Three Stellar 3am Drugstore Beauty Purchases

Featuring a legit $12.95 dupe of a $62.00 foundation!

I am officially on hiatus from being a costume designer until April 3 of this year. I'm taking a break to get a few side projects off the ground. This does not mean I'm actually doing any work on said side projects! I spend my days sleeping until noon, eating licorice in yesterday's clothes, showering at around 5pm and hitting the drugstore for beauty purchases at 3 in the morning.

I'm living the life of a heroin addict -- except my drug of choice is the drugstore! Something about wandering their brightly lit aisles, with product after product neatly lined up, promising dreamy results (all well within my budget) soothes me like nothing else can. Plus, if you hate what you bought, almost any drugstore will give you your money back.

The CVS pharmacy at the bottom of my hill is a horrifying wonderland. Not only is it within walking distance of my house, there's always some derelict throwing up on the curb outside and they have a fabulous selection of random clothing and cooking appliances. It's all very exciting.

That Potato Express is legit, though. Since the only thing any of the neighborhood rats go there for is to buy beer and steal razors, the cosmetics aisle is always fully stocked and completely empty. It's a blissful place to be at 3 in the morning -- and I'm there almost every other night, freshly showered, dressed to thrill and ready to party.

*Daytime recreation of nocturnal events.

I've kissed a lot of frogs in my last few weeks of nighttime drugstore lurking, but I've also made a few spectacular discoveries.

PRODUCT: Shea Moisture African Black Soap body wash

I'd never heard of African black soap until I read this post last year. Since the skin on my chest and back is really prone to breaking out and acting the fool, I was intrigued. Every review I've read has touted its exfoliating and acne-clearing abilities. So when I saw this Shea Moisture (a cruelty free brand!) body wash on sale for less than 10 bucks, I pounced.

I've only used it for a week, but the skin on my chest and neck (which has been plagued by bumps and spots for the better part of the last year) is most definitely better. It's not as drying as I expected it to be, and the scent is divine. It does look kind of scary when you first squirt it into your hand, though.

I had instant flashbacks to when my pink hair caused my bathtub to be stained pink for a solid 6 years -- along with all my clothes, my pillowcases and the white leather seats in my ex's stupid car. (Note: dudes who drive white cars are hella boring and uptight.)

But once it lathers up, the suds lighten and don't leave a murder scene in your shower.

VERDICT: I'm giving it a full 5 stars -- I'll certainly be buying again and again and again.

PRODUCT: Yes to Blueberries daily cleanser

I love Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser something fierce. It's the only face wash I've used religiously for the past two years. But unemployed people do not wash their faces with $38.00 cleanser! So I've been on the lookout for something to tide me over in the meantime.

This Yes to Blueberries Smoothing Daily Cleanseris extremely gentle and non-drying. (That's my main beef with drugstore face washes, they all leave my skin drier than something that is very dry.) It's a cream based cleanser -- which isn't for everyone, as it doesn't foam up into a lather. I've read reviews (which I agree with) that say it does a poor job at removing makeup. It's really a perfect morning face wash for peeps who shower and remove their makeup at night. As a bonus, allYes Toproducts are cruelty free and contain no parabens or sulfates.

VERDICT: 4 out of 5 stars -- I may keep buying it even when I can afford my rich-girl face wash again.

PRODUCT: L'OrealMagic Nude Liquid Powder foundation

I bought this on the recommendation of Kristen Stewart's makeup artist, and it's completely fabulous. It's a light, dry, fluid formula that spreads easily and covers without streaking or caking. It contains SPF 18 and wears beautifully all day.

I'd read previously that it's a dupe for Giorgio Armani's Maestro foundation -- which makes sense, as L'Oreal actually owns Giorgio Armani Beauty. Armani makes some of the sickest foundations going these days -- I'm a huge fan of both the Face Fabric and Luminous Silk formulas. I think it's a fair comparison -- as the L'Oreal Magic Nude foundation really does have the feel and look of a far more expensive formula.

VERDICT: A well-earned 5 stars -- and a giant leap forward for drugstore foundations.

I also recently picked up a pack of these inexpensive foam makeup applicator "slices" so I can use 'em once and then toss, because I'm far too lazy to wash my beauty sponges every day. They come in a handy reusable mini makeup case, perfect for stashing a few lipsticks and tossing in your bag.

Writing this made me miss the days of reading Cat's posts and making shopping lists from her drugstore recommendations. So please, fill the void -- tell me all your favorite pharmacy finds. I'll roll out of bed in the wee hours with my shopping list from your suggestions and hit the brightly lit makeup aisles, wearing my furry coat and sunglasses.

I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.