Unfortunately, we're already feeling the post-holiday pinch, so we decided to start the "refreshing" process in an ultra thrifty manner. With some guidance from one of our favorite makeup artists-the ultra talented Kayleen McAdams (check out her past episodes of Who What Wear TV to see her in action)-we found the most amazing and affordable beauty products around. These items have all been tried, tested, and given two thumbs up from McAdams and our WhoWhatWear.com editors. Not only are they great products, they also meet our restrictive resolution's budgetary requirements (read: cheap thrills!).
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen ($8.99, in drugstores)
Marker-style eyeliner pens have been all the rage for a few seasons, but this new version from Revlon impressed us tremendously. "Sometimes these types of liners doesn't go on smoothly or evenly, but this one works very well," McAdams says. "The pigment is really dark and the liner stays exactly where you put it." Best of all, it has a very fine point that makes it totally easy to use. It's the perfect product for creating a cat-eye look, a style that just so happened to be back on the runways for Spring 09.
(If you much prefer pencil liner, try Max Factor MAXeye Liner Eyeliner in Fresh Coffee ($4.90). McAdams raved about its beautiful dark chocolate brown color and excellent consistency (it's neither too hard, nor too soft), and likes the fact that doesn't require sharpening!)
Maybelline Lash Discovery Washable Mascara ($6.25)
You'll notice that there are two mascaras spotlighted in today's story, one of which is Maybelline's Lash Discovery Washable Mascara, which is ideal for lash-detail work. McAdams loves its teeny tiny brush, which is the perfect size for getting the lower lashes and the little ones in the inner and outer corners of the eye. (We personally use the waterproof version for all our lower lash mascara needs!)
Maybelline Define-A-Brow Eyebrow Pencil ($4.94)
At first, we were a little nervous about this super skinny brow pencil, but McAdams assured us that the product's svelte shape could really help amateurs (selves included) achieve the perfect look. "The reason I love this product is because it forces you to use the right technique," McAdams says. "Because it's so thin, you have to make tiny little feathery strokes, which is the key to getting a very natural look." The built-in comb is also a nice addition, as it ensures that you won't have brows full of excess product, therefore saving you from the dreaded "caterpillar" look.
Maybelline The Colossal Volum' Express Mascara ($5.39)
If you're looking for a great budget-friendly version of DiorShow mascara, look no further than the Maybelline aisle at your local drugstore. That's right, dear readers, the beauty brand's The Colossal Volum'Express will give you exceptionally full and lush lashes that are practically on par with the amazing designer version. McAdams approved of the fat brush and noted that it has better pigment than most drugstore mascaras, which often end up looking gray, not really black. "I also appreciate the fact that the consistency is a little wetter than most," she says. "It's a good thing, because it will make your lashes look shiny."
L'Oreal HIP Metallic Shadow Duo ($7)
In the eye shadow department, there was one super standout winner-L'Oreal's HIP Metallic Duos. McAdams praised how blendable the colors are, noting that it will work for both the demure and the adventurous user. Like the luxury version from Stila, these shadows can be used wet or dry (they work particularly well as a liner), so you can get loads of looks for one price.
Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush ($6.38)
We knew that McAdams loves a cream blush (she usually uses MAC Pro Crème Blush, Stila Convertible Color, or NARS The Multiple), so we weren't surprised she liked this mousse version from Maybelline. Her favorite hue was Pink Frosting, which was chosen because it's a true pink, not muted like most. "It gives you a really pretty, natural, rosy effect," she says. "And it has just a tiny bit of gold shimmer in it, which reminds me a bit of the NARS blush, Orgasm." In short: if you're looking for a blendable pinky blush, this is your product.
L'Oreal Visible Lift Under Eye Line-Minimizing & Tone-Enhancing Concealer ($11.95)
There weren't many skin products that passed all of our specifications, but this clickable brush formula for L'Oreal made the list. McAdams liked the built-in brush, as it makes for foolproof application (even for concealer rubes, like us) and we adored the de-puffing formula. Yup, you read that right, the Visible Lift minimizes puffy lower lids after just a couple of weeks of use!
Max Factor MAXalicious Lipgloss ($4.89)
There were a number of runners-up in the best gloss category-L'Oreal Color Juice Sheer Juicy Lip Gloss and CoverGirl Wetslicks reminded us of Lancome's Juicy Tubes, while Revlon Super Lustrious Lipgloss had a very Chanel-like vibe-but the victor is Max Factor's MAXalicious! "All the colors are really great, because they're sheer but still have enough color," McAdams says. "You could wear it alone for a natural look, but they're also great on top of lipsticks." We couldn't agree more, as we're currently sporting this gloss (in the shade Too Much Wine) lover a cherry lip stain at this very moment!
CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain Lip Color ($7.49)
Also not to be missed: CoverGirl's new long-lasting lipstain! These plump pens are available in 10 different long-lasting hues, including Plum Pout and Wild Berry Wink (our favorites). McAdams was impressed by the very pretty bright colors and also appreciated how easy this one is to apply. The Sharpee-like tip makes for easy lining and definition, something we definitely appreciate in a lipstain applicator!
(Another product that got big raves is Revlon's brand new Matte Lipstick ($7.99) which will be available in drugstores nationwide this January. McAdams flipped over their perfect texture and colors like Strawberry Suede, which is "perfectly named: it's the ideal blend of pink and red," she says.)
Revlon Nail Enamel ($4.99)
Our last guilt-free indulgence? The beautifully bold shades of nail enamel from Revlon. McAdams went wild for the matte Spring 09 colors like Tropical Temptation and Plum Seduction and very much appreciated their sparkle-free formulas. "They give your nails a retro, period effect, but in modern hues!" she says. Until those exact new formulas hit stores this spring, check out the above-pictured (and totally non-shimmery) Craving Coral and Fuschia Fever ($4.99 each) for a bright pop of polish.