Poor Girl’s Guide to Makeup and Skincare

February 22, 2017

When you grow older there are fewer materialistic things that truly excite you in a childlike way. Even Disneyland magic fades with age.  As silly as it sounds, one thing that still exhilarates me is walking into a good makeup store. Charlie may have had the Chocolate Factory, but I have Sephora. My eyes light up upon entering and by the time I’ve worked my way through the store, my hand looks like an artist’s palette from testing every product and my wrists smell like a rose garden from all the perfumes that I’ve spritzed, ignoring the fragrance tester cards completely because “I have to smell what they’re like on“. One thing that causes all my pretty makeup dreams to come crumbling down is the price tag on the products. Worth it? Often, but hard to swallow nonetheless. Remember how all of Michael Scott’s work responsibilities fell on the same friday once a year and he procrastinated all day long? I feel the same way when all of my makeup and skincare products run out at the same time, without fail. Spending that hefty price tag to restock everything all at once is like pulling teeth, so I’ve had to get creative in prolonging my products.

You already own the latest eyeshadow trend


It is a weird time we live in for appearances. Instagram models who’ve been surgically altered are trying to tell you that a cup of tea and a few squats will give you their same body, and the makeup world seems to revolve around whatever Kylie Jenner puts her name on. Kylie mastered the orangey-bronze eye look then made a profit on it by adding a $42 eyeshadow palette to her (injected) lip empire. Smart business move? Absolutely. Groundbreaking? Not quite. Smokey pink eyeshadow looks are also having a moment all over the red carpet, with everyone from Gigi Hadid to Debbie Harry rocking it. Before you fall into the trap, save your money because you already have these colors in your cosmetic bag. For identical looks, just use your contour kit for the bronze eyes and blush for the pink! It’s all going on our face anyway, so why not? Blush is making a huge comeback this year, so you’ll really be putting it to use. While I’ll always be partial to a nude lip and brown smokey eye a la Victoria Beckham, I’ve tried blush and bronzer on my eyes for these looks and loved how they came out. Out of blush? Pat a tiny bit of lipstick on your cheeks for a fresh look.

Go Au Naturale with skin care

I’m a sucker for nice packaging, and always have been… it’s my achilles heel. I bought an $18 coffee scrub from Urban Outfitters because it came in a light pink sleeve that gave off the “I will change your life” vibe. It didn’t change my life- it clogged my shower drain and I smelled like a burnt Starbucks latte for days. My skin was soft though! The only skincare products that deliver in both packaging and performance is Korean skincare. The more minimalist and modern looking it is, and the less english language written on it, the better. I swear to you. They are making face creams with snail mucus. I don’t even know what it does, but I think I trust them. I’ve bought more Korean charcoal masks than I can count. They pull toxins out of pores (but in reality they make me feel more productive when I’m cleaning or watching a movie). It all lives up to the hype. But with that being said, you don’t really need any of it, and can get very similar results with home ingredients. Korean skincare is hot right now. Avocados are also hot right now, and way cheaper. Mash up a nutrient packed avocado and mix with a bit of honey for a moisturizing, glowing face. Tighten skin with an eggwhite mask. Use oatmeal and it’s anti-inflammatory properties for a calming, rejuvenating mask that will also exfoliate (editors note: the oatmeal works amazing, but be careful not to clog your drain.) You can easily make your own body or lip scrubs too, using sugar or salt with your choice of oil. Add in what you’d like for a scent, like lemon or lavender. By making your own products, even if it’s only because you ran out of your store-bought favorites, you are saving money and know exactly what is going on your skin.

Mix and match Lipsticks

Looking for the perfect lipstick color? Just make it yourself. I’ve made every shade of nude lip under the sun by mixing them together, adding a base of MAC Myth for a lighter tone or layering darker liners underneath for something more prominent. Mixing in MAC Myth or a color similar is great for toning down bright pink tones that might be a little harsh against your skin, too. You’ll be shocked at the new shades you can create when you just start putting them together.

Back to basics

 Sometimes the simplest, most inexpensive items that you already have in your cabinet are all you need. Stores sell dozen of formulas to clean makeup brushes in, but all you need is one cup of warm water, one tablespoon of vinegar and one tablespoon of dish soap. Thank you, Pintrest, for that recipe! Vaseline is a multi-purpose godsend when it comes to makeup. Take even the toughest off liquid matte lipsticks off with it, or add it on cheekbones for a more subtle, dewy highlight. You can mix it in with your favorite powder blush shade to turn it into lip gloss, or combine it with an eyeshadow to create an eyeliner and have it glide easily across the lid. Turn your brown eyeshadow into an eyebrow gel, or even skip hair gel and use a tiny amount to tame flyaways in a sleek ponytail. Putting vaseline on your pulse points before spritzing perfume is also said to make the frangrance last longer. Another medicine cabinet staple, eye drops, can be added to mascara when it starts to run dry. Just two or three drops will prolong it while you’re in between tubes!

Tea solves everything

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: tea is always the answer. De-puff tired eyes by brewing green tea and then wringing out and chilling the tea bags and placing on eyes like you would cucumber slices at the spa. The caffeine constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling, while the tannins stimulate blood circulation to firm skin up and help you look more awake. No need for pricey eye pads here! Don’t fall for the FitTea or TeaTox teas that are over-promoted by Instagram models, either. There are plenty of detox teas that can be found in your grocery store that will have similar ingredients, but cost about $20 less.


Try these hacks out and I promise you’ll feel less guilty about splurging on daily $10 smoothies (or maybe that’s just me).

More about Charlotte O'Neill

Just another PR girl with an itch to leave one big city for the next. Currently living in Boston's North End. Poster girl for the phrase “champagne taste on a beer budget”. Creature of habit. Lover of fashion and have an irrational addiction to French skincare. When I’m not writing I’m waiting tables and spending tips on traveling and concerts. My claim to fame is that I once took a selfie with Mario Testino, and Posh Spice is my spirit animal.