Welcome to my blog!
Feel free to look around or drop me a line. I love comments as well.
Press/PR please contact me at

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Damage at the Drugstore: Hits and Misses on the cheap!

There's an ongoing feeling that makeup is divided into mainly two categories:  Cheap and Expensive.  The assumption is that expensive makeup is going to work better.  I've found that across the board, any brand, any price range, there are hits and misses.  That assumption of 'you get what you pay for' doesn't apply to makeup!  I have some high end products that I wouldn't buy again (I'm looking at you, Dior highlighter shadow) and things I recently can't live without (Hard Candy face items).  I wanted to share my lucky drugstore finds and my latest haul!  The pic above is of my recent drugstore goodies from Wal-Mart and Target.  I've been pleasantly surprised by some and absolutely bummed by others!  Here we go!

Great Bronzer- Hard Candy mineralized bronzer in Hula Hula.  It's baked.  It's beautiful.  It's over 8 grams of bronzed goodness and is so similar to my Urban Decay Baked bronzer that I was in shock.  Applies smooth, isn't full of gold glitter, and gives you that 'at the beach' glow.  I love this.  The packaging is great and it retails at US Wal-Marts for around $9.00.  I saw three other shades, but this one was the most appealing.  It was a a great caramel hue with ribbons and veins of gold.  Lurve this.

Great Blush- Look familiar?  I'm digging Hard Candy's face products right now.  I've tried their Ginormous Lash mascara and hated it...so I'd steer clear of that, but these complexion products are really high powered and fairly cheap.  This blush retails for about $6.00 and is in the shade, Honeymoon.  It's a pale, petal pink with marbling of lavender and a slight hue of golden ivory to it.  Applied on fair skin it's a cool toned plum, on warm skin, a pearly icy pink.  I think it's a win.  I use a duo fibre brush and swirl it onto my cheekbones in small circles.  Easy to apply and this for me, is a total hit!

All over face brightener- Physician's Formula face Happy Boost powder in Translucent.  Retails for around $10-$13 dollars US.  There was some press about these and a chemical they have that supposedly translates into 'happy' feelings via the skin.  I doubt there's any molecular exchange going on, but I know I get a boost by the pretty hearts and the glow it gives.  It comes in a fuschia metallic compact and vaguely smells like flowers (advertised as violets).  It includes a flip up pan of product with a mirror on the backside and a bright pink flat brush for application.  It's too thin and weak for a decent brush, so I gave it to my daughter, since it's too pretty to toss.  This product is a lovely glow to cheekbones, bridge of the nose, central forehead, and chin.  Not too dewy and great for dry to oily skin, I found this to be a nice pick me up over foundation instead of powder.  Nice thing is, as you use it, the hearts don't go away, which if they're all the way through is a nice quality touch.  I've seen Estee Lauder's powders work just as well and cost twice as much.  I'll take this instead :) 

Finishing/Set Powder:  Hard Candy Moon Glow Powder in Luminizing.  This was a fun product I read about from Pyrra at www.phyrra.net.  She gave it rave reviews and it's the inital item that led me down my happy Hard Candy lovin' path.  This retails for around $9.00 at Wal-Mart if you can find it.  For someone as pale as I am (NW15 in Studio Fix, Voile 1C in Aromaleigh foundation, Ivory in just about everything else) I expected this to be a nice glow powder.  Something to give me good light bounce on the high planes of my face.  What's interesting is that I don't use it for that at all.  I use it as a highlight on my brow bone- great with a large blender brush as a substitute for your typical white shadow.  It applies more naturally, so you get the blend, but it fades into your brow like skin, not bright white.  I also use it as a setting powder.  I use a large duo fiber and just swirl it over my foundation on my T-Zone to absorb shine and I'm set.  It's not cakey.  It doesn't sit on top of the foundation.  It has tiny little bits of gold sparkle that you don't see unless you're really close up and it applies so evenly- even over concealer!  I love this and kudos to Phyrra for exposing me to such a gem. 

Here's the cute sponge it comes with (I tried to use it for application and it was streaky- bleh) and the flipside mirror.  Novel, but I don't use it.

Skin Brightener/Bronzer/Glow- Hard Candy's bronzer/luminizer (it rang up as lotion ha ha..which I guess techincally it is lol, if you're Kimora Lee Simmons).  Retails for $9.00, it's totally drool worthy.  It comes in a squeezable gold shiny tube and I saw three shades.  I picked the 'glamazon bronze' over the tanner and pink shades.  The pink I think would be like a big tube of BeneFit's Moon Beam- I'll pick it up eventually, probably.  But I've been scouting bronzers for spring/summer, so this was my choice.  It comes out as a deep bronze cream with lots of gold flecks.  Take a look...

Look at that gorgeous shimmery bronze beach toned heaven!!  Oh it glows too!  That was just that tiny dab spread out on my arm.  I think I'm going to mix this with my moisturizer to get some glow.  I wouldn't apply this over foundation unless I wanted some nice contoured bronze, instead this is a skin first item for me.  What do you think?  How do you usually use something like this?  The photo below shows how this works with some other layered product.

Above, indoor light, no flash is my forearm with foundation blended in, Glamazon Bronze luminizer blended on top and then set with Moon Glow Luminizing powder.  All I have to say is that if I were tan, this would be so pretty.  Especially in the sun.  The gold is more gleaming than glitter, so you'll look like you have supple, glowing skin.  Um, yes please!

So below is a look I did, wanting to bring some warmth and bronze into my skin tone that is seriously pale, pale.  I used Sonia Kushuk's large duo fibre brush ($12.99 at Target) and my foundation is Revlon's ColorStay for combination skin in Ivory.  The foundation is about $11 at Target too- better shade selection of Revlon at Target compared to Wal-Mart.  This foundation has gotten some great reviews on Makeup Alley and other bloggers, so I wanted to give the formula a go.  First thing I noticed is that it has light refracting pigmentation so that it bounces light (ahem younger skin) and blends really cleanly and doesn't dry too quickly.  Didn't settle too badly into lines but after it's blended and dry, gives such a clean, dewy finish I couldn't believe I'd bought it at Target.  Better than my Clinique and Lancome foundation by far.  That's saying something!

I'm loving how clean and fresh and goldeny beautiful these products made my skin.  On top of the foundation I applied the Hard Candy bronzer to contour, the blush on my cheekbones with the Phsyician's Formula Happy Boost powder as a highlight.  I swept the Moon Glow powder on my browbones and T-Zone and I was set.  Can you believe this was all drugstore?!  I'm really impressed with the quality and for all of this, I could've bought maybe one department store item.  Major hit for me.

Next up are the rest of the goodies!

Lipsticks.  From Left to Right:  Rimmel (Wendi at Makeup Zombie's signature shade- they should rename it after her!) #042 Just So, Revlon #060 True Red, Revlon #643 Satin Plum, L'Oreal #165 Tickled Pink, and L'Oreal #805 Golden Splendor.

Glosses:  L'Oreal Colour Riche lipgloss #820 Soft Brown, Hard Candy Plumping Serum Voluminzing Lip Gloss #334 Jellyfish, and Revlon Super Lustrous lipgloss #200 Lilac Pastel.

Here are some close ups of the glosses:

A great shimmery iced peach with a hint of beige.  Perfect on top of nude lipsticks or wear alone.

This formula has a minty zingy feel using the same tactics as Fusion Beauty to tingle your lips into plumpness.  I liked it and the holo blue/purple glow is so pretty.

 This gloss is a pale, well...lilac and has a very opaque finish.  Similar to MAC's cremesheen lipglasses, but not tacky or sticky at all.  This is a great lavender shade that stood out to me among the typical pinks and plums I see on the racks.

Swatches below of all the lip products with flash, indoors.

From L to R: Revlon Satin Plum, L'Oreal Tickled Pink, L'Oreal Golden Splendor, Rimmel Just So, Revlon True Red.  The glosses top to bottom are:  Revlon Lilac Pastel, L'Oreal Soft Brown, and Hard Candy Jellyfish.  Squee!  Lippie goodness!   Below are lip swatches, with flash to show the same order of lipsticks on well, lips.

 Revlon, Satin Plum- sheery lavender shade that applies like a frosty pale ice pink.  Quite sheer and a bit of a disappointment coverage wise.  BUT great on top of a deeper shade.

L'Oreal Tickled Pink-  Barbie baby pink with a hint of pearl, really smooth and about a 3 out of 5 for opacity.  Decent copy of MAC's Snob.  But like 1/4th the price.

L'Oreal Golden Splendor- This oh this I LOVE!  It's a sheer fleshtone nude with gold shimmer that doesn't feel gritty but gives a lovely sparkle.  I've been dying for a shade like this and I'm so impressed with this shade.  Everyone go buy it right now!

Rimmel Just So- I saw this on Wendi at Makeup Zombie (killer blog- she's like your best friend, but better) and thought it was so berry pink unique with a hint of coral that well, I had to have it!  Sure enough, it's that great color and so opaque and smooth.  Out of all the drugstore lipsticks I've tried, Rimmel's has the best coverage.  Who'da thunk?  What a fun shade and thanks Wendi for introducing it to me!

Revlon True Red- I have a bazillion reds.  I read about this color in Shape Magazin and it has a nice tomato shade to it that keeps it from being too 'red' and not too dark, but not orange.  It's such a wonderful red and the coverage is very smooth and shiny.  I'm happy I picked it up!  It's the quintessential 'kiss me' red.

Okay, sorry to go from those nice full lips to my scrawny ones...but here's the lipstick/gloss combo.  I usually wear both color and gloss, so hopefully this shows how they work together.  Below is L'Oreal's Tickled Pink with Hard Candy's Jellyfish gloss on top.  It's not as opaque as I'd hoped, but the color was great.  A lavender sparkle on top of perfect pink.  Plus the tingly minty aspect of the gloss was interesting.  It almost feels like it's plumping your lips.  I like it.  The first shot is with flash, the second is natural light.  Love that purple glow Mmm!

Below is Revlon's Satin Plum with the Lilac Pastel lip gloss.  It kinda patches a little, but I applied it over thick for the photo.  It's nice how it looks in real life and the color is lavender without looking too kitschy.  I could see this being GORGEOUS on medium dark skin tones like Kim Kardashian.  I know she uses MAC Angel and NARS Turkish delight- this might be a more pastel/lilac take on that idea of a pink lip with a pale gloss.

THIS is my FAVORITE!!!  L'Oreal's Golden Splendor lipstick with L'Oreal's Soft Brown gloss.  This is my new go-to nude.  It's sheer so you don't have rubber lips and hits light like a sunrise.  Oh my heavens...LOVE IT!  Oh de lolly- so pretty!

So after all this photo spammation- here's my take.  Based on my experience, these are my thoughts on Drugstore brands and how they stack up.  Tell me what you think too.

Cover Girl- lame.  I like their WetSlicks gloss tubes, but the rest I just ignore.  I've used their products from foundation to lipsticks and I just haven't been impressed. 
Hits:  WetSlicks glosses
Misses:  True Match foundations.  Gross.

Maybelline- Really coming around.  I love their new Color Sensation lipsticks (Madison Mauve and Red Revival are beautiful) and their mineral power foundations aren't patchy.  I love their mascaras.  It's what I carry in my kit.  Take that, Diorshow!
Hits:  Color Sensation lipsticks, Mascaras, Baked mineral eyeshadows.
Misses:  FIT Me foundations

Revlon- the best drugstore foundation.  Seriously.  ColorStay is such a performer- that if you're looking for a foundation on a budget, please just look for Halle Berry's photo and pick a jar.  I'm loving their shade selection and that they have different formulas for oily and dry/combo skin.
Hits:  ColorStay foundations, Super Lustrous glosses, Nail polish, Lipsticks
Misses:  Cream shadows...smear city.

Rimmel- UK hyped brand with some really killer metallic liners and even a primer.  To me, best lipsticks in the drugstore arena.
Hits:  Lipsticks and 60 second drying polishes
Misses:  Blushes- really dark and patchy

Physician's Formula-  I'm not sure of the background on this, but they always have the prettiest face products.  I see them copying a lot of Guerlain's products like Meteorites and Meteorite compacts with their Correcting Pearls and Correcting Powders.  They're on my 'try next' list to see how they perform.  I do love their innovative 'Happy Boost' powders and blushes.
Hits:  Face/Complexion powders and correctors
Misses:  Eyeshadows, very sheer to me

Almay- I love their concealers, seriously!  The rest, to be honest, I haven't used.  So I don't know much about this one.  You tell me :)
Hits:  Concealer
Misses:  Dunno

Wet N' Wild- used to be the grossest, cheapest crap ever except for eyeliners and cheap nail polish.  Now all of a sudden they're like....cool.  Like that fat kid in 9th grade who at 25 is hot and rich.  What changed?  Well, the formulation is different and yet amazingly, the prices are all the same.  Lots of hits here!  Crazy, I know!  HUGE hit is their gel liner (bye bye Blacktrack) and mineral blush and liquid liners.
Hits:  LINERS, some eyeshadows, mineral blushes and bronzers AND their more expensive lippies in the black slim tubes- they rock!  Stock up on this, seriously.
Misses:  Some eyeshadow colors (kitten) and lip glosses (the tubes leak)

NYC- I really like NYC's lipsticks and shadows.  I usually go to this brand when I want something cheap in a new color to perk me up.  I have used a lot of NYC's products and the quality is decent.  Not the best, but good.  Like a buffet.
Hits:  Liquid liner, eyeshadows, lipsticks, glosses, and clear mascara (for brows)
Misses:  Mosaic powders and blushes and any face products.  Really patchy foundation and dark patchy powders.

L'Oreal- Lancome's baby sister and just as good in a lot of ways.  I used to like their Voluminous mascaras until I got ahold of Maybelline's Lash Stiletto and won't let go.  I love L'Oreals lipstick selection- lots of pretty nudes and good performance.  Their gloss selection stinks, but their studio secrets primer is pee-your-pants good and so is the smoothing foundation. 
Hits:  Lipsticks, Studio Secrets Primer, HIP pigments, Smoothing foundation, gel liners
Misses:  Lip glosses- where are they?

Hard Candy- used to be cool and posh and once it went to Wal-Mart was lame but is slowly getting better and in my opinion, really dang good!  I love what I've gone over in this post but their mascaras are so-so.  I wish the lip gloss gave you more on the doe foot, but the color is so good, I'll pump 6 times to get it on.  I'm hoping to try their mineral baked powders, the other luminizing lotion that's pink, and maybe the primer.
Hits:  Matte powder, Moon Glow Powder, Glamazon bronzer, Mineral baked bronzers and blushes
Misses:  Ginormous lash mascara.  Blech.

There are others like Neutrogena (good skin care line), Bonne Bell (lip products and one decent bronzer so I've heard), Jane, Boots, Jemma Kidd, Napolean Perdis (used to be high end), Jesse's Girl, Milani (Lip stuff is great!), and etc and so forth, but these are the ones I see the most of that I've used, up above.  What's your experience with drugstore brands?  What do you like? 

In Finale:  If I were to go buy makeup for a face, here's what I'd grab: 

Olay Micro Sculpting cream for moisturizer, Neutrogena 115 face spf for protection, L'Oreal's Studio Secrets primer to prep, Revlon's ColorStay foundation, Maybelline's Mineral Power powder, Hard Candy's Mineral bronzer, Hard Candy's Mineral blush, Physician's Formula Happy Boost translucent highlight powder for glow, Hard Candy's Moon Glow powder to set.

Wet N Wild's gel liner, L'Oreal's HIP pigments for eyeshadow, Maybelline Mascara

Wet N Wild's lipliner, Rimmel lipstick, and Cover Girl gloss.  Lip balm would be Burt's Bees.

And my perfume...well shoot, Britney Spears of course! HA!  Okay I will publicly admit that Curious doesn't smell that bad. 

Now go grab ten bucks, hit up Wal-Mart and get some goods!  Tell me what you bought when you get home :)



Kimberly Marquez said...

I love this post! You compiled such a great amount of information! I really need to try some of the Hard Candy products, the walmart by me is always out of stock on pretty much everything though.

krista carlson said...

Great post. I normally don't buy a lot of drugstore products because I feel I waste money. I have wasted money on the expensive stuff too though...I have recently picked up some drugstore items that I am happy with so maybe I will start checking out the drugstore products a little more now...

Cydonian said...

This is an awesome and informative post! Thanks :)

You need to try the CoverGirl lip perfection lipsticks... they're seriously awesome and there are a ton of Mac dupes floating in the line.

MartianDelights said...

Such an amazing post ! x