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A cheapskate’s guide to looking good for less

There’s a product blowing up my newsfeed like never before: Younique’s Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.

If you’re a female and you’re on Facebook, you’ve been flooded with your friends’ breathless testimonials. You’ve seen 100 selfies showing the difference between what their eyelashes looked like before and after trying the miracle mascara.

And it does work! I’ve tried it myself. Lashes go from barely visible to Kardashian-level enormous in just a couple of swipes. But it also costs $30, and you have to use it in addition to your own regular mascara.

If you’re more of a $6 Maybelline type of gal, you can get the same effect without spending another cent. Trust me, it’s something I’ve done for years.

With Fiber Lashes, there’s a three-step process. You start with a layer of your own mascara, add a coat of the “transplanting gel” (which looks just like regular mascara) and a layer of “natural fibers” while the gel coat is still wet. The natural fibers are these dry, little flaky things that you apply with a regular mascara wand (and get everywhere, including in your eye, if you’re not careful). Then you seal them up with another layer of the gel.

The Discount Diva method is very similar. All you have to do is crimp your eyelashes with an eyelash curler, put on a coat of mascara and, while it’s still wet, dust some powder over your lashes with a brush. Any powder will do: eye shadow, face powder, baby powder – probably even doughnut powder, which I’m surprised I never tried. Then add another layer of mascara. When it’s dry, curl your eyelashes again.

You can repeat the process as many times as you want, depending on where you’re going. I used to do five coats when I first started dating my husband!

Here are some more of my favorite tricks to pay less for beauty products:

• Recycle and get free stuff. MAC will give you a free lipstick when you return six empty MAC cosmetic containers. Return 10 empty Kiehl’s containers and they’ll give you any 2.5-ounce travel product free. Lush will give you a free Fresh Face Mask when you return five “black pot” containers.

• Skip sponges. Pros use those little wedge sponges, but they suck up more liquid makeup than actually gets on your face. If you’re too squeamish to use your fingers to apply liquid foundation, try using a brush instead. You’ll be surprised how much further your makeup will go.

• Keep compacts intact. I don’t know about you, but as soon as any of my pressed blushes or eye shadows get to a certain point, they end up breaking apart and dusting everything in my makeup bag with an annoying, multicolored mess. But my friend Gina showed me how to put a cotton ball or a cotton round inside the case before I snap it shut. I haven’t had a problem since.

• Lacura. ALDI sells skin care and cosmetics that are really cheap and really good. If you don’t believe me, Google reviews of the Lacura line. Yeah, ALDI is not the most glamorous place to buy your makeup, but they use the same ingredients you’ll find in all the most expensive stuff at Sephora.

• Salvage dried-out nail polish. My sister taught me to add a couple drops of acetone nail polish remover, close the bottle and shake. Works like a charm.

Got tips or questions? Email or tweet @discountdivasam.