Beauty Off The Beaten Path

Department Stores and Sephora are great places to get makeup, duh. But did you ever think of these other venues to find things you might not find anywhere else?

Drug stores are great and a no-brainer. It may be difficult to match yourself a perfect foundation, but anything with color has a good possibility of working out nicely. The seasonal offerings by every cosmetic company in the front aisles are usually chock full of fun, trendy colors that you can use for a season; this fall, try black nail polish on short nails by Tropez and black, kohl-rimmed eyes.

Mascara is the drugstore’s surest bet-with the soft lash of classic Great Lash by Maybelline to the super-fabulous (and just right for this season’s rock n’ roll looks) Voluminous by L’Oreal. The close second is the lip gloss; the more expensive the brand, the more likely the color will be true to what you see in the tube, Revlon Super Lustrous is my favorite. Then comes eye shadow; MAX by Max Factor has some great shades and long-lasting, beautifully textured combinations. And finally, blush-MAX, L’Oreal and Maybelline can be really nice. The one exception for exceptional foundation is: if you are a woman of color, Black Opal is one of the best foundations you can buy; on the market, hands down.

I hear out in the boonies, or even in some college towns, supermarkets have makeup inside. They not only have the same things as drug stores, they also have food, which make great beauty treatments. Avocado mashed with banana and applied to hair makes a great hair mask. Almond meal mixed with honey makes a gentle face scrub and lemons and salt in your pedicure soak help erase all of that staining on your toenails from dark polish. When you are buying ingredients to put on your body, make sure they are organic, or the healthiest and freshest possible.

Which brings us to the health food store-this is the place you really want to stock up on your skin, body and hair care. Pangea, Collective Well Being and Dr. Haushka are some of the finest products you can buy and they are all waiting for you in the healthy section-paraben free. Jason products are great for the hair, and Aubrey are among some of the purest available. Don’t forget Kiss My Face (who just came out with a very usable tinted moisturizer and blendable color cosmetic line) has great value and amazing products. They call themselves Obsessively Organic, and I believe them.

Then there is the beauty supply store. You might see these in malls and not know what to make of them. You can buy bulk hair care, like huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner, great hair brushes, fancy blow dryers and straightening irons and sometimes makeup brushes. Oh, and lots and lots of nail polish. But be careful, just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean you are getting a deal. If it’s a “T3” for $15, it’s probably not the T3 and you will not get the same results.

If you are ever in a place like New York, or if your town has a “Closeouts” store, then you’re likely to find random makeup that is out of season, out of favor or out of business. Stick with powders here, the lipsticks, lip glosses and foundations can sometimes be rancid. Ditto for pencils. You don’t want anything that has any moisture in it so it can go bad.

When all is said and done, this is not a sport. Makeup should enhance your look but not be the focus of your life. Do your own research and come up with the idea you want. Look for the cheapest things first, splurge on foundation, concealer and skincare, the rest, you can find, elsewhere.

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