Friday, October 1, 2010

Five of my favorite drugstore cosmetics

Hi, my name is Rachael Ariella, & I am a total makeup addict.  I have a problem.  I stay up late reading beauty blogs & fantasizing about Urban Decay eyeshadows.  I spend hours loitering in Sephora, much to the annoyance of the salespeople.  I watch hour after hour of makeup tutorials on youtube.  I practice my smokey eyes all evening long until my eyes are red.  I organize & re-organize my makeup boxes.  I go to craft stores just looking for artists' brushes that could be used for makeup.  Like I said, it's a problem...a problem because I can't afford all the makeup I wish I had!

When it comes to cosmetics, I think the saying "You get what you pay for" tends to be true.  I've usually found it to be the case that higher priced makeup is of better quality.  But I'm not rich, which is why I'm always so thrilled when I find some cheap (relatively) but good stuff at a drugstore.  So what follows is a list of some of my favorite cheap buys in makeup.

1.  Covergirl Eye Enhancers eyeshadow
I have a ton of these eyeshadows in my makeup box, & I love them.  They come in a really good range of neutral and wilder colors, & the pigmentation is really pretty good.  They have decent staying power & actually blend nicely, something I haven't always found to be the case with cheaper eyeshadows.  They really come alive though when you get them wet.  I use them all the time instead of colored liner, & they work really well that way.  The color gets really rich & vibrant when you apply it wet, & they are pretty long-lasting too.  It's also really nice that they come in a one-color package.  There's also three & four color sets, but I hate having to buy three colors I hate for just one that I want.  The singles are a good size, & I feel like I'm getting a lot of product for my money. 

2.  Rimmel Soft Kohl liner
I really like this liner for a basic black kohl.  I had gotten some of Rimmel's Exaggerate liner (in Noir) before & it was okay.  It seemed decent when I first put it on but the more I used it the less satisfied I was.  It didn't go on that smoothly & it didn't stay on my waterline for very long at all, but I kept using it because it was the only black liner I had.  Eventually I ran out, & when I went to buy some more I picked up the Soft Kohl by accident.  I was a little mad when I got home & saw that it was a normal pencil that had to be sharpened (I'm lazy), but it is SO much better than the other liner.  It goes on much more easily, it stays on longer, and the colors are richer.  The one thing I do miss from the Exaggerate liner are these little nubby things on the end that are meant for smudging, but I still have a few of them laying around so I just use them with the Soft Kohl (they always fall off the end of the pencil anyway!)  It doesn't come in particularly exciting colors but they have the basics covered. 

3.  Maybelline The Falsies mascara
I'm going to complain about something that I have no business complaining about now:  I have great eyelashes.  They're long, thick, dark, & curl just right.  I often forget mascara because it looks like I'm always wearing it (actually I can't wear it at all on my lower lashes or I look crazy).  What this means, however, is that a lot of mascara does absolutely nothing for me.  When my friends put on mascara they suddenly look totally different, when I put it on there's hardly any change.  & I get tired of looking at my own natural eyelashes!  I want something for the times that I want to look really put-together.  This mascara does that for me.  I had been using Covergirl Lashblast which I still think is a pretty good mascara, but The Falsies does that little bit more.  It really does make my lashes seem extra long and thick, & really, truly black.  The waterproof version doesn't smudge through the day (although it is a little hard to get off at night).  It has this weird curved brush, which I don't really know how to use (I put it on with the outside of the curve pointing up, is that right?) but it works.

4.  Ecotools brushes
Good brushes are super-important for putting on makeup, & these are really good, really inexpensive brushes!  Although it's true that you can just use artists' brushes that come in every shape and size, generally at much lower cost that makeup brushes, Ecotools just feel so nice and soft.  They also seem to be really durable.  I have a set like the one above that has gone through a few cross-country and trans-atlantic journeys with me & is still in almost perfect condition.  I can't think of anything bad about these brushes at all, I love them!  The only problem I've had is finding anything but the set in the picture...although I'm drooling over the kabuki brush that they make (mine is Smashbox and is really rough and scratchy).

5.  Covergirl Outlast, Maybelline Colorsensational, and Revlon Just Bitten lip stains


I was a little hesitant to include these because I've seen them look really terrible on some people.  I'll start out with how well they can work.  My lips are naturally pretty red so a lot of lipstick looks weird on me, & I hate the feeling of wearing lipstick anyway.  I can barely handle lip balm.  So I really like these lipstains.  They add just a little extra color to my lips without being too dramatic, & it feels like I have nothing on at all.  The one downside is that they are a bit drying.  The Revlon version comes with a little pitiful bit of lip balm, but I just put my favorite balm on over the stain.  The color doesn't last for ages, but nor does it leave waxy red marks on every glass & napkin you use.  Overall I like these, & I think all three are of about equal quality.  They all have a similar sweet smell & taste, which I like but might be off-putting to some. 

Here's how bad they can be.  My mother bought one of the Maybelline ones on my recommendation, and it was awful.  For reasons neither of us can understand, parts of her lips would just not take color, and other parts were garishly bright.  The color also ran a bit into the lines around her lips (although not as much as we thought it might).  But she looked crazy, like she got really drunk and smeared lipstick all over herself.  The product is completely unwearable for her.  I've heard similar stories from other people, or that it wears off unevenly so that they end up looking like a clown.  I suspect that it might have something to do with how smooth or dry your lips are.  In the end, if this stuff works on your lips it can be really great, if not it can be a disaster.  I have a few colors of all three brands and I like them, but try them at your own risk!

Honorable mention: eye drops
While not strictly a cosmetic product, I could not live without eyedrops.  I don't often put them in my eyes, though.  Instead I use them to make longer-lasting eyeshadows and eyeliners.  Yes, water works fine too, but I carry a bottle of eyedrops for any time that I can't just use the sink (I also have this fantasy that the eyedrops make the makeup stay on even longer but I don't know if that is really true).  I assume most people know how this works, but you get your brush wet with a drop or two and dip it into your eyeshadow and line away, or apply it for brighter color with more staying power.  You can get (expensive) purpose-made "eyeshadow extenders" but eyedrops are a few dollars for a bottle and you can also use them when your allergies act up.  I consider this an essential.

What about you?  Have you found any awesome products for cheap?