Drugstore makeup dupes are everywhere. If you’ve got your pulse on the beauty industry or scrolled any TikTok beauty threads lately, you’ve likely heard makeup lovers rave about cult favorites like Nars Creamy Concealer, Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, or the Fenty Beauty’s Gloss Bomb. And just in case you’re wondering, these makeup products are as good as they say. But stocking up on these high-end holy-grail finds can get expensive.
The good news: There are often drugstore products that do a comparable job at half the price—you just need to know which ones are the hidden gems.
Nars Light Reflecting Foundation gives you a natural finish. Although it’s a splurge, the flawless base layer and full coverage are well worth the price.
L’Oreal Infallible gives you a great matte finish. You might be worried that a foundation that holds this well will be heavy, but we find it to be breathable and lightweight. It goes on smoothly (and once you apply it, it’s there to stay for the long haul).
Charlotte Tilbury has become one of the most popular beauty brands over the past few years, and the Flawless Filter is particularly famous on #beautytok. It provides sheer coverage, a beautiful glow, and it’s a great foundation for oily skin.
According to TikTok’s Mikayla Nogueria (and other makeup influencers), E.L.F’s Halo Glow Liquid Filter is an exact dupe for the CT’s Flawless Filter. She says, “There is pretty much zero difference.” If you’re looking to save money on this step of your makeup routine but still want a glowy, sheer look with adaptable shade coverage, try the E.L.F. option.
Nars’s radiant creamy concealer seems like everyone’s go-to concealer, especially for dark circles. When shopping for a new concealer, my Sephora advisor pointed me into Nars territory. The product lives up to its name and is indeed creamy. It goes on easily and conceals for hours at a time without having to reapply.
When it comes to drugstore products, Revlon is one of the best drugstore brands. Its Photo Ready Candid concealer is one of the best drugstore concealers because it provides long-lasting and brightening coverage. You can build it up or use it sparingly for light application, and similar to the Nars version, it has a creamy formula.
If you’re looking for a glowing, bright blush, look no further than Ilia’s multi-stick. It brightens cheeks with beautiful pink and red hues, and the shades can be layered depending on how many colors you’re looking for. The wide range of colors means there are options for many different skin tones. Bonus: You can use it as a lip tint or eyeshadow if you want.
Fan-favorite E.L.F makes a similar multi-stick that makes for a great blush. This blendable stick goes on easily for a shimmery finish, and the product is so creamy that it’s almost indistinguishable from its luxury sister. And, similarly to Ilia, this stick can be used for more than just blush.
Lancôme’s Lash-Lifting and Volumizing Mascara helps you achieve that false-lash look with the swoop of a wand; it’s a high-end mascara that will help lift and lengthen your lashes. It stays on long and doesn’t smudge.
A few months ago, I wandered into Ulta before a wedding, needing a great mascara—but I wasn’t looking to spend a lot. The Ulta advisor immediately brought me the Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara and WOW—I was impressed. It’s been my go-to for dramatic, long lashes ever since. My lashes appear 10 times longer, and the formula goes on clump-free. I recently got my makeup done professionally and was delighted to see the makeup artist was using this product too.
Anastasia Strong Hold Brow Gel has grown in popularity as folks try to achieve the “clean girl aesthetic.” This brow gel does a great job of wisping brows up and making sure stray hairs stay in place.
When it comes to brow gel, the most important aspect is that eyebrows stay where they need to stay. The E.L.F. Cosmetics Brow Lift won a 2022 Health Beauty Award this year because it helps brows stay put all day long. The gel goes on smooth and clear and stays on all day.
Cult-favorite Stila eyeliner is a classic for a reason. This liquid liner stays put all day long and stays on through sweat, tears, rain—you name it.
Maybelline’s budget-friendly eyeliner gives us a similarly thin tip and lasts for hours. The pen applicator makes it easy to do a super-thin line, or layer it for a thicker, more dramatic look.
Tarte’s Tartelette Eyeshadow Palette features both matte and shimmery neutral hues. With colors that look good on pretty much everyone, this palette is highly versatile. Meanwhile, Amazonian clay in the formula makes the shadows smooth without being chalky.
NYX’s eyeshadow palette features almost identical neutral colors for a fraction of the cost, and the blendable formula allows for easy application. And the 16 colors (Tarte only has 12!) make it easy to use this for everyday wear, a night out, and everything in between.
One of the many gifts that Rihanna has blessed us with is Fenty Beauty, and the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer helps you achieve Riri’s glossy lip look in a single swipe.
But I’ll be honest: Lip gloss is one of the places I look to save money in my makeup routine. I am usually reapplying it a few times throughout my day (after meals, after happy hour, you get it). Beauty By Artrice on TikTok let me in on a great secret: Revlon’s Super Lustrous The Gloss is an amazing, affordable version of Fenty’s Gloss Bomb. The shades are great, leave lips shiny, and don’t break the bank.
Absolutely no other lip balm can touch La Mer The Lip Balm. Yes, it has a hefty price tag, but if you have inherently dry skin, it’s so worth it. While you often have to reapply lip balm, this product is so moisturizing that you will find yourself using it sparingly. Its glossy finish is a nice cherry-on-top too.
That said, Aquaphor lip balm never disappoints. This multipurpose balm is a classic because of its intense hydration powers. At just under $5 and available on Amazon, it’s a must-have for any person looking for softer, more moisturized lips.
While shopping at Sephora once, I asked a beauty advisor if they had a popular bronzer in stock; they did not, but she pointed me in the direction of Rose Inc and said that this would be the next viral product. I immediately bought it, and the purchase did not disappoint. I apply Solar Infuzion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer around the frame of my face and cheekbones, and it gives me the perfect bronzed look. It’s a cream bronzer rather than powder, and its creamy texture makes it easy to add layers or keep it simple.
But Physicians Formula takes drugstore bronzer to a new level. The ingredient-conscious brand created a bronzer that is lightweight and buttery. Similar to Rose Inc, it’s easy to apply and leaves you looking like you just returned from that yacht trip in Mykonos.
Selena Gomez is one of the many celebrities that have recently come out with makeup lines, but she seems to have done something right: Rare Beauty continues rising in popularity and has become a favorite of makeup connoisseurs. The Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlighter provides a nice glow without being too shiny. Thanks to its applicator stick, it goes on smoothly and is a great finishing touch for any makeup routine.
Made with shimmering pearl pigments, Wet n Wild MegaGlo Liquid Highlighter offers a similar buildable glow. For a fraction of the price, it helps me shine in all the right places and complements any foundation and blush I pair it with.
The most important part of any makeup routine? A high-quality sunscreen. Dermatologists and makeup artists agree that SPF is an essential step, and EltaMD’s formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and blends easily under makeup. (If you want skin care and makeup all in one, they have a tinted sunscreen version as well!)
Aveeno’s face SPF is just as refreshing and lightweight as EltaMD’s solution. This SPF is made with nourishing prebiotic oats to help you feel moisturized and protected under your makeup. It’s non-greasy (goodbye, oily skin!), hydrating, and will help you save a few bucks while protecting your skin.