Fashion & Beauty

Makeup Buys High and Low

By Janet Kelly

WEARING A mask for 14 months and change made me mostly forget about makeup with the exception of a swipe of mascara every so often. But now that going mask-less is more and more the norm, I suspect it’s time for a refresh in my routine. Not talking full regalia here—just some basic products: a light tinted moisturizer/foundation, concealer, mascara, blush and a lip gloss or balm. As for what to spend the big (ger) bucks on, makeup artists concur that you should spend the most on the largest surface area—the theory is that if your skin looks polished, then you can get away with less expensive eye and lip products.

Even the spendiest mascaras should be tossed after a few months, so that’s the appeal of drugstore mascaras. Likewise, lip balms and lip glosses don’t last long so no need to splurge. But buying a multi-use makeup stick is worth the extra cash. If you can use a blush on your lips and eyes, then a higher price is more acceptable.

I like to dabble in makeup, mixing lip balms from Burt’s Bees, concealers and foundations from The Ordinary (see more below) and drugstore blushes with Westman Atelier’s high-end highlighters and luscious lip glosses from Dior. Go ahead, have some fun with your makeup.

Here, our picks for recharging your cosmetic bags post-pandemic.


LEFT: IT Cosmetics’ Color Correcting Full Coverage  CC + Cream ($39.50) already has SPF 50 UVA/UVB protection, so that’s a save on sunscreen. Furthermore, infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid, the cream can help camouflage dark circles, redness and large pores.

CENTER: Last year I purchased a Boots No 7 mascara, and it does the job as well as my high-priced products. The company’s No 7 Stay Perfect Waterproof Long Wear Mascara ($8.99, Target) is a good bet for summer when you don’t want your eye makeup melting down your face in the heat.

RIGHT: If you prefer lighter coverage, another CC cream, this one from Olay— Total Effects Tone Correcting Cream  ($23.99, Amazon) checks that box. It has an SPF 15, so you’ll likely need to apply another sunscreen underneath if you’re out and about in the sun. That said, Olay products are popular and sell out quickly. There’s only one left on Amazon, and it’s sold out on the Olay site.

LEFT: A beauty industry rebel, The Ordinary uses pricey ingredients – from rosehip to retinol – sans all the fancy frills and produces effective formulas without the mega price tags. Take  The Ordinary Concealer ($5.80, Ulta), for example, which offers coverage in a range of 21 shades.

RIGHT: The Ordinary’s lightweight Serum Foundation  ($6.70, Ulta) will work for those who want moderate coverage. It is also available in 21 shades with a classification system that notes the depth, tone and undertone of the selected color. For example, 1.1P is for the very fair skinned with pink undertones. But you can see how it looks on you, using the Ulta Try It On app.

LEFT: Sleek, sexy packaging must account for some of the hefty price tag on the Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick ($48, Violet Grey). But using other products in the line (such as the Lit-Up Highlighter) and seeing the effects has made me a believer in makeup artist Gucci Westman’s products. The blush stick comes in six colors, two of which are sold out. Rationalize the cost—you can also use on the lips.

CENTER: I can’t resist the pull of an inexpensive drugstore buy like this Wet n Wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick Blush ($4.49). Thanks to Ulta’s try-on app, you can see it on you before you buy. And it’s the same price as the drugstore’s.

RIGHT: Speaking of drugstores, you can frequently find Burt’s Bees products on the shelves for skincare. All Aglow ($12.99) makes the cut for anyone who wants just a healthy flush of color on lips and cheeks.


LEFT: Honest Beauty’s sheer, buildable shades, such as summer melon and lychee fruit, contain avocado oil, açaí and pomegranate to keep lips feeling smooth and smoochable. The Tinted Lip Balm is $9 at Ulta, and you can try it on virtually.

CENTER, ABOVE: For that lit-from-within look, try Milk Makeup’s Glow Oil Lip+Cheek ($15 for mini size .18 ounces, Sephora). It is shimmery, so avoid if that’s not something that appeals. It comes in coral, bright pink, mauve and plum.

CENTER, BELOW: Swipe on Ilia’s creamy Multi-Stick Dreamer ($34) for a warm wash of color. It comes in 8 shades, including hot tangerine and warm watermelon.

RIGHT: Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Pumping Gloss ($35, Sephora) is way pricier than a lip gloss should be, but I’m still inclined to buy it again. It feels deliciously rich on your lips and comes in colors, such as cherry pink and mahogany, with a high-shine finish. If you think it will plump your lips, though, you’ll be disappointed. For that, you’ll have to visit your dermatologist.






One thought on “Makeup Buys High and Low

  1. stephanie cavanaugh says:

    Those wet ‘n wild sticks are the bomb. I have them in three shades — mud colored when I want to sharpen the cheekbones, rosy for a flush of color, and a highlighter for a bit of bling. They melt right into my skin, stay all day, and look totally natural. Talk about a cheap thrill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *