Oh January.

How you shine with a brand new year freshly ahead!

How you suck with the cold of winter, the fleshy pale thighs of holiday indulgence, the credit card statement full of presents to be paid off.

I know that exercise is the true answer. It elevates mood, tones the body and if you already have a gym membership or a workout routine, does not cost a thing.

But in addition to weights and running, yoga and spinning, I love a cheap beauty or fashion buy that makes a difference in bettering my appearance.

Sometimes a $2 lip gloss can make it easier to smile in the mirror on the way out the door, and feel hot and happy enough to skip the wine with dinner. And if you skip the wine, you don’t sleep through your morning boot camp, and if you repeat this cycle enough times you can be smiling as you pull on your swimsuit bottoms in May.

All thanks to the $2 lip gloss.

Or so this rationale can seem in precarious January suck land.

Anyways, I am not that unstable. Really. I just personally really dig these total bargain buys that I use and wear all. the. time.

I received a few for review as a CVS Beauty Club blogger or in blogger goodie bags at events, but most I just stumbled upon at the drugstore and lucked out.


Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser $9.50 Once I started washing my face with this stuff every night and morning I have had less zits than in my entire life. I discovered it this fall in a CVS review bundle and will never wash my face with anything else. It contains natural salicylic acid found in willowbark bionutrients, whatever the hell those are. I use other facial products for moisturizing and anti-aging that are probably truly more natural but what the heck, I’m less zitty thanks to this cleanser. Maybe I am just using a lot more product with each wash because it is so affordable, and therefore getting a more thorough clean? At any rate, I love it.

Batiste Dry Shampoo for Different Hair Colors $8 You already know how dry shampoo can stretch your blow out or time between washes. But if you use one that matches your hair’s color it can also hide your roots! Great for blondes like me who are trying to put off that next highlight, or dark haired gals with a little grey coming in. Choose Light/Blonde, Medium/Brunette or Dark/Deep Brown. 

Hanes Women’s T-Shirt Underwire Bra $10 If it has been forever since you bought a new bra but your budget is tight, spring for this ten dollar one. Whether you need your boobs hoisted up or boosted in the cups, an underwire bra that is not worn out will make you look either thinner or more volupt, depending on your girl issue albatross. This t-shirt style will also allow you to wear a t-shirt in January, if you get my drift.

L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift CC Eye Concealer $8.99 The best product I have found for naturally covering up dark circles. I think it is the roller ball applicator, which distributes more lightly than your fingers or a brush.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara $6.50 Mascara that makes you look like you are wearing false eyelashes, but are without the patience for putting on false eye lashes. I have this in both brown for day and black for night and both rock.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection 738 Comfort Zone $7.85 An amazing dupe for the pricey Urban Decay Naked Palette, you get both brown and grey neutrals. Each color has a subtle shimmer, not totally matte, but not too glittery and cutesy.



Remington CI5232 Instant Curls Ceramic Hair Curling Iron, 1 1/4 Inches $10 When hair is limp thanks to the lack of moisture in the air in the winter, use this affordable ceramic large-barreled curling iron to subtly curl sections of your hair away from your face, beginning an inch or two lower than your root. Don’t just curl under, and don’t only curl the ends … unless you are going to an ’80’s party.

L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel, Medium To Dark $6.99 When the lady at the nail place asks if you would like an eyebrow wax, say no! Big brows are in and make your face look younger. I love this gel for making my growing-in brows look polished. We all need to put something on our brows now to look hot and on trend in 2015. Unless of course you walk around looking like a chick in the Athleta catalog. Then just keep doing what you’re doing.

J. Crew Factory Scoopneck Layering Tee $9.99 A scoop neck slims the face, and you can wear this one backwards for a boat neck, too (I switch mine around depending on what look I’m going for = dork.) For less than ten bucks you get J. Crew quality cotton, so it will last a longer time than most other tees at this price.

Forever 21 High Pigment Lip Gloss, 7 Colors $1.99 Gloriously sticky a la 1998 and beautifully colored. L.O.V.E.

Sonia Kashuk Creme Blush $9.79 Great quality cream blush you can dab on directly with your fingers on the apples of your cheeks for a chiseled and natural look. Put some on and then take a selfie like Kim K. … but leave your cute kid in the picture.

Redken Guts 10 Volume Spray Mousse, 2 Ounce Travel Size $3.45 My stylist Chrissy Mayo of Hypnotic Salon and Spa in Olney, Maryland turned me on to this stuff for making my hair look fuller without making the roots heavy with product. You apply to towel-dried hair before blowing dry. Try this affordable travel size to see if you become obsessed with it, too.

Soft Chevron Infinity Scarf – lots of color choices $3.60 I get oodles of compliments when I throw this scarf around my neck. Is chevron over? It’s three dollars, who cares! It’s gauzy and light so I can wear it when doing sweaty mom work without getting annoyed. Adds a pinch of style to my uniform of tee and jeans.

Those are picks if, like me, buying something super useful for less than $10 makes you feel better.

Hey, it’s cheaper than one of those winter therapy lights.