Buy this, not that: Which products really help you save face?

The book Eat This, Not That! offers up food swaps that promise to yield calorie savings that add up. Well, we’ve got our own little black book and it’s filled with products that can save your beauty budget and your good looks.

Buy This:
EmerginC’s Swift Lift
Not That:
Ceramic Skin Smoother from Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals

Perricone’s Ceramic Skin Smoother is a pricey product — $75 for one ounce — that didn’t produce the expected results, specifically helping to correct “fine lines, wrinkles and skin imperfections.” EmerginC’s Swift Lift sells at a slightly higher price, $79 at, but came through on its promise to deliver a noticeable — yet temporary — firming and tightening effect. (Gotta love the honesty at EmerginC.) Apply a few drops daily either under makeup or moisturizer, or even mix it in with your liquid foundation for a daily boost.

Buy This:
Rimmel’s Glam’Eyes Lash Flirt Mascara
Not That:
POP Beauty’s Lash Wow Mascara

POP Beauty’s Lash Wow Mascara sells for $18.50 and promises to lengthen and thicken lashes with a non-clumping formula. For us, the opposite was true: the mascara went on in large clumps thanks to an awkward, two-sided application wand. One side is meant to apply mascara to lower lashes while the other is designed for upper lashes. On the other hand, Rimmel’s Glam’Eyes Lash Flirt Mascara boasts a thin, easy-to-maneuver wand that makes lengthening and separating lashes a breeze. And this affordably priced mascara doesn’t disappoint, offering long, lush lashes that fit within any beauty budget at less than $8 at local drugstores.

Buy This:
Rimmel’s Professional Eyebrow Pencil
Not That:
ELF’s Eyebrow Lifter and Filler

The good news is that ELF’s Eyebrow Lifter and Filler is a budget friendly three bucks. The bad news is, you get what you pay for. The dual ended pencil is designed to give the appearance of lifting brows when applied at the brow bone, while filling in sparse brow hairs, but does neither well. The “lift” color is flat and unappealing while the “fill” side is much too thick to apply with precision. Instead, opt to fill brows with Rimmel’s Professional Eyebrow Pencil ($1.74 at Use it to fill in gaps and to even brow color. Plus, the included brow brush whips unruly brows into shape.

Buy This:
Skinn’s High Definition Cotton Foundation
Not That:
Lancome’s Ôscillation Powerfoundation

The concept is exciting, which must be why Lancome has recently added oscillating mascaras, primers and now powder foundation to their cosmetic collection. And while we’ve recommended Lancome’s lash primer, called Ôscillation Powerbooster, in previous stories, we can’t endorse this new product. At $48, we were disappointed with Ôscillation Powerfoundation’s poor coverage and dry application wand. For great coverage at half the price, purchase a lesser-known mineral makeup brand called Skinn by Dimitri James. Sold for $25 at, the High Definition Cotton Foundation is a mineral powder foundation that serves up phenomenal coverage but won’t go on dry or chalky, thanks to humectants that create a smooth and natural look that lasts for hours.

Want to read more product reviews and post your own? Click here to browse reviews and tell us about the products you love, and those you recommend leaving at the counter.

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