If you’ve ever been shopping at Target, you know how easy it is to get carried away and spend much, much more than you intended. The same is true — for me at least — when I head to the makeup counters at Sephora, Nordstrom and Macy’s. What’s really horrifying is how easy it is to drop a bundle at high-end stores and walk out with the tiniest of bags to show for it.
My friend Leslie recently asked whether I purchase makeup at the drugstore and the answer is, “Heck, yes!” While I tend to stick to higher-end foundations, moisturizers and serums, my makeup stash is augmented by dozens of drugstore finds and favorites. Here are some top budget-friendly bargains:
- Best blush — Milani Baked Blush, hands down. It’s smooth, color-saturated and long-wearing. My favorite shades are Bella Rosa, a deep rosy pink; and Luminoso, a gorgeous, glowing peach. You’ll find them at Rite Aid and Walgreen’s for about $8.
- Best eyeliner — No doubt about it, it’s L’Oreal Silkissime. It’s creamy but long-lasting and you have time to adjust or smudge it because it doesn’t set right away. It comes in 10 shades and the cobalt blue is particularly pretty. Silkissime is available in drugstores everywhere for about $9 (just don’t ask me how to pronouce it).
- Best foundation — My favorite is Bourjois Healthy Mix, which provides a long-lasting, hydrated and luminous-but-not-greasy finish. It’s hard to find in the United States, so I order mine from Amazon for $15.99, which includes free shipping from the United Kingdom. If you don’t want to go to that extreme, another favorite is L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation, which offers long-lasting, complete coverage. You’ll find it at drugstores for under $13.
- Best lipstick (long-wearing) — This is the most difficult category for two reasons: I love lipstick, so it was difficult to narrow down my choices, and lipstick is where many drugstore brands excel. If forced to choose, I’d go with the NYX soft matte lip creams (under $6), which are super long-lasting and come in an amazing array of opaque shades; and Maybelline Super Stay 14-Hour Lipstick (under $9) because it’s non-drying, creamier than most long-wearing lipsticks and never looks cakey. Drugstores everywhere.
- Best lipstick (creamy) — I prefer long-wearing formulas because I don’t like to reapply often throughout the day, but no list of drugstore lippies would be complete without Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, and specifically the Cherries in the Snow and Fire and Ice shades. Cherries in the Snow is a gorgeous blue-red that was introduced in 1953. Fire and Ice is a warmer orange-red that was introduced a year earlier, in 1952. There’s a reason these shades are part of makeup history and have been best sellers for more than 60 years. Check your local drugstores.
- Best skin care — Soap & Glory is one of my favorite skin care brands. It offers a long list of products ranging from shower gels and body moisturizers to facial products. My top picks are the Make Yourself Youthful Eye Cream ($20), which I use under makeup during the day; and the truly wondrous Scrub Your Nose In It, a T-zone scrub that leaves the face bright and tingly cool while unclogging pores ($12). Another favorite is Indeed Labs’ Hydraluron Moisture Jelly ($23), which contains hyaluronic acid. It provides moisture without leaving skin feeling sticky or greasy. Soap & Glory products are sold at drugstore.com; Indeed products are sold at Ulta.