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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your questions: answered!

A few weeks ago I posted a special Wednesday Question and I told you that I'd pick 10 of your questions to answer on the blog in a future post. Well the time has come, I've selected the ten questions, and today I'd like to give you my answers!

Thanks SO much to all of you who left questions on that post, and an extra special shout-out to the readers below for asking questions that were so fun to answer!

Reader D. asks:
You provide reviews for many different types of products during any given week. My question for you is what is your favorite type of product to test, review and blog about and why? 


Love this question! Believe it or not, my very favorite products to test, review and blog about are fragrance, bath and body products. I just adore those types of products and I always have--they're my number one obsession. But after getting lots of feedback over the years, I know that the majority of Nouveau Cheap readers aren't as crazy about those types of products as I am, so I try to keep my bath and body product reviews to a minimum. So when I do review a fragrance, bath or body product, it's because I REALLY love it and I just can't keep it to myself.

Reader Emi asks:
You, of course, love and enjoy drugstore beauty products, but how often do you buy high end beauty products / how often do you wear high end beauty products? What makes a high end beauty product worth it to you?


I usually "reward" myself with one new higher-end beauty product about once every three months.  The last big thing I splurged on was the Urban Decay Naked Palette, which was a while ago, so I'm due for something new! The higher-end beauty products I currently use on a pretty consistent basis are the Naked Palette, a Stila palette, a few MAC eyeshadow singles, a few Bobbi Brown lipsticks and also my UD Primer Potion. Other than that, every single thing I use on a consistent basis for makeup, skincare, body care and haircare is from the drugstore (aside from some fancy perfumes I own, but I ration those and only use them on very special occasions).

As for what makes a high end beauty product worth it to me? It has to be 1) something I just cannot duplicate with a drugstore product and 2) something that sticks in my head for days after I've seen it. I see so many products on a daily basis, but if I keep thinking about a certain product for days or weeks, then I usually know it's worth investigating. A good rule of thumb: when you see a higher end beauty product that you THINK you're in love with, don't bookmark it, pin it, talk about it, etc. If you still remember it or think about it in a week or two, it might be worth revisiting. If it escapes your memory after you see it, then maybe it's not that great after all, right? And of course always google a higher-end product for dupes before you buy it! Don't shell out $50 for something only to find there's a near-exact dupe available at the drugstore for $5.

Reader Louie B. asks:
Hi G! I was wondering what you do with products you don't want/need anymore. I am a bit of a beauty junkie and my collection is getting too big. I feel bad throwing it away. Advice from anyone would be appreciated. Thanks!


There's no such thing as not wanting or needing a beauty product when you're a beauty blogger! Well, I take that back--I'm sure many, many beauty bloggers can successfully purge when they need to, but I just can't do it. Since I deal with drugstore products, I like to hold on to things because, as we all know, beauty product ideas get recycled every so many years. So if brand X releases a "new" eyeshadow and I know I've seen that eyeshadow before, I want to be able to pull out brand Y's eyeshadow from two years ago and show you how similar they are. So basically, unless I have duplicates, I keep everything. I have bins for things that are "old and unusable" (like for my Vintage Vault series), " old but still usable", "last year's releases" and "this year's releases". It's actually a bit more complicated than that, but you get the idea! If I have duplicates of certain things, I usually give gently used products like nail polish or haircare to family and friends, and many of my unused products go to a local women's shelter. Women's shelters NEED unused beauty products (they must be unused and unopened though) and also things like shaving cream, tampons, shampoo, etc. So if you find yourself with lots of unused product that you're not going to use before the expiration date, consider contacting the women's shelters in your town and finding out if they'd like a donation.

Reader Kimberly Purcell asks:
Do you paint your toes? What is your all-time favorite perfume? When you travel, do you take a lot of makeup/beauty stuff or, do you pair it down a lot?


I pretty much always paint my toes, even in winter. My all-time favorite perfume is Chantecaille Frangipane. When I travel I really pair it down and often only bring one eyeshadow quad, two blushes, a few lip colors and my staple products like foundation, concealer, etc. I figure that if I only have a very limited amount of products to work with, it will cause me to spend less time getting ready and more time being out and enjoying the sights and sounds of whatever city I'm in, so I never travel with a lot of makeup! 

Reader Theresa asks:
My question is what is your favorite beauty era? Like 20s, 50s, 80s, something like that.


My favorite beauty era on a personal level is the 80s, but that's only because that's the era I grew up in and the decade when makeup became very important to me (I was 10 in 1980 and 20 in 1990 so the 80s were when I learned everything that I still carry with me to this day). But on an aesthetic level, I love the makeup of the 40s. I love the high-arched brows, the red lipstick, the black eyeliner and the porcelain skin of that era. I also love the nail looks (half-moon manicures!) and hairstyles (victory rolls!) of that era. 

Reader Krista asks:
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring ONE nail polish with you, what would it be?


Oh MAN, that's a tough one. I would get so bored with only one polish! I think I would probably have to go with a color like Orly Space Cadet, because at least I could view it at different angles and it would seem like a different color, depending on the angle.

Reader Hannah asks:
What is your ALL TIME FAVORITE drugstore concealer? I've been needing a new one and was wondering which ones were good.


Maybelline SuperStay. I have yet to find a drugstore concealer that lasts as long on my oily skin, and I love the shade "Light" for under my eyes.

Reader Sharona asks:
I hear a lot about orange being a hot color this year, so here is my question (and I would love a demo) - how does one do ones make up around orange/coral lipstick? How would you do your eyes, cheeks? Thanks.


The key to rocking orange or coral lipstick is to avoid being matchy-matchy with the rest of your face. When you're wearing a bold lip color like orange or coral, your lips are going to be the star of the show, so you need to downplay your eyes and cheeks. I think that a medium-toned bronze, copper or warm brown shadow applied very softly works well with an orange lip, and I think that satin or matte shadows work best. If you go for a super-shimmery or metallic eye, you run the risk of it competing with your lip color and remember, your lip color is the star of the show when you're wearing orange. As for cheeks, try to stick with peaches or coral shades. You don't want your cheeks to match your lips exactly, but you also don't want them to stand out like a sore thumb. As long as your cheek color has SOME orange in it, it should work nicely. In other words, don't wear blue-based baby pink blush that has absolutely no orange in it at all. Try to pick a soft pink that has strong orange undertones or a peach or coral and apply it lightly to the apples of your cheeks, blending up and back along your cheek bone.

Reader Unknown asks:
I would like to know your favorite way to store products where you can actually see what you have instead of digging through a drawer or stack. I have very little counter space and this has been a problem for me, especially as my collection has grown.


I read this tip a long time ago and it stuck with me, so I'd like to pass it along because I think it's genius: if you have a lot of beauty products and you worry about not using them (or remembering you have them), try this method. Every week, fill a small makeup bag with corresponding color cosmetics from your stash. Pick a couple of blushes, a few shadow quads (or trios, or singles), a few lip colors, eyeliners, etc. and stick them in a cute makeup bag on your counter. Also on your counter, keep your staple items like foundation, concealer, powder, mascara, etc. (I keep my staples in my rotating organizer). For that week, use ONLY the color cosmetics that are in your makeup bag and keep the rest of your makeup stash in plastic bins, boxes, drawers, etc. in another room (or closet). At the end of each week, empty your makeup bag (put it back into your stash) and pick all new color cosmetics to use for the next week. If you keep doing this, you'll literally be forced to use everything you own as you cycle through your stash. Also, you'll probably discover some products that you NEVER want to put in your makeup bag for the week, and that's a good way to know what you should probably throw out. If you keep passing over something and never want to use it, why keep it, right?

Reader Pokey asks:
How did you first get into make up and how did you learn what looks good on you? Did you have any make up mentors?


I first got into makeup when I was about 13 years old. I of course didn't wear a full face of makeup back then, but that's when I really remember loving the drugstore and spending hours in the makeup aisle looking at all the products. The way I learned what looks good on me was through simple trial and error. In the 80s I went through a blue mascara phase, which I thought looked amazing on me. It wasn't until someone said it looked "weird" that I learned to try and look at my face objectively and see what REALLY works with my skintone, hair color, etc. In other words, just because I love the way pastel pink listpicks look in the tube does NOT mean I should wear them. They look horrid on my skintone, and it took me years to come to grips with that. My best advice is to start with colors that are universal and popular (Milani Luminous Blush, Wet n Wild 666 lip pencil, etc.)  and see how those things look on your face. When you look in the mirror, do those colors seem to bring out the best of your skintone? Do they look like they work naturally with your hair color and skin color or do they look odd to you? If Milani Luminous blush looks a little too "orange" on your skin, then try another blush that has more pink in it and see if that looks better. You've got to experiment and just keep an open mind and try things that may not appeal to you at first (pinky-brown lipsticks don't look amazing in the tube, but they look amazing on my lips and that's what counts!). And when you're experimenting, try to buy your products at CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens if you can. Those stores will let you return or exchange USED product if you have your receipt, so you can keep on trying different shades until  you find the color that really works for you.

My number one makeup mentor is, of course, my mom (don't so many of us learn how to apply lipstick by watching our moms do it)?  Also, the supermodels of the 1990s had a HUGE impact on how I look at makeup and how I apply my makeup. Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista in particular, were a HUGE influence on me. I remember being mesmerized by their makeup in this video from 1990 and watching it over and over again on MTV:

Linda Evangelista's eyes at 1:06 *swoon*
Christy Turlington's lips at 2:16 *cries*

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. What a great post. Kudoes to you for mentioning giving unused products to women's shelters!

  2. Yay, you picked my question! This whole post was fabulous, so interesting to read your thoughts on a variety of topics!

  3. Great read! I love when you said "when you see a higher end beauty product that you THINK you're in love with, don't bookmark etc... remember/think about it in a week or two, it might be worth revisiting. escapes your memory after you see it, then maybe it's not that great after all, right? dupe before you buy it!"
    Great tip I need that bc i can be an impluse buyer and not to mention a sucker for Highend products. Thanks!! -Leslie

  4. Funny - I'm wearing Space Cadet today..... LOL

  5. Hello G, I'd personally love to read your reviews of fragrances! Specially if they're nice and not outrageosly expensive...!

  6. <3 Orly's Space Cadet! Great choice!

  7. Thanks so much for talking about womens shelter donations. Just a note to what I have experienced - some of them WILL take *some* opened products, that have been sanitized, that are powder based. Those that do will NOT take open items that have touched the face directly, ie mascara, lip products that touch the face and redipped back in the containter. They will also take partially used bottles of shampoo/conditioner/body washes/moisturizers, so if you have one/some that just didn't work for you, consider donating, those, too. And they especially love SAMPLES!!

  8. Another way to use unwanted shampoos/shower gels is to use them to clean around your house. gives this bit of advice and I've LOVED cleaning my toilets and tubs (as well as outdoor items) with a bit of unwanted, yet good smelling, shower products rather than the typical harsh smelling household cleaners.

  9. I actually like reading your reviews on bath and body products. I don't mind reading more about them.
    I used to just use regular soap instead of body washes.
    But now I've learned a lot, thanks to your blog.

    Really great post overall. ^^

  10. This post was sooooo much fun to read!!!! Loved it. Maybe you make this a semi annual treat for us! Tho I can imagine it was really time consuming?

  11. This was such an interesting post! It would be great if you did these from time to time.

  12. Wow! Good questions and great answers. Enjoyed reading it very much. Thanks G and everyone.

  13. Thanks so much for answering G! I'll have to check out that concealer :)

  14. I love your tip about not bookmarking a new makeup product and only getting it if it sticks in your mind. Im going to do that, it should save me quite a bit of $$ since I tend to forget things that Im not kinda obssessed with lol

    I was thinking if you're stranded on an island with one nail polish you could sprinkle sand on top of wet polish one day, shredded coconut on top another day.. imprint tropical leaves on another day LOL!! Thanks for all the work you do on this blog, I love reading rour posts daily .

  15. You picked me! Yay! I LOVE the lazy susan idea.. thank you so much. I will definitely pick one of those up asap. I have this huge stack of stuff on my little section of counter space that I have to fish through every time I need something, the spinning organizer would completely change that.

  16. This was such a fun post to read! Thanks for sharing your advice :) oh and I loved the makeup in that George Michael Video, too! I remember also being mesmerized my those supermodels at a young age.

  17. I'm honored that you chose my question as one to answer. This was a fun post (hope you will consider doing it again) and it was great to learn a little bit more about my favorite beauty blogger :)

  18. :)))) Thank you for answering my question. Will experiment with your suggestion... I did buy a coral Sonia Kushak lipstick recently (with a Target coupon you blogged about!) but haven't used it yet. Also, looove that song, I had forgotten how much I loved George Michael and how much I miss the 90's (big sigh!)

  19. I can't believe nobody mentioned swapping makeup and stuff we don't want anymore like at in addition to shelters and womens programs like welfare to work and the ones who help them train and get jobs, interview and such. all awesome ideas! great post thank you.

  20. All I want to say to my makeup twin is a huge freakin' THANK YOU for posting one of THE best, most visually stunning videos of all time (IMHO)! I could never get tired of the song or of watching all the glam goddesses that I (and many others our age) admired during the Age of the Supermodel :-) BEST. SONG. EVER.

    I wouldn't get up for less than $10K a day, either, if I looked like that ;-) (Trivia: which one of the above models said that?)

  21. Loved the trip down memory lane with George Michael - thanks for posting that!!

  22. I will have to check out Orly Space Cadet. Thanks for answering my question :D

    1. Great idea for shelters, I've been giving mine to daughter and friends! Who is the actor in video, it isn't George Michael


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