I recently replaced almost all of my makeup, and I've slowly been adding new things. This time around, I am really trying to give economical drugstore products a fair shot, and I've been pleasantly surprised by a few of them I've tried. Right now, these are my top recommendations for "saves":
1. Maybelline SuperStay 12HR Lip Stain, ~$6: I have this Maybelline stain in the "Cool Coral" shade, and I've been really impressed with the staying power. No, of course it doesn't actually stay on for 12 hours as promised, but it gets me through coffee drinking until lunchtime, which is more than any other product I've tried. It's a little bit drying, but not too terrible, and easy enough to pair with a gloss. I also really like the slightly spongy wand applicator, as it makes it easy to apply without getting it all over (and thus staining my face). I would definitely put this stuff up against higher priced counterparts like The Balm's Stainiac ($17) and Benefit's BeneTint ($30).
2. Physicians Formula Eyebrightener Multi-Colored Eyelighter, ~$8: I bought this multi-shade eye brightener by Physician's Formula in "Natural Eyelight" on a complete lark, because it was on sale and I had a good coupon that left it under $2, and I was desperate to find something to make me look a bit more awake. And I love it. It doesn't have great staying power, but layered over eye primer it does fine, and the tones work perfectly, making me look not like I am wearing a bunch of shadow, but just like I have slept recently. I've been wearing this a couple of times a week (when I want a less-is-more look) for the last month or so and I am really happy with it.
3. Revlon Age Defying with DNA Advantage Cream Makeup SPF 20, ~$12: I bought this makeup completely by mistake. After Allie recommended Maybelline Instant Age Rewind "The Lifter" at Wardrobe Oxygen, I wanted to try that, but I misremembered her recommendation and bough this similar-looking Revlon product instead. And I really like it! It is not the perfect foundation--I am still on the lookout for that magical product that is full-coverage, but lightweight, doesn't make me look shiny or dry, and doesn't clog my pores or come off on my phone--but it's every bit as good as a lot of the spendier options I've tried, and I prefer it over several of them. I try to use something a bit lighter with a bit more sunscreen on most days this time of year, but when my skin really looks like it could use some help, I reach for this product. I got the "Bare Buff" and it's a good match for my very-slightly-tanned face.
4. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color, ~$4: I've been a huge fan of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish for ages, and I keep coming back to it after I try other things. It goes on smooth, dries fast, lasts well, comes in tons of colors, and is cheap! What more could you possibly want? I've been experimenting lately with higher-end polishes (mostly Julep), and they're also nice, but I still think I like this stuff better. I have it in at least a dozen shades.
5. NYC New York Color Applelicious Glossy Lip Balm, ~$3: I got a tube of this stuff in the "Big Apple Red" color in my Spring FeverVoxBox from Influenster, and I've been amazed at how much I like it. The color is great, subtle, but nice, and it feels so nice on--buttery and soft and moisturizing. The staying power isn't great, but I've yet to find a lip butter/tinted balm that does have good staying power, at any price point. This stuff is absolutely worth the less than $3 price tag, and I'll probably grab a few in other shades the next time I see them and stash them in my car, desk, etc. for touch-ups.
6. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter,~$7: Revlon Colorburst is my other favorite tinted balm, and it's not new--I think I might have posted about it here before, and I know other bloggers, including Allie, have written about how great it is. I've got it in three or four shades--Strawberry Shortcake and Sweet Tart are among them, I'm sure, but I can't think of what else--and I reach for them often. Again, the staying power isn't great, but the lip feel is wonderful and they are just the right amount of color for most days.
As much as I'm enjoying bargain makeup, though, there are some things I still think are worth shelling out for. These are the current winners:
1. Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil, $22: I'm almost certain I've sung the praises of the Sue DeVitt Eye Intensifier pencil before, but I really can't say enough good things about these. I love them so very much. Easy application, great pigmentation, wonderful staying power...they're just my very favorite. I heard a nasty rumor that they weren't being made any more, so I'm seriously considering stocking up. As of right now, I have four colors: Bangalore, Golden Triangle, Surat, and Zaire. The first three are in regular rotation, the last requires some sort of special occasion for me to bust it out.
2. Urban Decay Naked2 Eye Shadow Palette, $50: I was very skeptical of the Urban Decay Naked and Naked2 palettes--$50 for eye shadow?--but I decided to splurge on this one with a Sephora gift card that I needed to spend, and I'm glad I did. Every single shade in this palette is useful, though I am particularly fond of the Foxy (cream bisque with matte finish), Booty Call (shimmering cork), and Suspect (pale golden beige with shimmering finish). And layered over primer, they last all day, looking as if they were just applied. I'm also really glad I chose this palette over the original Naked palette, as I'm pretty sure the last three shades on that one wouldn't have worked for me. I do think, however, that my needs may have been just as well served by the smaller and cheaper Naked Basics palette, as it includes my beloved Foxy and is all matte, and I am really preferred matte eyeshadow lately. I may splurge on that one in the future (it's $27 and includes six shades).
3. Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula, $16: I'm a bit of a picky picky princess when it comes to mascara. It has to be dark black, long-wearing, and have a thin, sparse brush. It can't dry my eyes out. It can't clump. It can't flake. And I am extremely fickle. On my last Sephora expedition, a helpful associate recommended this long-wearing formula with a sparse brush by Clinique, and I've been pretty happy with it. I wouldn't say it's five star, but it's a solid four. It doens't flake much and doesn't end up all over my face by the end of the day, and I feel in control when I'm applying it, so those are definite pluses. I would like a bit more lengthening power, but you can't win 'em all.
4. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Primer + Shadow + Liner, $22: The Stile Smudge Crayon is another long-time favorite. Just like the Sue DeVitt product, it is easy application and great staying power that really put this one over the top. Right now, I have it in Kitten and Smoke, and wear both regularly, though the Kitten is maybe a bit light and frosty for my taste. I'd like to try the Antique.
5. bareMinerals READY™ Touch Up Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $22: This is another product for which I have to thank the helpful Sephora associate. I wanted something to cut down on the shine on my skin without making its way into my nice new wrinkles and making me look dried up, and this mineral powder does the job splendidly. I have it in "Translucent," and it really is colorless. It's gives just enough of a matte finish to cut shine, but doesn't make me look powdery. And it has an extra SPF 15, which I like. This is a product I definitely plan to keep using, and I use it almost every day.
6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Tube, $20: You know how I keep talking about layering things over eye primer? Well, this is the eye primer. There are lots of eye primers, and this one is the best, by almost anybody's assessment. I have the original, which is matte and colorless, and that works perfectly for me, but it's available in several shades now, as well, including gold, matte tawny, and shimmering champagne. To my mind, those would lose you a lot of versatility, but I could see how they'd be useful if you were a dedicated user of one or two shades of shadow--layering the color would probably make the staying power even better. This is definitely a product for which I haven't found any substitute that comes even close.
So there you have it, six cheaper ideas, six spendier ones. What are you wearing lately? Any recommendations?