Monday, November 1, 2010

Make-up Review: Drugstore Bargains

Make-up is definitely one of my passions. I'm not going to lie, I don't wear it every day (or even, really, on a regular basis), but I adore everything about it and have even acted as a make-up artist for a fashion show for I Do Declare. My problem with make-up? I just get bored so easily. I really need to be experimenting and trying new things at all times to keep my interest in the subject, and while I can try out different techniques for different products, eventually you need to branch out and widen your prospects. My other problem? Usually I'm quite the make-up snob. I flat-out refuse to use any mascara besides Smashbox Bionic, and I only wash my face with either tinctures I make myself or organic Boscia cleanser, both of which carry a notable price tag at Sephora. But times is tough, and I've realized that if I'm looking to flesh out my arsenal and expertice, I may need to cut some corners. That's why, a few weeks ago, armed with reviews from the forums at and holding my breath with slight trepidation, I ventured into my local drugstore and purchased not one, not two, but four new products for me to try out.

I must admit, I was not really in an adventuresome mood. I went in for liquid liner and dark brown eyeshadow, and of course, as I am wont to do, ended up straying a good amount from this path and into the unknown. Instead, I picked up L'Oreal HiP Studio Secrets Professional Crystal Shadow Duo in Darling (details), L'Oreal HiP Color Rich Cream Eyeliner in brown (details), Maybelline Lasting Drama by EyeStudio Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black (details), and Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb (details). All of these cost close to what one or two similar product would at Sephora or MAC - for twice the goods, how can you go wrong?! For this review, I'm going to focus mainly on the Maybelline gel eyeliner and the L'Oreal cream eyeliner, which I found to be the most interesting products in the purchase, though the others are included in some of the pictures.

First up was the gel eyeliner. This was what I was most intrigued about. I love eyeliner - if I chose one product to wear every single day, it would probably be eyeliner. It's like painting... on your face! But seriously, I feel like eyeliner is one of the most versatile, impactful parts of a look, and once you get a few techniques down, it's one simple tool that you can use in many different ways. On this evening, I was practicing a dolly-kei look to model for Martha's NYAF panel Out of the Woods (pictures and write-up here!); since I was going for a dark, dramatic look, I did something of a cat-eye.

This is dusted with a bit of the crystal eyeshadow, as well - the brown on the outer corner, the cream on the inner. It also has a slight, understated shimmer which the light caught a bit on the bottom corner! As you can see, the line is dark and smooth, with few inconsistencies. The brush's shape struck me as odd at first, as I'm used to a sharply angled brush and this one was smooth and round. I don't know the science behind this shape, and I don't have to - all I know is that it works beautifully. It was incredibly easy to apply and a cinch to layer - the brush by nature draws a very thin line, so it gives you more control with the shape and thickness of the line. I also love how crisp it looks - if you're more of a blender, I recommend applying a bit of pencil liner over the gel and blending (My rec? Maybelline Define-A-Line).

The liner from afar (also, the lip shimmer makes an appearance!):

Then, I moved onto the cream shadow. This one I was less-than-pleased with. The brush, for some reason, just did not sit in my hand right- it was awkward to use and, despite the thin shape, came out looking bulky and clumsy. Next time, I'll try my own liner brush and see how I feel, but I really think this one is destined to the Make-up Bag of No Return (the one shoved in the back of my closet).

See? I mean, there's nothing really wrong with it, something is just a touch... off. This may just be a question of personal preference, though - you may love it, and it's definitely a cool product to try out if you get the chance. I tried to camouflage it by adding some more of the crystal shadow, which I rather like - I'm unsurprised at this, as I also own the same product in black/silver (which I couldn't find online) and it's definitely my favorite eyeshadow I've tried (or at least up there!). I liked how layerable this was as well- it's easy to go light on this for a subtle shimmer, or dark and bold for a more dolly-appropriate look.
Here's another shot of the finished look:
Overall, I'm rather satisfied with my purchases. I've used all of these a few times since, and all I have to add is - Burt's Bees, what gives? The lip shimmer looks perfect here, but any time I've used it since the color looks much more awkward with my skin tone. Lighting, maybe? It's definitely still a joy to use - it's more of a lip balm than a lipstick, and it has peppermint extract in it, which isdeliciously tingly and smells lovely (no taste, though, so for the most part it stays on my lips and not my tongue). It's great to slap on before heading out in the brisk fall breeze (it seems like as soon as the temperature drops below 60F, my lips just instantly chap and remain that way until spring), but I think I'd chose something else for, say, a photoshoot or date night. However, the rest of these products are, as demonstarted, very versatile and can be used for everything from a meet-up to coffee with your S.O. - you should definitely go pick them up ASAP!
(Speaking of dates- and I just CANNOT keep this to myself, as anyone who's friends with me on Facebook knows - Stefan and I are making preparations for our most epic date ever: a week in Tokyo over spring break!! Nihon I've missed you sooooo~~~ ;;;o;;; look forward to a full write-up as well as planning tips, etc.!)


  1. Nice post! I have the gel eyeliner but I'm kind of a tard when it comes to putting any kind of liner on so I usually skip it.

    If there's a Target department store near you, they sell E.L.F. packs now, 36 eyeshadows for $5, 100+ for $10, and some other kits. I've heard that E.L.F. is good for the money.

    I actually started washing my face with a home made mixture of honey and brown sugar about a week ago, and holy moly I never expected to get such good results. I have huge pores and a mixture of dry (nose/chin) and oily (T-zone) skin. When I use the honey cleanser ONLY, my skin still gets a little oily but it's not as horrible as before, and my skin NEVER gets dry. The brown sugar part has also started scrubbing away some of the ancient black-caps I've had since forever, and my pores look much smaller and my skin is smoother overall!

  2. @Yllsa: Thanks for the heads-up! I have a Target about three minutes away, I'll definitely check it out. I've always watned to try E.L.F. products but it's so hard to buy make-up online without seeing in person or trying it on.

    That cleanser recipe sounds perfect! A lot of the skin problems you mention are issues I've been having a lot lately too, so I'll definitely try it out. Thank you so much!! What proportions do you use of honey to brown sugar?

  3. sorry for the o-t, just wanted to make sure to thank you: such a pleasant surprise to see you commenting at my recent created blog! I´ve been checking yours for quite a time and finally be able to use the follow system since I´ve got an account now. :3 so I´m very honored, thank you very much for even taking your time to translate the page. I´m sorry for not writing in english there, it´s mainly directed for brazilians.
    (oh, and I forgot to comment your store - how could I? it´s GORGEOUS. I´m into classical, so I had to love the designs. I hope it makes a huge success! :D)

  4. In the photos at least everything looks lovely, it's a pretty look on you! <3 Make up is definitely fun to experiment with. As a general I really dislike L'Oreal products, they just seem to fall short. And I always break out from their products.

    I think the only drugstore products (in terms of make-up) I continuously re-purchase are Burts Bees lip balm and Covergirl lash blast volume mascara.



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