Six Miss Louisiana Lessons That Save Me Time and Money as a Single Mom

I was taught how to do my makeup once when I was 17 by my mentor Carley McCord Ensminger. I still do my makeup the exact same way with almost all the same drugstore products at 25. In my years competing for Miss Louisiana, I learned how to go from no makeup and wet hair to stage and television ready in under an hour. When you learn the basics, not a lot needs to change as time and events change.

Here’s a few guidelines I stick to that save me time and money as a single mom that I’ve carried from my pageant days:

1. Keep it simple

My friends are always surprised when they see how small my makeup stash actually is. It all fits in a pretty compact case in the corner on my counter. There are no elaborate, clear, Home Edit worthy organizers in sight.

I think of makeup the same way I do clothes: less is more. I firmly believe it takes way longer to decide what to wear or apply in the morning when there is a ton of stuff in front you. Figure out what actually looks good on you and get everything else out of the way. I don’t do makeup subscription boxes or anything like that unless they’ve been gifted to me. I’m all about trying new products for fun when they’re free, but I don’t spend my own money doing so!

The internet is filled with awful hair and makeup tutorials these days. It’s so hard to get to anything good. If you’ve never been properly taught how to do your hair and makeup, call your hairstylist or a makeup artist that a friend can recommend and book some time with them. I know several makeup artists that charge about $60 for an hour of their time to teach you how to use what you already own… and I know so many friends that would instead choose to buy a couple of new $30 Anastasia products. Chose wisely!

2. Don’t give in to trends

Unless you genuinely enjoy it! I will say that most women I know end up disappointed when they buy the new $20 highlighter or eyebrow pencil that’s all over Instagram just to walk around during the day self-conscious as to if they used it correctly or not.

A couple of months ago I almost jumped on the hair crimping bandwagon. Thank goodness I tried my friend’s first and quickly realized it was not for me. I looked like a really pathetic attempt at a Lizzie McGuire Halloween costume. I know that if I had bought one and realized it didn’t work for me, I would’ve tried it every morning (frying my hair in the process) out of obligation to the money I spent.

3. Stick with what works

I’ve been using the same brand and style curling irons, hairbrushes, makeup brushes, etc. for years. My mom got me all of the makeup brushes I have now for Christmas when I was 15. I’ve been doing my best to take care of them this whole time and it has paid off.

It’s tempting to buy new things when said things go on sale, but there’s always a learning curve involved. Why bother?

4. Stop washing your hair so often

I can’t believe so many women are washing their hair every day or every other day. There’s some adjusting to be done and tricks to be learned when you start only washing your hair once a twice a week, but it is so worth it.

You’ll save so much time on washing and drying. Invest in some Velcro rollers (helps with volume with dirty hair without putting heat on it), get some dry shampoo, and learn how to do a messy bun. Your hair will thank you for it!

5. Utilize the clearance section

For things you’re less picky on, but still want to keep good quality products for, utilize the clearance section. When I’m running out of shampoo or conditioner, I run to Ulta and go straight to the clearance section and grab whatever high-quality brand they have marked down to $8-$10.

I don’t switch up many things, but I do not mind changing some of my hair stuff if it means getting products that are good on my hair for a third of the cost.

6. Get a professional’s opinion when it comes to skin health

I worked for a dermatologist for a few years in college and learned so much! While in the future I plan to make frequent trips there, I did learn that you can take good care of your skin without dishing out much money.

It is 100% worth getting a professional’s opinion when it comes to the health of your skin. Going to a normal office visit with a dermatologist or booking a consultation with an aesthetic dermatologist will go a long way.

Explain that you’re looking to get in a good routine for your skin type on a budget. Let a professional tell you what works and what does not. In my years in that environment, I learned that putting on your sunscreen every day will help you a lot more than any of those trendy charcoal masks! I guarantee that setting up a visit with a professional will pay for itself because you’ll have the knowledge to prioritize and not fall victim to advertising.


Deon Sumer
Hi, I’m Deon! I grew up in Zachary, Louisiana. I am currently attending Southern University Law Center part-time, where I am also a teaching assistant, with the intention of practicing family law. I work full-time at the East Baton Rouge Law Office of the Public Defender as a secretary. I had my daughter, Evelyn, in the fall of 2018 and am engaged to an amazing, supportive man named Ryan. I love traveling and exploring new places. A plane ticket to anywhere with a rental car waiting for me is a solid vacation. I have a degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in political science from LSU. I have a rescue dog at home and love helping with animal welfare efforts. My daughter’s first word was dog (or ‘gog’). I'm also always looking for ways to join the fight against Louisiana's domestic violence epidemic. I spend the majority of my free time gardening or wandering around our neighborhood with my family.


  1. “High quality” shampoo isn’t the best for your hair. Most have sulfates or silicone still. You’re better off getting Love Beauty and Planet or Maui Moisture shampoo. Way better for your hair than Redken or Biolage.

    The “name brand” means nothing.


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