We head over to the stores like Walgreen’s, CVS, Target, and Walmart, and click-through Amazon for more than just over the counter medicines, toilet paper, and other boring, yet important daily essentials. These stores also offer a dizzying number of beauty products, including some that beauty experts have been ranting and raving about for decades.
These affordable little luxuries keep us looking and feeling our best, and at a great bargain. And, as the years have gone by, more and more new products have been introduced that give big-ticket makeup, skincare and haircare products, and more stiff competition. We always like to be on top of the latest and greatest new items to try out and make sure we know about all the tried and true classics. And of course, share this information with you. That’s why we are sharing some of the timeless, best-selling drugstore beauty products out there, plus a couple of newer products you should try out. Added bonus? Everything on this list retails for less than $10.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Great skin care starts with a solid face cleanser. Cetaphil has been recommended by dermatologists for years for its a gentle-yet-effective formula and shows up on several lists boasting the best products to get at your local drugstore. Basically, it’s a classic that works.
“This has been the only facial cleanser I have been able to use for some time now. I saw it recommended by a makeup artist on youtube. For some reason when I started nearing my 30th yr, I started to break out along the top of my back and shoulders, as well as my face. Hormones change over time, so I guess it just happens! Anywho, this face wash has been a lifesaver for me! I use it on my face and back, and after using it for a few weeks I cleared up nicely, and now I rarely get any pimples. I am able to wear tank tops again without being embarrassed. I might sound like a cheesy infomercial talking about this, but I really can’t say enough about how much it helped me. I had tried Proactive, Clearasil, and so on and so on, but I found out that they were just really irritating my skin and making the situation a little worse. I really can’t recommend this enough, I wish someone would have told me about it in my teenage years!”
Available at walgreens.com, $8.99
Black Opal True Color Perfecting Stick Foundation
It’s hard enough finding a great stick foundation but add to that the frustration of not finding one that works for brown skin tones. Thankfully, Black Opal’s best-selling True Color Matching Stick Foundation comes in 16 beautiful colors, from Kalahari Sand to Ebony Brown.
“I love this product along with your concealer. These products help mimic a flawless complexion without the “cakey” look and it doesn’t clog my pores. I get compliments all the time now that switched from MAC cosmetics to Black Opal cosmetics. Thank you so much for creating this product and keep up the good work!!!??”
Available at blackopalbeauty.com, $9.95
Marc Anthony True Professional Hair & Scalp Detox Instant Cooling Scalp Treatment
A brand new product on this list is the Marc Anthony True Professional Hair & Scalp Detox Instant Cooling Scalp Treatment. It’s perfect for cooling a scalp that has been irritated from the sun, cold air, or anything else that comes for your tresses. You can leave on this fabulous blend of tea tree oil, castor oil, aloe vera leaf juice, witch hazel, and peppermint oil, or use it as a pre-wash scalp treatment. The sensorial rollerball applicator just ups the feeling that you’re practicing some pampering self-care.
Available at cvs.com, $8.99
How many products have you been using pretty consistently since 1997? Chances are, Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips is on that list. Do you remember the first time you saw the forest of blackheads on that sticky face strip?! It was amazing to witness, and by just looking at the strip, and your face afterward, you knew this was a special beauty product. It remains a beauty fave, over 20 years later.
“I love using these! I always use a pre-cleanse “dermalogica” and then cleanse my face before using. I’ve always had very large pores on my nose. After keeping up with using my pre-cleanse which helps pull oils out common for people who use makeup “which I don’t” but it’s helped with my pores a lot. With that being said I needed an extra hand so with what little blackheads I’ve had left I been using these strips and it took maybe a month if that and I barely have any blackheads left. When using make sure that your cleansing your face also exfoliating twice a week keep this routine going while using these strips every other day you will see a big difference!”
Available at amazon.com, $7.52
L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara
When a product works, it works. You’ll end up going back to it, time and time again, knowing you’ll have a great result. L’Oreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara is such a product. So much so, that it is said to be a go-to for many professional makeup artists.
“I was looking for something long-lasting, actually BLACK, and something that would make my lashes longer because they are short and hard to grow out, and I got all of that in this mascara. I was very very satisfied with this product and I mean that in the most genuine way. The color (Carbon Black) is very nice, just what I wanted– a nice dark black to define my lashes against my semi-dark eyeshadow. The definition and the length it gives me is amazing; I read the reviews before purchasing of course and I was like “It can’t be THAT great…”. Well, it was. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a mascara that I like this much. It stays on well throughout the whole day too, no smudges, doesn’t feel wet either. No crumbles as well (an amazing feat. to pull off). I’m in love. I’ve gotten so many compliments too. I fully recommend to anyone on the fence of buying.”
Available at target.com, $6.79
The Whip Smart So Many Ways Hair Mask
We are all for moisturizing our waves and curls, and keeping our hair looking soft and lush for the upcoming summer season. And, we love products that do double (or more) duty so we can get the most from them. The Whip Smart So Many Ways Hair Mask is such a product. Made with coconut oil and sweet almond oil, you can use it as a pre-shampoo treatment, a leave-in conditioner, an after-shampoo mask, an overnight mask, or on dry hair to control frizz and tame flyaways.
“This company is just knocking it out of the park. I adore this product. Works for everything. Use sparingly! Trust the product, experiment how much you’ll need for your hair.”
Available at walgreens.com, $8.99
Essie Nail Polish
Available at the drugstore, but also appearing in posh salons everywhere, Essie nail polish is a constant favorite brand of beauty lovers. There are so many incredible staple colors in Essie’s collection (hello, Ballet Slippers!), and something absolutely amazing for everybody.
“I love this color. It’s a very very pale pink. Perfect natural-looking color that matches with everything. Also goes great if you want a pink-toned French manicure. My go-to shade for summer!”
Essie nail polish in Ballet Slippers, Available at target.com, $8.99
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Face Wipes
Makeup is amazing, but you also want an equally amazing beauty product to take all of it off. A classic that a lot of people agree is one of the best beauty items you can buy at a drugstore is Neutrogena’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes.
“Love these. Gentle and soft. They get rid of it all…..eye makeup and even sunscreen or bare minerals, which is so good but sometimes hard to get washed off. No strong smell….much better than Burts Bees…..which sting a little and have too much scent. We live on a big boat full time so these are really nice for cleaning my face……when we are in the Bahamas, we have to be very careful about water use and these fit the bill perfectly. I use them sometimes even when I have no makeup on just to freshen up my face. Very refreshing and they leave a nice NOT greasy feel to my face. I keep a packet in our stateroom and the salon so I can grab one whenever I need one. This is much better than using a washcloth, lots of water and yet another product to get the grime and makeup off of my face.”
Available at amazon.com, $7.38
Maybelline New York Great Lash Washable Mascara
Let’s start with one of the most iconic drugstore product of all time–Maybelline New York Great Lash Washable Mascara. After 40 years, the product is still known and loved for its lash-doubling formula that really defines your lashes for a natural-yet-better look.
“There is no substitute. This is the best mascara on the market and has been a constant in my makeup bag thank you Maybelline:)”
Available at maybelline.com, $7.40
TRESemmé Climate Protection Mousse
Protection against the sun’s rays and a great hairstyle doesn’t have to break the bank. Just take TRESemme’s Climate Control Mousse. It gives you all the style, hold, volume, and protection against UV rays and humidity, for under $5.
“I have naturally curly hair so most of the time it’s frizzy. I saw a television ad for your climate control products and purchased the mousse. I usually only wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week, on the days I don’t wash it, I use a spray bottle of water to revive it, but It’s still somewhat frizzy using another brand of mousse. Today, after I used the climate control mousse yesterday when I woke up, I didn’t have to do anything with my hair, it was very curly and not frizzy! This is a first for me and I’ve tried a lot of brands including expensive professional ones. I love this and will try your shampoo and conditioner. Thank you, Tresemme!!!”
Available at kmart.com, $6.99
Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer
Another drugstore product that has caught the attention of beauty writers is Physicians Formula’s Murumuru Butter Bronzer. It provides the best of both worlds when it comes to cream and powder blushes, bronzes the skin, and has been reviewed over 1,300 times on Amazon, where it’s a #1 Best Seller).
“I’ve purchased so many bronzers in every price range and didn’t have high hopes for this one…but based on the reviews and price I thought I’d give it a try. This is the first bronzer that doesn’t make me look like I applied bronzers. It’s just a subtle bronze glow and I love it! I like it so much that I’m thinking of stocking up in case the mfr decides to discontinue it one day. :)”
Available at target.com, $5.99
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner
Next on our list of fabulous eyeliners to try and buy is L’Oreal’s Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner. I personally own this pencil and it’s great for creating the perfect smoky eye or just lining the waterline. Of course, you can sharpen it (it comes with a sharpener!) to create a skinnier line or wing.
“This product I have happily used for a few years now, and to be honest – I never sharpen it! A little goes a very long way, and I use it primarily for the upper and lower waterline ( I think that’s what it’s called ) It makes my lashes appear thicker and I truly love it. Great Product!”
Available at target.com, $7.99
Milani Baked Blush
Not all top blushes have to be on the pricey side. Just take Milani’s Baked Blush for example. It appears on many best blushes lists, and it retails for under $8! There are four colors to choose from, but a favorite is the warm Luminoso.
“I decided to try this because I had heard wonderful things about it and that Luminoso is a dupe for NARS Orgasm. It is beautifully pigmented and would be pretty on any skin tone. I own the NARS, and I would say that Luminoso is a bit more peachy. I actually like it more! (And if you’ve looked at the price tag on the NARS, it is definitely worth a try!) It doesn’t take much to get the look you’re going for, but at the same time, it’s not a blush that is so heavily pigmented that it’s easy to go heavy-handed. Very nice, and the price is unbeatable.”
“I got shade Luminoso and it is sooo pretty on the skin. It doesn’t go on blotchy like some of the other drugstore blushes. It goes on really smooth and blends really nice. Has a slight shimmer but not too overpowering. Gives a really nice glow. Similar to the Milani baked bronzer. I definitely recommend this to anyone!!!!!!”
Milani Cosmetics Baked Blush, in Luminoso, ulta.com, $9.49
Not Your Mother’s Love for Hue Color Care UV Protectant
Your glorious mane is like a work of art. When you finally achieve the perfect hair color, you want to protect it the best you can. Not Your Mother’s Love for Hue Color Care UV Protectant acts as a leave-in conditioner, and is infused with Chromavell, which protects against color fading.
“I walk around 4 miles a day in the Louisiana sun and have at least three colors going in my hair at any one time. This really helps to keep my color, especially the blues and purples, longer. It’s also lightweight and has a mellow, pleasant scent.
Available at amazon.com, $6.94
Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation
With over 3,000 Amazon reviews, and several beauty writers calling this a must-have, Maybelline’s Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation is a beauty product you need to invest in now. The oil-free formulation offers medium coverage while refining the pores, and is available in over 40 fabulous shades.
“This is one of the most natural-looking foundations I’ve owned. I usually have trouble finding a good match because I have olive tones but this one is darn close to my natural color. I love to wear it with a setting powder and brows for a natural, minimalist look. It gives me light coverage on my undereye circles and generally evens out my skin. It’s also easy to layer other products over it and it blends out beautifully with fingers or a sponge. I would say it’s light to medium coverage. I bought the color 228 Soft Tan.”
Available at amazon.com, $5.33
NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil
NYX has built an empire on inexpensive products that work like they’re from a luxury brand. One of the items you have to have is the NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil. It comes in 24 fab colors and creates a solid line that also nourishes with coconut oils.
“I love the fact that this eyeliner is so creamy and it glides on. I have never been disappointed with NYX. (knock on wood) I find this is great for beginners because I recommended this to my new beginner friend and she found it so easy to use it. I love the bold colors. I used to stick to just black but with this, I use a lot of their colors even white (is great for highlighting eyes). So try this out because it is amazing. :D”
Available at ulta.com, $3.15
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolour in Fairest Nude
Not all classics are of the pricier department store variety. Drugstore classics are timeless and affordable —win-win! Just like L’Oreal’s Fairest Nude. This color pops up on many best lipsticks ever list, and plays a pretty balance between beige and pink — and all for under $10!
“L’Oreal Paris Lipstick is one of the only two brands I can use that doesn’t “bleed” on my lip line. I LOVE this color— very neutral & the lipstick itself is moisturizing & stays on pretty well. I’m fairly tough on lipstick & I consider this a good one. I’ve been buying this brand for over a decade now!
Available at target.com, $5.99
Maybelline New York Expert Wear Twin Brow & Eye Pencils
This product holds a special place in the hearts of more than one generation of Latinxs. It appears in memes, where it is pointed out that the best way to use it is by first melting the top of the pencil with a lighter to get the right consistency and amount of color (but test it on your hand first to avoid burning yourself, m’ija!). It’s a classic, and so affordable — and you get two pencils per pack!
“This is my favorite eyeliner and I have been using it since the ’80s. It can be used for both eyes and brows. I like it because you can use it for lightly lining your eyes and for doing really dark lines. The trick to doing really dark black lines is to melt it for a couple of seconds over a lighter, let it cool for another few seconds, blow on it, then carefully line your eyes. If you make a mistake, you can easily correct it with eye makeup remover on a Q-tip. It stays on pretty much all day (and night – lol) as well if you use the melting method. I recommend you give the melting method a try if you are looking for a dark black liner that really stays put better than any other. It doesn’t flake off or really smear. You might only have to touch up at the corner of your eyes, but that’s about it.”
Available at amazon.com $4.74
NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray
What’s the point of creating a perfectly made-up face if it’s not going to stay that way for as long as you want it to?! Having to reapply and touch up here and there is such a pain. Save yourself that drama with the popular NYX Setting Spray. Spritz your look (with either their dewy or matte-finish spray), and then enjoy your day/night.
“I was surprised by how well this product works. Living in Florida my skin is very oily and makes my makeup melts. This product keeps my face matte all day and I still have my makeup in place after 8 hours. Love this product.”
Available at ulta.com, prices vary
L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray
L’Oreal’s Elnett Satin Hairspray is a classic used on celebrities, models, and everyday women for ages. It is known for providing great hold, but not in a helmet-y way. Elnett also makes it easy to brush the hair, which is nearly impossible with a lot of hairsprays.
“I have very fine, thin hair – this product does not make it greasy or lay flat. It is not stiff or sticky, and I also find that I can brush it out, but if I want to, later on, I run a damp (not dripping wet) comb through my hair and can style it with ease.”
NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick
Highlighters instantly give the face a healthy, youthful, and ethereal glow. They will make specific points of your face pop, and draw everyone’s eyes there. So, you want a highlighter that will work the best. NYX’s Bright Idea Illuminating Stick comes in 12 shades (four highlighters, four blushes, and four bronzers), and gives a long-lasting, pretty glow.
“I started using the topaz tan about a month ago as a contouring stick on medium-dark skin. I rub the stick right under the cheekbone to create a soft golden brown contour line that I blend it out with a brush or beauty blender and it looks amazing. I then use one of the lighter illuminating sticks as a highlighter on the cheekbone. These sticks are perfect and you can’t beat the price.”
Available at cvs.com, $8.49
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer
Don’t be surprised that there are multiple Maybelline products on this roundup of drugstore must-haves. They’ve been making products that women want to wear for over a century! Today, right here, we will be focusing on their amazing Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer. With almost 5,000 Amazon reviews, it’s safe to say that the product works at lessening dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines.
“I am a makeup snob. I have stupidly high standards for cosmetic performance, and drugstore brands have let me down every single time I’ve given them a shot. So when I graduated from Covergirl to Sephora after college, I never looked back. My kit is full of Dior and YSL foundation, Armani concealer, Benefit brighteners, etc.
I say this in order to grab the attention of my fellow makeup snobs: If you would never even consider Maybelline, this review is for you…”
Available at amazon.com, $7.90
Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner
Revlon is one of the leaders when it comes to classic, tried-and-true, universally-loved cosmetics. Another Revlon product that is a drugstore fave is their Colorstay pencil eyeliner. Said to last a whopping 16 hours, the brand calls it “America’s #1 Longwear Eyeliner.” And we are all here for an eyeliner (in eight different shades) that doesn’t budge and smudge after only an hour or so.
“I have purchased expensive eyeliners that are not as good as this. In the last few years, I only buy this particular eyeliner. It might sound strange, but I use it for my eyebrows as well because it doesn’t smudge easily and the color is perfect. I highly recommend this product to try out.”
Available at amazon.com, $5.97
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, in Fire And Ice
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick is a classic product, no matter what shade you choose, but there are specific colors that have really stood the test of time, to become tried-and-true classics. Fire & Ice is an orange-red lippie which was introduced in 1952; it has appeared on best-lipstick lists ever since.
“I got this because I’ve heard it Revlon Fire and Ice is the best red lipstick for any woman. I’ve got Chanel and other brands and they’re nice, but I get the most compliments when I wear this lipstick. I wear it with jeans and people say “WOW! You look great!”. I wear it with work clothes or fancier things and people compliment it too. People I don’t even know say “I love your lipstick! You look fantastic!”… and it’s Revlon. Seriously… REVLON!
GET YOURSELF SOME OF THIS LIPSTICK! Seriously, do it. Wear it, with everything. You’ll be glad you did!”
Available at amazon.com, $4.97
Ardell False Eyelashes
There are products that prove that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a stellar beauty item. Many sources, including beauty industry professionals, claim that Ardell false lashes are just as good as the pricey ones. Some say the best on the market. —period. There are so many different styles to choose from, and the prices are just as great.
“I love Ardell 110 lashes. They are on the longer side but look natural enough even in daylight. I wear them without mascara and have gotten compliments from peeps who didn’t realize they were fake until I ‘fessed up. Toss on some mascara for evenings and you’ve got instant glam. I am ecstatic to find these sold in a pack of 4 pairs. The lashes will last weeks if you do this simple trick. Dip a cotton swab into an oil-based makeup remover, heck even household coconut or olive oil will work. Don’t use too much or too little. Run the swab across the base of the eyelashes. Wait at least a minute. Lashes should peel away easily and not damage your real ones. Peel soft glue off the eyelash base, wipe lashes softly with a tissue. You can use them over and over.”
Available at amazon.com, prices vary