What really makes prestige makeup more expensive? Consider the range of color, silicone and other expensive ingredients that aid in color preservation and increased pigment values — and of course, we're all paying for the chance to sample products in a delightful setting with soft glow mirrors!
TURN: Last season's glossy drugstore nailcolor…
INTO: This season's prestige matte craze.
MATTIFY ON A BUDGET: Matte nails are a huge trend for 2010, but forget purchasing five new shades of a Chanel nail color in a matte finish. Keep the hues you have in your arsenal and top it off with a top coat that mattifies the base color. Essie's Matte About You ($10, ulta.com) and Rescue Beauty's Lounge Matte Top Coat ($18, RescueBeauty.com) are great affordable options that will offer your tried and true shades a stylish new update.
TURN: Your typical drying drugstore makeup
INTO: A moisturizing treatment that improves your foundation's ingredient quality.
PUT A FOUNDATION ON YOUR BASE: Does your foundation dry out your skin, seep into fine lines and fade by noon? Talc and mica-filled foundations become powdery, crack, flake and eventually disappear for loss of coverage. As you put on more coverage, the foundation cakes in certain area, and settles into wrinkles, making skin look aged.
Help that drugstore foundation stay put longer with an over-makeup finish. Skindinavia's 10 Years Younger ($19, skindinavia.com) adds hydration and offers a dewy all-over glow, a perfect partner to counteract those inexpensive foundations' drying powders. To avoid shininess, we also like Skindinavia's No More Shine!, available in 1-ounce pocket sizes for $12.50 at skindinavia.com.
TURN: Sheer eyeshadows that crease before midday…
INTO: Highly-pigmented and longer-lasting versions of themselves.
EXTEND THAT PIGMENT: Are those drugstore eyeshadows notoriously creasing and fading? Standard drugstore eyeshadows tend to have less pigment than their department store counterparts, and thus have less staying power and may apply more translucent and frosty. How can you tell the difference between good- and bad-quality shadows? Swipe some on your forefinger, then press and rub it against your thumb. If it looks chalky, it does not contain silicone, but talc, a cheaper ingredient that has been shown to cause skin sensitivities, clog pores and produce a cakey finish. If the powder completely disappears, it's a fine prestige blend.
Still on a drugstore budget? Amp up that shadow's staying power with eyelid primers that will intensify your shadow's hue and will last all day with no touch ups! The industry staple is Urban Decay's Primer Potion ($18, sephora.com), but L'Oreal's De-Crease Eyeshadow Base and Primer ($7.99 at drugstores and drugstore.com) is a great option, too. Another great tip? Choose affordable shadows developed for African American or darker skin tones. Inexpensive brands that cater to darker skin are the best beauty buys in the whole store because you get more pigment for your pennies.
VOLUMIZING LIP TREATMENT
TURN: Your pale thin lips…
INTO: Flushed pumped pouts without the irritation.
LIP VENOM FOR LESS: Brush your lips after you are through brushing your teeth in the morning and a night and apply a thick coat of Carmex ($1.29 at drugstores and drugstore.com). The menthol in the Carmex on the fresh lip skin plumps your pucker better than any $20 venom, and the results last just as long!
TURN: Your inexpensive mascara that lacks lash luster…
INTO: Bold and voluminous lashes with just a tweak in application.
LUSHER LASHES: Mascara formulas may change, but the biggest qualifier for striking lashes is the mascara wand! Go ahead and pick up the iconic Maybelline Great Lash ($4.89 at drugstores and drugstore.com) but dump that flimsy brush and replace it with a fab lash brush that will separate lashes and create a thick, full effect. MAC offers one for $11 (nordstrom.com) with high-quality synthetic fibers, which help properly distribute the product without clumps. We also love the Suki Brow Lash Brush ($10.95 at skinbotanica.com) for its bristle thickness and blendability!