Best Makeup at the Drugstore

by - October 22, 2015

photo credit: Laenulfean via photopin cc

Shopping for cosmetics at department stores and specialty shops is fun and luxurious, but it can certainly cost a pretty penny. In addition to being more easily accessible, drugstore brands offer products that are often just as good at a fraction of the price. The catch is that you may have to go through some flops until you find a product you really love. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find cosmetics at the drugstore that will work perfectly for you.

1. Foundation

Switching to drugstore foundation can be a big money-saver, as department stores usually charge anywhere from $25 to $75 for just an ounce of the stuff. It's also one of the most tricky drugstore items, because there usually aren't testers and it's hard to find out which formula is right for you (since you don't have beauty specialists with you at the drugstore!). If there are no testers, try to shop somewhere with a good exchange policy so that you can return for another color if necessary (try CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, etc). Another trick is to bring your current favorite foundation (that matches your color) with you to the drugstore and compare colors. Here are a few more tips for choosing the perfect foundation for you:

  • If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for something with salicylic acid and caffeine to help clear out pores and prevent breakouts.
  • For anti-aging benefits, choose a formula with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and Vitamins E or C for antioxidants. 
  • For sensitive skin, try a mineral formula- mineral foundations have natural ingredients, good coverage and SPF protection and will not irritate your skin.
  • Dry skin works well with a formula that has a built-in moisturizer. These formulas are often "whipped" and are creamy and hydrating to the touch.
  • If you want maximum coverage, try a cream to powder foundation. These formulas go on with the ease of a cream and provide a soft powder-like matte finish. 

2. Mascara

Mascara is one of the most popular drugstore items because it's pretty well-known that there isn't a huge difference between drugstore and high-end mascaras. They're much more reasonably priced, so you won't suffer as much when you have to replace it every three months (which you should be doing to prevent eye infections). Here are some of the best mascaras I've tried from the drugstore:

  • L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes ($9,
  • Covergirl LashBlast Clump Crusher ($7,
  • Maybelline Illegal Lengths ($9,
  • Almay Get Up & Grow Mascara ($8,

3. Eyeshadow

One of the most common complains with drugstore eyeshadows is that they aren't pigmented enough. However, there are some truly amazing hidden gems that you're sure to love. You'll need to find a good formula first, and then choose a few colors (or a quad) that will complement your eye color. For long-lasting shadows, try the Maybelline Color Tattoos or the L'Oreal Infalliable singles; if you're looking for something super-pigmented, try the Wet n' Wild shadows or the L'Oreal HIP(High Intensity Pigments) Studio Secrets duos. Here are some quick tips for selecting the right shadow for your eye color: 

  • Brown eyes look great with terracotta or reddish-brown/golden shades. Warm shadows will add depth to your eyes, and if you choose one with a metallic finish it will bring out any golden tones you might have.
  • For green eyes, try plum! It makes green eyes more vibrant- if you use a dark-enough purple shade, it will come off as black but still provide the same brightening effect as plum. 
  • Hazel eyes are between green and brown, so you can pull off shades from both color families! Try using brown as your base shadow (from the lash line to the crease) and then patting some gold shadow on the center of the upper lid. 
  • To make blue eyes pop, use any color that has a hint of heathered gray, such as a grayish brown or a taupe-y purple. The gray undertones complement the blue tones and intensify them, which will help you get that beautiful piercing-blue look.

4. Eyeliner

There are so many options for eyeliner formulas these days: pencils, liquids, gels, and you can even use eyeshadow and mascara in their place! Pencil liners are great if you plan to smudge it out for a smokey look, but they tend to lack staying power unless you set them with eyeshadow. Liquid liners are generally the most long-lasting liner formula, but you may need to practice a bit before you're able to get a precise, steady application. Gel liners are the best of both worlds (they're easier to use than liquid liner and last longer than pencil liners), however, they require a separate brush to apply. Once you determine which liner formula will be best for you, consider some of these products which consistently get great reviews from drugstore shoppers:

  • Gel: Maybelline EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner ($10, or L'Oreal Paris Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner ($8,
  • Liquid: Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner ($7, or L'Oreal Paris Infallible Super Slim Liner ($7,
  • Pencil: Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner ($4, or Milani Liquideye Liquid-Like Eye Liner Pencil ($6.50,

5. Lip Products

Lip balms, lipgloss, lipstick, lipstains and pretty much any other lip product you could imagine can all be found at the drugstore! It's super easy to find great lip products at the drugstore and the prices are almost always under 10 bucks. Changing your lip color is one of the easiest ways to switch up your look, and finding the perfect lip product for you can be a big game-changer for your beauty routine. Some of the most popular drugstore lip products right now are EOS lip balms ($3,, Revlon Colorstay lip stains ($8,, Wet n Wild lipsticks ($1-$2.50,, and the Maybelline BabyLips ($4, 

There really are plenty of awesome, great-quality makeup items at the drugstore, it just may take a bit of searching for you to find your perfect match. I hope this post gave you guys some helpful tips and some new products to try, and let me know what some of your favorite drugstore makeup items are!

You May Also Like