I love high-end beauty products as much as the next girl—and as the editorial director at Glitter Guide, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to test many of these products every month. Over the last five years, I’ve developed a philosophy when it comes to products I actually purchase: use high-end where it counts and drugstore buys for everything else. For me skincare is important and worth the splurge, as is concealer (hello, tired eyes!), shampoo (I’m not as picky about conditioner), mascara and tinted moisturizer/foundation. Over time, I’ve tried a lot of drugstore busts—plenty of tubes of mascara that didn’t live up to their claim, BB creams that weren’t quite the right shade and nail polish that chipped after a day. I’ve also found quality products I lean on month after month, and the ones below are just a few of my favorites. —Caitlin Kruse
e.l.f. Studio Blush in ‘Pink Passion‘ ($3): This blush packs a punch—it is the perfect shade of pink for a flushed, rosy hue and I wear it year-round. It also lasts all day and is great for layering on top of bronzer. I’ve tried e.l.f.’s cream blush and found it a little oily—I like the powder version much better.
Maybelline Color Sensation In ‘Rebel Bloom’ ($7.49): I finally found the perfect nude lipstick! I love this moisturizing shade from Maybelline as it has the tiniest pink hue that wakes up your face just a little. As a rule, I never splurge on lipstick—almost my entire collection is from the drugstore. This allows me to have fun with different colors and not feel bad if I get the shade wrong. I’ve tried plenty of expensive brands and can never tell a difference in the quality or color range.
Simple Cleansing Micellar Water ($6.99): I try not to wash my face in the morning during the winter months—it just dries my skin out too much—so, I rely on this cleansing water to refresh when I wake up. It’s much more gentle than a toner but still leaves your skin feeling clean.
Pantene Damage Detox CC Cream ($7.99): I swear by this deep-conditioning treatment and use it at least once a week on my dry, damaged hair. I gave it to all my girlfriends as part of their Christmas gift last year!
Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($4.79): Nothing beats this thick, healing treatment. I use it on dry skin and swear by it for chapped lips. I even apply it to my feet before bed and slip on cozy socks.
Olay Active Hydrating Cream ($6.66): I love this classic for a simple daily moisturizer that does the job without a ton of bells and whistles.
L’Oreal Elnett Hairspray ($10.39): This hairspray is worth every penny—it really works for that touchable hold nearly everyone seeks. It has a pretty scent and holds hair in place without being too stiff—you can see why celebrity stylists swear by it.