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Look Expensive Without Breaking the Bank

What busy mom doesn't want to look like a million bucks without taking out a second—or third—mortgage to do so? With so many tempting (read: costly) goodies on the market, it's sometimes tough to know when to splurge and when to leave that gorgeously wrapped package on the shelf. After all, no mom wants to wonder if she should sacrifice Jimmy's new shoes or Janie's ballet tutu for an arsenal of pricey products.

In her new book How to Look Expensive, author Andrea Pomerantz Lustig says you can get that luxe look without actually blowing your credit limit. Here's how.

What Does It Mean to Look Expensive?

Looking expensive is different from looking rich, and I make that distinction in the book. It all relates back to modern beauty. The idea is to look like you take care of yourself and know what you're doing, not like you spent a fortune on yourself at a fancy salon. It's luxe, not loud; more Paris, France than Paris Hilton! Looking expensive isn't all about spending a fortune. It's about developing an eye and learning the techniques to make yourself look beautifully luxe.

When Can Women Save on Beauty Products Without Sacrificing Their Look?

Honestly, I think it's more about knowing what to do, educating yourself, developing both the taste and the techniques of classy, classic makeup and hair that makes you look good—not what you spend on beauty products. Once you have the know-how and know what to look for, you can find great products at any price point.

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Is There One Thing Women Should Splurge On?

I'm a big fan of NARS Orgasm stick ($39); it works for most women, and it's just the secret to that glowy, expensive skin look you see on celebrities and in magazines. I did find a good duplicate for it—NYX Cosmetics Tango in Merengue Flush ($10). I use it over my regular blush on the apples of my cheeks for an expensive looking glow.

I also think a great lipstick you can pull out of your bag, slick on and feel fabulous is a good investment. I have a list of 10 shades, what I call "blue chip lipsticks" in the book, shades that are classic, look good on lots of women and have stood the test of time. Like a blue chip stock, an investment in one of these lipsticks pays off. They are the shades celebrity makeup artists tell me they go to again and again when making up the stars, regardless of the trend of the season. They just make you look and feel great, like Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Crème Lip Colour in Paris ($33) or Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Pink ($24).

If You Had a $50 Beauty Budget, and Needed to Stock up on as Much as You Could, What Would You Buy?

I'd buy a serum from the drugstore like Olay's Regenerist Serum ($19), a multi-tasking BB Cream, like Garnier's Skin Renew Miracle Perfector ($13), rouge cream blush from NYX ($7), L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black ($7), and Nivea Kiss of Cherry ($3, available in select stores), for a complete look.

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