One of my new MySpace friends wrote in with a very valid point.

Hey Ms.Afrobella! I love your blog especially your tips and spotlights (my favorite so far is your Eartha Kitt one). I would actually try some of the products but some of them are so expensive! I need to get a job ASAP! lol Well, keep up with the good work. –Valencia

Valencia, I feel you girl! Thanks so much for writing, and for your kind words.

I’ve got a full-time job and so does my husband, so (often to his chagrin), I’m no longer as tight with a dime as I used to be. But I definitely remember from my college days what it felt like to be a bella on a budget, and how frustrated it would make me to read magazines or visit other beauty websites where they reviewed fancy stuff I couldn’t possibly afford.

“Well la-di-frickin’-dah,” I mutter under my breath whenever I see yet another Chanel nail polish or Bobbi Brown eyeshadow quad become the new hotness. The outrageous prices some makeup goes for astounds me.

Even now, I am reluctant to shell out more than $25 for almost any individual beauty product (Call me a cheapskate. My mom did just last weekend!). I still resist the tractor pull of Sephora, because I feel guilty knowing that I spent more than $100 on makeup. (I think a little indulgence is a good thing, and I do strongly believe in rewarding myself from time to time. But that $100 I spend on face paint could be so much better spent by a worthy charity). Even if you’re living a Broke Diaries existence, you can find worthwhile products for less than $5. Let Afrobella be your guide to the wonderful world of bargain makeup shopping!

I expressed my adoration for Milani in a much earlier Josephine Baker post, but let me go ahead and get my gush on. If you’re a frugal shopper, shunt all of those high-end glosses off to the side. Milani lip gloss is absolutely all you need. I own Glossy Tubes in Pink Punch, and Hot Kiss, a gold-flecked bronze that smells like cupcakes. They deliver sheer, subtle color that I wear to work all the time. I love ’em!

I own Milani’s gloss in Redwood (deep burgundy) and (Violeta) bright purple-fuschia. They go on slick and smooth while delivering a lot of lasting pigment, and they cost a mere $3.29!! For some reason, the full range of colors aren’t available on the Walgreens website, but trust me, they’re in the in-store display (and they cost $2.99 at Ulta, although the range of colors available on their site is pathetic).

To give you some perspective on how much I like Milani – if you asked me, Afrobella, should I spend my hard-earned $25 on this Chanel glossimer lipgloss, or get this Milani gloss instead? I’d advise you to buy two Milani glosses and spend the change on cocktails.

That’s how I roll.

Let’s talk eyeliner. The Aveda Petal Essence liner I’m currently using is pretty good, and I try not to have multiple black eyeliners in the rotation. (Why, you ask? Because I inevitably wind up preferring one and not using the other… I really do try to not be wasteful, I swear!) As much as I like my current liner, I sometimes compare it unfavorably with my last liner – Rimmel’s Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil. The sad part is, my Aveda pencil cost $12, and the Rimmel I miss costs $2.49!

I totally get why Kate Moss would rep for Rimmel. The products I have tried work well, and cost little. I own kajal liners in jungle green and jet black. Like most kohls they go on a bit thick, but they glide on effortlessly and leave a clearly defined line on my skin, which is more than I can say for many other liners I’ve purchased. (Ahem.)

If you’re seeking natural hair care products that cost less than $5, there are some stellar products I recently mentioned.

Gentle kids shampoo is always affordable and great for naturally curly hair, Garnier Fructis Fortifying Deep Conditioner 3 Minute Masque and Curl & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Cream are also smart, cheap purchases. You can get awesome deep conditioning treatment packs for less than $5 at Sally’s. Do yourself a favor and try the Beyond the Zone Last Call Hair Masque. Your curls will thank you!

If you’re beautifying on the cheap, you already know about using in-store coupons. Sally’s always has something new, and every now and then you can find great stuff in Ulta’s clearance section. Sephora gives free samples with every order, so you can wind up with cool stuff on the cheap in unexpected places.

Hope that helps you Valencia, and every other bella on a budget!

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Natural Sista says:
October 24, 2006, 3:18 pm
Hello bella... F.Y.I.,ELF make-up products []are great and cost $1.00 for almost everything. I have purchase their lip gloss and clear mascara and they are great! I got them from my neighborhood drugstore in NYC. Hope this info is helpful!
Tinevimbo says:
October 25, 2006, 6:05 am
Hie Bella, Hey girl am writing to you all the way from Zimbabwe,Southern Africa, i came across your site while browsing the net about a month ago and have been hooked ever since, im also trying to go natural and your site has just made me more determined, youre such an inspiration to women even as far as here, and keep up the good work.I just love reading your articles theyre always on point.
bella says:
October 25, 2006, 8:26 am
Hi Tinevimbo!! Wow, I love international readers! I'd love to hear more about the "natural" attitude to beauty in your part of the world. Do many women there straighten their hair as well? I say let your hair do what it wants to do - be curly and cute and above all, HEALTHY. Stay beautiful, and keep reading! Natural Sista, I see ads for E.L.F all over the place! But I've never tried the stuff before. Sounds like it's time for a new lipgloss purchase! Thanks for the head's up!
MzBeauty901 says:
October 25, 2006, 9:46 am
I'm a girl that loves to find new beauty, fashion, and hair care tips! I was trying to tell my friends about the Milani line for lipgloss, but she's too stuck on M.A.C and Bourjois (and constantly wondering why she is broke).Anyway, I'm just getting acquainted with the site and checking out your posts. I'm sure I'll come across some new and interesting information! Take care~!
Nattygirl says:
October 25, 2006, 12:15 pm
Hi Afrobella, my Trini sis....I recently discovered your site and I'm loving it, thanks for all the tips!!
Julia_Claudine_Deveraux says:
October 25, 2006, 3:29 pm
Hey Bella! I like the Milani brand products too! I also heart a an inexpensive brand of cosmetics called NYC. I love their false eyelashes and eye pencils. Best of all, none of their products are over $5. Wet N' Wild has stepped up their game as well, their eyeshadows aren't too bad.
Tanisha says:
October 25, 2006, 4:24 pm
Love your site! Thanks for the tips.
Ohsoluvlee1 says:
October 25, 2006, 6:04 pm
Hi Bella I love your site!!!! I'm so happy I found it I could do flips!!! I have a few questions...#1) have you tried Miss Jessies curly buttercream or her curly pudding?(I know in a previous post you commented about the price) #2)Can you recommend for me that can help with psoriasis(horrible flaking of the scalp)that wont dry my hair out because t-gel/t-sal dries it out really bad. #3) A lot of the products I use to moisturize my hair and loosen the curls contain chemicals that cause horrible acne on my forehead right along my hairline, is there anything you can recommend for this problem? Finally, #4 Eyeliner that doesnt run or disappear during the day, what can u suggest? (I have allergies and my eyes water a lot in the mornings so it has to be waterproof)...I dont know where else to turn...I have more but I will save them for later...Thank you Bella!!!!
gr8face says:
October 25, 2006, 6:40 pm
Natural Sista is right. e.l.f. is just $1 and great stuff.
Tinevimbo says:
October 26, 2006, 8:26 am
Hi Bella, The majority of the sista's this side well the ones in the towns have straightened hair, weaves and wigs are all the rage.and while pple are slowly starting to appreciate their natural looks which were once associated with the uneducated poor folk in the village we still have a long way to go.Most of our hair and beauty products are from South Africa where you can get anything from anywhere in the world and there is a very strong american influence(mtv,vh1) in this part of the world in music,fashion, hair etc, and the straight hair and weaves are seen as a sign of affluence,and natural hair and dreadlocks are associated with pot smoking and all things not so nice Were still a long way to self acceptance and loving ourselves for what we really are Love your tips though and am still going thru your archives would love if you did a feature on Mascara, any tips on how to bring out the long lashes would be appreciated.
newnaps4me says:
October 26, 2006, 6:38 pm
Girl....where have you and this site been my entire life? Your tips are on point!! We also have the same taste. Your want list includes a couple of mine plus some extra "curiousities"....i love products. I swear by the leave in conditioner you mentioned. I add a little olive oil to it because of how dry our hair gets this time of year. Keep doin' whatcha doin' gotta a fan 4 life!!!!! BTW...i wanna know how Miss Jessicurl's Puddin works. I haven't heard a lotta good things about it. I would try it if i could get hold of a sample or two.
Tashikayo says:
December 20, 2006, 1:02 am
Hey guys, I checked out that elf website and couldnt help but notice that yup while the products are $1 the shipping is around $7 if you dont have em at your local pharmacy which i dont, say WHAT! for a lipgloss I dont think so. Well I bought a 1 oz tube of Estee' Lauder cognac foundation around a year ago for $35 and I have used it very delicately. I find it so hard to find that right makeup to match my complexion which is like a caramel something, so when I came across N.Y.C foundtaion and products I had to share that I bought a bottle on sale for $1 and found they sell it at most pharmacies and targets for $2.99, cant beat that and no shipping. I LOVE IT!!!!. Now I wish I could get my money back from Estee Lauder. Its oil free and if you find the right coverage it doesnt even look like you have makeup on, they also have a variety of great lip glosses for about $1.99 checkout: and compare.


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