Drugstore Holy Grails
What is a "Holy Grail"? In the beauty community, it's a product that beats out every other product of its kind, something you could use for years and never tire of, something you would cry over if a company cruelly decided to discontinue it. Basically, it's your absolute favorite eyeliner, highlighter, etc. For me in particular, a Holy Grail is a product that's so perfect, I don't feel the need to purchase the same sort of product from any other brand.
Surprisingly, I have found that the vast majority of my Holy Grails come from the drugstore and cost me less than $10. I say "surprisingly" because drugstore products have been getting a lot of flack in the past year or so for being low quality and overpriced in comparison to similar stuff from mid- and high-end brands. I, however, maintain a deep connection to my local Rite Aid.
I don't buy any more eyelash curlers because I have...
I've tried quite a few lash curlers and was impressed with most of them, including the rather expensive and much-loved curlers from Kevyn Aucoin and Chanel. When my trusty Avon lash curler finally bit the dust, I skipped out to Target to find a cheap replacement until I could purchase one of my long-time favorites, only to fall madly in love with this little baby by ELF. I don't know what it is, but something about this curler leaves my lashes perfectly-curled for days at a time. TIP: change the pad on your eyelash curler every couple of months. Most, including the ELF, come with an extra.
I don't buy any more mascaras because I have...
...Prestige My Biggest Lashes, $8, and Jordana Best Lash Volumizing Extreme, $3.50.
Now, obviously, I buy new tubes of mascara every 5 or 6 months, seeing as they dry up after a while. But lemme tell ya: I've tried a ton of high-end mascaras, and none of them has worked quite as well as these drugstore gems. What's more, I find that expensive mascaras don't last me as long--I had to replace Makeup Forever Smokey Lash every 2 months, YSL Faux Cils every 3 months--and I strongly dislike paying that kind of money every couple of months. Instead, I use Prestige My Biggest Lashes for super-thick, over-the-top lashes and Jordana Best Lash Volumizing Extreme for a more separated and fluttery look. TIP: scrape the excess product off of the brush with a tissue or the inside rim of the tube to prevent clumping.
I don't buy any more lipliners because I have...
...NYX Lip Pencils, $1.50 for the Long and $3 for the Slim.
My favorite lipliners used to be the Estee Lauder DoubleWear and Shiseido pencils. Then I found the NYX lipliner range and was absolutely blown away by the color range and price. They have absolutely every shade you could imagine or want, from basic pinks and reds to frosty lavenders and uber-darks. What's more, the formula is incredibly creamy and long-wearing. I like both the Long pencils (which are cheaper, slightly smoother, and give you a bit more product, but come in far fewer colors) and the Slim pencils (which are a tad dryer, but still beautiful and very very purse-sized). Pictured are the Slim pencils in Tangerine and Rose and a Long pencil in Plush Red. TIP: I always keep a lipliner and a lip balm in my purse. That way, if I suddenly need a lip color, I can just fill my lips in with some liner and dab on a bit of balm for moisture.
I don't buy any more pencil eyeliners because I have...
...Milani Liquif-Eye Metallic Eye Pencils, $7.
I used to absolutely shun eyeliner pencils. They were dry, they didn't last, their pigmentation was lackluster, and it was just much easier to slap on a cateye with some liquid liner and call it a day. Then someone recommended the Milani Liquif-Eye pencils to me, and oh my sweet gherkins, I was hooked! These are the creamiest, dreamiest, most amazing eye pencils I have ever used. They glide on to your lids with the barest amount of pressure and are true-to-color in one swipe. You can easily smudge them out with a Q-tip or a brush, but they set after 30 seconds and absolutely do not move. These are labeled as "metallic," but I don't find the Black or Brown to be "frosty," just a bit satiny. (In essence, they're not the most matte pencil I've ever used, but they're more velvety than anything.) There are only 2 bad things I can say about these: the shade range is kinda limited, and because they're so soft, you'll have to refrigerate them before sharpening. Those are minor nitpicks, since I mostly wear black or brown liner and my family kinda gets a kick out of seeing an eyeliner next to the milk jug. TIP: dab your waterline dry with a Q-tip before tightlining. Eyeliner will almost always adhere better to dry skin.
I don't buy any more nude powder shadows or brow pencils because I have...
... Wet n' Wild Brulee eyeshadow, $2, and La Femme Taupe brow/eye pencil, $1.50.
Sometimes I do stray to other nude shadows or brow products, always with vague impression that there has to be something more incredible than these $2 wonders. I've tried brow powders, gels, and creams, plus cake liner and eyeshadow, and the number of nude shadows I've tested in cream, powder, and liquid forms is a little scary. But at the end of the day, nothing is quite as flattering on my eyes as this little combo. The Wet n' Wild Brulee shadow is the perfect all-over lid shade for fair or light-skinned ladies and a fantastic matte highlight for just about everyone, while the La Femme brow pencil is a fits-many-skintones product that lasts forever on my brow and works for most of my models. As always, there are downsides to these products, but they're pretty minor: the La Femme pencil is so long that it won't fit in most makeup bags, and the Wet n' Wild shadows are so soft that they shatter quite easily. Beyond that, I adore these products, and I will buy a zillion back-ups if they're ever discontinued. TIP: both of these products can do double duty. I've used the La Femme pencil as an eyeliner when my brown was temporarily out of commission, and fair-skinned ladies in a pinch can use the Wet n' Wild Brulee shadow as a setting powder.
Today's FOTD also features a number of these products, though I apologize for the medicore pictures. My computer is here, but still hasn't been unpacked. I wanted to use my Missha BB cream today, but I've managed to get a "tan" this summer (N15 now, LOOOOL), so I added in a dot of MAC Face & Body in N1 to darken it up...and absolutely loved the results! Very natural with a slight glow, and because I used the Missha, I didn't have to powder down or wear a sunblock underneath. Huzzah!
BASE: Missha Perfect Cover BB cream in #13 Bright Beige mixed with a dot of MAC Face & Body foundation in N1, Clinique Airbrush concealer in 01 Fair
EYES: Urban Decay eyeshadow in Virgin, MAC Cream Color Base in Pearl, Milani Liquif-Eye eyeliner in Brown, La Femme brow pencil in Taupe, Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing mascara
CHEEKS: NYX Blush Stick in Pink Lotus, MAC Cream Color Base in Pearl
LIPS: Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain in Sweetheart