Foundation: Department store
I don't mess around with the very base of my beauty routine. Foundation is one of the most important items in your beauty arsenal, and it's the easiest one to mess up. Go to the different makeup counters at department stores and have them try their product on you. A professional will help you choose the coverage and the color. I've been wearing makeup for 18 years, and I never choose the right one from the drugstore, nor am I ever as happy with the last or finish.
I've tried expensive mascara with lots of promises, and I've never had as good of luck with it as I do with what I get from the drugstore. I personally swear by L'Oreal Voluminous, but Maybelline Great Lash has been popular for a reason for decades. Even if I have applied nothing else, I don't leave the house without mascara. At under $10, this is the best investment on your face.
My signature color is Rebel by MAC Cosmetics, but recently my blog readers turned me on to the Revlon Balm Stains. For a bold lip, the department store brands tend to stay longer and bleed less, but for everyday wear, I sometimes reach for something new and fun from the drugstore.
Eyeshadow: Department store
I'm a recent convert to the department store eyeshadow. I'm not great at applying eyeshadow, so I never wanted to spend much money on it. But on the advice from a friend (okay, fine, I copied someone on Instagram), I bought the Naked Palette from Urban Decay and it solely changed my mind on the quality of eyeshadow. Since then I've tried other department store brands and they confirm that they last longer and are prettier than their cheaper counterparts. I still like to use Revlon eyeshadows when I want to experiment, but my best looks all come from the nicer shadows.
Loose powder: Drugstore
I use loose powder for all kinds of things: as a finishing stroke, to set a certain look, even on the roots of my hair for volume. But I use it sparsely, and from what I can tell there is no difference between the drugstore powder and the pricier versions.
Bottom Line^ It would be costly to use only department store cosmetics, and I'm never as pleased with how I look if I stick solely to brands from the drugstore. The best combination for quality and budget is a mix of both — and I am usually happy with the results.