Monday, January 9, 2012

Vanessa's Top Ten Budget Beauty Buys

Normally, these top ten lists come at the end of the year, but we Whoreders were a little busy wrapping presents and mixing cocktails. Whoops. I get some flack from people (Heatherrr!) for my fancy product lustin', but I'm also a big believer in budget buys (I AM!). I put together a list of my top ten favorites, all found at your local drugstore for under $20.

Ready? Here they are, in no particular order...

10. Boots No. 7 Liquid Eye Liner
Available at Target for about $8, Boots Liquid Eye Liner is one of the best budget buys I've ever found. I was first introduced to Boots in London, it's kind of like the UK version of CVS or Rite-Aid, their beauty line is now on U.S. shores. I don't know why it's so hard to find a decent liquid liner with this style of applicator brush. I'm not a fan of the pens, I like the swooshy freedom brushes give me. Boots' black liner is easy to apply, it's smooth without being too watery - and it's got some lasting power. Only $8, it's awesome and will get you through most of the day or night.

9. Elnett Hairspray
The gold standard of hairsprays as far as I'm concerned, I don't think of Elnett as a bargain replacement for anything because nothing comes close to its perfection. It's available at drugstores for about $15, go out and try it immediately. They also sell small cans you can keep in your purse or desk drawer at work for those hair emergencies. Elnett holds well, and is so easy to brush into your hair - no hairspray residue left in your hair and no stiff pieces to ruin your lovely locks. If I could design my own Heaven, it would smell like Elnett.

8. Cover Girl TruBlend Minerals Loose Powder 
Yes, I have fancy custom blended mineral powder from a fancy boutique. It's awesome, because it's great powder and you have to go in to get your own unique "recipe" which is stored in their system for reordering. However, it's not cheap and I can't always fit it into my budget. I read an article that stated most mineral powders are pretty similar in quality, so I decided to seek out a drugstore stand-in for those times when I need to save my pennies. Enter TruBlend Minerals from Cover Girl. About $10 at the drugstore, this is a fantastic budget buy.

7. Psssssst Instant Spray Shampoo 
Where would I be without Psssssst? That beautiful can of instant spray shampoo saves my bad hair days at least once a week. It's about $7, and one can will go a long way. I keep an emergency can hidden somewhere in my bathroom at all times, and my loyalty has never been swayed by any other brand. If you prefer to skip a day or two in between shampoos, or need a little freshening up after a workout - Psssssst is a lifesaver. You just spray it into your roots, fluff up your hair and brush it out. Boom, work it.

6. Carmex Lip Balm
Created in the 1930s on the stove at the inventor's home, Carmex is still one of the best names in lip care. It's about $2, comes in a few different flavors and is available in a jar, stick or tube. I favor the original flavor in the screw-top jar, because I like to keep it old school. I keep one in my purse year round, but Carmex really comes in handy during winter when my lips tend to get more chapped.

5. Witch Hazel 
Luckily I don't get frequent breakouts, *knock wood*, but I still like to use an astringent on my face regularly... just in case. Kiehl's makes an incredible Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion for about $27, but when I need to cut corners I turn to good old fashioned Witch Hazel, about $5 per bottle. I'll be honest, I would keep this in my bathroom cabinet just for the name alone. It sounds like some awesome old witchy aunt that helps me fight acne.

4. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

I am pretty much guaranteed to ruin a fresh coat of nail polish within about 60 seconds of applying it. But thanks to Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat, my nails survive any initial damage I manage to inflict. How much does it cost to save my at-home manicure? Only around $5!

3. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

A true classic, with a price tag of about $6, I give you Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque. I'm convinced most people have a tube of this stuff lurking somewhere in their bathroom. Not only is it a really good product, it's fun to smear on your face - I always imagine I'm in a very special episode of I Love Lucy. One coat of this magical green goo will leave your face feeling clean and refreshed. Waiting for the mask to dry also provides for some entertaining photos.

2. John Frieda Touch Up Flyaway Tamer
Months ago I bought some John Frieda Shampoo that came with a free full-size sample of this Flyaway Tamer. It's a gel with an applicator that looks like a big mascara wand, and you apply it at your roots to smooth down those pesky flyaway hairs that are the bane of my existence. I was afraid the gel would dry and leave me with crunchy early 90s spiral perm hair, but it didn't - it's actually pretty fab. A few quick little swoops in the morning, and those little unruly suckers are beaten into submission. Each tube is about $10, but I still haven't actually had to purchase a new one yet - since I ended up getting a couple of those freebies in the combo packs.

1. Oil of Olay
I said this list was in no particular order, and that's mostly true, except for the number one spot. Regardless of whatever moisturizer I'm using (right now it's Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Moisturizer) there's always a bottle of Oil of Olay in my medicine cabinet. I use it as my night cream, and for correcting makeup mishaps. If my hands are a little shaky during an application of some cat eye liquid liner, I take a dab of Oil of Olay on a Q-Tip and to correct mistakes without having to remove all my hard work. Nothing takes me back to my days as a baby makeup diva like a bottle of Oil of Olay. I remember seeing it with my mom's things and imagining the day I'd have a bottle of my own. This classic is about $10, and comes in a variety of formulas (I go with the original) to suit almost every need.

There you have it, my top ten budget beauty products under $20. Share some of your favorites with us, we'd love to hear from you. It's fun to discover new products to try or rediscovering classics you may have forgotten about. Fabulous products come in all price ranges, but we do get a special thrill out of the ones that give great results and leave a little extra cash in our wallets.

Vintage Vanessa, still sporting the same 'do and flyaway hairs.


  1. A) I love your picture at the bottom.

    B) It's eerie how similar we are because I have like 8/10 of these at home and love them!

    C) is for cookie. ha


  2. A) That picture is how I feel about 85% of the time.

    B) Great minds think (and groom) alike.

    C) I just ate a cookie!

  3. I purchased buy Vanesa Products from Awesome bazar. Awesome Bazar provides best competitive prices product and fast delivery process . Really very nice service of awesome bazar, Awesome bazaar best Shopping destination . Find At

  4. Best ever post for enhancing our beauty and i became regular reader of your blog. Keep useful posting like this. Also try these websites nail polishes online shopping | Skin Brightening services at home