Recession Beauty – Drugstore Finds, Pt. 1: Makeup

Times are tough in this economy, and America continues to collectively cut back financially. But your beauty routine doesn’t have to suffer in the face of a bad economy; you can still score great products at the drugstore. Lower prices do not mean lower quality. A lot of drugstore products are old faithfuls in my beauty routine, items I turn to regardless of the financial climate. In other words, they’re really great!

But how to know which drugstore products are stellar, and which ones are clunkers? After years of testing, I’ve compiled a gigantic list of must-haves…sort of like the Oscars for drugstore products.

Because the list was so long, I’ve decided to break it down into 3 parts. Today, we focus on…makeup! Stay tuned this week for and Skincare (Pt. 2) and Haircare (Pt. 3).

Read on for the full list of drugstore makeup must-haves.

Best Lower Lash Mascara:
Maybelline Lash Discovery mascara
($6)
I dare you to find a mascara with a tinier brush! The teensy wand gets into corners like no other, giving you wide-awake-looking eyes and incredible definition. It’s the best for lower lashes. I like the waterproof version, which doesn’t smudge or flake.

Best Volumizing Mascara:
Rimmel The MAX Volume Flash Mascara
($7)
Want pumped-up, voluminous lashes, but can’t afford to drop major dough on Armani Eyes to Kill or DiorShow? Rimmel MAX Volume Flash mascara has got you covered. The fat brush evenly coats lashes with inky black mascara from root to tip. The best volumizing mascara you’ll get for under $10.

Best Lengthening Mascara:
Revlon Lash Fantasy Total Definition Waterproof mascara
($7)
A friend of mine wears this and it gives her sky-high, mile-long lashes. Simply gorgeous. It’s not great for volume, but for impossibly long lashes, this is your best bet.

Best Brow Pencil:
Maybelline Define-A-Brow
($5.50)
This brow pencil features a slim tip, which is ideal for defining small areas of brows. Brows look best filled in with short, quick strokes that mimic the look of natural brow hairs; this pencil makes those staccato strokes a cinch. Use it to fill in gaps and sparse areas.

Best Clear Brow Gel:
Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel
($4)
Simply the best — and the cheapest — for setting brows in place. Gives you a defined, groomed look.

Best Brow & Lash Serum:
Ardell Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator ($4)
The market is flooded with lash growth-accelerating serums that cost a ton of money. All you need is this tube! For $4 (four dollars!), you can condition lashes and brows, which strengthens them and encourages new hair growth. I’ve used this stuff for years. You’ll notice less breakage, stronger lashes, and even longer lashes. If I ever overpluck my brows, new hairs pop up within 2 weeks with nightly use. Amazing.

Best Eyeshadow:
Maybelline Eye Studio Color Plush Silk Eyeshadow
($9)
Beauty bloggers are raving about this new eyeshadow quad. Silk gives the shadow a velvety finish for color-saturated lids. Four shadows give you a countless combination of looks in just 1 compact. Available in a whopping 12 color sets.

Best Eyeliner:
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
($9)
Looking for a cheaper alternative to MAC Fluidline? This new Maybelline gel eyeliner is it. Housed in a little pot, this gel glides on smooth as butter to create professional-looking definition that won’t smudge. Go dramatic or soft with the included brush. All this in 1 little package!

Best Department-Store-Esque Lip Gloss:
Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Natural Lip Gloss
($7)
Like Lancome Juicy Tubes? You’ll love Burt’s Bees gloss. Slick on high shine and sheer color. The formula is juicy and packed with color. Plus, it’s fruit-flavored!

Best Lip Gloss:
Revlon ColorStay Mineral Lip Glaze
($8.99)
This smooth gloss delivers just the right amount of even color coverage, without ever feeling tacky. The formula is surprisingly long-wearing, and doesn’t dry out lips.

Best Lipstick:
L’Oreal Color Riche Lipstick
($9)
Creamy, not waxy. Long-lasting, not tacky.

Best Bronzer:
Physicians Formula Bamboo Wear Bronzer
($7 or compact; $10 for bronzer refill pans)
Bamboo Wear Bronzer is an eco-friendly bronzer housed in a sustainable bamboo compact, with refills available for purchase separately, so you’re reducing waste. The bronzer combines a golden powder with a shimmery nude highlighter, so when you swirl your brush over the surface, you get a blended, radiant glow.

Best Cream Blush:
Almay Smart Shade Blush ($9)
This cream blush takes the guesswork out of blush. Shade-sensing technology transforms the blush into the perfect shade for your skintone once applied to cheeks. It’s like your own personal makeup artist in a tube. The formula is creamy and blends like a dream.

Best Powder Blush:
Neutrogena Mineral Sheers
($11)
Neutrogena started as a skincare company, and that’s what they do best. They know how to craft products, including cosmetics, that don’t irritate even sensitive skin or clog pores. This blush won’t clog up your complexion, and removes easily. The built-in applicator brush makes on-the-go, quick application a snap.

Best Foundation:
L’Oreal True Match Roller Foundation ($15)
The paintbrush-style roller is what makes this foundation fun! Roll the spongy applicator over the creamy foundation, then roll it all over your face; it really gets into crevices, especially around the nose. The foundation won’t settle into fine lines, and stays put for hours. Plus, you get the shade accuracy of the True Match line, so you’re ensured an exact match to your skintone.

Best Concealer:
Maybelline SuperStay 24-Hour Wear
($7)
This creamy blend covers all imperfections. And it’s not going anywhere for 24 hours (unless you run a marathon). Seriously, this stuff sticks!

Best Corrective Concealer:
Physicians Formula Concealer Twins Correct and Cover Cream
($7)
These dual-ended concealers address specific skin issues at a pretty price. A green concealer counteracts blemishes, scars, discolorations and redness for an even skintone. A yellow-based concealer hides undereye circles and bluish skin discolorations, and conceals blemishes. The end result: a flawless finish.


Here is a list of some other note-worthy drugstore products that have reached cult-classic status:

L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara

Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Anti-Aging Foundation

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser foundation

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion mascara: For the record, I’m not a fan, but people looove the LashBlast line. The newest version provides length and volume.


In light of the economic downturn, Recession Beauty is a SugarSocial series that features low-cost, budget-friendly products as an alternative to luxury or designer brands.

This entry was posted in Bronzers, Brows, Cheeks, Eyes, Lip Service, Mascara, Recession Beauty and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Recession Beauty – Drugstore Finds, Pt. 1: Makeup

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Recession Beauty – Drugstore Beauty Finds, Pt. 1: Makeup « Sugar Social: Daily Beauty Dish -- Topsy.com

  2. marc nalgas says:

    marc is going to have to disagree with all of those drugstore picks!!!!!!!!! marc has a great list of drug store finds that he would love to share

  3. Amy says:

    I just tried the new Maybelline gel eyeliner, and it’s REALLY good. I like it a lot. It stays in place better than most expensive pencil liners I’ve used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>