Top Product: L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation | $15 | Target
We’re living in a time where “drugstore makeup” is thriving. Brands like Joah, Creme Shop have craved out space at CVS, and No7 has gotten comfy at Walgreens. The quality is there, and people know it. We all have our preferred options for any number of products, but it’s nice to know there is a reliable, cheaper alternative out there, too. I went to CVS, Target, and Ulta and replaced the usual routine in my makeup bag to prove that drugstore picks really do work.
Best Primer: Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
Currently Using: Besame Cosmetics Vanishing Cream ($58)
This was actually my go-to for years and is still incredibly reliable. Of course, I love my vintage Besame Cosmetics Vanishing Cream in its beautiful decorative glass container, but $58 can be steep. On the plus side, it usually lasts me six months since you don’t need much, whereas with the smaller tubes, not as much product inside. Rimmel was one of my favorite brands in high school and throughout college. This primer is lightweight, so putting foundation on top of this isn’t a problem—it’s still super breathable. It wears surprisingly well and only my forehead returns to its natural oily state by the end of the day.
Best Foundation: L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear
Currently Using: THIS
Infallible is my current foundation. The name says it all. It’s the perfect foundation I’ve ever had. Thanks to TikTok, I took a chance and fell in love. Before it, I used Joah’s Perfect Complexion BB Cream, but their shade offerings were lacking, and I was basically in between two. I’m still absolutely blown away when I put it on. My color is a perfect match, and it blends so well. It’s also extremely lightweight—it feels like there isn’t anything on my face. This pick is truly that good and well worth the price.
Best Beauty Mark: Creme Shop Faux Freckle Stamp
Currently Using: THIS
I have two prominent beauty marks and bringing them out with this after foundation with the Freckle Stamp is a constant in my beauty routine. Freckle pens have popped up from many beauty companies, and I’m seeing more bloggers embracing this trend. It’s actually a charming look if you have the patience to turn yourself into a real Snapchat filter. I just do the two dots and get the heck out. Sometimes I’ll fill in my brows with this too. There’s lots of life in this little pen. It seems to last forever.
Best Eyeliner: Joah I’m So Fly Brush Tip Eyeliner
Currently Using: Beauty Bakerie Lollipop Liquid Eyeliner ($18)
I’ve been bouncing back and forever between using Haus Labs Eyeliner and Beauty Bakerie. I only started using Haus because I was able to get it half off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but paying $10 less is much sweeter. I actually prefer Beauty Bakerie as it’s so definitively black, dries perfectly, and has incredible precision for the ideal cat eye. I’ve used this eyeliner from Joah on and off. It’s a solid alternative as you do get a lot of control with the brush tip. It’s not heavy, so if you want the deepest black, you will be found wanting. A few more applications are needed for bold, pristine wings.
Best Mascara: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara
Currently Using: Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara ($26)
I stole a page from my mom’s book on this one. She swears by this Neutrogena mascara and it looks great on her. It makes her crystal blue eyes pop. I’m a bit of a loyalist to Better Than Sex—it never really leaves my rotation, and it’s va-va-volumizing. But if you’re looking for a nice day-to-day mascara to lengthen and moisturize the lashes, this is a wonderful alternative.
Best Eyeshadow: Flower Beauty Petal Play Shadow—Gilded Lily
Currently Using: Beauty Bakerie Proof is in the Puddin’ Palette ($38)
I received a Beauty Bakerie discovery box over the holidays and was blown away by everything from packing, presentation, and of course, quality. I’m a big fan of browns and golds. When I was thinking about an alternate to this, I saw Drew Barrymore’s new line. I heard good things, so this was a great time as any to try. It’s not super pigmented but was very blendable. I really liked the color story of Gilded Lily compared to the others she offers. I’d absolutely be interested in trying for her products based on how well this wore throughout the night.
Best Highlighter: Maybelline Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic
Currently Using: Ofra Sea Shimmer Highlighter ($35)
Add an illuminating effect to your makeup with the Maybelline Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter. Available in a collection of metal shades, this product is guaranteed to brighten your complexion and give you that little bit of shimmer above your cheekbones. This formula features pearl pigments and a metallic chrome sheen to give your makeup a reflective finish. Maybelline experts say that this product can be applied with a brush or your fingertips for all the DIYers out there.
Best for Lips: e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Plumping Gloss
Currently Using: Besame Classic Lipstick - Dusty Rose ($25)
Plump up your lips while providing them with nourishing hydration. This e.l.f. Cosmetics lip gloss is formulated with vitamin E and coconut oil to give your skin some much-needed nutrients. Available in five beautiful colors, this product gives your lips a shimmer and color pop that’s perfect for any activity, from a day at work to a night out. As a bonus, this gloss is cruelty-free and vegan.
Best Setting Spray: Wet n Wild Photofocus Natural Finish
Currently Using: Stage Proof Matte Setting Spray ($16)
Beauty PSA: everyone needs a bottle of setting spray in their makeup bag. I mean, come on! Some of us wear our makeup for the better part of 12 hours, if not longer. And most formulas are only meant to last up to eight hours. So for that extra bit of help, try Wet n Wild’s Photofocus Natural Finish setting spray. This product works for a variety of skin types, including oily, dry, acne-prone, and combination skin. Plus, it’s formulated with aloe vera to guarantee that your makeup look is left with a dewy finish.
If you’re curious, my drugstore bag added up to $78. My current bag is $240, and I’m ashamed looking at that number just a little bit. That makes the actual savings on this experiment $162. Just slap the crying laughing emoji here.
This story was originally published by Sheilah Villari on 03/?2021 and updated with new information by Juliana Clark on 03/12/2021.