Easy-on-the-wallet makeup brands offer colorful options for budget-challenged times.
I abide by the mantra “you get what you pay for” when it comes to caviar, or even mattresses, but when we’re talking cosmetics, there’s a lot of wiggle room. Some of my favorite lipstick shades have come from drug store brands, and in terms of mascara, nothing can touch my Maybelline Great Lash with a ten-foot pole, except maybe Cover Girl’s Lash Blast. Drug store and mass chain store makeup options are enough to make my recessionista’s heart sing. The one caveat: mass brands are difficult to test, but most chains will accept a return if the shade doesn’t meet expectations.
e.l.f., the nifty contraction for eyes, lips, face, is the ultimate budget makeup line with lip, face and eye color products in the $1 to $6 range. Amazing!!! A staple of the ever-popular—even more so in recessionary times—99 cent stores, e.l.f. also sells products through an EXTENSIVE website that promises free shipping for orders of $75 or more. That’s a lot of lip gloss, especially when it costs only a buck. The website features four color lines: e.l.f., e.l.f.Studio, e.l.f. Minerals and Sugar Kiss. Standouts include e.l.f. Duo Eyeshadow ($1), e.l.f. Hypershine Mini iPod Shuffle Lip Gloss Charms ($3), and e.l.f. Minerals SPF 45 Sunscreen UVA/UVP Protection loose powder ($6).
An American classic, Maybelline long ago placed an indelible mark on the budget minded with the ongoing popularity of Great Lash Mascara ($4.99), the U.S.A.’s number 1 mascara. Now part of international beauty giant L’Oréal, Maybelline carries the moniker of Maybelline New York and competes internationally. With face, eye, lip and nail products, Maybelline can be found at just about every chain and corner drugstore and offers a whopping 32 different types of mascara. New launches include SuperStay 24HR Makeup ($9.99), a long lasting foundation, and Pulse Perfection by Define-A-Lash Vibrating Mascara ($9.99), which vibrates 7,000 times a stroke.
The trendsetting creator of opaque pastel nail polish back in 1995, Hard Candy was reinvented last year as a playful, sparkly, girlie brand sold exclusively at Wal-Mart. Nails still take center stage with Hard Candy Just Nails Nail Polish ($5) in densely colored versions of purple, lime and periwinkle, in addition to eye, cheek and lip makeup. Bestsellers at Wal-Mart include Visibly Wet Lip Pencil ($6), Mouthing Off Lipgloss ($6) and Balm Girls Tinted Lip Balm ($5).
When my friend Diane told me that “rimmel” was the word she used for mascara while growing up in Paris, I was confused. Now I understand! With roots dating back to 1834 London, “rimmel” actually means mascara in SEVEN languages. The venerable brand entered the U.S. market in the mid-90s reinvented as Rimmel London, embodying the witty, edgy and streetwise fashion and night life of the trend-making city. New in the Rimmel product lineup is Sexy Curves Waterproof Mascara ($7.50). Rimmel products are available at Wal-Mart, Sears and Ulta stores.
The granddad of American drugstore brands, Revlon, founded in 1932 by the legendary Charles Revson, continues to stock mass merchant shelves with color cosmetics, hair care, nail color, beauty tools and fragrance. A stable of A-list spokesmodels—Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Elle McPherson and Jennifer Connelly—advertise new introductions. Recent launches include the PhotoReady foundation and powder collection ($12.99 to $13.99), ColorBurst Lipstick ($7.69), Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer ($9.99) and Luxurious Color Eyeshadow ($4.99).
Cover Girl too has an ages old history, dating back to 1909 in Maryland, where it was founded by the Noxzema Chemical Company. Owned by P&G since 1989, and one of the top three leaders in the mass market, Cover Girl stays true to its name with a bevy of cover models including Drew Barrymore, Rihanna, Queen Latifah and Dania Ramirez. New to the brand are: ShineBlast Lipgloss ($7.49), two ended Smoky ShadowBlast eyeshadow stick ($7.99), LashBlast Length Mascara ($7.29) and Simply Ageless Corrector ($10.87).
American Beauty & Flirt
The Estée Lauder Companies’ BeautyBank division partnered with Kohl’s department stores in 2004 to market American Beauty and Flirt, two “masstige” brands, so called because they bridge the mass and prestige price points. In the $11 to $25 price range, Flirt is a makeup brand with over 300 shades of eye, lip, cheek and face color. Lash-a-delic Fast Defining Mascara ($14) is a recent launch. American Beauty features actress Ashley Judd as the face of its brand of cosmetics, which celebrates the beauty of American style. New products include Pink Gingham Color Kit ($30) for eyes and cheeks.