When most people think of drugstore beauty brands, they think of ubiquitous powerhouse brands like Revlon, Neutrogena, Almay, Maybelline, and more. We do too. It's hard not to. After all, each one basically has its own brand-exclusive aisle and for good reason. They're utter classics; we count many of their products among our all-time favorites. Here I'd like to give a shout out to L'Oreal's cult-favorite Voluminous Lash Mascara ($6), which is among one of my most treasured makeup finds.
So while we love shopping within the confines of these brands, we also think it's important to branch out to other options. We're talking about brands that might be a little lesser-known in comparison. But that doesn't mean their products are any less worthy or effective, which is why we think it's high time we awarded them a little extra love and attention. Without further ado, here are the 16 drugstore brands that we think are the most underrated.
It's rare for a drugstore brand to use only 100% certified-organic ingredients, which is why Acure Organics is well worth mentioning. The brand produces products across all skin, body, and hair categories. We like this exfoliating facial scrub that uses nutrient-rich sea kelp to detoxify skin along with lemon peel and French green clay to brighten and cleanse. (On that note: check out the seven benefits of exfoliation you didn't know you were getting.)
Air Repair is a naturally derived cruelty-free skincare brand that flys under the radar (pun intended). Everything in its product line was developed to combat the aging effects of pollution and environmental aggressors. As such, it's the perfect skincare brand to stock up on when traveling. Take this eye cream, for instance. It contains antioxidants to fight inflammation and reduce under-eye circles, dryness, and puffiness.
Andalou Naturals is another drugstore brand that uses all-natural ingredients. The brand ranges across haircare, bodycare, and skincare categories, with buzzy products like this Kombucha Enzyme Mask catching our attention. It's formulated with stem cells, grapefruit kombucha, and fruit enzymes to exfoliate and brighten the skin.
A'Pieu is a Korean beauty brand that makes low-key incredible makeup and skincare products. The brand is now widely available at Target, and we're overjoyed to stock up on some of our favorite international beauty products like this sheet mask that contains milk extracts and aloe to soothe, calm, and hydrate irritated skin. It's the perfect sheet mask for post-sun skin or for healing any slight sunburns that you may incur over the summer.
Black Radiance is a makeup brand that's built upon the promise of providing a diverse range of shades for African American people and anyone who has a darker skin tone than the ones that are traditionally represented at the drugstore. Even though it's a pretty popular brand, we're including it because we think it deserves more recognition.
Derma E is a natural facial care brand that started out at a health store in Southern California. Since then, it's blown up, being sold at drugstores across the country, including Target. This serum is one of our brand favorites. It provides antioxidant benefits and brightening effects along with supercharged hydration from hyaluronic acid.
Fancy cleansing cloths are great, but sometimes we want something a little more budget-friendly, especially when we use them almost every day. These ones are our drugstore go-to. They're soaked in botanical extracts like witch hazel and aloe juice to cleanse, cool, and refresh our skin. As far as we're concerned, these are the best gym bag beauty essential you can possibly buy.
Dr. Bronner's soaps can scare people away when they see the myriad of uses. If you read the side of the bottle, it lists instructions for dishwashing, household cleaning, and the like. However, it's safe to use on your whole body (the first ingredient after water is organic coconut oil). I personally use it as a body and face wash. I just pour three drops into my palms, rub them together, and massage over my skin. The peppermint oil in this one is refreshing and cleansing, and my skin always looks and feels truly clean. If you don't like peppermint, there are others like lavender and citrus that you can choose from. It's my best-kept beauty secret.
Everyone knows and loves the drugstore beauty tool brand Real Techniques and for good reason (that brand's products are amazing for their price point). However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't laud the wonders of Eco Tools, another beauty tool brand that's on the same par in regard to quality. Each brush is cruelty-free, made with recycled bamboo, and packaged in recycled material.
IMAN is another cosmetics brand focused on providing women with a diverse and accurate range of makeup shades (Again, that's something that the beauty industry still has a lot of room for improvement). This stick foundation is a product that has especially rave fan reviews thanks to its complete coverage and all-day staying power, although we suggest also checking out the brand's bronzers, contours, and highlighters.
Another amazing K-beauty brand you can find at the drugstore (specifically Target) is Make P:rem. The brand produces high-quality and super-buzzy skincare products like this Black Cleansing Water. It uses black peat moss water, which is hydrating and clarifying, along with birch sap, apple water, and radish root to cleanse the skin and provide essential nutrients. See? We told you it was buzzy.
Most of Makeup Geek's products are well worth trying, though most of its customers agree that the eye shadow is particularly special. This one's best explained by the customers themselves. Check out any number of glowing reviews like this: "I absolutely love this palette. The colors blend well and are well pigmented with a beautiful finish. I am really into packaging too, so I would say that while I am a huge fan of the smooth black matte finish on the packaging, I would really like a small mirror on the inside. It would make it easier to pop it in my purse if needed for on-the-go application because it is definitely the right size. Double bonus though, makeup geek is cruelty-free and made in the U.S. Love that!!"
Everyone's well aware of drugstore nail polish brands like Sally Hansen, OPI, and Essie, but Orly is another one that we think a lot of people are missing out on. Each one is formulated to apply without streaks, meaning a single coat usually suffices. Plus, they dry super quickly. Because of this, we're able to successfully complete a DIY manicure in no time at all.
In comparison to brands like Nyx, BH Cosmetics, and Wet n' Wild, Profusion is not as well known. However, like those aforementioned brands, it's a brand that produces a wide range of inexpensive makeup essentials like this naturals palette. It includes 24 high-impact pressed powder shadows, along with a dual-ended brush and a helpful how-to guide for creating different looks.
This is my favorite drugstore highlighter of all time. I was lucky enough to try this when it first launched and I've used it without fail ever since. Each shade of highlighter is smooth and creamy and provides the most natural-looking glow. (My favorite is the bronze shade in the upper right and the rose-gold one right below it.) Since trying this highlighter palette, I've tested many more products from the brand, all of which I love—especially its Major Matte Ultra Smooth Lip Cream ($7).
IsaDora is Sweden's number one best-selling makeup brand, and it just recently made its way stateside. I first tried the brand's Grand Volume Lash Styler ($18) and fell in love with the single-swipe density it provided. However, since then, I've tried this new mascara and I somehow like it even more than the other. It provides perfect length, separation, and wispiness for a bright-eyed look. I've worn it every day since discovering it.