Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


Beauty on a Budget: Adventure at Walmart

Have you checked out your local Walmart lately? If you know me, I’m not the biggest drugstore beauty gal, and it’s mostly because they’re all too inconveniently located. Walmart is my nearest outlet for mass retail brands like Almay, CoverGirl, Maybelline, Physician’s Formula, Revlon, etc. If there’s one item that always tempts me whenever I’m looking at budget beauty items, it’s mascara. Rarely does high-end, pricey mascara so out perform more affordable mascaras, so you can count me among the curious whenever there’s a new mascara everyone’s buzzing about.

When Walmart asked me to snoop through their beauty aisles and tell you about what I saw, I figured, “Why not?” It was something I was totally game for, because who doesn’t like to look at beauty products? (At least, a beauty addict wouldn’t say no, right?) My local Walmart contains about four or five aisles lined with cosmetics, and it pretty much seems to be home to nearly every major mass cosmetic brand I’ve heard of. It also has some smaller brands I hadn’t heard of like Black Radiance, CQ, and Illusions. I went early in the morning (before 10AM), because I wanted time to peruse and not worry about being in anyone’s way since I was just being a big snoop. Another benefit of being an early bird customer was everything was clean and organized.

I don’t know why, but every time I see the displayers full of eyeshadows, I am surprised to see brighter, bolder colors like lime green and turquoise amongst the neutrals. My mind is still stuck in the past, I guess–back when brands were all about neutrals and tamer shades. I also saw a lot of different eyeshadow/blush palettes or compacts with embellished designs or patterns, which reminded me of some of the cult favorites from high-end brands.

It’s always good to see what’s available at a lower price point, particularly if you’re on a tighter budget. There are just some things you don’t need, and there are other things you can substitute for and never miss the more expensive version. I always stock up on my favorite tried-and-true mascaras like Maybelline Full ‘n Soft and CoverGirl Lash Blast, while I grab cotton balls, swabs, and pads for easy makeup removal, too. They also had a ton of the *cutest* makeup bags that were really hard to resist! I have to assess the makeup bag situation here at home before I let myself cave into a matching set.

What products and brands do you use when you’re on a budget?

What budget-friendly brands do you love even when you’re not on a budget

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39 thoughts on “Beauty on a Budget: Adventure at Walmart

  1. Emm

    You can find some good deals at Wal-Mart. Like you, I love Maybelline’s Full ‘n’ Soft Mascara. Unfortunately a lot of the brands they carry don’t have the same intensity as department store brands. F.E. Covergirl e/s, though beautiful colors, they aren’t pigmented very well. Though they do sell L’Oreal HiP which is decent.
    Thanks for blog!

  2. Tania

    I am VERY picky when it comes to makeup. I will use pretty much any kind of drugstore mascara right now it’s Rimmel’s Glam Eyes. I have yet to find an HG. I do have come CG Wetslicks Fruit Spritzers lipgloss which are really nice. I bought them in sets at Wal-mart and they are nice to layer under or over my other lippies. Everything else is MAC. I would use more drugstore stuff but I like to test stuff as my skin is interesting plus drugstore formulas either disappear and/or change color. Thanks for this post Christine!

    • How do you like Glam Eyes? I just got that one, but I haven’t tried it out yet!

      • amy

        I also really like Glam eyes, it gives my lashes a similar effect as MAC Dazzlelash. It is separates my lashes and reaches the tiny fine ones on the inner corner. It is more of a lengthening mascara than a thickening mascara though, but I do like to layer Glam eyes with Maybelline Colossal Volume for more dramatic, thick and long lashes. I also just picked up Rimmel’s new Glam Eyes Lash Flirt, I would be curious to see how the two compare. Other drugstore brands a like: Aveeno, Vichy and St Ives.

  3. inuchan

    I am using Maybelline’s mascara “Le Colossal”
    I just cannot afford Iconic eyes at the moment (got too many lippies and quads hehe, ah.. Chanel…) so I got this bright yellow thing instead. So far I am very happy with it, no break out, not clotted lashes, and a really decent volume, really :)

  4. I don’t really shop at Walmart for drugstore products. They never seem to have any good sales. I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to Walgreens because they seem to always have either Buy one, Get one 50% off or Buy one, Get on free deals going. I’m always going there on Sundays because that’s when their new sales start. If you catch the sales toward the middle-end of the week, most products are already gone.

    I love buying my mascaras from drugstores. I also LOVE Physician’s Formula. Their products are phenomenal.

  5. If I’m running low on foundation, L’Oreal True Match is always in my personal kit in case I need it. I love their powder as well!

    I refuse to pay for high end mascara, so I always use L’Oreal. Right now I’m using that Extra-Volume Collagen in waterproof — not bad.

    NYX eyeshadows are also really nice. I love NYX, Revlon, and some of the Rimmel lipsticks. L’Oreal Color Juice lip gloss is great. And I would never even think to buy expensive lip liner.

    NYX eye pencils have a lot of color and pop. Maybelline brow pencils, or the NYC powder brow kit is great.

    Other than NYX eyeshadows though, I haven’t found a single brand with eyeshadows worth purchasing. L’Oreal HIP is great, however, with the price I might as well be buying high end from companies where I have more of a selection.

    • I’ve heard a lot of good things about L’Oreal’s True Match! I like L’Oreal’s Voluminous better than Collagen, but that’s just me :)

      I wish I could find NYX nearby though. Boo! HIP is only worth it, IMO, on a sale!

      • daphne

        Do you have an Ulta near you, Christine? Looks like there are quite a few in NoCal. They have NYX there – not a ton of products, but at least the eyeshadow singles and trios, jumbo lip and eye pencils, and the round lipsticks and megashine lipglosses. Good stuff :)

        • Nowhere near me (well, I think there are a few an hour drive away, but I’m not driving that far) last time I checked. They may have added locations, though nothing I’ve seen at my local shopping spots (I haven’t tried to locate one in at least two years, lol).

          • daphne

            So weird how populated areas vary! (I live in Boston but the nearest Nordstrom is 45 minutes away – had to beg my boyfriend to drive me for the anniversary sale :P) Ulta’s fun, hopefully one might have popped up closer in the last couple of years.

            • I looked it up, and there’s one about 35-40 minutes away, but it’s in a pretty bad neighborhood, LOL. I am way too paranoid to venture there :( Maybe in 2010!

  6. Wendy

    My Colossal Mascara by maybelline, Covergirl lashblast, LOreal carbon Eyeliner. Can;t live without these products and I’d rather have and keep these as my favorite rather than use a pricier mascara or liner and use the extra cash on other makeup products.

  7. Christy

    Walmart can be so much fun! They had a great sale on Rimmel lipsticks for $1 each on opening day, so I grabbed a few in red and they work well. I still love my L’oreal lipsticks when I need something inexpensive. Revlon also makes some great mineral blushes and lipsticks. I also find I end up buying lots of backup mascaras at the drugstore, especially volumizing ones.

  8. I am very picky but some products are actually as good in drugstores as in high end brands: mascaras and liners mostly. I use Maybelline Colossal, and liners (liquids or pencils) from Gosh. Mineralize eyeshadows and blushes from Prestige Minerals are great, too. Maybelline and L’Oreal do great lipsticks.

  9. Apparently, Hard Candy is being reformulated/repackaged and will only be available via Walmart.

    I had a pic somewhere – some of the stuff did look cute…

  10. My favorite drugstore buy right now is Rimmel’s nail polish in the color 615 Night Before. It’s an AMAZING purple for me.

  11. Amy

    I always worry about not being satisfied by drugstore brands. But recently I bought Maybelline’s XL Shine Plumping lipgloss in Plum and I really like it. I like the scent and the color payoff. I also tried their plumping lipstick in a plum shade and it is pretty pigmented also. Been pleased with Maybelline. It surprised me.

    • That’s how I feel, too, Amy. I wish you could test products before you bought them at drugstores, just because I feel that’s one advantage of buying high-end.

      I’m happy to hear that your Maybelline XL Shine gloss is working out well though :)

  12. E

    “Walmart asked you?”

    What you mean is “Walmart paid you” – when are you going to start actually admitting that you’ve turned into a shill for whoever writes you a check.

    • Hi E,

      This post says it was sponsored – so yes, it was paid for by Walmart. Though the content was written by me based off of my experience at the store (so the content was not written by Walmart).

      • Theres nothing wrong with making money, everyone has to somehow. You dont have to justify yourself to this person. Im sure if someone offered them money to say hey I went to so and so today and thought it wasnt that bad, theyd jump on the chance. If they really feel that youre a shill- why are they still reading your site?

    • Trisha

      I don’t think post was “shilling” at all. All she did was talk about going to Walmart and how it carried a bunch of different beauty brands, but the majority of this post was about drugstore perceptions and what she buys at places like Walmart. If she had gone on and on about how great Walmart was, it would be more like shilling.

  13. cmferrets

    i usually only go to the drugstrores to get mascara, theyve never let me down. but other then that its mac, urban decay, stila, benefit and kat von d, and bare minerals/essentuals for me.
    though i have noticed that drugstore makeup has gotten better throughout the years. i think they have listened to us about pigmentation and lasting effect, and colors too for e/s- even though i do think they have gone up in price over the years! i think maybelline e/s are really good, i just got all 4 smokey eye quads. and i think their dream mousse blush it good too, prob even their mineral powder blush ( if i wasnt already into BE, and have all ready alot of). i love love love revlon matte collection- i got all the e/s, blush and lippies when they were having a BOGO free sale. i tried the loreal hip product line- its good , but very pricey- for that money i would rather spend at MAC. but i did get al their loreal hip jelly balms on a BOGO free, i think its b/c they remind me of tendertones and i love the glass packaging- it reminds me of the mac paintpots!
    when i go to ULTA i got some of their NYX products and love their jumbo e/s pencils (want to get all of them), and i tried out their lipgloss and e/s too, not bad for the price. i just wish they had their blushes ther too, so i can try them out.
    the other brand that i have obbessing over is the new victora secret makeup line- i love their lipsticks (very mousturingg, ther e/s and blushes. right now they are having spend 30 in makeup get 10 off, i think until dec. christine- do u think u can do a through review/swatches on that line? THANX, as always!

    • Oh yeah, I feel like prices have increased at the mass level. Sometimes I think they just do that so when they do BOGO or whatever it’s like, “Ohh, sale!”

      I agree on HIP. When it first came out, I didn’t really understand why you’d buy HIP instead of MAC at that price! If there’s a sale though, then it can definitely be worth it! I like their jelly balms, too, very tendertone-ish.

      Still trying to work on the Victoria’s Secret line!

  14. Diabla

    Cheap stuff can be found here at Monoprix. After years of high end brands, I’ve recently rediscovered the pleasure to go through cheap brands. If they improved in the USA, they also did in France.

    – Bourjois is always cool. I’m not a hugh fan of their eyeshadows but I love their polishes which are in my opinion the best you can find around. I simply regret they are so conservative in their colors. When I was 17 they were making great colors like a shimmer olive, jelly night blue with silver glitter (exactly like Essie Starry Starry Night)… I don’t buy Bourjois mascara anymore because for some reasons, they irritate my eyes like crazy.

    – Here we have Biguine (who started as an hair stylist) which makes killer eyeshadows. I’ve discovered something awesome about Biguine. They make eyeshadows totally similar to MAC mineralize for years (marbled ones and 3 striped ones) that I have known far before getting into MAC. I’ve got one of them (gold and olive) which is of excellent quality (very pigmented, excellent pay off, no creasing). When I purchased my first MAC mineralize eyeshadow, I noticed both MAC and Biguine were made in Italy with the same design, the same size and the same weight. That tickled me, really. I depoted both… to discover that the pot (which is pretty particular) was exactly similar (it’s orangey and stamped “Made in Italy” the exact same way). So now I’m pretty sure they are made in the same factory. Biguine colors are a bit different from Mac. You can find marbled blacks reminding me of what MAC is going to release for the black collection, you can find 3 striped teal, 3 striped blue… and some gorgeous bronze gold trios.
    They are cheaper than MAC for the same quality. I find this great. So I’ll head to that brand for my high shadows as they gave me more pleasure than high end brands! I haven’t tried their other products, beside nail polishes (that chip too easily). For some reason, I prefer to stick to their marbled face powder and their eyeshadows.

    – Debby is a cool cheap Italian brand. Their “100% volume” mascara is cool and very cheap. They also have a cool selection of polishes which I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test. They recently revamped their packaging which made them more attractive.

    – Yves Rocher (who have their own stores) makes pretty honest and decent stuff at good price. Their body products are nice, especially the refreshing gel for heavy and tired legs!

    • I like Bourjois polishes, too! :) Nail polish and mascara — two products you can buy high end or mass and you may never notice a difference.

      There’s nothing like that tickled feeling you get when you discover a truly fabulous beauty bargain! I’m not at all surprised that you’ve found something that totally dupes (and in SO many ways) MAC’s mineralize eyeshadows. There’s definitely a lot of private labeling going on and rebranding within the industry, so you never know… I have not heard of Biguine or Debby, and now I am wishing they were in the U.S., too.

  15. Shangrila

    I think i have always had some form of Black Radience product in my makeup bag since i was a teenager (which was a really long time ago! lol)! They some really good eyeshadows! I have all of the quads, and some single ones (i think those little squares are adorable. lol), and theyre really pigmented! I like their lipsticks, too

  16. Shangrila

    Ooh, and i LOVE Loreal Decrease! Even more than UDPP!!!