The Most Unexpected Source For Top Beauty Buys

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Think hard: Where was the most unexpected place you’ve found awesome beauty products? When we say "place," of course, we don't mean the bins full of cheap nail polish in the Forever 21 checkout line. We're talking about a spot that seems to have nothing in common with Sephora but can actually take your beauty game to a new level.
Our sneaky site, well, it just might surprise you: the arts-and-crafts store. Turns out, it’s not just a shop for art students and daycare teachers — beauty addicts can get so much bang for their buck at places like Michaels, A.C. Moore, or Hobby Lobby. So, if you find scrapbooking a little dull but you never tire of gluing interesting things on your nails, you need to give the ol' arts-and-crafts store some serious consideration.
The beauty of this resource (besides the cheap prices) is that it allows you to get truly creative. While everyone else is limited to the contents of the nail-art kit they bought at Walmart, you can whip up a look that's entirely unique and totally you. Simply go in with an open mind and a bit of imagination, and you’ll find plenty of items that can give your beauty game a crafty twist. Just be prepared to answer every "Where did you get that?" with a confident "Hobby Lobby — seriously.”
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
No, not brushes for your hair — the craft store isn’t quite that versatile. A good angled brush, however, should be in every girl’s makeup kit, especially if she wants to create a precise, dramatic cat-eye. Besides, even if you already have one, you can always use more. So, march yourself over to the paintbrush section right now. Where else can you find shelf after shelf of brushes, many of them in a variety pack that’s cheaper than a single MAC brush?

Of course, they won't all be of the highest quality, but they’ll be cheap enough for you to buy a whole bunch and test them at home to see what works for you. You can also feel the brushes’ textures at the store to see if they’re too rough or if the bristles fall out.

Some paintbrushes may even surprise you by working better than your regular makeup tools. Look for a stiff, angled brush for that aforementioned cat-eye, or stock up on several other small, flat versions to use with eyeshadow, concealer, and for filling in your eyebrows. Now it's time to experiment.

Stanislaus Mixed White Nylon Brush Set, $5.99, available at Blick.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Hair Ribbons
This spring, let the huge ribbon selection at the arts-and-crafts store inspire you to put down the basic, black hair elastics. Those of you with long locks can hide an elastic by adding a neatly tied ribbon over the base of your ponytail. Girls with short hair can tie a pretty ribbon around their head to make a lovely headband. And, for an update on the ubiquitous crown braid, weave a colorful ribbon (or several) through the plait. Just don’t forget: You can do a braid even with a pixie cut — just be sure to use thinner ribbons.

Offray Grosgrain Ribbon, $3.49, available at Joann.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Hair Odds & Ends
Why stop at ribbons? The arts-and-crafts store has more sparkly, pretty odds and ends than you can fit in your basket and beauty look. Do you want gold or silver stars to wind through your braid? Is it possible to revive the flower-crown trend by making the biggest flower crown of all time? Is it too twee to stick tiny birds and bumblebees in your updo? The answers: both; probably not, but you should go for it anyway; and there’s no such thing as too much twee, but you should probably pick birds or bees — not both — to be on the safe side.

Darice Mini Mushroom Birds, $1.79, available at Joann.
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Nail-Art Supplies
Remember our advice about using those cheap brushes for makeup? Well, now’s the time to pat yourself on the back for buying too many of them, because they’re also really useful for nail art. It’s impossible to paint delicate designs on a fingernail using traditional polish brushes, and even specially designed nail-art pens often malfunction and leave a blotchy mess behind. That’s why you need to purchase several of the thinnest brushes you can find at the arts-and-crafts store. They’re perfect for drawing precise, miniature designs on your nails.

If you simply can’t draw, though, see if you can find any tiny appliqués or decals to glue onto your nails instead. Keep in mind that it’s best to use nail glue to stick your tiny pandas on — not just any glue you find at the craft store — to avoid damaging your nails. You can also pick up lots of glitter while you’re there, because why not? Glitter.

A pro tip, though: Keep that sparkly stuff relegated to the nails only. Dermatologist Dr. Marc Levin of Advanced Dermatology Associates sternly warns against ever putting glitter near your eyes: “Anything with glitter, fumes, and dyes should be kept away from the face.” So, go crazy, kids, but keep the crazy on your nails and away from your skin.

Sulyn Glitter, $2.99, available at Walmart.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Beauty Storage
This last suggestion won’t really change your beauty look in any way, but it will make your makeup game much more organized — and your life easier as a result. It’s time for spring cleaning, and by that, we usually mean “spending hours browsing Pinterest for storage and organization DIYs that we'll never end up doing.” If the motivation to actually do this ever shows up, however, the arts-and-crafts store has everything you need for an overhaul of your messy vanity.

Hooks (to hold things like eyelash curlers), magnets, and small glued-on containers can be used to store makeup on the wall. To make this aesthetically pleasing, use a colorful or patterned fabric as a background, and grab a pretty frame that will make your makeup collection look like a work of art. If you’re feeling decidedly lazier than all that? Feel free to just grab a bunch of cute woven baskets and some clear, glass jars.

Ball Regular Mouth Quart Jars, $9.99, available at Target.
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