawberries, melons, raspberries, and apricots the season brings. Give me the fun, fruity colored blushes this summer, I'm eating them up! 

Favorite Summer Blushes - CKellyBlush

These three blushes are not only gorgeous, but are wonderfully pigmented and all from the drugstore so they're affordable! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Winter Favorites 2016

Happy Spring, lovelies! We made it through winter in one piece, and while everyone is looking forward to the changing season and the spring makeup, I'd like to take a moment and reveal what were my favorite products this past winter. These beauty goodies kept me looking gorgeous this season, and come with the CKellyBlush stamp of approval.

Winter Favorites 2016 - CKellyBlush

The foundation I was reaching for during these cold months was the CoverGirl Ready Set Gorgeous. This is a fantastic foundation, providing great coverage at an affordable price.
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