Some drugstore beauty brands are just reliably wonderful. Here are 15 of them.
As much as I love fancy designer makeup, my favorite thing to do with beauty products is to play with them, which means taking risks and trying out new things. But as much as I want to try out the new blue lip trend, I don’t want to risk doing it with a $45 lipstick and then realize I do not have a face for blue lipstick. That’s why drugstore products are the best. They let you play around with things with a minimal financial commitment. And sometimes things really work!
I’ve been experimenting with drug store creams and beauty products since 1990, and at this point, there are some brands I just really trust. Yesterday I put together a list of my favorite beauty products from drugstores that are just as good as more expensive things. But those are just the tried-and-true products. When I go to a drugstore, I always find myself browsing the aisles to see what my favorite brands have come out with that I haven’t tried yet.
Here are 15 drugstore beauty brands you can totally trust with your face. Of course, if you have more, I want to hear about them, so tell us in the comments.
I’m never going to stop talking about how much I like Cetaphil’s gentle skin cleanser. Their moisturizers and oil-free cleansers are also great.
Revlon made the lipsticks and nail polishes I used to wear back in the 90s, and they still work just as well today. Their Lip Butter and Just Bitten Lip Stains are both exceptional. Best of all, everything is so inexpensive you can totally try out the weird, trendy colors you aren’t sure will look good on you.
Somehow I am still surprised whenever I see L’Oreal at a drugstore because, for some reason, I always parse it as being a fancy brand. Their mascara is always well-reviewed, and their lipstick is especially spectacular. Kim Kardashian wore it at her wedding, and she certainly wasn’t skimping on the beauty that day.
Everyone has a favorite Maybelline mascara. Somehow they always seem to be one of the first drugstore brands to come out with cool new products like gel eyeliners. (Theirs are fantastic).
These are just the best bang for your buck when it comes to false eyelashes. Buy them in any size or shape you like. Hell, glue them together with eyelash glue to make your own fancy ones just like you like them. They’re not expensive, so you can afford to play.
Just look at this red! Kate Moss likes this red. These lipsticks last a surprisingly long time, and the pigments are as rich and stylish as one would expect from fancy brands.
7. St. Ives
Is there anyone who does not love St. Ives apricot scrub? I find it a bit too harsh for my face now, but as a body scrub, it is fantastic.
Eucerin makes my favorite sunscreen, and their body lotions are hardcore stuff. They also make Aquaphor, which my tattoo artist commanded me to get for tattoo aftercare.
9. Max Factor/CoverGirl
Max Factor used to be my favorite drugstore brand in the U.S. I was devastated when everyone stopped carrying it. But it’s a sister brand of CoverGirl, and many of the products are very, very similar, if not identical. Their lip liners and lipsticks are fantastic and heavily pigmented, and their whipped creme foundation is one of my favorites.
My dumb husband decided to teach class outdoors in a wool sport coat last August and gave himself a terrible case of heat rash. It was painful and itchy, and none of the fancy prescription treatments from his dermatologist seemed to help. For days I was on his butt about taking an oatmeal bath, but he said that was weird hippie stuff and wouldn’t do anything. (He is not big on natural remedies.) Finally, I talked him into using Aveeno’s powdered oatmeal bath, and it worked perfectly, just like it did whenever I got poison ivy as a kid.
Their baby sunscreen is also impossibly smooth and silky and does not make people glow in photographs.
11. Oil of Olay
My dermatologist surprised me when she told me to use Olay Regenerist night cream because the fancypants day cream she recommended cost an absolute fortune. Somehow that made me take her recommendation more seriously because I knew that she was willing to recommend ridiculously expensive products. I figured that when she recommended something cheap, it must be because it worked.
I was also surprised when my dermatologist recommended a bunch of Neutrogena products on my first visit. The way she explained it, big companies put a ton of money into research and development, so their products often have a ton of science behind them, more so than one even finds in a lot of skincare products from luxury cosmetics brands.
13. Yes To Tomatoes
Celebrities keep talking about how these tomato-based products have tons of antioxidants that are excellent for one’s skin and beauty. Something about this packaging really makes me want to taste this, but so far, I have managed to resist that compulsion.
These tiny little bottles always look so high-end and scientific, but in my experience, they just tend to work.
15. Sally Hansen
Sally Hansen makes all the fun nail toys, like decals and nail art strips. Their quick-dry polish is not kidding around, and their airbrush legs seem dorky but are a completely wonderful product.