In the Mirror

15 Stocking-Worthy Beauty Bargains Under $15

By Charlotte on December 6, 2012 5:04 AM

Finding cool stocking stuffers for the girls on your list is a breeze when you think beauty.


Perfect when you're looking for a sassy little something, these 15 fabulous fix-me-ups will delight divas of every age. Even better, they up the glam factor at such budget-stretching prices there's no need to stop at just one.

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eos Lip Balm Smooth Sphere

eos' soothing lip balm is a great way to keep her smiling into the new year. Made with all natural ingredients, this sweet little sphere comes in loads of fun flavors. Honeysuckle kept my lips from drying out last summer. Now, I'm craving festive Pomegranate Raspberry. When I reached for it at Ulta last weekend, the sales girl approved saying "that's the best lip balm" andeos hand lotion new.jpg I tend to agree. ($2.99 at Ulta and Target)


Pomegranate Raspberry eos Lip Balm


eos Berry Blossom Hand Lotion

With winter taking a toll on our hands, an easy-to-tote lotion like eos' Berry Blossom is a must-have for most girls. Besides smelling berry-licious, the 97% natural formula keeps hands soft, smooth and never greasy. This palm-sized, light pink package is a cinch to locate in larger bags, desk drawers or wherever you keep your stash. ($3.99 at Walgreens, Walmart)


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eos Berry Blossom Hand Lotion



Essence Silky Touch Blush

Natural-looking color makes this easy-to-blend, powder blush a big hit. I'm addicted to the Baby Doll shade because the delicate, tan-pinkish-peach color has a subtle shimmer that gives cheeks a healthy glow. It also comes in Adorable, Secret It-Girl and Natural Beauty. ($2.99 at Ulta and Ulta.com)


Essense Silky Touch Blush in Babydoll


4 Eye Shadow.jpgEssence Stay All Day Eye Shadow

True to its name, you can apply this creamy shadow in the morning and it will stick around all day. Of the four, highly pigmented shades available, new For Fairies is sure to be a favorite with everyone. This light, pink-tinged neutral pairs well with many colors and has just enough sheen to make5 NYC in Endless Spice 89.jpg your eyes pop. ($3.99 at Ulta and Ulta.com)


Essense Stay All Day

Eye Shadow in For Faries


NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain

Thinking low-maintenance? This luscious lip stain stays put for hours, refusing to rub off, smear or transfer even when you drink coffee. It's ideal for busy ladies like my sister-in-law Cyndi. A NICU (that's neonatal intensive care unit) nurse, she works 12-hour shifts that leave little time for touch ups.


The lightweight formula includes a pro vitamin B5 moisturizer but goes on matte. So after it dries, I layer on a clear lip balm for shine and added moisture (can you ever have too much?).


You can choose from 10 vivid shades, including my go-to coral Endless Spice, Forever Freesie, Persistent Pink, Never Ending Nude, Champagne Stain, Smooch Proof, Forever Fuchsia, Rock on Ruby, Berry Long Time and Forever Mine Wine. ($4.99 at chain drugstores and mass merchandisers. Check NewYorkColor.com for retailers.)

Endless Spice NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain

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Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss

Also designed to last and last, this bold lipstick captures Kate Moss' supermodel style. The rich, creamy color glides on in one swipe, covers completely and feels comfortable thanks to a blend of natural moisturizers and vitamins C and E.


The five gorgeous shades range from soft pink to bright red and edgy purple so there's something for everyone, even your rocker niece with a bit of a wild side. Prefer playing it safe? Try candy coral #12 or blushed nude #14. They look good on just abou2 Shanghai Collection_Fall12_Red lacquer a 150.jpgt any skin tone. ($5.49 at mass market retailers and drugstores)



Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss

in candy coral #12



Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick

Anyone craving a little romance (guilty!) will adore Revlon's new Shanghai Collection lipsticks with mega moisturizers. Inspired by the ultra-feminine wardrobes and vibrant colors of Chinese cinema, the three, fiery fall shades (Cherry Blossom, Pink Pearl and Christmas-right Red Lacquer) are a trendy way to add a little flash to an otherwise ordinary day. ($7.99 at Revlon.com and drug and mass retailers)

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Revlon Shanghai Collection Lipstick

 in Red Lacquer



Avon Ultra Color Rich Rubies Lipstick

New for fall, this limited-edition version of Avon's popular Ultra Color Rich formula is infused with real rubies for deep color and sensational shine. Like others in the Ultra Color Rich family, this lipstick goes on smooth and feels as moisturizing as a lip balm. What's more, the color looks fresh for hours.


I tried five of the seven, royal hues: Radiant Ruby (a deep, on-the-burgundy side red), Fuschia Fame (a dark, pink-purple), Majestic Mauve (a pinkish, medium red), Noble Nude (a natural-looking coral) and Imperial Pink (light, pinkish red). Although you can't go wrong with any of these gems, Majestic Mauve offers a playful punch of color that's not overpowering. ($8 from Avon representatives or Avon.com)




Avon Ultra Color Rich

Rubies Lipstick in Majestic Mauve



Avon True Color Eye Shadow Quad

Attraction 150.jpgI'm wild about the saturated shades in Avon's Attraction eye shadow pallet. Part of fall's new Femme Fatale collection, this limited-edition foursome includes everything needed for daytime and date-night looks in one sleek, black compact. There's a pearly, under-brow highlighter plus a bronzy lid color, a deeper brown for the crease and a trendy, inky blue that makes a lovely liner.


Although richly hued, these shadows go on nice and soft. For more impact, just swipe on another layer. ($9 from Avon representatives or Avon.com)

Avon True Color Eye Shadow Quad in Attraction



Soap & Glory Off Your Face Cleansing Wipes

A quick route to clean, these helpful, pre-moistened face cloths cleanse, tone and smooth skin. The toff your face 200.jpghree-in-one bargains feature a fast-acting cleanser that sweeps away makeup, dirt, oils and dead cell build up plus skin-softening glycerin and Poreshrink-RS.


The portable, resealable pouch includes 25 cloths that work for most skin types. Since they're geared for girls who stay on the go, I've earmarked them for my sister Pam, whose weekends often include camping with her husband and teenage sons, and, of course, me. The wipes come in especially handy when you're a compulsive beauty blogger who changes lipsticks several times a day! ($10 at Sephora.com)

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Soap & Glory Off Your Face

Cleansing Wipes




Merle Norman Eye Shadow

I love this soft-as-suede, pressed powder. Although it comes in 40 amazing shades, Linen is great for gifting because it offers so many options. Wear it alone as an all-over lid color to rock a natural look. Or use it as a brow highlighter paired with your choice of lid and crease shades.


Light tan with a matte finish, it goes with everything, glides on smoothly and stays with you. Plus, the formula's ophthalmologist tested, fragrance-free and oil-free so it is super kind to your baby blues. ($12 at Merle Norman Studios. Visit MerleNorman.com for locations)




Merle Norman Linen, Mink and MISSHA_The_Style_Glow_Tint_Lip_Balm 63.jpgCharcoal Green eye shadows

make a sophisticated daytime statement.



Missha The Style Glow Tint Lip Balm

Designed to play up your personal pout, Missha's smart, new balm contains tinted pigments that react to your lips' natural tone to create shiny, customized color. Besides loving the look, you'll enjoy the feel because this good-for-yVS Pro Lasting FX Shadow Primer 60.jpgou choice blends natural oils, butters and vitamin E derivatives to protect lips with SPF 18 while softening your pucker.


The mild formula is wonderful for sensitive souls because it's free of mineral oils, Talc, Parabens and other harmful ingredients. And all five stunning shades are easy to wear: Rose Red, Mandarin Orange, Vital Pink, Kissing Pink and my of-the-moment, pick Scarlet Coral. ($12/each at Misshaus.com)


Missha The Style Glow Tint Lip Balm in Scarlet Coral



VS Pro Lasting FX Eye Shadow Primer

Makeup pros always prep the entire eye lid with primer before continuing. This one creates a smooth base that helps both powder and cream eye shadows look better and last longer without setting in the crease of your eye. It covers in Boots 2 118.jpga few, quick swipes, providing a nice, nude canvas that can stand on its own when you're short on time. ($12 at Victoria's Secret and Victoriassecret.com)


VS Pro Lasting FX Eye Shadow Primer



Boots Botanics Complexion-Refining

Day Moisture Lotion

Perfect for normal to oily skin, this lightweight moisturizer tackles the subject of shine. In addition to providing SPF 12 sun protection, it contains rosemary extract to promote a smooth, even complexion and oil-absorbing powders that promise a matte finish. That makes it wish list material for your daughter, sister or anyone who struggles to control shine. ($13.59 a Target and Target.com)



Boots Botanics Complexion-Refining Day Moisture Lotion



Merle Norman Pro Pen Eyeliner

From thick to thin ... from swirls to swoops, this new pen makes lining your eyes almost as simple as signing your name. It has a super, skinny tip that puts you in control. Using a light touch keeps the line thin. The harder you press, the bolder the line becomes so go easy starting out! Even better, the liquid sets quickly so you can move on to mascara with no waiting time.


The long-wearing formula won't smudge or budge for up to 14 hours. Water-resistant and ophthalmologist tested, it's a terrific treat for active girls who don't want to take a chance on irritation. ($14 at Merle Norman Studios. Visit MerleNorman.com for locations)


Merle Norman Pro Pen Eyeliner (Sharp Black) 400.jpg

Merle Norman Pro Pen Eye Liner in Sharp Black


We'd like to shout out a big "Thank You" to all the brands named in this post; they provided free samples for review and testing.


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In the Mirror

4 Skin-Kind Finds Under $30

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Finding the right skincare routine can be like walking a tightrope. I've gotta have beauty products strong enough to do the job without sending my sometimes sensitive skin over the edge.

That's why I like to play it safe with skin-kind finds like these. They're designed to deliver powerful results with no fear of unpleasant side effects. You can pick up these budget-friendly buys at your local Target, one of my regular haunts. (I shop Friday mornings to miss the crowd.) And now to the end of October, Target is offering special discounts on these and other fan favorites from Neutrogena, Aveeno and RoC. (Check the end of this post for details.)

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Playing Favorites


When Charlotte and I aren't hip-deep in period dramas (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge) we love a good crime story. Film Noir is my favorite genre (anybody up for Maltese Falcon, Diabolique or Elevator to the Gallows?) so we're always on the lookout for a new movie or series to scratch that itch.

Over the summer we hit the jackpot, by finding two gritty noir-ish series that satisfied our cravings. First we got hooked on the Netflix original series Bloodline. Then, we capped off our summer with the terrific Rectify from The Sundance Channel.

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