I’ve been writing this post for a while, trying to come up with only the best of the best, and the best bang for your buck makeup items from the drugstore. I try so much makeup that the least I can do is review my favorites. If I can help at least one person avoid some of the junkier items in the drugstore, it is worth it! The junk products might be a separate post, but these are the items that I have loved using and repurchase.
In the past I’ve kind of stuck to my own made up theory of what products are good at the drugstore (mascara, eyeliner, lipgloss) and which ones can only be high end (foundation, blush, eyeshadow, primer, BB cream). I’m still strongly convinced on some of these categories, but over the last year I have found some exceptions to my rule as well, thanks to some YouTube makeup artist recommendations. So I’m passing on the love…
Best drugstore foundation: L’oreal True Match foundation. I don’t really wear liquid foundation… but when I do I really like this one. It has buildable coverage so you can put it on as light or heavy as you want and it blends so naturally with your skin color avoiding the awkward “mask” line. I like it better than the Clinique and Makeup Forever ones I’ve used in the past.
Best drugstore concealer: I couldn’t pick just one… Maybelline radiant under eye brightener (in the color “radiant,” makes a big difference for that bright eye look), Maybelline FIT me concealer for covering up blemishes and also Maybelline instant age rewind concealer to hide under eye circles. I use a combination of these or just one depending on how much coverage I want/need.
Best drugstore powder: Rimmel Stay matte powder, in Translucent. Every YouTube makeup artist sings this products praises and I have to agree and spread the love. It’s so great for combination or oily skin. Stays matte for a really long time considering it costs $3 (at Target/Walmart)!
Best drugstore bronzer: Physicians formula bronzer. I have used these since high school and still go back to them after trying higher end brands.
(Side note: I haven’t found a drugstore blush that I love. Tarte Amazonian clay blushes are my hands down favorite, for life. But recommendations are welcome )
Best drugstore eyeliner: Maybelline gel eyeliner is awesome and comparable in quality to the Bobbi Brown version. Maybelline master drama studio eyeliner is the only eyeliner that actually doesn’t budge off my waterline, and I’ve tried a ton, including the Makeup Forever eyeliner that many people have recommended to me.
Best drugstore eye shadow: I have stayed away from drugstore eye shadows for years, thinking that no one can beat Urban Decay in that department. While Urban Decay is still #1 in my mind there are some great drugstore alternatives. Maybelline Color Tattoo gel shadows are very high quality, great pigment, longevity, and are a great base for powder shadows to add depth to a look. Just don’t use a primer with them!
Also I’m stunned at how good Wet ‘n Wild shadows are! I haven’t used these since middle school but all the hype over their new formula made me curious. They have a very pigmented formula that is suppose to be comparable to MAC or UD in color, consistency and blending. I was very skeptical, but now I really love their matte palette (seen above – well the neutrals, there’s no way that purple or blue are ever being used). And for $2.99 it’s worth a try! However, they tend to wear off by the end of the day, so make sure to wear primer with these. But for $3, 12 hour wear is not expected.
Best drugstore mascara: So I have a few… I’ve been using Maybelline’s Stilleto lash mascara as my everyday mascara for about 4 years now… It gets some bad reviews because it can get clumpy, but I kind of like how it goes on thick and makes my lashes huge, as long as you apply mascara in a zig zag/wiggle motion (never straight that always = clumping for most mascaras) it is fabulous. And when I want more drama I love L’oreal Telescopic mascara (carbon black). The more coats you put on, the more your lashes look like falsies, if you don’t mind the “spidery” effect, it makes your lashes ginormous. But just one coat doesn’t get clumpy and makes lashes pop more than any mascara I’ve ever tried. And finally, my newest obsession is Maybelline’s Falsies mascara. Definitely not overrated. It separates and thickens in just one coat and is very buildable depending on how much drama you want. Definitely one I will be repurchasing.
Best drugstore lip product: So hard to narrow down just to 3, but if I had to, I use these the most… Carmex chapstick – for glossing and unchapping lips. Maybelline baby lips – chapstick with color. Best lipgloss is NYX megashine. And it smells so good I just want to eat it. Finally, there’s Revlon just bitten kissable balm stains. I don’t know if I will ever use lipstick again. Revlon kissable balm stains are so much better and very low maintenance! They go on creamy like a lipstick, and then after a while when your lips get dry you just put any chapstick (Carmex <3) over it because your lips are stained and it just remoisturizes your lips without going all over your chapstick. I don’t have to worry about lipstick on my teeth, and it doesn’t come off when eating. Genius. If you only get one color, get Honey. But I love them all.
Real Techniques brushes are the best! I like them better than some of the sigma brushes I have and they are at a fraction of the price. You can get them at Ulta, Walmart, or Amazon, it’s about $12-18 for one pack of 5 brushes, bundled by color. A close second place are the Eco tools brushes, which I love for travel. Both are so soft and never shed.
Nars vs e.l.f. bronzer and blush duo. I’ve reviewed this before here. Although I love the Nars Orgasm/Laguna duo and use it more, I think this is an awesome dupe if you don’t want to spend that kind of money. The pigment is great and it comes on easily, it just doesn’t last as long. But to save $36 dollars and use a primer, it can be worth it! I keep it in my travel bag.