I used to be a makeup snob. If it wasn’t MAC, Dior or Chanel it wasn’t on my face. But then the economy tanked, my husband lost his job and also there was this small person to be tended too. Priorities changed and suddenly ME time stopped being a whole day at the spa and started being  a quick escape to the supermarket all by myself.  And as for beauty products, well, for the most part they needed to be something I could pick up at Target while I sipped my Starbucks and picked up diapers.

Being a control freak I did oodles of research (yes, oodles is an actual scientific unit of measure) and through trial and error I have discovered ten can’t-live-without-products for under 30 bucks each. (And one that isn’t but is totally worth it!)

First up and the most expensive is a Clarisonic skin brush. Get one. Right now. It will change your skin, and is well worth the price. Check (hey it’s not just for grandmas anymore!) QVC for sales. (I got the Mia for $149)

And now my top ten:

    1. Murad Refreshing Cleanser $24. just a touch of glycolic acid to brighten your skin. Match with the Clarisonic 3 times a week for extra anti-aging effects.
    2. Feria Hair Color $8. Gone are the days of my scheduling a $300 cut and color! If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have any greys then skip this, but if you’re like me and fighting the good fight against grey hair then for 8 bucks you can have great coverage with built in highlights.
    3. Good old fashioned vitamin E cream $5. perfect for after a good Clarisonic scrub! Plus it’s great on legs and hands after the sun and fantastic in the dry winter.
    4. Jergens Self Tanner Cream $8. I’m pale. Paler than pale. So very pale. I’ve tried almost every self-tanner under 25 bucks a bottle and this is the best one yet.
    5.  Maybelline One by One Mascara $7. I’m a bit of a mascara addict and this one stands with the big boys. It takes a while to put on because the brush really distributes the mascara to each strand. It lengthens and volumizes beautifully. Get the waterproof to beat this summer humidity!
    6. Tarte Cheek Stain $30 I actually got this from a commercial I worked on and I haven’t strayed in four years. This stuff gives a natural tint that lasts all day without being too much, if you know what I mean. The stick lasts forever, so it’s well worth the $$.
    7.  Estee Lauder Double Wear Shadow in Antique Gold $17.50. This color looks great on everyone! It’s great to smudge on the lid for a quick run out to do errands or use it in the crease with a brush for a more polished look. It’s a no brainer!
    8.  Philosophy Help Me Retinol $18. Love. Gentle enough to use every night, smoothes skin texture and softens fine lines.
    9. ELF Studio Make-up brushes $1-4. another one I got from a shoot. These brushes are comparable to MAC ones and you can frequently get them at Target for one buck. Yup, one dollar. The ELF (eyes lips face) website has great deals as well; make sure you get the Studio line. You can get a whole new set of brushes for the cost of one MAC brush.
    10. Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker $1.99. It’s the perfect summer berry color, keeps your lips moisturized and has just a touch of flavor. Bonus: It’ll transport you back to 8th grade when you weren’t allowed real lipstick and rocked a LeSport Sac.

I’ve got some new ones to try thanks to Twitter! @CatBTan loves grape seed oil as eye makeup remover, @lins610 is crazy about Jonathon Antin Hair Dirt, and @Amustov says L’Oreal Studio Line Mousse for curly hair rock. Some of our very own DCMoms had some suggestions too @MomIn_Million is all about Benefit Creaseless Cream Eye shadow. She says it beats the DC humidity. @ThienKim swears by Suave Dry Shampoo for days where she can’t hop in the shower. I can’t wait to give them all a try!

What are your favorites?