Beauty on a budget Looking Beautiful on a Budget

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Information & Advice

Health and Beauty Magazine

Beauty on a budget: Looking Beautiful on a Budget

Look beautiful without breaking the bank with our budget-friendly beauty tips.

Lucie Tobin

Lucie Tobin

Health & Beauty Magazine Online Editor

Published 10th September 2008

A fresh new look doesn’t require a big bank balance. With expert know-how and budget-savvy buys, we show three women how simple make-up changes can make a difference

Streamline your make-up kit

The secret to wow-factor make-up without the eye-watering price tag? Streamlining your kit.

As well as being kind to your pocket, a capsule collection of reliable, hardworking essentials will save you time and simplify your beauty routine. In fact, make-up artists advise that great daytime make-up should take no longer than 15 minutes to apply, or 20 minutes for a special occasion.

So, if you’re spending what seems like hours slaving away in front of the mirror, chances are you’re using too many products.

Back to work beauty

After taking time off to look after her six-month-old baby daughter, 32-year-old Alex Adam is returning to her career in public relations.

‘Before having Hattie, I could afford to mix cheaper beauty products with more luxurious buys, but I now have to be much stricter with my spending,’ says Alex. ‘I need a make-up routine that will leave me looking fresh and glowing in minutes.’

Our experts say…
‘The perfect look for work is natural and sophisticated,’ says Jemma Kidd, celebrity make-up artist. ‘Concealer is a godsend for tired mums, so start by covering dark circles and shadows,’ she says. Dot a concealer stick underneath eyes before gently patting the product into skin using your ring finger.

‘A bronzing powder adds a touch of sun-kissed colour to the complexion,’ says Ruby Hammer, make-up artist and co-founder of Ruby & Millie. For a natural finish, use a wide brush and apply to the cheekbones, around the hairline, across the bridge of the nose and the temples.

‘Skip eyelash curlers in favour of a lengthening mascara that lifts lashes, too,’ says Ruby. ‘If you’re feeling a bit pushed for time, just one coat will open up the eyes and give a more wide-awake look.’

Finally, a tinted lip balm adds a hint of colour to lips and you can even apply it without a mirror as you’re dashing out of the front door.

Budget wedding beauty

Helen Lam, 31, is marrying her fiancé, Steve, in October, and to cut costs for her big day, will be applying her own make-up.

‘I can’t afford the expense of a make-up artist, but still want a professional finish,’ says Helen. ‘During the day, I usually just wear foundation, powder and mascara. I’d still like to look natural, but glamorous, too.’

Our experts say…
‘My rule for any bride is to keep it simple,’ advises Ruby. ‘A pretty, polished look works on all skin tones.’ A good base is essential and, as many of the affordable make-up brands invest a large amount on research and development, a great foundation doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

‘Avoid anything too light reflective, as it will make skin look greasy in those all-important photos,’ says Jemma. Choose a long-lasting mattifying formula that will last all day and keep shine at bay. ‘Set with a little loose powder on the t-zone, and apply a soft pink blusher to cheeks for a flattering flush of colour,’ says Ruby.

‘For bright, sparkly eyes, use sheer, natural hues. And, of course, waterproof mascara is a must.’ Finally, avoid dark lip colour. ‘It transfers everywhere and requires constant touch-ups,’ says Ruby. ‘A neutral lip-gloss is easier to maintain and much more flattering.’

Youthful looks on a shoestring

With a full-time career in publishing and a three-year-old daughter to look after, not to mention a major house renovation to oversee and a wedding to plan, Sammie McCarthy, 40, is a very busy lady on a very tight beauty budget.

‘Spending a lot on make-up just isn’t an option,’ says Sammie. ‘As I’ve got older, I’ve noticed my skin isn’t as radiant as it used to be, so I’d love to look fresh, healthy and more youthful.’

Our experts say…
‘There are two rules for more mature skin,’ says Ruby. ‘Firstly, avoid overloading the skin with powder. Instead of concealing wrinkles, it highlights them. And steer clear of glittery textures, as shimmer tends to age the face.’

Ruby advises a clean, defined look using natural earth tones. ‘Apply an illuminating foundation to give skin a lustrous sheen,’ she says. Instead of a powder blush, opt for a cream formula to add a youthful bloom. ‘A taupe eyeshadow is very flattering,’ says Ruby.

For a fuller flutter, follow with two coats of volumising mascara. ‘Try a brown or grey shade instead of black. The effect will be softer, but it leaves lashes with definition,’ advises Jemma. ‘With lip colour, make sure the shade isn’t too harsh or too chalky, as both can make the complexion look washed-out,’ says Ruby. ‘A neutral shade works best.’

Written by Kerry Foster

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