Revlon has always been a truly reliable drugstore makeup brand. Didn't bring your makeup bag to the office and forgot about the date you have after work? Just run to CVS, and you'll get something good in the Revlon aisle. Forgot your mascara on vacation and need to make an emergency stop for some? You guessed it—there's Revlon for that.
But the more I've tried Revlon products, the more I've realized that's not an entirely fair description. While Revlon products are certainly affordable—and conveniently located at my favorite drugstore—they're too good just to be considered "backup options." Many of their products, in fact, have become some of my new go-tos—ranked higher on my list than luxury brands at four times the cost.
Founded Brothers Charles and Joseph Revson, and chemist Charles Lachman, in 1932
Based in: New York City
Best Known For: High-quality products at affordable, drugstore prices.
Fun Fact: The name "Revlon" comes from combining the last names of the founders: "Revson" and "Lachman."
Originally founded during the Great Depression by Jewish immigrants—brothers Charles and Joseph Revson and chemist Charles Lachman—Revlon first formulated and released nail enamel products before expanding into everything from cosmetics to hair.
Throughout the decades since, Revlon exploded into what it is today: one of the most major makeup powerhouses on the market. (This modern ubiquity may be, in part, thanks to some of Revlon's most famous spokesmodels over the years—a list that includes icons like Lauren Hutton, Halle Berry, and more.)
It's been a long journey with Revlon—not only for me, personally, but for the brand, too. Find our favorite Revlon makeup products below.
Ultra HD Matte Lip Color
Revlon's Ultra HD Matte Lip Color was one of the first matte lipsticks I ever tried—and my ultimate favorite. Hundreds of lipsticks later, and I still reach for this one (in the color 'Crush', to be exact).
It's non-drying with an epic, saturated color payoff—so you get the bold, matte lip look of your dreams without worrying about flakiness and feathering. (And how many matte lipsticks on the market—even the luxury ones at four times the cost—can say the same?)
I'll typically line my lips with a lip pencil first to make sure I stay inside the lines—and while the formula is rich and pigmented, I find it lasts longer with two or three coats instead of just one.
ColorStay Liquid Eyeliner
Take it from me: It can be hard to find a great liquid eyeliner, even with all the options currently on the market. (If anything, it's easy to get choice paralysis with the sheer breadth of liners out there to choose from.)
Well, the cat(eye)'s out of the bag: Revlon's ColorStay Liquid Liner might be your new, unexpected favorite. With its easy-to-apply, precise tip, and saturated color payoff, it's one of the best drugstore liners I've found. And what's better than a great wing at a good price?
So Fierce! Mascara
The comb-like wand separates each lash and coats it in product, so I get the out-to-there, non-clumpy lashes of my dreams every time I use it. The formula is long-lasting, too, so it stays in place all day—which says a lot, as someone who rides sweaty New York City subways and can go eight hours without having a chance to touch up my makeup.
My only (minor) complaint is that the thick formula can take a few seconds to dry, so I have to be careful not to blink immediately after application. (Pro tip: It's a good idea to have Q-tips and makeup remover on hand when applying eye makeup, anyway.)
PhotoReady Perfecting Primer
First of all, if you don't already have a good face primer in your repertoire—we highly recommend getting on that. Second of all, if you're looking for one, Revlon's PhotoReady Perfecting Primer might be exactly what you're looking for.
As the name implies, it's formulated to make your skin more "photo-ready"—aka, as smooth and "filtered-looking" as possible. Think: even skin texture, smaller-looking pores, and a glowy, light-reflecting finish. I like to use it on its own as the first step in my makeup routine or mix it with my favorite foundation when I need a little more coverage.
PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick
As far as highlighters go, I'm partial to cream formulas and chub-stick designs. I love something I can apply straight to my face or with my fingers without worrying about bringing along a brush. In other words, it's perfect for someone as on-the-go as I am.
Revlon's PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick is also shaped perfectly for every angle and crevice on the face. I'll apply it directly on my brow bones, cheekbones, the tip of my nose, and cupid's bow—the usual sweet spots for highlighter application—and rub it in with my fingers.
So, I might be biased, but if you love cream highlighter sticks as much as I do, Revlon's is definitely one you can't go wrong with.
ColorStay Brow Pencil
I consider myself fairly low-maintenance with my brows—meaning I can get by with just getting them professionally shaped a few times a year. I generally stay away from waxes, tweezers, and fancy formulas. (I'm lucky!)
But that's exactly why I love Revlon's ColorStay Brow Pencil: It's easy, especially for someone who doesn't want—or need—to spend hours on my brows. The thin, angled tip allows me to successfully "replicate" my brow hairs and add extra "fullness," and I'll take the spoolie end to brush up my brow hairs afterward. It takes about two minutes and leaves my brows looking like I just left an appointment with a pro.
If you're a makeup wearer, you know how important finding a great concealer is. (It's something we don't take lightly here at Byrdie, of course.) And Revlon's bestselling PhotoReady Concealer definitely won't disappoint.
The medium-coverage creamy stick is blendable, lightweight, and non-greasy or sticky—so you don't get the feeling that your irritated pores are just getting more irritated by what you're using to cover it up. Plus, the angled, lipstick-like tip makes for easy application, no matter how much time you have to get ready. (And we all know it can sometimes be two minutes, give or take.)
Also, as someone with chronic dark circles, a good concealer is extra important to me. I'll apply the PhotoReady Concealer directly on my under-eye area and tap and blend lightly with my ring finger, and voilà—dark suddenly turns to light. (Revlon calls it their "High-Definition Filter technology," which purportedly reflects light and offers a blurring effect.) Not bad, Revlon. Not bad at all.