The $30 Makeup Challenge

As beauty editors, we're used to getting a lot of (read: all) of our beauty products gratis. It's one of the perks and necessities of the job. We can't tell you about the best red lipstick for you, and why it's so great, if we've never tried the thing, and purchasing all of the products needed to do a comprehensive review isn't exactly realistic for most people’s salaries. I'd like to meet the person who can buy 50+ lipsticks in one go — I'd really like to hear all about how they made their first million.
So yeah, I've become rather accustomed to getting all of the coolest stuff without the hefty price tag. I realize how spoiled that makes me sound, but it's my reality. Unfortunately, that can leave an editor out of touch with how women actually shop for beauty. Don't get me wrong — there are plenty of drugstore beauty products we all know, use, and love. But our first thought when writing about something is not, How much does it cost? but rather, How good is it overall? and Is it worth the price?
However, I definitely understand the importance of affordability. And you guys have been very vocal about telling us we need to be realistic about the average woman's beauty budget and give you ideas for routines you can actually afford. Well, challenge accepted. Let me introduce you to the $30 Makeup Challenge.
I told my fellow R29 editors to grab everything they needed to create a full makeup look and asked them to wear only those products for a week. The catch? I only gave them $30 each to buy it all. Cue dramatic wails of despair and pleas to opt out. Asking a makeup lover to wear only one shade of eyeshadow is the equivalent of telling a chef they can only make one meal.
But, I forced them to politely requested that they, and I quote, "Suck it up and stop whining." Ahead, our harrowing tales of mascara deprivation — and triumphs of cosmetic creativity.

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