We beauty folks tend to get caught up in our $350 Chanel Sublimage, our Claudio Riaz makeup brushes, and our Clé de Peau Beauté this-n-that often forgetting the simple products that made us tumble head-over-heels into the world of beauty in the first place. I’m talking about the cheap thrill of drugstore beauty basics that actually do what they say do. Remember being 12 and in awe over what rouge did to your face? Was it $160 Serge Lutens Blusher, you big fusspot? No, it was Almay!
We love our fancy, weighty, grown-up Barneys beauty department -and that’s OK- but we musn’t forget that “inexpensive” doesn’t mean bad if it works. Beauty is about the glitz and the packaging and frills, but more importantly about function.
If you read my last Whydid guest blog entry, you know I heart my mascara workhorse. Herein, I share a few of my other favorite bargain beauty basics. (Yes, you can look fantastic and still have a retirement fund).
Breaking up with your favorite shampoo is hard to do, but the “other gal,” Neutrogena’s, romantic promise is so lovely in her simplicity: dump your regular shampoo once in a blue moon for a lathery date with Neutrogena’s Anti-Residue Formula Shampoo, and your regular shampoo will work harder for you when you get back together. The Anti-Residue Formula works by removing the build-up that gunks up your fro, allowing your regular shampoo to do it’s job better. Give your scalp a scruberoo… and the best part is you’ll only be out $6.
I know someone close to Essie Nailpolish founder Essie Weingarten, and hear she’s a totally badass babe who personally bestows the names upon every single nailpolish color from Blanc (one of her first formulas) to After Sex (changed to After Six in conservative markets). She had a cow upon hearing that Kate wore Essie’s Allure nailcolor shade whilst becoming the Dutchess.
As any cosmopolitan chameleon knows, a quick change of polish color can alter your personality, and sometimes your life. You don’t need to pony up for Uslu Airlines or Scotch Naturals. Get the effect for $8 – less than the cost of a single manicure! The number of home manicures you can get from an $8 shade is virtually endless – have you EVER finished a nail polish bottle? Nobody has. Google couldn’t even tell me how many uses are in a bottle.
Essie makes shades sold at J. Crew, and its childrens’ outpost, Crewcuts. From left: Splash of Grenadine, and Forget Me Nots. Can you say sizz-ummer? Or, head to Essie.com for my other two favorites, Merino Cool, seen her on Lady Gaga, and for you Ballet Slippers-obsessed, try Fed Up for a smidge-more-beigey, ever-so-slightly less sophomoric version.
You’re gloss-obsessed, I know. We all are. Lately there’s something so fresh and posh and European about the surprising and rare burst of actual opaque lipcolor. Lipcolor with eyeliner and everything else downplayed is just so French (mais oui!). American beauty tells us to tan, color our hair, get a mani/pedi, shape our brows, get a Latisse prescription, use the whole makeup drawer, then follow it up with injectables and hairspray. French beauty is about lips and eyeliner and looking like yourself (novel idea). Enter Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice, for when you’re feeling a little bit Carla Bruni Sarkozy – on a budget.
Apparently Carla hates makeup, but when she wears it, goes the simple route with lip and liner, as you see in the above. Revlon Super Lustrous is a drugstore basic – that actually feels retro in it’s lipsticky-ness. It’s creamy and moisturizing and leaves a gorgeous kiss-mark on your coffee mug. Fire and Ice is in the true red family with a slight warmness to it. It just screams “confident woman.” The voluptuous new throwback packaging makes it look just as fantastic on your lips as it does on your vanity.
***Sidebar – is every Revlon lip product named after fire, ice or stone fruits? See: Cherries In The Snow, Hot Coral, Smoked Peach, Iced Coffee, Raspberry Freeze, Cherry Ice, Snowsilver Rose, Smoky Rose, Icy Nude, and Flame, amongst many others. ) Have them all for $7.99 a piece.
Remember the geezer who loved Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Windex is to him what Aquaphor is to me. I use it on my lips, my knees, my eye wrinkles, burns, blemishes, and scars and my baby’s butt. Fast forward to my mom being shot for Real Simple Magazine. Editors shot her in a great DVF dress (she bought it later) holding a rich maroon bag, standing before a cerulean doorway.
The shot is great – mostly because she is gorgeous (brush the dirt off my shoulder), and partly because they SLATHERED her exposed skin with Aquaphor. My mom looks like a darn spring chicken with that smooth skin. An enormous Aquaphor tub can be yours for $14. (So long, Sublimage!)
I leave you with the humble bobby pin. To experiment with updos, pick a picture in any magazine and just play with bobby pins till you get it right. Or smooth your quotidian ponytail, create a hot little faux-hawk, or just do something different. With the bobby pin, it’s all possible. At $3.50 for 50, you could give half your bobby pins away, and still have some sweet moolah left over for your beloved Serge Lutens.
Until next time… Don’t forget me!