5 Cheapie Beauty Products That Changed My Life

I freaking hate it when I drop a hard-earned twenty-plus bucks on a new product, only to discover its promises were empty, that's why I stick to cheapy beauty products first.
Publish date:
May 13, 2014
foundation, eyeliner, beauty cheapies

I’m sure it’s no surprise that an uncomfortable amount of my discretionary income goes to beauty products. From the fancy schmancy stuff to the bargains at the drugstore, I want it all. I can’t help myself -- if it sounds intriguing, I’ve gotta try it. A new BB cream that uses new-age pseudoscience to remove blemishes, sadness, and vague upper lip hair all at once? Sign me up!

But I freaking hate it when I drop money on a new product, only to discover its promises were empty. Guess what, revolutionary new eyeliner? You did crease, and you did get under my eyes, and for that I hate you. Fool me once, twice, any time: the shame will always be on you!

So that’s why I have set out to share with you five products that I promise, with all my heart, will live up to the expectations that I set for you. And the best part? They just so happen to be cheapie drugstore products that won’t break your bank account, even if you end up disappointed. (You won’t.)

For lashes that make you look like a Kardashian: Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara, $3.19

Nope, that’s not a typo, folks. Three dollars and change. And let me get real with you: This is the best mascara I have ever used, and believe me, I’ve tried a lot.

I’ve been blessed with long lashes, so I get really picky with mascara. It doesn’t take much for them to get all tangled and clumped in a subpar product or applicator. But Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara gets me. Now I know what you’re thinking: Sure, it goes on nice, but halfway through the day you look like a raccoon. Nope, simply not the case. It stays on all day without flaking or running.

And it has passed the Cry Test: This mascara stayed on perfectly throughout my blubbering during the scene in Titanic where Rose says, “I’m flying, Jack!” (Judge me. It gets me every time.)

For black eyeliner that would make your teenage-self proud: Almay Liquid Eyeliner in Black, $7

If you’re anything like me, your teenage style looked like it was straight out of the movie Thirteen. I wasn't shy with the crop tops and illegal piercings and I definitely wasn't shy about overusing black eyeliner!

Now, I’ve come a ways from the 99-cent black pencil crammed into every crevasse of my eyeball, although honestly, not that far. I still love me a bold, solid, stay-there-come-hell-or-acetone black line along my lash line.

I’ve indulged in every expensive black eyeliner recommended to me, wanting to be in love with one for some reason. I wanted the answer to be impressive when people asked me what I use. “Oh, it’s imported from a small eyeliner-producing community in Belgium, you wouldn’t have heard of it.” But really, the eye-line-lady I always come home to, even when I stray, is Almay’s liquid eyeliner.

For photo-shoot ready skin: L’Oréal True Match Super-Blendable Makeup, $11 and NYX Studio Finishing Powder, $10

I do not have good skin. It’s red, and gross, and prone to breakouts. Sometimes it's oily, sometimes it's dry. It really does whatever it wants -- usually whatever is most inconvenient for me at the time.

But lucky for me, after years of experimenting with every foundation-concealer-powder combo under the sun, I have found a miracle match in L’Oréal True Match foundation and NYX Studio Finishing powder.

The L’Oréal foundation gives a medium-to-opaque finish. But it is, as its name suggests, super blendable. A little bit goes a long way, and the second I apply it to my skin, they fuse together and fool the world into thinking I just naturally have an even tone that’s bright and neutral. I would recommend this to anyone who wears a full, or mostly full, face of foundation but wants to skip the cake-y cheerleader look.

The NYX Studio Finishing Powder I bought on a whim. I tried it and I am a happy camper. It seals my foundation and holds it in place all day -- all while keeping me shine-free!

For nude, matte lips that look better-than-natural: NYX Matte Lipstick in Nude, $6

I’m kind of a lip-stick-lip-gloss-Chapstick freak, much to my boyfriend’s dismay, who acts like I just ate a bag of Funyuns if he receives a glossy kiss. But I don’t care! Some addictions were meant to be satisfied. Look in my purse right now, you’d be frightened and slightly aroused by the number of lip care products you find.

But sometimes, I’ll admit, I don’t feel like sporting a glossy look, and I don’t feel like sporting a bright, bold color. Sometimes I want my lips to look au natural, without them actually being au natural. (I don’t like my natural lip color, is that weird? Anyway…)

I found love with NYX Matte Lipstick in nude. This is a gorgeous, affordable color that satisfies the my-lips-but-better craving. To keep the lipstick in place, I used NYX lipliner in nude. And although this lipstick is matte, it's hydrating, so no need to worry about cracking!

So there’s my list of current and always cheapie beauty favorites. What about yours? I’m always looking to find the next best three-dollar mascara!