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My Holy Grail, Affordable Beauty Faves

Whenever I go to pick up a prescription or grab a quick snack at CVS or a Walgreens or a Rite Aid, I inevitably end up wandering through the beauty section. I sneak up to the NYX display, graze my fingers over the Maybelline sign, and skip through the aisle, filling my basket with beauty products, as if I am a kid in a candy store. There’s bright eyeshadows and shiny highlighters and new types of face masks, oh my! Since I began touring the beauty space as a consumer, I have tried many, many products. Some of them made me break out or turned my skin orange or made my lashes clumpy, but others have stood the test of time as holy grail products. These affordable finds have been gracing my face since I started wearing makeup at 15 years old: 

1. Ponds Dry Skin Cream

The most important step of my makeup routine is the last step of my skincare routine- moisturizer! A hydrated, soothed, and nourished base will keep your makeup looking fresh all day. I’ve relied on Ponds Dry Skin Cream since I was a middle schooler discovering the prices of puberty. The 150+ year old brand has been spotted on the vanities of Hollywood stars like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. The non comedogenic formula means it does not clog pores (which causes breakouts), while the thick cream replenishes my skin even at its driest!  I have a combination skin type so my t-zone is either an oil-slick or textured like sand in a desert. Either way, moisturizer balances my skin; it reduces the overproduction of oil while also replenishing my parched patches. That’s why I keep picking up Ponds Dry Skin Cream. It aggressively targets my dryness, without aggravating my oil glans. 

2. NoPoreblem Primer by Touch N Sol 

While I rigorously moisturize my face before applying makeup every time, sometimes I also need help smoothing my pores and texture. Though you can’t find the NoPoreblem Primer by Touch N Sol in a drugstore, the price is definitely affordable, especially for the quantity and quality of the product. This is one of the few pore-smoothing products I’ve found actually helps my dry skin! It doesn’t moisturize but it isn’t drying either. It smooths over my dry patches and smile/ eye lines as well as my pores. I also notice that it prolongs the wear of my makeup significantly! So basically… it is everything I want in a primer: blurring, not drying, and makes my makeup last! I always have one or two of these around because, as a freelance makeup artist, I know it works well with so many different skin types. Plus Touch N Col regularly prices the NoPoreblem Primer half off, so look out for their sales!

3. Rose Water by Mario Badescue 

It’s graced many Pinterest mood boards and the shelves of Urban Outfitters and the feeds of Vsco girls, but the pink bottle of rose water by Mario Badescue is more than aesthetically pleasing. The refreshing spray of rose and gardenia extracts in an Aloe Vera gel formula replenishes dehydrated skin. The natural scent is gentle, pleasing, and hasn’t irritated my skin. I use it as a toner, primer, setting spray, and makeup rejuvenator. If you like the Morphe Continuous Setting Spray, you’ll love this. They both leave you dewy AF! It really helps combat foundation cakeness and flakiness. The Rose Water by Mario Badescue has made regular appearances on my vanity since 2015. Actually, that reminds me, I need to pick up another one today! 

4. Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula 

Okay, it’s the smell! I am sure if you’ve ever watched a beauty video on YouTube or glanced around the beauty space on Instagram, you have seen the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer around. And everyone says the same thing- it smells soooo good. It smells like you’re sitting on a hot beach, covered in coconut oil, with a cold beer or piña colada in your hands. Besides its sweet, coconut aroma, the bronzer itself is gorgeous. The soft formula is exactly, well, like butter. The original shade “bronzer” gives me a natural tan; the color is perfectly between warm-but-not-orange and neutral-but-not-red. Plus it comes in seven other shades! This has been in my makeup collection for years and years. I felt comfortable applying the smooth formula even when I was a new-to-makeup baby giving myself black eyes. The Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula is foolproof. 

5. No Clump Mascara by Covergirl

Ahh my heart. It’s no hyperbole when I say this was the first makeup product I ever bought. I was twelve years old, wearing the god-awful plaid uniform I wore to school, dragging my feet behind my mom’s red Target cart. I don’t know what triggered it, but walking past the beauty aisle, I decided I was big enough to wear makeup. My mom helped me pick out this Covergirl No Clump Mascara. While it was a brutal process learning to stick a wand near my eye, this mascara was certainly patient. It’s a very natural, wispy mascara which helps separate the lashes. Now I use products that pack more volume and drama on my top lashes, but I always use this one for the bottom. For my lower lashes, I need something that lengthens and separates and doesn’t have an overwhelming wand, which is why the Covergirl No Clump mascara is my go-to. I don’t think I know how to apply lower lash mascara without it! 

6. Lip Crayon by Burt’s Bees

I grew up on Burt’s Bees chapstick. My mom always got the medicated one. I liked the way it tingled my lips when she put it on my puckered, child lips. So,  when I began experimenting with beauty, the transition from the Burts Bees chapstick to their colorful Lip Crayons was natural. My go-to color is Napa’s Vineyard. It is this flattering, rich red color. The color accentuates my blue eyes. I think it would look fantastic on many different skin tones/ undertones because it is a true red. It doesn’t pull too purple or orange. It’s the perfect lip color to grab and go with. Though it’s a matte texture, it is a very creamy and hydrating formula. Enriched with Jojoba Oil and Kendi Oil in Omega 3, the Lip Crayon by Burt’s Bees leaves my lips oh so kissable.

Kyah Corff

New School '23

Hi! Though I was born in Wyoming, I grew up around Santa Barbra, California with my three younger brothers, family dog, and cat. New York City has always been my dream because I am such a foodie! Currently, I am pursuing a BAMA degree in Journalism. I live in the Lower East Side and you might find me walking my pup Cannoli around Tompkins Square Park!
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