Here's what I think are key for the non professional's makeup bag:
Brushes: For higher end (and longer lasting) makeup brushes M.A.C. outshines all competitors in this arena. With both synthetic and natural hair brushes each one is tailored for a specific use but can be improvised upon to serve other purposes.
M.A.C. Brush Cleanser is also a must, no matter what brand of brushes you use! Due to their cost, it is definitely an investment for each piece but well worth it. For less expensive options try the Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target or Sigma Beauty Brushes(available online, some consider them high quality M.A.C. knockoffs)
Skin Care: The key to any makeup look is skin and the health thereof. For department store budget I recommend Estee Lauder They have proven over time that their products do wonders to treat all skin types and conditions. For a more budget friendly line, try Boots(available at Target) and ask the representative there to do a skin analysis and make some recommendations.
Foundation: Consistent with the key to any makeup look is skin philosophy, foundation is crucial to evening out skin tone and covering any blemishes or discoloration. My preference for higher end is Makeup Forever Mat Velvet +which comes in a wide array of shades suitable to all ethnicities. For a budget conscious consumer L'Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeupis always a top contender (budget or not!)
Shadows/Eye primers: Hands down, M.A.C. has always put out the best in eye shadow primers and shadows themselves. Their Paint Pots are a creamy consistency and dry down to a nice finish that holds onto the pigment from the shadow without making it difficult to blend. The shadows themselves have always been on the forefront for pigment, color pay off and range of finishes and color choice. Makeup Forever has recently made some gains in this arena with their varied colors, including a bright neon pink that no other manufacturer has matched. Their shadows are slightly more expensive but they are also larger. I don’t tend to recommend drug store shadows as I haven’t yet found one that rivals the higher end brands but I am always open to lower cost alternatives. In this regard, your shadow palette is an investment. You could potentially have these colors for years to come if they are tended to properly.
Mascara: I am not partial to any single mascara, be it brand name or drugstore. I will say however, that I am not too fond of the new technology called ‘tubing’ mascaras. This new formula (available in many brands, high end and budget friendly) wraps a ‘tube’ of mascara around each lash. I’ve found this to cause my lashes to feel quite stiff and they tend to clump easier on me than any other formula.
Lipstick: My trusty companion M.A.C.. wins this competition hands down. With their reasonable pricing ($14.50) and amazing selection of color and finish, they are unmatched. While I do love higher end brands like Chaneland Guerlain, I simply cannot justify the cost of one of these lipsticks unless the color is simply so different I cannot match it anywhere else.
This is just the beginning of reviews and things I have to share so keep checking back and we'll talk Beauty's Best Scoops!!