Last year I wrote a brief essay on what it feels like when “budget beauty” starts to actually hurt your bank account. In short, I explored why I thought it was no longer fruitful for me to have seven of the same lipsticks in varying shades of red that were all dupes for a higher priced lipstick when for the total of all seven, I probably could have bought the higher priced thing by now.
A lot of my opinions in that essay still ring true. I do believe that investing in yourself is worth the time and waiting if you can’t afford it at this very moment, but as a person who grew up in the far reaches of the Adirondacks with little money, I can’t say that I will ever necessarily feel good about spending money on anything, especially myself, or my beauty products.
When I look at my makeup collection, the highest priced item on it at the moment is my Clinique Even Better Makeup. I purchased it on the recommendation of a Sephora employee, and I do love it as far as liquid makeup goes. I was looking for something that wouldn’t clog my pores, and that would cover up my acne and redness. At $27, it’s not that expensive compared to some items I’ve seen, but it’s more than I had been used to spending.
When my skin began revolting due to adult acne, I started rethinking my skincare routine. I knew that I would have to spend more money on creams, ointments, and moisturizers because my skin demanded quality and care. But this was the only area on which I relented. I still tried to find the best deals, the cheapest brands for the best quality (which, don’t we all, at times?)
Currently, my skincare prices look something like this:
- Aczone Gel Prescription: Around $45
- Tretinoin Prescription: Around $5
- Retin-A Prescription: Around $10
- Moisturizer: $9
- Cleanser $7
Total: $76 (Give or take a few dollars.)
Not bad, considering my prescriptions last me almost 6 months, and the giant bottle of Neutrogena Cleanser I bought a few months ago is still going strong. These are prices I can deal with, because I feel that investing in my skincare is almost a part of my health. I’m very cautious when it comes to sun care and putting on SPF. As a super pale girl, I slather on as much as I can, even when it’s cloudy out.
What gets me, however, are the items that I don’t have to spend money on, and the pressures that I’m bombarded with daily when I even think about buying any kind of beauty item. That’s why I was sucked into the dupes for so long. Why buy the quality when you can find a cheaper version? (And that’s not to say some drugstore brands aren’t becoming better quality.) But as someone who grew up with a strict budget and started buying most things for herself very early, learning how to budget for things I needed versus things I wanted was one of the lousiest lessons to learn, because it makes you feel awful.