Here’s a special beauty edition of Cute Stuff You Might Actually Be Able To Afford (a weekly feature in serious need of a less ridiculous name):
I work in a pharmacy, and I have a serious makeup-buying problem, so I have tried pretty much every drugstore beauty product. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Revlon Moon Drops lipstick: I love how this has that classic waxy lipstick smell. It’s just straightforward lipstick that doesn’t claim to do anything crazy like stay on for a week or make you look like you got lip injections, but it’s comfortable to wear and looks classic. My favorite shade is Orange Flip, a nice bright tomato color.
- Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure: this line has great colors and is long lasting, although some shades will smear and stain clothing if you get rubbing alcohol or sunscreen on your hands. It’s fine with a topcoat, though. I still think it’s worth it because I am the worst at painting my nails and this stuff goes on perfectly– super shiny and smooth. My favorite shades are All Fired Up, Gray by Gray, and Commander in Chic.
- Carmex: In the tub or the click stick, this is the cheapest, best lip balm. It’s less that two bucks, smells like old-timey medicine (but in a good way), and the SPF 15 version is the only sunscreen lip balm that doesn’t make my mouth taste like I drank a bottle of Coppertone. If you are buying lip balm that costs more than four bucks, you a silly person.
- Murray’s Superior Hair Dressing Pomade: Less than three bucks at most drugstores, this orange jar (adorned with a happy couple) will last you pretty much forever. It’s great for smoothing frizz, fixing cowlicks, and just getting your hair to behave.
- Maybelline Full N’ Soft mascara: I have tried every new mascara that comes along, but I keep going back to this one. My eyelashes are long, but very blonde, so I need to pile on the mascara to get them to show up. This is one of the very few mascaras that lets me apply like 30 coats without clumping up or looking brittle or flaking off. It only costs about $7.50. Get the waterproof version, because it lasts longer and you never know when you might cry or get caught in the rain or have a squirt gun fight. Seriously, why do they even make non-waterproof mascara?
- CoverGirl Perfect Blend Eyeliner: The cheapest, best, most long-lasting, smudgeable-but-defining pencil. This was the first eyeliner I ever bought, and I’m sorry every time I try something new.
- L’oreal True Match Super Blendable Make-Up: I’m not the biggest expert on foundation, because only like two brands make base pale enough for me and I am usually too lazy to wear it. I have had good luck with this one, which evens out my skin and tones down redness without totally erasing my freckles. I also recommend the concealer and pressed powder from the True Match line. I should mention that my skin is pretty oily (thanks a lot Dad), so I’m not sure what the best product would be for less shiny folks.
- Johnson’s Baby Shampoo: This gets my hair clean without washing out my green stripe, and it smells fresh. I think fancy shampoo and conditioner is a rip off. Just buy whatever’s on sale, because the shampoo for curly hair and the shampoo for straight hair have practically the same ingredients and all that crap on the labels about harnessing the power of science and nature and magic is bullshit, and you are not going to look like a Pantene commercial without a team of stylists.
One last tip: if you have tried every new anti-acne thing that comes on the market, give up. Most have either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and if those things haven’t worked for you before, buying the same stuff in new packaging won’t help. If you can afford to go to the doctor, don’t wait ten years like I did. My prescription zit cream is cheaper that most of the over the counter stuff I had tried, and actually works without making my skin peel off. If over the counter stuff does work for you, I would recommend buying the store brand or whatever’s cheap and doesn’t smell gnarly, since the active ingredients are the same.
And don’t give me any of that crap about how not wearing makeup fixed your acne and now you’re at one with nature and you wash your face with goat’s milk. I wish I were cool enough to go out to a show with a huge red zit on my white white face and not give a shit, but I’m not that cool, and I’m going to wear concealer.