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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
YouTube sweetheart turned CEO! Welcome to Artist Spotlight #18 series on my blog.
A note from the co-founder, Christen Dominique:
I have always loved helping people look and feel beautiful.
The first time I experienced the transformative power of makeup was after applying my mom’s yellow corrector to cover up my dark circles, my biggest insecurity, at age 14. When I saw them disappear, it felt like I was seeing the real me for the first time, and I could finally be comfortable in my own skin.
With my insecurity behind me, I wasn’t afraid of speaking up, putting myself out there, and making new friends. Soon, the instant confidence boost didn’t just change how I saw myself. Other people noticed too.
As I experimented and played around with makeup, girls at school started asking me for help with theirs. I became known as the locker room makeup artist and would often have a long line of classmates waiting to get made over. Seeing how happy and beautiful they felt—that feeling that I still can’t even put into words—after I did their makeup was the best feeling ever. And so my love of artistry was born.
The artistry continued after high school, doing freelance makeup for weddings, photo shoots, quinceañeras, and many other local events. I learned from YouTube and made a few of my own videos here and there too. But as the years passed, real life kicked in. I was in school full time, working at an insurance company, a young mom to my amazing son, married, had a house to take care of, basically a lot going on. As many working moms have experienced, I felt like I was pulled in a million different directions, never able to give one area the time, attention, or love that they deserved. So I told my clients that I had made a heartbreaking decision: I had to let makeup go.
They were sad for me, knowing how much I loved artistry, and suggested that I create some new YouTube videos. That way I could stay connected to them, teach them makeup techniques, and still have makeup be a part of my life.
So I did. And I started to love creating content, this whole new outlet for expressing my creativity. After about a year of consistently filming tutorials, people started to pay attention. Then, I got an opportunity to move to LA and create YouTube videos full time. Thanks to the support of my husband, I took a risk and moved my family from Texas to Los Angeles. That’s when my life really changed.
Once I got to LA, where I had access to studios, lighting, and owned being myself on camera, my videos really took off. I felt lucky to be able to impact others lives, helping them tap into their inner beauty, while sharing techniques that made them feel beautiful on the outside too.
After years of filming beauty content, I felt empowered to take my journey one step further. I wanted to create a brand that put the transformative power of makeup in your hands. I thought back to my freelance days, remembering the need for products that could be multi-purposed. I factored in the most helpful pan sizes, the shades and formulas that were missing from the current market, and even the packaging was designed to bring an experience to life, and make you feel something. I wanted you to have access to the most prestige, innovative products without breaking the bank. With lots of time, research, and even more love, Dominique Cosmetics was born.
If you’d have told me in high school that I’d one day be the CEO and Creative Director of my own makeup brand, Dominique Cosmetics, I’d probably have thought you were crazy. This is truly mine and my family’s dream come true—our co-founder and president is actually my husband. (Love you, Cesar!) We hope that these products can do for you what that yellow concealer did for me years ago: Allow the real you to step into the spotlight, empowering you to feel beautiful inside and out.
XOXO Christen Dominique
The brand is carried by mostly eyeshadow palettes:
And lately, branching out into face, eyes, and lip products:
It’s safe to say that this is one of the few “influencer makeup brands” that has consistently great products, stays on top of trends, out of drama, and is highly respected.