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We all want to look gorgeous, right? But without unlimited beauty budgets, knowing when to save - and when to splurge - may be one of the best beauty investments you can make.

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Bat a lash at a this deal

Those on a tight budget should skip the department store mascara ($25) and mascara base ($30) and opt for Maybelline's XXL Pro Volume Mascara, available in washable and waterproof formulas.

Maybelline's XXL Pro Volume Mascara promises to amp up volume thanks to a dual sided applicator that builds lashes with a primer-like product and then adds color with the mascara itself.

The microfiber base coat delivers on its promise to increase volume while the topcoat serves up intense color that is oh-so-buildable. Best of all, this affordable mascara actually lasts; grab a tube for $7.29 at Target.

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Say yes to the mani for less

We love well-known brands like OPI and Essie, but there's nothing wrong with grabbing a bottle of drugstore nail polish called Sinful Colors.

Available at most local drugstores for just over $2, Sinful Colors comes in a variety of hues, including hot pinks, kelly greens, beachy corals and beyond. These products are long lasting, and chip-resistant, and since so many of us have never seen the bottom of a bottle of nail polish, you can save big while still experimenting with new colors. The collection sells for $1.99 at your local Walgreens.

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Pucker up at the right price

We've tested more than 72 lip liners and believe it or not, a drugstore brand remains our favorite. Milani Easyliner Retractable Lip Liner is a cult favorite that sells for less than $5 at most local drugstores. It goes on smooth, lasts for hours and hours, doesn't fade or feather and never needs to be sharpened.

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Squash greasy hair, save

Whether a bad hair day is caused by too much oiliness or just oversleeping and not having time to wash hair, don't add insult to injury by spending $25 for a department store brand of dry shampoo. Instead head to the drugstore and grab Pssssst Instant Dry Shampoo for about $6. It works wonders at reviving dirty hair or hair that's been slept on, plus it's easier to apply and more effective than pricier department store options.

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Experiment with color ... cautiously

When you've decided to try spring's new purple eyeliner or fuchsia lips for the first time ever, this is the time to head to the drugstore and save on products that are more likely trendy than timeless.

Because, let's face it, the trend that looks amazing on the 6-foot supermodel from South Africa may not work on the rest of us.

Head to your local CVS, which offers up one of the most generous return policies. Called the "CVS/pharmacy beauty guarantee," this chain promises that consumers who are not 100 percent happy with their beauty purchase can get a full refund even on opened merchandise, with a receipt.

- Carolyn Brundage is the founder of, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.