With the global pandemic still lingering on, many people have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or are "watching the pennies," as us Brits say. Whereas during the economic crash of 2008 we saw the lipstick index in full swing (the theory that people treat themselves by spending money on less expensive luxury goods, like a designer lipstick), this pandemic has hit different. 2021 is full of uncertainty and in the midst of it all, many of us are looking for small, affordable ways to treat ourselves and spark joy. Enter: our most loyal friend, the drugstore. It helps that in the last 12 years, drugstore beauty products have made leaps and bounds and can now easily rival some of the more expensive products out there. But where to start? The same place we find most of our inspo: the 'gram. We asked some of our favorite people to follow on Instagram for the drugstore products they're currently shopping, and now we have a new shopping list for our next CVS run. From a $15 foundation to a $9 cleanser, keep scrolling for the inside scoop on the best drugstore products out there.
Who: Thatiana Diaz, senior beauty writer at Refinery29
The drugstore pick: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup
The praise: "Every time I wear this foundation, I'm met with compliments of how glowy my skin looks. It lives up to its name in that it makes my skin look and feel healthy even if, in reality, my skin is experiencing breakouts or dried out from a night of too much wine."
Who: Chloé Burcham, freelance beauty editor and founder of The Recénseré
The product: Rimmel Extra Super Lash Mascara
The praise: "I must have tried thousands of mascaras over the years and yet it's this brilliantly budget, no-frills mascara that still never fails to amaze me. It lengthens lashes, gives major volume, and a fanned-out effect in just two coats. There's no gimmicky wand or fiber-packed formula; just a bloody good mascara."
Who: Khoudia Diop, Model and Actress
The product: Iman Second to None Stick Foundation
The priase: "My favorite drugstore products are Iman Stick Foundations, which I use as concealer, and Iman eyeshadow stick for a quick glam when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to do a full face. I love these because they are super affordable, the shades are really pretty and, most importantly, they match my skin tone very well and blend perfectly!"
Who: Dana Oliver, beauty expert, editor and consultant
The product: SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Protein Power Treatment
The praise: "My natural hair is really thick and can become extremely dry if I'm not using products that help to restore moisture. That's why this intensely hydrating hair treatment is a vital part of my hair care routine; I simply apply it, put on a shower cap, and after 15 minutes (sometimes I wear it for much longer), my tight coils are smoother and softer."
Who: Mi-Anne Chan, video editor at Condé Nast Entertainment
The product: e.l.f. Wow Brow Gel
The praise: "Here's something that happens with somewhat daily frequency: I finish my makeup and grab some brow gel to finish off the look only to wind up with globs of brown paste all over my brow bone. Those of you with sparse, barely-there brows might know the feeling—the wetter the gel, the bigger the mess. That's why I always reach for dry formulas, like this one from ELF. It's buildable and thanks to its waxy, pomade-like consistency, it beefs up brow hair without weighing them down or collecting in odd places."
Who: Lorna Luxe, influencer and designer
The product: Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Ripe Raspberry
The praise: "I love the lightweight formula, given how rich and hydrating it is. The ripe raspberry is surprisingly pigmented for a lip balm, so this is a great, easy-to-wear, alternative to red lipstick. I’m a big fan."
Who: Emma Hoareau, Photographer and influencer
The product: Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
The praise: "As someone with super sensitive skin, this product is always in my cabinet. It calms, soothes, and helps restore the skin barrier. I just love how it does exactly what it says and keeps it super simple for SOS skin situations! I use it after I've had a peel or if my skin is feeling more sensitive to touch. It's honestly a game-changer."
Who: Lesley Buckle, Influencer and ASOS Insider
The product: BYBI Babe Balm Bronze
The praise: "I'm obsessed with the BYBI Babe Balm Bronze. It's a super creamy highlighting balm that you can use anywhere for the dewiest natural glow! It's made with lots of natural oils and bronze mica powder and it doesn't clog my pores like some other highlighters. I love applying it to the top of my cheekbones, brow bone and cupid's bow for an effortless sun-kissed look."
Who: Khalea Underwood, beauty editor at The Zoe Report
The product: Dove Deep Moisture Wash
The praise: "I have a shower rack filled with expensive body washes and a vanity stocked with the most luxurious body lotions in the business, but I only need one product to give me the best of both worlds: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash. The consistency feels so good since it's made with moisturizing cream. I don't have to use much lotion once I towel off since my skin is so smooth. Plus, my mom raised us on Dove bar soap, so the smell is nostalgic."
Who: Estée Lalonde, influencer, podcaster, and jewelry designer
The product: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water
The praise: "I love the Garnier Micellar Water because it's great for sensitive skin, removes all of my makeup, and is really affordable! I especially love the rose one."
Who: Diipa Büller-Khosla, Influencer and founder of @post.for.change
The product: Maybelline The Falsies Mascara
The praise: "I used to wear false lashes and I decided to give it a break. This mascara legitimately adds length and volume. I've been loyal to it for over two years now."
Who: Rose Gallagher, makeup artist and host of Beauty From the Heart Podcast
The product: Collection Bounce Back Eye Colour
The praise: "This eyeshadow is truly as good as, if not better than, its counterparts five times the price. It offers all of the pigment and colour pay off of a dense powder, but blends with the seamless application of a cream. What I love is that each shade is a rich jewel-tone, so it looks effortlessly glamorous and very expensive. Collection is one of my favourite brands, high street or otherwise, for lasting, playful colors."