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MOM'S ESCAPE: The Marvelous World Of Makeup

Need a little pick me up? How about a pretty lip gloss? Night on the town? How about a smoky eye and some bold lips? Make-up can be fun, simple and even affordable. Patch will give you tips on some freebies, too.

As a busy mom, my makeup routine has changed significantly. Unless it's a special occasion, I don't spend much time on it.

A slap of mascara, a dab of blush, and a smack of lip gloss and I am pretty much out the door.

However, despite my speedy routine, makeup is fun. When time allows, I love playing with different colors, trying new products,  and spicing up my look.

I also enjoy freebies and a great deal.

You too? Thought so. Let's get started.

Be realistic. Are you a make-up fashionista? Or a person who likes simplicity? Are you willing to spend the time to craft a more elaborate look or do you prefer the 5-minute or less routine? Besides time, how much money are you willing to invest on products? Do you know your skin type (sensitive, oily, dry)? Knowing how your skin reacts is critical.

Once you have a realistic idea of what you want to do, your skin type,  and how much you are willing to spend, you're on your way.

Research. Think about your budget and check out different brands online. One of the very best websites and beauty retailers online is Sephora (and we have an added bonus: the Tacoma Mall has a Sephora store you can visit as well).

The Sephora website gives you detailed information on each beauty brand, who's behind each brand, and accurate product reviews. Want to go green? Sephora has a large selection and a great deal of information on green and natural products suited for every budget.

Try before you buy. Once you've got an idea about brands, try it out. Sephora in-store product samples are ample and you are allowed and encouraged to give make-up a test run. Nordstrom at the Tacoma Mall has terrific make-up counters with nice customer service and knowledgable staff. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Take advantage of freebies. When you make a purchase from Sephora, you always get to choose three free samples. If you join their Beauty Insider program (it's free!) you earn rewards points that can be redeemed for exclusive and larger samples, other products, and you get a free beauty gift on your birthday.

At Nordstrom, you can get a makeover and/or a make-up consultation/instruction, all at no cost. Nordstrom also has special beauty events where you can get some freebies and save on the featured products. There's no pressure to buy--just come and learn. See their website with the link above for more details.

Don't shy away from drugstore brands. Some people think that only the expensive products work best. That's not true. Some of the highest rated products (like Maybelline mascara) come directly from the drug store counter at a sweet price. While some stores have testers, it's not quite as easy to take the product for a test drive, so do a little research. In Style Magazine features it's steals and deals section that gives great reviews on products you can buy at a store near you.

A word on expensive brands. Some of the expensive brands (Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.) really do have superior staying power and last a long time. They are investments though. Personally, I like to mix things up (higher end with drug store brands).

Check out the video below for some quick routines using a range of products.

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