Before I started reading reviews of makeup, skin and haircare I found the choices at the drugstore overwhelming. I buy both high-end name brand items as well as drugstore items but I used to only shop at the drugstore for stuff. Part of the reason why I started liking Sephora better is because you are more likely to find quality items whereas I found my drugstore makeup shopping was so often hit or miss. I was wasting money on stuff I couldn’t try first that ended up not working out. The cost and the inconvenience was adding up. I just happen to have tried a lot of different brands as well as read a metric ton of reviews so I have some tips to share.
I’ll start with something I would have never tried if it weren’t for the great reviews on beauty blogs- Wet N Wild makeup! I remember WnW as being play make-up, something for kids and teens more than something I would want to buy and use but they have undergone quite the brand makeover. Like most drugstore brands not everything will be great but the standouts of the line are the Color Icon shadows & palettes, their natural face powders & their blush especially the Color Icon Blush. They are one of the least expensive lines in the drugstore.
The best lipsticks I’ve found at the drugstore are L’oreal Color Riche Lipstick, Revlon Color Burst, Revlon Super Lusterous, Covergirl Queen Collection and Maybelline Moisture extreme. They all have good color payoff, are non-drying and come in an array of colors and finishes.
As far as lipgloss goes, Revlon seems to nail it with every line. They offer many types of glosses and so far I haven’t found one I don’t like. The only complaint I have is with their Color Stay Mineral Lip Glaze only because it has a light plastic smell and taste-some shades are worse than others. If you are looking for a sheer gloss to just add a bit of shine to your lipstick without overpowering it, CG wetslicks are great and inexpensive. Milani makes a nice sparkly gloss called 3d Glitzy Glamour Gloss (silly name, great gloss!) L’oreal Infallible 16hr gloss is great too. It doesn’t last 16 hours (what does??) but the colors are true and it has decent staying power.
Just a broad hint to those looking for bright colors at the drugstore. I have seen some that look bright and enticing but you get them home and it’s so disappointing (Cover Girl,Jane!) but one little thing- try eye shadow from lines aimed at women with darker complexions. Usually they are more pigmented in order to show up properly. There’s usually a wider selection of dark colors in the lipsticks too!
As an overall decent brand, Milani scores high on my list. They have lots of fun edgy colors. Their eyeliners are all amazing- I use them regularly and their Liquif-Eye pencils actually rival Urban Decay’s 24/7 liners. Their shadows go on a bit sheer, but so far that’s my only complaint. Check them out next time you crave a makeup fix!
Eye Liners & Mascara- I am never disappointed by L’Oreal’s liquid eye liner or mascara. They offer the blackest blacks and some great formulas but you will be paying the price. I don’t like to spend much on drugstore makeup when for $5 more I can get something from M.A.C but L’oreal’s Liner Intense liquid liner in Carbon Black is one of the best liquid liners I’ve ever used. They make a mean mascara as well. Cover Girl Lash Blast, the original in the fat orange tube is a good mascara you can swipe on quickly that won’t make your lashes spidery and won’t clump or over-deposit product. Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara is decent but you need to be careful when applying- wipe the brush off and get any extra mascara off before swiping it on. I always brush my lashes after using this too but then it looks great! Rimmel makes good mascaras, lip liners, and their moisture renew lipstick line is good. Cover Girl liquid last liner pencils are another Urban Decay 24/7 rival- they are creamy and smudgeable and once they set they stay put.
I will flat out tell you I do not love any drugstore foundation. Foundation is one of the most important things you put on your face and it’s what people notice when they look at you. I think the cheaper stuff works best if you have normal skin, no problems and a nice complexion minus things you’d want to cover. Then you could probably use anything but the fact is, many of us have some skin woe. If you have dry skin then not using a primer and wearing whatever costs $6 at Rite-Aid is going to highlight your flaws, look flakey, cakey and just not right. You can’t try before you buy and you’re usually paying at least half of what a decent foundation would cost anyway. I cannot stress enough how “worth it” a good foundation is. I understand we can’t all afford it though so if you are buying drugstore one of the safest bets is Revlon. Both their Color Stay and Photo Ready formulas are pretty good. They are even better with primer underneath. If those two are good then they probably make others that are decent but I don’t have personal experience with them. L’oreal True Match has the most extensive choice of color but their liquid foundation looked horrible on me. It aged my skin and the coverage wasn’t to my liking either. Their powder is great though. It’s not cheap but it’s possible to get it on sale or with a coupon.
Things to avoid- Maybelline Blushes, the darker shades of Rimmel’s moisture renew lipsticks, Jordana lip liners, Cover Girl Cheekers blush, Covergirl single shadows, Covergirl foundation. I find a lot of Cover Girl and Maybelline lacking in quality.
Neutrogena, Almay and Physician’s formula make nice natural makeup for people with sensitive skin. Physician’s formula gel eye liners are worth picking up. Almay loose powder is fab.
I usually purchase my skincare items from the drugstore. I’m such a color addict that I hate spending gobs of money on a cleanser from Sephora- I’d rather buy a bright shadow and get my cleanser for $5 at Walgreen’s which is silly because the better you take care of your skin the better makeup will look. Anyhow I have engaged in much trial and error in this area. I have found that one brand that never steers me wrong is Garnier. Their Moisture Renew line is amazing- You’ve heard me rave about their gel cream moisturizer but their cleansing foam rocks too. I will skip ahead a bit here and say that they are great for hair products as well. Their shampoos, conditioners and styling products all come closer to achieving what they claim to do than any others that I have tried.
Makeup remover is not something I think you need to spend a lot of money on. I have a bottle of Lancome Bi-Facil that I love for taking off waterproof or heavy eye makeup and I even use it to clean my eye brushes sometimes but I use a noname brand for regular everyday light makeup removal. Wal-Mart’s Equate brand facial cleansing cloths come in these double packages which last a long time if used daily and work great for a quick clean-up or to get light makeup off before properly washing your face. Wipes like that are great for after workouts!
I already wrote about the ingredients to look for when buying skincare products for acne or combination skin. I don’t think the brand matters so much as the ingredients in the products as for what you need specifically for your type of skin. If you need something with 2% Salicylic Acid there are about 15 different products from different brands where that is the main ingredient, so I have no opinion on brands when it comes to that stuff.
I already mentioned the greatness of Garnier. If Garnier doesn’t have what you need, Tresemme or Tigi probably do. I am a huge fan of Tresemme styling products such as their shine spray, heat protector, curl creme and hairsprays. Tigi (the Bed Head people) make some great stuff but it’s a little pricey. You can find some TiGi dupes in the Got2B line. Got2B has some spray products that are great when you need big, and I mean BIG hair. If you were, say, wanting “scene” hair you would reach for Got2B glued freeze spray in the big yellow can. They do some hair-friendly glue type stuff for punky spikes and such. I remember guys I knew using actual glue in their hair- luckily, you can buy stuff for that now that’s much better for your hair than Elmer’s.
So, how about you? Do you shop drugstore cosmetics? Any finds or fails you can share?
I have some lots of swatches and reviews coming up! Lots of indie companies including DreamWorld, Meow and Evil Shades! Fyrinnae too ;D