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Beauty and a Budget

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I have a serious love affair with all things beauty. I spent about half a decade working for two major natural beauty brands, and thus began an affair with skin care and cosmetics that is not easily given up. Of course, as an employee for these companies certain perks and discounts were available to me, but losing these benefits after a career change has not slowed my knack for funding the cosmetic industry with my hard earned money.

As marriage and building a family continues to change my monetary priorities, I am more driven to find ways to save on cosmetics. A little research goes a long way when determining a product's value. And though budgeting for beauty purchases is important, I do have a fairly strong rule of thumb: skin over savings. I have sensitive skin, and I know that there are many commonly found ingredients in cosmetics that have long term, negative effects on both my body and the environment.

Things I avoid like the ten plagues: parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, and chemical sunscreens. Luckily, there are many brands that provide healthy, sustainable options for skin care and makeup that don't break the bank. My morning cleanser is Pacifica's Sea Foam Complete Face Wash ($10). It smells like tropical paradise, it cleanses without drying out my skin, and the tiniest bit goes a very long way. It is available at both drug stores like Target and I can also pick it up at Ulta (sometimes on sale!). Another fun fact is that the company is local to my hometown of Portland, Oregon. A couple times I week, I use the one of the greatest scrubs known to man. Exfoliating is basically a past time for me, but any skin expert will tell you that too much is a bad thing. Acure's Brightening Facial Scrub ($9.99) is both gentle but highly effective. It includes chlorella growth factor which serves to detoxify skin, as well as stimulating cell repair.

Like I said, I put my skin before my savings. There are some products that would be considered high end or luxury that I invest in. Given that these kinds of products typically come with higher price tag than their drug store counterparts, my standards for purity and effectiveness are just as high. Two products I recently cannot do without are Murad's Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum ($57) and Tarte's Maracuja Oil ($48). I use both products morning and night, applying Murad's serum first and adding a drop of the Maracuja Oil to my moisturizer before applying it to my face. Dryness is an issue new to me since my mid twenties. Adding a drop of this oil to my routine gives me added moisture without having to opt for a heavier cream, a texture I despite after years with oily skin.

The bottom line for me is that brands are responsible in terms of production and transparency. I encourage everyone do do their research. Having sensitive skin makes my expectations of companies especially high, but the reality is that pure, cruelty free, and effective products can be achieved without ridiculous costs, so never feel like you have to settle! In the coming months I will share my full skincare routine for morning and night, too. If there is a product you've ever been curious abut or would like to see reviewed on the blog let me know in the comments. You can even follow the blog on Facebook and Instagram to comment there.