Cosmetic must-haves from the . . . Drug Store?

Many of my cosmetic favorites are from department stores cosmetic counters or Sephora. I freely admit it,  I’m a sucker for department store products. I can’t help it.

I can easily spend hundreds of dollars on cosmetics. All I need is time. Letting me loose in Sephora is like letting my 4-year-old loose in a candy store. It’s utter delight.

My two children are the reasons I had to start checking out the drug store for cosmetic items 4 years ago. I simply couldn’t afford department store prices for everything anymore. I needed to afford diapers AND cosmetics. I remember having to make that first change from an expensive cosmetic product to the drugstore product. It was hard for me, but I was impressed with what I found. It started with a tube of mascara, and has moved on from there.

Most mascaras flake off, or melt, to leave me with raccoon eyes by early afternoon. I have tried every type of mascara. Super expensive, to the pink and green tube from the drugstore. Nothing worked. Then a Sephora employee suggested blinc Kiss Me mascara. A formula that wraps your lashes in tubes of mascara. The tubes come off easily with water, but won’t flake or smudge. It was the first time without raccoon eyes. I finally started wearing mascara again.

After my first child was born, I didn’t feel right splurging on $24 tube of mascara. There had to be something less expensive. After spending 30 minutes reading every type of mascara at Walgreens, I found that L’Oreal made a similar formula. It’s not as amazing as blinc, but it won’t flake, or smudge. And for $11 a tube, it’s a steal.

L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara

Other drug store finds that have surprised me:

Essie Nail Polish – When I think of drug store nail polish I think of Wet and Wild. Crazy colors that are more for the under 20 crowd, and not a sophisticated mid 30s woman. I was totally surprised to see such an amazing range of color, and then was sold when I tried to apply it. Nice consistency and a great brush. It’s worth $8, especially the new spring colors.

Essie Nail Color in "Ole Caliente"

Suave Professionals – I remember that my mom bought Suave shampoo and conditioner for me when I was a girl. It smelled good, but was cheap. For a 10-year-old, I didn’t know the difference. By the time I got to college, I was already into salon products. I was stocking up on Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner when I couldn’t afford Aveda. I’m not sure if it was a year or two ago when the Suave professionals line was launched, but I still remember the ad campaign.

Of course I was skeptical. Aren’t we all these days? All it took was me running out of my favorite curl creme by Garnier, (another fabulous drugstore find) that lead me on a wild goose chase for a non-drying hair product that would hold my naturally curly hair in place and keep back the frizz. After trying 8 different types of mousse, gel, and curl cremes I found that the $2.99 bottle of Captivating Curls Cream Mousse by Suave Professionals was everything I wanted in a hair product. Great hold, without frizz, drying alcohol, flaking, or crunchy hair. It was even perfectly priced. I have now started to use the Suave Professional moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I really love them. I’m surprised how great they are.

Captivating Curls Cream Mousse by Suave Professionals

I used to use Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel, but at $68 a box, it was quite pricey. I found that Oil of Olay made a great microdermabrasion and peel system as well. I’ve been able to find it for about $25 a box. It lasts as long as the Philosophy peel because the sizes are the same. I get a really soft finish after using it. I can’t believe that it’s my skin. I LOVE it.

Oil of Olay Microdermabrasion and Peel system

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter – I just picked up one of these because, . . .  well . . . I couldn’t help myself. They were $7.49 at Walgreens. They’re smooth, sheer and just the right amount of color. I was also surprised at how long the color lasted for a Lip Butter. I was expecting it to fade pretty quickly, but it had staying power. Impressive. I would get another one. Not that I “need” another one, but I don’t call myself The Lipstick Gal for nothing. Lipstick is my downfall. I really have a weakness for it. If you were to see my collection I would be embarassed. That of course, is a blog for another day.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Sweet Tart

If you don’t already, troll the aisles of the drugstore and try a few things out. Just make sure to purchase from a drug store that has a good return policy like Walgreens or CVS. Otherwise you might be stuck with something truly unflattering.

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