Pretty Good, Actually is a regular feature where we tell you about stuff that we think you might be surprised to find out is pretty good, actually.
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of high-end makeup. I know- I’m a card carrying Sephora VIB AND Ulta Platinum Rewards…. card carrier? Anyway, I love makeup, and sometimes I feel you really do get what you pay for as far as quality goes. But, you know, it doesn’t take much arm twisting on my part to try new makeup, and if it’s something I can pick up in the same errand as cat food and half n half, even better. Lately, the drugstore lines have really upped their games, and these are some products I am consistently reaching for OVER their high-end fancy pants counterparts:
I don’t go for full coverage with my foundation on most days- usually I use a BB cream, then dust a light veil of powder on to set things and even out my skin tone. I have been incredibly faithful to Kat Von D’s foundation powder for a good 2 years now, and still love it, but as I was coming to the end of my last compact I felt really grumpy about spending $35 on powder. I was roaming Target (as you do) and decided to give this Maybelline powder a whirl- at $5.99, I didn’t have high hopes, but also didn’t feel like it was going to sting too badly if it didn’t work out. YOU GUYS: this is a total dupe! I might even like it better than my trusty KvD. It’s a little less milled/creamy in texture, but it really holds up all day, blends great, doesn’t look “powdery” but keeps my face from being oily, and a little goes a long way. Total win!
Some days, you want to not look dead, but you also don’t want to make a big deal about putting on makeup. Or you’re kind of hungover. And you were supposed to leave the house 5 minutes ago. I get it! This is a product that works in these situations- similar to the MAC Paint Pots, this is an easy to apply eye shadow cream (you can just pat it on with your finger- less risk of poking out an eye with a pointy brush) and it sets into a smudge-proof, crease-proof, kind of subtle but kind of special something. This also works great as a base for more elaborate looks, but lets not over complicate a good thing right now! Also this is right around $6 a pop. BOOM. I especially enjoy the shade Bad To The Bronze. Wait… is that a Buffy reference???
While we’re hanging out around our eyeballs, let’s talk mascara. Now, I’m pretty picky about my mascara, but also fair-weather when it comes to loyalty. I have wicked bad allergies, and my eyes tend to be watery, so I almost always have to go with a waterproof formula. I am also susceptible to raccooning under my eyes as the day wears on, so I like a mascara that doesn’t flake or transfer easily, especially if I mindlessly rub my eye (allergies are THE WORST). Recently I picked this guy up on a whim before a beach vacation, and was so impressed by it’s performance in the pool that it has quickly wandered into my daily routine.
I talk about eyeliner more in depth in another post, but a good liquid liner is a staple in my makeup wardrobe. This one is not my all time favorite, but it’s an excellent choice for around $8. The formula is easy to apply- the slightly flexible felt tip makes for a pretty easy application, even if you’re still half asleep. It has decent staying power and doesn’t transfer too badly once it dries down. I like this one on Monday mornings when I have to be to work extra early and deal with people right off the bat.
For as much as I love a bold lip, they can sometimes be a little more than you’re willing to deal with on a trip to the grocery store. (But not always! Rock that bold lip anywhere, friend!!) I have been a fan of Fresh Sugar’s tinted lip balms for years, but holy bananas, they are PRICEY. Cover Girl was nice enough to launch this stand-in last winter, right at the height of my feeling-pathetic-about-my-dry-winter-lips phase. I was pleasantly surprised! These go on really smoothly, have just enough tint to make them look like something is happening, and continue to feel good on your lips for a few hours. Because I’m super classy, I can also vouch that they do a great job refreshing partially worn off lipstick that you are too lazy to reapply. This guy is always in my purse, ready to go.
Nyx can be hit or miss for me, but THIS PRODUCT IS THE JAM!!! I cannot express how much I love this little dude. In a world where everyone is selling you $20+ eyebrow pencils, this guy comes in at just under $10 (and Nyx is often BOGO50 at Ulta), and it is THE BEST. The formula is a little on the stiff side, which is perfect for a soft, sketchy application, which you can buff out with the spoolie brush on the other end. The color is spot on for me (I’m in Espresso), it doesn’t come off until you want it to, and it doesn’t go on so heavy that you can feel it when you express emotions. I use this pretty much every day and have yet to break into my backup pencil that I bought months ago fearing that I was about to run out.
So there you have it! I didn’t realize how much Maybelline was killing it until I put this together. Huh. What are your favorite bargain products?? Comment below!