Get the Cheaper Stuff: When to to Buy Discount Beauty

Now that you know where to spend a little extra money, let’s talk about where not to. The divide in quality between drugstore and department store brands isn’t so wide anymore (hello, Olay Pro-X!), so save where you can in these few key categories where I’ve found that it really doesn’t matter.

Mascara: CoverGirl LashBlast

I’ve always been a fan of drugstore mascara – it’s what you’d find both in my professional kit and in my bathroom. While the Maybelline pink and green might be a fav of some, I stick with CoverGirl for all things mascara. LashBlast’s fat tubes are all the rage for a reason – they’re great formulas that wear so well you don’t need to get those impossible-to-scrub-off waterproof formulas that should be a measure of last resort purchase. The one in the orange tube is fine, but I like the purple one – Fusion as it’s called – for a really long, defined look that I can layer on over and over without clumping. For around $9 or so, it’s a third of what some department stores mascaras are and every bit as good. If CoverGirl doesn’t light your fire, check out what Maybelline, Revlon, and others have to offer, you’ll find a $10 formula you love guaranteed.

Long Wear Lipstick: L’Oreal Infallible

Brides are always surprised when I tell them to grab a drugstore brand lipstick for touching-up on their big day. L’Oreal Infallible is one of the best long-wearing lip formulas out there. It stays put a crazy long time without fading, feathering, or getting all globby. It isn’t bulletproof, but I’d say only one touch-up during the day is all you need after your first morning application. Not bad for $12.

Eye Liner: NYX

Love M.A.C’s Liquidlast? Grab NYX Studio Liquid Liner for $4 – a big savings over M.A.C’s $17.50 especially because they both stay as long and have vast color selections. A powder shadow is perfect for those who can never seem to draw on a decent liner shape because it’s so simple to use, Smashbox has one for $22, as does NYX for $6. Same packaging, same applicator, and the same great result. NYX has a liner selection that I adore, most priced less than $10 and all stack up big time against higher priced counterparts.

Brow Powder: Any Line Will Do

Right now I’m using a light taupe mineral shadow for my brows just because I have it laying around. Before that it was this $4 Ardell Brow Defining Powder, but it really doesn’t matter. Yes, a brow-specific color is the best bet since color correctness is key, but as long as you get the shade right you can use any powder you have on hand to get the job done.

NYX Cosmetics Eyebrow Marker

NYX’s Eyebrow Marker is genus. This soft tipped pen allows you to mimic the effect of hair and fill in sparse patches easily with an all-day smudge resistant formula. It’s best suited for those with somewhat full brows already, and not to be used to draw on large areas of hairless skin unless you’re into that old lady exaggerated brow look. I found it to be surprisingly easy to use and the ‘Medium’ shade is so neutral in color that it suits most brows. Compare its $10 price tag to the $21 Anastasia’s Brow Pen and it makes an even sweeter deal.

Anastasia Brow Enhancing Serum

I can’t directly vouch for Anastasia’s Brow Enhancing Serum because without a regular waxing, I look like this

Photo courtisy of the
..but harrier (and blonde.)
But just because I don’t need some extra lovin in the brow region doesn’t mean I don’t know what works for bald brows. I always recommend Anastasia’s Brow Enhancing Serum because of its solid reputation for growing in even the barest brows that have been sans hair for years. Just remember to be consistent and patient, it can take 6 weeks to notice new growth but it will happen.

Anastasia Brow Enhancing Serum

Brow Grooming in Seconds; Ardell Trim and Shape Grooming Tool

I worked with a girl on a shoot recently who had some pretty unruly brows. They were so crazy that our introduction went something like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Carissa. Holy brows.

Her: Yeah, I know. I didn’t pluck them today.

Me:  Today? Those brows haven’t seen a tweezer since 2009.

Harsh, yes, but true and she forgave me. It’s all about the delivery I think.

Lucky for her I always carry my trusty Ardell Trim and Shape Grooming Tool, a brilliantly designed straight edge razor that delivers a precise mini-shave to small areas of hair like brows or your lip when tweezing would take too long. It isn’t too sharp either (in fact I thought it was dull at first) so it doesn’t give you razor burn by shaving too roughly.

They come in a pack of 3.

I told you she forgave me, she let me take this pic. Check out her right brow which I cleaned up in seconds versus the left side.

I like having these around not to replace tweezing, but for a quick fix when you’re heading out the door and you see a mysterious hair patch has sprouted up overnight.

Natural Looking Brows: MAKE UP FOR EVER Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector

Once you start adding color and shape to your brows, you won’t leave the house without doing it. Although I have full brows (technically ‘brow’ but it’s regularly shaped into two), adding color and definition to them ranks up there in importance equal to mascara. It polishes the face and anchors your eyes, but I’m not talking drawn-on old lady brows so ditch you can ditch the pencils.

MAKE UP FOR EVER has a genus little tube of waterproof brow cream that darkens the skin behind the brows as well as the hairs for a more natural, filled in look. You just need the tiniest amount and a few times using it under your belt to wonder how you ever lived without it.

You can check it out at Sephora online right HERE

Stumble It!

Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil

Women are particular about two things; lashes and brows. Many women in my chair won’t even let me remove the color they’ve applied on their brows which is usually too dark, thick, and uneven. Once I coax them into letting me shade their brows, I hand them a mirror so they can watch how natural looking brows are applied. It’s not entirely their fault though, some pencils are just too fat and messy for the job making precision impossible.

Diorshow’s Brow Styler is a retractible pencil that doesn’t need to be sharpened, its tip remains the same fine rounded point throughout usage that allows you to easily fill in sparse brows without the possibility of over-doing it.  The tip is so fine that you’ll even be able to mimic small hairs instead of just drawing over the area with color giving a much more natural looking result.

$28, 1 Shade, Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s

Dior Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil

Stumble It!