ANYWAY! That's kind of neither here nor there, really. Not for today. Because today I want to share with you a few of the beauty 'steals' that I'm a huge fan of. I mean, I have to cut corners somewhere in order to afford my current love affair with $24 lip glosses, right? Right! So I've been trying to take mental notes the last few days of my favorite budget-friendly products-- and the great news is, I have a few things that I love and choose and actually prefer over higher-end counterparts. They may have started as a cost-cutting measure, but now they're repeat purchases because they're actually BETTER. And healthier. And cheaper! So let's get to it.
Before we get started-- if you don't live near a Trader Joe's, I'm really sorry. So, so sorry. My heart aches for you and what you're missing out on. I would suggest that you move near one at your earliest convenience. Unfortunately, they don't sell their own products online. Amazon sells some of their health and beauty stuff, but at RIDICULOUSLY MARKED UP prices...which really takes away from the savings you could be scoring. So if you find yourself desperate for any of the TJ products I'm talking about here, either a) make a road trip to your nearest TJ's and stock up, or b) maybe I'll be nice and be your personal shopper and ship it to you. Because I really think you should try this stuff.
Let's start with my favorite face wash.
I have bad skin, people. BAD. It's been bad for years. It hasn't shown signs of stopping its evil ways even though I'm in my 30s. I've tried every single drugstore product/system/potion over the years. And a few pricier, fancier products too. Sometimes things work for awhile. Sometimes they don't. But inevitably things get bad again. A couple of years ago I decided to try the oil cleansing method. The logic behind it made sense and I was willing to try just about anything, especially anything cheap and non-chemically.
I actually really liked the OCM. I did it for a few months and was really impressed with the results. And the cost. BUT then I got tired of it. It was a lot more time consuming and messy-- I like being able to wash my face in the shower and be done with it. I didn't like having to boil a kettle of water AFTER the shower and then make a mess of my sink with my water, wash cloths, oils, etc. It got tiresome. And so one day I was grocery shopping at Trader Joe's and thought I'd peruse the beauty products. I saw this stuff and took a few minutes to read the bottle:
LOVE IT. My first impression of it wasn't great, I'll be honest. It smells WEIRD. Kind of masculine, really. It was a huge turn off. I like my products to SMELL GOOD, dangit! But I convinced myself to get over that: after all, what makes them smell good is CHEMICALS, okay? This smells like oils and essences and not man-made perfume, and that's fine. So now, a year or so later, the smell doesn't bother me-- but at first it did. But other than that, this has been a total winner. My skin has (knock on wood) never been consistently better. It seems to have found a balance between being oily and dry. It's not irritated and red. I still get zits sometimes, but they're way fewer and further between and they clear up much more quickly. The kicker is that I sometimes will deviate and use one of my old (drugstore) face washes-- mostly if I'm traveling, since this TJ's stuff packaging truly sucks for packing. And within a day or two my skin totally revolts. It starts getting freaky again. And so I rush home to this beloved cheap 'spa' cleanser, thankful I've found true facewash happily ever after.
As a bonus, this stuff takes off my makeup like. a. boss. Seriously. As I may have mentioned (?), I like wearing good makeup now. And primer. And my makeup STAYS (especially now that my face isn't so oily that the makeup slides off by lunchtime!). True story: if I just get in the shower and wash my face with some Clearasil or Neutrogena facewash, when I get out it still looks like I'm wearing my 'full face.' I mean, my mascara is probably smudging, but my eyeshadow will still be perfectly intact. But this TJ's facewash does a GREAT job of getting it off. I almost never still have makeup remnants after I get out-- and this is just from washing with the facewash, water, and my hands- I don't scrub with a washrag or anything. So...yeah. It's amazing. Plus my skin feels soft. I never have to wear moisturizer.
In conclusion, it's AWESOME. Get some.
One of my other favorite beauty weapons also comes from the shelves of Trader Joe's.
As you can see in the picture (that I didn't take), this stuff'll run you about $7. And it's awesome. I use it primarily for makeup removal (in the event that there are still remnants after I get out of the shower) and intense moisturizing. If I have particularly chapped lips or dry patches of skin on my hands, I'll rub some in before I go to bed. And it's freaking awesome. It's also fantastic as an eye makeup remover. AND-- now this one may sound far-fetched, but I'm throwing it out there.
A few years ago, around the time I was turning 29, I started seriously stressing because I was getting fine wrinkles around my eyes. Crow's feet, I suppose. I was so upset! I started using random eye creams and stuff, hoping to reverse the damage. Nothing really worked and then I just got used to the crow's feet and quit trying to fix them. Fast forward a few months-- I started using this stuff to take off my eye makeup (this was prior to discovering the face wash, so I was still requiring makeup remover after I washed my face). Now fast forward a few years...I use this stuff on my eyes maybe twice a week-ish. The oil face wash every night. Other than makeup, I don't use any other face products regularly-- no moisturizer, creams, lotions, etc.
I don't have wrinkles around my eyes anymore.
SO. I'm not trying to make any miracle claims here...correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation and all that. BUT. You draw your own conclusions. I've drawn mine, and I'll be sticking with my TJ's face regime, thankyouverymuch.
One more. This is getting really long!
I love some nail polish. I own an obscene amount of the stuff...and I keep buying more. Wanna know one of my favorite brands?
Ulta's store brand. Seriously. Cheap old store brand polish. Wanna know why?
True. It is chipping. But you know how long that polish has been on there?
This is the TENTH day of this polish!!! And that is ALL the chipping that there is!! I didn't use any fancy topcoat or basecoat. I haven't touched it up. Just a few layers of Ulta's regular ol' polish that I got when they were 5 for $5!!! So like...A DOLLAR. The truth is, I don't even really like this color. I've been wishing it would chip so that I could justify taking it off and putting on a better color. But DANG if this stuff isn't lasting forever! I'm leaving it on just so that I can see how long it'll go for!!
I do love some Essie and OPI. I do. But seriously, they look good for MAYBE 3 or 4 days before there are serious chips. This Ulta stuff is consistently awesome. I've been using it (not this particular color, but just the line in general) for over a year and have probably 8-10 different colors...and it always impresses me. Sure, the color selection isn't as amazing as higher-end brands. But the price is really, really right. Full price, these are I think $6ish. I wouldn't buy them at that, though. They are REALLY frequently on sale for $2 or $3, so I'd just wait and stock up then.
Trust me. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
So there you go. If you were super ambitious, you could try out ALL THREE of my favorite beauty steals for less than $15 (assuming you have access to a TJ's). I mean...you're welcome. You're just really welcome. ;) And now that I've been nice and told you MY favorite steals...quid pro quo. Your turn! Let's all save money together! Yippeeee!!