Starting off with makeup tools:
|My favorite RT brushes|
- Real Techniques makeup brushes. I own all but 2 of the brushes in the line, that's how much I love them. I discovered this line created by Samantha Chapman of my beloved Pixiwoo YouTube channel last year, and have steadily amassed quite the collection - and have purchased them for friends as well. They're now available at Ulta, Walmart, and I even saw them at my local Bed, Bath & Beyond. Applying makeup is so much more enjoyable, easier, and quicker when using decent tools. The brushes are all synthetic, so that makes them easy to clean and safe to use with cream and powder products, and they're also super soft, versatile, and affordable - no single brush is over US$10, even cheaper if you find them on sale. I haven't had any problem with them shedding, and they dry pretty quickly after cleaning. They come in sets or sold individually - the brushes in sets aren't sold individually, and the individually sold brushes aren't sold in sets. Which is the only thing I don't love about them - some of the sets only have 2 brushes I really like/use. My favorite brushes are the blush brush and the expert face brush - both sold individually. :)
For eye products:
|Wet n Wild, NYX, Maybelline, and L'Oreal favorites|
- Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Gel Shadows -These shadows actually stay in place well, and they also make a good base for powder shadows. They're great for easy application on days when you don't have a lot of time - you can just apply with your (clean) fingers. My fav for a quick swipe & out the door look is Bad to the Bronze.
- Wet n Wild Color Icon eye shadows. I'm talking specifically about the trios and the 8-shadow palettes here. (Some of the limited edition shades and the Fergie palettes are kind of disappointing.) Seriously, the best value in the drug store, hands down. They come in a wide variety of colors that apply smoothly, blend beautifully, have solid staying power (especially over primer), and cost between $US3-$5. What more could you ask for? My favorite is the Comfort Zone palette.
- L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow are kind of like pressed loose pigments. Most of them have great color payoff and are very long lasting, especially when used over a primer. Like the Color Tattoos, they also work pretty well applied with your fingers. The Amber Rush shade, which is a metallic rose gold/light copper shade, is by far my favorite.
- I have quite a weakness for eye liners - especially ones that resist smudging. My favs are:
- Milani Liquid Eye and Shadow Eyez - super pigmented, creamy, blendable when first applied, but once they set, they have very nice staying power. Plus they come in fun shades other than just brown and black.
- Physician's Formula Eye Booster is my fav liquid eyeliner. You can make the thinnest of lines, it dries very quickly, applies super smoothly, and has great staying power. Not buying the lash boosting claims, but other than that, it is solid.
- Maybelline gel eyeliner nicely pigmented, glides on, and has the same staying power as much more expensive formulas.
- For mascara, because I have oily skin and oily eyelids, I tend to gravitate towards waterproof formulas, since I've found they do the best job at keeping me from looking like a raccoon. I also tend to gravitate more towards formulas that promise volume over those that promise length. My favorites are:
- Cover Girl Clump Crusher, A mascara that actually delivers on some of it's promises - it adds volume (though I don't think I buy the 200% claim) and, at least for me, it doesn't clump.
- Maybelline The Falsies Flared the formula starts off a bit more wet than I generally like, but it does add good volume, and once it sets, doesn't flake or smudge on me.
- L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black - in the waterproof formula. A longtime favorite.
For face products:
- My favorite budget brand blushes are definitely NYX powder blush and Milani baked blushes. The NYX blushes come in a wide variety of colors and finishes, and they have good pigmentation and staying power. I'm a big fan of the Taupe shade for contouring, and the Mocha shade, which is actually a matte warm pink, goes with just about everything. The Milani blushes are super pigmented, and all have a bit of a sparkly/glowy finish. I particularly like the Rose D'oro shade, which is a peachy coral with gold.
- Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation - This stuff is supposed to fuse primer, foundation and concealer in one long-lasting formula. I don't know about all that, but I have been more than pleasantly surprised with its performance. I love that it has a matte but not cakey or flat finish, and I like that it has a more natural look than my other drugstore favorite, Revlon Colorstay foundation. It provides really good coverage and is long-lasting, but if you have spots or troubled skin areas, you'll still need a separate concealer.
- Maybelline Fit Me concealer is the best all-around drugstore concealer I have tried. It has a thinner consistency, which makes it good for blending and working with, but it's still nicely pigmented. Works for under-eye area as well as for blemishes/discoloration.
- For powders - my favorites are Maybelline Dream Matte for all-over oil control and Physician's Formula CoverToxTen, specifically for the under-eye area.
Lip products are my greatest weakness. I own A LOT. I currently have 15 in my purse - and that is a small fraction of my collection. So picking favorites is hard. I love so many! But I'm trying to keep this post a reasonable length, so I limited myself to the following picks:
- Revlon ColorBurst lip butters - are something of a hybrid between a tinted lip balm and a lipstick. they are very hydrating (they feel great on), come in a wide variety of very wearable colors, and don't have a strong scent or flavor. I own SEVERAL. My favorites are pink truffle, peach parfait, and sugar plum.
- NYX Mega Shine lip glosses come in a wide variety of colors, smell like cherry candy, and aren't super sticky. Love them! Big fan of the Sponge Cake shade in particular.
I tried to pick my all-time favorites, from a wide variety of brands. I have many more, but the above list represent the budget-friendly priced makeup items I find myself reaching for the most often, and that I think can compete with higher priced brands for quality.