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.