There are quite a few brands of makeup available that are incredibly cheap. I'm talking about the ultra cheapies you'll find at the $2 shop. Sometimes they're good value and sometimes not. Here are a few tips to getting the most out of cheap makeup and also some tips for using up makeup mistakes.
Lipstick - Cheap lipstick is often extremely drying and the colours can be garish. An easy way of fixing both problems is by combining lipstick with lipgloss. Apply a very small dab of lipgloss to the centre of your lips. Apply the lipstick over the top, starting from the centre and working your way out. The dry lipstick instantly becomes creamy, and slightly lighter in colour. Using different coloured lipglosses will allow you to easily change the colour of the lipstick. So don't throw out those old dried up, badly coloured lippies. Start experimenting. For example I combine a hot pink lipgloss underneath a frosted beige lipstick to create a subtly shimmering nude colour. I also use a gold frosted lipgloss underneath a dark brown lipstick to create a low sheen bronze. This is a great way to get a subtle shimmer even if the original lipgloss was too sparkly. Personally I have found that the best results come from using the lipgloss underneath the lipstick rather than over the top of it, and by applying the lipgloss very sparingly only to the centre of the lips.
Eyeshadow - a lot of cheaper pressed eyeshadows settle into creases quickly and are not very highly pigmented.. I have found that applying them wet gives a much better coverage and makes cheaper eyeshadows longer wearing. The downside is the colour will appear darker and you lose most of the sparkle if using a frosted eyeshadow. Using an eyeshadow brush instead of a sponge, you can also use the eyeshadow to line your eyes. The slightly damp eyeshadow is easier to work with around the eyelashes, without getting powder all over your face. Broken eyeshadows can be used in a variety of ways. Scrape the broken eyeshadow out of the pan, crush it to a powder and add it to hair gel for a change of pace, perfect for a night out. Mix it with a clear lipgloss for a light touch of colour. Mix it into clear mascara and use it on the tips of your eyelashes after applying your normal mascara. If the colour is right mix it into a loose face powder to make your own custom highlighter.
Lipliners - cheap lipliners are often dry and difficult to apply. Many people warm the tip to make them easier to apply. I prefer to use them as an alternative to lipstain. Put either lipbalm or a small amount of petroleum jelly on your lips to provide slip. Then use the lipliner all over the lips to provide the colour. Keep going until you're happy with the depth of colour achieved. If desired you can apply gloss over the top. The waxy texture of a lipbalm or petroleum jelly makes a dry liner easy to apply, gentle on the lips, and gives sheer or stained appearance.
Eye pencils - The skin around the eyes is particularly delicate. If you buy an eye pencil that is dry and difficult to apply, just get rid of it. It's not worth damaging the eyes. If the colour is suitable use it instead of a lipliner.
Mascara - There's nothing that can be done to save a mascara that's not right for you. Just throw it away. Fortunately there are quite a few inexpensive brands that make good mascaras. If you're in Australia try Face of Australia or Australis for good mascaras that are around $10
Foundation - We all know how hard it can be getting a foundation that suits our skin tones. Tinted moisturiser is much more forgiving. Make your own by mixing a cheap foundation 50/50 with sunscreen. The colour match doesn't have to be quite so precise and you're less likely to end up with the "tide mark" around the jaw line. It's easier and quicker to apply and does three things at once - moisturises, protects and evens out skin tone.Most brands of tinted moisturiser come in only 2 or 3 shades. You can tailor a tinted foundation to suit your skin tone. If you have a foundation that is too light, but still suits your underlying skin tone, consider using it as a highlighter.
Pressed and loose powder - Don't bother with the real cheapies for these. Shop around for something that really suits your skin. The wrong powder can really ruin your look. Even women in their 20's can look years older if they wear a powder that cakes or creases. The only thing you can really do here is mix a loose powder with a crushed eyeshadow and see if it works for you as a highlighter, otherwise throw it out.
So go through your makeup mistake drawer and look at it in a whole new light. The frosted orange eyeshadow that makes you look like you've been crying, could be the perfect highlighter when crushed up and mixed with a too light foundation. The dried blood lippie you wore as a goth may be just right when used with a frosted gloss. The hard as nails eggplant coloured eye pencil may be the perfect berry stain when used over a lipbalm. Have fun!!!