9 Beauty Products You’re Better Off Buying From the Drugstore

Let’s face it: As beauty-obsessed as we all might be, many of the products themselves can be downright pricey. Considering the fact that we need to own enough lip and nail colors to practically match the entire rainbow (because you always need to have a shade on hand that can match what Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid just wore, obviously), it all adds up pretty damn quickly. 

This is where your neighborhood drugstore comes in. A splurge on a luxe product every now and again is just that: a splurge. It’s something you’ll proudly display on your vanity and use sparingly, but your drugstore makeup products become your most reliable pretty quickly. And, a good number of the drugstore brands — whether you’re talking hair, skin care or makeup — actually use similar (if not the same) technologies as mass prestige brands since they tend to be owned by larger companies that also have mass prestige brands under their umbrella, so the methods are passed through the company.

Mascara

Mascara may be the most obvious, as the drugstore brands have been doing mascara correctly for eons. Not only do they have varieties ranging from volumizing to lengthening, drugstore brands like Maybelline, CoverGirl and L’Oreal also boast new launches multiple times throughout the year to stay on top of the trends. For example, there are several formulas offering iterations of the runway’s “spider” lashes at the moment. 

L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, $8.99, available at Ulta.com: My ultimate drugstore mascara? L’Oreal Butterfly Effect, which I hoard in bulk. This mascara has a winged brush — like a butterfly wing, hence the name — and adds that perfect hint of volume to your lashes while also helping to lengthen and separate. Basically, it’s my cannot-live-without desert island beauty product. 

Liner Pencils

Liner pencils tend to wear down pretty quickly, so there really is no sense in dishing out a lot of cash for them. Of course, you should always make sure they don’t run or smudge too much, and that they draw a clean line without tugging the skin. 

Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil, $7.99, available at Ulta.com: My personal favorite is Maybelline’s new Eyestudio Master Precise Skinny Gel Pencil, which is similar to the company’s beloved Master Drama pencil, which is no longer on the market (to many a fan’s dismay). The tiny, precise tip of the new gel pencil helps even the most amateur cat-eye artists get their flicks right though, and the gel glides along the skin ever so easily. 

Makeup Wipes

Makeup wipes are every lazy girl’s answer to a clean face, as well as the easiest way to remove dirt and grime while on the go. So, whether you’re a frequent traveler or you spend a lot of time at your significant other’s place, the makeup wipe will be your best friend. 

Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes, $5.99, available at Target.com: These deliver the cleaning benefits of micellar water without stripping your face of its natural oils. I personally am a micellar water junkie, singing it’s praises time and time again — my skin’s tone has greatly improved since jumping on the bandwagon, and I won’t be going back anytime soon.

Blush

Blush is one of those products that can be fun to experiment with a few different shades depending on the season. You want soft pinks and corals to brighten up your cheeks in the warmer months, and can go a bit deeper in the winter. And then, of course, there are various formulas and textures, adding an entirely new layer of experimentation — so why fuss over high-end brands? 

Flower Beauty Transforming Touch Powder to Crème Blush, $12.98, available at Walmart.com: Trust me when I say that this is one of the best blushes on the market today. Drew Barrymore’s line boasts an exclusive “liquid powder” technology that literally transforms the loose powder blush into a crème right when you apply it to your skin, helping it to blend easily and set quickly. 

Mousse

While mousse frequently conjures up memories of crunchy curls circa the ’80s, it’s actually back with a vengeance. And luckily for you, like Warnke mentioned earlier, many of the top hair-care companies work together on their technologies (i.e. to prevent aforementioned crunchy curls). So, the mousse of today helps your hair to form a curl, without the frizz or stickiness. 

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Perfectly Full Mousse, $6.99, available at Drugstore.com: My current favorite comes from John Frieda, and is a reinvention of its Perfectly Full Mousse. The new version has a lighter feel, so that you’ll have that touchable curl with hold — but without the crunchiness that we all tend to associate with a mousse product.

Nail Polish

Since nail polish is addictive to collect, it’s in your best interest to find a drugstore brand that you love — and that lasts. With all of the polishes to choose from these days, this can be an overwhelming task. To make it easier, many of the top brands have developed some sort of “gel effect” polish, which essentially means that it will last longer; the technology may vary in some ways from brand to brand but, in the end, the purpose is for it to last up to two weeks — the same as if you were getting a professional gel manicure. 

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $9.99, available at Ulta.com: After testing all of these new gel effect formulas, my favorite, hands down, is Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel. You have to buy the top coat separately in order for it to work, but it truly does last almost to the two-week point — and that’s through washing dishes, swimming and more. 

Dry Shampoo

Since most of us love to extend the life of a blowout (or let’s face it, we just like to wash less frequently, because it’s a hassle) dry shampoo is often our best friend. We all own bottles and bottles of the stuff, so it better be cheap  — but like RiRi says, it also better work.

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, $6.19, available at Ulta.com: There are countless dry shampoos you can get at your drugstore, but my recent favorite is Not Your Mother’s due to the fact that it absorbs oil quickly and leaves a matte texture for that perfect bedhead finish.

Lip Gloss

Since we’ve already told you that lip gloss is back in a big way (the proof is in your Instagram feed), it’s due time to try out a new sheen. Many of the best new glosses are drugstore brands, like NYX, Milani and Flower Beauty.

NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss, $4.99, available at Ulta.com: My all-time favorite gloss is actually an Instagram fave as well: NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss. The sweetly scented gloss gives medium color coverage and high shine. But, the best part is that the formula isn’t sticky and actually stays on your lips, as opposed to most glosses that come off after drinking or eating. 

Eyeshadow (Sometimes)

Everyone needs a few great shimmering nudes, and Milani actually has a fantastic palette to start with — for under $10! For folks looking to build up their eye-shadow collections in general, drugstore palettes are a great place to start, and both nudes and soft metallics are the essential starting points. 

Milani Everyday Eyes Powder Eyeshadow Collection in Bare Necessities, $9.99, available at Walgreens.com: Milani’s palettes are my favorite for essential colors, like shimmering nudes as a baseline for a smokey eye. This Everyday Eyes Powder palette is one that I always have on hand (or is an easy palette to stick in my bag for travel) and will cover all of the bases. 

FASHIONISTA article

12 Best Drugstore Eyeshadows That Start At Just $5

Of all the products in your makeup bag, the one that allows you to show the most creativity is your eyeshadow. The colored powders in those little pans highlight the most expressive part of your face. The looks you dream up can be anything from subtle to glam, and eyeshadows come in every color to match any mood or outfit. However, palettes can get pretty pricey. That’s where drugstores come in. 

Affordable brands like Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, NYX, and more make shadows that stack up to the quality of high-end brands—and sometimes even out-perform them. Although drugstore eyeshadows used to be entry-level products beauty lovers first experimented with in middle school, they’re now staples in the makeup kits of professional artists and beauty influencers alike.

  • Maybelline Total Temptation Eyeshadow + Highlight Palette

    Patrick Ta, go-to makeup artist of Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima, and Shay Mitchell, thinks that this palette is “the perfect drugstore eyeshadow option.” He loves the blendability of the shades and says you can create both natural and smokey eye looks with it. Plus, the metallic shades double as face highlighters so you can glow all over.
  • ColourPop Give It To Me Straight Palette

    For a bronze smokey eye, Henney says that there is no palette better than this one. She loves that the metallic tones work to give the center of the eye a pop. She also regularly brings it when she is doing makeup for swimwear campaigns because it creates when she calls a “beach babe eye.”
  • Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow 10-Pan Palette

    You can’t really go wrong with a $5 eyeshadow palette, especially when the quality is as good as this one is. It comes in four different shade ranges so you can select the one that best fits your mood, or collect them all—for less than the price of one high-end palette. Makeup artist and YouTuber @RawBeautyKristi says that these palettes are a go-to of hers when she needs something both affordable and quality, and emphasizes that Wet N Wild is an “underrated drugstore brand.”
  • Karity Nudes and Rudes

    Bartlett also reaches for this palette when she needs to create a neutral look. She loves that each of the shadows are highly pigmented and blendable, and it comes with 21 total hues in the palette. It’s versatile enough to create both natural and dramatic looks.
  • Maybelline The Burgundy Bar Eyeshadow Palette Makeup

    Celebrity makeup artist and #DewyDumpling Instagram phenomenon Nam Vo, who works with everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Kylie Jenner, uses this palette to create what she describes a “warm dumpling eye,” because the entire set is subtly metallic and warm-toned.
  • NYX Professional Makeup Prismatic Eyeshadow

    Vo is also partial to this metallic baby pink shadow single. She gently taps it into the center of the lid to give a glossy shock of glitter to any eye look, especially when she wants to give off a sweet, “innocent” vibe.
  • E.l.f. Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette

    Beauty YouTuber and founder of Dominique Cosmetics, Christen Dominique, loves how the shadows in this palette are buildable in coverage and are universally flattering on a variety of skin tones. It also comes in sleek black packaging that will look great both in a makeup flatlay and sitting on your vanity countertop.
  • Milani Bold Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette

    Beauty influencer Foinika Kay—also known as @ExteriorGlam—says this palette is one of the best ones that she owns. Though it falls on the pricier side of drugstore palettes, she loves how pigmented it is, and that the shades are so different that you can create a plethora of fun looks.
  • BH Cosmetics Opalescent 24 Color Shadow Palette

    Kay also really loves this BH palette for its long-lasting power. It has a ton of neutral shades ranging from golds to pinks, and it even has a few purples thrown in, so you can go for a more neutral, soft-glam look.
  • NYX Swear By It Shadow Palette

    Beauty influencer and musician Bri Hall swears by this palette, pun intended. The color diversity, as well as the mix of textures and finishes, makes it an easy go-to for the makeup lover on-the-go. She loves that it has a combination of warm and cool tones, and regularly reaches for this palette whenever she’s in a pinch.

ELLE article

HUDA BEAUTY New Nude VS. Focallure Sunrise Eyeshadow Palette

The New Nude Palette by HUDA BEAUTY is versatile and wearable in equal measure. Delivering infinite possibilities, this unexpected palette encourages you to experiment, empower, and express yourself however you please. The online brand Focallure wastes no time in creating alterntives to HUDA’s palettes, and Sunrise is their answer to New Nude.

The all-in-one eyeshadow palette consists of 18 highly-pigmented shades, ranging from flattering mattes to shimmer-drenched hues, and has everything you need to transform your lids. The carefully-curated lineup is studded with easy-to-use combinations—from soft berry to dusty copper, and rosy pink to golden taupe tones. The New Nude Palette boasts a variety of game-changing textures and colors, balancing cool and warm tones to complement the best of both worlds. 

The formula of the two palettes is borderline identical. HUDA’s shadows are highly pigmented, very easy to blend, and last all day long (with the right eyeshadow primer). Exactly the same can be said about Focallure’s palette – it even mimics the cream concealer at the bottom left corner and pressed glitter shades.

Buy HUDA Beauty New Nude eyeshadow palette
Buy Focallure Sunrise eyeshadow palette

Have you tried either of the palettes? What do you think about the formula and the colors that aren’t traditional “nude” shades? Let me know in the comments below!

Colourpop’s 9-Pan Eyeshadow Palettes

ColourPop’s 9-pan palettes have taken the makeup world by storm; from monochromatic color stories to complementing colors that make great looks – they’ve got it all. At this point it’s safe to say there are over 20 of this style of palette made by ColourPop, with new releases every week!

Each collection has a cute pun-ny name and usually comes with blushes, highlighters, lip glosses, lipsticks, and even some of their FourthRayBeauty or SOLBody products.

The palettes I own:
MAR (part of SOL + MAR Collection)
Uh-huh Honey
Main Squeeze
– Brown Sugar (not available on the website)
Strawberry Shake

The formula is incredible, and not just for the price. The shadows are pigmented, easily bendable, and last all day long on the eyes with the right eyeshadow primer. More than half of the palettes in this shape come with at least one pressed glitter, which may turn some makeup lovers away from the product.

Overall, these shadows and color stories sometimes resemble their expensive counterparts very precisely (HUDA Beauty), while others have their own unique color story.

At $12USD, 10/10 recommend!

Have you tried these palettes? What do you think about them? Let me know in the comments below!

Too Faced Natural Nudes VS. Maybelline Nudes of New York

When Too Faced released their (yet another) version of a nude eyeshadow palette called Natural Nudes in January 2020, so did Maybelline with a drugstore dupe that released in the same month. Since makeup products take at least 6-8 months to create, formulate, and begin production, it’s highly suspicious that such similar palettes released in the same month. Who knows who was snooping on who!

Interesting to note, both brands describe their palette as “made for universal shades and complexions“. Both have 16 shades with a good range of mattes and shimmers.

The Too Faced palette is said to be infused with coconut water, alpine rose & hualuronic acid, which gives it a slight sweet scent and softer blendability. Whereas the Maybelline palette is a tad drier, with key ingridients being Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride & Zinc Stearate.

Well, I tested them both out for myself and I can say that they’re VERY similar in pigmentation and wearability. Of course, use a good eyeshadow primer to prolong the wear of any eyeshadow. Shimmer shades can be amplified by spraying the brush with the product with a setting spray (MAC’s Fix Plus is the best for this step) before applying onto the eye.

Purchase Maybelline Nudes Of New York eyeshadow palette
Purchase Too Faced Natural Nudes eyeshadow palette

Have you tried either of these palettes? What do you think of the fact that they released during the same month with an identical concept? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

Rimmel London #BossBabe

Rimmel London Power Palette in #BossBabe – I like the simple design and the lightweight packaging. The eyeshadows are pigmented, blendable, and crease-proof all day; the lip & cheek gloss doesn’t disrupt the makeup underneath; the highlighter is subtle yet gives a natural glow and complements the eyeshadow tones very well.

Rimmel London Wonder’Ink Eyeliner – the formula of this felt-tip liner is extremely black, dries very quickly preventing smudging and is easy to work with.

Definitely recommend to check out this collection when it hits the shelves!

For more eyeshadow palette shades in this line, visit their website.
For the eyeliner, visit their website.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palettes Dupes

With Urban Decay expanding their Naked eyeshadow palette line at an increasingly high speed, the collectors mentality comes to a halt for many beauty lovers. With the release of Naked Cherry and Naked Heat, drugstore brands Makeup Revolution and Rimmel London lost no time in making affordable quality dupes for those palettes. I’m still waiting for them to dupe the Naked Honey!

Here is the Naked Cherry and Makeup Revolution & Rimmel London dupes:

Here is the Naked Heat and Makeup Revolution & Rimmel London dupes:

Formula comparison: Makeup Revolution eyeshadows are slightly more pigmented and blendable, but do have quite a bit of fallout so tap off the excess from the brush before applying and do your eye makeup first. The Rimmel London eyeshadow formula is less pigmented, but allows for color buildup with less fallout.

Have you tried these palettes? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

NYX It Up

I adore the formula of these NYX palettes! They’re great for travel and offer a wide variety of shades.
Even within the Warm Neutrals color family there’s a definite distinction between the shades, none are completely similar.
The Ultimate Brights does require a little bit of work, otherwise they show up pastel, still love it though.
Great palettes for a great price!

Products from the top:
Ultimate Multi-Finish Palette in “Sugar High”
Ultimate Shadow Palette in “Phoenix”
Ultimate Shadow Palette in “Warm Neutrals”
Ultimate Shadow Palette in “Brights”

Have you used these palettes? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!