High-Low Mix: My Beauty Cocktails

Mascara Wands

The more I think about Kate’s final Wimbledon outfit, the more I am struck by her epic high-low pairing. She donned a powder blue Emilia Wickstead dress (now sold-out, it carried a price tag of around $750 on the designer’s site) with heels from ALDO (on sale at Zappos for just, ahem, $55). That has to be some sort of ratio record, no?

Like many shoppers, I take particular pride in a high-low moment. Something about it feels so smart, so savvy. And it’s not limited to fashion! Some of my favorite combos are in my beauty stash.

I first began combining products years ago, while I was a senior style reporter at the Wall Street Journal. I wrote a piece about cosmetic shoppers’ obsession with cocktailing, the term industry executives used to describe mixing and matching of products from different brands. The concept rang true to me. I rarely wear head-to-toe of one label, so why would I wear a face full of makeup from one line?

In my experience, two beauty categories really lent themselves to cocktailing: lashes and brows. For the former, the tried-and-true combination I came up with while reporting the story has stuck with me. I start with CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher Mascara ($8). It’s the perfect base coat to define and darken my lashes. Most days, that bright green tube can be enough. But when I’m looking to add a little more bang — for a special occasion, obviously, but also just a random Wednesday pick-me-up — I’ll layer on a coat or two of Dior’s Diorshow Mascara ($29.50). The brush is so thick, it looks like a fuzzy caterpillar, but it works! Several swipes of the volumizing formula make a big difference. 

More recently, I’ve found cocktailing comes in handy with my brow obsession. I rarely leave the house without NYX’s Tinted Brow Mascara ($7.50; I use the shade called espresso). The formula is rich enough to fill in my brows and thick enough to keep my extra-long hairs in place. Plus, the tiny brush makes for an easy, precise application. On days when I feel like I want to try a bit harder, I’ll start by using a brow liner to define the shape a bit more. My beloved super skinny Stila one, with a long-lasting creamy formula that did. not. budge., is no longer in production and I’ve burned through my stash (sidenote: Why Stila whyyyyyyyyy). Now I have my eye — or eyebrow?! — on either the Dior Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil ($29) or Trish McEvoy Precision Brow Shaper ($30).

Ok, your turn! What high-low beauty pairings do you recommend? Please share in your comments!

Also, semi-related and totally selfish, I would love to hear your brow pencil favorites as I hunt for a new one. AND! Please let me know if you have a go-to waterproof mascara, as my never-ending quest to find one that stays put (but doesn’t destroy my lashes) continues.

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