Just because a beauty product is cheap (or more flatteringly described as affordable) doesn't mean it's no good. But as adults, we often equate cost with quality, unlike when we were teens and it was all about value. Who can forget those teenage days meandering around the shops in your local mall for hours looking for that perfect glitter eyeshadow or juicy lip gloss?
As I’ve grown up, I tend to look to drugstores purely as places of function; it’s where I go to get discounts on razors, to collect my prescriptions and stock up on whatever shower gel or toothpaste happens to be on offer that week. But lately, I've been drawn back into those makeup and skincare aisles. Why? Because I know there are some really great products on those shelves. And it's not just me; these stores are real-life go-to's for many big-name makeup artists—veritable treasure troves of affordable beauty products that work so brilliantly that they make it into their own makeup bags as well as their professional kits.
But with so many products in those stores, how can you tell the good from the, well, not so good? I called on 7 makeup artists to reveal which under-$20 products they stock up on.
"The Zoeva 110 face brush is a good all-rounder. A synthetic, domed brush with tightly packed bristles, it works well for all cream and liquid face formulas, from foundation and highlighter through to blush."
"My favorite L’Oreal product would be Lash Paradise Mascara. It’s the best mascara in the world ...period."
"There are so many kit essentials available in drugstores, from Bioderma micellar water to remove makeup and refresh the skin, to Vaseline for that timeless glossy lid or wet skin look, to the utterly reliable Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara—just to name a few."
"Barry M Dazzle Dusts are a makeup must! I cannot live without them in my kit. They add a final touch of texture and iridescent glamour to the eyes. There are the most fabulous gold colors in the line-up.
"Also, Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipsticks are amazing. They really do stay put."
"I like The Crème Shop Creamy Gel Eyeliner. It's easy to blend and goes on smooth. Plus, sometimes, for intense dark smoky eyes, I smudge it on under the eyeshadow to help build intensity. It's a very good, versatile product."
Katie Jane Hughes
"Weleda Skin Food is creamy and helps makeup look radiant. You can also use it to clean up makeup mistakes or as a face mask. It's just amazing!"
"Weleda skin food is forever my drugstore buy. I’ve had it in my kit for years. It’s the most amazing product to hydrate any area of the body. I also love using it to create dewy skin: tap it on your cheekbones for a beautiful natural glow."