Drugstore Review

So with the economy being in the crapper it's more important than ever that money not be wasted on disappointing beautifying products.

I'm fairly loyal to what works for me but every so often I take a chance on something new and sometimes the gamble pays off.

I've been a faithful applier of spf lotion since my early 20s, after years of prancing around in the Los Angeles sun but sporting very thick bangs which saved my forehead for all sorts of sun damage. For most of that time it has been various Neutrogena lotions until about six months ago when I decided to step out of my comfort bubble. For whatever reason, I took a chance on Aveeno's Positively Ageless Lifting & Firming Daily Moisturizer with spf 30 (whew, that's a lot of text and promise to fit on one 25 oz bottle.) I'm on my fourth bottle of the stuff because it smells good, maybe too good as I'm an unscented type of gal, is moisturizing but not greasy, works well under make-up and I like the nifty pump that with one or two squirts is enough to get most things covered. At around $20, depending on where you buy it, it's not super cheap but worth it since skimping on some things should be done within reason.

I am, have been and probably will continue to be promiscuous when it comes to mascara. I've worked my way through the spendy department store brands until I finally realized this was one area where something from the drugstore would do just fine for a lot less. A few years ago I had been a huge fan of a L'Oreal gel mascara that they stopped making for whatever reason. Once they did, I was left in a sea of wands and tubes until now. I think I've finally found the mascara for me and you bet your ass I'll be buying it in bulk...when it goes on sale. I have pretty long lashes (oh, shut up, bitch) but what I crave is thickness (don't we all?) without the clumping (bad in arteries, bad in lashes) or flaking (goes without saying). And whether it be the actual formula or the stubby nubs on the thick barrel of the brush, Cover Girl's Lash Blast, around $8, gives me thick lashes that don't look spidery, with minimal mess and make the most of my amateur application technique.

I'm afflicted with powder blush phobia. The last one I had in my possession was in high school where I'm sure I abused it. Since then it's been all about creams, gels and lip/cheek stains because though I'm applying product to my face, the goal is for it to look natural. (Two pink streaks staring from the bottom of my nose and fading somewhere into my temples does not scream natural.) Once, a few years back, I ordered about six different types from Sephora, most of which I still have and haven't made much of a dent in. So I was pretty surprised when this Saturday as I was primping for the ChimMaya event with Mary Castillo, Jamie Wood Martinez and Las Comadres, that my little bottle of Revlon's Pinch Me sheer gel blush (in plum and around $11) was almost running out. Like the label says, it gives a wash of color that is not too faint but not too intense even though it looks like blood when you squirt a couple of pumps into the palm of your hand. And it lasts all day since it "stains" your skin but washes off without too much effort which is always a plus in my book.

OK, I'll go right out and admit that the only reason I picked up Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless day lotion (around $20-$25) is because I saw an ad for it in Lucky or some such sort of magazine and I got suckered in either my the copy or the image. And I bought it even though the carton was slightly crushed because it was the last one on the shelf at Target. It's supposed to diminish lines and do all sorts of wonderful things for your skin because it's chock full of pomegranate, Mexican wild yam, and something called para cress plant. Whatever. All I know is it does have a very sweet scent that's on the cloying side, but it goes on very matte which saves me from having to dig out my tube of Laura Mercier Foundation Primer ($30) on a daily basis, because as the bottle says, it should be applied daily.

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