We’ve all been guilty of buying beauty products we don’t really need just because they are the flavor of the month. Be honest, you’ve purchased more lip-gloss in a single year than an entire girl’s boarding school could use up in a lifetime. And don’t even get started on revitalizing creams! In truth, most women are susceptible to advertising. If we weren’t, all those ad agencies would be out of business. We quickly buy into the images that are thrust in our faces every day on billboards, in magazines, and during commercial breaks. We want the smoky eyes that can only come from a combination of expensive eye shadow palettes, liners, and mascara. That girl with the perfect skin could be you if only you’d whip out your wallet and get an entirely new line of skincare (forget the fact that it’s totally wrong for your skin type). The point is we could all be a little wiser when it comes to spending our hard-earned dollars on beauty products, so here are a few ways you can shop smart and simplify when it comes to your beauty routine.1. Identify hype. You need to learn to discern between hype and reality. Anything that “guarantees results” or “makes you look ten years younger” or “banishes cellulite” is probably hype. If you really need to try a product to be sure, just check to see if they offer money back for dissatisfied customers. If they don’t, chances are their claims are nothing but bunk. If they do, you’ve only wasted your time, not your money.
2. Read reviews. You can’t really trust magazine reviews, because writers are often given freebies (it’s a little-known way to grease the wheels for a good review that is somewhat of a gray area between an honest opinion and Payola). Instead, look for reader reviews or go to websites that test products against their competitors.
3. Comparison shop. You want to believe that the most expensive product really is the best, but it’s simply not true, especially when it comes to skincare and makeup. If you know what you’re looking for, say, a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes, it pays to be aware that cheapies like the Olay Regenerist line have beaten out pricey competitors like Estee Lauder. The reason? They have exactly the same ingredients, but Olay is offered at a fraction of the cost.
4. Know your skin. You’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary expenditures simply by assessing your skin type. For example, dry skin will demand a better moisturizer while oily skin may call for additional blemish control. In addition, your skin tone will determine your makeup palette. So knowing that you’re fair-skinned should keep you from purchasing lipsticks that tend towards bluer tones (which will make you look a little Dawn of the Dead). If you don’t know your skin type or tone, stop buying beauty products and save up to see a dermatologist and a cosmetologist to give you the information you need to make smarter selections when you shop.
5. Limit yourself. Set a budget, delineate bathroom space, or otherwise limit yourself when it comes to buying beauty products. A bad habit can quickly turn into an addiction if you don’t monitor your behavior. You likely don’t need even half of the products you buy, so make a list of must-have items and stick to it as a general rule. And if you must splurge once in awhile, try to find a really special item that you absolutely love rather than one that you’ll use once and push to the back of the drawer.
- By Carol Montrose
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