I'm always on the hunt for easy to apply, easy to use, long lasting, flawless finish makeup at a decent price. Here are some items that I believe take the cake for me, and others I'm not too keen on.
LOVE: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil, $21
This pencil retails for $21 and I have it in the shade Ebony. It is really precise, lightweight and very effective in making sparse brows look fuller. I have naturally thin brows, and this pencil makes me look put together in just five minutes. My only problem? It runs out very quickly, which is disappointing because its so pricey.
DRUGSTORE DUPE: Nyx Micro Brow Pencil in Espresso
NOT SO FAV: Kylie Cosmetics Dolce K Liquid Lipstick, $17
This lipstick is just not worth the price! The color is extremely unflattering on me and makes my lips look nearly invisible (which is hard when your lips are as big as mine). It also has a very drying formula. I do not think the product lives up to its hype and wish it would be more flattering on tan skin tones.
DRUGSTORE DUPE: Colourpop Ultra Matte Lipstick in Beeper
FAV: Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $27
I use this concealer in the shade Tan. I love how full coverage it is, so much that it hides my lack of sleep and the bags under my eyes! It is on the pricey side, but I do think it is worth it simply because of how versatile the product is.
DRUGSTORE DUPE: Wet N Wild Photo Focus Concealer
NOT SO FAV: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer, $10
Okay, okay, I may not like this concealer partly because I have it in the wrong shade (Neutralizer, which is way too light for my skin tone) . But in my defense, I also find the concealer sort of particle-y and very difficult to blend. The makeup applicator is also not very easy to use, what with the sponge being clothed in ancient concealer from previous uses.
HIGH-END SUBSTITUTE: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
FAV: L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, $10
I love, love, LOVE this mascara! It does everything you'd want a natural looking mascara to do. It lengthens, lifts and thickens your lashes. As an owner of sparse lashes, I can say with full seriousness that this mascara is perfection and my go-to whenever I want to brighten up my eye look.
HIGH-END SUBSTITUTE: Too Faced Better Than Sex
(which, by the way, I also own, and I still think this is 10x better)
NOT SO FAV: Maybelline Colossal Kajal, $4
As I am typing this review, I realize that this liner is only available in India. Oh well, that's probably a good thing considering how much I dislike it. I used to wear this eye pencil on my waterline to intensify my eyes. However, within a few hours of use, this product completely runs and makes my dark circles look ten times worse as opposed to making my eyes look ten times better. I keep trying this product hoping the outcome is different every time, but it always frustrates me. I should probably just throw this out.
HIGH-END SUBSTITUTE: NARS Minorique Kohliner
FAV: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, $32
I have the travel sized version of this primer (a little smaller, a lot cheaper), but I might just purchase the full sized one! It makes my makeup stay all day, and leaves it with a flawless finish. If there's one thing I hate, it's a cakey face, and this primer takes care of it all! Very lightweight and nice feeling on the skin as well.
DRUGSTORE DUPE: NYX First Base Primer Spray
NOT SO FAV: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation, $8
I know I've hated on Maybelline quite a lot throughout this article. Don't get me wrong, I do love a lot of Maybelline products (their Superstay Foundation and Master Precise Liner, for example), however, there are a few products that I am greatly disappointed by. This is one of them. The foundation is a shade too dark for me (shade is called Toffee Caramel), and really drying. When I wear this foundation, it is really heavy and cake-y looking, and it is very obvious that it is not my real skin (which I personally do not enjoy with makeup). I just wish the foundation could stay matte while still providing moisture to one's skin.
HIGH-END SUBSTITUTE: MAC Studio Fix Fluid with SPF 15
FAV: Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo, $34
RiRi isn't playing! I bought this highlighter in the shade Mean Money/ Hustla Baby, and let me tell you, it is stunning! It has both a subtler shade and a more glam one, so I can use it to dress up or dress down. Again, on the pricier side but so worth it.
DRUGSTORE DUPE: Wet N Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder
NOT SO FAV: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick, $18
I have this lipstick in the shade Ex-Girlfriend. It is supposed to be a sheer shimmer lipstick, which means that I usually use it as a topper on other lip products. However, it is very drying and causes flaking, which I do not like. I also don't know if it's just my sensitive skin but I find this lipstick kind of itchy as well.
DRUGSTORE DUPE: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose