If you want to know how to look expensive on a budget, you’re in for a treat! We’re sharing 18 simple tips you can start using TODAY to step up your hair, makeup, and fashion game. With the right tools in your beauty arsenal, you can fool the world into thinking you spend thousands of dollars on yourself and your wardrobe, and we’re excited to share our best beauty hacks to make you look and feel your best every single day.
5 Ways to Make Cheap Makeup Look Expensive
In order for your makeup products to go on flawlessly, you need to start with a smooth surface, so make sure to moisturize your face morning and night. La Roche Posay offers affordable products for all skin types, and you can find them at your local drugstore. I use Effaclar Mat Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin under my makeup to control shine, and Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment at night to prevent breakouts, and I swear by them! LRP also has formulas for dry and sensitive skin, and options to reduce redness from rosacea as well.
In addition to moisturizing your skin, make sure to prime it before you apply your makeup. This helps fill in pores and smooth things out for easy makeup application, allowing you to use less product to avoid cakey-looking makeup. A lot of YouTubers recommend L’Oreal Paris Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer, and for good reason. It’s lightweight, makes foundation application a breeze, and adds a beautiful glow to your skin without obvious shimmer or glitter. A good eyeshadow primer like Thank Me Later will help prep your eyelids so your eyeshadow looks more vibrant and blends more easily
3. INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
You can have the most expensive makeup in the world, but without the right tools, you won’t be able to apply it properly. A proper set of makeup brushes will ensure even coverage and will help hide blemishes and other imperfections. Using the right brushes will also make it easier to apply and blend your eyeshadow, and will take your brow and eyeliner game to the next level. The Sigma Beauty Essential Kit is a fabulous investment that will last for years, and if you want a cheaper alternative with similar quality, this 18-Piece Morphe Brush Set is a steal!
4. LEARN THE RIGHT APPLICATION TECHNIQUES
Thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube, there are tons of step-by-step makeup tutorials available to teach you how to apply makeup the right way, and most of them are filled with helpful tips and hacks to help you save time. If you want to know to look expensive, take the time to learn the right makeup application techniques for your face shape, and remember: practice makes perfect! If you’re looking for the best step-by-step makeup application tutorials for beginners, we share our favorites HERE.
5. DON’T OVERDO IT
Drugstore makeup products tend to be heavier, which can end up looking cheap and cakey when not applied properly. If you want to know how to look expensive on a budget, make sure to choose lightweight formulas wherever possible, and start with a small amount of product. You can always build as you go – it’s much harder to take product off!
6 Ways to Make Your Hair Look More Expensive
1. DON’T WASH YOUR HAIR EVERYDAY
Washing your hair every day strips it of its nutrients and natural oils, making it look dull. Daily shampooing can also lead to hair breakage, brittle strands, dullness, and dry scalp, so invest in a proper shower cap and a good dry shampoo (Batiste’s original formula is my fave) and try to wash your hair every 2 to 3 days.
2. COVER GREY BETWEEN SALON APPOINTMENTS
If you want to know how to look expensive, make sure to cover your gray hair between salon appointments. I love the Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch Up Spray as it’s super easy to apply when I’m in a hurry, but find COLOR WOW Root Cover Up gives a more natural, just-been-to-the-salon look.
3. USE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
Whether you have super fine and straight hair, thick and frizzy hair, or curls for days, investing in the right products can give the illusion that you spend thousands of dollars on your hair each month. John Frieda’s budget-friendly Frizz Ease products can lock out moisture on humid days, and a good heat protector is a must if you regularly use hot tools on your locks. Another secret I learned from my stylist is to use a finishing shine spray like this one from Moroccan Oil. It enhances the color of your hair and makes it look healthy, while also protecting it from the environment. Oh, and it smells bomb!
4. USE A FLAT IRON
A flat iron is a great tool to use to smooth your hair and make it look healthier and more polished. This is old news to gals like me who prefer to sport straight hair, but if you want to make your curls and waves look extra sleek and beautiful, spend a few minutes straightening the ends of your hair before using your curling iron or wand. Give it a try – you won’t regret it!
5. GET REGULAR HAIR TRIMS
Getting your hair trimmed regularly (at least once every 3 months) is key if you want your hair to look expensive. Trimming your hair will get rid of any split, damaged or broken ends you have, quickening hair growth, rather than hindering it.
6. CHOOSE UNDERSTATED HAIRDOS
My final hair-related tip for those who want to know how to look expensive is to learn a few simple and understated hairdos. Styles that rest at the nape of your neck, like a low ponytail or bun, a simple French twist, or a classic French braid can really elevate your look, making you look elegant and put-together in mere minutes!
7 Fashion Tips to Teach You How to Look Expensive
1. WEAR THE RIGHT UNDERGARMENTS
If you want to know how to look expensive, your undergarments are just as, if not more important than your outfit. Tight bras draw attention to back fat, and tight panties can cause rolls, muffin tops, and cellulite to show through your clothes, making you look unpolished. Take the time to get fitted properly, invest in some spanx, and if you’re wearing an unforgiving fabric, don’t be afraid to ditch your underpants altogether. No one needs to know!
2. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS
Are the buttons on your clothes mismatched or missing? Is your hem falling down? Are your pants and skirts too long or too short? Are your shirts and blouses too tight or hanging off of you? Are your shoes scuffed? Does your outfit need to be ironed? Each of these things seem relatively minor, but if you want to know how to look expensive, the details really do matter. Make sure your clothes are properly tailored and in good working order, and invest in a shoe polish kit and a handheld clothes steamer.
3. TUCK YOUR SHIRT IN
Unless you’re waring a peplum top or a blouse with detail along the hem, tucking your shirt into your pants or skirt will help define your waist, add structure to your look, and make you look dressier and more put together. You can do a full-tuck or a half-tuck depending on how formal you’d like to look, and adding a classy belt can elevate your style even further.
While simple jewelry is great for everyday wear, a pair of pendant earrings, a cool bangle, or a chunky necklace can really pull an outfit together. The trick is not to overdo it – you only need ONE statement piece – and to tailor your picks with your style and body type. Jewelry is one of the few items I allow myself to splurge on as a few items go a long way, but I’ve found lots of great and affordable pieces at thrift shops and boutiques over the years. Stick to heavy, dark metals when choosing statement jewelry so they don’t look cheap, and if you prefer a more understated look, you can never go wrong with pearls and a pair of elegant hoop earrings.
5. SPLURGE ON A STRUCTURED BAG
If you’re going to throw money at one item in your closet, it should be on your handbag IMHO. Popping a classic bag over your forearm can pull together even the most boring outfit, transforming you into a chic goddess. Handbags and purses are one of the first accessories other people tend to notice, so search through your mother’s or grandmother’s collection, visit your local thrift store, or hit up an outlet mall to see what you come up with!
6. OPT FOR A CLASSIC COAT
Another tip for those who want to know how to look expensive is to opt for a classic coat instead of trendy puffers and parkas. This obviously isn’t a realistic option if you live in subzero conditions, but when you do need to make an impression, remember that belted trench coats, black leather jackets, and pea coats never go out of style.
7. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SHOES
My final tip for those who want to know how to look expensive on a budget has to do with your footwear. Shoes really can make or break an outfit, so accessorize accordingly. Make sure they are polished and in good repair, try to match them to your handbag, and remember that pointy-toed shoes can really elevate your look. Rounded-toe shoes make your legs look short and stumpy, while pointed-toed shoes elongate your legs and give the illusion that they are longer than they really are. And let’s face it: they’re so much sexier!
If you’re wondering how to look expensive on a budget, I hope these tips and hacks prove useful to you. Investing in the right tools, learning the correct techniques, and focusing on the details can go a long way in fooling the world into thinking you spend thousands of dollars on yourself and your wardrobe, and we hope these ideas help you feel your best every single day!
This post contains affiliate links.
If you enjoyed these tips to teach you how to look expensive on a budget, please share this post on Pinterest!
And if you’re looking for more beauty-related tips and tricks, please follow our Beauty board where we share all kinds of great ideas we find each day!