Beauty can be had on any budget, or in fact on none at all, because real beauty isn’t about makeup.

Makeup however, has to be bought, so today I am looking at party makeup on two different budgets. New Year’s Eve will soon be upon us, which has to be one of the biggest makeup events of our year, unless perhaps you are getting married or going to The Oscars! In many countries and cultures around the world people will be celebrating the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one and all that it may promise, going to parties private or public and usually paying some attention to looking their party best.

I am always torn between looks on party night, of course depending on the formality of them and what I’ll be wearing. This year I reserved my red lip to Christmas Day itself, so to mix it up a bit  I’ll be doing my favourite smokey eye in navy and a nude lip on New Year’s Eve. The red lip/cat eye is a classic as well, so I have included both looks for your perusal. And this post! Let’s call it:

Holt Renfrew vs. Shoppers Drug Mart (Harvey Nicks vs. Boots, Barneys New York vs. Walgreens, etc etc)

Drug Store Drop Dead Gorgeous

I admit, readers, that is has been a while since I last visited my local drug store for makeup, except for mascara and nail polish, which I often buy there. So I was happily amazed to find so many great options for party makeup that were not at all expensive! In fact, I spent ages excitedly going through everything.

Glittery, 24 hr shadows from L'Oreal. Gorgeous
Glittery, 24 hr shadows from L’Oreal. Gorgeous

Keep in mind that this was not a”fancy” upgraded pharmacy that sells the higher-end drugstore brands (those are popping up all over the place in Vancouver and probably everywhere else), this was my small local shop with a fairly tiny makeup/beauty aisle.  Check out these fun things, I hardly knew what to buy!

These Maybelline kits come with instructions, only $14.99!
These Maybelline kits come with instructions, only $14.99!
Rainbows from Revlon
Rainbows from Revlon

I thought this was a great idea too; how to pick a red or nude based on your skin tone, also from L’Oreal (find the actress/model/celebrity closest to your skin colour and voila! Kind of brilliant for the new or confused…)

Pick your red to suit your skin tone. Brilliant!
Pick a nude
Or go nude!

In the end I decided to go for a red lip/classic eye look from the drugstore. I didn’t buy foundations because you have to do that yourself!  There are loads to choose from at your drug store, depending on your skin type.

Low-end loveliness xo

Above are my top picks for the classic eye/red lip look:

Red lip, shaped eye, forever fab
Red lip, shaped eye, forever fab

Marcelle Eye Shadow Quads, in Taupetation and Black Magic – really, really pretty and blend able, with a soft sheen to the shadows. These two picks will give you a stunning classic eye in taupe and black. The taupe goes on the lid and into the crease a little, then the black shades the outer corner and into the outer crease, for wonderful shaping. If you want an almond shape, take the black up and out a bit to achieve that. Marcelle is a company out of Montreal, and their colour range is magnificent.

Maybelline Master Precise Ink Liner in Black -there’s only about a thousand of these liner pens on the market, but I opted for this one with a very fine tip. Apply this very easy to use pen along the lash line and then do a flick for your cat eye. This step is after your eyeshadow but before mascara please, so that you can get it right up to the lash line which will give you that full look with no gaps. Sultry! They say it lasts 12 hours so you should be ok until the carriage turns into a pumpkin.

Rimmel Wonderlash Mascara with Argan Oil in Extreme Black – to add to the drama of course. Get that nice flexible brush right against the eyelash root, give a wiggle, then glide it to the end of your lashes. Two coats are better than one, three if you dare. It’s not waterproof so don’t get rained on or cry too much at midnight. The Argan Oil in this will make your lashes nice n shiny.

Ardell Fashion Lashes in Black – for the brave or the needy. Top Tip: if you’re going to wear lashes always fit them first and if the length of the spine is too long for you, trim them. Easy as that. Putting them on is another matter, get a competent friend to help if you have one, haha. If not, apply glue along the spine, wave in the air for a second, then glue as close to the lash line as humanly possible and look into your mirror to check the placement. You don’t want a gap between your real lashes and the strip. That’s a dead giveaway!

L’Oreal Lipstick in Ravishing Red – what a fantastic colour! This colour I first saw on a fab barrista at my morning coffee stop and had to ask her what it was. Really marvellous and not dry at all. You may have to touch up after champagne but at least it won’t crack your lips off. This is going into my Top Five Reds, if I can get it down to five, that is.

Ravishing Red from Revlon
Ravishing Red from Revlon

With this look I would do a soft blush and maybe a bit of contour under the cheekbones (you can use the taupe eyeshadow for that, yes you can!). I am assuming you have a cheek colour, if not mix a TINY but of the lipstick with moisturizer and use that to dab on the apples of your cheek. I also didn’t get a lipliner but you can use a nude or a red.

Voila! you’re red ready and party pretty. Have a fab night x

In For a Penny, In For Pounds

One of those essential bits of advice given to me by my grandmother (not the first time she’s been mentioned, nor will it be the last) was this: “pay less, pay twice”. I have considered that philosophy often, and would rather  buy fewer things that are really good and will last me a long time, rather than lots of cheaper things. I am not referring just to makeup or beauty products; furniture, clothes, cars, all of it really. I do spend on skin care and cosmetics that deliver, especially as I age and the needs are different. Not so much gilding the lily as fertilizing it!  Anyway, the choices at the drug store for good product were really wonderful I thought, but if budget is not so much a concern for you, for whatever the reason (hey, I was a student once too) then here are some lovely things, for a smokey eye/ nude lip look for New Year’s Eve, or any occasion, come to that.

Claudia in the timeless smokey eye, nude lip look.

Armani Fluid Sheer in No 2   This miracle liquid will add a lovely bounce to any foundation and give your skin a beautiful dewy look.  Add a couple of drops to you liquid foundation (because no-one uses powder foundations any more, do they? I really hope not) admix it up on the back of your hand before putting it on your face. There are darker ones for darker skins, I use No 10 a lot which is lovely with a tan. if you use a product to add glow, do NOT cancel out the effect by over-powdering!

Nocturnal Cat Eyes To Hypnotise by Charlotte Tilbury in Midnight Seduction   This is a totally stunning soft sparkly midnight blue shadow…added bonus, it comes with a mini Rock n Kohl eye pencil, in Sapphire Sex. Oooooooh, bit risqué for New Year’s Eve but it looks marv.  These little kits, of shadow and pencil, come in four colours; for party night for me the money’s on the navy which is cooler and more sexy than a regular grey or black smokey eye. I think, anyway. Partly because I get tired of seeing the same thing everywhere, all the time. These shadows are surprisingly delicate (I wear the bronze in the daytime, just one wash over the eyelid) but build up to intense very easily. Remember  that when doing a smokey eye, the darkest colour is closest to the lash line, then goes to light as it fades up.

Quick steps to a smokey eye:

  • First step is the eyeshadow, from lash line to crease. Do two or three layers until you get the intensity you want
  • Next draw the matching pencil right along the lash line
  • I then put more eyeshadow on a pencil brush and go over the eye pencil to give it a lovely, smoky, smudged effect
  • Use the same brush and shadow and go all the way around the eye. If I’m doing a smokey eye, I do the eyes before any other makeup, but after moisturiser, so that once the eye is done, you can clean up any fall-out before you do your foundation. Clever, what?
  • Next step is to take the lighter colour (in this case I’m going to use my contour product, saving $$! see below) which blends into the crease and up to the brow using a large, soft crease brush. So by the time you get to the eyebrow there shouldn’t be any shadow left, just skin tone. I don’t highlight under the brow or anything, it takes away from the effect of the smoky eye, which for me is the most glamourous of eye looks.
  • Eyelash curler and mascara (see below)
  • Make sure you brows are groomed and pencilled if you wish

DiorShow Mascara by Dior in Black  What can I say, it’s a classic. Load it up for drama and to balance the smoky eye.

Stila Kajal Eye Liner in Onyx   This is to go on the water-line of the eye to really make your eyes “pop”, but not pop-out, obviously, which is not a good look.  The water-line is the inside of your eye, which may take some practice to get used to unless you grew up when it was really popular! Or dated a rock star.  I haven’t yet found any pencil to beat it. Bourjois used to make a brilliant one but it was discontinued. I need to do a post about that, don’t I?

Armani Sun Fabric Sheer Bronzer in 100 – This is a great contour colour for fair skins because it is, in fact, not very bronzy and has a nice sheen to it. It’s the replacement to the older 1 Sheer Bronzer which was even better but guess what??! Yes, discontinued. I use it as a cheekbone/ jaw contour and as the second eyeshadow for the navy smoky eye.

Benefit Cosmetics Cheek Colour in Coralista – A lovely coral shade to compliment the navy shadow. A whoosh of it on the apples of the cheeks.

NARS Lip Gloss Pot in Chelsea Girls –  This is, I should say was, by far and away the best nude lip colour in the makeup world, so why NARS discontinued it earlier this year is a mystery. I have a couple of pots left, so it isn’t expensive, it’s priceless! They did bring out a new formula gloss with the same name, but it isn’t the same, in colour or texture. It’s good, but not like the original. I will break it out for New Year’s Eve, but won’t let anyone borrow it! If you don’t own any of this, there are lovely nudes out there, such as..

the original Chelsea Girls lip pot by Nars
The original Chelsea Girls lip pot by NARS


People love to go nude!
Artists always love a nude!


Tom Ford Cosmetics Lipstick in Sable Smoke -close second in the nude race (a nude race?! New Year’s Eve festivities have gone wild!)it’s very creamy and marv shade.

NARS Lip Colour in Honolulu Honey ( a yellow based buttery nude-amazing on black skin!)or Belle Du Jour  A Buttery nude and a very light nude for the palest only.

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Penelope Pink




And there you have it! Two different looks on two different budgets, or mix n match to get your fave party look.

Another option? A wash of gold all over the lid, a black cat-liner and a pink lip, very modern and glam. Whatever your look, anything goes, that’s the fun of party night, any night actually. Whatever you decide, be your most fab self. Wherever you are and whatever you do, I hope you have a lovely time and look fantastically fabulous. See you in 2016! If not before…..

To shop:

In the UK:Charlotte Tilbury (UK)
In Canada:
Beauty Boutique Free Shipping on Orders Over $55

Charlotte Tilbury CA

PRODUCT REVIEWS does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.
I'm a British / Canadian Pro MakeUp Artist with a colourful career: have kit, will travel, have info, will share! This blog is all about My Life In MakeUp. I hope you enjoy your time here and learn a little something along the way xo

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