Pretty me up, on the cheap!
February 15, 2012 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Any hidden gems in the world of drugstore makeup?

I've got a wad of money I need to use up at a drugstore in a couple of weeks. Lots of it will get blown on whatever groceries they have in stock, but I was hoping to treat myself to some new makeup. Are there any items that are really and truly awesome? Anything you've tried recently that blew your mind? (Brands that I know they carry are the usual -- Revlon, L'Oreal, CoverGirl, Almay, Physician's Formula, maybe another one or two.)
posted by jabes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (67 answers total) 275 users marked this as a favorite
Believe it or not, Wet n Wild eye shadow is really heavily pigmented - tantamount to much more expensive brands.

That and Lash Blast mascara by CoverGirl are the only hidden gems I know. :)
posted by artemisia at 5:39 PM on February 15, 2012 [13 favorites]

I'm a big fan of:
-Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro nail polish
-Maybelline Falsies Volum Express mascara
-jane zing eye mixers eyeshadow
-Coty Airspun translucent face powder
-L'oreal infallible lipstick

There are others, but I've only done the whole "expensive brands of makeup" thing a couple times and I always end up at CVS doing the load-up anyway. Those are five brands I've had pretty good success with across the board.
posted by sm1tten at 5:43 PM on February 15, 2012

This is what Beautypedia is for. Seriously there is a lot of really good drugstore makeup, at least as much of it as there is department store makeup.

My current favorites include Maybelline define-a-brow and dream mousse blush, and Boots tinted moisturizer.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:43 PM on February 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

Burt's Bees lip shimmers
posted by quodlibet at 5:44 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

The L'Oreal mineral powder foundation is, in my opinion, worlds better than Bare Minerals. I was even able to find a better shade to match my uber-pale skin with it.

Also, what about nail polish? The Sally Hansen "complete manicure" line is the best-quality nail product I've found, even more than OPI and Essie. Most of the colors are HORRID but there's a few gems there that I use regularly.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:45 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also - some drugstore chains let you return beauty products that you tried and didn't like.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:45 PM on February 15, 2012

L'Oreal Beauty Tubes tubing mascara. It has revolutionized my life. No raccoon eyes, ever, even if I rub my face. I love it.

Cover Girl makes a pre-foundation primer that I really like, too.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:46 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

This isn't going to help you spend your money, because it's super cheap, but I recently got some E.L.F. bronzer that I really like. If your drugstore has E.L.F., it's a great way to try colors and products that you'd typically be reluctant to take a risk on. I've found that I often buy E.L.F. stuff to experiment and then end up using it, rather than trading up to something more expensive, because the E.L.F. stuff is perfectly good.

Oh, and I swear by Burt's Bees lip balms, both the shimmers and the tinted lip balms.
posted by craichead at 5:47 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Cover Girl lip stain has performed better for me than any other drugstore or department store stain.

Also, not sure if your drugstore has it, but my Duane Reade has a nice big selection of fancy hair products (Bumble & Bumble, etc).

Agree on the nail polish suggestion, too.
posted by coupdefoudre at 5:48 PM on February 15, 2012

Cetaphil face wash (you want the Gentle cleaner, not the weirdly scented Daily cleaner)
Cetaphil cream in a tub
Kiss my Face bubble bath/shower gel - super bubbly!

I don't really do a lot of makeup, but Maybelline Great Lash mascara is rather justifiably famous. Revlon's Extra Life top coat is very good. Whenever I get a manicure I put a layer of that on every few days and it really does stop chips.
posted by lyra4 at 5:50 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, Rite Aid has a very generous beauty product return policy.

I really, really like L'oreal's Voluminous mascara.

And I would actually warn you against some drugstore makeup powders (eye shadow, blush, etc.); many of them contain talc, which is a known irritant for many people.
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:51 PM on February 15, 2012

L'Oreal's HIP eyeshadows (only comes in pairs) seem to me to be nearly as high-pigment-load as MAC eyeshadows.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:51 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

L'Oreal Lineur Intense felt tip liquid eye liner makes Adele-cat-eyes super easy.
Cover Girl Intense Shadow Blast is shimmery shadow plus primer--a great base layer.
For hair, L'Oreal Elnett hair spray is hands down the best I've ever used.
posted by padraigin at 5:56 PM on February 15, 2012

If you're into this sort of thing, Sally Hansen Salon Effects (basically stick-on nail stuff) is purportedly really good. A friend of mine recently tried the fishnet-looking one (I think it's called Misbehavin) and said it looks great after 8 days and she got tons of compliments. She shared a picture of her nails and they looked really cool.

Also, if you can find Revlon's Patent-leather-look nail polish top coat, get some. It's amazing and it makes your nails look like patent leather; super shiny and pretty.
posted by cooker girl at 5:59 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I won't ever use any mascara other than Covergirl LashBlast Volume Blasting Mascara. That stuff is awesome.
posted by cecic at 5:59 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rosebud Salve lip balm. It smells lovely, moisturizes lips and gives a nice little shine (coming from a ChapStick addict)

Maybelline GreatLash - I've tried every mascara under the sun, and nothing compares

Cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer

Neutrogena Body Lotion - Light Sesame Formula: makes your skin feel so light and soft

Shampoo - Organix, any scent/formula. Just as good as salon shampoo/conditioner.
posted by angsolom at 6:06 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is a good question to post to the makeup board at Makeup Alley -- there are serious, serious folks over there who have tried everydamnthing at everydamnstore and will be more than happy to share their drugstore finds.

Another good resource for this is Nouveau Cheap's blog.
posted by apparently at 6:06 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Maybelline Great Lash mascara in the pink tube with the green top. Classic. Grab the waterproof version, too. Put the original on first, then seal with the waterproof.

Revlon makes a 12-hour eyeshadow that won't crease all day. I'd say it lasts 8 hours, but that's not bad for the price.

Almay's eyeshadows created to enhance the color of your eyes comes in very flattering colors. They look great on.

Wet n Wild 666 lip liner is a cult favorite. A really pretty neutral pinkish beige.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 6:09 PM on February 15, 2012

I love the Maybelline LineExpress Eyeliner. It's a very easy-to-use pencil. Goes on very easily and stays on pretty decently throughout the day.

And I absolutely cannot do without CoverGirl eyeshadow - Bedazzled Biscotti. It's sold as a single. I know you aren't asking for tips about application or makeup tricks, but let me tell you, this neutral shade is awesome! A little trick I've been doing and so totally works is putting a dark color in the crease (any color - this has even worked with bright green shades), generously sweep over the entire lid with the Bedazzled Biscotti and it immediately gives you an awesome toned down color (if you want to keep a smoky eye for day, this works really great). So it basically acts as a "neutralizer" with any dark shade. BB shade has just the right amount of glitter/dust in it, but not overwhelming, and I wear it in a professional setting all the time. (I hope this makes sense!)

It also works great by itself, when you want the minimalist look.
posted by foxhat10 at 6:11 PM on February 15, 2012 [12 favorites]

You can search on this site for which drugstore brands are duplicates for the expensive ones.
posted by misha at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am a high end makeup buyer, but I haven't been able to find an eyebrow pencil that works as well as the Revlon ColorStay one. It's $5 and very easy to use.

I also like the Essie nail polishes, which are a good way to use up cash since they are $8 each.
posted by smalls at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2012

I like this Cover Girl tinted moisturizer better than the high end ones. It's nice and translucent.
posted by picklebird at 6:19 PM on February 15, 2012

MUA turned me on to Milani blush... the shade "Luminoso" is remarkably similar to NARS' famed "Orgasm" blush. Their line of sheer lipstick is nice too.
posted by arianell at 6:29 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's what I like and use a lot:
- E.L.F. brushes (super cheap, but surprisingly high quality)
- Revlon Illuminance cream eyeshadows (they come 4 in a package) either on their own or use a neutral color as a base for a powder shadow.
- Maybelline ShineSensational lip gloss tube
- Revlon Stay Matte Blush
- Revlon Just Bitten lip stain/lip balm (the hot pink color is really great and lasts forever)

Also, I've read that Revlon PhotoReady foundation is almost the same thing as MakeupForever HD foundation which is amazing and costs a lot more. I haven't tried it though.
posted by echo0720 at 6:35 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, what a deluge of suggestions! Keep 'em coming!
posted by jabes at 6:36 PM on February 15, 2012

Seconding Cetaphil cream and cleanser and also Rosebud Salve--that stuff is magic! Try googling "rosebud salve" to learn some of its myriad beauty applications. (And it smells delightful to boot.)

Also, the only mascara I've used for years is Maybelline Full 'N Soft. It's amazing! Non-clumping, effective, natural-looking, and cheap. Also, I loooove Palmer's cocoa butter cream. It is incredibly moisturizing and smells divine.
posted by anonnymoose at 6:53 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

As someone who barely wears makeup, I love:
- Revlon PhotoReady Translucent finishing powder to wear over tinted moisturizer
- Essie nail polish (my pharmacy has it)
- Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Original Solid Formula in a jar (if you're a chocoholic, the smell is addictive)
posted by beyond_pink at 7:02 PM on February 15, 2012

I really like Physician's formula concealer for covering up red irritated spots.

If you don't have good makeup brushes, etc., that might be something to upgrade.
posted by annsunny at 7:18 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lots of good suggestions above. I'd add that the beauty bloggers had a meltdown over Revlon Lip Butters recently. I have two and quite like them.

I absolutely second MakeupAlley. Temptalia also has a searchable Makeup Dupes section where you can find drugstore items that are almost perfect matches for the higher-end stuff. I should actually spend some more time there and less on Sephora.
posted by mireille at 7:37 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup and Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector
These E.L.F. brushes: Eyeshadow, Powder, Blending and Eyelash.
The E.L.F. Cuticle Pen
Burt's Bees Cuticle Cream
If they carry Orly I cannot recommend Nailtrition enough for keeping your nails in good shape.
posted by tinamonster at 7:38 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

For foundation, I love Prestige Multi-Task Wet/Dry Powder Foundation. It looks natural and provides very good coverage whether used wet or dry. Applied with a wet sponge, it looks better than any other foundation I've ever used. And just $8.
posted by Corvid at 7:43 PM on February 15, 2012

A great dupe for the super (to me at least) expensive Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is the Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel ($7!!)! My fav drugstore beauty buy for sure.

I super recommend Milani pencil eyeliners ($8). Not available in the variety of colors that Urban Deacy eyeliners are but work just as well or better.

My fav liquid eyeliner is Physician Formula's lash boosting liquid eyeliner. Great application and color and actually has made my lashes more lucious.

I always loved the Loreal Voluminous mascara, but my new fav mascara is the Revlon one in the green and silver ombre tube. doesn't get clumpy, doesnt smudge, and the brush is fantastic.

I recommend Revlon lipsticks and lipstains (especially in Flame, the orange stain). The colors are lovely and pigmented. For lovely sheer lipsticks CVS carries the Salma Hayek makeup brand which I love as well.

At Target for ~$1.50 NYC fast drying nail polishes are the best ever! Their application and wear is better than most of my expensive nail polishes. Highly Highly recommended.

Good luck! Let us know what you get :D
posted by xicana63 at 7:49 PM on February 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

I was happily paying ~$28 for mascara at Sephora, and found CoverGirl LashBlastVolume in the orange tube (~$8) when on a road trip. Not quite as good, but seriously, GOOD.
posted by cyndigo at 7:52 PM on February 15, 2012

Oh: a new thing that I'm kind of liking is Garnier BB cream. You're going to find it with the face care stuff, not the makeup, but if you have more or less okay skin, it's a miracle product. It's like a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, and I am kind of crazy about it. It looks like it should be way too dark for my fair skin but it goes on so light it's fine, and it leaves a very dewy look which I'd probably appreciate more if I were younger but a light dusting of Coty loose powder on my t-zone calms that down to just make me look radiant yet mature.
posted by padraigin at 7:57 PM on February 15, 2012

I suggest reading reviews at Makeupalley - tons and tons of great information there! You may need to register to see reviews, but it's free and totally worth it.

The blog Nouveau Cheap is a drugstore makeup blog - it's really great, I highly recommend it!

This blog entry of mine is titled "five drugstore makeup favorites" [self link, of course]. Out of the five that I posted, I would most highly recommend the Prestige Total Intensity eyeliner - it's super creamy, stays on forever, and doesn't smear.

Wet n Wild has the best eyeshadow at the drugstore, despite being the cheapest. Comfort Zone and Silent Treatment are regarded as the best of the bunch.

Also, if there's something you're considering, I recommend googling for reviews and swatches - there are a ton of makeup blogs out there, and it's a good way to see what looks good to you.

[I was so excited to answer this that I didn't read the other responses until now; I see that MUA and Nouveau Cheap have been mentioned - still, they're definitely worth checking out!)
posted by insectosaurus at 8:15 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Revlon PhotoReady foundation fully, fully rocks.
posted by mckenney at 8:21 PM on February 15, 2012

Based on rave reviews at MUA for Jordana mascara, I picked up a tube earlier this week at Walgreens for $2.99. So cheap! This stuff is amazing. My lashes have never looked so long or non-clumpy!

I also really like the Maybelline Super Stay lipstick. It goes on so nicely I forget it's there, and I end up surprised the next morning when I brush my teeth because I have bright red lips.
posted by Addlepated at 8:46 PM on February 15, 2012

I'm a makeup junkie, and a lot of my HG products are from the drugstore.

Claudia Stevens Primer. This is sooo much better than Korres, MAC, or Benefit. Seriously. My makeup stays on forever with this stuff. DO NOT get the green primer, though, if you have pale skin. You will seriously look like Kermit the Frog. It's also $5, and cheaper than monistat!

Hard Candy Glamoflauge. This is my HG concealer, and it's pretty much the only low-priced concealer I like. It's meant to cover up tattoos, but I find that it's the longest-lasting concealer I found. The tube also lasts forrrever.

And E.L.F makes some damn good products. I'd definitely recommend Complexion Perfection Powder, Facial Whip and my current favorite product in the world, Studio tinted moisturizer. You'll probably have to order these online, but I've seen ELF products in Target, the Dollar Tree and KMart.
posted by oxfordcomma at 9:10 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you're near a CVS, Salma Hayek's new makeup line Nuance is surprisingly good.
Her eyebrow pencil (in two colors) is legit better than anything I've tried at Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom - and I have a drawer full of such things.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:08 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Most drugstores now carry Essie nail polish, which I love. I haven't tried those weird dry press-on nail color strip thingies, but I have heard great things! I'd top either of those off with the Sally Hansen topcoat in the silver bottle with the blue top.
posted by radioamy at 11:03 PM on February 15, 2012

Check out Temptalia's editor's choice awards, she features a large section of best low end products of many types. If you're curious about any particular product, chances are she's reviewed it, or her readers have an opinion on it.

On a personal level, the Revlon lip butters are amazing, but very hard to find right now. They've been sold out or down to the least attractive shades in almost every drugstore I've tried. I did get a hold of one that suites me, and it's wonderful. I can't wait to get more.

I also really love the Covergirl lip stains, they last for hours and don't bleed at all. They're great in the summer, they'll stay on through anything. I also use them under lip gloss for a more lasting color.

I've heard good things about Neutrogena and Covergirl foundations, but haven't tried them personally yet.

Nthing elf, their gel liner is great and their concealer is pretty good as well. I also like their lipsticks a lot.
posted by zhi at 11:06 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, I've also heard that the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24-Hour Eyeshadows are comparable to MAC paint pots. They are also very hard to get right now, but are supposed to have a fantastic color payoff and stay on forever.
posted by zhi at 11:10 PM on February 15, 2012

I love the classic Pond's Cold Cream for cleansing/make-up removal.
posted by clerestory at 12:37 AM on February 16, 2012

For hair, L'Oreal Elnett hair spray is hands down the best I've ever used.

Oh! Do I have something to share with you! I read an article that said the reason this hairspray is so good is that it doesn't have water. I never thought about it before, but yes that makes sense! The article then mysteriously hinted that there is at least one other aerosol hairspray that also doesn't have water. Since Elnett is $15, of course I went and found the mystery other one -- Tresemme Tres Two Extra Hold Hairspray. Under $4, works, doesn't smell bad.
posted by Houstonian at 2:25 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, Burt's Bees lip shimmer, I buy it all the time at CVS, also plain Vitamin E oil as a moisturizer. It is cheap and works better than some of the expensive stuff. Also speeds healing, I was told about it by my doctor after having some minor skin things removed. But it is great for every day.
posted by mermayd at 3:32 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

A great dupe for the super (to me at least) expensive Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is the Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel ($7!!)!

Now that's a great tip! How did it occur to you to try it on your face?!
posted by thinkpiece at 3:58 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also - some drugstore chains let you return beauty products that you tried and didn't like.

You can't return ANYTHING in Britain. Not even if it left the store five minutes ago and is still encased in plastic. I think some high-end brands might, but most will look at you as though you're stupid for trying. This leads to a lot of poorly-performing make-up clutter.

Can you get Bourjois in the States? I like their shimmer eyeshadows and mascaras.

Revlon eyeshadows are surprisingly good (surprisingly as I bought a Maybelline before them and it had no pigment whatsoever). There's a brand here, Sleek, which is primarily aimed at women of colour, meaning that they also have a lot of pigment in there.

Maybelline SuperStay, though, is very good if you can handle liquid lipstick (I end up looking like a clown). You need to actually scrub the stuff off.

I also rate Naked and Organic Surge for skincare but I don't know if they're available over there.
posted by mippy at 4:05 AM on February 16, 2012

There's just as much treasure in drugstore makeup/skincare/haircare brands as there is in high-end stuff, happily. My additions:

-Just to add firsthand experience to a product already mentioned, the Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips really are awesome. Easy to apply, last forever, and they look so cool.
-In fact, most of the best nail care supplies are available at drugstores. Seche Vite and Poshe topcoats (both very good) are usually in drugstores, as is Nailtiques treatment. Sally Hansen has just about anything you could want to put on your nails. Many drugstores now stock Essie and Orly polishes, but Revlon also has a wide selection of great shades, some of which are identical to more expensive lines. Sinful Colors (available at Walgreens) and Spoiled (CVS) are $2 a bottle, good quality, and come in all sorts of crazy colors, although the Spoiled brushes can be kind of crappy.
-Garnier Triple Nutrition conditioner has been my go-to for a couple years now, even though I have hair product commitment phobia.
-Burt's Bees Baby Bee line smells wonderful and not really "baby."
-Nivea creme, the kind in the little $1 tin, is my new favorite thing. It has this light vintagey floral smell that I love.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:00 AM on February 16, 2012

Not quite makeup, an ymmv based on coloring, but Bonne Bell Lipsmackers in Dr. Pepper is the only lip product I ever use, and I've been using it for over 10 years. I try other, fancier, more grown up shit once in a while but I always come's more comfortable and moisturizing than other things without being tacky or sticky or too glossy, and has just the right amount of a hint of flattering color without making me look like I'm actually wearing anything. A couple friends feel the same way.

L'Oreal Paris was doing some bitchin' trio eyeshadow things for a while called Trilogy or something--they had one for a while called "Rave Reviews" that was one of the best eyeshadow sets I'd ever used, as flattering and silky as super luxe stuff like Dior. I don't know why but they seemed silkier than their normal singles and duos. Looking quickly on Google it looks like I wasn't the only one who thought so; they got high reviews in makeup alley-stype places. Hm. Not sure if they're still around--I stopped wearing make up a couple years ago--but unless something's changed L'Oreal tended to be good quality (they were, last I checked, the budget-branded sister of Lancome).
posted by ifjuly at 5:49 AM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

(maybe I should mention, nothing else by Bonne Bell lip-wise has compared either...I've tried other flavors/colors when Dr. Pepper was out of stock and most have been much crappier in comparison)
posted by ifjuly at 5:50 AM on February 16, 2012

Oh, and L'oreal Lash Architect is the best drugstore mascara I've ever used, but mileage wildly varies with that stuff (I am Asian so I have the stick-straight, very short, nearly invisible lashes that most mascaras look awful and gummy with). I'm someone who needs a mascara that lengthens more than it thickens, so (combined with a heated curler as nothing else would make my stubborn lashes curve) it was perfect as far as budget brands go. Didn't clump close to the lid like so many do, looked natural while still being flattering.
posted by ifjuly at 5:53 AM on February 16, 2012

Aaaand it's not make up per se, but L'Oreal's Hydra-Renewal Continuous Moisture Cream, a facial moisturizer, is the best face moisturizer I've ever used and is cheap as heck to boot. It is perfect if you hate the way most moisturizer is heavy, sticky, greasy, clogging--it feels clean and light but still gives your face a big drink of water; I use it every day as I'm toweling off from my shower and my face never feels tight or dry even in the thick of winter. The caveat there is that as an older product in their skincare line with less bells and whistles it's often not stocked in walk-in spots anymore (I have to order mine online).

And if you're looking for a super effective eye makeup remover, Max Factor's (in the opaque little white bottle) is really good--it feels fatty almost, like oil beady, and it only takes a gentle swipe with the stuff to get the most stubborn mascara and eyeliner off.

It's nowhere near as good as Urban Decay's Eye Primer Potion, but L'Oreal's Eyeshadow Primer did the trick for cheap subtle everyday work makeup staying power.

Color preference always varies, but I used to wear Iman's eyeshadow in Pewter (it's a silvery steel hue with subtle flecks of gold) and I loved it for when I wanted a smoky eye look for evening dates. Last I checked Max Factor had some really great everyday neutral peachy-pink single pot eyeshadows too that were perfect when you just wanted to look more awake and perky without the "I'm actually wearing makeup" thing going on.
posted by ifjuly at 6:01 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ack, just one more, and yeah, not quite makeup: Coppertone Oil-Free Faces Sunblock, 30 SPF and UVA and UVB blocking, is my favorite everyday face sunscreen. It's cheaper than comparable (in terms of spectrum protection) ones, easy to pick up (Target and every grocery store and drugstore I've been in carries it), doesn't leave a long-lasting sunscreen plasticky smell like so many generics do, and makes my skin happy, not ouch-y or dry or zitty or sticky once I've rubbed it in all the way. I've tried fancier and cheaper, and I always come back to it (finding one I liked that was affordable was super important when I moved to sunny-as-all-get-out Memphis).
posted by ifjuly at 6:05 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh man, yes, I forgot about ELF!! They make something called an "eye widening pencil" that's just a white pencil, and a lot of Asian ladies online swear by it. I tried it years ago when I was sort of trying to get into makeup and it really was awesome as a secret weapon "doesn't look like anything changed, you just subtly look more awake and perky" thing when you apply it to the inner corner parts of your eyes. They had some decent black eyeliner pencils too (I still like Urban Decay's the best, but). And an eyeshadow set with black, light grey, and sort of pearl white that was good when all you wanted to do was line and highlight your eyes. And back then anyway, the big thing was they were freakin' $1 each, everything. A few of their tools were ok too, like lash groomer brushes, eye liner pencils, etc.
posted by ifjuly at 6:12 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

All the above tips are great, but I would add that skincare (and by extension the effects of colour cosmetics) is idiosyncratic. What works for one person may not work for another.

I would also suggest that you take the opportunity to buy up loads of colour cosmetics at random. Unless something is a staple that you use every day, this is not something you have to be very selective about.

But here are the products I rely on, FWIW:

Garnier Pure Zone 2% salicylic acid face wash
Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion
L'Oréal Volume Shocking waterproof mascara
Swiss-O-Par brow and lash dye
Leichner Blending Powder
Vaseline lip balm SPF 15
Elnett hyper-super-mega-the-strongest-version-hold hairspray
crystal deodorant (a lump of aluminum alum)
4711 cologne, for foot spray
Cetaphil face wash
PanOxyl 2.5% acnegel
Tweezerman tweezers
a diamond or ruby nail file
Scholl pumice file for foot calluses
cold Tiger Balm in case of headache
posted by tel3path at 6:49 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

nthing ELF Brushes. Also their Hi Def powder is as good as any expensive one I tried and they do a Tone Correcting Powder that I love, it's great for just brushing on if you're in a hurry and helps even out skin tone surprisingly well.

Also nthing Maybelline Great Lash Mascara or I like Lash Blast but the Great lash to me does a more subtle look.

I love Rimmels long lasting Foundation and Revlon do a good one too.

Neutrogena do an amazing sunblock for your face that feels just like putting moisturizer on.

Covergirls primer is really nice, but I think it depends on your skin type.

I love L'Oreals Moisturisers too. Their deep wrinkle repair works well, though can make your skin a bit pink to start with.
posted by wwax at 7:03 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have always liked Milani's nail polishes just as much as my OPI stuff.
posted by Windigo at 7:14 AM on February 16, 2012

Rimmel's eye makeup remover is awesome.
Zoya nailpolishes are starting to show up in drugstores now too, and they are awesome.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:52 AM on February 16, 2012

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse foundation mixed with an equal amount of Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel gives the best finish I've ever seen on my pore-and-scar-plagued face. It works even better if, after you apply it, you go over it in little swirls with a Kabuki brush to get rid of any streaks left by your fingers.
posted by corey flood at 7:52 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just picked up Almay's Intense I-Color Shadow Stick the other day, and I am in love! They make them for different eye colors, and they last really, really well with no creasing.

As mentioned above, I love Essie nail polishes, Maybelline's Great Lash mascara, and elf brushes. Elf also makes a cream eyeliner that is straight up awesome (and costs like $3).
posted by zoetrope at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2012

I'm echoing several other posters with these, but I'd single out:

Wet N' Wild eyeshadows (the Silent Treatment trio, Comfort Zone palette, and singles in Envy, Brulee, and Nutty are my faves)
Maybelline Full & Soft Mascara
Maybelline 24 Hour Tattoo Eyeshadows (These are new and they're awesome, except the purple shade)
Milani Crystal Gloss (these are a perfect, nonsticky consistency with a nice, inoffensive taste and a very light vanilla scent--the shade Summer Baby is my favorite)
Tweezerman tweezers
ELF Studio brushes--the $3 blush brush and $3 dome "contour" eyeshadow brush are things I use daily, and they've held up for over a year now

And another plug for Makeupalley--I basically look everything up on my phone before I buy it. You might have to sign in, but their Best Value page is a great resource.
posted by almostmanda at 9:17 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Rimmel Lip Seal is a godsend. You basically paint it on over any crappy lipstick and it will last for aaaaaaaaaaaages. I have even had great success powdering my lippy with sparkly eyeshadows and then sealing the fuck out of them with the Rimmel for all night awesome.

Why not grab some decent makeup brushes too, if your drug store has them? It makes a big difference for application.
posted by Jilder at 10:13 AM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

Another plug for I don't buy ANYTHING without checking reviews there first.

1. It was how I discovered that Cetaphil Cream is better for acne-prone skin than the lotion.

2. That Revlon makes the BEST lipsticks in a wide variety of colors for every skin tone.

3. Revlon Colorstay foundation is a solid dupe for Studio Fix Fluid and Revlon PhotoReady is a great dupe for Make Up For Ever HD.

4. Neutrogena Anti-Blemish/Anti-Wrinkle is a very gentle first step for people interested in retinol products.

I lurk on that site a lot so I could go on but power to the people, man! Makeupalley is like the beauty savior for the 99 percent.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I haven't tried them myself, but I've heard tons of raves about the Revlon lip butters that came out over the summer. They've been consistently sold out in my area- that's why I can't vouch for them myself!
posted by peppermind at 8:09 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been using Cover Girl's Clear Mascara for about 15 years. I have very East European eyebrows (even after plucking!) and the clear mascara keeps them in place and looking sharp (after filling in with Maybelline Eyebrow pencil, of course).
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:31 AM on February 17, 2012

Great question! I just bought Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 hour eyeshadow and it's amazing. On reviews of the product it was compared to MAC paint pots. I was just scoping out the other colors today. Also, Maybelline has a DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer that I've been oogling. Have fun!
posted by JacksonandFinch at 10:41 AM on February 17, 2012

If you are a fan of MAC then I suggest you try NYX. The nicely pigmented and cheap lip colors, eyeshadows and blushes they produce do an amazing job duping some of MACs most popular shades.

The drawback is that it can be hard to find in some drugstores. I just order my stuff from Amazon or the NYX website. There are hundreds of Youtube videos and websites with swatches of the colors to give you a better idea of how they might look on your skintone.

I love the brand.
posted by Pollfabaire at 4:17 PM on February 29, 2012

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