10 Budget Friendly Back-to-School Beauty Essentials

Whether you or your kids are going back to school or off to college, it’s the perfect time of year to find deals on essential beauty products.  The Meijer Beauty team challenged me to find my top back-to-school picks, and it was gratifying to see my must-have bath, body and color items with wonderful prices.  Considering I work in a high school and have kids in both college and middle school, I am all about finding the best products at the right price.  Drumroll please…my top ten recommendations for essential (and budget friendly) back-to-school products.

Soap for school:  J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap and I love...Coconut & Cream Shower Gel

Soap for school: J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap and I love…Coconut & Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Cream

1.  J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap ($4.99, I got it at Meijer for $4.49)  The reason I first bought this hand soap was for the awesome vintage label.  The reason I keep buying it?  It’s excellent foaming hand soap, especially for the price.  The soap in public buildings like schools is usually pretty rough stuff, I wash my hands all the time.  My solution is to bring my own.  I keep this soap in my office, and it would fit nicely into a locker.  I like the Aloe and Green Tea scent as a real mood enhancer to help get the school year off right.

2.  I love…Coconut & Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Cream ($7.29)  This British brand is soooo good…doesn’t the packaging look like the Philosophy bottles?  I actually prefer the I love… brand, and it is so much more affordable.  I start my day with a shower then end it with a bubble bath, and the Coconut & Cream scent takes me right back onto vacation.

Necessities for school

Necessities for school

3.  Goody 50 piece Ouchless No Metal Elastics ($2.19, but I got mine at Meijer for $1.10!)  The perfect way to hide morning bedhead is with a ponytail or bun…and these Ouchless Elastics don’t snag, pull, or break hair strands.

4.  Nivea Lip Butter in Caramel Cream Kiss ($3.99)  This super cute lip butter has only been available in the U.S. for about a year, and I am so happy it’s easily found now!  It has great slip and keeps lips soft and moist, plus it tastes like caramel toffee.  Yum.

5.  Meijer Hand Sanitizer ($1.19)  This is simply a must-have for purses and backpacks.  You never know who was sitting in that desk or what nose they were picking…eewwwwww.

Perfect colors for back to school!

Perfect colors for back to school!

Nudes and deep pinks

Nudes and berries

6.  Cover Girl Bombshell Volume by Lashblast Mascara ($9.39)  I think this is the best drugstore mascara out there.  One end is the base coat, which gives definition and length perfect for casual days.  When I want more oomph – and I mean fantastic oomph – I use the other end, the intensifying top coat.  This side darkens lashes and provides mega-drama without any flakes or smearing.

Physician's Formula Nude Eyes

Physician’s Formula Nude Eyes

Nude Eyes - gorgeous.

Nude Eyes – gorgeous.

7.  Physician’s Formula Nude Eyes ($9.99, but I got mine at Meijer for an incredible $6.99)  I am loving neutral, nude eyes with berry cheeks for the fall, and this nude eyeshadow palette is to die for.  Is it reminding you of the Urban Decay Naked2 palette?  Yup, me too, but this is way cheaper with the same quality.  Use these shadows dry or wet for more intensity, and keep the palette sitting out because the packaging is stunning.

Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose

Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose

8.  Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose ($8.29)  Just check out the gorgeousness of this mosaic highlighter/blush.  The soft, creamy shades can be used alone, but I like to swirl a big brush over the whole thing for a beautiful berry glow on my cheeks.

Nicole by OPI mani and pedi shades for school

Nicole by OPI mani and pedi shades for school

9 and 10.  Nicole by OPI Nail Polish in Sing You Like a Bee and Cocoa a Gogo ($5.99 each)  Going back to school is an awesome reason to treat yourself to a manicure and a pedicure, and these two shades are perfect for a nude and berry combo.

Sing You Like a Bee

Sing You Like a Bee

Sing You Like a Bee is from the Carrie Underwood collection.  This is a gorgeous sheer white with golden shimmers.  It is a beautiful shimmery nude look by itself, and it makes a perfect top layer over pretty much any color.

Cocoa a Gogo

Cocoa a Gogo

Cocoa a Gogo is a shimmery chocolate-brown that I love for pedicures…and it is the perfect color for transitioning into cool days and cozy nights by the fire.  Even better, it smells like cinnamon!

Not only are these ten products essentials, it also costs less than $55 to purchase them all at Meijer.  Get your style on for back to school and save money too!

Be sure to check out MeijerStyle.com the last week in August for a post with links to lots of blogger Back-to-School articles – one lucky person who comments on the MeijerStyle.com post will receive a gift basket of Back-to-School/Back-to-College products.  - Lisa

*products reviewed courtesty of Meijer, opinions and selection of items all my own!

Let’s get Cheeky with butter London

butter London is making life so cheeky now that they have a cosmetics line as well as their incredible nail lacquer line. They’ve created so many products that have a twist to them than most cosmetic companies. You don’t find many brands whose first venture into cosmetics is with magenta eyeliners, cornflower blue and neon green mascara or bright yellow eyeliner. That’s cheeky.

butter London eye promo

butter London eye promo

Adding to their cheekiness is the CHEEKY TINTED HIGHLIGHTER. ($24) There are 3 shades of highlighter available and we received one in Dishy, a sheer rose gold shimmer. I’m all for creamy products and butter London is making them fun for me.

Cheeky in Dishy from butter London.com

Cheeky in Dishy from butter London.com

Dishy isn’t a cream blush though you can use it that way, it’s really a tinted highlighter. It’s gorgeous for summer and will be an added delight during the winter holidays with it’s subtle glow. I’ve always loved rose gold products so this is a wonderful addition to my cosmetic collection.

butter London Cheeky Tinted Highlighter

butter London Cheeky Tinted Highlighter

Dishy is very lightweight and surprisingly it dries down quickly. It looks beautiful over another blush or wherever you want to highlight with a glimmer. I personally love it on my browbone. butter London also suggests mixing it with your moisturizer to get an all over glow.

butter London Cheeky Highlighter in Dishy

butter London Cheeky Highlighter in Dishy

butter London has two more of these Cheeky Tinted Highlighters – Pence which golden and Twit which is a bronze highlighter. For my fair complexion and the colors I love to wear I think it’s just dishy how DISHY looks on me.

butter London Cheeky Highlighter in Dishy

butter London Cheeky Highlighter in Dishy

The Cheeky Tinted Highlighters will add to your cosmetic delights year round. It’s a seasonless product that will add a little more fun and glam to your radiant you. — Marcia

*sent for editorial consideration

available at Ulta and butter London’s website

Tarte Rainforest After Dark review and swatches

Tarte Cosmetics has an exciting new, limited edition palette out called the Rainforest After Dark Eye and Cheek Palette ($38).  This is a wonderful palette with a beautiful range of shades inspired by dusk in the rainforest.  I had high expectations when Tarte sent this to us, and I was not disappointed!

tarte rainforest after dark...the box is even textured like snake skin

tarte rainforest after dark…the box is even textured like snake-skin

tarte rainforest after dark

tarte rainforest after dark

The packaging is gorgeous, with a golden snake design and a purple snake-skin textured box.  Inside, the palette is a round, CD size palette emblazoned with the snake and a purple jeweled eye.  It has a large round mirror that is big enough to reflect your entire face.  Nice!

one blush, one bronzer, one highlighter, and six eyeshadows

one blush, one bronzer, one highlighter, and six eyeshadows

tarte rainforest 5tarte rainforest 3

The products inside include one blush, one highlighter, one bronzer, and six eyeshadows.  The unique thing about Tarte powder products is color-correcting colored clay.  The rose clay helps to soothe skin, vanilla clay controls oil, and gold clay moisturizes.

unleashed blush

unleashed blush

champagne highlighter

champagne highlighter

park ave princess bronzer

park ave princess bronzer

left to right:  champagne, unleased, park ave princess

left to right: champagne, unleased, park ave princess

The Unleashed blush is a pretty plum matte pink.  It has terrific staying power and is such a flattering shade.  Champagne is a gorgeous highlighter, just be sure to buff it well – that’s what turns it into a flattering glow.  I actually use this on my eyes as a brow shade, too.  And Park Avenue Princess is a perfect bronzer, a buttery satin warm gold brown that looks terrific on almost everyone.

The eyeshadows are just to die for.  The texture is buttery soft, the pigmentation is wonderful, and the shades are beautiful. Three are golden browns, and three are pinky purples.

left to right:  don't turn a-brown, tan-gled up in you, up to no gold

left to right: don’t turn a-brown, tan-gled up in you, up to no gold

left to right:  up to no gold, tan-gled up in you, don't turn a-brown

left to right: up to no gold, tan-gled up in you, don’t turn a-brown

First up, the golden brown shades.  up to no gold is a shimmery gold with a velvet texture.  I think this is my favorite of them all, it really makes my brown eyes POP. tan-gled up in you is a matte tan that goes on so smooth, I almost can’t believe it’s a matte eyeshadow.  don’t turn a-brown is a dark brown with tiny golden shimmer.

left to right:  bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

left to right: bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

left to right:  bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

left to right: bare to explore, make a mauve, plum away with me

Next, the pinky purples.  bare to explore is a matte pink beige that has a silky texture and is a great base shade.  On busy mornings, I throw this on as a wash with some black eyeliner and I am good to go.  make a mauve is a satin plum mauve that is even prettier in person.  plum away with me  is a shimmery dark plum with silver sparkle.  Gorgeous.

Included with the palette is a card with instructions for two different eye looks, the Afterhours Adventure, ‘inspired by the deep orchid hues of dusk, this spellbinding evening look will unleash your inner bombshell as you flawlessly take on the night‘; and Seductive Sunrise, ‘ignite your wild side anytime with this sultry, yet subtle everyday look.

Rainforest After Dark definitely give you everything you need for day or night, subtle or sultry.  Pick it up before it’s sold out!  - Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème brings a summery glow

This is the time of summer when everyone I know is looking golden — except for me that is. I don’t sit in the sun and I don’t faux tan. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a special glow like everyone else. That’s where BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème from Gerard Cosmetics by Whitening Lighting comes in. They offered to send this for review and the pale BIZ partner said ok.

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème

Last year when Makeup Wars reviewed bronzing products I really didn’t have much to share since I hadn’t really paid much attention to this category of the cosmetic world. They made me feel a little behind times though and since then I’ve branched out a bit to fit in a little more, especially on special evenings.

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème ($36) is a luminous cream product that adds a glow to my skin with light reflecting particles. This is a one shade product that will do different things for different skintones. For me it adds in radiance and some color. I wear it in several ways but it can also be used alone if you are careful not to overdo the amount you use.

1) I mix it in with foundation to add an all over glow and a touch more color than I’d normally have. The key is to use a tiny bit since a little goes a long way.

2) I also use it as a highlighter on specific areas like my cheekbones.

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème swatch

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème swatch

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème will help blur imperfections and we all want that. The latest Makeup Wars was all about what I do to blur pores. The best thing about this gluten free, hydrating creme is the pretty golden glow it gives.

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème blended in

BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème blended in

BB+ Illumination Facial Creme reminds me of sunshine in a tube. It’s going to be different things for different people. If you have darker skin or tan/faux tan then you’ll end up with a gorgeous radiance. If you are Snow White pale you’ll also end up with that radiance but also a little extra color.

I may not be a bronze goddess but I am a glowing one when I wear BB Plus+ Illumination Facial Crème. — Marcia
*sent for review consideration

E is for Eddie, F is for Funkhouser, A is for Eddie Funkhouser face products

I’ve been trying to keep my rendezvous with Eddie Funkhouser under the covers but I think it’s time to come clean again. Eddie, that rogue, is now following me on Disqus and Twitter. I’m following him with Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation, Luxlight Hydrating Primer plus Luxlight Illuminator Pen. When these were sent for review I knew that Eddie Funkhouser was only sending me a little extra loving. That’s how it is with the two of us.

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Hydrating Primer

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Hydrating Primer

Luxlight Hydrating Primer ($14.99) comes in one shade, Candlelight. It was created to leave your skin dewy and delicious. It’s described as having a luminous glow with a golden peach undertone. What I like about the primer is that it is a beautiful glow and one that I can wear any day, any time, with any foundation (shh, don’t tell on me). With my fair skin I was a little leery about wearing a tinted primer but that feeling was dispelled once I started using it. It can be used alone for those of you who prefer not wearing a foundation. Or you can mix it in with your foundation or just wear it as a primer under foundation (preferably Luxlight Revitalizing).

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Hydrating Primer

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Hydrating Primer

But why do you want to use this? For starters it has Glycerin in it for skin softening. It also contains Castor Seed Oil and Jojoba Oil to condition and smooth. Other ingredients are Squalene, Vitamins A, C and E. And the best part is that you can wear it alone on your arms and/or legs to give you a soft glow that won’t rub off.

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation

Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation ($14.99) comes in 6 shades (fair, light, medium beige, medium, medium tan and golden dark). I have this in Light which is for light skin with yellow-olive undertones but I think when I rebuy it I’ll try Fair since I have cool undertones. Even though this is a little warm on me the foundation is so lightweight that the color still works great. Eddie’s website describes this as “ultralight, creamy, and buildable formula enhances skin’s natural radiance for a flawless, light-diffused finish throughout the day”. I can’t put it any better. I’m using this in a single layer and not building up the coverage. I really prefer it as a light coverage natural looking foundation.

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation in Light

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation in Light

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation in Light

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Revitalizing Foundation in Light

This foundation may not be for everyone though because of the ingredients. It contains Talc to give it a soft focus, diffused light finish. It also contains silicones to extend the wear. I know both of those can be a problem for some people although they aren’t for me. Other ingredients are Volatiles (long wear properties and fast drying application), Resins (long wear properties), Glycerin and Vitamin E. I’ve worn this in winter, spring and summer and am enjoying how my skin looks. Sometimes I wear the Primer, sometimes I don’t. Eddie doesn’t seem to mind. He told me he likes me both ways.

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Illuminator

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Illuminator

The other facial product I have is the Luxlight Illuminator. This is a pen like product with a brush. You’ve seen them before for a whole lot more money than the $11.99 this costs. This is available in two shades (Candlelight for a cool luminous glow and Arclight for a warm glow).

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Illuminator

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Illuminator

This versatile pen will add illumination to any area of your face you want. Highlight your brow bone, the bridge of your nose, the cupids bow of your lips and the tip of your chin to make sure the light catches you at your best.  It’s not a concealer but it is a wonderful highlighter/illuminator. This contains: talc, volatiles, light reflecting pigments, glycerin and peptides.

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Illuminator in Candlelight

Eddie Funkhouser Luxlight Illuminator in Candlelight

Since Eddie Funkhouser and I first got together he’s spread himself out a little more. We are lucky enough to be able to purchase his products at a variety of places like gloss48.com, blush.com, nastygal.com and urbanoutfitters.com. Also some of you incredibly lucky ladies can see the line in person at a variety of Rite Aid stores (if only that were me!). As for me, I’ll just keep hangin’ with Eddie and make my move when the time is right!

Have you been introduced to Eddie Funkhouser cosmetics yet? He might be just the man and brand you are looking for to stretch your pennies while remaining beautiful as always. — Marcia

*products sent for editorial consideration

Get dewy and luminous with Beauty Addicts GLIMMERsheers

Beauty Addicts GLIMMERsheer

Beauty Addicts GLIMMERsheers

I love, love, love it when something unexpected arrives…after all, Marcia and I have been writing this blog and testing products for over four years now, and we were product testing and reviewing for years before we started the BIZ. While I have tried many luminizers and lots of products meant to give a sheer glow, I have never come across a combination of the two like the GLIMMERsheers ($28) from  Beauty Addicts.

GLIMMERsheer

Beauty Addicts GLIMMERsheers

They are soooo pretty…and at first glance, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them!  The GLIMMERsheer is a mirrored compact that contains a colored half-moon of luminizing shimmer, along with a coordinating half-moon of sheer gel.

The shimmer is on the right. You can pat this on the brows, lids, and cheek bones to luminize.

The sheer is on the left. This is smoothed over brow bones, cheeks, and anywhere on your skin to create a soft, dewy look.

The shades available include:

Seduce

Seduce GLIMMERsheer

Seduce, a clear gel with golden shimmer and a white pearlescent luminizer.

Express

Express GLIMMERsheer

Express, a yellow/beige tinted gel with a champagne luminizer.

Motivate

Motivate GLIMMERsheer

Motivate, a pink tinted gel with a baby pink luminizer.

Glow

Glow GLIMMERsheer

Glow, a purple tinted gel with a lilac luminizer.

GLIMMERsheers swatched, left to right:

GLIMMERsheers swatched, left to right:  Motivate, Seduce, Express, Glow

I only swatched the luminizers…the gels were so subtle that they were impossible to photograph.

I adore the ‘Glimmer’ highlighter side of each shade. I find that a finger works best to apply; that ‘skin to skin’ contact makes the color meld in beautifully. They are flipping fabulous highlighters for the brow, and all of them are great as eyeshadows for the mobile lid, with Motivate and Glow the most outstanding. Seduce and Express are wonderful cheek highlighters that give a subtle shimmer and a gorgeous glow.

The ‘Sheer’ side is a little more challenging for me. As someone who constantly strives for a matte look (oh how I hate a shiny nose!) I struggled at first to figure out how to use them. For you younger gals, the sheer balm is an option for cheeks to get a dewy look.  For me? Not so much. However, they give an interesting look and feel when layered over eyeshadow – it reminds me of Stephane Marais Gloss Eyeshadows, anyone remember those? The sheer sides also make for a great lip balm, shiny and emollient with just a hint of color.

Overall, I think the GLIMMERsheers are interesting and versatile products. The luminizers are fabulous multi-taskers, and the sheer gel is, at the very least, fun to play with! Head on over to Beauty Addicts and take a look – which GLIMMERsheer appeals most to you?  - Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Side by Side: It Cosmetics Hello Light Crème Illuminator (giveaway alert)

It Cosmetics Radiance Creme Illuminator

It Cosmetics Radiance Creme Illuminator

We’re back raving about It Cosmetics. This brand continues to thrill us with their new products. They never disappoint. How could they when they bring you two different Illuminators (powder and crème) and amazing brushes? We were sent Hello Light, Anti-Aging Radiance Crème Illuminator along with the Pointed Precision Luminizer Brush to review. And the good news is that after you read what we have to say about this, you’ll have the opportunity to win this set for yourself.

We’ve previously reviewed It Cosmetics Hello Light Radiance Powder and we were totally wowed. Since not everyone likes powders Jamie Kern and It Cosmetics delivered a Crème Illuminator. Now you have your choice but it’s going to be hard to make a decision since both are wonderful. The Crème Illuminator has Hydrolyzed Collagen, Peptides and Drops of Light Technology. It contains good for your skin ingredients like Vitamins A, E & E, green tea, hyaluronic filling spheres, silk and aloe. As if the crème wasn’t good enough they also created the amazing Pointed Precision Luminizer Brush. Like all It Cosmetics brushes this is 100% cruelty free with bristles that are so soft. The brush is wonderfully versatile since it allows you to reach anywhere on your face, even the smallest areas. You can even use it to blend eyeshadow in your crease.

The cost for this duo at QVC is $35 which is amazing. If you prefer to buy just the Illuminator it’s $24 on It Cosmetic’s website, the brush isn’t for sale separately though so that’s why the duo is so wonderful. The Creme Illuminator is also available at Dermstore.

Marcia and Lisa have a lot of love for these two so read on to find out why and then to see how you can win one for yourself.

 

It

Illustrations for placing the illuminator

*products provided by PR for review and giveaway

It

It outer packaging

It

It Pointed Precision Luminizer brush

Lisa’s Side:

There aren’t many lines about which I can say this:  I have never tried anything I don’t LOVE.

I can say that about IT Cosmetics. The Hello Light Creme Illuminator is no exception!

It

Inside the Illuminator

This comes in a modern, sleek compact that is as gorgeous as the product inside. The illuminator is a cream highlighter that works wonders on my…ahem…aging skin.  I find that as I get older, I lose that ‘luminosity’ that I had when I was young. This cream recreates that illusion and makes me look…and ultimately feel…younger.

swatched

swatched

Here it is swatched pretty heavily. It’s not this obvious on, in fact when you smooth it on with the (flipping fantastic) brush you almost can’t tell…except you just look BETTER.  The brush is terrific for picking up the right amount of product, and I smooth this on after foundation but before a light layer of loose powder.  (Too much loose powder and you lose the effect, so be sure to proceed with caution with that Kabuki!) I use the cream everywhere it recommends on the packaging – the forehead, nose, under the eyes, tops of cheeks, lips and chin. It is VERY difficult to overdo this, and the results are subtle but make a huge difference. Chalk up yet another winner from It Cosmetics.

It

The perfect brush for illuminating

Marcia’s Side:

Since we gave you so much information about the amazing Crème Illuminator already I want to talk a little about the differences between the creme and the powder. They are both absolutely fabulous and I love them both. I don’t know which I’d pick if I had to pick only one but I might just go with Anti-Aging Radiance Crème Illuminator because I love cream products so much. I find on my aging skin that a cream looks dewier and less dry. If you look at our previous review of the powder you’ll see it has a more golden touch to it while I find that the creme has some of that gold but also a touch of pink.

My absolute favorite way to use this is in the inner corner of my eye. I read over and over about putting a light shade there but with powders it looks so fake on me. I don’t have the smoothest eyelids anymore (boo hoo) so that area is a little crinkly. The creme though is perfect. No powder shows and because it has that highlighting effect it actually makes my eyes look a little younger. It does what all the makeup artists say that a light shadow will do.

swatched

swatched

I use the Radiance Powder on my cheekbones when I wear a powder blush but when I wear cream blushes (which is often) that’s when I’ll use this creme illuminator instead. I can even put some of the creme on first and then blend the blush over it to get a look that’s lit from within.

it creme illuminator with packageThere aren’t many products I own that I absolutely keep the box but I love the illustration on the box to remind me of all the places I can wear this.

Here’s what It Cosmetics has to say about the Anti-Aging Radiance Creme Illuminator – if this and our raves haven’t convinced you we’d be surprised!! “Who is it for: Anyone who wants natural-looking radiance with antiaging benefits; wants to diffuse the look of pores, lines, and wrinkles; wants hydrating, brightening, and antiaging benefits; wants to visibly improve the appearance of the skin; or wants to add light to their complexion for beautiful, healthy-looking skin.”

Now that we’ve told you all there is to love, we are happy to say that It Cosmetics not only sent both Lisa and I these for review but they sent us one for a reader. This giveaway is open for US and Canadian subscribers until 4/22/13 at 11:59 eastern time. Wait for the Rafflecopter to see the ways you can enter. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway