The drugstore can be a treasure trove of makeup products if you know what to look for. But with new products launching nearly every day, how do you choose?
There are classic standbys, certainly—Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($4.79, shop here), for one. If you’re willing to try something new, though, we’ve sourced the best drugstore beauty buys that fly under the radar. Some products are so good you’ll think they’re high-end, but they are not well known. They may not have the flashiest packaging or the best commercial, but these drugstore heavy-hitters perform way above their price tag.
- Essence Brighten Up Banana Powder, $4.99 (shop here)
Banana powder is a setting powder with a pale yellow tint. It works wonders to subtly color-correct dark circles and dull spots. Essence’s powder is lightweight, velvety smooth, and super affordable.
Its cute, pocket-sized compact makes this brightening powder easy to take on the go. Until this product, affordable color-correctors weren’t a thing, especially not as a pressed powder.
- COVERGIRL + Olay Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Liquid Foundation, $8.94 (shop here)
COVERGIRL is the aptly-named queen of drugstore foundations. For some reason, though, favorites lists tend to miss this one. The foundation is hydrating, ideal for drier or mature skin, and under $10. Plus, it contains an amino-peptide complex that works like your favorite moisturizer to reduce lines and wrinkles.
On the downside, the shade range is limited. This formula also isn’t as readily available as some of COVERGIRL’s newer launches. But if it’s a fit for your skin tone and type, you’ve just found your new foundation!
- ELF Matte Lip Color, $4 (shop here)
ELF has a ton of holy-grail products—some of the best products of the last decade. We’ve heard about their Camo Concealer and Putty Primer, but this lip crayon has been hiding in plain sight all along.
This simple matte lip color has been an ELF staple for years. It launched well before ELF took off as a well-known budget brand. With its sleek black package and a single stripe of color on the bottom, it doesn’t stand out on the shelf. But this pencil is lightweight, comfortable, and provides long-lasting matte color without drying out your lips. As a bonus, it comes with a secret sharpener on the bottom.
- NYX On The Rise Volume Liftscara, $11 (shop here)
With all the list-worthy drugstore mascaras, this one gets forgotten. It has a small club of loyal fans even though it’s a relatively new product.
The secret here is in the wand. It’s firm, but not scratchy. It grabs and separates each lash to add volume and length. It lasts all day and stands up to humidity, but it’s also easy to remove. Basically, it’s perfect.
- Milani Eye Shadow Duo, $5.99 (shop here)
We haven’t seen a proper eyeshadow duo in a while. Not everyone needs 12, 24, or 40 shades to choose from. Those mega shadow palettes look pretty, but they end up as a waste of money if you only ever hit the pan for one or two shades.
Even though Milani has had some hit-and-miss palettes in the past, their duos are unstoppable. With full colorful pigment in their mattes and butter softness in their shimmers, if you find a color you like, get it. This duo comes in browns, pinks, berries, golds, and more.