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Can’t Do Without Drugstore and High-End Makeup I’ll Always Repurchase

By Elise Marquam-Jahns September 14, 2023 Makeup and Fashion

I imagine that you – like me – have some can’t do without makeup favorites that you’ll definitely repurchase. So today I want to share with you my can’t do without drugstore and high end makeup products that I wouldn’t hesitate for a nanosecond to repurchase and recommend.

Best Brow Bets

Over the years, I’ve tried so many eyebrow products – as I’m sure you have – but my go-to Holy Grail eyebrow products are the ABH Brow Powder Duo, NYX’s Micro Brow Pencil and Maybelline’s Brow Fast Sculpt Brow Mascara (now renamed Express Brow Fast Sculpt Mascara) – which is a tinted brow gel.

What sets apart the ABH Brow Powder Duo for me is the fact that it comes with two different shades – a lighter and a darker – which is brilliant because having two shades in one small, compact allows us to get exactly the perfect color for our brows. And this product will also last a very long time.

The NYX pencil has the perfect small tip to draw on brow hairs or to fill in sparse areas of our brows or brow tails. And the Maybelline product tints our brows, holds them in place – and more importantly – is one of the few brow gels that actually covers white and grey brow hairs.

Eyeshadow Faves

Next up is eyeshadow. I’m including some neutral palettes as well as eyeshadow palettes whose color story just makes me smile. My smallest drugstore eyeshadow: Elf’s “I Love You a Latte” palette is comprised of all matte eyeshadows which are beautiful on mature eyes. These light to dark neutral colors work for just about all of us. And the quality is unbelievable for the $3.00 price tag. And this isn’t just a good palette for the price. It’s just a good palette, period.

My mid-range can’t do without eyeshadow choice is the “Warrior II” palette from Juvia’s Place. The size of the pans is huge – so this is a great value. Plus, there’s a very light color – and a deep color – and there are a number of mid-range options as well. And the lighter and darker orange shades offer a great way to add a touch of interest to a neutral eyeshadow look.

And my high-end neutral choice is Natasha Denona’s “Biba” Palette.  I love the fact that this palette has universally flattering neutral shades – including greys – which are primarily mattes, but also has three gorgeous metallics. Each row in the palette is grouped by color with the top row featuring rich brown shades, the middle row with wine and burgundy shades and the bottom row with blue-grey shades. And these are beautiful, buttery formulas.

My last can’t do without colorful drugstore palettes are two from Colourpop. The “Cabana Club” palette and the “In the Springs” palette. One of my all-time favorite colorful eyeshadow palettes is from Natasha Denona: her “Retro Glam” palette which I’m wearing in the video. This color story is so unusual, and the soft pinks and greens are gorgeous and wearable.

Mascara Stand-Outs

My top mascara choice is Doll 10’s Effortlash Mascara and Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes since they’re two of the few mascaras that don’t irritate my sensitive eyes. However, if I could wear a drugstore mascara, my choice would be L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise.

Face Primers Perfect for Dry Skin

My longest running favorite face primer is from makeup artist Eve Pearl – her Priming Moisturizer Treatment. It works beautifully under every foundation I’ve ever worn – which is truly saying something – and it’s wonderfully hydrating and feels soft and lovely on the face.

A face primer I’ve recently discovered that I won’t do without is the face primer from the clean beauty brand RMS Beauty: their Re-Evolve Radiance Locking Primer. This primer does exactly what the name says – it locks in radiance – and it’s also extremely moisturizing so it’s especially wonderful for dry skin.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Favorite Foundations

I love the result I get when I combine the Catrice True Skin Foundation with L’Oreal’s Age Perfect Serum Foundation. The good coverage it provides – along with a soft glow – is a look I love on my dry, mature skin. And I won’t go without Wet and Wild’s Photo Focus Foundation in both the matte and dewy formulas because combining the two creates a lovely satin finish.

As for high end products, I have two clear-cut winners: one is the Light Reflecting Foundation from Nars and the other is Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin Foundation which looks gorgeous on dry, mature skin. Of all the makeup products available, foundations definitely are the most complicated to formulate – and make the biggest difference in how we look. So, I do think it’s worth it to invest in one top notch foundation that we can use on special occasions.

Top Concealers and Contours

I didn’t have to think twice about my concealer choices. For under eye concealing, l use my Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer on a daily basis, but for special occasions I reach for my Kosas concealer because of the brightening effect it has. However, the concealer with the best coverage is my Clinique Even Better Concealer.

One way to test how well a concealer actually does conceal discoloration is to apply a little over the vein on the underside of the wrist. If you can’t see the color of the vein after applying the concealer, you’ve found a concealer with excellent coverage.

I have three contours that are definitely stand-outs for me. To make it to my all-time favorite list, a contour has to apply and blend incredibly easily, and all of these contours fit that description. One is Makeup Revolution’s Ultra Cream Bronzer which comes in four shades. And the other two contours are Em Cosmetics’ So Soft Bronze + Sculpt stick in “Terra” and Huda Beauty’s Tantour Contour and Bronzer Cream which is an outstanding product that comes in five true contour cool shades.

Top Notch Blushes and Highlighters

Our skin absolutely looks its best when we use the most flattering blush colors. And the most flattering blush colors are those colors that work the best with the undertone of our skin. (And if you’re not sure of the undertone of your skin, check out this video that will help you determine if you have a warm, cool or neutral skin undertone.)

The blushes I’ll repurchase have to be easy and foolproof to apply. My drugstore choice is Flower Beauty’s Blush Bomb gel blush. My other two long time favorites are Daniel Sandler’s gorgeous liquid watercolor blush and Rare Beauty’s Stay Vulnerable cream blush. Two new entries in this category are Makeup by Mario’s new cream blush – called Soft Pop Plumping Blush Veil – and the new Nars After Glow Liquid Blush.

There are many really good highlighters at every price point, but two of my favorites are from the drugstore. One creates a soft glow and one creates a stronger glow. I love L’Oreal’s Lumi Glotion which comes in four shades and works beautifully under makeup, on top of makeup or mixed with makeup.

For a special occasion, I’ll often reach for Wet and Wild’s Megaglow Liquid Highlighter in “Halo, Goodbye.”  But if I had to pick just one highlighter, I’d choose RMS Beauty’s Luminizer in the shade “Magic.” It’s a stand-out because it creates a soft focus lit-from-within look which is especially gorgeous on mature skin.

Powder Perfection

An outstanding undereye setting powder is Maybelline’s Lasting Fix Banana Powder. And my go-to finishing powder is an all-time favorite that I’ve had for years: the Ambient Light Finishing Powder from Hourglass. It’s an absolute star in this category.

Lip Faves

Although I’m still mourning the loss of my favorite lip gloss from Huda Beauty, I do have a new favorite in this category from Lawless. This gloss comes in several different formulas. I love the feel of this gloss – and how it can transform the look of a lipstick.

I think we’d all agree that finding the right lipstick shade may be one of our toughest makeup challenges since in order for a lipstick to look its best on us, it has to once again work with the undertone of our skin. And many of us also need a lipstick that’s moisturizing.

Once again, my favorite lipstick was discontinued, and I’ve been trying out various combinations of colors and formulas, but I have yet to land on a combination that’s an absolute favorite. So, I’d love to know in the comment section below what some of your favorite lipsticks are.  

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What are some of your drugstore “can’t do without” products? Do you have any high-end products that you’ll always repurchase? What are your favorite lipsticks?

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Lee Ann Phinney

My all time favorite lipstick is Revlon Colorstay Overtime-one end is color, the other a clear glass. I also love the Maybelline Brow Sculpt gel you mentioned!

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Lee Ann — I’ll have to check out the Revlon lipstick. I love the idea of color on one end and gloss on the other. Thanks so much for sharing this product with us. And it’s nice to know that someone else also loves the Maybelline Brow Sculpt product! Maybelline does make some real winners.


Elise, I enjoy your videos, articles and have always learned something new. Pretty good I’ve been around for some time. I keep getting notices on Thrive makeup do you have experience with this product any opinions? What perked my interest is they say they give money from their sales to different organizations to help communities. They are pushing what they call Brilliant Eye Brightener that looks interesting. One of my favorite products is by Burt’s Bees lip balm, lipsticks and lip gloss. Thanks for all your guidance

Lee Ann Phinney

I have used Thrive concealer, crème foundation and crème blush, as well as crème eye shadow pencils. I like all that but not the mascara and lip products

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Nina–Thanks so much for your very kind words. I really appreciate your letting me know that the articles and videos have been helpful. Unfortunately I haven’t tried any Thrive products but I know many people love their mascara. But I must say the Brilliant Eye Brightener sounds interesting. Thanks so much for mentioning it. I’ll definitely have to check it out. And if you happen to try it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it at

Deb S

I have never used make-up. Have saved SO much money! We are beautiful just as we are.

Patricia Mc

Don’t know how you escaped the indoctrination, but I applaud you. Most of us aren’t nearly that brave.

Sheryl A

well you are certainly lucky!!!!

Donna Heron

I have lost most of my eyebrows. And I’d like a recommendation for a brow tool that will help me make natural looking brows easily. Is there such a thing? I’ve got light brown hair and don’t want to go too dark. So far the best I’ve found is by Revlon but if I’m sweating during an exercise class, it comes off. Help!!!

Patricia Lang

Maybe a good tattoo makeup artist. I know several people who have done this with great results.

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Donna–What might be extremely helpful for you would be to use an eyebrow stencil–especially the kind that has an elastic band that goes around the head so both hands can be free. They’re easy to find on Amazon. They come with a great many brow shapes so it’s extremely likely that you’ll find one that will be the perfect brow shape for you. The stencil means you can apply brow products more quickly and easily and the brows will match perfectly. As far as brow products are concerned, the ones that are most long wearing are pencils, gels and creams which all adhere best to bare skin on our sparser brows. Elf makes a product called “Wow Brow” which is a gel which has fibers that help our brows look fuller. Another good option that is long lasting is a cream (also called a pomade). Maybelline makes a good one as does a brand called IMethod which can be found online. ABH also makes one but it’s far more expensive. However, it does come in more colors. You might want to check out a “Taupe” color since it’s usually a good option for a lighter looking brow for those of us with brown brows. I hope this helps!


I lost almost all of my eyebrows due to an autoimmune disease. It was a daily struggle to find something that would stay in place while exercising, or accidentally rubbing my face. Two years ago I finally made the decision to get “permanent” eyebrows through eyebrow powdering, not microblading. It is literally the best beauty decision I’ve ever made in my life. I never have to think about my eyebrows at all, whereas previously it was constantly on my mind. I couldn’t be happier about it.


Look in to micro blading. Done by a good artist, they are a game changer for those of us who have lost all our brows.


I was happy to see that you use Elf – cruelty free. Maybe readers can check to see if their favorite cosmetic is indeed cruelty free …… there is no need for cosmetics to be tested on animals.

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Bailey–It is wonderful that so many brands are now cruelty free. But it’s unfortunate that many of the long time cosmetic brands tend not to be cruelty free. We can only hope that will change.

The Author

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and runs the “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel. Elise has authored the free guide The Top Four Research-Proven Makeup Techniques That Help Us Look Our Best Now.

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