Drugstore Finds to Look Fab on a College Budget

Sometimes, in a burst of feminine energy, I am thrilled to be a young woman with myriad options to improve my appearance: make-up, flat and curling irons, lotions and creams, eyelash curlers and nail polish.

7 AM on a Saturday morning  is usually not one of those times.  It costs a lot to look good–and that’s after you figure out what works.  A regular weeding-out of my bathroom drawers tells the same tale.  I feel guilty throwing out items I’ve spent hard-earned cash on, but if I were not greedy with my counter space, I would be forced to either buy an off-site storage unit or kick out my roommate.  Clearly throwing them out is the only viable option, despite my deep aversion to throwing away dollars,

Fast-forward four years from freshman year and I have learned that generally speaking, paying a fortune on the expensive stuff is an exercise in futility.  Even if I could afford to splurge once or twice on the $40 shampoo, it was unsustainable.  Invariably the next time my shampoo bottle ran low, I was broke and bought some Herbal Essences crap that dried out my hair.

My new spot for trolling for new Beauty products is Allure’s Yearly Top picks, which are generally awesome.  Lots of (expensive) cult classics gained ridiculous popularity after publication on that list, and sometimes you get a fantastic cheapie (like a sangria lip gloss I bought one year) that you find you can’t live without.  Some excellent knock-off notables are available at your drugstore and I’m truly excited to share these, as they have been literally life-changing for me.  Think about rolling out of bed with great hair after always pulling it up into a bun in a rush to class.  Yeah, that falls into life-changing category.

HAIR: If you have naturally gorgeous hair in the morning, you ma’am, are part of the 1%.  I have no more advice for you 🙂

For the rest of us, try Organix Blow – Dry Straight.  Just try it.  The results will speak for themselves.  My hairdresser refused to talk about this stuff and I’m suspicious that it’s because it does exactly what the salon Brazilian treatments do for about 5% of the cost.  The mechanism is the same, it first strips the hair cuticles, then infuses them with keratin—the lack of which causes frizz and breakage.  Just know that it’s more like a two-week result you’re getting, but if you have medium to short length hair you’ll have extra in the bottle to work with.  The best part is, you can play with how straight you want it to be.  You can run the iron over it once or twice and get it stick straight, or just blow it out and have bouncier, smoother hair for a couple of weeks.

Then try Organix Moroccan Hair Oil – The Organix line, in my experience is under-hyped and uncategorically the only truly great value I have come across in a long time.  I literally thought to myself one day as I was driving (with the windows down and the wind whipping through my, by this point, awesome mane of manageable hair) this is he first time in a long time I feel I’ve underpaid for something. Specifically their hair oil will save you upwards of $25 on the original brand and it works beautifully.  When I haven’t used the blow-dry straight product in a while, I toss this into my hair after my shower, sleep on it and it’s soft, wavy, impervious to humidity and pretty.  NICE!

SKIN:  Neutrogena put out a more affordable version of the Clarisonic (Allure award-winner) that in my experience does the exact same thing and works with any old face wash. In my experience, your skin will look brighter and fresher, and ALL of your make-up will come off.

MAKE-UP:  Garnier under-eye roller w/ built-in concealer.  This is a no-brainer that I can’t believe they just now came out with.  All the vitamin-infused caffeine goodness that comes in other eye rollers with concealer already in it.  Boo-yah.  That’s at least 2 minutes off your 5-minute face.

My one splurge?  A good face lotion.  It is MUCH easier (and less expensive) to spend time and money on a product that keeps your face looking great, no breakouts, no redness, irritation and more even skin tone, than it is to try and cover up your beauty sins later with make – up.


I’m reading Discovering the Humanities