My frugality philosophy is pretty simple: Scrimp on things that don’t matter to have the money for things that do. Makeup is important to me. I’ll forego other things that aren’t that important to afford quality makeup.
For years, my makeup of choice was M.A.C., sold online; at cosmetics counters in high-end department stores and in exclusive M.A.C. stores, worldwide.
It’s been some time since M.A.C. and I parted company and for one reason only—the ever-increasing cost of the M.A.C. line of cosmetics is enough to give me a heart attack!
It took a while, but with considerable research and many trials (and errors), I replaced each of my M.A.C. items with a drugstore product. My criterion was that the replacement had to be cheaper, but of an equal or better quality.
While my new choices are available in drug and discount stores like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Ulta and Walmart, I order online. I can get everything on this list at Amazon, in a single order. I routinely check and continue to find that Amazon’s prices are very competitive, and routinely cheaper.
Purchasing online works for me because not every drug or discount store carries the full line of every brand.
Drugstore products I truly love
I got hooked on M.A.C. Pre+Prime Skin ($33) primer because it improves the application of foundation and powder. I’ve learned that starting with a good primer makes everything after that go on so much better.
My drugstore primer is not actually sold as a makeup product, but it is an amazing powder gel that doubles as a fabulous face primer. Surprisingly, I find it to be better than M.A.C. You have to trust me on this—I would not lead you astray.
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For many years I used M.A.C. Studio Fix Fluid ($31) in color C3. Good news—I’ve found an alternative I like even better—Revlon Colorstay Makeup for Normal/Dry Skin, also for Combination/Oily Skin. For me, color 240 (Medium Beige) is a perfect match. It has full coverage, it’s lightweight, buildable and gives an “airbrushed” finish. SPF 20 and SPF 15, respectively. Available in a wide range of colors. About $10, depending on the drug or discount store. Check Amazon.
I replaced M.A.C. Studio Fix Perfecting Powder color C3 ($33) with Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder, Light/Medium. It is weightless, glides on, and doesn’t get that clumpy, cakey look. It’ oil-free, fragrance-free. Love it. Under $10 in drugstores. Check Amazon.
I’ve replaced the tiny single color containers of M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Slate ($19 each—ouch!) with Revlon Colorstay 16 Hour Eye Shadow Quad, color Addictive. Truly amazing as the quality is so similar, I cannot tell the difference. About $8 average in drugstores. Check Amazon.
I’ve replaced M.A.C. eyeliner pencil ($19) with Prestige Waterproof Eyeliner. It is smooth, glides on better and unlike my previous choice, it is waterproof and therefore, lasts longer. And no pencil sharpener required. About $7 depending on the drugstore. Variety of colors. Check Amazon.
M.A.C. Extended Play Perfect Lash Mascara is excellent but at $24, not THAT excellent! I’ve switched to Loreal Paris Voluminous Mascara, Black, which is an excellent alternative with at least equal results. About $6 in drugstores. Check Amazon.
For years I’d worn M.A.C. lipstick in color Sequin ($23) and hesitated at even the idea of making a switch. But I did and I’ve had to do that more than a few times over the years. My current lipstick of choice is Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, (dozens of color choices). Under $10 average in stores. Check Amazon.
My current M.A.C. Powder Blush ($25) replacement is Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush (Sweet Pea.) I love this product because I prefer matte blush—not that I have anything against shimmery, glitter-spiked makeup or anything 😉. This drugstore blush is among the best I’ve ever tried, thanks to the super-silky finish. Love it. About $10 in drugstores. Check Amazon.
Overall, I figure that I’ve cut the cost of makeup by more than 60%—without sacrifice. In some cases, it’s been a big improvement. I could not be happier.