Disclaimer: I don't live in the US, so whatever products I review/think are good is just based on those I've tried and bought from USA or Canada during my student exchange there. Definitely, I wouldn't have the buckets of experience the people staying there have on the products, but these are just a few things I personally have enjoyed.
Without further ado, I'll like to share with you guys what US drugstore (and a few high end) products that have worked for me, and are now starting to make me despair on the thought that I'll run out of them one day and I'll have no means of repurchasing them. Heh.
1. Physicians Formula Shimmer Trips Eyeliner Trios
(please ignore the last eyeliner at the bottom)
These are, honestly, the best eyeliners I've ever tried. Urban Decay 24/7 and Make Up For Ever Aqua eyes all smudge on me, even the famous Milani Liquif'eye pencil liners can't stay in place. But these are God's miracles for my watery eyes. The most important thing is that they don't smudge. They do fade a bit through out the day (only at the corners of my eyes) but at least they don't give me panda eyes! I was so impressed by these that I got another set before I headed back to SG, and am now down to a remaining one and a half black liner. What will I do when they run out?!?
The other colour liners in the trios have the same staying power as the black ones, and their colours are really pretty too. I have a medium brown one which I love to use for natural looks, the purple one is a nice shimmery, pigmented purple and I've another blue one which comes off almost black, so it's this gorgeous navy-black that looks appropriate even for normal day looks.
2. Revlon Lip Butters
Honestly, the colour selection of these in SG is pretty pathetic. We don't have all the pretty colours like Creme Brulee, Pink Truffle and Candy Apple, which are among some of my favourite colours in this collection. Which is why I'm so glad I spam-hauled them in the states. Aside from having a huge range of colours and good colour payoff, they are incredibly comfortable on the lips. While I admit some of them are drier (Candy Apple and Red Velvet), they don't dry out my lips like most lipsticks do. I guess the only good thing about our range is that I got to own Macaron, which is not available in the states. :/
3) NYC Ultra Moist Lipstick in "Sheer Red"
That's the one, in the middle.
Everyone needs to own at least one of this lipstick. It's the perfect red, and it's super comfortable on the lips; it's even more comfortable than the lip butters, and that's saying a lot for a ~$1 lipstick. The moisture in the product is just right, not drying but not slippery that it goes all over your face, and the pigmentation is phenomenal!
I used this straight out of the tube for a shopping trip and a farewell dinner later in the day when I was in Montreal, and it made me feel so good. But here in SG, I use it as a stain cos I always feel the people here are not ready for straight out red lips.
4) L'oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black
The mascara on the left.
I've tried several well-known drugstore mascaras and so far, this is my favourite. I've tried Maybelline The Falsies (meh!), Revlon Photoready 3D Volume mascara (it's ok..), Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips mascara (no good), and even some high end mascaras like LORAC's Multiplex 3D Lashes (it's mediocre) and Bare Escentuals' BUXOM lash (it smudges on me!). L'oreal's Voluminous comes in top, with it being able to lengthen and voluminize (very rare for a mascara). The next best ones would be Rimmel's Sexy curves Full Body (the one in the red tube) and Covergirl's Lash Blast.
5) LORACstar Baked Eyeshadow Trio
6) LORAC Front of the Line Pro eyeliner
I got those two items in the Close Up: Real Life to Red Carpet, Natural to Dramatic kit and while the mascara and lip gloss didn't impress me, I was blown away by the quality of the eyeshadow trio and liquid eyeliner. I was also loving the blush until I actually dropped it and.. end of story. But the blush was really nice too, a beautiful colour with awesome pigmentation - I'm just not sure I'll pay the full price for it.
But the eyeshadow trio is so pigmented and the colours so stunning, that I would have paid the full price for it. They can be worn without an eye primer and the colours will still go on boldly and smoothly. I adore all three shades, especially the brown as a subtle eyeliner and the highlighter shade for my inner tear duct. Same goes for the eyeliner, which is my favourite liquid liner now (I've been using it since Sept 2011, and it's just starting to dry out). Incredible staying power (doesn't flake/smudge even in my teary corners) and extremely precise brush.
7) Bare Escentuals BUXOM Stay-There Eyeshadow in "Collie"
It's supposedly a long-wearing cream shadow but I find its texture quite interesting actually - it's somewhat puffy like a mousse but it's not in flakes or particles like the L'oreal Infallible eyeshadows. Nonetheless, "Collie" is such a natural, eye-brightening shade and it goes on so smoothly and applies so evenly. The staying power is really good, I use this as a primer sometimes, and the silver glitters in it are visible but do not fall all over my face. I find it's such a versitile and usable product that I use it almost everyday during my internship in the lab.
8) Benefit High Beam
Truthfully speaking, you don't need the full-sized product. I bought this set of mini trio and while I was ok with Benetint and Posietint, I was really taken with High Beam, which led me to using it almost everyday..and I still have at least 75% left in that puny bottle. How much highlighter can you put on your face anyway? But the product itself is amazing, it imparts this beautiful sheen without looking too sparkly or greasy. I kinda fake a nose job with this and a bronzer. Works like nobody's business. o__o
I'll list some items that I had high hopes for but kinda let me down:
1. Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer
Thank god I bought only the travel-size tube (which really isn't that travel-sized, because it's still 30 ml). It goes on really nice and it's hydrating, yes, but I noticed that it made my face a greaseball in less than 3 hours. That's on my normal-dry skin and with setting powder on top. Not that great for the dry weather in America and Canada, but definitely no-go for SG's humid weather. ):
2. Bare Escentual's BUXOM lash mascara
Why?! I heard so many good things about this mascara, that it volumizes and lengthens lashes amazingly,but when I tried it.. it's was only average. And it smudged on me! This is the first mascara that smudged on me. Even cheapo $5 drugstore mascaras don't smudge on me. I'm only glad I got it in a value set.
3. Maybelline's The Falsies Mascara
Same thing. Such high expectation for it, but it did absolutely nothing for my lashes. The only good thing was that it's pretty cheap...and I lost it on the Grand Canyon. o__O End of story, don't have to use already.
4. Milani Liquif'eye Pencil Liner
People said it's even better than Urban Decay's or MUFE's eyeliners and I was really lookng forward to trying it. But the staying power was just as bad as those, and it gave me panda eyes in less than 4-5 hours. My Physicians Formula eyeliners outperform this by a mile.
So those are my recommendations (and not so recommended stuff) among all the items I hauled back then. If you have the opportunity, do try the good ones out;I know products that work for me may not work for you, but I really do love these so if there's a chance it may work for you, I'll urge you to try it. Thanks for reading!