The Drugstore Starter Kit
Keeping within last week's theme, I give you a makeup menu covering all basics that won't dent your wallet. These are products I cherish and love, and were I told I couldn't use anything else I'd be more than happy to abide.
Though some of us might feel pressured to buy luxury or high-end, almost no one would be able to tell the difference once these products are applied. Apart from foundations and blushes (though these Milani ones could make me reconsider), drugstore can sometimes outperform luxury offerings. The only difference? The packaging. No, there's not necessarily any oohs and ahs when looking at these produts (though once again, Milani throws my argument out the window) as everything is housed in plastic, but that makes them even more travel friendly. So let's open this kit up and sift through, yes?
First up, because I managed to mention them twice already, is Milani. Their line has some great offerings, but their true stand-outs are their blushes,. Both the Baked Powder Blushes and the beautifully designed regular Powder Blushes offer great pigmentation and are smooth and buttery, making them a dream to apply. The Luminiso blush has shimmer running through it illuminating, as the name fittingly suggest, your cheeks without making you look as though you just left a kindergarten art class (i.e. no giant chunks of glitter). On the other hand, the Powder Blush is matte but offers a natural-looking finish and definitely gives you a run for your money in the pigmentation department. The shade I currently have is Tea Rose, a slightly mauvy pink, but I have my eye on Coral Cove as I think it'll work better with my summer-tanned skin.
For the base, I decided to go with Maybelline's 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector (i.e. BB cream) not only because of sentimental value (it was my first foray into the world of tinted creams and foundations) but also because it's a great product. Though the 8-1 claim is marketing gibberish (I still apply a moisturizer under this) this beauty balm truly helps blurring out imperfections and giving your face a slightly dewy finish. As with most BB creams, the coverage is sheer, however, so it still allows your skin to shine through. This product does go slightly on the pink side, though, so if you have strong yellow undertones this might not be ideal for you, though I find i can get away with it. It also has an SPF of 30, adding extra brownie points, as I consider anything under useless. The result? A perfect summer product.
For lipsticks, drugstores do provide amazing formulas. Revlon's Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in the shade Fire & Ice is one of many. Fire & Ice is a soft 1950's red, and in fact, it's been in existence ever since. This shade was one of Revlon's very first lipstick, and it became so popular that it's become an iconic staple of their brand ever since. This particular red is a classic Hollywood red that stands somewhat in-between warm and cool toned (hence the name) with a very slight orange undertone. A stunner.
NYC's Sunny Bronzer is famous for a reason. First, it's matte, and second, it doesn't make you orange. Yes, it does have warm undertones, which means it's less suited for contouring, but dusted on your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and the high points of your face, it's perfect for a sun-kissed look. The kicker? It's under $4.
Though the NYC bronzer comes with an applicator, I'd toss that baby out immediately (they get gross so quickly and don't apply product well, and instead opt for a Real Techniques brush. I won't go on about them as almost everyone in the world of makeup owns them, but there's a reason: they're great quality, blend products extremely well, and are extremely affordable. My favorites are the Stippling Brush and the Detailer Brush.
My favorite mascara right now that has quickly climbed to the top of my all time favorite mascaras is L'oreal's Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara. I could wax poetic about this product for the next million years. It gives my lashes a romantic, full look to them without being over-the-top. I love that the brush dispenses just the right amount of product so that I never have to wipe off the excess in the tube. You can apply multiple coats for a more dramatic effect without it looking clumpy but also play id down by very gently combing through your lashes with a tiny bit of product for a barely there look that would fool anyone into thinking you have naturally beautifully full and long lashes.
For eyeliner, nothing beats the L'oreal Telescopic Precision Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. I've seen no mention of it in the blogging world, which leaves me perplexed. The brush for the waterproff offering (the regular one, for some reason, is completely different and very awkward to use) is just the right size, allowing you to make a thin or more bold line depending on your mood and habit. Though the formula has recently changed, and, in my opinion, isn't as good as the old one, it's still something that I grab on a daiy basis as well as it's long-lasting, very pigmented, and user friendly.
If you're more of a kohl gal when it comes to eye-liner, the Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner cannot be beat. I'ts long-lasting, transfers minimally on the lower lash line (if you're tight-lining) and is very easy to blend if you want to smudge out the line for a more smoky or grungy look. You can tell I use it regularly as the lettering on mine has almost completely faded.
Though I don't usually wear eye-shadow (namely because I swear I look worse with it on...but I'm willing to reconsider it) I've applied the Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow (do you think they could throw a few more nouns in there?) on many of my friends and I agree that it's a truly beautiful product. The gel formula makes it super bendable, and the pigment will barely budge from your eyelid until you take it off before going to bed. This shade in particular, Bad to the Bronze, has a beautiful iridescent light running through it.
The NYX butter glosses have all the pros of lip glosses (shine, definition, etc) without any of the cons (sticky, gooey, smelly, etc). Their candy scent is never overwhelming, and it's made me incorporate glosses (that I once ran away from) into more makeup looks. I like to apply them over a lip-liner or a matte lipstick and I'm never disappointed with the finished look.
Maybelline's Instant Rewind Concealer (I have the shade medium) is proof that you don't need to buy expensive brands to find a (near) perfect product. If you want high coverage, skip this one, but I find that it's just enough to hide the scars of my many sleepless nights. It doesn't crease (and everything creases on me) or settle into fine lines, it's lightweight and therefore (when applied right) is almost invisible on the skin.
Finally, for lip-liner, Kiko offers both quality and price, and most of all: shade offerings. Their lip-liners are all under $5 and they have almost every shade you can think of. It's a makeup lover's dream, and for the price you really cannot go wrong. Find a store, go online, and give them all your money. You'll be happy you did.
So there you have it. My curated box of drugstore-only products. I've made sure to include products that are easily found in the U.S (Though Kiko less so), but expect my top European picks (notably U.K) very soon,
What would you include in this kit?