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Flawless Eyes on A Budget

When it comes to beauty and makeup, one of the first things we like to focus on are the eyes. A dynamic, well-done eye look will instantly make you look glamorous, regardless of whether or not you decide to go through with the rest of your makeup routine. High-end department store brands of makeup have some seriously amazing eye products that everyone loves, and it can be a little bit harder to find the same quality in a drugstore product. But, it’s not impossible to find a few things that are highly comparable. And with that, I have for you lovely pageant ladies some amazing drugstore steals for your eyes.

Step One: Eye Primer


A flawless eye-makeup look starts with priming the eyes. And eye-shadow primer is a must if you want your makeup to last throughout the day and look just as impeccable at the end of the end as in the morning. It’s especially important if it’s a beauty pageant day and you want to keep that eye makeup in place when you’re under a spotlight for most of the day. My favorite drugstore eye primer is the NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base. This product is incredible for a drugstore find and it will keep your eye-shadow in place all day long. You won’t get any tell-tale creasing or wearing off, and your makeup won’t budge. Just remember to let the base dry completely before putting on the rest of your eye makeup!

Step Two: Eye Shadow


Now once you’ve primed your eyes, the obvious next step is to apply your shadow. Finding a good drugstore eye shadow is tricky, because many of them are too powdery and don’t stay in place. Because you’ve already put on a primer, it’s not too big of an issue, you still want the best quality you can find on a budget. And it’s always a better deal if you can find a palette that you like rather than buying the individual shades. Palettes are also put together with shades that generally go well together, so that gives you one less things to worry about. One of the best drugstore eye shadow palettes by far is the Sonia Kashuk Eye Couture Eye on Neutral MatteAll of the shades in this palette are highly pigmented and will work well on just about any skin tone. Additionally, while these are pressed powders, the application is creamy and smooth, and it’s super blendable. You get twelve gorgeous shades in this palette so overall, it’s an incredible deal. I also recommend the Sonia Kashuk brushes as well, which are great if you’re on a budget.

Step Three: Eyeliner


For me, eyeliner is an absolute must. If I do nothing else with my makeup, I will at least apply an eyeliner. Eyeliners instantly widen and brighten the eyes, adding depth to any look you create. You can simply tight-line the eyes by applying a pencil eyeliner along your upper and lower waterline, you can create a winged look with a liquid eyeliner, or smudge it out for a bit of a smoky eye effect. It’s always good to have one pencil and one liquid eyeliner on hand. I use a liquid liner on my eyelid, and I use the pencil eyeliner for tight-lining and smudging along my lower lash line. Black eyeliner creates a bold look, which is great if you’re on stage for a pageant and want your eyes to pop, but brown eyeliner creates a soft, more subdued look when you want to look a bit more natural. My favorite liquid eyeliner is the L’Oreal Infalliable Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner. The felt-tip makes for easy application, and though felt-tipped liners have the tendency to dry out quickly, this one will last quite a while. You get an intense color pay off and the pigment won’t fade away or bleed. As for pencil eyeliners, L’Oreal is a winner again, with their L’Oreal Extra Intense Liquid Eyeliner Pencil. This product is incredibly pigmented, and black shade is super intense, which is exactly what you want if you’re going for a black liner. It’s got a creamy formula as well, so it glides smoothly along the eye without tugging. It also has a smudger on one end of the product so that you can smudge it out for that smoky look.

Step Four: Mascara (+ Eyelash Curler)


Eyelash curlers aren’t entirely necessary for a day-to-day basis, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Eyelash curlers open up the eye and make the lashes look longer and give them that extra help curling them when mascara alone isn’t doing the trick. ELF Mechanical Eyelash Curler is a great one to use, and it’s such a bargain at only $1. Next, it’s time for mascara. Mascara can do any number of things include adding depth, volume, curl, and length to your lashes. One of the best drugstore mascaras, in my opinion, is the Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Flared. The curled brush helps fan out the lashes and increases volume while adding depth and dimension to the eyes. I like using a waterproof formula the best, so that it doesn’t wear off throughout the day. Tip: You can easily remove waterproof makeup with olive oil, which quickly breaks down the product.

With that, you’ve got a fabulous and flawless eye makeup routine with 100% drugstore products and quality results!


Beauty on a Budget: Blush

Craving new budget-friendly beauty products? Well, Beauty on a Budget is back, and this time we’re focusing on blush! Here are our top five picks to give your cheeks a gorgeous, rosy glow. Explore, try, and keep on smiling! :)

CoverGirl Cheekers Blush

Launched in the 1980s, this blush has been a hit ever since. It comes in a variety of shades perfect for any skin tone. Their most versatile color, “Natural Rose,” looks good on both dark and light skin. Additionally, this blush is great for oily skin, as its powdery consistency blends seamlessly into the skin. 

Milani Minerals Blush

This blush is great for those with sensitive skin; it’s talc-free, non-irritating, and mineral-based. It is available in four beautiful shades that are long lasting and easy to apply. They give cheeks a nice, natural glow. One reviewer even claims they are the drugstore version of the coveted Nars blushes!

L’Oreal True Match Blush

A repeat winner of InStyle’s Best Inexpensive Powder Blush; this blush is loved for its large selection based on whether your skin tone is warm, neutral, or cool. The formula is non-comedogenic and oil-free, which means it’s perfect for those who are more acne-prone, as it won’t cause breakouts. Furthermore, its silky texture lends a luminous glow to skin.

Revlon Photo Ready Cream Blush

Although powder blushes are usually more popular than cream ones, cream blushes nevertheless have their place. Great for those with dry skin or who truly want to mimic a natural blush, cream blushes are a wonderful alternative to powder. This cream blush is loved for its lasting power and its great pigmentation. It will last the day and keep you glowing!

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Blush

Physicians Formula is always a go-to drugstore brand, and their blush is no exception! The blush gives a beautiful, luminous finish that instantly brightens your complexion. The color is buildable, and application is a pinch. The packaging is also adorable as it comes in a handy compact and the blush has cute little hearts engraved into it!

P.S. What’s your favorite drugstore blush?


Beauty on a Budget: Nail Polish

Beauty on a Budget_ Nail Polish

Nails are an important part of any pageant girl’s look. Well-kept nails make you look put together and chic. However, nail polish, especially when worn on your hands, seems to chip within days. Not so good, so we end up shelling out more than we like for high end nail polish that last. What if I told you that you could find budget nail polishes that do the same? Well, PageantToPhD is here to bring you our top 5 budget nail polishes that will last, dry fast, and get the job done!

1. Essie Nail Polish

Essie’s large range of colors, cute packaging, and long wear make it a favorite amongst reviewers. These nail polishes have a beautiful shine sans topcoat, and they also have a fun variety of textures from glitter to satin. Additionally, they can last about a week and cost under $10!

2. Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel

Revlon has once again made our budget beauty list! Reviewers loved this nail polish for its naturally glossy finish and its chip-free nature. Its consistency is thinner than other brands, but this helps prevent chipping, which makes it last longer. Despite the thinness of the formula, it does not dry streaky. Overall, the nail polish’s quick-drying, long-lasting qualities make it a drugstore favorite. Perfect for a pageant girl on the go!

3. China Glaze

One of the hallmarks of China Glaze’s popularity is its ridiculously large color selection. The colors are very saturated, and best of all they last! You see China Glaze all over the internet, especially Pinterest. Their diverse color selection, and coveted “For Audrey,” which is a Tiffany’s blue, make them a must have drugstore nail polish for any pageant girl!

4. Sally Hanson Xtreme Wear Nail Color & Complete Salon Manicure

Sally Hanson is a drugstore favorite for its large variety of colors and nail polish lines (e.g., Xtreme Wear and Insta-Dri). The Sally Hanson nail polishes did the job, and did it well. Most reviewers found no need for a topcoat because of the thick, glossy formula. Another bonus was the nice price range, starting at $1.99 and up. A great bargain for a budget-bound pageant girl!

5. Wet n’ Wild MegaLast Nail Polish

Wet n’ Wild is always a budget beauty favorite because of its low price point and large variety making it a great brand to affordably try new colors. Reviewers loved MegaLast because of its fast-drying, true-to-color, and long-lasting properties. Furthermore, the under $3 price is hard to beat. A pageant girl can look great for less, and still have money to buy even more budget brands!

Also: Don’t forget to checkout Navigating the Nail Art Craze for tips and tricks on nail art for work, play, and everyday!



Beauty on a Budget: Bronzer

Beauty on a Budget- BronzerSummer is well underway, and many of us are hitting up the pool or the beach! Summer is the time of year to get that beautiful golden glow for your pageant. However, baking under the sun for hours is not ideal. Luckily, we have bronzer to give us that natural sun-kissed look. Now many may turn to the high-end brands, but I find that anything upwards of $25 is just too much to pay (unless it works crazy well). Yet, many avoid the drugstore brands in fear of looking orange. But worry not! PageantToPhD is here to make sure you get quality for the right price without looking like an Oompa Loompa!

1. NYC: Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny

By far the most popular and widely loved drugstore bronzer, NYC’s Sunny Bronzer was adored for it’s neutral range (it was neither too cool nor warm). Thus, it is versatile on a large array of skin tones. Furthermore, the formula is sheer meaning it is easily buildable should you want a more dramatic look. Additionally, its sheerness equals a more naturally luminous tan. Another bonus? It costs under $4! Great for a pageant girl on a budget!

2. Physician’s Formula: Bronze Booster 

Physician’s Formula is another popular brand for bronzers, and many of their bronzer formulas were on top drugstore bronzer lists. The Bronze Booster is a collection of tiny, bronzed “sun” stones that you can swirl your brush around to pick up color. This bronzer has good pigmentation with a golden hue, which makes for a perfect, natural pageant look.

Furthermore, you can layer it on top of a deeper bronzer to give it more dimension and glow. Also, don’t forget to check out their Happy Booster Glow and Mineral Wear Face Powder Bronzer.

3. Rimmel London: Natural Bronzer

This bronzer is great for those with fairer complexions! It is a little warmer than NYC’s Sunny, and thus is more flattering on those pageant ladies with lighter skin tones. Furthermore, it acts as both a bronzer and a highlighter, and gives a matte finish with a little oomph. Additionally, it is very smooth and goes on sheer for a gorgeous, luminous glow. Also, check out Rimmel’s Shimmer Maxi Bronzer.

 4. E.L.F.: Bronzer

Another great, affordable alternative, the E.L.F. bronzer is under $4 as well! It has a bronze gold hue and is silky, which translates into streak-free and longwearing. Perfect for a long day at your pageant! This bronzer bestows a subtle, sun-kissed radiance to the skin. A great bargain for a naturally tanned look.

  1. Maybelline New York: FIT me! Bronzer

This brand is great because the color is personalized to best fit your skin tone. Thus, when you apply it, it blends beautifully and naturally into the skin. Furthermore, it is long lasting and not prone to fading meaning you will have a wonderful all-day glow. Additionally, the formula is lightweight making for a quick application that won’t feel cakey as the day wears on. Perfect for a pageant girl who needs a bronzer that goes the distance!

P.S. What are your favorite drugstore bronzers? Let me know in the box below! :)


Beauty on a Budget: Foundation

Beauty on a Budget_ FoundationWondering what budget product we are covering this month? Hint: It’s an important base to every pageant girl’s makeup routine–Foundation! Foundations can get quite expensive and because we use foundation everyday, it can become a burden on the wallet. But do not fear my pageant starlets, beauty on a budget will give you the most for your money. Here below is a list of the top 5 budget foundations. Enjoy! :)

1.    Revlon: Nearly Naked Foundation (Pressed Powder & Liquid)

Revlon is a drugstore favorite, and thus it is no surprise that one of their foundations made Beauty on a Budget’s list of top drugstore foundations. This foundation was great for a no-makeup look. Skin looks flawless and the foundation gives light, buildable coverage. Furthermore, reviewers liked Revlon’s Nearly Naked foundation because it was creamy, but not too thick. Perfect for an effortless pageant makeup look!

 2.    L’Oreal Paris: True Match Foundation

By far one of the more popular on the list, L’Oreal Paris’s True Match foundation was a resounding success. The brand comes in 33 different shades categorized by three undertones (i.e., warm, neutral, and cool). Thus, a pageant girl will have no trouble finding the perfect shade! Additionally, they are oil-free, which translates to non-greasy, longer-wear because it is less likely to slough off as the day wears on. The foundation also has medium, buildable coverage meaning you already start off with a good base. Another bonus? This foundation was named InStyle’s Best Inexpensive Foundation for 2013!

 3.    Revlon: Colorstay Foundation

Out of all the products I discovered during my research, this was by far the most popular. What is the number one reason to love this foundation? It’s staying power! Many reviewers agreed that it lasted up to 12 hours without the foundation rubbing off or transferring on to hands or clothes. This foundation also has a large number of shades to choose from categorized by normal/dry skin or oily/combination skin. Reviewers appear to prefer the latter formula no matter your skin type for it has an amazing matte finish that still looks natural and not powdery. The coverage is also good and the formula blends well into the skin.

4.    Neutrogena: Healthy Skin Foundation (Enhancer & Liquid)

Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Foundation came in a variety of types from sheers to compacts. However, every incarnation of the Healthy Skin Foundation was loved for different reasons.

The Skin Enhancer formula was loved because it had retinol and SPF protection, both of which are great for enhancing and protecting skin. The coverage is sheer to medium, and it acts a good tinted moisturizer.

The liquid foundation is the most popular and gave reviewers a glowy, dewy finish without being cakey. Furthermore, it was hydrating and helped even skin tone without being too heavy on the skin making it perfect for winter or summer. This brand is best for drier skin, as it is very moisturizing, and it may need to be set with powder if it looks too dewy.  Also, don’t expect full coverage with this brand, and keep in mind a limited color range may lead to mixing two different shades. Despite these shortcomings, the liquid foundation was nonetheless loved for keeping its promise and making skin look healthy!

6. CoverGirl: Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation

This brand was popular for the fact that one could skip priming and concealing the skin and go straight to the foundation (3-in-1)! Because of its priming and concealing properties, the foundation has pretty full coverage, so you won’t need to build on the first layer. It dries to a nice matte, but non-powdery, finish. Furthermore, it has lasting power (up to 9 hours)! The only critique is that it sometimes dries a shade or two darker than when originally applied.

P.S. What is your favorite drugstore foundation? Comment in the box below and let me know! :)




Beauty on a Budget: Mascara

Beauty on a Budget_ Mascara Edition(1)Beauty on a Budget is back with the Mascara Edition! Budget mascaras have flourished and there are some long-standing favorites that every girl should know. Having explored the vast Internet, read reviews, and compared ratings here are the top five budget mascaras that every pageant girl should try! :)

1.     Maybelline New York: Volume’ Express Turbo Boost

You have probably seen this mascara pop up quite a few times on this blog, and that’s because it is my personal favorite budget mascara. I own the waterproof version and love it. Smudging is little to nonexistent (at least in my experience) and it isn’t too clumpy either. Although I do not love it as much as Benefit Cosmetic’s They’re Real Mascara, its price and the fact it does a pretty stand up job make it one of my favorites!

2.     CoverGirl: Lash Blast Volume

Beauty mavens raved that this is CoverGirl’s best mascara. The mascara does not clump too much and gives lashes definition and length. This was my first mascara, and I loved it growing up. It was not until I could afford to try other brands that I converted. However, if I do have another go-to bargain mascara, CoverGirl’s Lash Blast would definitely be it.

3.     Physicians Formula: Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara

This mascara is a great option for ladies with sensitive eyes and skin. 47% of this mascara’s ingredients are organic and its eco-friendly packaging is recyclable! However, not only is it good for you and for the environment, but it also works wonders on your lashes. This mascara not only provides length without clumping, but also tons of volume! You can wear this mascara and rest east knowing that it’s free of any harsh chemicals, dyes, and parabens that could cause more harm than good. Plus the packaging is adorable! :)

4.     Maybelline New York: Full n’ Soft Washable Mascara

In my research, I went through quite a few different lists of top drugstore mascaras and this one was on more lists than any of the others. Although apparently lacking the drama for an evening out, this mascara is great for any daytime look. It makes lashes appear natural, but also fuller. Additionally, the name doesn’t lie, it truly does make lashes soft and not spikey, as many other mascaras do. The waterproof version also works well, but the non-waterproof formula is great because it comes off easily with no fuss. Foremost, many mascara-lovers are devotees of Maybelline’s Full n’ Soft making it a staple in their makeup routine.

 5.     L’Oreal Paris: Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara

According to proponents this mascara is truly carbon black and gives lashes an intense, “are those real?” look. Additionally, the mascaras consistency is not goopy, but creamy and the full-brush gives lashes clump-free volume. Another bonus? InStyle Magazine named L’Oreal’s Voluminous Mascara as its Best Inexpensive Mascara of 2013.

P.S. What is your favorite drugstore mascara? Comment in the box below and let me know!


Beauty on a Budget: Eye Shadow

ID-10084406-jackthummOh, beauty products…how quickly $100 has slipped through our fingers at Sephora, MAC, or any number of cosmetic counters. So how does a pageant girl on a budget find products that provide quality for the right price?

Look no further than the nearest drugstore! Looking great doesn’t have to be expensive. Although magazines keep luring us into spending $40 or more on phenomenal foundations or beautifully crafted eye shadow compacts, sometimes it is better to stay within our monetary limits. This is where many drugstore brands come into play.

Yes, their advertisements are ubiquitous (we can find a CoverGirl ad in almost any magazine), but some of us avoid these brands fearing we may be sacrificing quality. Not so fast! Beauty on a budget means finding quality in the least expensive of places…so below are a few brands and products that provide quality for a great price! :)

Eye Shadow Edition:

1.     L’Oreal Paris: H.I.P. High Intensity Pigments
People loved these shadows because they were highly pigmented and lasted! Be careful not to apply too much, you can always layer on more color for more drama! The best part is that they apply as smoothly and seamlessly as a higher quality eye shadow. Talk about quality for a great price! You can glow even more at your pageant knowing you look great and didn’t pay ridiculous amounts to do so.

2.     Maybelline New York: Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24 HR Cream Gel Shadow
Similar to L’Oreal Paris’ H.I.P. these colors were made to last all day, and according to proponents they do! Although they come in a creamy consistency, the color is still workable, but it dries not too long after application: so blend, blend, blend! Once applied you will have a look that will last all day during your pageant with no need to reapply. :)

3.     Wet N’ Wild: Eye Shadow Palette
Wet N’ Wild is always a drugstore favorite whether for eye shadows or lipsticks because you get a lot for your money ($.99 lipstick anyone?). Plus they come in so many fun, pigmented shades! You can find almost any color, which makes the brand a great, cheap way to experiment and play with your pageant makeup look.

4.     Maybelline New York: Eye Studio Color Plush Silk Eyeshadow Quad
In general, Maybelline’s eye shadows usually take the cake. Whether it’s the quad or the color tattoo shadows their colors are pigmented and last almost all day (even through my mid-afternoon naps!). What’s nice about these quads is that they come in shades that work well with one another and you have a chance to experiment with different techniques or crazy colors (check out the blue palette!).

5.     Milani: Runway Eyes
Milani was a drugstore favorite because its colors blended well together while remaining pigmented. Additionally, the colors in the palette work beautifully together to create a gorgeous look you can rock at your pageant (they aren’t called Runway Eyes for nothing!).

6.     L’Oreal Paris: Infallible Eye Shadow
According to these shadows are the less pricey version of Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill. Another example of quality at a great price! Once again these shades are super pigmented making them last longer and stay brighter. Additionally, the texture is smooth and silky making application a cinch! You can have a more affordable version of killer eyes to flaunt at your pageant. :)