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17 drugstore beauty products we love even more than the fancy department store versions

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 27 Feb 2020


The drugstore is a great place to stock up on skincare and makeup products.As a team, we've found plenty of our favorite beauty products while strolling the aisles of Duane Reade, CVS, Target, and more, and we actually prefer them over more expensive options.Below, we rounded up 17 budget-friendly drugstore buys we're obsessed with, and probably always will be.There are plenty of splurge-worthy beauty products out there. Creams, lipsticks, mascaras, and more that shoppers swear byand are willing to drop a lot of money on, too.But, some of our favorite products of all time have actually come from the drugstore. These picks are accessible, affordable, and do their job really, really well. So much so that we actually prefer them over more expensive options.I asked my coworkers on the Insider Shopping Team to divulge their favorite drugstore beauty picks, and the result is a host of awesome products that you can get for (mostly) $10 or less.Keep reading for all of our drugstore hero products and why we love them so.Burt's Bees BB Cream with SPF 15Burt's Bees BB Cream with SPF 15, available at Target, $14.99I wear Burt's BB Cream with SPF every day to even out the redness in my skin and protect my face from the sun's rays. I'm very fair, so it's actually dark on me if I don't mix it with Pharmacy's mineral sunscreen, but when mixed, it blends in perfectly. The BB cream has SPF 15 thanks to the mix of titanium dioxide (5.3%) and zinc oxide (7.0%) in the formula, so my skin is protected. It doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, the bottle lasts for months (a little goes a long way), and it's cheap at just $15.Malarie Gokey, Insider Shopping deputy editorMaybelline Nudes Of New York Eyeshadow PaletteMaybelline Nudes Of New York Eyeshadow Palette, available at Target, $11.99After the extinction of Urban Decay's Naked Original palette, I searched far and wide for nude eyeshadows that posthumously lived up to its quality at a reasonable price. By serendipity, I discovered Maybelline's nude palette during a Target excursion, and it's become a valued member of my makeup arsenal since. It's diverse, featuring a mix of understated matte and shimmery browns, oranges, pinks, and greys. The lighter colors blend well for natural coverage, while the darker shades build a striking, more dramatic glow. I suggest investing in the right eyeshadow brushes, thoughthere are many factors and brands to consider that can make or break a look. Dominique McIntee, Insider Shopping fellowNeutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Face WipesNeutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Face Wipes, 2-pack, available at Walmart, $8.97Whenever I'm exhausted and in need of a quick cleanse, I choose Neutrogena Face Wipesthey're like a glass of fresh water in the middle of a desert. These cleansing wipes are gentle, effective at picking up stubborn residue, and convenient as a travel carry-on. I don't need to rinse them before applicationI just swipe, and I'm good to go. Nonetheless, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to opt for a soothing moisturizing balm, such as the Ponds Cleansing Makeup Remover. For a deeper clean beyond the wipes, I use La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser tailored for dry skin types.Dominique McIntee, Insider Shopping fellowRimmel Stay Matte PowderRimmel Stay Matte Powder, available at Target, $3.99When I ran out of my It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti-Aging Finishing Powder, I Googled the next best thing at an affordable price. That's when I discovered Rimmel's Stay Matte Powder, which is specifically formulated for those with oily, combination, or sensitive skin types. When I apply this powder, my makeup is completely matte and stays that way all day. When I say all day, I really mean itI leave for work at 7 a.m. and don't get home until 7 p.m., and my makeup still looks good when I walk in the door. My verdict: It has completely exceeded my expectations, and the best part' It's under five bucks.Victoria Gracie, Insider Shopping social media associateCeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily SkinCeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin, available at Target, $10.99I always knew I had normal to oily skin, but never thought to buy a face wash tailored to my skin type. My dermatologist recommended CeraVe's Foaming Facial Cleanser based on my skin concerns, and it has since become my go-to. This face wash removes oil from my skin without drying it out, which has been a game-changer for me. Since it makes my complexion look clear and radiant, I don't need (nor want) to cake makeup on my face.Victoria Gracie, Insider Shopping social media associateL'Oral Paris True Match Blendable Makeup PowderL'Oral Paris True Match Blendable Makeup Powder, available at Target, $7.99My complexion is best described as pink ghost, so it's hard for me to find makeup that isn't too dark. L'Oreal's True Match powder foundation is the closest I've ever gotten without spending a boatload (and I don't spend a boatload on anythinghence my numerous drugstore picks here). I put a light layer on after my BB cream each day to flatten out shine and even out any remaining redness.Malarie Gokey, Insider Shopping deputy editorL'Oral Paris Carbon Black Voluminous MascaraL'Oral Paris Carbon Black Voluminous Mascara, available at Ulta, $8.99I used to wear Covergirl's mascara, but I recently found that I prefer L'Oreal's Voluminous Mascara. It goes on smoothly, the straight brush applicator works well, and I don't have to do a bunch of coats.Malarie Gokey, Insider Shopping deputy editorL'Oral Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise MascaraL'Oral Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, available at Target, $9.99This mascara is well known, and that's because many call it a dupe for the cult-favorite Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. I hate spending a lot of money on mascara since it needs to be replaced pretty often so I knew I had to try the dupe. After trying this dupe, I haven't turned back. It adds both volume and length to lashes without clumping or flaking like many other drugstore mascaras. If you really want to up your eyelash game, you can use both the primer and the mascarayour lashes will be left looking better than ever.Victoria Gracie, Insider Shopping social media associateCetaphil Gentle Skin CleanserCetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, available at Target, $9.59I have sensitive skin and as a product of my job I trya lotof different skincare products. Using so many different types of ingredients can sometimes make my skin very irritated, so I like to keep my everyday routine pretty basic. I've used Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser for as long as I can remember. I like that it has a really short, simple ingredient list. I've tried other cleansers over the years, but none leave my skin feeling as soft.Remi Rosmarin, Insider Shopping reporterSimple Kind To Skin Compostable Cleansing WipesSimple Kind To Skin Compostable Cleansing Wipes, available at Target, $5.99Simple Skincare is another of my favorite companies for affordable products. These wipes quickly remove my mascara and BB cream at the end of each day, plus, they're compostable so they're less wasteful than most makeup wipes.Malarie Gokey, Insider Shopping deputy editorCompared to the many makeup removing wipes I've tried, these wipe away stubborn products without irritating my skin or leaving behind greasy residue. Plus, they don't contain any fragrances, dyes, or harsh chemicals, saving my skin from unwanted flare-ups or breakouts.Victoria Gracie, Insider Shopping social media associateThayers Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner CucumberThayers Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner Cucumber, available at Target, $10.99It always feels great to start my morning with this toner in my routine. The mild, cooling formula preps and moisturizes my face for the rest of the products I'm about to put on it, and the cucumber scent is so refreshing. I've dealt with acne for many years and this is one of the few toners I've tried that doesn't irritate my skin or cause me to break out.Connie Chen, Insider Shopping senior reporterNYX Professional Makeup Lip Lingerie Liquid LipstickNYX Professional Makeup Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick, available at Ulta, $7I was gifted this liquid lipstick by a friend many years ago, and it's probably still my number one favorite liquid lipstick. Once you put this on, it doesn't budgeeven after eating and drinking. These lipsticks come in many shades of nude that complement every skin tone, and they're versatile enough for both casual and nighttime looks. My personal favorite shade is Bedtime Flirt, which goes nicely with my pale complexion. Given its matte formula, it can be drying at timesbut this issue is easily reconciled with a nourishing lip balm.Victoria Gracie, Insider Shopping social media associateReal Techniques Setting BrushReal Techniques Setting Brush, available at Ulta, $7.99When I'm on the go, I prefer to consolidate the amount of products and brushes I bring with me. Through trial and error, I've found that the Real Techniques Setting Brush is an all-in-one complexion tool that negates the need for add-ons. I use this brush to contour my cheekbones, set my face with powder, apply highlighter, and when I am traveling, I even use this to apply concealer and foundation. The bristles are fluffy yet firm, enabling precise application, to pick up and build up the product to my liking. However, if you prefer a quicker makeup routine, I recommend the versatile Real Techniques Powder Brush for a fast and natural dusting of powder products.Alexa Bleustein, Insider Shopping commerce analystPhysicians Formula Butter BronzerPhysicians Formula Butter Bronzer, available at Ulta, $15.99If your skin is anything like mine, then you struggle with finding a highlighter that doesn't bring out texture. The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is a perfect hybrid that adds a warm-toned glow with a natural, non-patchy finish. It blends seamlessly on top of liquid foundation and illuminates my skin the way a highlighter would. The veil of sheen and dimension this product adds to your face is unmatched.Alexa Bleustein, Insider Shopping commerce analystSimple Foaming Facial CleanserSimple Foaming Facial Cleanser, available at Walmart, $5.99Simple's Foaming Facial Cleanser cleans my skin thoroughly without irritating it or drying my skin out. I love this cleanser, and I've been using it for years now.Malarie Gokey, Insider Shopping deputy editorMaybelline Instant Age Rewind ConcealerMaybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer, available at Target, $7.99I'm always searching for a great concealerone that brightens up my dark circles but won't dry out and end up looking cakey. Because you can't try shades on at the drugstore, I've always bought more expensive concealers at places like Sephora. Even without getting to shade-match, this is my favorite concealer to date. It's full coverage with a creamy consistency that blends nicely. The twist-top applicator has a cushiony sponge for easy application. Whenever I use this, my eyes look instantly brighter. There's no creasing, drying out, or flaking. The fact that it's just $8 makes it a serious winner.Remi Rosmarin, Insider Shopping reporterCoverGirl Advanced Radiance Pressed PowderCoverGirl Advanced Radiance Pressed Powder, available at Target, $8.99My skin leans toward the dry side, and I find most pressed powders to be too drying or cakeyespecially under my eyes. That's why I opt for CoverGirl's Advanced Radiance pressed powder, which features a creamy formula that doesn't feel dense on my complexion. Since it's powdery in texture, I typically apply it to my under eyes and T-zone using a Real Techniques setting brush. For a more noticeable brightening effect, I use a damp beauty sponge to ensure even product distribution across my face. Overall, it prolongs the wear of my makeup for a natural finish that lasts all day.Alexa Bleustein, Insider Shopping commerce analyst
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