This is, hands down, the nicest drugstore foundation I have ever purchased. I've used MAC Pro Longwear foundations before, and this is hands down the best drugstore dupe out there (it's half the price, too!).
It's branded as a lightweight coverage foundation, despite having a rather thicker consistency. Don't let that scare you off though, because this is a very buildable, very natural looking foundation. I tend to have uneven skin tone but this stuff gives great coverages and evens me out really well. It also has Soft-Flex SPF 15 in the formula, which is great, because you want to make sure you're wearing makeup that protects your skin (duh), especially in the summer. This foundation wears well for hours and through cold or hot weather, so it gets a thumbs up for looking fresh all day; there's no creases, no streaking, no caking. Once it sets on the skin, it has a matte finish with the tiniest hint of shimmer in direct light. I like mixing this with Physician's Formula tinted moisturizer to give my skin a nice, dewey finish.
2. Milani Mineral blush in Luminous and Physician's Formula Happy Booster blush in Rose (it's a tie!):
If you're up on the current makeup dupe list, then you already know why I'm including Luminous in this list. This is an exact duplicate of Nars Orgasm, the best selling blush in the world (and for good reason). Orgasm is a gorgeous pinky-peach, with tons of golden shimmer. It is the quintessential summer cheek color. However, if you're like me and can't just dump $27 on a blush, Milani's Luminous is your next best bet at only $7.
Read a great review comparing the two (with swatches) here.
The colors between the two blushes are exactly the same, though Luminous lacks the intense golden shimmer that Orgasm is known for. Luminous has sheen, but it's subtle, which I personally find more wearable for the daytime hours. I find Luminous to be slightly less pigmented than Orgasm, so it requires a gradual buildup, depending on skin color. I'm fair, so I find I don't need much. A quick sweep across the apples of my cheeks, and I look like I just got back from the beach. However, if my skin were darker, I'd imagine the best color payoff would come with several applications of Luminous.
I've already documented my love for PF Happy Booster here. Click the link for my review.
3. Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion in Very Black:
Despite being a teacher, and loving my cardigans and pearls, I really consider myself a punk at heart; I love my rock music, I've rocked a mohawk AND a mullet (no pictures; sorry), and I love a good black eye. No, not that kind of a black eye! I mean black eyeliner and mascara.
Prior to discovering Lash Blast Fusion, my go to mascaras L'Oreal Voluminous and Clinique's High Impact. However, this stuff is so good, I don't know that I'll ever go back to the others. It combines what I love most about lashes (length and definition) into one stellar product.
The bristles are small and really great at working in between and individually coating each lash. You get an even application of product and holy smokes does it make eyes pop! The formula is thick but workable; you're not going to get spider eyes with this mascara unless you deliberately want them (which I usually do, so hurrah!). It's my holy grail mascara (and at $10 a pop, who can complain?).
This is without a doubt CG's best product!
4. Revlon ColorStay eyeliner in Black:
This is were I get snooty and swear that MAC's Technakohl liner is the best eye liner out there (it totally is). But in a pinch, this stuff is a pretty good substitution. You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference, actually. But like I said, I'm snooty with my liners ;)
That said, it's a member of the ColorStay product line, and in reading this list you'll see I tend to favor that line pretty heavily. I find that with a lot of Revlon's eye products, the 'oomph' just isn't there. But the ColorStay line is actually quite good. The formulas are nice, the colors are really pretty, and the pigmentation is pro-quality. This liner lasts forever and it doesn't smudge, meaning I can tightline my eyes and not worry about reapplying every half hour. It also comes with a handy-dandy little pencil sharpener, which, for a crayon freak like myself, is pretty convenient. I wish MAC would follow suit in that regard, so one up for Revlon in that department.
5. Revlon ColorStay 12 Hour Eyeshadow Quad in Sterling Rose:
The ColorStay line of shadows is straight up GORGEOUS. The quads are available in a wide range of colors, and make the perfect travel shadow kit when you're on the go. This quad in particular, is fantastic for an on-the-go smokey eye palette. You can guarantee this baby is going to be in my makeup bag when I go to Vegas next month! I intend to review this palette in an upcoming blog post, so for now I'll just say that there are many reasons why this palette belongs on this list.
6. Honorable mention: Rimmel Moisture Renew and N.Y.C. lipglosses.
These two glosses are the perfect washes of peach and pink. The N.Y.C. liquid lip shine is thick and creamy and gives a delicate hint of golden peach, which I think tends to really warm skin tone up. The Rimmel product is very sheer, though it's a high shine gloss that's pretty pigmented, in my opinion.
I tend to keep both of these in my handbag at any given time, because I don't have to worry about these glosses overpowering any other makeup I'm wearing, unlike a lipstick.
And finally, the splurge:
Man, do I love MAC shadows. I will happily spend any amount of money on a quality eyeshadow, because I think my eyes are my best feature, and when you're making up a feature you love, you really want to do a bag up job, am I right? For me, that means using great products and having fun!
Top row (left to right): Idol Eyes, Crystal, Shroom, Rice Paper, Banshee, Honey Lust
bottom row (left to right): Shale, Scene, Patina, Satin Taupe, Quarry, Haux
Of all these shadows, I think Patina is the best shade. It's an antique, browny gold with a satin finish. I find it brings out the blue undertones of my green eyes, which I love!
Now, when you buy a MAC shadow, you're going to pay approximately $15, which I don't think is terrible for the amount of product you get, and for how little you actually need to use when applying your makeup. One of these pots can last you a long, long time.
However, MAC makes it really easy to depot these shadows and build your own quad palette (bigger palettes are also available), meaning you can mix and match which shades you group together. These little quad palettes are $4 apiece, and the great thing about going to route of the quad, is that the eyeshadows instantly become cheaper. Instead of buying the potted shadow, you just buy the shadow pan. This way, the shadow goes from $15 to $11, or even $7 if you go on one of MAC's promotional sales days.
Also, once you depot your shadows, MAC offers a great recycling program called 'Back to MAC.' Just bring in six of your empty packages and MAC will give you your choice of shadow or lipgloss as a thank you. Not a bad deal, if you ask me!