Beauty on the Cheap: 3 Foxalicious Upgrades to the $50 Challenge

By Voxy  

So let’s say you already have some of those things I mentioned yesterday. Let’s assume that somewhere in your life you managed to acquire a lip gloss, or a blush, or a tube of foundation that you like. Now you’re probably rattling around with all sorts of loose change in your pockets, since you didn’t spend all of your $50, and wondering what else you could buy.

Why yes, of course I have suggestions. ;)

These suggestions are going to go a bit beyond the basic. So if you already have the elements of a starter kit and are ready to add a product or two, keep reading. I’m no longer working within the $50 limit, but I am keeping this to drugstore products only.


L’Oreal has just come out with a really, really nice primer that’s newly available at Target. It’s called the L’Oreal Studio Secrets Secret No. 1 Magic Perfecting Base, and it normally retails for $10.99 (right now it’s 10% off at my Target and online). I haven’t seen it anywhere else yet, but I’m sure it’s on the way. Both Targets at which I’ve seen the product also have a tester available in the display, so you can try it on the back of your hand. I was so impressed with it that I bought one (again, the fact that it was on sale and I had a small Target gift card burning a hole in my removable wallet helped) and will do a full review of it soon. It has the same smooth silicon texture as high-end primers. If you’re interested in seeing what a primer is like, this is the one I’d recommend starting with. It looks pink in the container, but when it’s on your skin it’s translucent and basically colorless, so don’t be put off by that. This would go on before your foundation.

Cream Blush

I love a nice cream or gel blush, and the Almay SmartShade ones are really nice for drugstore products. They have terrifically long staying power, and although it’s certainly possible to apply them boldly, I was also really impressed by how subtly they can be used and still last all day. There are three shades: Pink Rose (light-medium pink), Natural (more peachy/brown-toned), and Berry (slightly deeper pink). There’s also a bronzer if you’d like to experiment with that. These are all $8.39 at (I forgot to price them at Target; sorry!).

Finishing Powder

A liquid/cream foundation is nice, but sometimes you want a dusting of powder on top to blend products, cover any remaining shine, give a soft-focus effect, or create a velvety texture. For a drugstore product, one of the best choices (in my humble opinion) is Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder (about $5.25-$5.50 depending on where you shop). These powders are translucent rather than opaquely pigmented, so they’re not good as a foundation unless you are quite young and have excellent skin to start out with — you just don’t get a lot of coverage. But if your skin is good and you just want something to use to reduce shine, they’re an excellent choice, and because they are translucent, they work well as a finishing powder over other makeup. Please throw the poofy thing out immediately. Use the fluffiest powder brush you have, or a skunk brush if you happen to own one (note: not actually made from skunk).

L’Oreal also makes one of these in their Bare Naturale line; it’s called Bare Naturale Mineral Finish and it comes in two slightly tinted shades (Translucent and Translucent Medium), one shimmery shade (Luminizing) and one mattifying shade (called, er, Mattifying). I use the palest tinted shade, the Translucent, as one of the ingredients in my custom mineral powder blend; it sheers out the mixture and makes it a little less opaque. The Mattifying shade is one I haven’t tried but it seems to be similar to the Make Up For Ever HD powder that I reviewed previously — it’s also silica-based, although it has considerably more ingredients than the MUFE product. (One of those ingredients is carnauba wax, and I can’t quite figure out what that’s doing in a mattifying powder since it is more often used to hold emulsions together and make them shiny — think lipstick.) These are all $12.49 at Target.

So there are some variations for you. I’d love to hear about any other great drugstore finds and/or steals you’ve discovered, so please post them in the comments!

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One Comment

  1. avatar a biologist
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t wear blush often but I have and really like the Almay SmartShade blush in pink/rose. I bought it because I couldn’t find a powder that was both pale enough and cool enough. I thought it was very easy to apply, and the small amount that I put on is still there hours later. If I can apply it correctly, it’s pretty much guaranteed fool-proof.


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