Nothing is more dangerous than walking into a drugstore with 10 minutes to kill, 15 extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, and a habit of impulse buying. I've gone in to pick up a toothbrush and walked out with a few lipsticks, a primer, and two new mascaras (having completely forgotten the toothbrush, mind you).
Potential lifelong debt notwithstanding, you've got to keep a close eye on drugstore beauty these days. Now more than ever, your favorite budget-friendly brands are dropping strong products left and right that have the potential to become new favorites, and I'm testing all of them. I wanted to share with you some newbies that I'm excited about, and hopefully you'll tell me some of yours.
OK, I know these aren't technically new new, but they're current this season and they're still being restocked in drugstores, which is good enough for me. I wasn't going to cover them because I hate...some drugstore matte lipsticks, but you guys kept asking me to. So, fine, I do this for you. I guess I should have done so sooner because the pairing of one of the most followed Instagram personalities in the world and a drugstore beauty brand is right up my alley.
Katheryn Hudson and COVERGIRL came together to create a line of matte lipsticks available in 11 shades that are very, very cute. The line is heavy on the beiges, nudes, and mauves that are so hot right now, with some reds, pinks, a lavender, and a black thrown in.
I love the colors. They feel the way her career feels right now: started in a candy-coated, pink flamingo, blue-wigged Teenage Dream and graduated to just a little softened, more mature vibe, a la Prism and whatever the hell that single she released last Friday was. The colors are great, and there's not one that I wouldn't wear.
Plus, that packaging is SO CUTE. Is it too simple? Unimaginative? I don't think so, but I live for a clean black-and-white moment.
The formula is decent, though it doesn't blow me away. I'm used to matte lipsticks being dense, opaque, and very pigmented, none of which this is. Is it a complete letdown? No. Are there mattes I like better? Yes. It goes on surprisingly sheer and takes about five passes to build up to full color and coverage. I don't love that.
But once I got it to where I wanted it, even with five or more passes, it didn't feel like I was wearing loads of lipstick. It was very comfortable, it wasn't sticky, and I experienced little fading when wearing it for six hours.
The big critique I have is that the finish is not actually matte. There is a definite bit of shine — at best, it's a satin. On the website, it describes them as a "demi-matte," but when "KATY KAT MATTE" is so prominently displayed on the packaging, it does feel a little misleading.
All in all, I like this collection a lot and would like to see more celebrity collabs like it, rather than just a celebrity being the face of a brand. Janelle Monáe is a Covergirl; imagine the collection she'd put out!
I'm not saying that I dreamed this product into existence, but I'm not ruling it out, either. Actually, a few months back, I covered another highlight stick, saying it was "what I've been begging Maybelline to do with their Face Studio Master Glaze Blush Sticks."
I would have probably already known that this was in the works if I could ever be bothered to read a press release, but here we are. Truth is, they're not like the Master Glaze Blush Sticks. They're better.
Master Glaze is a cream in the form of a stick. They're dense, but blendable, a really nice workable consistency. The Strobing Sticks feel very different from the second you touch them. They're noticeably creamier than the blushes — the biggest difference being the cream-to-powder consistency that makes them a dream to work with — and leave behind a highlight that rivals some of my luxe favorites.
It glides on smoothly, leaving a dense trail of shine behind.
From there, I just blended it out using my fingers. It feels like the highlighter transforms into a powder while you're rubbing it in, leaving it feeling silky smooth, almost like some primers do.
They are available in two shades, a bronze and a shimmery pink, and you can guess which one I grabbed. The pearls are so fine that once blended into your skin, there's just a smooth sheen of glow left behind. It blends in so smoothly that the high points of your face have a pearlescent, almost wet look shine.
This shit really pops, and a little goes a long way. Whether it's over a bare face or a full face, it looks like the light is just naturally finding your best features and showing them off. I suppose you could get a "natural" glow out of this, but with a highlighter this good, I don't know why you'd want to.
I do one swipe over my cheekbones, blend, and top it off with one or two more dots on the points I want to glow brightest, and blend again.
The one problem I find with some cream-to-powder highlights is that they sometimes have flecks of shimmer in them that are only noticeable in certain lights, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you like your glow. For example, I'd been wearing my beloved lavender highlight, Hippo, from ColourPop for half a year before I caught myself in direct sunlight and saw a few flecks of shimmer. I was mortified! I felt like I had been lied to, and had been lying to myself. Did that stop me from wearing it? Of course not.
I never, ever saw any flecks of shine on my face in numerous lights, both natural and artificial, but while I was standing in my elevator lobby, I did notice some flecks on the back of my hand from swatching it. This made me even more sensitive to them and made me keep a closer eye out for them, but still, nothing.
The highlight is subtle but high shine, if that makes any sense. It blends so seamlessly that it's hard to tell where your skin ends and the highlight begins, but the shine is so beautiful that you know that it's not just skin. OK that was too many words about a damn highlighter even for me.
TL;DR: It's beautiful to work with. Has a glassy, high shine finish. Is the best highlighter in the drugstore.
Cleansing wipes. Riveting, I KNOW. I'm including them because Garnier's charcoal exfoliating cleanser is one of my favorite drugstore products ever, so the minute I spied these, I knew I had to snatch them up. I'm actually not even sure if these are new, or just new to me. It takes a lot to pull me away from my usual Neutrogena wipes, but I couldn't resist these.
I won't bore you by going into excruciating detail about makeup wipes; I know we all have things to do. I will say that they work just as well as the Neutrogena wipes, with the inclusion of charcoal, and I love anything with charcoal. They always get off all my makeup, including waterproof mascara (though if I'm wearing a ton of mascara, I'll hit that with an oil, too, just to be real sure). They're great for people with oily skin because they help mattify with continued use. They never leave my skin feeling tight, dry, or stinging. Cleansing wipes are great for summer because you never know whose floor you'll be sleeping on. If you're sleeping at all.
What drugstore products are you loving right now? What beauty topics do you want to hear about next? I'm moving next week, and I want to do something about how I store/move/scale down my beauty products but I'm paralyzed with fear so I don't think that's going to happen. Sorry, love you.
Tynan is buying out the drugstore on Twitter @TynanBuck.