5 Expert Hacks That Instantly Help Drugstore Makeup Look Expensive

There’s nothing like a stroll through the drugstore makeup aisle to clear your head, brighten your spirits, and—in most cases, despite the savings—empty your wallet. It’s the place you get the most (beauty) bang for your buck, and we feel way less guilty spending $20 on three products rather than just one. Except, well, when those products just don’t go on as smoothly or stay on as long as their more luxurious counterparts. It's not always the case (we stockpile enough of our holy-grail Nyx Matte Lipsticks, $6, to counter that claim), but in the instances when it's true, a few simple hacks can make your drugstore products work better than ever before. With the help of celebrity makeup artist Rosie Johnston, we’re sharing five life-changing drugstore makeup hacks to give your Giorgio Armani Luminous Foundation ($62) a run for its money. Keep scrolling to see the cheap makeup hacks that will change the way you see drugstore makeup. 

DIY Tinted Moisturizer

Revlon Colorstay Foundation $9

Nothing beats the smooth, silky feel of a $50 tinted moisturizer. Luckily, you can re-create that texture yourself with this makeup trick: Mix your favorite moisturizer with a liquid drugstore foundation. “Since drugstore foundations tend to be a bit thicker and they don’t have as many nourishing ingredients, adding a great facial moisturizer thins out the base and also adds better ingredients,” Johnston explains. “This formula creates a more even complexion and is better for your skin.” You can experiment with how much moisturizer to use, but start with just a few drops at first. 

Create Your Own Gel Liner

L'Oréal Paris Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner $7

If your drugstore eyeliner just doesn’t go on as inky black or smooth as you want, just reach for your lighter—yes, your lighter. Holding up a lighter to the tip of your pencil eyeliner for a second or two will warm the pigment and allow it to go on more smoothly with a gel liner–like feel. You’re welcome.

Swap In a Different Mascara Wand

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara $7

This trick is so genius that we can’t believe we’ve gone our entire lives without it. “When it comes to mascaras, the wand is usually what makes the biggest difference,” Johnston says. “You can recycle one of your more expensive mascara wands when you run out of the formula by using that wand to apply your favorite drugstore mascara.” Total game changer. Johnston swears by Laura Mercier’s Full Blown Volume Lash Supreme Mascara ($25). One note: Make sure you’ve cleaned all the previous formula from the brush before using to avoid contamination. 

Blot Your Lipstick

Covergirl Outlast Longwear Lipstick $6

Putting on makeup and then artfully smudging it off isn't just a runway trend models can pull off. To make your drugstore lipstick look just like an expensive tinted balm stain, just apply one coat to your lips and then gently blot until the color has settled into your lips like a stain. Next, just dab your go-to lip balm on top and rub your lips together.

Cocktail Drugstore Products With Luxury Ones

Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo $5

Sometimes, just one spritz or dab of a luxe makeup product can take your drugstore products to the next level—think of them as setting the foundation to the final touch of your expensive product. Plus, this technique will allow you to use less of your more expensive products—good news for your wallet, yes? “I’m obsessed with Dove’s Dry Shampoo ($6)—a few spritzes, and my lifeless locks are revamped,” Johnston says. “After a few sprays of the shampoo on my roots to soak up excess oil, I then spray some of my expensive Privé Finishing Texture Spray ($30) for the best dirty-clean hair combo look in the world!”

This story was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. 

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