Warning: This is long because I can’t just list stuff. I have to give you the back ground and my experience with it.  So grab a cup of coffee, wine or tea and weed on through. Come back periodically too because I will add and update stuff as I find it. Enjoy!

I could easily spend ALL.THE.MONEY. on clothes and makeup. Whenever I went out of town I would look for a Sephora and shop til I dropped. Woohoo! Well, times have changed. I’ve changed. Quite honestly, the older you get, less really does become MORE. A brief stint as a minimalist helped free me from the chains of “needing” to wear all the makeup and hair products.  I’ve “curated” my collection so to speak, and I continue to tweak it to meet my needs. Everything MUST be gluten free because I react to makeup and hair products as well as food that contains gluten. Before celiac disease, I never had sensitive skin. Now, I am often one big itchy rash. Sorry, is that TMI? If you are a fellow allergy sufferer you will understand 😉 So some of my picks here are kind of vice-y but somewhat out of necessity since there aren’t always a lot of options for celiacs.

So because there are no labeling laws for cosmetics (or medications. Don’t get me started on how mad that makes me…) you have to read everything just like you do your food. Have you ever READ cosmetic labels? You need a chemistry degree to figure it out. There are databases that will tell you what the “secret” names of gluten are and some companies have lists of their gluten free products. Sephora will list gluten free products if you do a search. Ulta does not. Many of these are expensive, especially anything sold at Sephora. Often, there are only a couple of options when you want something gluten free, without parabens or sulfates or, or, or…

Of course the one item I can’t live without and would take with me to a deserted island right after sunscreen, also happens to be the most challenging for me. Red Apple Lipstick is the ONLY mascara brand I can wear without irritation and it costs $37/tube! It’s a mascara and lash serum in one, doesn’t flake and get in your eyes and is soft and natural. Paired with an eyelash curler it works really well. I have gone through 2 tubes and I’m eking out the last of my current one until I can order some more. I NEED their mascara.  I’ve tried their lipsticks and they are great. Naughty, Strawberry lips and Audrey are my favorite colors. I also like Firecracker. Everything is gluten free. Decidedly NOT cheap but well worth it for celiacs who, like everyone else, eats their lipstick and it MUST be gluten free.  Another high end brand that is gluten free is Bite beauty but they are not vegan if that matters to you and I have only found it at Sephora. I am currently using a free lip liner I got when I redeemed some points at my last visit. L’Oreal would work just as well if I knew it was gluten free.

Other things can make up for it though. I recently found colored lip balms by elf cosmetics that are $2 each. The spice color is  a perfect color for everyday. There is also a light pink and a berry color. I bought mine at Target and no reaction. They have a huge line now and everything is phenomenally cheap. Color cosmetics are one place you should always go cheap. Color fads come and go but even the basics aren’t really any better whether you buy high or low end.  With most places having liberal return policies, it’s easy to experiment until you find what you really like.

The old advice was that if you were going to splurge, do so on foundation since it is so important to match your skin tone (to your neck, not your face). I have found that most tinted moisturizers and primers are so sheer that even the inexpensive ones are fine. I like to combine steps so in the summer I use CoTZ because it’s darker and gives me a little color while providing SPF 40.  This winter I used La Roche Posay tinted color correcting primer which is SPF 50 and is a lighter tone.  One tube has lasted me all winter. It’s a dry texture which is great for oily or combination skin. Then, just this week I went to Ulta and tried Covergirl Olay Ageless cream foundation and this stuff is rocking my world! It has amazingly few ingredients for a drug store foundation and it uses a mineral sunscreen. I took a gamble since I couldn’t try it on but the color is great. I went by the swatches in front of the product. The texture is perfect, it covers well but doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything and it has some kind of primer built in as well as spf 28! Best of all, it was about $10. Where has this stuff been all my life??? Topped with some bronzer and elf blush, I looked pretty good!

Is there something you could give up completely to save? I no longer use eye shadow. I have greasy eye lids and no matter what eye liner or eye shadow I have ever used it ends up melting into the crease of my eyes and underneath. I give up. Most primers make my eyes burn even if they are made for eyes. I want to try the eye primer from Red Apple Lipstick because it looks like it could double as neutral eyeshadow but it’s on back order right now. I’ve just been using a touch of my bronzer on my lids to disguise the puffiness…

So there are a bunch of links embedded above to show you the products. If you order them, I may earn something at no cost to you. That’s my disclosure. I don’t link to anything I don’t personally use. Everything here I have used and love(d). Some things I can no longer use because of allergies but still recommend for people who don’t,  like L’Oreal Voluminous mascara. It’s awesome and cheap if you can do industrial strength stuff near your eyes. Even for special occasions those days are over for me 🙁

I suppose you could go all crazy and stop wearing makeup and just let your natural beauty shine. THAT would definitely be the cheapest route but I prefer to save that for Saturday mornings while cleaning and bedtime. I can’t handle daily questions about my health when I go without…

Can we also talk about hair? Drug store shampoo and conditioner will work just as well as really expensive stuff. Avoid sulfates as much as you can and parabens always. I like L’Oreal Ever Fresh line.  If you color your hair, avoiding sulfates is even more important since it will strip the color much faster. Also, stop washing your hair every day. Shoot for twice a week. I am kind of greasy with thick hair and I still only wash twice a week. Use dry shampoo or baby powder if you need to. It gives your hair body! Go easy on the styling products. I rarely buy any. Argan oil works well and just about any brand will do. I have a bottle from Josie Maran that I ‘ve had FOREVER.  Don’t have a hairstyle that requires ridiculous amounts of hairspray either. I have one can that has lasted 2 years and I will probably never go through it at this point. I brush and go in the morning. Embrace your hair’s natural texture and this will be much easier. I used up my lifetime supply of Aquanet in the 80’s. My lungs are thanking me for my current hairspray free lifestyle. 🙂  You don’t have to look like a frump and yet save on hair supplies. If you are a brunette there is a wall of hair color waiting for you at the drugstore. Feria and Clairol Natural Instincts have never steered me wrong. If you are blonde and adventurous you also have choices here. If you highlight your hair, however, I’d leave that one to the pro’s. No one looks good with crispy hair! Plus, you can stretch out the time between appointments much better with well placed highlights than you can with full color. Lastly, go with colors close to nature. They last longer and are easier to maintain. I currently have purple “highlights” that didn’t take well. 2 hours in the salon and 2 attempts at adding purple toner and I now have purple AND pink along with my base color, grey “highlights” and my lighter roots showing. Very very bad. I have an appointment next week to fix it and I won’t be attempting that again! What was I thinking ???? I must have had a wine soaked moment or something because I haven’t done anything but temporary color in a few years, lol.

Body lotion: If you are dry like me, you know all about lotion. My all time favorite is Nivea Essentially Enriched with almond oil. the only problem is that it isn’t quite enough during the driest parts of winter.  But it’s cheap. I usually find it on sale for $4.99 and last time I used coupons and got 2 bottles for $2.99 each. It doesn’t have parabens in it. I refuse to slather them all over my body. I also love the smell of Mountain Ocean body lotion but it’s WAY too light forme in the winter. I only use it in the summer. If anyone knows of a thick coconut smelling lotion, please let me know in the comments. I love coconut!!

Well, more coming so check back! See you soon!



*5/3/17 update. Hair is now brown with blonde highlights, which were supposed to be also brown but hair is acting strangely so we just left it alone when it didn’t quite take. Am not minding it since it will make actual “natural highlights” blend better as they grow in, necessitating less touch up. Hair is a tad shorter than in the photo above but decidedly no longer a pixie of any sort. And no purple.


My current beauty list:

  1. some kind of creamy cleanser: currently Beauty Counter or a Makeup Eraser wash cloth. The wash cloth will last forever and takes everything off without a cleanser.
  2. Samples of Skinceuticals CE ferulic serum. I’m too cheap to buy it.
  3. La Roche Posay Touleriane moisturizer at night *same price as at Ulta with free shipping.
  4. iT cosmetics Confidence in a Cream (sample). LOVE this so far and no rash. Expensive but a little goes a long way and it’s WAY WAY cheaper than Cream de la Mer. Ask for a sample at Ulta before buying.
  5. Covergirl Olay Ageless spf 28 cream makeup
  6. Too Faced cocoa contour chiseled to perfection: it has matte bronzers and a skin colored powder (well, white girl skin color) and a pretty highlighter. And it smells like CHOCOLATE!! *5/3/17 really liked this but have traded for Too Faced Choclate soliel bronzer single. Didn’t need the highlighter or darker color and
  7. elf blush
  8. Bite Beauty lip liner sample from Sephora
  9. Red Apple Lipstick in either Firecracker, Brazilliant, Audrey or Strawberry Lips. Each color has multiple photos of different skin color women wearing it and it’s risk free. Their return policy is great and you can order samples if you really aren’t sure.
  10. L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner.
  11. Mountain Ocean body lotion for summer. Nivea for winter.