Saturday, March 8, 2014

Drugstore Makeup 2: Holy Grail Products - Lips and Nails Edition

As promised in my previous post about my very favorite drugstore makeup for face and eyes, in this post I'll write about my favorite budget items for lips and nails. Even though I have tried more expensive versions of some of these items in the past, I won't bother trying more expensive versions in the future - they are that good. You won't find any true lipsticks on this list, because I am a bit of a lipstick snob, and have tried many and not liked any. However, I have found a few lip products that are pretty awesome, that I'll buy again and again. As always, all prices below are approximate, depending on where you buy them and what sales/coupons/discounts you find. I have no affiliate links and all products were purchased by me.

Sally Hansen - Invisible Lip Liner
Sally Hansen’s Invisible Lip Liner - $5
I've mentioned this product before, but it bears repeating: if you wear bold lipstick, you should really consider wearing lip liner. And it doesn't have to be expensive. I can't tell you how many women I've seen with their lipstick spidering its way into the fine lines around their mouths. It's...not a good look. Lock that lipstick in place with lip liner, lovely ladies! (I can't resist a little alliteration.) Take 30 seconds to swipe some of this foolproof invisible lip liner around your kisser before applying serious color. It's worth every second - and every penny. The more expensive brands are great too, but - why spend more for a product that isn't any different, as far as I can tell?

Baby Lips, Baby Lips, Baby Lips! This is the Electro line
I'm wearing the shade Pink Shock here

Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Shock - $4
Maybelline Baby Lips is such a popular product, you might even call it a cult hit. Google it and you'll find hundreds of posts about it from beauty bloggers across the globe. There are more than a few women who own massive (and growing) collections of Baby Lips. I won't expound its virtues here except to say that it's cheap, it's not drying, it feels nice, it doesn't smell offensive, and it imparts a pretty hint of color. They release a whole new line of Baby Lips from time to time so there are lot of shades and different formulas to love. Now, most of the shades really don't even show up on me so they're not worth even the minimal price tag. But Pink Shock, from its Electro line (shown above), does give me that promised hint of color. Just enough to perk me up, but not such so bold that I need lip liner or even a mirror to apply it. You might call it my MLBB (My Lips But Better) shade. It may not be for everyone, but for me it's the everyday lippie I keep in my purse for on the go application. If this color is too shocking for you, I'd hazard a guess that they make a color more to your liking.

Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain - the entire product line

Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain in Cranberry Crush (left) and Tropical Frenzy (right)
Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain - $3
This may appear to be lipstick in my photos above, but it's really not quite. Balm stain is a pretty good description, actually - it feels like a balm on (while not actually moisturizing to me, it's not drying, either). Its shiny finish lasts for hours, and then the darker shade in particular leaves behind an nice stain. These seem to be modeled after (or a knock-off of) the mega popular Revlon Balm Stains. However, I tried several of the (admittedly gorgeous) Revlon shades, and found them to be terribly drying - my lips hurt for days after. Not everyone has this reaction to the Revlon Balm Stains, but personally I strongly prefer the Jordana, which is actually half the price of the Revlon anyway. The Jordana Twist & Shine definitely has more color than the Baby Lips; I do use a mirror to apply it.  I really, really like both of the colors I have: Cranberry Crush (a dark, bright, pinky-purple berry shade) and Tropical Frenzy (a light, bright, hot pink). With eight colors in the line-up, you could probably find a shade just right for you. I realize that Jordana is not the easiest drugstore brand to find. Locally, I can only find it at Walgreens. I don't have a Kmart nearby, but they carry the Jordana brand as well. 

Northern Lights Hologram Top Coat

Wearing Northern Lights indoors (left) and outdoors (right)
Northern Lights Hologram Top Coat - $6
This little bottle does two amazing things. First of all, it's a quick-drying top coat - paint this over layers of wet polish, and it dries within minutes. Paint and go. I have on four coats of polish in the above photos - base coat, two layers of Essie's Play Date (a creamy lilac), and one coat of Northern Lights. I waited only seconds between each (thickly applied) coat. Just a few minutes after applying, I was typing away on my computer, and maybe a quarter hour after that, I was in the kitchen preparing a meal. Readers, I didn't get a single dent or smudge in my polish. And the second amazing thing? It is sparkly, glittery, holographic rainbow gorgeousness. My photos really cannot do it justice. You will have to take my word for it; this stuff turns ho-hum flat nail polish into something really special. It IS noticeable in real life, and it WILL bring you compliments. Best of all, unlike nearly-impossible-to-remove glitter polish, this comes off just like regular nail polish. You won't be picking off bits of glitter for days after removal, like I do with every glitter nail polish I own (I'm getting rid of them all in my next makeup purge!) Northern Lights Hologram Top Coat is all I need.

Do you have any favorite or holy grail drugstore makeup products for lips and nails? Do share in the comments below!


  1. Great two posts of recommendations, Karen! Really enjoying the blog. <3

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jill! I really enjoy yours too. :)