Photos: Courtesy of J'Wan Yvette
As a single working mom, I can safely say that finding the time for a makeover always seemed impossible. It got a little more impossible recently, when I took a pay cut to pursue a more fulfilling career as an assistant in my local school district.
My usual hairstyle was a simple ponytail; my makeup routine was an occasional coat of lip gloss. From time to time I would glam it up for a poetry set or the occasional family photograph, but for the most part t-shirts, jeans, gym shoes and a ponytail were my uniform.
When some well-meaning friends told me I looked pretty, but boring, I became determined to find a way to break out of the rut - without breaking the bank.
I began with my hair. Not only do I have an active 10-year-old daughter, but I'm helping my mom as she recovers from open heart surgery. The reality is that I don't have a lot of time, or a lot of money, so I had to find a look that fit my lifestyle as well as my budget. I found both at J&Y Hair Braiding, in the Walker Mill shopping center in Capitol Heights, Md. For only $45 every three to four weeks, I can have my hair done in French braids. For slightly more (around $60-65) I can switch to a simple but elegant cornrow style. The upkeep is very easy - simply wrap at night, and apply styling gel around the edges to prevent flyaways.
Updating my makeup didn't cost much, but it really paid off! To bring out my eyes, I used Kiss New York black eye pencil, which retails at around $2.99. I rarely wear mascara, but when I do I wear Kiss New York black - around $3.99. I find the KleanColor 9 Eye Palette a great choice for eyeshadow. It's very reasonably priced - upwards of $3.99. And finally I found a lip gloss with a good look and a great price - Sephora's Super Shimmer lip gloss, which I found at Sally Beauty Supply about $1.99. These products may have low prices, but they're high quality with great colors. The new, bright colors really woke up my face.
In the clothing department, I found brands like Baby Phat, Apple Bottoms or Pastry Kicks for very affordable prices at Citi Trends. One of my favorite summer pieces is a pair of Baby Phat capris that I bought there for $39.99 - original price $79.99. The new outfits felt like a big improvement over my old jeans and t-shirt look. And if you're a mom, you can find clothes for children and teens as well. There's nothing like one-stop shopping!
Once I started wearing the braids, the new outfits and new makeup, my neighbors and friends instantly noticed the difference. As I returned home from the hairdresser, I heard a collective "Wow!" from my neighbors. Employees at the stores where I shop told me that I looked like a whole new person. So it's possible to look like a million bucks without actually spending a million!
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