Tag Archives: beauty on a budget

If It’s Friday it Must be Make-Up

20 Apr

Hey skint girls! This morning’s post comes with a warning to you to watch your pennies at the beauty counter today. See, Friday is traditionally the day where most cash is splashed spent on make-up. You know how it is: you’ve worked hard all week and want to treat yourself to a little something, but don’t have the time to schlep around clothes stores pulling stuff off and on. A new lipstick or nail varnish isn’t just the easiest way to brighten up your weekend look, it’s also cheaper than a new outfit and so relatively guilt-free.

Economists even refer to the Lipstick Index, which sees lipstick sales rocket every time the economy declines; the reason being that whilst women pull back on buying clothes and larger luxuries they still view lipstick as a permissible, not-too-expensive, treat. Perhaps soon the Lipstick Index will soon be renamed though, for it looks as if nail varnish has overtaken it for the first timeduring this current spell of financial gloom.

bundle of make-up

Remember girls, a bargain's not a bargain if we buy a billion of them . . .

So, before dashing out to bag yourself some face and nail candy today, take a look at Skint’s list of where to save and where to splurge when it comes to cosmetics. And here are a few more ways I’ve found to make make-up go further:

  • Put eye and lip pencils in the fridge before sharpening. It will stop them breaking, meaning they’ll last longer.
  • I don’t bother buying separate eyeliner: I just apply dark eyeshadow with a thin, damp brush.
  • Lipbrushes let you reach down to the bottom of near-empty tubes, giving you  dozens more applications than you’d get otherwise. Lipbrushes also reduce the need to blot – and therefore waste – lipstick. They give a great finish too.
  • Remove fake tanning mistakes fast by rubbing whitening toothpaste onto the offending orange area. Takes away the whiff too!
  • Got a little perfume left in a bottle? Add water and use as a light body spray.
  • Painting your nails in a hurry? Wait a few moments after applying the top coat then put your hands in a sinkful of cold water. It sets the polish faster.  
  • Turn lipstick into lipgloss by slicking Vaseline over the top
  • Consider going barefaced. Hey, I don’t mean to a night out, but do we really need to waste make-up on a trip to buy the Saturday morning newspaper? Your skin will thank you for the breather. In turn, with your skin looking better, you’ll need less make-up all in all. It’s a virtuous circle.

There’s a nice selection of cosmetics deals available this week too if you fancy bagging some Bourjois stuff on a bread-and-water budget. Martin Lewis – God bless him – has a good round up here. 

You’re looking great today, by the way! x


Makeup – Where to Save & Where to Splurge

24 Sep

‘A total waste of makeup’: that’s how a friend of mine describes a rubbish day. I know just what she means: when three items can easily cost well over £100, you can be looking at a couple of quid just for a crappy-Monday-in-the office face.*

So, is it worth it? If the thought of going to the bin without make-up gives you the cold sweats then you can’t be making every item a luxury one. Regular make-up users need to know where to splurge and where to save. Opinion will be divided on this, but here’s the Skint in the City opinion on which make-up items deserve the bulk of your budget and which can make do with the scraps.


  •  Eyeshadow: What’s the difference between posh eyeshadows and the cheap ones? Certainly not the vibrancy of the colours so it can only be the amount of time they stay on. But then it’s not very hard to re-apply eyeshadow, is it? Save your cash. Eye palettes containing three or four shades of mascara are much cheaper to buy, overall, than a few individual pots.
  • Lipbalm: Chapstick is just as good as the posh ones in my book. Ditto lipgloss – it comes off in an hour whether it’s cheap or dear.
  • Self-tanner: Johnsons and Johnsons is as good as they get in my book and costs about four quid.
  • Mascara: Some would disagree with this, but  Maybelline mascara is not only the world’s best-selling mascara but the world’s best-selling cosmetic product. The price? A fiver a pop. If you’ve only got cash for ordinary mascara instead of lash-lengthening just dust your lashes with powder before applying your mascara: makes your lashes look dramatically longer. (PS – If you’re desperate, stand a dried-out mascara tube in a glass of hot water for a few seconds to bring it back to life.)


  • Good make-up brushes: the closest thing to airbrushing us mortals can get.
  • Foundation: mineral foundations are tops in my book for great coverage whilst being kind to skin. And a shout-out to Lily Lolo for being the best of them all. 
  • Nail polish:  if you wear it all the time it’s worthwhile buying a more expensive one that will stay on for several days. There’s nothing more unprofessional than sneaking a touch-up in the office. So, if it needs to last, go for good stuff. If, on the other hand, you only wear varnish for parties then stick to cheap brands like Rimmel.

Nail varnish dried out? Add a drop or two of remover to bring it back to life. By the way, a dab of nail varnish also halts ladders in tights from getting worse – keep a bottle of the clear stuff in your make-up bag.  

What do you think? Which one must-have item would you spend the rent money on? Do tell! (It’s Beauty Flash Balm for me)

* Scientifically calculated using the skintinthecity  cosmetology system. Ha. With extra pentapeptidelipogamamides. Pantent pending. 

Make-Up Alley – My New Best Friend

20 Sep

Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about what a money-eater make-up is. The cosmetics counter is where budgets go to die. You could leave work at five on Friday and have blown your whole month’s salary at the make-up counter by six. Factor in the occassional mistake – the powder that’s too orange when you get it home; the lipstick that’s just too dark for your skintone – and you’ve got budget meltdown on your hands.

That’s why I’m delighted to have found the fantastic Make-up Alley site with its genius swap board. You know how we all buy the wrong shade of foundation sometimes, except we don’t know it’s the wrong shade till we’ve opened it, which then means it can’t go back to the store? Makeupalley lets you swap those cock-ups with someone who really, really wants a tube of orange foundation. The swap section is hugely busy, which means there’s tons of choice. Just imagine offloading your old glitter nail varnishes for a nice Rouge Noir . . .  I’ll be hauling my spare make-up bag (the one that houses all my bad buys) out of the cupboard tonight.

Another great feature on Make-Up alley is their wishlist, where you can send out a Wanted alert for much-loved cosmetics that have now been discontinued, in the hope they’re lurking unopened in someone else’s cupboard.

The site also gives great, balanced product reviews  and interesting discussion threads, full of  tips. I just got sucked into a thread started by a woman with a big spot on her chin and a wedding in two days time. Advice was flooding in from around the world. You can bet she won’t turn up at that wedding looking bad!

In the next post I’ll list where Skint thinks you can save on make-up and where it’s worth the splurge. Meantime, what’s your much-loved, discontinued make-up item? Isn’t it a bummer when cosmetic companies do that?   

To get every future Skint tip delivered straight to your inbox click the Follow Me button at the top of the page. It’s a bit like having a whizzy personal assistant for Skint girls.

The September Issues – and their Deals

2 Aug

In the crazy mixed-up world that is magazine publishing, the September issues of all the glossies go on sale this week, ie the start of August. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, they’ve got some lovely treats in store for us this month, so we’ll forgive them for messing with out heads.

Fashionistas know that September’s magazines are the biggest of the year, packed full of predictions for what’s going to be hot style-wise this autumn and winter. And with so much competition around, they’re all vying for our sales this month – meaning great deals for skint girls. Elle goes on sale tomorrow, and on the cover you’ll find a Mavala nail varnish, free. The varnish normally retails at £4.10, and the colours available are red, coral or the ever-so-fashionable grey. With Elle costing £3.80 it’s worth taking a look. In fact, nail varnish freebies are becoming such a staple on the glossies that skint girls could go the whole of their lives without ever paying for another bottle.

Red magazine is offering a free full-size bottle of Balance Me body wash, normally retailing at £8. Red costs £2.80 so that’s quite a bargain in Skint’s book. Red’s website is also currently offering readers £10 off of any £60 spend at flash sale site Achica. Skint profiled Achica as part of our flash sale site post in May. Flash sales often discount luxury brands by around 70% and this Achica deal covers home and garden furniture, bedlinen etc.   

Over at Vogue, their legendary September issue also has a freebie, the first in the magazine’s almost 100-year history. Normally the Vogue September issue flies out of the shops – hell, they even made a film about it – prompting Skint to wonder why they need to give us extra enticement this year. Things not quite what they used to be? So, they’re giving away a DVD of ‘the season’s must-know trends’ which apparently include androgyny and tartan. Vogue  – you gotta have it, don’t you? If only to remind yourself what you can’t afford – and what you’d never waste money on, even if you could. It is a good way to cram up on all the autumn/winter trends, then find your own creative ways to bag their high-end style for a fraction of the price.

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