Saturday, March 1, 2014

Winter 2014 Drugstore Beauty Haul

Despite my uber strict budget, I'm surprisingly not so well-versed in the latest and greatest of the drugstore beauty world. With saavy shopping, gift cards, and of course, the occasional splurge, I've somehow managed to make the majority of my beauty purchases from prestige brands. While high-end beauty certainly has its perks, that's not to say that there aren't some true gems on the shelves at CVS. Realizing that it has been a long time since I'd gone treasure hunting, I clipped some coupons from the Sunday paper a few weekends ago and went shopping. I was really happy with my purchases, and thanks to the sales and my coupons, I was able to get all of these products (a $40 something value) for less than $25.

(I believe they call that winning.)

Of course, all of these products are available at your usual mass beauty retailers. As with just about anything, I always recommend shopping around to see if you can find yourself the best deals! For the sake of ease and giving you a ballpark pricepoint, I've quoted you the listed price at Ulta, as well as a link to purchase it from their site.

Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose Glow
$10.99 at Ulta

Frequently described as a dupe for the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, this multi-colored wonder is a blush/highlighter love-child that gives your cheeks a subtly shimmering rosy glow. While fair-skinned gals will probably get a more noticeable flush, darker-skinned ladies will find this to be a beautiful subtly pink highlighter to add dimension to their cheekbones. I always am a little leery of face products with sparkle, because anything too glittery often comes across to me as being reminiscent of my somewhat regretful teenage makeup choices. But the shimmering particles in this particular highlighter are very fine and not overwhelming, giving you just a little bit of glow without looking tacky.

The quality of the powder itself isn't as creamy and soft as some higher end blushers and highlighters I've tried, but I was generally pretty happy with the way this looked on my skin. I highly recommend using this over skin that's already been prepped with foundation/BB cream/etc. I think because the texture is a bit more powdery, it really needs something to adhere to, and isn't nearly as visible on bare skin (as you can see from my attempted swatch below).

Left: Celestial Coral, Right: Caramel Infused
Maybelline Color Elixir in Celestial Coral (left) and Caramel Infused (right)
$8.99 at Ulta

I'm not going to lie, my intrigue for these lippies was totally brought on by the coupon ad from the Sunday paper. I love any product that offers me the color and wear of a lipstick, with the feel of a gloss, so the Color Elixirs seemed to be right up my alley. I have to say, I was definitely not disappointed. I picked up two colors - Celestial Coral (a bright coral pink), and Caramel Infused (a deep pinky-nude). The formula is on the sheer side, allowing you to build color as needed, which definitely makes some of their brighter and bolder shades more easily wearable. The texture is thick and glossy, without being goopy, tacky, or otherwise unpleasant. This has generally been my go-to gloss for the past few weeks. I especially love Caramel Infused, because it's gives you that perfectly shiny, nude-lip look that is wearable pretty much for any and all occasions.

Also, sidenote. Can we talk about the packaging design for a second? The tube containing the gloss has been cut to resemble a lipstick. Clever, Maybelline. Very clever.

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait
$7.99 at Ulta

Maybe my years of watching Paula Deen on the Food Network has somehow affected my subconscious desires, but anything with the word "Butter" in it seems to intrigue me. I knew I had seen these lipsticks around in the blogger world, so I was excited to finally try them out myself. I was quite happy with the feel and wear of this lip butter, with a super creamy (dare I say, buttery?) texture and sheer coverage that makes me want to go out and buy more colors to try. Peach Parfait is a very pretty and springtime appropriate peachy-pink with a gold sparkle. I'm not always a fan of shimmery lip products, mainly because I find them to be way more drying than their non-shimmery counterparts. However, with all of the hydrating shea and coconut butter in this product I didn't find it to be too much of a problem.

L'Oreal Paris Infallible The Super Slim
$8.99 at Ulta

As I've recently rediscovered the wonder that is liquid eyeliner, I've been on a hunt to find a more cost-affordable alternative to my beloved Stila Stay all Day. This was the first of two marker-style liquid liners I scouted at the drugstore, and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed. It's got a nice comfortable feel to hold, with a soft grippy area much like a traditional pencil or pen. The tip is very fine and flexible, making application extremely easy. I found that over time the tip can get a bit dry, which can make creating that perfect "flick" in a winged liner look a bit difficult. If this happens I'll usually cap it and give it a good shake to get more product flowing. The lasting power on this product is pretty awesome, so long as you don't accidentally rub your eyes. Unlike some of the higher end products, which won't budge a bit after they dry, I find this liner to be a little smudgy with physical contact. All-in-all, for less than half the price of the prestige brand, I think this is a pretty solid drugstore dupe.

Maybelline Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner
$7.99 at Ulta

An even less expensive option than the L'Oreal, I decided to give Maybelline's take on the liquid liner pen a go. I felt that performance wise, this was very similar to The Super Slim that I just reviewed. The tip is a little longer and thicker, so I have noticed less of a problem with it drying out. Consequently, I think the application is a bit more wet and liquidy, so it's sometimes a little bit more finicky to apply. I also found the smell, which is a bit chemical in nature (kind of like a sharpie) to be a little off-putting. Regardless, this did do a good job of creating a very black, super precise line that will hold up well day or night (although I did notice it is also just as susceptible to smudging when touched). 

Speaking of liquid liner, I will be putting up a post shortly with my tips and tricks for mastering it. While many people agree that liquid eyeliner looks beautiful, many people assume it will be way too difficult to apply (and consequently go back to their pencils without ever giving it a try). I will also be showing off the rest of the products that I reviewed in this post in the final look I create, so if you'd like to see them in action, check back soon!

If you have any other suggestions for Drugstore beauty I should try, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you've tried any of these products in the same or other shades, I'd love to hear what you think!