Top four French makeup artists have spoken about high-quality, democratically priced future cult classics that they stock up on in U.S. drugstores. Here, 12 steals you should add to your beauty repertoire, with some of my tips along the way.
Batiste Original Dry Shampoo
“When you have bangs, dry shampoo is your best friend. I also use it to give my hair texture and help shape and style it. I love the mini travel size version.”
My tip: working early mornings and late evenings leaves me no desire to wash my hair as often as I’d wish, so, this bad boy has been my third-day staple for years! It comes in a variety of different scents and sizes, as well.
“You can create a smoky eye on the go in just two minutes. I bought the entire shade range and pick one each day based on my mood.”
My tip: the shade MILK from this lineup is an industry staple white base, perfect for other shadows to pop on the lid or in the waterline. No-budge formula of this pencil has been around for years for a good reason.
“This mascara not only makes your lashes look longer and full, but lets you easily add more than one coat without clumping.”
My tip: this industry staple is one for a reason, with almost every brand out there trying to recreate their own version of a result that this mascara gives you. Volume, length, separation, longevity – it has it all. It also comes in a waterproof version, and a variety of fun shades!
“I keep a few of these with me so I can use it on my clients and give it to them for touch ups or a night on the town. The formula is rich, velvety, and easy to apply, and the pen doesn’t need to be sharpened.”
My tip: if you can’t find this product in your local stores, I recommend Maybelline’s SuperStay Ink Crayon as an alternative.
“I mix this serum into foundation to get rid of bags. I place two drops into the palm of my hand, add one dot of foundation, blend with my finger, and smooth it from the inner to outer corner of the undereye area.”
My tip: for a quicker and better result, use this product by itself before makeup application. Perhaps along with a moisturizer, while you’re working on the eye makeup or brows.
Oh boy, my eyebrows were a casualty of the early teens in the sense that when I say I tweezed them into one singular line of hair, it’s not at all an exaggeration.
After time passed and trends evolved, I finally decided it was time to restore the damage I’d done on my brows. Thankfully, my brows — through years of training — rose from the ashes like a phoenix, and now, I tend to them like the miracle story they are. That of course includes using a brow gel on the daily so they look their best.
And since I generally try to scale back my makeup-wearing days to care for my skin, I often prefer to restock my usual makeup staples from more budget-friendly options — which is exactly how I found my new holy-grail brow product, the NYX Cosmetics Control Freak Eyebrow Gel.
As is the case with most great makeup discoveries, I started with a Google search and ended up on Amazon. In my quest to find a dupe for my usual brow gel, I came across this NYX one thanks to the thousands of glowing reviews of the formula. Then, after spotting the $5 price tag, it was on my mind to purchase within seconds.
Since I first tried Glossier’s Boy Brow years ago, I’ve been sold on it. It gives my brows just enough hold without feeling sticky and locks them in place throughout the day unlike any formula I’d used before. But with a $16 price tag, I wasn’t above finding a dupe, which in and of itself gives me a high, if you will. And based on the reviews, it’s clear I’m not the only one who’s made this discovery.
“I bought this because I ran out of Boy Brow and didn’t feel like paying for a refill,”said one Amazon shopper. “I’m SO glad I didn’t. I will be using this from now on. This holds brows in place and isn’t heavy. You only need to sweep over the brows one time and you’re good. For such an affordable product I’m seriously so impressed, I don’t usually buy cheap makeup but this has blown my mind and now I’m wondering why I’ve been spending so much money on products that might work as well as drugstore brands.”
I’d have to agree. The clear gel tames my brows into a natural and defined shape, and keeps them that way throughout the day without ever feeling heavy or sticky. And at a price tag that’s less than a latte, it’s one staple I plan on keeping in my makeup bag for a very long time.
We’ve all been there: You put extra time and care into flawlessly blending and buffing your foundation, meticulously lining your lash line with kohl eyeliner, and painting on your favorite lipstick. Then, maybe the heat or nerves has caused beads of sweat to drip down your forehead and above your upper lip. Before you know it, your makeup is smudged and runny, and there’s no opportunity for you to do some quick damage control.
Luckily, there’s an extremely easy way to avoid messing up your makeup. Enter makeup setting sprays. These ultra-fine mists lock your look in place without feeling like you have an extra layer of product on your face.
That being said, there’s a ton of makeup setting sprays out there, and each come with their own set of benefits to suit various skin types and makeup styles.
Best Overall: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray
The MVP of setting sprays, this Urban Decay product remains a cult-favorite because it’s safe for all skin types. Although, oily skin will love that it’s infused with kaolin clay for excess oil and shine control. The microfine mist is lightweight and holds makeup in place for up to 16 hours.
Best SPF: Milani Cosmetics Make It Last Sunscreen Spray SPF 30
Yes, no one wants their makeup to melt off their face, but protecting your skin against sun damage is more important than a flawless face of foundation. Luckily, Milani has combined makeup setting spray and SPF 30 into a single product. This micro mist locks makeup in place for up to 16 hours, hydrates, and shields skin from UVA/UVB rays.
This mist is a must-have for anyone (OK all of us) who are after that elusive lit-from-within glow. Made with humectants and botanicals oils, use the hydrating formula as a primer before applying makeup or refresh your skin throughout the day to keep your makeup from getting dry and cakey.
If you have oily skin, you’re familiar with melty, runny makeup. This best-selling NYX spray sets makeup while mattifying skin, combating shine, and minimizing the appearance of pores. No wonder it’s the number one setting spray in America, according to Neilson data.
Best for Long-Wear: L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Make-Up Extender
There are a ton of setting sprays at the drugstore, but not all are created equal. L’Oréal’s spray is a standout because the lightweight mist keeps makeup looking freshly applied for hours on end. Bonus: The formula is non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested, so rest assured it won’t clog pores and lead to breakouts or cause irritation.
Best Primer: MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer & Setting Spray
This two-in-one product primes skin for smooth, even makeup application and keeps it fresh all day long. Packed with green tea, chamomile, and cucumber, the spray also soothes and calms redness, making it a great option for sensitive skin, too.
It might seem counterintuitive, but spritzing this setting spray on your face after you’ve finished applying your makeup will make your look waterproof for up to 24 hours. The water-resistant formula also gives skin a smooth finish and blurs imperfections.
Best for Touchups: Fenty Beauty What it Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray
OK, this might technically be a face mist, but it was created with the sole purpose of reviving and refreshing makeup throughout the day. Better yet, you can spritz it on your face before reaching for your makeup to create a hydrated, dewy base for your foundation and concealer.
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.
Whether they’re from stress, a sleepless night, or even genetics, dealing with dark under-eye circles can be a daunting task. Many eye creams and serums can help diminish their appearance over time, but if you’re looking for a quick fix, you’ll likely need a concealer to cover them.
And if your dark circles are still showing after that, you might want to add a color corrector into the mix. These innovative products balance discoloration on your skin by canceling it out with the opposite shades on the color wheel. While you may think all color correctors do the same thing, think again.
Many correctors have green and purple undertones, which are great for covering up blemishes and dark spots, but do little for concealing dark circles. Instead, you should choose color correctors in shades of red, pink, yellow, or orange, as these will help balance out the bluish-purple color of under-eye circles. To help you find the best color corrector for your under-eye circles, we turned to reviews from shoppers to see which ones they love the most.
Whether you are looking for a color-correcting palette that allows you to blend multiple colors, a brush-on option that makes application a breeze, or a brightening color corrector that makes you look more awake, there’s an option on this list for just about everyone. Keep reading to see the seven color correctors that customers say cover up dark under-circles the best.
These are the best color correctors for dark circles:
Best Overall: Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid
With more than 122,000 likes and 1,000 reviews, this Urban Decay color corrector is one of the most popular options at Sephora for a reason. Not only is the product infused with vitamins C and E to keep your under-eye area looking smooth and hydrated, there are three shades to choose from: peach, pink, and deep peach, so you should easily be able to find an option that works for your skin tone. “This stuff is MAGIC,” raved one shopper. “I’ve struggled with dark circles under my eyes for years, regardless of how well rested I am. A little dab under each eyes, just patted on with my finger, erases them and brightens my skin while looking totally natural.”
Best Palette: NYX Cosmetics Color Correcting Concealer
This handy NYX palette comes with six color correctors so you can mix and match the different shades to find a custom match for covering up circles or any other blemishes. Customers love how lightweight and easy to blend the product is and the fact that it’s cruelty-free. “I love this product,” wrote one reviewer. “I keep perpetually dark circles under my eyes no matter what I do, as well as some scarring from acne in the past. I always thought I just needed to cake on more foundation or concealer to cover it, but I’ve since realized that wasn’t the answer — this was. Now I wear very little foundation or concealer because this product gives me the coverage I need.”
Best Sponge Option: Maybelline New York Master Camo Color Correcting Pen
Hundreds of Amazon shoppers love how easy this Maybelline color corrector is to apply. The handy correcting pen features a sponge-tip applicator that helps you apply and blend the perfect amount of product each time. Reviewers say the creamy formula provides ample coverage, and it doesn’t crease or become cakey in their under-eye area. One happy shopper wrote, “My extra-dark circles are hammered back to the depths of where they came from when I use this. Nothing will ever fully conceal them, but this easy-to-spread and easy-to-conceal formula helps immensely. I’m always shocked at what a difference the orange tone makes.”
Looking for a long-lasting color corrector that won’t break the bank? Ulta shoppers suggest this L.A. Girl option. Along with a brush tip that makes application a breeze, the color corrector is specially formulated to provide natural-looking coverage for hours at a time. “I have always bought expensive orange correctors to cover my horrible dark circles,” said one customer. “My circles go around my whole eye. But this product surprised me because of the price. Great coverage and lasted all day under my concealer.”
Best Stick Option: Maybelline New York Cover Stick Concealer
This Maybelline stick corrector is another affordable find that’s incredibly popular. The $5 dermatologist-tested product is hypoallergenic and specially formulated to not clog pores. It’s also waterproof, so it will stay put through workouts and hot summer days alike. With details like that, it’s no wonder that hundreds of shoppers have given the color corrector their approval, including one who wrote, “I’ve used this for years as I have very dark circles under my eyes. It works great. People have no idea how dark my under-eye circles really are. I have sensitive skin, and there is no irritation.”
Best Brightening Option: Becca Cosmetics Under Eye Brightening Corrector
If you’re looking for a product that will brighten your under-eye area at the same time as covering dark circles, thousands of Sephora shoppers recommend this option by Becca. The color corrector’s tinted pigments cancel out the dark blue/purple hues of dark circles, while the backlight technology illuminates your skin. “Would highly recommend it to anyone with dark circles, it really does make a difference and brightens your under eyes well,” said one customer. “I would just not add too much or else it’ll look too cakey and make the concealer crease. You barely need any and it makes a difference!”
Full-Coverage Option: Tarte Colored Clay CC Undereye Corrector
The best beauty products can tackle more than one issue, which is why customers love this multitasking Tarte color corrector so much. Along with providing long-lasting full coverage, the product is also formulated to hydrate and nourish the delicate skin under your eyes, leaving you with a smooth and more youthful appearance. One happy shopper said they “can’t live without it,” before adding, “I’ve been using this pretty much every single day, for years. Gives that ‘good night’s sleep’ look, and the pan lasts a long while. I simply layer concealer on top on days I want more coverage. Hooked is an understatement!”