I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for all things high end when it comes to buying my makeup. I love the packaging and the weight in my hand of a beautiful bottle, lipstick or palette; it’s part of the pleasurable world of makeup and I’m buying..literally! But obviously it comes at quite a price and let’s be honest, with the Christmas tree barely back in its box, I’m a big fan of sniffing out the best of the drugstore at this time of year and enjoy uncovering the gems that I might typically overlook.
So, I decided to have a mooch through my makeup collection and put together a face from my fave drugstore brands because I figured if I’m watching the pennies then you might be too and that some budget friendly recommendations might be helpful. And do you know what, I’m loving the bronzy, glowy look I created and am feeling slightly relieved that I can have fun in Priceline as well as in Mecca..?!
So here are my favourite drugstore makeup finds and my top picks for a fresh, glowy look on a budget.
I have a few options for you here and love all 3. I’ve talked about the L’Oréal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation before and I’m still loving it. Use either a brush – I’m a fan of Real Technique’s Expert Face Brush here – or a Beautyblender and you’ll get a lovely soft, dewy effect. It’s light coverage; you can build it a little bit – but not much – so I reserve this for days when my skin’s in pretty good nick and just needs evening out and a touch of concealer. If you need a little more coverage, then I recommend giving Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation a whirl. It has a lovely, natural, light to medium coverage but if you’re on the drier side – I’m normal to combination – there’s a serum gel version which might be a better option for you. One thing to be aware of is that it does have a slight floral scent which might put some people off. Interestingly it doesn’t bother me – and I’m very fussy with scents to the degree that I sometimes can’t stomach Chanel and Bobbi Brown lipsticks as they’ve got that floral nanaesque smell – so it must be pretty inoffensive! And finally, you can get the highest coverage of the trio with my newest drugstore foundation find, the Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation which I’m really enjoying. It applies quickly and beautifully to an effortless medium coverage and I’ve really enjoyed that for my blotchier days when I’ve needed a bit more help. If you’re in a hot humid climate – I live in Sydney and it’s our Summer right now – I’d recommend setting with a little dusting of powder.
As always I recommend that you invest in two concealers if you haven’t already; one to cancel out shadows and an appropriately light formula to go under the eye and secondly, one that has a yellow undertone to cancel out redness and blemishes. You can spend a lot of money in this category – and there are some cult classics out there – but I’ve got two drugstore faves that are definitely great options if you’d rather not spend the big bucks. Firstly, the iconic Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer which gets a lot of love online for good reason. The concealer has a little sponge tip which is almost like a targeted little cushion which you can sweep in an arc under your eyes and then blend in with your fingers. Some don’t seem to favour the sponge applicator – they think it’s unhygienic – but it doesn’t bother me. Secondly, and more of an old school, creamy stick formula, is the Bourjois Blur The Lines Concealer. I love this bad boy; it’s creamy, you can scribble it where you need it and buff it in with a finger or brush and just a great all round product. The only pitfall – which can be said for most complexion products in the drugstore really – is that the shade selection is rather limited. As a pale redhead I’m covered with the Ivory shade, but if you’re anything deeper than a medium you’ll have to look elsewhere I’m afraid.
I find this Kate Sculpting Palette by RImmel a steal and I’m always a fan of products that are multifunctional. It’s fair to say that this isn’t the most pigmented of face palettes – but seriously what do you expect for $16.95 – and you can build it a little in nice light layers. The pretty peachy blush shade is my favourite of the three – I’d buy it for that alone – and I use all three shades on my eyes too so it’s a total win in the versatility stakes and it’ll be making its way into my makeup bag when we go camping in a couple of weeks.
On to the eyes. Now this is where I find that drugstore products just can’t compete with higher end products; cheaper eyeshadows are typically chalky, low in pigment, so you don’t get much pay off, and they don’t blend easily so I veer away from them and have found some crackers in cream and pencil formulas. Firstly, I’m a big fan of the Maybelline Colour Tattoo Eyeshadows; they’re creamy eye gels and little pots of loveliness which can be applied with your finger and practically your eyes closed. My favourite shade is Bad To The Bronze which is a universally flattering shade and should be in everybody’s collection. If you fancy trying a different formula, Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeshadow Sticks are cheap and effective and an easy way of creating a fuss free smokey eye. Bad Bronze Girl is right up my alley and one that again will suit most.
I’d say that this is where drugstore brands smash it out of the ball park and whilst there are some awesome high end mascaras out there that I love, would recommend and have invested $40 – 50 on and undoubtedly will again, I genuinely think that you don’t need to splash the cash to get a pretty flutter of lashes. Particularly when you’re (technically) meant to throw them out after three months anyhoo..! Maybelline and Max Factor have always led the way in this category and I’m particularly partial to Maybelline Full ‘N’ Soft when I want a natural looking eye so typically reach for this for the school run. If I’m looking for a bit more welly, I’ve been enjoying L’Oreal Paris’s new offering – Paradise Mascara; the wand looks very similar to Too Faced’s bestselling Better Than Sex but I actually prefer it as I find the Too Faced mascara too clumpy for my liking. The Paradise Mascara has been getting rave reviews in the beauty blogging world and for good reason I say!
And to finish this glowy, natural look is this L’Oréal Paris and Revlon combo which I’m loving. I am a bit of a lip pencil junkie – particularly nudes – and have more than I’ll ever need but I already have a backup of this one which says it all. L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner Couture in Beige a nu is fab – a nice cool neutral without being too pink – and I pair that with Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lip Color in Sand. The texture of these lippies is just beautiful so I’m definitely going to be trying out other shades in the range.
So that’s my full face from the drugstore and I can honestly say that I’ve been reaching for these over their high end counterparts most of the time these days. What are your favourites?