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

The 10 Best Micellar Waters, According to Thousands of Reviews

Originally a French skincare staple, micellar water is a multitasking product loved for its ability to cleanse skin and remove makeup, all in one step. It’s a great alternative to makeup wipes and face washes, especially for busy people, because it’s gentle yet effective. 

As dermatologist Dr. Fayne Frey previously told InStyle, micellar water works by using micelles (a.k.a. tiny molecules that remove dirt, makeup, and other impurities) to cleanse your skin, and it doesn’t contain soap or other ingredients that might cause irritation. And it’s super easy to use, so there’s no reason to skip it at night. All you have to do is soak a cotton pad with micellar water and gently wipe your face to remove the day’s grime—no rinsing required.

These are the 10 best micellar waters to buy in 2020:

Best Overall: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water 

With an average 4.6-star rating across over 6,800 reviews, Bioderma’s micellar water is the most popular one on Amazon. It’s great for all skin types, and it’s even gentle enough for sensitive skin. Plenty of customers call it their “holy grail” skincare product because of how well it works. “I fell in love the first time I used it,” wrote one shopper. “Removes my face makeup easily and gently and does not irritate my very sensitive skin. It also does not leave a greasy residue.” It’s available in a few different bottle sizes (even a small one for travel!), and you can also opt for a bottle with a pump instead of the traditional cap. 

Best Value: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

At just $7 for a generously sized bottle, this micellar water from Garnier will get you the most bang for your buck. It works super well on different skin types, and thousands of Amazon shoppers agree. Reviewers say they rely on this affordable option to take off their makeup at the end of each day, and there’s even a version designed for waterproof makeup. “After I washed my face with this cleanser, I actually felt like I could ‘feel’ my face,” one person wrote. “Like this entire time there has been a small layer of yuck keeping me from that fresh, clean feeling.” 

Best for Waterproof Makeup: L’Oreal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water

If you’re looking for a micellar water to remove heavy or waterproof makeup, then consider this option from L’Oreal. Even though it’s tough enough to remove the most stubborn long-wear makeup, it’s still dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested for safety. One customer raved about how well it removed their “full glam” makeup look: “The thing that literally made me say ‘wow’ out loud was my lipstick removal,” they wrote. “I have been wearing the same stuff for years and it stays all day/night with zero transfer, but it can be a pain to get every last trace of it removed. In just three swipes, my lipstick was gone! And no heavy rubbing or scrubbing!”

Best Drugstore Option: Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

This micellar water from drugstore brand Simple is another budget-friendly option, especially for anyone trying micellar water for the first time, since it comes in a small 6.7-ounce bottle. Shoppers especially love that the formula uses simple ingredients (including vitamins B3 and C) to remove impurities from the skin without causing irritation. “It’s gentle on the eyes and I don’t feel like I need to wash my face after removing my makeup,” said one customer.

Best High-End Option: Lancôme Eau Fraîche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water

Based on all of the Sephora shoppers who’ve given it five-star reviews, this micellar water from Lancôme is worth the splurge. Not only do customers say it removes their makeup well, but they love how it makes their skin feel after applying it. “This is one of my most favorite ‘buy it again’ products,” wrote one person. “It’s incredibly gentle, smells delicately amazing, and is such a huge time saver because it works on eye makeup too.” 

Best for Oily Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Cleansing Water

Specially formulated for people with oily skin, La Roche-Posay’s micellar water won’t leave your face looking greasy after each application. It uses the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water, an antioxidant-rich solution that soothes skin while removing dirt and makeup. Another notable ingredient is zinc, which can help fight oil and acne without clogging your pores. “I’m absolutely horrible about washing my face before I go to bed, so I’m always looking for products that are quick and easy,” said one customer. “This got off all my makeup and did not sting my eyes or leave my skin feeling irritated, as most toners do. And even though I didn’t rinse it off, my skin actually felt clean.”

Best for Sensitive Skin: Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water

Although micellar waters are generally safe for sensitive skin, Caudalie’s version contains two calming ingredients that make it stand out from the rest: organic chamomile and grape water. The chamomile extract moisturizes sensitive skin, while the organic grape water (found in many of the brand’s best-selling products) reduces redness and soothes skin. And since the rest of this micellar water’s ingredients are considered clean and safe, it’s even earned the “Clean at Sephora” seal. “[It] feels very gentle and refreshing and will last much longer than those 25 packs of harsh makeup remover wipes,” wrote one customer. “I am extremely acne-prone and have not noticed a problem there either.”

Best for Dry Skin: Garnier SkinActive All-in-1 Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water 

If over-washing your dry skin leaves your face feeling tight or irritated, using a hydrating micellar water can help prevent that. This one from Garnier is similar to the one featured above, except it uses rose water and glycerin to moisturize skin. Shoppers say it leaves their face “fresh and clean.” One person wrote: “I have very dry, acne-prone skin and this cleanses without being too harsh or drying…I use this with an exfoliating cotton pad and it works wonders for my skin.”     

Best Anti-Aging Option: IT Cosmetics Miracle Water Micellar Cleanser

This powerful option from IT Cosmetics is packed with skincare ingredients that make it an anti-aging treatment and makeup remover all in one. The multitasking micellar water contains collagen and peptides, which will smooth and firm your skin while reducing the appearance of wrinkles. “It leaves my skin soft with a noticeable glow and doesn’t dry out or aggravate my sensitive skin,” wrote one customer. “I’ve found that it really helps keep my skin balanced even in the dry Canadian winter.”  

Best Wipes: Burt’s Bees Micellar Cleansing Towelettes

Even though they’re not in liquid form like the others on this list, these Burt’s Bees wipes use micellar water to cleanse your skin without the need for cotton pads. Each resealable pack comes with 30 wipes so you can feel fresh and clean, even while on the go. In addition to the micellar technology that removes makeup and impurities, they also contain rose water, which is a calming, anti-inflammatory ingredient that shoppers say makes the wipes smell amazing. “Loved how they got off all my makeup and made my skin feel so refreshed after,” one person wrote. 

InStyle article

Skincare Mistakes to Avoid

  • Please seek expert advise from a dermatologist or a skincare expert if you feel conflicted with all of the different product reviews, or have specific skin needs/concerns.
  • Give a new product enough time to see results – sometimes it might take from 1-3 months to see the results of a new product in your skincare routine.

    Cleanser – should see results immediately – up to 4 weeks, pay attention to skin texture and moisture levels.

    Toner – should see results immediately – 2/3 weeks, pay attention to skin texture and hydration benefits.

    Serums – should see results in 3-5 weeks if it’s a hydrating/anti-aging product, 2-3 months if it’s a skin brightening/hyperpigmentation product, 1-3 months if it’s an acne-targeted but not prescription product.

    Eye creams & Sunscreens – should see and feel immediate results. Pay attention to improvements in fine lines and texture.
  • Don’t overuse physical exfoliants – rubbing in the beads can cause irritation and skin sensitivity, make sure you’re gently gliding the product over your skin or use a chemical exfoliator on a cotton round instead.
  • Don’t remove clay masks with a cloth – the skin will look red and feel irritated when removing a dried-out clay mask. Instead, keep removing it with water until it’s gone.
  • Rinse off the micellar water – especially cheaper products are formulated in a way that can cause dryness and clog pores. Also, make sure the micellar water is not your only makeup-removing step.
  • Don’t rely on popular skincare websites to check skincare product ingredients – they’re not a trustworthy source, they list all of the ingredients and give them a rating. But we have to look at the formulation as a whole with dominant and recessive percentages, “it’s the dose that makes the poison” (referring to alcohol in products being seen as a drying agent). Also, the ingridients are mostly uploaded by users, not companies, which can be misleading.
  • You might not need to use a specific product at all – understand what all active ingredients are doing for your skin and whether you need it or not. Figure out what you need for your personal skin concerns and benefits you want to see.
  • Remember that skincare can only do so much – don’t rely on skincare alone to fix your concerns, take into account your diet, exercise, water intake, genetic conditions, and always seek professional help if you feel the need to.

Video referenced