Health and Beauty

Drugstore makeup: is it summer-proof?

Photos by Daniel Delaney.

When you’ve only got pocket change to spend on lipstick, which one should you buy? The game glamouristas of Brokelyn set out to put an end to budget makeup confusion by putting five bargain brands through their summer paces. Faces painted with the cheapest concoctions of wax and pigment money can buy, they drank 40 ouncers, snarfed pizza and stuck their faces in an NYC fire hydrant. Read on to find out what we discovered about venerable cosmetic brands Jordana, Wet ‘n’ Wild, NIcka K, NYX and NYC. Here, Alison’s Wet ‘n’ Wild makeup lives up to its name. Mascara ($3.49), liquid liner ($2.89), and lipstick ($0.99), all from Walgreens.

The lipstick wrecking crew, clockwise from lower left: Aison Pels, Caroline Shadood, Meghan Doherty, Meredith Olson.

∆ Meghan prepares for battle, NYC makeup perfectly in place. She tested the brand’s City Duet eyeshadow $2.99, mascara $2.99, liquid eyeliner $2.99 and Ultralast lipwear $1.99. “The liquid eyeliner went on cleanly and easily, making me question my usual $27 Dior liquid liner, but the mascara made me look like I only had seven lashes. The lipstick was attractively colored but required several redos. By the day’s end I’d gone through a half tube. Worse, the top wasn’t secure and it melted in bag.”

∆ Caroline performs the ultimate test on Jordana brand mascara, eyeliner and lipstick, all $1.50 at a 99-cent store at Flushing Station. “I was pleasantly surprised that my lipstick and mascara stayed put,” she says. “The eyeliner morphed into a sultry smokey look, so I’d recommend using this application/hydrant wetting method in anticipation of a hot night out.”

∆ The pizza test: Jordana and Nicka K survive two slices to win this round. Not faring so well: NYC and Wet ‘n’ Wild. “Eating pizza with my mouth should have had no bearing on the performance of my eyeliner, but sitting in the hot pizza parlor left black smears in the bottom corners of my eyes,” says Alison, who wore the latter. “My love affair with this lipstick was short-lived. Less than one slice into the pizza-thon, I had eaten all of the lipstick except for an outline of my mouth.”

∆ The testers practice their Snooki faces.

∆ The overall winner? Meredith’s Nicka K eyeliner and mascara (each $1.99 from a 99-cent store in Bushwick) and NYX lipstick ($2.99), with a few qualifications. Says Meredith: “I have no idea who Nicka K is, but she sure can make makeup that stays on — aside from some initial crumbling, that is. The second I applied the eyeliner, it began to flake off. But once it cut its losses, my face seemed impervious to water, and I had nary a drop of mascara-tinged water run down my face, unlike Alison. The mascara didn’t bleed at all but also didn’t seem to add too much volume or length to my lashes.I totally dunked myself in that hydrant spray, but my lipstick didn’t budge.”

Special thanks to Daniel Delaney for the photos. Daniel is a food blogger and the founder of VenderTV, and you can see more of his work at


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