This Actor Gives Her Makeup Tips for Looking Camera-Ready on a Budget

cosmetics laid out on a table surface
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As an actor, I have to take especially good care of my skin so that I look flawless on camera — but because I’m not a famous actor (yet), I can’t break the bank doing it.

Hopefully you can use my budget beauty hacks, whether you’re prepping for a date, a night out on the town with friends or even the red carpet.

1. Know What You Can Spend Less On

Not all makeup products are created equal, but you can (and should) go low-budget on the following items.


I buy my 12-color eyeshadow palette from the 99 Cents Only Store. The color combinations make my eyes pop, while the gold specks in the shadow make my eyelids shimmer.

When I arrived on set to work a few months back, the make-up artist exclaimed, “Wow, your eye makeup is gorgeous!” She had no idea that she was complimenting bargain-basement eyeshadow. #winning


I prefer nudes, soft pinks and other natural tones to adorn my luscious lips. (Yes, I just called my lips luscious.) L.A. Girl makes matte lipstick in an assortment of colors for peanuts compared to what you’d pay at stores like M.A.C.

The L.A. Girl Matte Velvet Lipstick retails for $3.99 at ULTA and $2.99 at


I don’t have a favorite mascara; I buy whichever one is on sale at the drugstore. Currently I’m rocking Maybelline’s Great Lash® Washable Mascara.

You can snag it for $3.99 at Target or for $4.44 on Amazon.

Makeup Cleansing Tissues

I don’t waste money on expensive makeup removal cloths. I use SKINLITE’s tissues, which come in a variety of scents like cucumber and aloe vera.

Buying these locally pays: I pay just $1.99 for a pack of 30 at my local beauty supply store. sells them for $5.45, and Amazon sells them for $6.77.

2. Pay A Little More For Some Products

Having a solid foundation is as critical in beauty as it is in construction work. Please, pretty please don’t cut corners by purchasing a subpar foundation.

A foundation that doesn’t match the color of your skin or that makes you look either ashy or orange hardly reads “starlet.” (Been there, done that.) Buy a quality foundation and be willing to pay a little bit more for it.

I use an all-natural, creme foundation by AJ Crimson, which goes for $35. It’s worth it because it provides excellent coverage, endures the camera’s lights, is water resistant and lasts 18 hours. However, I paid only $24.50 because I went shopping with my makeup artist and received her 30% discount. #winningagain

You can purchase it either at select beauty stores or online.

3. Shop With a Professional

If possible, buy all of your beauty products with a makeup artist or licensed cosmetologist.

Licensed cosmetologists and makeup artists can receive discounts of 10% to 60% on products from many beauty retailers, so you can save on your beauty purchases if you shop with them.

4. Stay Connected

Stay connected with all of your favorite beauty brands and retailers on social media to stay up-to-date on their latest deals.

For example, M.A.C. recently offered free lipstick on National Lipstick Day. Did you get some? Makeup companies like Sephora and Ulta also offer freebies every year for your birthday.

5. Become a Model

If I have to go to an industry event and need to look red-carpet-ready, I get my makeup done professionally by my little cousin, who is a budding makeup artist. Because she’s building her portfolio, she’s willing to do it for free.

Contact your local cosmetology school to connect with students looking for models. They’ll get a model, and you’ll get a professional makeover for free!

6. Take Care of What Your Mama Gave You!

It’s easier to accentuate the beauty of healthy skin than it is to try to cover up unhealthy skin. I keep my skin healthy and mostly pimple-free by eating lots of fruits and vegetables, gulping down tons of water and using organic skin care products.

I use Blu Skin Care, a USDA certified organic skin care line. Although Blu isn’t cheap, I no longer have to buy expensive acne fighting products or pay for pricy cover-up. I also actually wear less make-up now because my skin is so healthy.

I use Blu Skin Care’s USDA Certified Organic Oat-Flax Facial Cleanser ($25.00), their USDA Certified Lemon-E Toner ($40.00) and their USDA Certified Organic Whipped Coconut-Green Tea Moisturizer ($55.00) daily.

The toner and moisturizer last for a long time, so I don’t need to buy them often. But, whenever Blu has a sale, I try to stock up on extra bottles of the cleanser.

7. Do It Yourself Facials

Shelling out for $60 facials can really add up, even if done only quarterly. When I don’t have extra money for a professional facial, I give myself one at home.

I cleanse my face, steam it with a facial steamer and then apply a mask. (If you don’t own a steamer, you can apply a warm cloth onto your face.) Lastly, I moisturize my skin.

Over the years, these tips have saved me thousands of dollars on beauty products and services. This year alone I expect to save at least $500, and I’m ready for any industry event — be it a last minute audition for a commercial, a red carpet movie premiere or an Emmy party.

In her former life, Chanté Griffin taught kids how to make and manage money as the director for a financial literacy non-profit. Today, she teaches herself how to make and manage money as a freelance writer and actor.