Sephoras are the new Starbucks of NYC . . . they are everywhere. And if you are a vulnerable person who desires BEAUTY this is a very dangerous prospect. But the sheer volume of Sephoras in my life has forced me to adopt new beauty shopping principles:
1. I have accepted that most makeup in drugstores is just as good as incredibly expensive makeup at Sephora and department stores.
2. For the stuff that is better, I retrieve “samples” from Sephora for at least 3 months until I am absolutely sure that it works. More than half of the pleasure of Sephora is the flaneur experience, so just accept that and walk away with something that you did not buy.
3. Beauty blogging and Youtube people can totally help you discern which products you can just get at the drugstore and which ones you actually need from Sephora. Lisa Eldridge, Fleur DeForce, Lilly Pebbles, and Vivianna Does Makeup all have excellent suggestions. A word of warning: “high street” apparently means drugstore in the UK.
So here are my recent winners based on this strategy:
From the top (clockwise):
1) Maybelline’s Fit Me Concealer–this stuff is nice and silky and if dabbed lightly does not crease in your eye wrinkles. It does not have a ton of coverage, but I think the ghoul look is overrated. The problem with all drugstore concealers is that there is a limited color range, but for under-eyes you can deal with a shade that would be tad too dark for your face. (My shade Fair has pink undertones, while Light is the lightest color with warm undertones)
2) Revlon Lip Butter–Pink Truffle–These lipsticks are totally moisturizing, easy to apply, stay on for a while, and the colors are all great. I am a big fan, as is the internet.
3) Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner–This stuff is so easy to apply, especially with a angled eyeliner brush. It glides on and stays all day. And unlike all the liquid liner pens I have tried, it actually makes a winged liner look possible everyday. With an angled brush you can just press it on the outer eye, with the angle pointing towards the end of your eyebrow, then press into the rest of the top lash line. In brown, this looks a little softer and calls less attention to my old lady eye problems.
4) Tarte BB Amazonian Clay tinted moisturizer–I did three whole months of scamming samples of this from Sephora before I purchased this. It costs $40, which seems crazy expensive to me. But it has passed the most difficult test of all: my husband mentioned that my skin looked great and when I explained that this was because of my new foundation, he said he couldn’t see it on my face! He has been giving some very important makeup wisdom for a long time that I have been refusing to accept: if people can see your foundation/concealer it only adds attention to the problems. I am thrilled that I finally found a foundation that passes his exacting standards (for the record, I FORCE him to engage in this conversation–his views are always solicited). The other reason Tarte tinted moisturizer doesn’t “show” is that the color range is giant and thus allows you to get a perfect match, even for super pale people like myself! This is another reason you should get samples and bring them home even if you are not being thrifty–there is no other way to get a color match than to test them out at home in natural light. Also it has an SPF of 35 so it minimizes the endless steps in my morning routine. It gives beautiful sheer finish that does not emphasize fine lines and pores and it helps keep me moisturized all day.
Maybelline Eye Studio Color Totoo–in Tough as Taupe–I have some seriously oily eye lids and this stuff stays put all day. With an eye shadow brush you put it all over the lid, add a little more to the crease and blend up and out. Boom, contoured eye. Bad to the Bronze is also an easy works for every one shade in this product.
Finally in the hopes of not buying a $50 replacement for my Bobbi Brown eyebrow product (another wedding haul item), I am perusing drugstore options, and this Revlon Brow Fantasy Pencil and Gel in the lighter shade is okay. It mainly passes my #1 test of being ashy enough. You don’t want a warm brown on your brows. But it isn’t waxy and the gel is not that great. So basically I am going to keep using it until I can afford Benefit’s Gimme Brow. Unfortunately I have not yet figured out how to con Sephora into giving me free brow gels or mascaras.
Most importantly, I think that arranging your makeup in a space where it is visible and organized is the most economic strategy of all. If you can’t see it, you won’t use it, and then your money is wasted anyway.