Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Uses for Couponed Makeup

Trying new makeup is always a fun adventure. Who doesn't love snagging the latest foundation or mascara free after ExtraCare Bucks? But sometimes, the deal is so hot that when you arrive at the store, your preferred shade(s) aren't available because others got there first. But how can you pass up a freebie staring you in the face? Here are some fun new ideas for what to do with that couponed makeup:

Collect nail polishes or other fun makeup items and give to your favorite teen. If the colors available aren't your style (but still free or close to it), then collect a variety and gift-package them for your favorite teen - a niece, your kids' babysitter, the next door neighbor graduating this coming year. Bonus points if you throw in couponed top/base coat, nail polish remover, cotton balls, or manicure tools!

Think outside the box with application. When you don't let the makeup packaging dictate what goes where, a muted matte pink lipstick could become a great creme formula blush. A too-brown-for-you powdered blush or bronzer could be a neutral eyeshadow. A too-light-for-you mascara could become a great eyebrow tamer/enhancer when applied with a very light hand - or even a coverup for a few stray grey or white hairs on your head. The basic idea is to look at the product's color and daydream about where else it might work on you. You can always wash off and start again - that's the beauty of experimenting.

Could you only find a foundation/concealer a shade darker? Don't worry - it's still good for:
  1. "Tan" you. If you get tan during the summers, or use fake tanning, a shade darker foundation is ideal for keeping your look pulled together! You only need to use it sparingly on "trouble" areas (undereye circles, zits, etc.) and blend well, to get a no-giveaway summer face.
  2. You, photographed. You may cringe to see the "one shade darker"color against your complexion under your bathroom mirror lights, but the reality is that if it's only slightly darker and blended very finely at the jawline, you will look younger, healthier, and more radiant in family portraits. This is especially true of fairer-complexioned women who tend to be washed out by ambient photo studio lighting. You'll also achieve a more awake, younger look by doubling the amount of makeup that you usually wear for daily use - from mascara to blush to lip color.
Could you only find foundation/concealer a shade lighter? Don't worry - it's still good for:
  1. "Pale" you. By January, you could be thanking your lucky stars that you have a slightly more palid shade in your makeup arsenal.
  2. You, sculpted. Dotting a slightly lighter shade under your eyebrow arch, on the top of your cheekbones, and on the inside corner of your eyes (blended well!) can make your face look skinnier, and you expressions look more awake and alert.
Make an emergency kit of makeup. Just because the shades aren't precisely those of your preferred lineup doesn't mean you won't appreciate the emergency kit stowed in your office desk, glove compartment, or suitcase when you realize that your everyday makeup was accidentally forgotten. Think of it as a "desert island" lineup - what items are absolutely necessary to get you through the day - chapstick, mascara, etc. If you travel to one location quite frequently - say a relative's house or vacation house - you could consider leaving an entire complement of couponed makeup and toiletries there so that you don't have to pack one every time. Just remember that there are expiration dates for cosmetics and toiletries.

Donate to your local community/church/high school theater productions. If you've ever been in a play or musical, you know the gallons of makeup that such productions can consume. Even a small production can go through bottles of foundation in a single night for sufficient stage makeup. And since such productions are often low-budget, it's quite likely that your local thespians would welcome any of a wide variety of colors and brands of foundations, concealers, lipsticks, blushes, eyeliners, mascaras, and so on.

Trade with a fellow couponer. If you know a local couponer who hits up different stores, you can offer to be on the lookout for each other's favorite shades and products and trade every so often. Yes, you might give three lipglosses and get back a mascara and a pair of tweezers, but at least you're trading for stuff you'll eventually use, right?

Donate to your local women's shelter/domestic violence shelter. Women who rely on these shelters often do not have big beauty budgets, but your donation of cosmetics (as well as other basics like body washes, soaps, tampons and maxipads, etc.) can be a block in rebuilding their self-esteem as they get back on their feet.

What other creative ways have you found to use cheap or free couponed cosmetics? Post a comment to let everybody know. :)
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