For a long time, ever since I started wearing makeup in high school, I stuck to drugstore, budget beauty products. Money was tight, I wasn’t very good at makeup and it was what mom did. Some products were great, and I still use them today, but I suffered through others. I waited desperately for the day they would be nearly used up so I could justify trying something different.
Then I moved to a bigger city. I made an effort to learn how to do my makeup I found wonderful, small, handmade brands online. And then, a Sephora came to town! With a sudden surge in options, and a slightly bigger budget, I started looking for higher quality options that wouldn’t cost me too much more.
I started with Sephora. Sticking to the store brand, I picked up some blotting papers. As a person with oily skin who hates wearing foundation, these blotting papers have become an essential staple.
Then during last year’s Christmas party season I decided to splurge and get my first ever non-drugstore eyeshadow palette. At about $31 Canadian, this is one of the most expensive items in my collection but I couldn’t be more pleased with it. I was shocked with how easy the higher quality eyeshadow was to apply the first time I used it. With more colours, more of each colour, needing less and the high quality of the makeup and packaging, I think this palette is definitely worth the price!
After these successful forays into big-girl makeup purchasing, I was confident enough to start seeking out small, handmade brands. There were a few things I was looking for when building my new makeup collection that I just couldn’t find from the big brands. I wanted makeup that was cruelty free and made in an environmentally responsible way with fewer, more natural ingredients.
After years of using strong antiperspirants that weren’t good for me and were damaging my clothing, I decided to look for a more natural/ old fashioned option. I stumbled upon an Etsy shop called Bunny Butt Apothecary that carried natural, vegan deodorant in a dozen amazing scents and fell in love. As it was a few weeks before my birthday, I choose the birthday cake scent and I’ve never looked back. It doesn’t work as well as antiperspirant, obviously, and usually needs at least one reapplication throughout the day but I’m so happy with it! I bought the 85g tube of deodorant two years ago and I’m only just starting to run out!
I then started to wonder if there was such a thing as mascara that didn’t clump and glob up. I soon came across the great (and somewhat local!) Batty’s Bath brand of makeup and skincare products. This is the best mascara I have ever used and I will be a customer for life! It’s a little pricey but the safe, non irritating ingredients (why did I put up with those for so long?), smudge-proof yet easy-to-remove formula, and conditioning elements are so, so worth it! After about a month of using this mascara, my eyelashes stopped falling out as easily and were therefore noticeably longer, thicker, softer and healthier. But the best part: a normal tube and wand the don’t fall out of the cupboard or make application overly complicated.
There are a few drugstore brands that have stayed close to my heart all along. I have been absolutely smitten with Rimmel Moisture Renew lipsticks since my first tube. They are cheap enough to not worry about hating or losing but still feel indulgently creamy and moisturizing. My go-to, everyday shade is Rose Blush but I love the bold Red Alert for when I feel like getting all dolled up.
I’ve been around the block with just about every brand of nail polish and my very favourite is still the super cheap, like $2.50 cheap, Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtream Wear. It comes in a rainbow of trendy colours, goes on evenly and doesn’t chip for at least five days. What more could you want from a drugstore nail polish?
My most recent budget beauty find is old fashioned Nivea Creme. I grabbed the classic travel/ purse size tin (now plastic) for a few dollars before my recent trip to Panama. I had never used it before and was shocked by how many jobs it could do. I bought it as a general moisturizer/ night cream but soon found it was also great for putting on a sunburn, removing make-up and softening up hangnails. It’s heavy duty, but not greasy, and, uniquely, still features the original early 20th century sweet floral and citrus scent.
Some other great budget products I love are drugstore brand Rimmel universal lip liner, cheap amazon buy Real Techniques eyeshadow brush, and gorgeous Ombrelle lightweight SPF 30 face sun lotion.
I’ve found, through my many years of wearing makeup, that I can find most of my essential beauty products at the drugstore. What I save with these budget brands, I can spend on the few things that take a little more money to get a much better product.
1) Blotting Papers Sephora Charcoal Blotting Papers
2) Mascara Batty’s Bath Clean Slate Natural Black Mascara
3) Lip Liner Rimmel Moisture Renew Clean Lip Liner
4) Lipstick Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Rose Blush
5) Eyeshadow Brush Real Techniques Shading Brush
6) Cream Nivea Creme
7) Nail Polish Sally Hansen Hard as Nail Xtream Wear in Mint Sorbet
8) Eyeshadow Palette Sephora Collection Colorful 5 Eyeshadow Palette in No 10 Milk to Dark Chocolate
9) Nail Polish Sally Hansen Hard as Nail Xtream Wear in Giant Peach
10) Deodorant Bunny Butt Apothecary The Pits Veggie Protein Deodorant in Let them Eat Birthday Cake
11) Face Sun Lotion Garnier Ombrelle Ultra Light Advanced Weightless Face Lotion SPF 30
12) Lipstick Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Red Alert
13) Makeup Bag Nara Rha (old)
All photos by me.