Photo credit: Almay
Blame the economy: Your bank account has taken a bruising and you've been buckling down, battening down the hatches, and brown-bagging it. Your definition of luxury has faced a similar downsizing, you wince at the price of a latte, and you no longer throw down cash on a whim; it's all about tightly wringing every last iota of value from your dollar and making cheap chic—or, at least, finding a chic twist on budget-friendly.
For recessionistas trying to balance style and substance on a shoestring—and would rather be dead than caught bare-faced—here are three green cosmetics collections you can find at your neighborhood Walgreens that don't compromise performance for your pocketbook.
Physician's Formula Organic Wear
Photo credit: Physician's Formula
Fellow Beauty Lab contributor Kara DiCamillo swears by Physician's Formula Organic Wear. And really, what's not to love? The 100 percent natural-origin, cruelty-free makeup line features Europe's EcoCert organic certification and is free of harsh chemicals, parabens, and GMOs, as well as synthetic colors, fragrances, and preservatives. Plus, Organic Wear's paper compacts, which use 93 percent less plastic than traditional petroleum-derived compacts, can be chucked with your paper recyclables when you're finished. The items range from $7.95 for the superfruit lip gloss to $13.95 for the multicolored face-sculpting powder.
Standouts include Organic Wear's SPF-loaded liquid foundation, which melts into your skin for fantastic, long-wearing coverage, and the satiny smooth loose powder, which soaks up shine for a matte finish. And the mascara, made with rice protein, is truly divine—a few swipes of the wand are all it takes for voluminous, crazy-long lashes.
Almay Pure Blends
Almay's foray into natural cosmetics, Pure Blends, features hypoallergenic, paraben- and talc-free formulas that comprise more than 97 percent natural ingredients, including antioxidant-rich fruit and flower extracts like lotus, orchid, and acai. Retailing for $7.99 for an eye shadow to $13.99 for loose finishing powder, all products list the percentage of natural ingredients on their packaging, which is made from at least 28 percent post-consumer recycled materials.
My favorite of the lot has to be the luscious, supremely moisturizing liquid lip gloss, which comes in myriad flattering hues and glides across your kisser like silk on a baby's bottom. And the blushes, available in a range of soft, muted tones, give your cheeks a ruddy flush and can pull double-duty as bronzers.
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy
A collaboration between Sally Hansen and Carmindy, TLC's What Not to Wear's resident makeup artist, Natural Beauty is formulated with minerals, natural extracts, and active botanicals like soy, bamboo, papaya, and mango. With prices ranging from $7.95 for the Always Perfect Liquid Eyeliner to $12.95 for the Sun Glow Powder Bronzer, the co-branded lineup is now used exclusively on the reality makeover show.
Word to the wise, however: Although free of parabens, Natural Beauty isn't quite as natural as its name implies and can contain hinky synthetics like propylene glycol, magnesium aluminum silicate, and triethanolamine. Still, the waterproof eye pencil is a knockout for its stay-put stamina, and the eyeshadow trio makes adorning those peepers a cinch by taking the guesswork out of matching shades.
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