5 favorite drugstore makeup finds

I have a love/hate relationship with make-up.  I don’t like to have a ton of it.  I don’t like to have to rifle through mounds of cosmetics in the morning, simply to pluck out my favorite eye-shadow.  It’s just not worth it to me.  I would prefer to have less than 10 items that get me from blah-just-woke-up to ready-for-the-day.  This approach makes it easy to get ready fast and it keeps my cosmetics simple for travel.

I subscribe to the concept that you should save where you can and spend where you have to.  Because of that idea, I have sought out my favorite drugstore cosmetics–the ones that rival the department store brands.

1.  NYX Pure Red Matte Lipstick

The color I’m wearing in this picture.  I got so many emails asking what color I was wearing, so I thought I’d share my favorite $5 secret with you today!  I never thought I could wear red lipstick (it DOES take some guts!), but this color looks stunning on.  It is a very true red.  The texture is great and it lasts most of the day without reapplication.

2.  L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara

I’ve worn some iteration of this mascara for the past 7 years.  I even buy the waterproof version to pack in my hospital bag when I have a baby.  I love it that much.

3.  Neutrogena Healthy Skin Smoothing Stick

I have purchased at least 15 or 20 tubes of this concealer over the past 8 or 9 years.  I always grab the “Light” shade.  It seems to work perfectly any time of the year.  I use it under my eyes and around my nose, where it gets red and a little bit blotchy.

4.  Maybelline Master Drama Eyeliner

A-mazing.  That’s all I will say about this eyeliner.  I love it because it’s bold and it stays put.

5.  Elf Blush in Passion Pink

I am also wearing this blush in this picture and most any picture you ever see of me.  It looks garish in the pan, but it looks so lovely and innocent on your cheeks.  It gives your face a cheerful blush, while being very transparent at the same time.  It is hands down my favorite blush, and I’ve tried lots of expensive brands.

Since I buy so many of my cosmetics at the drugstore, I do splurge on three things.  I buy MAC foundation because I’ve found a formula that is identical to my skintone.  We all know what a feat that is!  I buy more expensive perfume because I am allergic to many cheaper fragrances.  Finally, I spend money on eye shadow.  Many people do just the opposite wanting to try all of the new colors at the drugstore.  However, I don’t like to have a pile of stuff I don’t use.  Plus, I’ve found that the pigments in department store stay put a lot longer and look bolder on the skin.

When all is said and done, it feels good to be getting to know myself better.  I know what I do like and I’m learning what I don’t like.  I believe that it is all part of growing into myself, becoming familiar with how to present myself genuinely and feeling good about it.

Do you have favorite drugstore cosmetics?  What do you absolutely splurge on?

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  1. I am so with you! I use ELF lip gloss that costs $1, but with my MAC lipstick. I use MAC’s moisturizer and foundation, too, but use drugstore eye color/liner and mascara and blush. I go midway with my Sonia Kushak brushes from Target.

  2. Great picks! I really want to try that red lipstick! I really love Maybelline dream mousse blush in soft plum, perfect for day wear. I splurge on…not much but, I do buy better quality skin care. After I turned 30 I started realizing that I needed to do more than just use a cheap cleanser. 🙂

    • Hayley says:

      The lipstick is a total low-risk option. If you hate it, pass it along to a friend who may love it and you’re only out $5.

  3. Sommer says:

    Great little article. I’m going to buy some of that blush right now! With my complicated skin I have to splurge on foundation. I love bare minerals!

  4. My biggest splurge? Merle Norman foundation at $25 a tube. I have terribly (clinically) dry skin and my face peels no matter how much I exfoliate. It is the only foundation I’ve ever found to date that moisturizes my skin so I don’t peel without looking greasy.

    My favorite save? I don’t wear perfume. Money saver! 😉

    • Hayley says:

      Yes! I was told that if you have dry skin that wearing powder (even bare minerals) foundation is the worst. I was told that while I was wearing it…such a good moment for me. 😉

      But, yes! I love creamy foundations. And no perfume, way to go girl!

  5. “I subscribe to the concept that you should save where you can and spend where you have to. ” <- love this!

    I keep things pretty minimal, too but I like to wear mascara and lipgloss every day. I don't mind spending a bit more on those because I know they get regular use as part of my routine, but I don't wear eyeliner very often so that usually the 99cent ones at the drugstore work for me. I like to play with eyeshadow colors, but don't usually invest much in those. I like E.L.F. for that.

    Great post, Hayley! I love to see what others have in their make up bags.

    • Hayley says:

      That’s so true…what you don’t use often, save on. I spent about 99 cents on a liquid eyeliner because I only use it on days where I’m feeling saucy and want to have cat eyes. 😉

  6. It’s funny you just wrote about this. I was getting ready to go away for the weekend recently and I was thinking of you while I was shaving my legs… That probably sounds extremely alarming for any number of reasons. But actually it’s quite logical. I was feeling very disorganised and in line with the no-brainer wardrobe I was wondering whether you had a no-brainer approach to grooming and a no-brainer makeup routine. Whether you’re ready for anything or would ever be doing a last minute leg shave before a lovely weekend…!

    • Hayley says:

      Look at you, girl! I love that you were thinking of me while you were shaving your legs. It’s a brave new world, friends. 🙂

      Yes, that’s my no-brainer/less fuss routine to makeup. I was raised by a very “less fuss” kind of mom when it came to makeup–so I’ve adopted a similar mindset.

  7. Uh huh. Thanks for the tips!

  8. I’m totally going to run out and grab some of those eye liners. I used eye shadow that I have to wet and use an angled brush and sometimes I just don’t have the patience to do it! : )

    • Hayley says:

      Yes! That’s kind of how I feel about eyeshadow…I like the looks that take some patience, but I totally lake the patience end of it!

  9. I follow the same philosophy when it comes to makeup! I splurge on Clinique foundation, and some department store perfumes, but that’s it. And, I don’t wear either of those every day. All my basics come from the drugstore! I might have to try that cover up stick and mascara, I haven’t really discovered my favorite products yet.

  10. I swear by that mascara! I switched a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. I have sensitive skin so I’m very careful about what I use but L’oreal products don’t irritate my skin or my contacts.

  11. I am so with you on the MAC foundation. I love it — and I think if you are going to spend $$ somewhere, a great foundation is the best place to spend it.

    I have switched back to Voluminous Mascara after every other one smudged. I’m hooked for life I think!

    Fun post Hayley! I love being a girl!

  12. UH-GREE with ya on the mascara…I’ve tried to venture back out to other brands and NONE compare. Love that stuff.

    I’ll have to give that eyeliner a try, it seems I’m on the continual hunt for a liner that doesn’t add onto the dark circles I worked to cover up.

  13. I swear by Loreal Voluminous, too! And I’ve tried all sorts of the fancier ones, but nothing looks as great or lasts as long.

    I think I’m going to have to pick up some of that red, though! It looks amazing on you.

  14. Thanks for this! So, I don’t wear mascara because I have watery eyes and I was afraid of looking like a raccoon! I’ve actually never gone through a whole tube of mascara. I purchased the Voluminous one you described here in waterproof and so far, so good! I also bought the eyeliner which I am loving. I bought the brown pencil in the same brand to see if it stays (I only use a tiny bit). Thanks! I want to find the Neutrogena stick but they were fresh out, they only had fair or medium and I believe I’d need something in between 😉

  15. I feel the EXACT same way about the Neutrogena concealer. LOVE IT!

  16. I LOVE Voluminous mascara, I have used it for years. I also splurge on foundation, I love Smashbox. I am going to check out that eyeliner…looking for a good one!

  17. Heather says:

    I love this article, you have alot of Good ideas! Its good to know what you like and don’t like especially for moms, so you don’t have to stand there and scan through the options and and then mom brain kicks in and then you have to fight with the kids(Completely guilty!) and etc. but you can just walk in knowing what works for you and just grab it and be done.. This post reminds me that I definitely need to sit down and figure what i do and don’t like for once out of my cosmetics.. Thank You Hayley!

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