Splurge or Save: 5 Beauty Products You Can’t Live Without
Professional women are busy and sampling beauty products is not always high up on the priority list. Having a quick and effective beauty routine isn’t always so easy to pull off. While you always want to look your best, you may not know exactly how to accomplish that look or you just may not have the time. It can be daunting to walk into Sephora without some idea of what you are looking for. You will likely end up being talked into hundreds of dollars worth of products you don’t need. As a devoted makeup connoisseur, I have sampled, reviewed and chosen the 5 best beauty products every woman should invest in and I have broken it down to affordable drugstore items and higher-end luxury brand products.
I am a serious mascara addict, and I have tried them all. Even if you have only 5 minutes to get ready in the morning and no time for a makeup routine, mascara should be the product you apply. Just a single application to your upper lashes can do wonders for your look. Mascara just seems to make your eyes look so much bigger and brighter. Even though mascara doesn’t take that long to apply, it can sometimes be a hassle, especially if you have to curl your lashes beforehand too. To get around this issue, products (like the Xlash eyelash serum) could be used to naturally make your lashes look longer, without the need for mascara application. That could save some time in the morning! However, if you’re a mascara addict like me, here are some of my favorites.
This is my current mascara obsession. The formula does not dry out quickly like the Diorshow mascaras tend to and does not dry or flake on your lashes. I love this mascara because it lifts and separates each individual lash; you achieve a look that usually requires a lash comb. You can use as many coats as you want without clumping and the smaller brush with two different kinds of bristles ensures to reach each and every lash. The final look has a multiplying effect that looks like you’re rocking falsies and it comes in 3 rich colors. NEW LOOK is worth every penny of it’s luxury price tag.
Maybelline, Great Lash Mascara
This is an old cult classic that has stuck around forever. The formula does a lot more than it’s drugstore price reflects. Your lashes will look the high-end price tag and you can buy three of them for the price of one luxury brand mascara. Year after year, Great Lash continues to be used by professional makeup artists on the runway and the red carpet and there’s a reason for it. The mascara both lengthens and thickens to give a wide-eyed look that anyone can pull off, and fast – one or two coats and you’re on your way. This is a great one to try if you’re looking to save.
Honorable Mention: Lancôme makes some great mascaras that deserve to be mentioned. The formula lengthens and separates, never clumps and doesn’t dry out quickly. Each mascara has a different brush and bristles which is a personal preference based on your eyelash needs. I prefer the original Définicils but I also use Hypnôse Doll Lashes and Hypnôse Star as well; all are great mid-range priced mascaras.
Blush / Bronzer:
The right blush or bronzer can brighten even the dullest or most sun-deprived skin. For a brighter face simply apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards towards your temples. For a tanner or more sun-kissed complexion, you want use your bronzer to create the number 3 on both sides of your face; start on your forehead and go around your temples to your cheek and back around to your chin.
Girls go nuts for this aptly named, cult favorite blush. Orgasm is a peachy-pink color that has subtle golden highlights (and if you’re into glitter, the Super Orgasm actually has golden glitter specs in the powder) and gives that perfect “I just came from the beach” glow. I recommend the powder blush or the Blush/Bronzer duo as well as the liquid Illuminator or The Multiple (I of course have all three). The Illuminator is a light-reflecting liquid which gives you a shimmery golden finish. The Multiple is a cream-based stick which glides on your cheeks and can be applied to your eyelids or lips as well. Layering the Orgasm blush over either the Illuminator or The Multiple gives a deeper, richer color. P.S.: Orgasm comes in nail polish and lip gloss too, you’re welcome.
Milani, Minerals Blush
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the NARS blush Orgasm (above), this Milani Minerals blush in Luminous is nearly identical but you can buy 3 more shades for the same price as one from NARS. I am loving Dolce Pink, a deep rosy pink with a slight golden shimmer and Bellissimo Bronze, a light bronze with a golden sun-kissed finish. All three shades (Luminous, Dolce Pink and Bellissimo Bronze) are all you need for your blush/bronzer collection and will run you less than $20.
Honorable Mention: If you’re looking for a great mid-range option, try MAC’s Mineralize Blush in Pleasantry. The subtle pink color has ribbons of gold that catches light in just the right way. Apply a dab to the apple of each cheek for a chic, effortless look.
Lipstick color is very personal to what each woman prefers to wear. Stick to more neutral / natural colors for professional purposes and spice up your evening look with a deep red or a vibrant shade of pink or plum.
These pencils boast a lipstick and lip pencil in one. The color slides on like a crayon and leaves a velvety matte finish that stays put all night; gloss is optional. For daytime or professional looks, I love Never Say Never, a purpley pink that is just subtle enough and Sex Machine, a pinky mauve with the same subtly. For an evening look, I am loving Cruella, a deep scarlett red and Train Bleu, a deeper eggplant plum.
Revlon, Super Lustrous Lipstick
Revlon has some of the best drugstore lipsticks out there. The colors are vibrant and they feel even silkier than they look. I love this line of lipstick because it gives that long-lasting glossy look without having to apply and re-apply gloss on top. Cherries In The Snow is a vibrant, pink shade that adds the perfect pop of color to a casual black-and-white look. I also love the aptly named Raspberry Bite, a mix between a deep purple and a bright pink that leaves a silky raspberry-bitten look. Like I said, lip color is very much based on personal preference and this line has them all. If you’re looking to stretch your dollar in the lip department, try this line and pick up a daytime and an evening color.
Foundation is going to be used as a base for a fresh looking face and awakening your eyes. Always apply to a clean face, and if you are in a hurry, dab a little around your eyes and blend.
This incredibly lightweight foundation boasts a broad spectrum SPF 18, keeps you oil-free and it wears flawlessly for 24 hours. The “fine-as-ink” formula protects your skin while perfecting your look and comes in 21 shades; always consult with a beauty adviser to find your perfect shade. The upside of purchasing a luxury-brand foundation is the individualized attention you receive to pick the right colors for your complexion. Similar to the Estee Lauder 24 hour foundation, the formula never cakes or flakes. I love the ultra-smooth finish and it stays that way all day. Don’t be intimidated by the $60 price tag, this foundation will leave you looking and feeling like a million bucks!
L’Oreal Paris, True Match Super-Blendable Makeup
If you are looking for a more affordable foundation, L’Oreal’s True Match is it. The patented formula actually adjusts to your skin color, boasts SPF 17 protection, and leaves your skin looking fresh. True Match comes in 33 shades, but the downside of purchasing a drugstore foundation is you can’t try it before purchasing and there is no beauty adviser to consult with. If you have the money to spend, foundation is something I would recommend splurging on.
Honorable Mention: I don’t like to use foundation on a day-to-day basis so I prefer to use something like Chanel’s Les Beiges All-in-One Healthy Glow Fluid. It provides SPF 15 protection, minimal coverage and hydration while it gives your skin a fresh, healthy glow. While Chanel products are obviously going to be pricier, this product is a great investment as it has dual purposes and leaves your skin feeling as luxurious as the price tag.
Moisturizer is one of the most important beauty products women use, keeping our skin hydrated and looking young. Regardless of your skin type, you should be applying moisturizer everyday and always before you touch your face with any makeup. Apply after washing and toning and allow time for it to dry before your makeup routine and after cleansing and toning in the evening before bed.
Boscia’s Black Hydration Gel is my newest favorite product! It may look like you’re applying black face paint but this black gel glides on like water and dries so fast I forget that I ever applied it. The gel formula leaves my skin feeling cool and fresh without the oily texture I feel after applying a cream. I also LOVE Chanel, Le Lift, I am completely obsessed with the scent! It smells like a flower and a cloud had a baby and leaves your skin feeling (and smelling) incredibly luscious. I savor this high-end product to the very last drop – and I may or may not keep the empty jar… just for the smell of it.
Olay, Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
I usually tend to purchase gel moisturizers because I like the lightweight feeling over a cream. However, this micro-sculpting cream is amazing! It goes on so silky and made my skin so incredibly smooth that I didn’t want to put on any makeup after I applied it. And because you should be applying your moisturizer every day (and evenings) bulk purchasing expensive creams can get, well, even more expensive; you cannot beat the price for a cream like this.