Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Drugstore Makeup: Holy Grail Products - Eyes and Face Edition

I am not averse to spending a bit of money on fabulous beauty products. The bulk of my makeup collection leans towards the department store brands. However, sometimes there is a cheaper option that does the job as well as the premium products. I've compiled a list of my very favorite drugstore makeup items. With these "holy grail" products, I have no interest in purchasing the comparable but much more expensive brands. Prices listed below are approximate; it will depend where you purchase them and what sales are going on.

Top to bottom: Aqua, Blue, Purple, Black
Milani Liquid Eye Liquid Like Eyeliner Pencil - $7
My love affair with eyeliner began in middle school, and it's never wavered for even a moment. I have always felt like my blue eyes simply disappeared without eyeliner, and now that my hair is lighter, it's never been more true. When I started wearing eyeliner in my early teens, I wore my mother's cast-offs or whatever my allowance would allow at the drugstore that week. After trying virtually every drugstore brand and never really finding one I loved, I turned to upscale brands. Clinique, MAC, Stila, and especially Urban Decay make some great eyeliners. However, based on advice from several beauty blogs, I tried one particular drugstore liner - and I was hooked. Milani Liquid Eye is as good as or better than the more expensive brands. I prefer the twist-up model, as linked and pictured above, but there is also a sharpenable version (I realize "sharpenable" is not strictly a word, but you know what I mean) if that's your thing. I do own one of the sharpenable pencils, in Aqua, only because it is a gorgeous color and not available in a twist-up version. In twist-up, I have Blue (almost navy with a hint of sparkle), Purple (blackened, metallic, sparkly, and plummy), and Black (SUPER black). I swatched each of my pencils on my hand in the photo above. Either style (twist or sharpen), you can't go wrong with these soft, highly pigmented, and long lasting eyeliner pencils. You can order them online, but the only brick-and-mortar drugstore where I have found them is CVS. At least once a month, CVS runs a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale.

Monistat Soothing Care Power Gel (as a face primer) - $6
I know what you're thinking. "Ewww. I am NOT putting va-jay-jay cream on my FACE." But - it's really not. It's just a silicone gel designed to prevent chafing in areas that may rub together. There is nothing resembling medicine in it. However, the beauty blogosphere has discovered another use for it: Face primer. Apparently, the texture, results, and ingredient list bear a very close resemblance to Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, which is six times the price for a container that's 50% smaller. I have not pitted one against the other, but many bloggers have. I really have no desire to try a more expensive primer. This one makes my face a much smoother canvas, and I find I can use about half as much foundation (I don't go cheap on that) when I've primed first. My large pores look less large, my skin looks better, and my foundation stays all day.

Zon Cosmedix 24/7 Oil Control Blotting Tissues - Rose Powder - $6
Instead of retouching my oily t-zone with powder all day, I keep these blotting tissues in my purse, my car, my bathroom, etc. They don't build up like powder does, but they remove all traces of oil in seconds, leaving behind the barest kiss of powder. If you really can't stand powder of any kind, these tissues come in plenty of un-powdered versions as well. Personally, I use and recommend the Rose Powder, or if your skin has a yellow undertone, then the Amber Powder. I have only seen these for sale at Ulta (in store and online), and the name brand is not readily apparent on the packaging. It's only written in small print on the back. I've tried the slightly more expensive Sephora and Boscia brands, but these do the job just as well for less (plus Ulta always has coupons available - if you're not on their mailing list, you can google one and use it at the register or the coupon code box online).

Pink Passion e.l.f. Studio Blush swatched heavily on the left; lightly on the right

e.l.f. Studio Blush - Pink Passion - $3
I'm not a blush fanatic like many beauty addicts are. I just need a wee bit of color on my cheeks to perk me up. I've never bought expensive blush, but I have gotten the likes of Too Faced, LancĂ´me, Clinique, and others as part of a palette or gift-with-purchase. Having tried e.l.f.'s blush for a whopping $3, I can't see any reason why I'd pay more than that for a blush. The bright pink Pink Passion shade may not suit everyone, but surely they have a shade for everyone.
Here I am wearing every item mentioned in this post; the eyeliner shade is Aqua
I hope you'll find something on this list worth trying for yourself. What are your absolute favorite "holy grail" drugstore products for eyes and face? Do share! My next post will be be the "lips and nails edition," so stay tuned!

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