Drugstore Diva (And a Very Worthy Splurge)

In my continued attempt to do more with less and in particular focusing on the things I put on my skin I have been spending a great deal of time paying attention to my makeup. Admittedly, I will judge a book by its cover – or, rather, I’ll judge a blush by its packaging. THIS IS NOT A GOOD HABIT! There are so many worthy non-fancy products out there; here are a few I’ve recently come across:

High Definition Eyeshadow Base | NYX

Eye primer was the first primer I ever realized I needed; my eyelids are very oily, which means anything I put on them in the morning is halfway down my face by closing time. I previously was a devotee of NARS Pro-Prime for my eyes, and if you’re willing to drop $26 on a quarter-ounce tube, I still think this is the best out there. However, this NYX product is $7, and is quite nearly as good as the NARS product. The main difference is the NARS primer absorbs and powderizes (is that a word?) almost instantly; the NYX needs a few beats. Worth it, in my opinion.

Instant Age Rewind Concealer | Maybelline

This should come as no surprise to anyone who regularly peruses beauty blogs; this is a well-known product beginning to border on cult status. I actually tried it once already and didn’t care for it – but there were two fatal flaws in my methodology. The first, that I got the “neutralizer” shade instead of an actual concealer shade, meant that I was having all sorts of color issues; the second, trying it out right as I was switching up my skincare routine, meant that I was blaming the concealer for patchiness when in fact it was my new nighttime routine drying out my skin.

I tried it again recently, choosing the “fair” shade and applying on well-moisturized eyes, and Y’ALL. This is not merely as good as my beloved NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29) or Clarins Instant Concealer ($31) – it’s better (and, at $9, considerably cheaper). The puff-ball at the top makes for truly flawless application – you bounce it on lightly and then blend out the edges as necessary – and per their instructions, you simply wipe it with a tissue and its antimicrobial properties do their part. My eyes have never looked more naturally bright.

True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation | L’Oreal

Another day, another foundation gimmick, amirite? First we got mineral foundation; then came BB and CC creams; now, the cushion foundation. This gimmick, however, is the first that appeals to me because of its gimmick: the cushion deposits only as much product onto your sponge/brush/fingertips as you need (and reabsorbs any extra) meaning you waste very little product. I prefer to apply it using either the included puff or a beautyblender for a more airbrushed finish. This particular product is a dream: oil-free, lightweight, easily blended, and super buildable. And, at $15, it easily beats out similarly-rated cushion foundations from Lancôme ($47) or Amore Pacific (a whopping $60).

There’s also a product I’ve found that’s in no way a drugstore find – in fact, it’s from one of the higher-end department store brands – but is nonetheless a tremendous value.

Instant Look Palette | Charlotte Tilbury

There’s no easy way to say it: at $75, this palette is not cheap. Not even close. However: the quality and versatility of its contents (as well as the cost to buy à la carte) makes it truly high value. Each of its individual components (eyeshadows, blushes, bronzer, highlighter) are incredibly highly-rated on their own, not to mention high-priced: the bronzer/highlighter duo included is $49 by itself, and one of the brand’s eyeshadow quads (yes, one more hue, but with significantly smaller pans) runs $52.

In terms of the look, this is – in my opinion – an absolutely perfect daily look. The eyeshadows are subtle but defining (and the pinky “brighten” shade is deceptively neutral, despite how Pepto Bismol it looks in the pan); the contour shades are creamy and brilliant, and the swish/pop blush duo is gorgeously flattering. My one complaint is that the blush pans could stand to be a bit bigger; I have to pinch my blush brushes to not accidentally grab bronzer or highlighter when I pick up color. That said, I think it would be a tremendous value even without the blushes, so their inclusion at any size is icing.

What great drugstore finds do you swear by, Petite Crew? And what worthy splurges do you recommend?

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