Thank you so much to everyone who submitted questions this month! It’s a honor to get the chance to help you find what you’re looking for (for less!), so please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s something you need assistance with – interacting with all of you is one of the best parts of my day! Now let’s get to your questions…
1) I’m on the hunt for a quilted nylon tote that I can use as a carry-on bag for travel. I love the MZ Wallace Metro Tote, but it’s way out of my price range. Can you suggest some similar budget-friendly options?
I also love the MZ Wallace brand, so I feel your pain! I’m actually looking to purchase one similar to this for a long international trip I’m taking this summer. These are all great styles that can double as a stylish gym bag, a casual weekend tote or a diaper bag for new moms.
2) Like you, I have a teenage daughter who has just started wearing makeup. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m tired of her raiding my beauty cabinet, so I need to set her up with her own stash. I buy most of my own products at Sephora, but I’d like to find drugstore alternatives for her to start with that work well but aren’t as expensive.
I remember when my daughter came to me and asked to start wearing makeup – I was so excited to share my love of all things beauty with her, but I also wanted to make sure she was taught proper techniques to enhance her natural beauty without going overboard. We started small and I purchased products that would simply highlight her features without looking like she was wearing a lot of makeup. Here are some of her favorites (note: these are great for anyone who’s looking for good drugstore beauty buys!):
My daughter was blessed with her dad’s long curly lashes, so she doesn’t need a lot of help in this area, but she wanted to try out mascara for special events & choir concerts. This lightly coats without clumping & creates great separation for a pretty natural look.
Makeup Sponge Trio
These latex-free sponges are just the right size & she thought the marble pattern was so cool – such a good affordable alternative to the classic Beauty Blender!
Tinted Brow Gel
Because my daughter wears glasses, she didn’t want to worry about brow pencil rubbing off on her rims throughout the day (and she has great brows already anyway!), so this tinted gel was the perfect solution. It keeps those tiny hairs in place and gives subtle definition without looking too harsh.
This lip gloss is the best – I originally bought several for her, but now I borrow them from time to time! These come in tons of color options and they’re only $3 – her favorite shades are Tiramisu, Praline & Angel Food Cake.
I couldn’t get over how good this was when I first tried it – it’s nearly an exact dupe for the It Cosmetics concealer that I swear by (but much less expensive). She doesn’t need to wear it under her eyes, but it covers those teenage blemishes flawlessly & stays put through PE class!
Jumbo Eye Pencil
School mornings always feel rushed, so anything that speeds up her getting-ready process is a bonus! She likes to swipe this on her lids and then blend a little with her finger for a soft neutral shimmer (she uses Iced Mocha).
This cute little bag is perfect for holding all their essentials & stashing in their locker for any quick touch-ups between class.
This is actually the blush that I use – we put it on her for a performance & she fell in love with the color. It literally looks good on ANY skin tone (we use Mauve Me).
I personally don’t think primer is essential for a teenager because the texture of their skin is already pretty great! But, she swears this one prevents her t-zone from getting shiny throughout the day – I tried it for myself and found it to be very similar to Smashbox Photo Finish.
Mineral Powder Foundation
On days when she wants light coverage, she uses this loose mineral-based powder. It has buildable coverage similar to bareMinerals and I appreciate that it’s sulfate & phthalate-free.
Makeup Brush Set
I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a massive brush set because I knew she only needed a few – these are great quality for the price & have held up very well.
For times when she needs a little more coverage, this CC cream has become her favorite – I had never heard of this brand before, but she loves the natural finish & that it has SPF20 built-in. This is a good clean beauty option for those who are looking for medium coverage!
3) My family is heading on vacation for Spring Break and I’m in desperate need of a new swimsuit for our trip. I’m looking for a one-piece with decent coverage that’s affordably priced in a classic print or solid black.
One piece swimsuits have gotten so much better through the years & there are some really cute options out right now! Because it’s still early in the season, your best options will be found online – I always recommend sizing up in swimwear and ordering two sizes (especially if you’re not familiar with the brand). I stuck with your color choices for the collage here, but there are some more colorful styles in the scrolling bar below!