Monday, September 16, 2013

Looking Hot, Being Poor: 9 Beauty Solutions for You and Your Overdrawn Bank Account

Don't you just hate it when you're reading a beauty blog and they're casually recommending products that cost like, $68 for a small tube of face cream? And you're all, "Well yeah, I'm sure my skin would look great too if I was lubing it up everyday with shit that costs more than my weekly grocery budget." And then you feel all sad and shitty because you're poor. And being a woman who is interested in fashion and beauty (not to mention one who wants to someday make a career out of those twin obsessions) is a constant reminder of how pathetic your finances are, especially in comparison to women who can spend not just hundreds on products, but several thousand on a bag or pair of shoes.

Personal confession time: When I was in early high school and insecure like every other 15 year old on the planet (wish I had known that then), I spent considerable time and energy envying the "rich girls" I grew up around.  The sole reason for this was pretty much because I felt that it was so much easier for them to look pretty. Looking pretty, in case you've forgotten, is the be-all end-all of high school success. It had to do with the same thing that makes me jealous of women now - their ability to afford better products, clothes, HANDBAGS, etc. than I can. In my crazy, hormone-addled mind, I even took it to the level that because my family lived further away from school, I would look worse once I got there in the morning, because my makeup and hair had more time to "shift" during transit. I remember being very bitter about this. Obviously that is insane, but it's getting at an essential truth: It IS easier to look hot when you've got the dolla dolla bills, ya'll. No doubt about it. I mean hello, why do you think people like Gwyneth Paltrow look better at 40 than I do at 24?

I mean...

But that doesn't mean the rest of us should give up without a fight.

So, with that said, I present to you a list of poor girl beauty problems and the fixes that one poor girl has cooked up to banish them. Or at least make them bearable until more prosperous days. You're welcome.

1. The Problem: Let me paint a picture for you: It's Tuesday. Your ass gets paid on Friday. You have approximately $42 dollars in your bank account, and you need that for iced coffees throughout the week and Happy Hour drinks on Thursday night. BUT, and this is just the Universe being cruel, you're almost out of conditioner. And really, what's the point of getting drunk on Thursday if your hair is just going to look like shit while you're doing it?

The Fix: Open that bottle up! Bang it against the palm of your hand and see what you can get out of there - probably enough for one wash. But you're not done. For some reason, the walls of these bottles hold on to a fuckload of residue. And by filling them with shower water and dumping said water on your head, you can probably get two more nights of silky hair. And for some reason, it actually feels kind of better than when the conditioner is applied directly to your hair.

2. The Problem: You cannot afford $25 mascara. If you've never used Dior Show mascara, do yourself a favor and don't begin, because once you've used it, everything else makes your lashes feel like stubby, spidery crap. I bought a tube before Prom (remember: high school, obsessed with being pretty) and I never looked back. That is, until I realized a few months later that I was in college and could buy an entire case of beer for that amount of money.

The Fix: Layer mascaras. Anyone who's been around the block a few times knows that mascaras come in all shapes, sizes, and consistencies. And in the $6 - $12 range, nobody's perfect. So you like the angled wand on one, but the lengthening capabilities on the other. Use one to extend the lashes on the outer corners of your eyes and the other to lengthen the ones in the front. Or use one on top of the other.  Or, if you're feeling especially naughty, stick one wand in the other's tube. Currently, I'm using a combination of Maybelline Great Lash and Sephora Lash Plumper. The great thing about this is, if you're anything like me, you probably have about seven old half-used tubes lying around to choose from.

3. The Problem: You haven't got the kind of flow necessary for a professional pedicure, but when you do it yourself at 11:30 PM right before you go to bed because you forgot until then but you really want to wear open toed shoes tomorrow, you fall asleep and it gets all smudged.

The Fix: GLITTER!!!!!! Let's get real though, what problem in life doesn't glitter fix? Just slather a bunch of glitter top coat on it, and no one will ever notice how jacked up it is underneath.

4. The Problem: You're out of shaving cream.

The Fix: In this one, let's hope to GOD you aren't out of conditioner too, because then there is really no helping you (unless you just buck up and go to Duane Reade). If this is not the case, then use a little bit of conditioner to shave your legs. It works. It kind of clogs up your razor eventually, but if you're in the aforementioned it's-Tuesday-payday-is-Friday-need-overpriced-coffee-and-alcohol jam we've all found ourselves in, you should be fine. Disclaimer: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, try this the other way around, i.e attempt to use shaving cream as conditioner. I know, you'd think it would work, but trust me, it will not and all you will get is an even drier, more disgusting mess on your head.

5. The Problem: You're out of/can't find/not in the vicinity of your chosen zit product. But you have a huge zit (again, The Universe can be a real whore sometimes).

The Fix: A little tab of toothpaste will dry that sucker right out. I'M NOT saying it's great for your skin. It's certainly no $68 moisturizer. It's like, probably even bad for it. But if you're in a pickle, it works.

6. The Problem: Your cheap, trendy heels are chafing some part of your feet in a way that's making you want to smack somebody.

The Fix: These bad boys. Or these, depending on where the problem lies. To be quite frank, if you've been wearing shoes like these without some kind of internal assistance, I'm afraid common sense has failed you, and that you have larger problems than poverty and the lack of expensive makeup.

7. The Problem: It's 95 degrees outside and you have to travel down to what's essentially the Bowels of Hell in order to board the subway. Or, even more fun, you live in an apartment that's conveniently sans air conditioning. It's really bohemian and all, but you're pretty sure your face is melting.

The Fix: Shine control sheets will remove all the sweat and oil from your face and yet somehow, by the miracles of science, NOT your makeup. You also get to watch the sheet become transparent as it soaks up all your gunk, which is really gross but also really satisfying. The best part is, the drugstore of your choice likely makes a version of these that's the exact same but not by Neutrogena and therefore like $2 cheaper.

8. The Problem: You can't afford to get your brows waxed on a regular basis.

The Fix: Don't. Seriously. I've been au natural with a few necessary plucks for a solid three months and I'm feeling great. I don't have small, wispy eyebrows either. I'm just going for it. Whenever I feel stupid, I just look at a picture of Cara Delevingne and keep on truckin'. Granted, if you're patchy you may want to use some kind of brow powder to fill in holes. I've also heard brow gel is what's up, though I have not tried it myself.

Cara D, patron saint of the unruly brow

9. The Problem: Your highlights are majorly grown out.

The Fix: "It's ombre!"
The Other Fix: DIY. Thanks to my mom who is wonderful enough to subsidize my blondening procedures in exchange for a weekend visit, I'm usually okay in this department. However, while I was abroad in Amsterdam, I was both poorer than shit and didn't know of any good salons, even if I had the money. I colored my hair myself and it looked fine. The key to dying hair at home is to not do anything too drastic - this isn't the time to try out platinum blonde. Just find a shade that closely matches the highlights you have now, and then make sure not to get too heavy handed when applying, lest you look like Kelly Clarkson in the early 2000s.

See? I mean, you're not going to get the kind of depth you would with salon highlights, but it looks good. Better than having your roots all out and about (or is it?) Also fitting that I got that dress for about 8 euro at a flea market.

And there you have it. From my crappy apartment to yours. Over and out.

Got a beauty problem you'd like me to address? Leave it in the comments section and I'll post an answer. Wanna know about the fancy-person products I use that are truly worth a ramen week? It's got Coming Soon status, so keep checking back.

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