Ballin’ on a Budget: 6 Beauty Winners at Target

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I LOVE TARGET. I could spend hours on end wandering aimlessly through aisle after aisle, filling my cart with all sorts of goodies. I love their food selection, men’s pajamas, homewares, prices on toothpaste…yes, Target is a very special place for me. Especially the one in Spanish Harlem, which is conveniently located only twenty-ish blocks from where I live. It’s a pain to get to, still, since it’s so far east, but the moment I walk through those sliding doors and into that red-and-white themed megastore I’m in heaven. I grab an iced tea at Starbucks, a shopping cart, and start cruisin’.

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I must admit that I haven’t really purchased any beauty supplies from a drugstore since turning 21. I discovered the magical world of specialty stores and never looked back. But after recently making some big-ish plans for the not-so-far-away future, I realized it’s time to scale back a little.

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And it sucked, at first, until I realized that I had definitely been overspending. A sizable amount of stuff I was getting at speciality stores had counterparts equal (or even better) in quality just waiting in the local drugstore! Now THAT was a revelation. And since my no. 1 goal for 25 is to manage my money better, I made the trek uptown and took the first step into making this year a glorious, beautiful, and much less expensive one.

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The Fantastic Four: Outstanding Oils!

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LOLOLOLOLOL OIL IS GREAT I LOVE OIL

So it’s been a hot second since I last wrote about my skincare routine and let me tell you, there have been some CHANGES! Y’all completely did not hear about my adventure into the land of Soap & Glory, which was a passionate and short-lived (but fondly remembered) dalliance that ended in heartbreak, i.e., Sephora discontinuing carrying their products. Supposedly shops like Target (ahem, Targét) will start carrying the line soon, but in the interim I was left high and dry and with a face that was quickly crumbling into Crypt Keeper territory.

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Me showing up late to a function.

I’d been reading about oil cleansers for some time now, but hadn’t been blown away by any that I’d tried. They mostly left my face feeling kinda greasy and unclean. So I wasn’t expecting much when I got a sample of Tatcha’s One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil–I honestly just picked it because of the packaging. #shamelesslyshallow

One wash later and I was in love.

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Lush with LUSH: Four Body Butter Bars

When I went home to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving weekend, I discovered that my mother had gone to Lush and randomly got me four different types of body butter bars, just because. I had only used one of them before (the Buffy Bar), and was otherwise new to the other three: King of Skin, Aqua Mirabilis, and You Snap the Whip. I personally would not have purchased four different body butters, since they’re all basically doing the same thing, but because I didn’t actually spend the money on them myself I am sucking it up and happily using them. I thought I would do a little comparison of each bar, therefore, since I am now sampling every single one of them and can now speak to the differences between them all.

Smooth Criminal…post body butter bars.

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Fancy: Products Worth the Extra $$$

I have come to strongly feel that, like many things in life, unfortunately, when they’re expensive, there’s usually a reason. This is why I typically don’t purchase drugstore makeup anymore for the most part, because I have found that the items I have spent more money on are far better. (They tend to be incomparable to anything in drugstores or cheaper lines though.) Even in more high-end makeup, though, sometimes there is a difference in price point and quality. While at a certain point it practically physically pains me to spend so much on one item, sometimes you just bite the bullet and do it. Below, I list the products for I would sell my firstborn child for a free lifetime supply.

Tom Ford Beauty Eye Defining Pen in Deeper – $55

That the formula is wonderful is basically a given for the amount of moolah, but what makes this eyeliner pen worth every penny is its dual tip with calligraphy ends. As you can see, one end is small while the other is longer (duh); this makes doing a cat-eye way easier, especially since the longer end is the exactly the right length for “wings” for my eyes.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain in 8 Orange de Chine – $35

I have never before been so obsessed with any lip product as I have about this stuff. I actually just bought my third one today, because I cannot get enough of these. YSL’s “Glossy Stain” formula is magical: two coats of this stuff and not only do you have stellar color and shine, but it is seriously long-lasting. Even after drinking from a cup, bottle, etc., only minimal – if any – traces of this glorious item will be left behind. It does exactly what it says it will do: gives you gorgeous glossiness in addition to crazy longevity. There are a ton of colors including a whole separate line of shades called “Rebel Nudes,” which are a bit more luminous and 3D and less opaque. I own this in 7 Corail Aquatique, 8 Orange de Chine (above), and, as of today, the Rebel Nudes hue 108 Violine Out of Control, which I am modeling in the photo below. I’ve been using them almost every time I go out. All of this means, however, that I have spent over $100 just on lipgloss but I don’t mind: they’re worth every penny!

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Maison Martin Margiela ‘REPLICA’ Beach Walk – $125

Undoubtedly, this fragrance is the most unique perfume I have ever smelled; and of all the fragrances I have ever owned, this one is my favorite. The idea with this line of perfumes by Maison Martin Margiela is to evoke a certain time, place, and feeling, and “Beach Walk” certainly does that. It smells exactly like the beach, minus the sweat and stink of rotting seaweed. If you love summer, tanning, and going to the shore, this is an amazing fragrance. The bottle is pretty cool looking, too. The price is pretty prohibitive – I got it because I had a special discount code – but if you don’t mind not having the nice packaging, The Perfumed Court sells small decanted amounts of all the ‘REPLICA’ scents for as little as $3 (as well as other pricey designer fragrances).

Illamasqua False Eye Lashes No. 21 – $23.53

I’m sorry, what is that? You think spending close to $24 on a pair of fake eyelashes is insane? WRONG. I love false lashes but these ones by Illamasqua are particularly bomb. Particularly for special occasions, this beautiful pair looks dramatic but isn’t overpowering. You can wear them several times as well, no problem! An added bonus is that the included lash glue is probably the best false eyelash adhesive I have ever used.

Sometimes money can buy you happiness. Or at least, some nice makeup.

Land of the Free (Gift With Purchase): How to Be a Sample Queen

Scoring beauty product samples

Nothing lights up my world like free stuff. Oh, how I love free stuff!

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I’m also a teensy bit of a commitment-phobe and hesitate to fully say “yes” to anything before trying it out. And while yes, nearly every single beauty supply shop has a stellar return policy, we here at BB understand the very real struggle of being a busy and/or lazy person who just doesn’t wanna go through the trouble. Also, what do you do when you wanna try out six different moisturizers because you can’t decide on just one???

The answer is simple: SAMPLES. SAMPLES SAMPLES SAMPLES.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all bought something that looked awesome in-store and then woke up the next day to a nasty, nasty reality. Certain beauty products, skincare especially, should be taken on a test drive before purchase. I mean, you won’t really know how much you like a night cream until you’ve been able to use it overnight!

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When you went to bed looking like Sanaa Lathan and woke up looking like Lorde

But even with makeup, having too many options can be a blessing and a curse. Of course you’re tempted to buy one of everything, but can you afford to? If you are a Broke-Ass Biddie like me, the answer is no. So, to Sample Town we go!

Observe the fruits of one of my latest shopping adventures in Sephora:

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Here’s something that not enough people know: most beauty supply and department stores–like Sephora, Lush, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales, to name a few–will give free samples of products to customers. How do you get them?

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