Ever since I was old enough to love beauty products, I have loved beauty products. Which is funny, because I’m actually a pretty low-maintenance kind of girl, but I always have at least 2-3 shampoo/conditioner combos, body washes, and an embarrassing number of eyeliners and lip glosses.
When my husband and I were broke college students, I couldn’t wait for the day when I could buy high-end cosmetics. And then I got some high-end beauty products and realized there were some drugstore versions that I loved just as much, if not more, than their much more expensive counterparts. So if you’ve ever wondered where to splurge and where to save, today’s your day–I have my top 5 favorite drugstore AND top 5 favorite department store beauty products! As always, these posts aren’t sponsored in any way, we’re just sharing things we truly love!
1. Remington Teardrop Curling Wand. So I kind of have a lot of curling irons (and one flat iron…I’m not totally crazy). I’m not sure how it happens. But the Remington Teardrop Curling Wand is my favorite. When it comes to loose, casual, beachy waves, this is definitely the easiest way to get them (for me, at least). I will say that this only works for me when my hair is shoulder-length or longer. I will also say that the hot end is really hot and you should avoid grabbing it at all costs and that the little glove that comes with it should always be worn and that you’re never too good to wear it. Just sayin’. This bad boy is $24.99 at Target.
2. Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner. I have tried a lot of toners in my day and seriously, this one is my favorite (bonus points for not costing $79 because it’s made with the tears of angels.) It gets the job done–keeps breakouts under control, deep cleans my skin, shrinks my pores. Can’t beat that, right? Go snag a bottle for $7.49 at Walgreens.
3. Cetaphil Face Cleanser. I had my daughter in the summer of 2007 and then we moved to Louisiana about 6 months later and somewhere in the middle of hormones, stress, and humidity, I developed acne for the first time in my life. After trying all sorts of expensive fixes, my dermatologist gave me a few recommendations, one of which was ditching the department store face washes and going for the Cetaphil. And I haven’t looked back. Sure, it’s not in a cute bottle and it doesn’t smell amazing and I don’t really feel like I’m giving myself a magical facial while I’m washing my face, but it has been the best, gentlest face wash I’ve tried. And I’ve tried a lot. I did it for you guys (just kidding, I did it for me, but that’s what I’m telling myself.) A bottle of Cetaphil will run you about $9.47 at Walmart.
4. Cover Girl Lip Perfection. Between samples and impulse buys, I have a lot of lip sticks/glosses/stains, ranging from $1 snags from the beauty aisle of a drugstore to higher-end department store brands. And these are my current favorites. Obviously, it depends on what you’re looking for–these aren’t particular saturated or glossy, but these are perfect when you’re looking for a little enhancement (as opposed to a full-blown lipstick). No stickiness or yucky flavors, either. $5.59 at Target.
5. John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hair Spray. I have really fine hair, but I have a lot of it, which can make for some interesting styling situations. Throw in the oppressive Louisiana humidity and things get really limp or really frizzy really fast. John Frieda Sheer Blonde (although I’ve used this when my hair wasn’t blonde and the universe didn’t explode, so I’m pretty sure you can use it for any hair color) hairspray is by far my favorite–it has enough hold that my hair stays in place, but it doesn’t look unnatural or weighed down. You can get 2 cans for $10 at Walgreens.
Now…if you’re looking for a splurge or two, I’ve got some recommendations there, too! These are the five department store buys I bring with me everywhere!
1. Aveda Phomollient. Like I said, I have really fine hair, but before I blow dry it, I need something that will help smooth it out, make it manageable, and add a little body without weighting it down. This is hands-down my favorite high-end product–if I had to pick just splurge, this would be it. I don’t have an Aveda store or salon nearby, so I order mine from Nordstrom (free shipping–heeeey!) for $19 a bottle.
2. Urban Decay Naked Palettes. There are actually three Naked palettes, so no matter what your skin tone and eye color are, there’s one that’s right for you (Naked, Naked 2, and Naked 3). The price tags are a little steep at $54, but if you get a good palette for your skin tone, you don’t really need any other eyeshadow and it will last you for.ev.er (I’ve had the same one for a year and a half and I haven’t come close to using even all of one color.)
3. Benefit Tints. I got a sample pack with Benefit Benetint (dark rose), PosieTint (light pink), and Cha Cha Tint (orangey-coral). They were all about the size of small bottles of nail polish, which was perfect. At first, I was a tiny bit confused–it’s like a very thin liquid stain you can either use on your cheeks or on your lips. I don’t love it on my lips, but it is my very favorite cheek color–it looks totally natural and flattering. I ended up ordering a large bottle of Benetint, which was significantly larger (and more expensive at $30), but this also lasts FOREVER because you only need a few drops at a time.
4. Bare Minerals. I have a hard time trusting anything that has ever been on an infomercial (okay, not that hard of a time…I’m the proud owner of several Beach Body DVDs as well as a ShamWow). But after Cover Girl discontinued my favorite foundation (that natural stuff in the squeezy bottle that Taylor Swift was the spokesmodel for), I needed something else. So I broke down and tried Bare Minerals (actually, come to think of it, it was also recommended by my dermatologist). And I kind of fell in love with it. The concealer alone is amazing and totally worth it (although it doesn’t really work without the foundation). If you’re iffy, you can try the system for $20 at Sephora.
5. They’re Real Mascara. I’ve talked about this mascara before, but it’s seriously my most favorite mascara ever (I can hear all the YouNiquers coming out of the woodwork, but I promise, They’re Real and I are very happy together.) I’m not sure if it’s the formula or the brush or both, but I’ve never loved a mascara like this one. I will warn you that it’s water-resistant (not full-blown water proof), but I just rub a tiny bit of coconut oil over my eyes when I’m washing my face at night and it comes right off. You can get a large tube for $23 or a small tube for $10.
All right, I think that’s it! Since I’m always on the lookout, what’s your all-time favorite beauty product?
And a quick nothing-to-do-with-makeup note for you Idaho fans. Many Fred Meyer Stores across the state will be doing samplings of Sara’s Huckleberry Pie Ice Cream this weekend! Here’s a list of participating stores. Swing by between this Saturday, July 26 between 10:30am and 4pm to get your free sample of the newest Private Selection flavor. Note that Sara will not be in attendance for any of these samplings (including a previously scheduled one) but you can still get your hands on some ice cream!
560 W Kathleen Ave, Coeur D Alene
1555 Northgate Mile, Idaho Falls
50 2nd St S, Nampa
800 Yellowstone Ave, Pocatello
705 Blue Lakes Blvd N, Twin Falls
5425 W Chinden Blvd, Garden City
5230 W Franklin Rd, Boise
10751 W Overland Rd, Boise
1400 W Chinden Blvd, Meridian