Six brands to check out at your next drugstore beauty run

As Project Vanity's managing editor, it's kind of embarrassing to admit this but: I'm not the kind of person who enjoys visiting makeup counters. I love makeup, don't get me wrong, but my trips to the beauty section are usually carefully planned, complete with a shopping list. The reason for this is actually quite simple and (hopefully) understandable: I just get so overwhelmed by so many options!

There are so many (too many?) beauty brands to explore whenever I make the trip for my beauty essentials, so I steel my wandering eyes before they turn my shopping dash into a four-hour-long swatch fest. There are six new and not-so-new brands that I've been getting ready to check out at SM Beauty though (need to curb those shopaholic tendencies) so I've been reading up first on what their best-sellers are. Ready?

Essence Cosmetics

A lot of readers have raved about their creamy lip liners and Liz loves their eye pencils, but apparently neither made it to their list of top three bestsellers. That distinction belongs to All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder (P299), which I've seen on Liz, and looks incredibly photogenic. I don't usually bother with setting powder because I have dry skin, but I love how incredibly smooth it makes the skin look.

It’s the perfect partner to the Stay All Day Long-lasting Makeup (P379), which many online reviews attest to as a drugstore foundation that lives up to its name. It offers medium to heavy coverage, and doesn’t contain any SPF, so I imagine that this would be great to use for whole day-long events that have a lot of photo coverage!

Another bestseller is the Eyebrow Stylist Set (P249) which comes with two powder shades, an applicator brush, and three different eyebrow stencils! I've finally managed to re-grow my arches to their original lush state, but those stencils would've been a lifesaver for my too-thin brows a few years ago.

Catrice Cosmetics

One of the things I'm constantly on the lookout for is a good concealer and though I was impressed by the coverage of the Camouflage Cream (P329) (it's so intense in one swipe!), I'm wary about it creasing on my dry skin. Luckily, Catrice is apparently well-known for two other concealer products! 

 The All-Around Concealer (P379) is a really affordable yet effective corrective palette for various skin issues. I've been getting a lot of redness on my nose area that shows even through a heavy coverage foundation, so I think I may need to invest in a corrective concealer like this one soon. I'm also curious about their Re-Touch Light-Reflecting Concealer (P399) for my dark under eye circles and this product reminds me of YSL's Touche Éclat, which I have been lemming (and absolutely have no budget) for for the longest time! I think there are about three shades available so here's to hoping that I can find one that matches my skin tone!

Flormar Professional Makeup

Part of my challenge in keeping my nasal redness out of sight is how my foundation in that area tends to get rubbed off as the day goes by. I usually wear glasses, so I probably touch the area too much as I push my specs back up my nose. In search of a good primer, I read about Flormar's Illuminating Primer Makeup Base (P699), which promises to brighten and hydrate your face in addition to helping your makeup stay on. That sounds pretty magical to this dry-skinned gal, and I also like that it's a liquid formula that you can dispense from a pump. My current primer is a balm-type in a pot, so this is definitely more hygienic.

If you have oily skin, you may take an interest in their Mat Touch Foundation (P749), a medium to high coverage face base that provides a velvety-matte finish. Coverage is apparently so good, you can probably skip the concealer! I won't be trying that out since I prefer a dewy look, but the Makeup Fix Spray (P599) definitely caught my eye. I know I can go the DIY route (for a tenth of the price!) but my hectic schedule just doesn't afford me the time to be mixing up a fresh batch to ensure that it hasn't gotten rancid. Flormar's spray contains chamomile flower extract and cucumber as well, so it's also good for the skin.


Jordana Cosmetics

I remember reading about this brand in the US editions of Seventeen when I was in high school (the local edition came out a year later, and yes, I'm old), but it only became available here late last year. I like to think I've grown out of that teeny-bopper phase but I can't help wanting to find out what I missed out on while growing up. Their top bestseller, Easyliner for Lips (P249) are retractable pencils with a creamy formula that you can practically wear on their own. Apparently, the shade Tawny is touted to be nude or my-lips-but-better shade for almost any skin tone!

To be honest, I'm not crazy about the brush on the Fabubrow Eyebrow Pencil (P249), but this may actually prove to be easier to use than those short and stumpy spoolies in other brow pencils.The formula is creamy and adheres even to those areas where hair growth is sparse, plus the shade options are true browns and taupes that look like natural Filipina hair. 

We missed mentioning their Blush Pot (P249) in our budget beauty blush picks, so we'll rectify that now! So many of the shades rank 4.3 and above at Makeup Alley that I'm surprised no one has raved about it in the comments yet. Extremely pigmented, easy to blend, with minimum fallout, and, surprisingly, matte. If you get oily around the cheek area and have been avoiding blush for this reason, you now know where to look.

Deborah Milano

More than makeup, I'm obsessive about skin care, so I do pay extra attention to cosmetics formulated with skin-caring ingredients. Following the trend of double-letter face bases, the Daily Dream DD Foundation SPF15 (P799) offers the added benefit of anti-aging active ingredients. The lightweight formula settles into a semi-matte finish, which is recommended for those with dry skin.

Their Absolute Lasting Liquid Lipstick (P649) has an interesting double-sided tube. One end holds a long-wearing matte lippie while the other houses a clear gloss that plumps up your lips and keeps them from drying out. Since the gloss is moisturizing, you won’t need to wear a lip balm underneath. It is said that reapplication of the lip color itself is rarely necessary, and that formula does not crack or peel like other matte lippies are wont to do.

Golden Rose Cosmetics

Continuing my assertion that a girl can never have too many lippies, I need to grab one of these Matte Lipstick Crayons (P399) for my collection. I don't actually have a matte crayon at the moment and the swatches I've seen for this look gorgeous, so I'm excited to see how they look in person. They're non-drying too, so I may skip getting a lip liner and use this instead. Matte is also the theme for the other Golden Rose bestseller, the True Matte Pressed Powder (P329). It promises high coverage without that heavy, powdery finish. 

These brands can usually be found next to each other in SM Beauty and select Watsons stores. Have you tried anything from their lines? Also, what are your tips for not getting overwhelmed by so many makeup choices?

This story is brought to you by Bhagis International.