Beauty Essentials For Every Budget

by - April 29, 2015

Hey ladies, I'm BACK! After a bit of a hiatus due to writing, traveling and planning someone big and exciting I am back with a vengeance to take on my biggest foe: a poorly made up face. Those that know me can agree that I am a makeup guru and love to share my results with anyone who will listen. Ever since my friend walked me into my first Sephora in 2006 I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of cosmetics and am ready to share this years finds with the masses.

Posh v Pinch-Beauty Essentials

With that said I know that some ladies are a bit frugal when it comes to makeup because they don't care about it enough to spend a lot on it so I've listed my essentials using two price points. I have tried and can highly recommend every product in both Posh and Pinch so there are no excuses to ever leave the apartment with an uneven looking boring face.


1. Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Onyx- $19
   The name says it all. It's a black waterproof liner that promises sultry looking eyes. What I like the best about this liner is that it alway looks fresh. I like that is has the built in smudger that allows me to apply, smudge a bit for a smokey eye look and then apply another coat to keep a fresh finish. Another plus is that while the pencil is very soft and glides over the lash line a little goes a long way so there is no need to press too hard and waste the product by overuse or worse, breakage.

2. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20- $43
   I broke up with foundation when I discovered this product. I will admit that it took me about a year to finally purchase such a pricey moisturizer but the fact that it was tinted and has SPF 20 pushed me into it. I also wanted to wear something lighter for the humid NYC summers because I felt that my Philosophy mineral foundation was a bit too heavy for that time of year. What I adore about this product is that just a tiny amount gives me amazing coverage that lasts all day. Another plus is that a tube lasts about 10 months with 5-6 days a week of use which makes it worth the price tag.

3. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer- $36
   Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer is what first introduced me to the brand. Unlike many other primers this one gives me more of a matte feel and takes to my skin really well. I also like that it mixes well with my tinted moisturizer for a total one step application process. It's a great product from a wonderful brand that prides itself on giving what it says it does: a photo finishing primer.

4. Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder- $34
   I've covered one of the best products to prep your skin for color so now let's talk about completing the look. Don't think that just because I'm recommending a base, color and a finish that you'll look as if you have tons of makeup on. On the contrary applying a finishing powder is really important when putting a look together because it helps to set that natural look. The trick to wearing any kind of foundation is to even out the skin tone, hide imperfections and make your face look as natural as ever--eyeshadows excluded of course! This micro finish powder does just that. Not only will this soften the appearance of imperfections on its own but worn on top of tinted moisturizer will make the skin look a bit more matte and natural. A plus is that unlike heavy finishing powders this product doesn't mess with the contours of the face so those high cheekbones or that razor sharp jawline don't get lost. It also doesn't leave a powdery look that other popular mineral brands tend to have. The trick is to not look like you're wearing anything!

5. Stila Lip Glaze-$22
   Not many people, especially the person that inspired me to write this up, is a fan of lip glosses and I can see why. They can be sticky and leave marks on everything, they're a magnet for hair on a windy day and they generally don't last long but I don't feel like a look is complete with boring dry lips. What I like about these glosses is that not only do they come in an array of shades but it leaves a lasting sheen even after hours of use. I also adore the clicking sound it makes when I turn the bottom for more gloss to get onto the brush. This really is like painting!

6. Tarte TEN Limited Edition Collector's Palette-$44
   This limited edition palette is a good buy for someone who not only wants a mix of great colors but that likes pretty packaging. The shadows in this kit are not only highly pigmented but are long lasting without the use of a primer. The reason I like this palette so much is because I like the individual colors as fall/winter staples as well as how blending a few lets me create colorful smokey eye looks for any time of day. The liner and mascara are added bonuses but that isn't needed because of my next and final Posh item:

7. Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara- $23
   I have a confession to make: I found the love of my life. It's a love affair that has been going on for two years and I surprisingly I don't mind sharing. This mascara won me over with just one application. I'm serious when I say that I can't remember the one I used prior to this one. I've used Sephora's, Tarte, Benefits BadGal Lash, Bare Minerals, the whole lot, but this one is perfection. And it comes in a really cool looking bottle!


1. Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12h Wear Waterproof in Black Lace- $9
   Sephora has done of great job of reformulating their cosmetics to match that or brands that charge twice as much for the same product. This liner lacks a smudger but it does what any liner needs to do. It gives intense color, it's smooth so it doesn't irritate the eyes and creates a lasting look. This liner also comes in two types of black: matte and shiny.

2. e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20- $3
   This tinted moisturizer not only has great coverage but is lightweight and can be mixed with primers or other moisturizers for added benefits. I really do like this product but the only set back is that it can be a bit dry. Not to worry though because it gives me a chance to mix it with other moisturizers that offer a higher SPF and it can easily be mixed with my absolute favorite primer of all time...

3. Philosophy The Present Invisible Skin Perfector & Oil-Free Makeup Primer- $29
   This product is on the pinch list even though it's just a few dollars cheaper than it's Posh alternative. However I find myself liking and recommending this one more. I've been using it for over 4 years and never go on set without it. It's invisibility makes it easy to use on all skin tones and mixing it with tinted moisturizer boosts its effect. A plus is that it can be worn at night to prevent products, like retinol, from fading to fast. It has a black box warning that says to wait 2 whole minutes before applying anything else so I like to mix it with my tinted moisturizers every time I wear it.

4. e.l.f. Studio High Definition Powder- $6
   Just like Make Up For Ever's HD Primer this translucent powder offers a nice finish to a moisturized and even face. A little bit goes a long way with these a gem that offers two additional options: Shimmer and Corrective Yellow for those who need a bit more coverage against mild redness and help reflect light away from under-eye circles without the need of heavy concealers.

5. mark Wonder Gloss Lip Shine-$12
    I've been using this gloss for a few years now over my plumper because it has lasting shine without being tacky. I never worry about my hair getting stuck to my lips when I wear this and it adds three dimensional shine when I only apply it to the center of my lips over matte lipsticks.

6. Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Set in Petal Pusher- $5
    This is the most impressive Pinch entry on the list. I've tried Wet n Wild cosmetics in the past but they never stayed on more than a few hours. They barely even added color to my lids, that's how bad it was. But two years ago I was getting ready to go out and my cousin happened to have some of these in her collection. I tried them and was blown away. They have stepped up their game to an impressive degree. The shadows in the Color Icon collection not only come in great colors but they are highly pigmented and long lasting. I own all of their eyeshadow sets as well as their trios. This is a collection that anyone who wants to experience an amazing product at a much lower cost needs to try. I can't praise these shadows enough and they have taken center stage to every look that I create.

7. Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara-$10
    Sometimes there are no substitutions. This would be the first item I would recommend to anyone that compliments what I do with my eyes. If you're not ready to drop $23 on the full size bottle just purchase the mini version. I keep my large one at home and mini in my every day makeup bag.

And there you have it. Beauty essentials for the person that can spend a bit more on cosmetics and for one that isn't ready to have a makeup stash worth hundreds. Next I'll take on my favorite skin care items because nothing is more important to me than taking care of my favorite canvas.

Stay beautiful!

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