As I already mentioned in my previous Midweek Beauty post, I try not to judge beauty products by their cover. Meaning that for me it is more important what the product does as opposed to how much it costs or how pretty it looks. I always read labels on skincare and makeup products, and very often the ingredients list of expensive beauty products does not differ from those that you can find in the drugstore. In this post, I put together the list of 10 categories of beauty products that will not costs you a fortune but still provide great results.
Actually, facial cleanser should appear at both save and splurge lists because I use both expensive and cheap products at the same time. As I stated in my post about Sephora’s skincare class, my favorite expensive cleanser is Gentle Rejuvenating Cleanser by Algenist. What I didn’t mentioned in that article is that I apply this cleanser only after I washed my face with the old good Cetaphil. In my opinion, there is no better cleanser for sensitive skin that removes makeup so efficiently and allow your skin to “breath.” When I’m done with using Cetaphil, I apply Algenist’s product for 1-2 minutes, and then massage the cleanser into skin with my Clarisonic Mia 2. From my point of view, it is very important to to clean your face thoroughly if you want to have radiant, blemishes free skin.
- Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($10.99)
- L’Oreal Go 360 Clean Facial Cleanser with Scrublet Deep Exfoliating Scrub ($5.25)
- Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser ($6.99)
#2: Eye Shadows
Fans of the Urban Decay’s Naked palettes might strongly disagree with me, but I feel no difference between cheap and expensive versions of eye shadows. The drugstore eye shadows might not provide such a wide range of tones more expensive brands do, but they still work perfectly well. Perhaps, a couple of years ago when the technology of producing eye makeup was not as good as it is now, the price of the eye shadows really correlated with its quality. But nowadays things have changed. Today even the cheapest Wet N’ Wild palettes stay on your eyelids as long as any expensive brand. So if there is no difference, why overpay for the brand name?
- Wet N’ Wild Eye Shadow Trio Sweet As Candy 381 ($2.99)
- Almay Intense i-Color Satin-I Kit Powder Eye Shadow ($7.79)
- N.Y.C. HD Color Trio Eye Shadow, Long Beach Sands ($2.99)
#3: Nail Polish
For me, there is no doubt that drugstore nail polishes are as good as any designer ones. If you disagree with this statement, the problem why your drugstore nail polish does not stay on your nails has something to do with the base and top coats that you use, not the nail polish itself. As I stated in my post about cotton candy inspired nail polishes, Sally Hansen, Revlon, and L’Oreal are the brands to pick when you are shopping in the drugstore. And, of course, Essie – this one is a real gem on the market of inexpensive nail colors. Honestly, I have so many bottles of Essie nail polishes sitting in my cabinets that I can equip the entire pharmacy with my collection. What can I say?Essie is so perfect!
- L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Nail Colour in After Hours ($2.69)
- Revlon Nail Enamel Fearless ($4.99)
- Essie Nail Polish in Urban Jungle ($8.50)
#4: Shower Gel
I stopped buying shower gels years ago because, in my opinion, these sweet scented gels make more harm than good to your skin. Believe it or not, most fancy shower gels that you can find in the department stores are full of chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate that are believed to be cancer-causing. You can find more about it in this article at the Food Babe Blog. Instead of shower gels, I prefer to use natural soaps, especially those that contain Shea butter. Soaps might not provide you lots of foam and aroma, but they definitely make their work done. Also, one piece of soap will last you forever which — you got it right! — will save you tons of money in a long run.
- Shea Moisture African Black Soap ($4.99)
- Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange Castile Bar Soap ($4.96)
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Soap ($4.99)
#5: Lip Balm
Recently, many prominent skincare and makeup brands came out with lip products that supposedly treat chapped lips and help to make them soft. Lip serums, lip treatments, lip smoothing balms… All these titles sound good, but your lips will be perfectly fine even without these fancy products. At the end of the day, all you need is a good chapstick, preferably the natural one. My favorite lip product of all times is the Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter by Burt’s Bees. It is 100% natural and does not contain any harsh chemicals. I’ve heard that an average woman eats anywhere from 2.72 to 7 pounds of lipstick over her lifetime (Express thinks its 2.72, Huffington Post claims 7, BeautyGeeks believes these stats are not true) so it is important to choose an organic or at least natural option of your lip products. Luckily, there are many affordable options of great lip balms that you can find in every drugstore.
- Burt’s Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter ($3.30)
- EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Summer Fruit ($3.29)
- Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 ($7.00)
#6: Face Mask
I am addicted to facial masks and think that they make miracles to your skin. Believe it or not, my most favorite masks are those that cost less than five bucks per treatment. I am talking about collagen sheet masks that you can find in most Korean stores and online. They look like a piece of white cloth that you have to put on your face (there are also options for eyes) for about 20 minutes, and — voila — your skin immediately looks smoother. I’ve recently came back from the trip to Russia, where local brands call these products “Before a Date” masks. And this name totally makes sense: you skin looks better and feels softer within half an hour so you are ready for adventures. I usually use Korean collagen masks on Saturday when I am getting ready to go out. After I am done with shower and body moisturizing, I put one of these sheet masks on and take a nap. Twenty minutes later I am not only having more energy after the nap, I also look relaxed and my skin looks glowing. Keep in mind that you don’t need to wash your face after using collagen masks. Just dab your face with a soft towel, apply some light eye cream, and you are ready to apply makeup.
- Holika Holika Cucumber Essence Mask Sheet ($2.00)
- Skin Factory Aqua Skinin Ampoule Mask ($4.00)
- Holika Holika Honey Essence Mask Sheet ($2.00)
#7: Body Scrub
I am sure you’ve heard that exfoliating is important for your skin, and here is the recent update. You don’t have to spend fortune on body scrubs, drugstore peelings are no worse than fancy-shmancy products advertised in the glossy magazines. Again: the point here is to exfoliate regularly rather than invest tons of money into your scrubs. I’ve created the following exfoliating schedule for myself: I use a body scrub every Wednesday (which is my official beauty day) and Saturday (which is my official going out day). I may exfoliate one more day a week when I have time to do it, but I never miss my Wednesday-Saturday routine and highly recommend to come out with your own exfoliating schedule too. My favorite inexpensive brand of body scrubs is St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot. This product has an interesting consistency and really brings your skin to life. After using this scrub my skin feels so comfortable and moisturized that I usually don’t need to apply body lotion. The product smells delicious so you might not even want to apply perfume.
- St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub ($2.79)
- Freeman Feeling Beautiful Facial Polishing Mask, Charcoal & Black Sugar ($3.99)
- Dove Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing Body Wash ($8.99)
I use a similar strategy while selecting shampoo that I use for facial cleansers. I always have two products in my shower: a cheap one that I use first and more expensive product that I use last. I am using such hair wash routine not because I am trying to save money, but because cheap shampoos contain more chemicals and thus better clean your scalp. On the other hand, using an expensive (more gentle) shampoo right after the cheap one helps to protect your hair from dehydration. I picked this trick at one of the top New York City hair salons, and never stopped using it since then. Currently, I use Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo first and Nexxus Therappe Luxurious Moisturizing Shampoo next while washing my hair. Please don’t forget that you can’t go frugal while choosing your hair conditioner: an expensive hair conditioner really makes the difference. Read here why investing in an expensive hair conditioner totally worth the splurge.
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo ($9.79)
- Mane N’ Tail and Body The Original Shampoo ($6.19)
- OGX Scalp Therapy Australian Tea Tree Shampoo ($5.79)
I don’t need to repeat it because you’ve heard about it million times, but you really have to use sunscreen. Every day, on all parts of your face and body that are not covered with clothing, and all over the year even if it’s not sunny outside. In other words, to stay healthy and wrinkle-free, you need to use tons of sunscreen. In my opinion, many people do not use sunscreen more often because they are trying to go for expensive brands and then end up frugalling on these fancy sunscreen bottles (read: put themselves into a risk of premature aging and skin cancer). In my opinion, the best sunscreen is the one that you use regularly. I am actually pretty good at using sunscreen daily (may be that is why I am so pale?), and I have a couple of favorites that I really would like to recommend to you. In my opinion, Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30 is the best sunscreen currently presented on the market. It is not greasy, smells good, and distributes on your skin evenly. I actually use this product all over my body, even though the brand produces a similar body product, and also as a hand lotion (you remove your sunscreen every time you wash your hands, and it is important to re-apply it regularly). Another good drugstore sunscreen is Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 which I use during the winter since it has thicker consistency.
- Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30 ($9.99)
- Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($14.99)
- Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($12.49)
#10: Eyebrow Pencil and Gel
Here is my biggest beauty secret ever: I always correct the shape of my eyebrows but I do not own any eyebrow pencils or powders. Instead, I use a cheap drugstore eye pencil that I apply using angled eyeliner brush. I also never buy fancy eyebrow gels and pick the one that you can find in every drugstore. It is called Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel and it is no worse than the one by the famous eyebrow gel by Anastasia Beverly Hills. For me, the secret of good looking eyebrows is regular threading and not expensive eyebrow products. Even though I am filing-in my eyebrows most days of the week, I can always go bare because my eyebrows are always clean. I follow a strict eyebrow schedule: every week I have an appointment at the eyebrow threading salon next to my house where I always work with the same beauty professional. In my opinion, such approach to the eyebrow routine is very effective: it guarantees that you will have more or less results every time you are having your eyebrows done.
- Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel ($4.99)
- Eco Tools Angled Eyeliner Brush ($5.29)
- Almay Intense i-Color Eyeliner ($4.99)
These were my favorite drugstore finds. I wonder if you ever tried any of these? If so, how did you like them? Stay tuned for the next Midweek Beauty post that will cover top 10 beauty tricks that I use on a regular basis.