Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to (Cheap) Basics

Ladies and Gents, I'm coming to a phase in my life where I want the simple things. I want what works, time and time again, and what doesn't smash my poor lil' piggy bank. I'm taking it back old school and combing the collective beauty consciousness for those tried and true products that you always come back to because they just work that well. Here's the lot of them, The I Want To Wear It Top 10 if you will:

1) Wet'nWild nail color in Red Red.

This bottle of polish is classic red, lasts just as long on my nails as all the fancy varnishes 15x its price, and it's a dollar.

Can be found at most major drug stores for .99c a bottle.

2) Vaseline

Good old petroleum jelly, the great product with the gross name, makes lips moist, matte, and smoochable. Yes, it caused Tyra Banks a near heart attack for good reason!

Remember when she freaked out giving away bedazzled tubs of the stuff on her talk show Oprah style? Loves it! I don't quite get that excited over my Vaseline (no offense P-Jelly, I don't really get that excited over anything), but I do have a lot of uses for it besides the plain old lip smoother: makeup removal, tarnish removal on jewelry, extra dry skin repair, a light dab on eyelids for a dewy lid glow, a mixer for my matte lipsticks when I need a shine that's not a sticky gloss, and a smear on the teeth for my beauty queen parades (of course!).

13 oz for $4.49 at Drugstore.com

3) A White Hanes Tee

Dress it up with glitzy accessories and red lips a la me of late, or dress it down with nothing else required. This men's wardrobe staple comes out from undershirt duty in so many stylin' girls' looks. It's a basic that just doesn't quit. It's an old school part of my new uniform. Here's some starlets, aka paparazzi prey, giving the good old Hanes some recent Tee cred:

Nicole Richie, Ashley or MK Olsen, J-Simp, and that Hills girl (I think) rock the Hanes V Tee

$7.99 for a 5-pack at Target.com

4) Coconut Oil

Oooo Mama, who doesn't love the scent of coconut? I think we humans are biologically programmed to love the smell of coconut because it equals tropical settings, which equal blue beaches, which equal pure, warm, relaxing sun-drenched, bliss. Coconut oil is my moisturizer of choice these days. I slather it on after a nice hot shower when my skin is soft and warm. It takes a while to soak in, but it's moisturizing effects last all day. I also put some on the ends of my wet hair to keep it shiny and conditioned. I've also used it to remove eye makeup and stubborn lipstick. You can find it in the grocery store oil section. It may be a bit pricey for cooking oil, but it lasts forever as a beauty product and it's pure, versatile goodness.

Available for about $6.99 for 12oz. at most Whole Foods locations.

5) Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Mascara is my makeup equivalent to underwear. I rarely leave the house without it, and if I do I feel naked. Let me clarify; I don't think I've ever left the house without underwear unless it was an extreme laundry emergency, and even then I think I probably wore bathing suit bottoms rather than go commando. That should tell you just how important mascara is to my lookin' good routine: I don't leave home without it. There isn't an eye in the world that doesn't look livelier, more vibrant, or more alluring with a coat or two of mascara and Maybelline's Great Lash is the best eye brightener for your buck. It's the budget version of the little black dress that should be in everyone's makeup bag.

$4.49 at Drugstore.com.

6) Bobbypins

Good ol' Goody Bobby Pins are the backbone of any high falutin' hairstylist's creations. The majority of a good hairdresser's updos, downdos, indos, and outdos, are based on nothing more than some hairspray and a handful of bobby pins. You can keep things simple and sweep your hair to the side as did Ms. Christina Ricci here:

Or you can do the beautiful, slightly messy bun that stalked down so many runways this season:

Or you can go buck bobby wild and cover your head in the things like Dior did a season or two ago:

You can also use bobby pins to make really gorgeous curls without having to sizzle your ear lobes and damage your hair with a hot curling iron.

Whatever you choose to do to your updo, the bobbys are a basic that only require some learned skills to use properly. Let Youtube, or an older relative with hair pin skills, teach you the ways of the twist and secure tool. Here's a clip on how to do perfect pin curls with nothing more than a pack of Goody Bobbys:

Get your hair did, lassies.

60-count pack for $0.99 at OverstockDrugstore.com.

7) Baking Soda

Baking Soda is the duct tape of the beauty world. You can use it to polish your teeth, deodorize your sneakers, freshen your laundry, clean the house, and--my favorite--exfoliate your skin. Mix a couple of tablespoons of baking soda with some water (purified if you've got it) to form a thick paste and get to scrubbing. I find that a gentle circular motion over the skin works best. Baking soda's natural abrasive texture is gentle enough for your skin and its acidic neutrality adds a cleansing quality that leaves you glowy. Slough off gross, dead, summer skin with the same stuff that keeps your fridge smelling all fresh. My friend Jenny also uses a similar paste to scrub her scalp and "shampoo" her hair. She has remarkable hair. The stuff is magic.

$1.09 on Amazon.com.

8) Chinatown Mary Janes

I've written about these before, but I'm gonna do it again! Chinatown Mary Janes are the loves of my foot life. Comfortable, surprisingly durable, cute, and simply never out of style, they are the go-to footwear option for anyone looking for a reliably stylish choice. My new obsession is dressing them up with vintage shoe clips that add a little sumptin' sumptin' to their plane jane status for dressier occasions.

Various colors and styles from $9 to $24 via Natasha's Cafe. They are cheaper if you hoof it down to Chinatown yourself. You can find them for about $2 a pair if you buy them in multiples here.

9) Studs

Hot boys? Nope! Not those kind of studs, rather the ones that go in your ears. Pick up a pair of silver studs, slip 'em on, and look all sorts of polished, pretty, and classic. Simple as can be, these add a nice touch to any look that will make you feel "finished". The shape and material make me think of classic architecture. These babies will never go out of style.

$8.00 at Buy.com.

10) This is soooo cheesy but...A Smile!

Good lord, I'm a little on the corny side, but I highly recommend it. I'm prone to boughts of cynical snarkiness like the best of my generation, but I'm so over being pissy about everything. I like liking life. I like smiling at babies, petting puppies, and soaking in sunshine with Julie Andrews vigor. I like to play a game I call Smile At It in this urban, chaos life I've got going on. I try to find at least three things a day that curl my lips upwards, that turn my frown upside down. It just helps me get through, and smiling (genuinely, feelingly, authentically) looks pretty alluring to others. I'm not saying fake cheerfullness, as women I think we've done enough of that for decades, I'm saying lose the too-cool-for-school stompiness and get grateful for what you've got. I think I get dates and make friends simply because I smile as much as I do. Try it. See what happens.

Can be found here and here, or anywhere for free.

Click any image for source information.


Rahul said...

You are on the corny side with that last one, but I *love* this post.

Rahul said...

PS - That Tyra video is insane!