In this article I will show you what I consider to be the best makeup from the drugstore, but “the best” is subjective, so perhaps this post should really be named “My Favorite Makeup from the Drugstore” as this is a list of products I’ve purchased repeatedly. I’ve found them to be just as good as my favorite high-end makeup. In some cases, like The Colossal Volume waterproof mascara, I don’t even bother buying anything else. Included in this list are my favorite inexpensive eye shadows, eyeliner, powder and quite a few lip colors.
I could also have named this post “A Few Beauty Products from the Drugstore I Think Every Woman Should Try”. Most of these products cost less than $10 and can be found at your local drugstore. If you love makeup you can save a lot of money buying inexpensive alternatives to high-end cosmetics, yet I know a lot of women are afraid to try drugstore brands. A few bad experiences and we never want to go back! There are many inferior products in the makeup aisle, it’s true, but you can find great items as well. The good news is most drug stores and ULTA have good return policies. Just be sure to check before you buy and hold on to the receipt.
The Best Matte Eye Shadow
I have looked but honestly I haven’t found anything as good as the elegantly formulated, completely matte, classic eye shadows in these little sets. Physicians Formula Matte Collection Quad Eye Shadow comes in three colors: “Classic Nudes” is a collection of warm neutrals, “Quartz Quartet” is a mix of taupe and grey, and “Canyon Classics” is somewhere between the two. I have all three and use them almost every day. These are not exciting, trendy colors. They are flattering, wearable, and elegant, the sort of thing every woman should have in her makeup drawer. I must mention that the packaging is not beautiful, but it’s a small fault considering the value and quality of the product inside. Seriously, if I found out that these were being discontinued I would run out and buy enough to last ten years. They cost about $7 each so that wouldn’t be all that difficult to do.
The Best Sparkly Eye Shadows
Whenever I have a hankering for some fun, funky, trendy eye shadow I go look at the newest Wet n Wild Color Icon Trios. I’ve yet to be disappointed by one of these little sets. Like Physicians Formula the packaging is cheap, but the makeup inside rivals the best stuff at the departments store, and at around $3 a set you just can’t beat the price. They also offer wearable color sets along with their crazier color collections. I wear “Walking on Eggshells”, a pretty rose, bronze and sparkly beige set, very often. The dramatically smoky Don’t Steal My Thunder is another of my favorites.
The Best Eye Liner
I prefer gel eyeliner over pencil eye liner. Eye pencils are usually too dry and hard to apply easily. If they’re soft enough to get on then they either disappear after a few hours or bleed into the eyeshadow on my lids. Gel liner goes on softly and stays put the rest of the day. So why do I still use pencils? The gel requires a brush and a fair amount of time to apply. A pencil is faster. After many failed attempts at finding a quality eye pencil at the drugstore I discovered Physicians Formula Custom Enhancing Eyeliner Trio. I can honestly say that these pencils are easy to apply and set well. The colors are beautiful. I have the “Nude Eyes” set which includes a smoky black, a medium taupe with golden glitter, and a softer taupe that I use under my eyes. The price is about $11, but you do get three pencils in each set which brings them down to less than $4 each. In addition these pencils twist up so they don’t need sharpening.
The Best Waterproof Mascara
Because it’s so difficult to remove I think long and hard before applying waterproof mascara but I never hesitate when it’s time to buy a new tube. I always reach for Maybelline’s The Colossal Volume Express Waterproof Mascara. Often in the warmer months this is the only makeup I wear other than some tinted sunblock and lip gloss. The mascara is nice and thick, very black and doesn’t clump. I also can’t help but love the bright yellow tube. It just screams “summer”, doesn’t it?
The Best Makeup Foundation
I prefer buying makeup foundation at a department store or other high-end venue. This has to do, mostly, with color. I just have a terrible time matching my skin tone without trying on the product, but Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse is so lightweight and sheer that a perfect match is somewhat redundant. “Classic Ivory” comes pretty close to my skin color and it looks great. What is really wonderful about this solid cream makeup is that it can be applied on the go with a small round sponge, a life saver for me, as I often put my makeup on before work sitting in the car in the parking lot. The makeup has a sheer, dewy finish. It costs around $8.
Update: A year after I wrote this post I wrote another one on all my favorite drugstore foundations. You can see my review here: The Best Makeup Foundation from the Drugstore.
The Best Face Powder
Face powder is another one of those products I just don’t like to spend a lot of money on. Now, I do like a pretty compact and I’m will to spend extra on the one that goes into the purse for touch ups during the day, but I feel silly paying a lot of money for something that’s never going to leave the bathroom. So it really irritated me that I couldn’t find a face powder that I liked in the makeup aisle. Finally, I tried Maybelline Dream Matte Powder. What I really like about this is that it’s MATTE. I have very shiny skin. I don’t just want a powder that will set my makeup, I want it to get rid of the shine too! This one does that beautifully for about $5.
The Best Matte Lipstick
I’ve written a lot about my favorite lipsticks on this blog and Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick always makes an appearance in my reviews. It’s a quality lipstick that comes in so many beautiful colors I seem to find a new one to love every time I go to the drugstore. Within the line are shimmer, creme and matte varieties. I appreciate the long wear and flat color of matte lipstick and this is probably the best one I’ve found anywhere. In the photograph is “Stormy Pink” one of my new favorites.
The Best Creme and Shimmer Lipsticks
Pat McGrath is considered one of the most influential make up artists in the world, so when she started creating colors for Covergirl’s Lip Perfection Lip Color line I was intrigued. (According to the Covergirl website she’s been a creative design director for them since 2004 but I only realized she was collaborating with them when I saw the ads.) I’ve tried a lot of these lipsticks and I am always impressed. The colors are wearable but trendy and the creamy texture keeps my lips happy too. I just can’t seem to find a bad egg in the bunch. The cost around $6 each.
There they are! I hope you’ve found this list the best makeup items from the drugstore helpful. Click on any image below to buy or learn more about the product.
Shop the Best Makeup from the Drugstore!
Disclosure: I purchased all of these products with my own money and was not compensated for the post by the brands I recommend, however there are affiliate links embedded in the image below. If you click on them I might receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!
Credits – The photos were all taken with my phone using the “Hipstamatic” app. Some of the products are my own and some were photographed at my local Rite Aid.
Have you ever tried any of these? If so what do you think of them? Will you try any yourself?