Love makeup, but need to save money? Check out this fun guide to the Best Drugstore Products …. I’ve rounded up all my fave skincare, makeup, and hair care products that you can buy on a budget!
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While I love obscure, fancy, and/or expensive beauty products as much as the next girl, my budget is tight.
And as much as I adore Benefit, et. al., it’s hard to beat the high of discovering a hidden steal at the drugstore. Why spend money on something expensive when there’s a great budget-friendly alternative, right?
I first shared my favorite drugstore beauty products a few years ago. It was funny to look back recently and see what products I’m still using and which ones I’ve ditched from something else. An update was in order!
Best Drugstore Products
My original guide to the Best Drugstore Products was a little limited, but this time I’ve gone all in.
I’m sharing my favorite skincare, makeup, and hair care products … and there’s a lot. More than I realized. Ha!
These drugstore beauty products are all tried and true. I love and use them every day, and I think you’ll enjoy them, too.
Best Drugstore Products: Makeup
I’m a huge fan of drugstore makeup. I’ve tried more expensive brands, but I keep returning to these tried and true faves:
- Primer: Technically, Olay Luminous Whip is a moisturizer, but it drys to a perfect velvety finish, making it a great primer. I love a multi-tasking product! (There’s version with SPF, too.) My skin gets super oily in summer, so I may switch to Julep Blank Canvas Mattifying Primer (love, love love, but it’s not drugstore) … we’ll see how crazy my skin goes this summer!
- Concealer: I’ve been using Maybelline Cover Stick Concealer for years. It’s perfect for covering all those little spots and imperfections. For under eyes, I like Maybelline Facestudio Master Conceal. Squeeze a little out of the tube and pat it on. The coverage is buildable, so you can layer on more or less concealer depending on how sleepy you look.
- Powder: A little NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder is all it takes to set makeup. It’s white, but goes on translucent.
- Bronzer: Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting BB Bronzer provides the perfect amount of color to pale skin. I also sometimes use it for light contouring.
- Eyebrow Pencil: I love this L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Designer Brow Pencil. Fill in your brows with the pencil end, then use the brush to shape your brows and remove any excess color. I use Blonde, but it also comes in Brunette and Dark Brunette.
- Eyeliner: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner has a great firm, yet creamy consistency, so it won’t pull on your eyelids. I use Brown, but it comes in seven shades.
- Eyeshadow: I love a great eyeshadow palette, but I’m not willing to shell out big bucks. Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette is my go to. It has all the colors you need to create a natural look (plus, darker colors for a smokey eye), and it’s super affordable. It comes in a few varieties, which I also have: The 24K Nudes (golden nudes); The Blushed Nudes (rosy nudes); and The Rock Nudes (dramatic nudes). I also really love the NYX Professional Makeup The Natural Shadow Palette … it has fewer colors, but all of the shades are ones I’d wear everyday (nothing too dark or light).
- Mascara: I’m obsessed with L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Lengthening Washable Mascara! It’s makes my lashes super long and thickens them a bit, too. I’ve tried more expensive mascaras, but they just don’t compare. I use Blackest Black.
- Lipgloss: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Le Gloss has been my fave for a while (I love Watermelon Crush and Red Ravishing), but I’ve had a hard time finding it lately. I also really like Neutrogena Moistureshine Lip Soother Gloss. Neither of these glosses are super sticky. I’m not a huge lipstick wearer, but when I do, it’s usually a more upscale brand.
- Brow/Lash Combo: Elf Essential Brow Comb & Brush is super cheap and it lasts, too. I mainly use it to remove the occasional mascara clump, but it also works great for brows.
- Makeup Brushes: I really like EcoTools brushes. They’re affordable, and they last. This Brush Set is great if you need a starter kit, but EcoTools brushes come in all sorts of other shapes and sizes, too.
- Makeup Sponge: Sure, you can play $20+ for an original beautyblender, but I don’t think it works any better than these drugstore Blender Sponges. For best results, it should be slightly damp when you use it.
- Oil Blotting Sheets: I could not survive without Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets! Okay, maybe that’s a little overly dramatic, but they are a lifesaver if you have oily skin.
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention foundation. I got a sample of bareMinerals BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation last year, and now I’m hooked. It’s a little pricey, but a bottle lasts for months. Two drugstore foundations I’ve used in the past and still like are Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation and L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation Makeup. I just don’t like them as much as bareMinerals, unfortunately.
I also tend to use more expensive blush. I’m not sure why … ha ha. Right now, I’m loving Sigma Beauty Aura Powder Blush in Nyphaea, a pretty pink. I also really, really like Benefit Cheek & Lip Stain. I’ve tried a few shades and all are great: Cha Cha Tint (mango bronze), La La Tint (orchid), and Posie Tint (pink). The original Benetint is also awesome!
Best Drugstore Products: Skincare
I have sensitive, combination skin that tends to break out, plus I’m at the age where wrinkles are a concern. Fun!
These are the Drugstore Skincare Products that are working for me right now:
- Face Wash: I use a combination of two cleansers. In the shower, I use Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub. I really love this unique cleanser. It comes out as a powder and you add a little water to create a foam. Makes skin super soft! In the evenings, I use Olay Daily Facials. These cleansing cloths remove makeup effortlessly and get my skin super clean, yet don’t strip it. Love!
- Eye Cream: In the evening, I use Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream. It’s perfect for moisturizing tired looking eyes, and it has a light tint that blends in with the skin. To wake up my eyes in the morning, I’ve been using Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift (not drugstore). It’s pretty pricey (I got a sample), so I’m hoping it never runs out!
- Anti-Wrinkle / Retinol: I started using L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Cicacream Anti-Wrinkle + Skin Barrier Repair a few months ago, and I’m loving it. Other retinols I’ve tried have been too strong for my sensitive skin, but this one isn’t. I can see a difference in my skin, plus it’s super affordable! If my skin is feeling a little dry, I use it with a moisturizer.
- Moisturizer: I’m not a huge moisturizer wearer … my skin (especially the t-zone) gets sooo oily even when I don’t moisturize. Lately, I’ve been using Olay Luminous Whip Light Moisturizer everyday under my makeup though, and I love it. It doesn’t make my skin any oilier, plus I like the anti-aging benefits. When my skin is feeling extra dry, I use Olay Regenerist. It has a super rich and creamy formula.
- Face / Body Scrub: Okay, this may be a slightly controversial pick, but I really like St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I’ve been using this stuff forever (since I was a teen). It is pretty rough, so use it with a light touch. It comes in a few varieties to fit different skin types.
- Acne: Are wrinkles and acne the worst combo, or what? Gah. Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment With Benzoyl Peroxide is my go to for treating all those annoying spots and problem areas.
- Sunblock: It is so hard to find a non-greasy sunscreen. Which is why I love Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunscreen! It has more of a liquid consistency, and it’s super light, yet still totally effective. I use it every day, rain or shine (best wrinkle prevention there is).
- Lotion: I’m a little lazy about wearing sunscreen on my body on a daily basis. So I love Lubriderm Daily Moisture Body Lotion With Broad Spectrum SPF 15 … it has the sunscreen built right in. In the winter, I switch to Lubriderm Advanced Therapy to combat dry skin.
- Sunblock: On those days when I know I’ll be getting lots of sun, I use Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch, Lotion Sunscreen Ultra Radiance. It works great and smells like a tropical vacation.
- Fake Tanner: I swear by Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for Body when I want a little glow. It looks super natural and builds gradually, so it’s hard to make mistakes. There’s also a version for the face. Check out my tips for getting a natural summer glow here.
- Sheet Masks: I’m kind of obsessed with sheet masks at the moment. They’re fun to use and make your skin feel great … I’ve even convinced my husband to use them a time or two. My local drugstore often has the Miss Spa brand (more varieties here). I usually pick my woe of the day (dull skin, clogged pores, etc.), then choose a mask to go with it.
Best Drugstore Products: Hair Care
I’m pretty picky and high maintenance about my hair, which is fine and color treated. I also have an oily scalp and dry ends. These products keep it looking it’s best on the daily:
- Shampoo and Conditioner: I’ve used more expensive shampoo in the past, but I honestly love Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner more (plus, you can’t beat the price). It makes my hair so soft and sleek.
- Deep Conditioner: It’s hard to find a deep conditioner that works, but doesn’t weigh down hair. I recieved a sample of L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Repair and Protect Balm last year, and I love it. It’s super conditioning, but doesn’t make my hair greasy at all.
- Leave-In Conditioner: I like to apply a little leave-in conditioner to the ends of my hair after I get out of the shower, and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream is my go to. It’s light, yet moisturizing, and has a great smell.
- Styling: My hair is a little tricky to deal with, but this combination of products seems to cut down on the frizz. I love hair oils, so I apply Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Moroccan Sleek Oil Treatment, Frizzy, Dry Hair to the ends before blow drying (it can also be used after a blow dry). Sometimes, I also apply L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse to my bangs / top of my head, face-framing layers, and ends … depending on how much control I want. When I’m done blow drying, I’ll add John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Touch-Up Crème first to the ends, then I’ll run any extra cream on my hands through my bangs and the rest of my hair. Finally, I’ll finish will a little Garnier Fructis Style Anti-Humidity Hairspray Flexible Control … I don’t like helmet head, and this hairspray has a great flexible hold.
- Blow Dryer: I’ve had the Infiniti Pro by Conair Advanced Brushless Motor Hair Dryer for at least five years, it’s still going strong. It’s a little more expensive than your typical cheap blow dryer, but it works better.
- Curling Iron: While I do have a normal curling iron, I always reach for my Infiniti Pro by Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand instead. I use it all the time to add a little wave to my bands on days I don’t wash my hair, and it’s great for adding waves all over, too.
I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the Best Drugstore Products. Whew … that was a lot! I may have a slight product addiction.
Let me know if you try anything … I’d love to know what you think!
What are your must have drugstore products? Tell me your favorites so I can try them, too!