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Makeup Shopping, Where and How

Makeup can be purchased in many locations. Drugstores and big box retailers have many affordable makeup options, while department and specialty stores offer mid to high end products and normally allow testing of the products in store. Online stores often are a great way to shop in order to price compare and view many different products and sometimes have nice bonus items, but they do make it harder in terms of testing products before purchasing.  Today we provide our favorite places to shop, along with some shopping tips.

30 Days of Beauty Day 15, All About Shopping for Makeup

makeup shopping

Before getting into shopping sources, what should you look for in makeup when shopping? Mara Moss: from Makeup By Mara Moss gave us these great tips:

When shopping for makeup , I find it useful to walk around with the makeup on for a while before purchasing it. I like to do this because I have noticed two things often happen after the makeup is on for longer than a few seconds.

(1) The color may change a little. (And/or your perception of the color may) Just like when you have a manicure and the polish oxidizes and becomes darker a day or two later, makeup often takes a little while to “settle” on your face. For example, what first looks like a bright red may be less bright after it acclimates to your lips for a little.

(2) The makeup may appeal to your senses in a different way than you originally thought.

a. Feeling – The lipstick you thought was moisturizing may become more matte and drying the longer it is on. Or the mascara you thought was very heavy feeling, just needed to dry and settle on your eyelids, and now you no longer notice it is there.

b. Smell- some lipsticks have a heavy perfume to them. You may like the smell at first and then after a few minutes find it bothers you. Or just the opposite, you may love the smell/taste and find that you keep rubbing your lips together or are too preoccupied.

(3) While the makeup looks beautiful in the case and on your lips, it is does funky things five minutes after you walk away from the counter. For example, every time you turn around your long hair gets stuck to the high performing lip gloss you just tried on.

Meanwhile, Alicia Mohr from Things to Cherish gave a great beauty savings tip: “Stock up on high end beauty brands during the holidays. Brands that often don’t offer discounts during the year offer sets a great values during November and December.”

Related to Alica’s tip, we often recommend buying MAC brush kits at the holidays. It can be a great way to get some quality brushes at great prices.

The Best Makeup Brands and Where to Buy Them

While it would be impossible to list every single quality makeup brand, and any brand tends to have both hit and miss items, here are a few of our favorites across several price points, along with favorite stores.

Best Drugstore Makeup Brands

When shopping for bargain cosmetics, several drugstore brands stand out:

Wet and Wild: This super affordable brand tends to pack decent quality into their eye shadows, and they provide many color options.

Milani: For pigment packed shadow and blush this is go to brand. Milani also makes excellent mascara and nail polishes.

NYX: This is another ultra affordable brand with surprisingly good quality for the price.

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty: The Natural Beauty line has great primers and foundations along with some lovely lip colors.

L’Oreal: Although L’Oreal is on the pricier end  of drugstore cosmetics, it provides super pigmented items in its HIP line, quality mascara and eyeliners, and has a wide range of foundation shades.

Favorite Department Store and Specialty Brands

MAC: MAC is a perennial favorite among bloggers and makeup addicts for its reasonably priced, super pigmented, high quality products with a great selection of shades. You rarely will go wrong if go with MAC, especially for eye shadow.

Urban Decay: Urban Decay is another great choice for super pigmented shadows and overall high quality.

Make Up For Ever: Yet another brand with high pigment and high quality items. Make Up Forever is especially known for their waterproof and water resistant items and high definition makeup. Their aqua eyes liners are also some of the best around with a huge range of shades.

Laura Mercier: For top notch foundation and primer, look no further. Laura Mercier also often offers some nice makeup items and palettes.

Bobbi Brown: Our top choice for anyone who wants a natural look. Bobbi Brown puts out more neutral and natural looking products than just about anyone else and the items are all high quality.

Chanel, Dior, and YSL: These three are pricey but always wonderful. We particularly love Dior’s five colour  shadow palettes and Chanel and YSL’s lip products.

Estee Lauder: Estee Lauder is one of our favorites for basic skin care products and creamy lipsticks.

Lancome: Lancome also offers particularly nice lip products and is a favorite for mascara.

Where to Shop Online

Below are our favorite online shopping sources, some of which also have physical stores.

Beauty.com: A good selection of products, often accompanied by nice sale prices or particularly good bonus offers.

Drugstore.com: Great for locating hard to find drugstore brands or for online ordering of them.

Strawberry Net: Our favorite cosmetic discounter. Look for good savings on both current and discontinued items here.

Folica: Our go to source for hair products and tools! They also offer some great top ten product lists.

Nordstrom: Perfect for getting any of the department store or luxury brands.

Sephora: Sephora offers the widest range of makeup brand choices and gives free samples with each order. Sephora also has a liberal return policy for when you get the wrong makeup shade.

Ulta: Ulta is nice for shopping for both higher ends brands and drugstore brands at the same time. They also often have particularly good sales an bonus offers.

Yes Style: Our favorite source for Asian brands. If you love BB Cream look here! also great for Asian fashion, handbags and shoes with easy US shipping and excellent prices for quality items. Yes Style is an all around great online store for finding unique items.

Tomorrow: Day 16, How to Shape Your Brows.

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