Beauty editors are experts at navigating the aisles of a drugstore—it’s practically part of our job description. Sure, we love our luxe lipsticks and wallet-lightening face masks, but you’ll always find a bevy of $5 lipsticks and cheapie gems nestled between our La Prairie and La Mer. After all, if a product works, it works.
Thus, we posed ourselves a challenge: If we only had $30 to spend at our neighborhood drugstore, what would we buy? In other words, when it really comes down to it, what are the drugstore products we absolutely can’t live without? Turns out, Team Byrdie has quite varied tastes when it comes to drugstore makeup, skincare, and hair products. Keep scrolling to find out what we chose!
This stuff was my first introduction to toner, and though I use all kinds of different formulas now, I still always keep a bottle around. It’s a really gentle makeup remover, it soothes redness and balances skin tone, and it just smells SO good. And I love that it’s very clean, natural, and straightforward.
Another old standby! I try to cleanse my face properly over the sink on a daily basis, but I’m also incredibly lazy, so I always have wipes on hand. These are soothing, simple, and they don’t dry out my skin.
My mother got me hooked on these—she always has about a dozen different colors in her purse, I swear. My personal favorite is Hibiscus—it gives the prettiest pink tint.
It’s a lame pick, but my vanity feels incomplete without a full stock of cotton rounds—I use them for so much, from removing makeup to zit extraction (I dip them in Thayer’s Toner to cleanse the area and keep it from getting infected).
It's gross, but I will forever be addicted to the satisfaction of peeling off my blackheads.
I love tiny mascara brushes. This one delivers amazing length, definition, and separation. It’s the perfect size for reaching lower lashes, too.
I definitely don’t do hair masks as often as I should, but when I do, I use this one. My hair feels incredibly soft afterward.
They really are super gentle. It’s the only eye makeup remover I’ll use.
Precision tips are the best for cleaning up eye makeup mistakes. I always have these on hand.
I use hydrogen peroxide as an oral rinse. It’s great for your gums and for teeth whitening, but much less expensive than most mouthwashes.
I shave my face with one these about once a month. I’ve even used them on my eyebrows in extreme times of need. They’re the best.
Honestly, I would probably just purchase a few bottles of this Revlon foundation. I always have this pressing fear that one day it’s going to be discontinued, and keep telling myself to buy a lifetime supply. It’s the only foundation that works for my oily skin, and I constantly get compliments on my complexion because of it (everyone is always shocked when I tell them it’s from a drugstore!).
I prefer to take the lazy-girl mind-set when it comes to my hair (i.e., shampoo as infrequently as I can). Thus, dry shampoo is a near and dear friend—and this drugstore version from Batiste works better than any other one I’ve tried. I discovered it while studying abroad in London, and rejoiced when it came to the States. It cleans my oily roots and adds nice texture to second- (or third-) day strands.
This lip pencil goes on silky smooth, with amazing color payoff and staying power. It rivals some of the more expensive lip pencils on the market. She’s So Matte is the perfect taupe-y pink, but I love them all. Plus, it never ends up drying out my lips.
I could wax poetic about micellar water (and I have). I’m obsessed with the gentle cleansing abilities, and Simple’s version alway leaves my skin feeling clean and softly hydrated. Though I sweep it over my face after cleansing, it also takes off makeup in a pinch!
This is a boring pick, but I’ve got to use something to apply my micellar water, right?
Seriously, this is one of my favorite mascaras of all time. I love the way it smudges under the eye through the day, giving a slightly edgy look. Also, the length and thickness it creates are no joke. I was originally turned onto the product by a makeup artist who told me she preferred it over more-luxe brands. It’s way cheaper, too.
I love the clean scents and the kinfolk vibe of the packaging. It’s perfect for the kitchen!
I tried this on a fluke when I ran out of my Nars blush. I was complimented then and every time I’ve used it since. The trick is applying one swipe on the upper part of your cheekbones prior to applying your foundation. I top it off (post-foundation) with RMS Living Luminizer. It really makes the cheeks pop and takes the focus off tired eyes.
What would you buy with $30 at the drugstore? Have you tried any of our picks? Sound off below!