My Beauty Bag Essentials (Frugal Edition)

Growing up in a rather conservative home, living off the farm and my dad’s tailor’s salary, beauty products were definitely not considered a necessity, especially for a teenage girl. Our bathroom staples were: bar of soap, thistle shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste and a tin of Nivea face cream. On top of that my dad owned Old-Fashioned Safety Razor (one would literally last him for several years), using a foamed up soap rather than a shaving cream (I am pretty sure shaving creams were available only at Pewex stores and absolutely out of reach for common people like my family). My mom, a devoted Christian homemaker, was strongly against using any sort of make up and all she ever used was a lipstick, a few times a year at a very most. One piece lasted her for a decade.

My very first color cosmetic was a black eyeliner, for which, at the age of around 12, I had been saving for a few months. I shared it with B., my best friend at that time, and used it for the very first time for a New Year school dance, carefully wiping it off before coming back home. By that time my sister, who’s 3 years older than I am, accumulated a few items such as a mascara, loose face powder or a blue eyeshadow (in a pretty horrendous shade). Those were a source of desire and jealousy (she was not too happy to share any of those with me).



Fast forward 20 years later and my bathroom was overflowing with ‘stuff’. 3 cosmetic bags packed to the max (gotta love all that seasonal clearance), not to mention all the shelves with hair products, creams, scrubs, oils and toners. How much can one person use? I think for me the big part was that I was FINALLY ABLE to get all that I desired so much growing up. And it did get addicting. At one point I would not even go out of the house without putting make up on, even for a Saturday’s trip to a grocery store. Without it, it felt like something was missing, it almost felt ‘too naked’.

Now, after years of overusing make up, at the ripe age of 35, I am keeping it very fresh and simple. Although it did hurt a little, I threw away most of the color cosmetics I had not used for at least 2 years but still had in my bathroom. It literally felt like I was throwing away hundreds of dollars. Yikes.

My beauty bag’s content is simple. Almost too simple. And it still seems like too much. I am sticking to a foundation for special occasions (oil based for better coverage and lighter version for summer use), but for everyday use I would just use transparent powder such as Physician’s Formula. I usually get it close to free in CVS with widely available coupons and CVS store credit (ECBs).  I use blush as well but very sparingly, it’s barely noticeable. Now, some mascara and lip gloss to top it off and voilá. I am ready to go! My mornings seem much easier when I know I am spending not more than 2 minutes applying make up.

I definitely put more focus on nourishing my skin, rather than trying to cover imperfections with make up. Nothing will replace good habits such as drinking water, remembering to wash your face before going to bed and putting a sunscreen on.

What is in YOUR beauty bag? How much time does it take you to get your ‘face ready’ in the morning?

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