How to turn your drugstore makeup into luxury beauty

Drugstore makeup has really come a long way (hello Maybelline’s take on Lancome’s vibrating mascara!), but still, we find the ingredients and packaging sometimes leave us craving Clinique and lusting for Laura Mercier. Here’s how you turn your drugstore finds into department store class.

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!

Rescue Beauty's Lounge Matte Top CoatNAIL POLISH

TURN: Last season’s glossy drugstore nailcolor…

This season’s prestige matte craze.

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, and Rescue Beauty’s Lounge Matte Top Coat ($18, are great affordable options that will offer your tried and true shades a stylish new update.

Skindinavia's 10 Years YoungerFOUNDATION

TURN: Your typical drying drugstore makeup

A moisturizing treatment that improves your foundation’s ingredient quality.

: 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, 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

L'Oreal's De-Crease Eyeshadow Base and PrimerEYESHADOW

TURN: Sheer eyeshadows that crease before midday…

Highly-pigmented and longer-lasting versions of themselves.

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,, but L’Oreal’s De-Crease Eyeshadow Base and Primer ($7.99 at drugstores and 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.


TURN: Your pale thin lips…

Flushed pumped pouts without the irritation.

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 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!

Maybelline Great LashMASCARA

TURN: Your inexpensive mascara that lacks lash luster…

Bold and voluminous lashes with just a tweak in application.

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 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 ( with high-quality synthetic fibers, which help properly distribute the product without clumps. We also love the Suki Brow Lash Brush ($10.95 at for its bristle thickness and blendability!


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