Ashley Dawn Rutherford Esq.

Savvy Shopper-At-Law: A Fabulous Summer Makeover on a Budget

Oh! The joys of summer! There’s nothing like a simple, beautiful summer face to perk up your work persona. This column is dedicated to brightening your work week with a subtle makeover for the hot summer months while maintaining your thrifty spending habits.

A Fresh Perspective: I’ve heard many women say “I look better without makeup,” or “I don’t know how to apply it,” or “I don’t think that a lot of makeup looks very professional at work.” You’re wrong. Make-up is necessary. Everyone looks better with a bit of concealer and a little mascara. And you don’t need to be a pro to put your best face forward. The following list is all an amateur needs to create a fresh, summery style.

(1) Base: A base has dual purposes. First, it helps hide any minor imperfections. Secondly, base protects your skin from the sun. The latter is the most important reason to wear foundation, especially in the summer. Even when your face is tan, it is important to apply protection from the sun. Your skin will thank me in five years! Make sure your base has at least an SPF of 15 or higher. I have personally tried the following products and they are both reasonably priced and very effective.

  • Clinique Even Better Makeup with SPF 15It has moderate to full coverage and comes in a variety of colors. It lasts all day. Additionally, at $24.50 it is reasonably priced.
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup with SPF 20 – It is light weight, silky, and comes in 12 shades. At $12.50, it is a great deal.

Or, if you have good skin and just need protection, perhaps try:

  • Cover Girl Smoothers, SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer – When I am in a pinch or running low on cash, this is my go to grab. This moisturizer has just enough color and protection to get me through the day. Also, it is a steal for $7.00.
  • Mary Kay Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 – This is my current summer favorite. It is reasonably priced at $18.00. It comes in six shades, and it lasts forever.

(2) Concealer – We’re lawyers. Long nights, allergies, and too much caffeine all contribute to dark circles. Mine are terrible, so I am the queen of concealer. The following concealers are great:

  • Mary Kay Concealer – It is $10.00 and worth every penny! A little of this goes a long way.
  • Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Maximum Coverage Concealer – This is another of my favorites. It comes in a container with a mirror, which makes it very portable and convenient. (I keep one in my desk for long days). It is a bit pricier, at $18.00, but it will last forever.

(3) Powder – I am not a fan of powder compacts. I prefer a loose powder that I can just dust over my face with a blush brush. These are my two favorites.

  • Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder – It is cheap, $5.99, and it gets the job done.
  • Merle Norman Sheer Face Powder – This has always been my favorite. It is completely translucent, so it can be used year around.      

(4) Mascara – Mascara is necessary. It brings out your eyes, the most important feature on our face. The following mascaras last all day long.

  • L’Oréal Lash Architect Mascara – At $7.00, this is a steal. It never moves, even after a whole day of looking down at documents. (Savvy tip for the shopper-at-law: The company L’Oréal is owned by the same company as Lancome. The products are similar and of comparable quality, except L’Oréal is one-third the price!)
  • Maybelline Great Lash – This is my fallback when I am tight on cash. At $5.00, it is a great deal and works well in a pinch.

(5) Blush – Highlighting your cheekbones really shows off the contours of your face. These two blushes are long lasting and inexpensive.

  • Clinique Soft Pressed Powder Blush in Chestnut – At $18.00, it is reasonably priced, and the color is soft and subtle. It is a perfect office color.
  • L’Oréal True Match Blush in Subtle Sable – It is subtle and it lasts all day. And, for $9.00, it is a girl’s best friend on a budget.  

(6) Light Eyeshadow – Like on TLC’s What Not to Wear, part of my five minute face includes highlighting the best parts of your eyes. Put a bit of highlight on the brow bone, inside and outside corners of the eye.

  • Cover Girl Eye Enhancers in Vanilla – It is cheap, $4.00, and it has a pretty sheen to it. I also keep this in my desk.
  • Mary Kay Mineral Eye Color in Crystaline – It is an icy white that lasts all day. It is $6.50.    

(7) Lip gloss – Shiny or Matte, Lip gloss gives your lips just enough color without overpowering your natural beauty.

  • Sephora Stain and Shine Lipgloss in Coral/Gold – This dual lipgloss has both a lip stain for the day and a shiny gloss for the night. At $15.00, it is a great deal.
  • Merle Norman Moist Lip Color in Light Guava – I’ve been wearing this since I was fifteen. It is simple, shiny, elegant, and can be applied on top of lipstick to create a sexy evening look.

Savvy Tips for the Shopper-at-Law: If applying makeup is new to you, consider going to a department store makeup counter for a makeover. Many department store counters will show you how to apply makeup for free.

If you have never used a product before and intend on spending more than $20.00 on it, ask the makeup counter for a sample. Most counters will provide with three days worth of product to let you see how it works for you.

Last, many pharmacies allow you to return cosmetics that you don’t like. Consider looking for a store that has this policy if you are purchasing a new product that you are not certain will work for you. 



I could not disagree more with this post. 
“make up is necessary”?!  Then why don’t men wear it.  Yes, make up WILL make you look better but please don’t tell people it’s “necessary”.  Some people choose not to focus on appearances, and hurrah for them.
I am not one of those people. But I also know that all those excuses you cited that people give for not wearing it mean one thing: I don’t know how to apply make up. 
To send those people to the drug store to pick out Cover Girl colors is a BAD IDEA.  Your post should have led with your last paragraph: If you have never worn make up but want to start, PLEASE go to a professional make up counter.  Find a woman who looks nice and have her help you.  Have her show you how to apply foundation, concealer, powder and blush. Buy all the right brushes.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Yes, you will have to spend some money.  But it will be worth it.  Once you’re comfortable, you can find good drugstore replacements for your more expensive purchases if you’d like.  But you need to start off on the right foot.


I too think that makeup is a necessity for professional women.  Just like brushing your hair and cleaning your teeth.  While I agree that appearance isn’t everything there are certain minimums and I think that a least a base level of makeup is one of those things.


While I acknowledge that most professional women wear make-up, and that many women think make-up is necessary, I’m not yet willing to concede that it is necessary myself. I think you can look put together and professional without it. Or at least I hope so, because I don’t wear make-up regularly.
Part of the reason is due to allergies. And then partly this is just a reflection of my personality.
I often put on eyeliner and mascara for more formal events like interviews and cocktail receptions, but that’s about it. I have the benefits of youth and relatively clear complexion on my side. And my hair and wardrobe are feminine and conservative.
It bugs me that women would require this of one another.  And it bugs me that we spend so much time being critical of one another’s appearance.

Ashley Dawn Rutherford Esq.

I respectfully disagree and stand by the column. Maybe it is my southern upbringing.  Or, perhaps it is because as women, we are judged by our physical appearance. I do not think it is fair. (In the same way that I do not think it is fair that women are expected  to wear a skirt suit to court.) But, regardless, people notice and they judge you. I do not condone wearing a mask that hides your unique physical features or natural beauty. But, I stand my mascara and concealer.  As for the covergirl comment, a beginner can purchase some things for less. The column is about budget, and I have found that certain over-the-counter products are the same quality for significantly less money. If a woman needs a makeup instruction, go to the counter. But, consider purchasing basic products in similar colors at the pharmacy. It could save a lot of money in the long run, especially if you are strapped for cash in this bad economy.

Write a comment

Please login to comment

Remember Me

Become a Member

FREE online community for women in the legal profession.



Subscribe to receive regular updates, news, and events from Ms. JD.

Connect with us

Follow or subscribe