Makeup: Drugstore Favorites

Over the years I’ve narrowed down my personal makeup arsenal down to a single medium-sized bag of products. Most of those products are from Benefit and MAC, but I also have a few drugstore bargains in my pile of favorites.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that drugstore cosmetics are all of as high quality, or have the same textures as their more expensive cosmetic counter brethren, but there are definitely a few treasures to be found in those aisles. Here are a few of my favorites:

Sinful Colors Bare and Social Ladder

Sinful Colors Bare with Social Ladder on top. It's easy to experiment with new colors when you're only spending two bucks.

Sinful Colors nail polish easily occupies the top spot on my drugstore favorites list. At $1.99 a bottle, it’s hard to pass up even if you don’t know much about it. The wide array of colors — from subtle to bold — will catch your eye in the display stand on the cosmetics wall, and the price tag will likely prompt you to load up. The textures are good, with the more opaque colors being pretty consistently thick and creamy, and the more sheer shades a bit thinner; and the application is comparable OPI or China Glaze. As for staying power, with a top coat I consistently get 5 days of wear without significant chipping. And bonus: it pretty frequently goes on sale for 99 cents, and I’ve seen it as low as 49 cents on occasion.

Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm

Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm in Healthy Blush has become my weekend errand-running lip color of choice.

Buying a tube of Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm was one of my best spontaneous drugstore purchases ever. At the time, I had just started a new project in a client office where the air seemed both warmer and drier than any office I’d ever encountered, and my lips were paying the price. At $8.99, it’s pricier than Chap-Stick, but it’s worth it. It has an almost creamy texture, a hint of sheer color, and SPF 20. It keeps my lips soft and happy, and smells way better than Carmex.

Rimmel London Fix and Perfect Pro Primer

Rimmel London Fix and Perfect Pro Primer makes a great base to create a smooth canvas for your foundation.

If you wear foundation, there’s a better than even chance that you should also be wearing a primer underneath it. At $7.49,¬†Rimmel London Fix and Perfect Pro Primer is a great choice that gets the job done as a basic primer at a much lower price point than its cosmetic counter comparables. (Does anyone love alliteration as much as I do? Probably not.) This one does a great job at “mattifying” (I seriously hate that word), smoothing your skin, and helping keep your foundation in place for longer. I can’t comment on how well it covers normal pores because I have pores large enough to store loose change in, so I have to turn to Benefit’s The Porefessional to get that particular job done, and that’s really not a fair fight for any drugstore product.

NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in Translucent Highlighter and Glow

NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in Translucent Highlighter and Glow makes a great way to set your makeup.

I’ve always had problems finding a face powder that didn’t make me look, well…powdery. Even the “translucent” stuff never really blended well for me. The lovely thing about¬†NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in Translucent Highlighter and Glow, other than its $4.50 pricepoint, is that its combination of colors means that it works with a multitude of skin tones…and it really does seem translucent. It also means that I don’t have to keep a separate highlighter or bronzing powder in my kit, because I can just concentrate my brush on the appropriate parts of the palette to get the effects that I want. I love that kind of efficiency of space!

So, those are my drugstore faves. Now, go forth and play in the makeup aisle of your favorite brightly lit drugstore…and then come tell me about any jewels you uncover for yourself.