I have an apology to make: I used to be one of those girls behind the makeup counter of a big, fancy department store selling you over-priced beauty products. While I won’t say which brand I worked for, I can tell you that my uniform consisted of all black and way too much makeup. Hey, it was the 90’s, after all.
Well, I’m here to make amends. Because, you see, not all department store makeup is better than the drug store version. In fact, a lot of drug store makeup is way better than the junk being sold in the department stores.
The beauty industry is full of people pushing products that they don’t stand behind 100%. Even so-called “independent reviewers” and beauty editors can be influenced by brands, advertisers, and cold, hard cash.
Also, celebrities rarely endorse products because, like the rest of us, they aren’t always picture perfect and no cosmetic company wants to be represented by someone who actually looks like the rest of us common folk. I know it’s hard to believe, but even celebrities have wrinkles, breakouts, and bags under their eyes.
So, to make up for the error in my ways, I am sharing ten of my all-time favorite drug store beauty buys with you. Not only will these products deliver the look and results you are striving to achieve, but they will save you big bucks at the checkout.
(Part 2 of this series can be seen here: 10 More of the Best Drug Store Beauty Buys)
L’Oréal Volumnious Mascara in Carbon Black
I have been using this mascara for over 15 years now. I’ve experimented with expensive department store brands a few times, but I always come back to this one. It thickens lashes without clumping and lasts all day. Don’t be afraid to stock up on a Revlon lash curler, too. It really does make a difference.
Nicole Nail Polish by OPI
Funky nail polish is all the rage right now, and with a wide range of shades (72, in case you were wondering) and an easy-to-maneuver brush, this new line of affordable nail polish makes frequent polish changes a ton of fun.
Wet ‘n’ Wild Eyeliner
I have been using this liner since I had to hide it in my sixth-grade Jansport backpack. At just $1 for a lengthy stick, it’s one of the most inexpensive liners on the market. The color goes on true and lasts all day. It’s easy to smudge and it comes in over 12 colors, which means you experiment with a daring look with little investment.
Physician’s Formula Mineral Face Powder
I am so obsessed with this powder that I keep one in my vanity, one in my purse, one in my car, and one in my office desk. It zaps oil without looking cakey and even though I use the translucent version, it still manages to cover imperfections.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
This ointment can be used on everything from diaper rash, to dry skin, to rough cuticles, to chapped lips. Dr. Neil Sadick, clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City says, “It can cut down the healing time on open acne lesions.” Is there anything Aquaphor can’t do?
Trader Joe’s Nourish All-in-One Facial Cleanser
Do you want to know a secret? I actually know the dermatologist that formulated this product for Trader Joe’s. I’m not allowed to reveal his identity, but I can say that he sells his own line of skin care products and the face wash he created for them is the same formula as the one he sells for four times the price. Hand on my heart and with The Girl Scout’s Honor, I religiously use this product every day.
I know that not everyone has access to a Trader Joe’s, so do yourself a favor and beg a friend or relative to send you a case of this stuff. PS: They are expanding the line to include a moisturizer in the very near future.
Psssssst Instant Dry Shampoo
Sometimes a girl is forced to go out with a greasy mop. It happens. This dry shampoo refreshes dirty hair and gives it some much-needed volume. I’ve even used it on my freshly shampooed hair to give it a little lift. It’s inexpensive enough that you won’t feel bad if you have to use the entire can to get your hair looking normal again. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything….
L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray
Once only available in Europe, the beauty industry was buzzing when this famous hairspray was finally available in the United States. Light and airy, it won’t leave hair feeling sticky or hard, so you can reapply without worry. Do any of you watch “The New Girl?” Jess Day, Zooey Deschanel’s character, keeps a can of it in the bathroom.
Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner
The little tiny applicator makes lining your eyes a breeze. Now you can rock a precise liquid cat eye, a la Adele, without it running all over the place.
Wet ‘n’ Wild Ultimate Bronzing Powder
Wet ‘n’ Wild makes the list again because, honestly, they make great products. These bronzers don’t streak and the color looks very natural. Just make sure to use a big, fluffy brush when applying to keep your look soft and even.
Morgan is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern California with her two daughters and flock of backyard chickens. You can read more of her at The Little Hen House.