The au-courant trend in fashion is all about High/Low. Say, pairing an H&M top with jeans and Louboutins. Or think Duchess Kate in an ethereal gown by Alexander McQueen on her wedding day and a Zara frock the very next. Well, the same is true in cosmetics. You have to mix it up, a little luxury here, a little bargain there. Such is the state of my extensive skincare and cosmetics inventory. While I appreciate the quality and creaminess of a Chanel or Yves St. Laurent lipstick, and the delicate texture of Armani Maestro foundation, I have room for Burt’s Bees and Rimmel in my repertoire too. The other day I canvassed the collection and pulled out a few of my bargains to share with you.
Dr. Jessica Wu Vivid Intense 15% Vitamin C Serum is the first thing I put on my face after washing and toning. It comes in four little tubes, one for each week of the month, so it is always fresh. I love the portable size which I can throw into my travel bag instead of a glass bottle. It packs the same wallop as the big boys and is a bargain, available at Costco for $30. It comes and goes in the store so order it online.
After the serum, I slap on my daily dose of Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair. A moisturizer with SPF 30, Accelerated Retinol SA and Vitamin C for brightening and reducing discoloration, it is a mega- multi tasker. $22.99 at CVS
It takes two mascaras to cover all my bases. I like Maybelline Mega Plush Volum Express in brown, a subtle look for day that leaves my lashes soft and natural, but defined, $6.99. If I want to kick up the drama for evening, I reach for L’oreal Voluminous Original, $7.79 in Black Brown. I have tried many and haven’t found anything that delivers as brilliantly at this or even twice the price. It’s waterproof too, good for us emotional chix. Both available at drugstores or Target.
Of course, at the end of the day it must all come off and I have used Maybelline Expert Eyes Oil Free eye makeup remover for as long as I can remember. A bargain at $4.99.
There are so many great options for lips under $10. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter feels like a balm but has the color punch of a lipstick. I have it in Tutti Frutti and Fig Jam but there are 19 colors in all for $8.99. I always throw a tiny tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in my gym bag and keep another in the car for hydration on the go. My favorites of the 14 color options are Peony and Caramel, $4.99. Rimmel’s Moisture Renew lipstick is a new discovery, so creamy and lasting. I’ve been wearing Summer Angel.
I’m never without Burt’s Res-Q ointment. Slather on dry lips, stings, scrapes or burns and the combination of oils and Vitamin E give instant relief, $5.39 at drugstore.com or $4.31 if you are a GNC member. As a balm with a kiss of color, you can’t beat Maybelline Baby Lips, $3.99.
Walgreens recently bought a 45% stake in the UK behemoth Boots. So you will now see your local store stocked with a full complement of products from the super popular British brand. I like No7 Protect & Perfect intense serum, the least expensive serum on the market containing Matrixyl, a powerful skin firming, collagen building peptide. Target prices it at $18.99.
Since I am never without eyeliner, even to walk the dog, I have a lot of them. Great pencil liners are made by Prestige, whose colored liners are always at hand, glide on and have good staying power. Available in 10 shades for $3.16. I also favor Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal eye liner, good for a sharp line or smudging and only $3.69. I recently gave NYX a try as I read excellent reviews on their products. Love, love, love their Gel Liner and Smudger which does both jobs if you do the smudging before it sets. I like the consistency as well as Bobbi Brown’s much costlier version. Dark Brown is my choice at $8.00.
I also gave their NYX Cream Blush a test drive in Natural, at $7.79. It goes on blendable and sheer so you can build color if you want more flush. I am finding cream blushes so much more flattering and forgiving for my “mature” skin, as will you. Powder tends to cake, settle in lines and wear off. This summer I gave Maybelline Master Glaze blush stick a whirl and found it very comparable to Nars Multiples for a modest $5.99. To highlight the cheekbones and brow bones, try L’oreal Magic Lumi light infusing primer, $12.95, all drug stores. You can also mix it with your foundation for a pearly glow all over. My last recommendation is a facial spray by Mario Badescu. This aloe, herb and rosewater mist is refreshing and hydrating. Give yourself a quick boost after exercise, exposure to cold, dry air or to set your makeup. The gardenia scent is heavenly and all this wonderfulness costs only $7.
As with all cosmetic innovations, what the luxury brands start trickles down to the less expensive brands within a few months and at a price anyone can afford. Just keep your eyes peeled for the knock offs.
*I am off to Santa Fe for a week of R&R and connecting with dear friends. You will hear from me again in two weeks.