How Not to Waste Money on Makeup

When it comes to mascara, makeup artists love budget-friendly brands.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen March 3, 2015

Invented in the 1970s, Maybelline's Great Lash is still one of the best mascaras on the market.

On a fashion shoot last week, while the models were getting ready I took the opportunity to browse through the toolkit of makeup artist Chad Landry as he worked. (Never let it be said that my job doesn't have any perks.)

L'Oreal's Voluminous mascara, $8

What I found: NARS lipsticks, NARS blushes, NARS eye shadows, NARS everything. Landry has repped the brand before, so that's no surprise. But there was one exception: a mascara tube in gold and grey that stood out against the sea of black packaging. It was L'Oreal's Voluminous mascara. Retail price: $8.

Why the cheapie? Mascara can only do so much, said Landry, despite ads that promise a simple swipe will create curl, definition and any other manner of lash miracle. In the US and the UK, advertising regulators have even banned mascara ads from Christian DiorCoverGirl, and L'Oreal for using too much digital manipulation to create impossible effects. 

Landry's advice? Keep it simple, and use a lash curler to create drama. "That little pink and green? That works as good as anything," he said, referring to Maybelline's iconic Great Lash mascara.

It's not exactly a new idea. The biggest problem with mascara, according to another pro, is that a tube is not meant to be used for more than three months—it dries out and becomes less effective, and will eventually get bacteria in it which could cause eye infections. The benefit of Great Lash is that because it's so cheap ($7 at most drugstores), users can throw it away with no guilt rather than try to get their money's worth from a $30 or $40 tube by using it past its prime.

So, spend the extra money if you want to. Lord knows Lancôme, Christian Dior, and YSL make beautiful mascaras that are hard to resist. Or stick to the drugstore, and spend the extra money on lipstick.  


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