What was the last drugstore product that was surprisingly good?

I feel like the heart of the question is something that is (relatively) affordable, so I want to say BH Cosmetics’ Foil Eyes palette, which was extremely easy to work with and pretty much did what it said it would. Technically, BH has some products at Ulta now but not that one… Otherwise, NYX High Voltage Lipstick, which was just a nice, medium-to-full coverage lipstick.

— Christine
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Yes! I agree! That BH Foil Eyes palette is certainly very high quality, rivaling some of my HE stuff!
Another winner in my book was, and still is, Colourpop’s line of cheek products and eyeshadows. The Ultimate Satin Lipsticks and now, lip glosses are wonderful, too.
A shout out to Sinful Gel-Tech nail polish is definitely in order, as well. That stuff really lasts and lasts!

Essence isn’t sold at the drugstores where I live but it’s in the “drugstore” section at Ulta (along with Maybelline, Revlon, etc.) and their single shadows are amazing! The two I have are shimmery, Apricotta and The Grammy Goes Glammy, and they’re incredible. Apricotta is the perfect highlight for my cheeks, a slightly peachy ballerina pink. TGGG is drool-worthy in the center of the lid with a dark chocolate metallic on either side for a halo eye. Both are very buttery, easy to work with using brushes and fingers, suuuuuper pigmented, and literally $2. Definitely gonna try the other shimmer/metallics and hope for the same results in the mattes!

Wet N Wild Megaglo Highlighting powder – $4 each, just as silky smooth and pigmented as any of my Becca or Dior highlighters. I got 2 of the Precious Petals and 1 of Crown of my Canopy. I keep one at home and one at work for touch ups

I am a big fan of Maybelline’s Fit Me concealer. I recently went back to it after trying IT Bye Bye Undereye for a while (too thick, bad color match). It’s been compared to Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer a lot, although I don’t own that so I couldn’t say for sure. In any case, it’s creamy and pigmented and stays in well- I just wish they had a wider color selection!

This past spring I picked up a few highlighters from Wet N Wild. The Geometric Highlighting Powders in Desert Explorations and Sun Ceremony. I also grabbed a Megaglow Highlighting Powder in Precious Petals. I use and love all three. They are easy to use and I love how cheap they were. Hopefully Wet N Wild will keep debuting good quality products–especially the limited editions ones like these. Or maybe they could wake up and stop doing limited edition products all together!

I build this in thin coats with MAC 217 if it helps at all. I do not crease as much as I used to.. aging skin, pluys retinol eye cream so my eyes run much drier than they used to.

Probably Wet n Wild Reserve Your Cabana as a highlighter. Impossible to overdo, nicely soft, and so much product for so little money!

I love this too, though I actually use it as an all-over powder on my very dry skin! A few of my foundations are too light right now, so this darkens it up just enough. 🙂

Loreal infallible pro matte powder- I wear the shade Cocoa

I’m really impressed by this because they have a shade that’s deep enough for me and it’s not ashy or chalky on my deep skin tone. Plus, I can use this alone as a light/medium coverage powder foundation or as a setting powder and it last all day. I do wear a primer with any face products, though.

I was surprised by Wet and Wild pressed powder. I always had the impression that a drugstore powder will be cakey. Not this one… it impressed me even more than Urban Decay powder.

Maybelline loaded bolds, though I can’t pretend surprise, as I learned it here. Ulta took sweet time putting them out; had to order online. Not the last, but the metallic gel liners from Catrice are also pretty decent, as are Ulta’s house brand gels. Btw, IIRC, Ulta has only the Karli palette from BH, and no other products. SAs said it looked good for expansion, though. U added boots and some elf recently, so I would not hold your breath on getting foiled eyes through Ulta.

Why surprisingly? Drugstore is a multi billion industry bc it produces nothing but junk? HE doesn’t necessarily mean good and DS isn’t always bad. Good high quality products across the board. Js. With that said…

Max Factor High Definition mascara

Wet n Wild Color Icon blush in Pink Champagne and comfort zone palette

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circles

Essence Silky blush in Babydoll

Makeup Revolution blush palette as well as two individual highlighters

Rimmel Kate Moss Nude Lipstick collection as well as Katy Perry matte lipsticks

Loreal infallible foundation as well as their infallible eyeshadows

Ok not all relatively new to stores but some of my most recent purchases ?

I agree too! So much great stuff at the drugstore. The only DS brand I just don’t get is ELF. Maybelline, NYX, Rimmel, Wet n Wild, Essence…these are some of my faves!

As a rule — NYX eyeliners and Colourpop eyeshadows. Also, a surprising find in a Rimmel shimmer gloss; the color ended up just barely a miss — bound to happen when you cannot swatch a product — but lasted better than I’d expected.

I really like the Colourpop products I’ve been trying some different ones I recently purchased 2 Super shock eyeshadows I’ve only tried the color Wattles but I also purchased Bae.I also purchased 2 Ultra Matte lip colors in Trap and Molly.I haven’t tried these yet.Their cream contour sticks are nice but the highlighter sticks don’t last long and quickly fade out to nothing when blended.I didn’t realize they had no return policy.Revlon Photo Ready Eye Art is a real drugstore winner for me.Is a double ended stick one side is a cream shadow the other side is a glittery gel topper.There are a lot of different colors and the quality is there.I usually like Nyx products and Maybelline also.There is an indie brand I found thru @trendmood1 on Instagram is Love Luxie Beauty they have these Dramatizing Drops for 25$ a bottle.They are the same idea as the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops which are 43$ .I ordered 3 colors 1 was sold out at the time I ordered and the other was a dupe for Cover FX Moonlight which I have.I’ll write n this post if the are of the same quality as the Cover FX.

How do you like them compared to the ones in the pot? I *love* their potted ones, but the crayons sound like a much nicer (and less messy!) application method.

The crayon’s are much better in my opinion.I have almost every color they are that nice.They are awesome for in the summer if you want to do a monochromatic eye and you want it to last and not sweat off I use one of these to create the shape I want on the outer corner of my eye then I use 2 similar color shadows in the center and inner corner.

Oh, thanks for the reminder about how lovely these are! I haven’t touched mine since last summer and should really put them back in rotation!

I am seriously eyeing the BH New-trals vs Neutrals palette, Rachel! Not absolutely certain I need it with my having the ABH Mod Ren palette, though? But maybe? ?

The New-trals vs. Neutrals has more shimmers and runs more peachy than the ABH one. They have the overall same vibe, though, so you probably don’t need New-trals. If you decide to get it, it’s enough different you wouldn’t be wasting your money either.

Thanks for the comparative info, Rachel! I do seem to have a love affair with warmer shades, for sure, especially peachy shades, warmer browns, reds, oranges and such, so I just might get that.

I agree on the NYX High Voltage lipsticks! I also really like KIKO single eyeshadows (technically not sold at the drugstore, but price-wise it counts as drugstore) and always head to the Catrice and Essence counter for brow products.

I wear black eyeliner every day, so I’m always hesitant to use an expensive pencil because I go through them so fast. Instead, I use Maybelline’s Lasting Drama Gel Pencil in (in Sleek Onyx) for everyday wear. I absolutely LOVE it, it goes on so smoothly and lasts all day. It can definitely get a bit smudgy when wet – I occasionally have to clean up my application with a q-tip – but after it dries and with a good eye primer it stays in place very well.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara. I was impressed. I still prefer my higher end mascaras bc of the applicator brush. But the formula lengthened without clumps and stayed put all day. Not bad for $10.

I was surprised at Loreal magic lumi cushion foundation. For days when you are only running to the grocery store. Saves on the high end foundation. For years I have used Cerave cleanser on the advice of my dermatologist. I also use the AM moisturizer and I just ordered the PM one.

Does the AM moisturizer pill up on your skin? I haven’t been able to apply anything over it (ever!) without it balling up into gross little bits–and I always apply it to a perfectly clean face! I’d like to be able to make mine work, since I could always use extra SPF. Do you have an application technique you’d recommend?

Ive never had that problem with it. It’s always worked beautifully for me. Sorry, I don’t have a suggestion. Maybe let it dry a little while. I feel bad I don’t have any ideas for you.

I dont really buy drugstore product,but when i go to the supermarket i love to buy for try Essence and Catrice product…so my last purchase who really suprise me in good it’s

*Catrice brown pencil: Long lasting and a perfect match for the colour
*Catrice full coverage liquid concealer: Great product,luminous and good texture but the bad i think only 2 or 3 colours so for the shade its so so

“Milano Easy Brow” automatic pencil waterproof is the best drugstore beauty product I have ever purchased. The cost is under $5.00 and it lasts and lasts. Stays on and “natural taupe” is a shade for most brows. It is creamy and easy to apply and has a spoolie at one end. When it is sold out in drugstores and I buy it online at “drugstore.com”.
Thank you Christine for your diligent pursuit to give us information to buy the perfect purchases. I have saved so much money by referring to your site before buying any category or color of make up and/or skin care items. I appreciate your efforts to the Max? What a gift!
Thanks again, Nancy

Not exactly easy to find in the states, but Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation. Love it and it’s lovely on my skin…which doesn’t always happen! Great product!!

Probably WnW Reserve Your Cabana but there are lots – Essence’s mattifying powder (I don’t have it with me and forget the name); a 5-shadow little palette from Maybelline (sadly discontinued now – I think it was called Caffeine Rush), the Maybelline and L’Oreal “cream” shadows and my go to winter night cream – Eucerin Q10.

I’m currently blown away by Makeup Revolution’s Pro Illuminate highlighter, which I got at Ulta! I have probably a total of 60 highlighters, including brands like Becca and TheBalm, and I have to say this is quickly becoming almost my holy grail of highlighters!

Smooth, not glittery, but definitely reflective. A pretty rosy champagne. Blendable and long-lasting! Plus you get 15 grams of product which is amazing. The only downside is the flimsy plastic packaging.

NYX liquid suede lip and Boots No 7 brand of facial products from creams to foundations. Although Boots is not exactly a cheap brand.

I really love the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation and their Healthy Balance Pressed Powder. They’re up there in my top 2 for foundations and powders.

Oh, without a doubt…Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. I wear the lightest shade and use to color correct under another concealer that blends and strobes more into my cheek. I really have to say as far as true “correcting” goes, I like it better than NARS, IT, Boi-ing, Erase Paste, and anything else I have used.

NYX eyeshadows especially their baked line. I’ve found these have more color payoff and translate to my eye better than Urban Decay. Which is a shame because I’m so in looooove with so many of the UD shimmer shades. Waiting for NYX to dupe them 🙂

True that! I thought I was the only one noticing the UD shadows doesn’t translate well to my lids. Well, a primer like Nyx HD or Milani helps much. 🙂

Simple brand Micellar Cleansing Water. So impressed and under $10!!!!!! Takes off all my makeup and doesn’t dry out my skin or leave it greasy feeling.

In love with NYX butter glosses, especially in Tiramisu and Praline, they are my go to nude/browns at the moment. .Their matte makeup setting spray is also a great dupe for UD All NIghter spray.
Also, I was very pleasantly surprised by Maybellines blushed nudes eyeshadow palette, imo it’s like all 3 UD Naked pallette in one.

Milani “Brow & Eye Highlighters” pencil in 02 (I’m fair skin). I use the Matte Cream under part under my eyebrows and it covers very well. Also NYC Cover Stick that I use once I applied the foundation for some extra coverage on some spots and then I set it with powder.

The Garnier Micellar water and the waterproof version are really nice,work well and don’t burn my eyes.I also like their makeup remover wipes for oily skin and for sensitive skin but my favorite drug store wipe is the Simple Micellar makeup remover wipe they are extra wet from the Micellar water and they take everything off!

I love so many drugstore products, but the last one to really SURPRISE me is the Milani Moisture Lock Oil Infused Lip Treatments. No color payoff & only a hint of fragrance – but they do in fact act as a treatment like the high end ones do. As soon as I see Milani deals, I will be stocking up on these to slip in every coat pocket for winter.

Omg…me too. I keep running through these. I buy the honey lemon one and use it every night before bed. It’s too slick for under lipstick, but great to sleep in. I think I’m on my 4th one already.

I try different foundations all the time of various high end from liquid to powders, etc….I’m always so amazed that none of them sit on my face, work with other cosmetics, and not irritate my skin like Neutrogena SkinClearing (oil free) w/ MICROCLEAR technology Blemish Trearment w/ Salicylic Acid.

I have quite a few loves from the DS ranges.
Milani Colour Statement lipsticks – after yesterday’s question about decluttering your stash, an online retail site that I follow had selected Milani products 40% off, so I ordered two more lipsticks – Bronze Metal and Tuscan Brown. Just beautiful lipsticks
Covergirl Outlast Illuminous Foundation in the lightest shade. I have been really impressed with this one. Light pink undertones and stays on all day.
Rimmel Scandal eyes mascara. Does not clump my lashes.

I’m a long-time lover of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara, Physicians Formula bronzers and NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. My newest discovery is Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer–beautiful coverage that stays put and doesn’t crease.

Hi Temptalia,

I agree 100% with you Erica.. & Rachel R.

I have been positively raving about drugstore brand’s and how far they have come between packaging and most importantly the quality!! It really amazes me how much of a bad rap that drugstore brand’s STILL have! I have had my hands on DS brands & HE brands. I have done blindfold tests with friends, family, co-workers ect. I can tell you that out of 10 people, 9 people had picked out the drugstore brand’s as the High End brand’s! It’s frustrating that people ARE So Surprised that they had chosen the affordable cosmetics! They absolutely love the ease of application, the smooth texture, how long it does stay on, during any type of weather, how affordable it is and how the cosmetics DON’T have that “cheap cosmetics smell”.. I can go on & on!! Trust Me & DO this test with a group of people! It Will Surprise You & Them!! ……
Anyway, back to my answer. Physicians Formula has awesome products that makes your skin look and feel soft and very glowy. Wet n Wild also has awesome foundation’s, beautiful colors in blushes and lipsticks. NYX has an excellent HD pot concealer, HD Foundation and HD powders! These have been my HG’s and you just can’t beat the quality or the price!!

For makeup-Makeup Revolution Iconic pallettes and L’Oreal Pro Matte foundation. For skincare-Ponds cold cream, Cerave cream and Cerave AM moisturizer.

Milani Baked Blushes. I have 4 now! And I’m not usually that obsessed with blushes. I think it all kinda looks the same on me! LOL!

ELF lip stain and kabuki brushes. The $6 studio kabuki brush is soft and doesn’t shed. I buy them by the half-dozen, use them for powder 45 SPF sunscreen (also a much beloved ELF product) and stash them in purse, gym bag, etc. And also gift them, as they are always well received! One of my friends (an esthetitian) became an ELF fan after I gave her one of those brushes.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips eyeliners. I’ve got Marc Jacobs, Guerlain, UD, Smashbox, etc. eyeliners, but I seem to gravitate to the PF ones very frequently.

And I agree that Drugstore products can be just as good as High End. After all they often have huge companies behind them and can probably afford R&D that smaller more exclusive companies can’t.

the l’oreal voluminous mascara primer! def adds seperation and volume to my lashes! some other amazing drugstore products that I love across the board (meaning not just one shade is great) are the nyx jumbo eye pencils, milani moisture matte lispticks, l’oreal silkissme eyeliners, colourpop ultra satin lips (except the neon ones, those are streaky), and ulta brand gel liners. love love LOVE makeupgeek shadows as well, which are pretty cheap for the bomb formula and color range.

Definitely NYX Contour stick (contour & highlight). I’ve tried so many “upper-shelf” brands, and this stick blows them away, by far. Actually, lately I’ve been loving the drugstore choices. And my face and wallet love it too 😉

My go to highlight and inner eye highlight is NYC sparkle eye dust. It’s cheap and unless it spills (and mine has) it lasts for a couple.of years. I also like Rimmel stay matte primer is awesome, but you can’t use too much.

Wet N Wild Reserve Your Cabana is an awesome highlighter. I use it on top of my cheekbones, on by brow bone, and sometimes on my lid for a quick makeup look. It is a great finishing powder as well if blended out. Plus it has a sunscreen.
I also love Jordana’s powder blush in Coral Sandy Beach…What a gorgeous color, and a little goes a long way.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation. The formula is somewhat dewy and sheer, but it looks beautiful on my skin and has SPF protection.

Catrice’s Camouflage Concealer in ivory- Went on like a dream (applied with fingers), covered my dark under eye circles completely without creasing nor accentuating my crow’s feet, did not look “heavy,” lasted all day and was a perfect color match for my fair, warm skintone.
A fabulous product at an incredibly low price!

SLEEK MAKEUP! The solstice highlight pallet is my life! I found out about it thanks to Youtubers, and OMG, its sooo worth the hype! If you like a BOLD A.F. highlight, you HAVE to try it!

Maybelline Age Rewind concealer in the brightening (pinky-peach) shade. This really gets rid of the shadow in my inner corner without creasing anywhere else, and I can just run a dab of my foundation over it after that. It really does brighten. I don’t need, and consequently don’t like, a lot of undereye makeup, and a few dabs of this really is all I need. And it’s $6 and lasts forever since you use so little.

Caveat – I’m pretty fair (NC15-20 depending on the season), and I think the brightener shade would be too light on anyone medium-toned or darker, which is a bummer. They do have a neutralizer shade that’s very yellow that might be better if you’re darker or your circles are more purple than blue, as well as a range of skin-toned shades.

Finally I do not need to buy super thin gel eye pencil from Japan, great saving!

I like BH cosmetics too. I was pretty happy with NYX highlight and contour pro palette, there’s a cool toned contour color which works well with my skin and creates more of a shadow effect than a warm tone would, real shadows are usually cool toned.

Milani liquid lipstick really surprised me. it’s a great dupe for Too Faced liquid lipsticks at half the price.

I’m not sure I can classify the following as drugstore but Kiko Cosmetics is great right down to their lipstick tube designs and great pigment and versatility and prices.

Wet and Wild eye shadow in Noisette; Milani baked blush in rose gold. Great colors for almost anyone, long lasting formulas. Although I hardly ever see that eyeshadow any more.

Pleasantly surprised with Jordan twist and shine moisturizing balm stain and their easy liner for lips. Very smooth and lasted pretty well. Smells good and made in USA to boot!

Maybellline’s luscious mascara with the curved brush. I don’t love the brush, but when you get used to it, it gives long, full, curly lashes. I tried the incarnation they added in the black packagiing (the one I love is in mauve packaging) because it had a more traditional brush, but the mascara stunk! I would buy the one with the curved brush in the mauve packaging again. It also comes in waterproof, don’t know if a good regular mascara will also be a good waterproof mascara, the formula could be all wrong. Anyone know?

I prefer NYX Blush in Taupe for contouring rather than the MAC Pro Longwear Blush in Baby Don’t Go that I was using previously. I think it’s slightly cooler toned and can be built up more, meaning it looks more natural.

I love Star Wars, and I had to buy the limited editions that Covergirl debuted for the Star Wars collaboration. I bought the Bronze eye liner, and I was surprised at how nicely it applied, and it wore quite well, much better than I expected. I also purchased the nail enamel, Outlast Stay Brilliant in Nemesis. It is a deep oxblood/red color that wore very well, 7 days without chips over Nubar base coat and Seche Vite as a top coat. I love the Outlast Lip stick in #30 too. It is a blue based red, it’s creamy, and lasts quite well considering the eating, drinking, and licking of my lips. It also didn’t migrate into the fine lines around my lips or settle into the lines of my lips. The nail color is a dead ringer for Butter London LA MOSS too. I wish I had been able to get a few more items for my collection, but it sold out really quickly in my area.I haven’t worn Covergirl cosmetics since I was in high school in 1979-81, and I was really impressed with how good this limited edition/collaboration was.

I’m not usually more impressed than I expected, because I don’t buy things I don’t think I will love. It’s usually more the other way around, that I’m disappointed. I have been impressed by just about all the drugstore brands, except ELF, which always disappoints me. Milani, NYC, NYX, Maybelline, Rimmel, Wet n Wild, Essence…these are my favorites. I think Milani Color Statement Lipstick and Wet n Wild Color Icon Eye Shadow pencils have probably done the most to exceed my expectations. That and the NYX Slide On Eyeliners. I do like the Maybelline Color Sensational Lipsticks also, including but not limited to, the new Loaded Bold collection. Huge selection of pretty colors without a weird smell, like L’Oreal and Cover Girl. And Maybelline and Neutrogena have the best drugstore foundations – Neutrogena Healthy Skin, and Maybelline Fit Me Dewy and Smooth and Better Skin Superstay (which, sadly, does get on my hands and come off on papers at work).

The Boots brand is so surprisingly good. The illuminate foundation is a really worthwhile product and is approximately $15. They also make one of the few pink concealers, which I need for my eye area. Also, believe it or not, a Wet N Wild tan pencil is the absolute best brow groomer I’ve ever had. It matches my brows, goes on smooth and natural looking, and looks thousands of times better than gel brow colors, especially Maybelline which is really goopy and hard to get off once it dries.

I recently ran out of my eyebrow pencil unexpectedly and picked up the NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil. I wasn’t expected it to be so pigmented and it’s decently long-lasting. I like it for daily/causal wear.

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